dating new guy

Dating a New Guy? 5 Signs It May Be Time To Abort Mission!

dating new guy

 

For a single mother, maneuvering through the world of dating can be a hazardous minefield.

When a woman is clear-minded about her wants and needs regarding a romantic partner, the mining process ensues. If you are seeking a long-term commitment, the following signs will help save you time and heartache.

As a single mother, an experienced dater, and an educated woman in the field of human science, I have identified the top red flags that require an immediate “Abort mission!”

Dating a New Guy? 5 Signs He Isn’t The Guy For You

1. A man who is unsure or not clear about his life preferences.  

As a woman seeking a long-term commitment and marriage, I have so much respect for the dude who openly admits to just wanting a casual hook up, this way I can immediately SWERVE!  The guy who “isn’t quite sure” what he is looking for in terms of a relationship or “still doesn’t know about the kid thing” is now completely and utterly unappealing to me. Here is sign #1.

When you know what you do want, you know what you don’t want. Say it with me, “Any man who does not know exactly what he wants in terms of his future romantic life is NO longer attractive to me and it is NOT my job to try and change his mind!”

Listen, mama, if you aren’t sure regarding your desires, by all means, jump in and have fun. The best of us were once there, too. No judgment! However, if you have precisely identified what you desire from life, love, and family and this potential suitor remains clueless, just respect his journey and wish him well. You deserve a man who knows. Keep it movin’, mama!

2. You cannot even briefly imagine the man as a future parent or role model for your children.

Hit. The. Brakes. You have reached sign #2. There is something to be said for a mama’s intuition. When your stomach gets tight over the idea of a man interacting with your children and you cannot even imagine said man stepping up to parent your kiddos, take a bow and bounce. The right connection should feel peaceful and secure. A man’s poor habits such as drinking and driving, ignoring his own physical health, or the absence of work-life balance are sufficient indications that send me running for the hills. Girl, grab my hand and come with, knees up!

3. He is critical and puts you down.

Can you say “Hello, ego?” Here’s the skinny; we are on our BEST behavior at the beginning of our dating endeavors. For the first few meetups, we generally worry about possible food stuck in between our chompers and we are cognizant about how we outwardly appear as we gradually reveal parts of our personalities and preferences. The man who demonstrates judgment, criticism, or disapproval of you or any part of your life this early on will only worsen this poor, controlling behavior over time.

If he name calls jokingly and you don’t like it, speak up. If this behavior continues, let me present sign #3. If he happens to see a photo of your family and begins commenting on someone’s current weight status, request that Uber ASAP. Call it quits and then give him the best view yet …that booty walking away! No comments necessary.

4. Your closest family and friends have not said one good thing about him.

We all have a selection of close family and friends whose opinions we value greatly. These people know our hearts, our desires, and preferences, therefore, they are also knowledgeable about what type of man would best fit into our life puzzle. When we first fall for someone, those pesky love hormones are raging in our bloodstream.

Even for the most intelligent women like us, it can be easy to miss those bright, red flags initially. Our tribe, however, is on point and clear-minded. They love us and only want the best for us and our children. After meeting your man, if the crowd falls completely silent, please acknowledge that as sign #4!

When you are big-time interested in a guy, do the faithful friend test. Plan a meetup and remain open to any and all feedback. My people always speak out on the positive traits of others when they see ‘em. When your crew has nada to say, step away and evaluate for yourself. If your folks haven’t outwardly identified one darn-good quality about this hot dog, graciously contemplate, “What could I be missing here? then remove your buns from his access and make him miss you!

5. He is not completely accepting of you, your past, flaws and all. 

If he begins making sly, sarcastic comments about the number of children you “should have had” or how you ought to have a more prestigious career and a bigger house with more bathrooms, this is sign number five! Our past stories, heartbreaks, and losses have beautifully created us to be exactly the women we are here and now. The right man for you will adore those battle wounds and war medals with appreciation and mother-lovin’ AWE for the way you love so hard today.

Any man who cannot accept and appreciate A) what you currently have (or don’t have) in the bank, B) what you are able to bring to table, and C) those cute, little humans that you are singlehandedly raising… well, he should not even be rewarded with a second glance. Just ask for the check and proceed to the EXIT sign.

Remember that every ending is a redirection or a light shining upon a new path, which will ultimately lead you closer towards your heart’s desire. One ultimate and final message: embrace your unfathomable worth, prioritize your own personal desires, have as much fun as you possibly can, and my absolute favorite phrase of advice from my heart to yours, “Keep Not Settling.”

The post Dating a New Guy? 5 Signs It May Be Time To Abort Mission! appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

Codependency: What I Learned About Myself While Recovering From Divorce

Codependency: What I Learned About Myself While Recovering From Divorce

codependent.jpg

I remember having a phone conversation with my ex; it was during our separation a few months before the divorce was final. He had left, filed for a divorce and failed to share with me his reasons. Getting information out of him about the failure of MY marriage was like sucking peanut butter through a straw. It was a hell of a lot of work with little return on my investment.

That was the story of our relationship though. I worked and worked and worked and emotionally he gave very little. During that conversation, he shared with me that I was “codependent.” I can remember being so excited…I finally had an answer. And, having an answer meant I could fix it and he would come home. I could work some more!

I did my research, found out what codependency was and BAM, I had to agree with him. I also realized that for my own sanity it was time to take a step back and, if he wanted the marriage, let him begin to do some work. He didn’t and here I am a recovered codependent with no regrets.

I can sum my marriage up in one short paragraph…I became a self-imposed victim suffering frequent emotional abuse, blaming myself for not being everything he needed me to be. He, on the other hand, skated through the marriage waiting for his needs to be met with no regard for the health of the marriage or me.

As a wife, my job was to…

Rescue him from his pain, problems, and suffering and at the same time do virtually anything I could to maintain the marriage. That was my belief when I entered the marriage and it suited what he needed from the marriage. I needed to rescue him from his childhood traumas; he needed me to be the mama he had never had.

Is it any wonder it all fell apart?!?!?!

The Codependents Role in a Marriage:

It’s simple; the codependent feels it is her place to…

  • Sacrifice her own well-being and sense of self in favor of the well-being of her spouse and the marriage.
  • Take on more than her share of the emotional work in the marriage.
  • Engage in self-sacrifice for the sake of the marriage, to the point of resentment and self-hatred.
  • Blame herself and her inability to solve problems when problems arise in the marriage.
  • Continue attempting to have a relationship with him even when he is emotionally distant, beating the hell out of her, cheating on her, emotionally detached from her, needy as hell and downright irresponsible with her feelings.
  • Become the mother he never had, the bank, the security blanket and the clean-up crew all wrapped up into one tightly wound, self-loathing woman who keeps on ticking in spite of feeling like a wretched failure.

What Does the Codependent Get in Return?

  • Her own suffering prolonged.
  • A husband who, due to her enabling reactions is able to avoid dealing with his own childhood traumas and the role he plays in the marital problems.
  • An unhappy marriage, one in which the only person with anything to gain is the one she continuously sacrifices herself for.

How Does the Codependent Break The Cycle?

She sets boundaries in relationships and let’s go of her need to control others and the outcome of situations she finds herself in. She learns that the health of a relationship is not dependent on her losing herself for the sake of the relationship. It is her job, not anyone else’s to make sure she is getting what she needs from relationships she engages in. Whether that is love relationships, familial relationships or friendships.

She starts by setting clear physical and emotional boundaries which allow her to take care of herself physically and emotionally. She defines what is and isn’t allowed to happen to her in her relationships.

Physical boundaries help her define who can and can’t touch her, how she can and can’t be touched and how physically close she wants to get to others. If she has firm physical boundaries she will walk away the first time he hits her. She will not shy away from telling him he is “in her space.” She will be able to respectful say, “you aren’t allowed to touch me in that way.”

Emotional boundaries help her define where her feelings end and his feelings begin. They keep the lines from becoming blurred. If she has firm emotional boundaries she takes responsibility for her feelings and needs and allows him to take responsibility for his. She is be able to…

  • Say “no” without feeling guilty,
  • identify and ask that her needs be met,
  • let go of her need to please others,
  • share her feelings regardless of how they may be received,
  • not take responsibility for the bad behavior of others,
  • let others solve their own problems,
  • gain control over her life and say, bye-bye to all the chaos!

Like me, her days of sucking peanut butter through a straw will be over!!

The post Codependency: What I Learned About Myself While Recovering From Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

How to Start Dating Again After Divorce

How to Start Dating Again After Divorce

It takes a certain amount of time to recover from the emotional wounds divorce causes, but you will recover. The next step is to start dating again.

The post How to Start Dating Again After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

relationship might be over

9 Red Flags That Say Your Relationship Might Be Over

relationship might be over

 

After decades of being a therapist and lover of self-help books, I’ve come to realize that red flags usually appear fairly early on in failed relationships. For instance, most couples report that their relationship problems didn’t surface suddenly but are the result of buried resentment that can fester for years.

Likewise, when a couple splits, most state that their problems were never processed or resolved in a healthy way. As a result, they felt criticized or put down by their partner and say that they argue about the same things over and over (and over) again. In many cases, couples become detached and eventually lose fondness, admiration, and love for one another over time.

Sweeping issues under the rug only works for so long. Because when couples have deep-seated resentment, it’s one of the signs your relationship is over and can be a challenge to forgive and forget.

A healthy, intimate relationship is built on trust and vulnerability which involves sharing your innermost feelings, thoughts, and wishes. It’s important to remember that all couples have perpetual problems and can develop tools to deal with them.

According to author Claire Hatch, LCSW, “If you’re bottling up feelings of sadness or anger, you end up suppressing your feelings. You’ll find yourself feeling less joy and love, as well.” In other words, if you can’t talk about the hard things, you’ll also feel less warmth and affection; and over time less fondness and admiration for your partner.

Here are 9 warning signs your relationship might be over or is starting to die out.

1. You argue about the same things.

And you do it over and over (and over) again and never seem to clear the air. You both feel like you’re the loser and that you often have to defend your position.

2. You feel criticized and put down.

This leaves you feeling less than “good enough.” According to renowned relationship expert Dr. John Gottmancriticism is one of the main reasons why marriages collapse.

3. You have difficulty being vulnerable with your significant other.

And when you do, your worst fears are actualized: you’re left regretting that you revealed your feelings and desires.

4. One or both of you put your children or others first. 

Therapist and author Andrew G. Marshall writes in his book, I Love You But You Always Put Me Last, “If you put your children first, day in and day out, you will exhaust your marriage.” He posits that many parents fall into the trap of putting their children first and the outcome is resentful, alienated parents and demanding, insecure children.

5. You don’t enjoy each other’s friends or families.

So you begin socializing away from one another. This may start out as an occasional weeknight out. But if not nipped in the bud, it can spill over into weekends — ideally when couples have an opportunity to spend more time together.

6. You have ghosts from past relationships that surface because they were not dealt with.

You may overreact to fairly innocent things your partner says or does because it triggers a memory from a past relationship.

7. Your needs for sexual intimacy are vastly different and/or you rarely have sex.

Relationship expert Cathy Meyer says, “Whether it is him or you that has lost interest, a lack of regular intimacy in a marriage is a bad sign. Sex is the glue that binds; it is the way adults play and enjoy each other.”

8. You and your partner have fallen into a pursuer-distancer pattern.

This is one of the main causes of divorce. Over time, it erodes the love and trust between you because you’ll lack the emotional and sexual intimacy that comes from being in harmony with each other.

9. When you disagree, you seldom resolve your differences.

You fall into the trap of blaming each other and fail to compromise or apologize. As a result, you experience less warmth and closeness. What are the best ways to break the negative pattern of relating that can lead to the demise of your relationship? First of all, it’s important to become conscious of your expectations.

Dr. Brené Brown suggests, “The fastest way for an expectation to morph into shame or resentment is for it to go unnoticed.” Dr. Brown also recommends that we drop our prerequisites for feeling worthy based on conditions, such as having our partner’s approval or a perfect relationship.

Now that you know the signs your relationship might be over or dying, here are a few things you can try before giving up.

1. Stop criticizing your partner.

Talking about specific issues will reap better results than attacking your partner. For instance, a complaint is: “I’m upset because you didn’t tell me about the phone call from your ex. We agreed to be open with each other.” Versus a criticism: “You never tell me the truth. How can I trust you?”

2. Practice resolving conflicts as they arise.

Don’t put aside resentments that can destroy your relationship. Experiencing conflict is inevitable and couples who strive to avoid it are at risk of developing stagnant relationships. Take responsibility for your part in a dispute. Avoid defensiveness and showing contempt for your partner (rolling your eyes, ridicule, name-calling, sarcasm).

3. Boost up physical affection and sex

According to author Dr. Kory Floyd, physical contact releases oxytocin (the bonding hormone) that reduces pain and causes a calming sensation. It’s released during sexual orgasm and affectionate touch as well. Physical affection also reduces stress hormones, lowering daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

4. Nurture fondness and admiration for your partner. 

Remind yourself of your partner’s positive qualities — even as you grapple with their flaws — and express your positive feelings out loud several times each day. Search for common ground rather than insisting on getting your way when you have a disagreement. Listen to their point of view and avoid the stonewalling, which is shutting yourself off from communication.

The best way to create a relationship built on love, trust, and intimacy is to take responsibility for our own actions and to practice acceptance and compassion for our partner.

The truth is that all couples have problems, even the ones who seem like a perfect match. The thing to keep in mind is that realistic expectations and damage control can keep resentment from building and causing serious relationship problems.

This article previously appeared on HuffingtonPost.com

Follow Terry Gaspard on TwitterFacebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship was published by Sourcebooks in 2016. He new book The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around will be published by Sounds True in 2020.

More from Terry

The post 9 Red Flags That Say Your Relationship Might Be Over appeared first on Divorced Moms.



Read More –>

The Problem of Non-Commitment In Relationships Post-Divorce

The Problem of Non-Commitment In Relationships Post-Divorce

In the past, you met someone, started dating, and a relationship with commitment followed. Nowadays, it seems that there seems to be a problem of non-commitment in relationships after divorce.

The post The Problem of Non-Commitment In Relationships Post-Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

What a Rebound Relationship Is and How to Avoid Them

What a Rebound Relationship Is and How to Avoid Them

The chance of a rebound relationship having long-term potential is slim because it will take time for you to heal from your breakup so that you don’t bring baggage into your new relationship.

The post What a Rebound Relationship Is and How to Avoid Them appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

Do You Know The Difference Between a Codependent & Interdependent Relationship?

Do You Know The Difference Between a Codependent & Interdependent Relationship?

I was surprised to learn that this grove of Aspen trees is actually one organism, sharing one root system. Each of us also is an interconnected community of 70 trillion cells.

Biologist Bruce Lipton believes that together we’re “one collaborative superorganism.” I love that Facebook allows us to connect one-to-one all over the planet. For the movie: click here.

Society is highly specialized and interdependent so that few of us would know how to survive without running water, electricity, and a supermarket. We’re also dependent upon our personal relationships. Human brains aren’t fully developed for 18 years, and psychological and financial independence from our parents takes even longer.

Moreover, as adults, we depend upon others to fill sexual, social, and emotional needs, such as friendship, communication, nurturing, appreciation, learning, love, and touch. The closer a relationship, the more we’re interconnected.

The Debate

Many claim that because we’re wired for dependency and that “codependency” is normal and shouldn’t be considered a problem to correct. They claim it’s not only natural but healthy and beneficial to be dependent upon an intimate relationship. They blame the codependency movement for breaking up marriages and people’s loneliness. I agree that we all have dependency needs and that healthy relationships can meet those needs and greatly benefit us.

However, codependency’s detractors don’t understand – probably from lack of personal experience – that codependents don’t reap those relationship benefits. Often they’re in unhealthy relationships, and they relate to others in unhealthy ways with patterns of obsession, self-sacrifice, dysfunctional communication, and control, which are both self-destructive and hurtful to others. They’re often abusive or allow themselves to be abused.

Codependent & Interdependent Relationships

Codependent Couples

Codependent couples are usually out-of-balance. Frequently, there are struggles for power and control. There may be an imbalance of power or one partner has taken on responsibilities for the other. They’re anxious, resentful, and feel guilty and responsible for their partner’s needs, feelings and moods, and even at times, behavior. Then they try to control one another to feel okay and get their own needs met. Rather than respect each other’s separateness and individuality, they can’t tolerate disagreement and appease or blame one another without taking responsibility for themselves. Often, what they dislike in their partner is the very thing they can’t accept in themselves.

Despite their pain, they can feel trapped in the relationship because they fear that they can’t function on their own. Some codependent marriages are cooperative and not abusive. Generally, one or both spouses are tip-toeing around the other. There’s no drama, but no passion either, because real intimacy is sacrificed. Their mutual codependency and insecurity make intimacy threatening, since being honest and known risks rejection or dissolution of their fragile self.

Like the Aspen trees, on the surface each may appear to be physically and even mentally and emotionally independent, yet, at an unconscious level, they’re two insecure adults dependent upon each other to express a whole. For instance, a woman who has trouble expressing anger marries an angry man who expresses it for her. Or a man who is extremely closed and shy marries a woman who’s emotionally open and gregarious.

They need each other to express their full humanity. In other cases, it’s more obvious that one partner needs the other for emotional stability, as in the case of alcoholic relationships. Financial dependence doesn’t necessarily create codependence, where the dependent partner has good self-esteem and emotional support outside the marriage.  Even spouses who appear more capable and stronger may be equally dependent on the relationship. They need someone to care for in order to feel needed, worthwhile, and not alone, while their other partner feels valued by receiving. Successful narcissists can be very dependent. They need someone to adore and look up to them.

Interdependent Couples

What makes interconnections healthy is interdependency – not codependency.  Paradoxically, interdependency requires two people capable of autonomy – the ability to function independently. When couples love each other, it’s normal to feel attached, desire closeness, be concerned for one another, and to depend upon each other. Their lives are intertwined, and they’re affected by and need each other. However, they share power equally and take responsibility for their own feelings and actions and contribution to the relationship.

Because they have self-esteem, they can manage their thoughts and feelings on their own and don’t have to control someone else to feel okay. They can allow for each others’ differences and honor one another’s separateness. Thus, they’re not afraid to be honest and can listen to their partner’s feelings and needs without feeling guilty or becoming defensive.  Since their self-esteem doesn’t depend upon their partner, they don’t fear intimacy, and independence doesn’t threaten the relationship. In fact, the relationship gives them each more freedom. There’s mutual respect and support for one another’s personal goals, but both are committed to the relationship.

The post Do You Know The Difference Between a Codependent & Interdependent Relationship? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

introducing your kids to your new guy

5 Rules for Introducing Your Kids To Your New Guy After Divorce

introducing your kids to your new guy

 

One of the most common questions divorced parents ask me is: When should I be introducing a new partner to my children? My best answer is to take your time dating after divorce and don’t introduce your new love to your kids if you are dating casually. While it’s normal to seek solace, companionship, and a sexual relationship after a breakup, it’s crucial to take it slow so you can assess whether this relationship is casual or might be permanent.

When Introducing Your Kids to Your New Guy, Timing Is Key

The number-one thing to keep in mind when deciding when to introduce a new partner to your kids is timing after your divorce. What’s the hurry? Even if both of you are in love and seem to have a lot in common, breakups are common and kids get caught in the crossfire. Next, the setting and length of the first introduction is crucial to success. Meeting in an informal setting may help your kids feel more relaxed. Rather than planning a long visit, it’s best to have a brief, casual meeting with few expectations.

Another important consideration when introducing your kids to a new love interest is their age. Truth be told, younger children (under age 10) may feel confused, angry, or sad because they tend to be possessive of their parents. Renowned researcher Constance Ahrons, Ph.D., who conducted a 20-year study of children of divorce, concluded that most children find their parent’s courtship behaviors confusing and strange.

On the other hand, adolescents may appear more accepting of your new partner than younger children, but they may still perceive that person as a threat to your relationship. Dr. Ahrons also found that teenagers may find open affection between their parent and a partner troubling – so go easy on physical contact in front of them. Do you want your teenager to model their behavior after you? If so, you owe it to yourself and your kids to build new relationships thoughtfully.

Introducing a New Partner Can Be Painful If the Kids Are Hoping Their Parents Will Reconcile

I’ve witnessed many new relationships go sour when a partner is introduced to children too quickly. It can cause anguish for everyone – especially children who are probably holding on to the idea that their parents will eventually get back together. It may take time for your children to accept a new person in their life.

For example, Caroline, a 36-year-old teacher, described her new partner Kevin as thoughtful, affectionate, and a great match for her. They had been dating for a little over two months and she was head over heels in love with him. But she began questioning their relationship when her daughter Baylie, age eight, starting complaining about Kevin coming over – especially when his nine-year-old son, Ryan, came along for the visit. She didn’t understand why Baylie didn’t share her enthusiasm for Kevin because he was so perfect for their family.

As Caroline spoke, disappointment was apparent in her voice: “Kevin’s just so ideal for our family and I can really be myself with him. He has a son and is a great dad. I figured that Baylie would like him because he’s a lot of fun and I was blindsided when she started complaining about him.”

During our second session, I asked Caroline if she had thought through any disadvantages of introducing her daughter Baylie to Kevin so soon. She paused and said “not really” and so I asked her to write down a list of pros and cons for her homework assignment. When Caroline arrived for her next session, she reported that she was having second thoughts about whether she had rushed into including Kevin in so many activities with Baylie, and she realized that Baylie was seeing him as a rival for her attention.

Here are the 5 Rules for Introducing Your New Guy to Your Kids

  1. Timing is essential to healthy family adjustment after divorce. Children need time to adjust to their parents’ split and it can take a year or two for them to get over anger, sadness, and other emotions. If you introduce your children to someone who you are dating casually, this may complicate their adjustment to your divorce.
  2. Keep in mind that your kids may view your new love as a rival. Just because you are smitten with your partner, it doesn’t mean that your kids will share your positive feelings.
  3. Consider your children’s needs for security and reassurance. Introducing a new partner to your kids too soon can increase stress in the house and take energy away from your kid’s ability to grieve the loss of their intact family. Be sure to give your kids lots of reassurance that you have plenty of love to go around.
  4. Ask yourselfIs my love interest a good fit for my family? After all, you might have great chemistry with someone, but they might not be best suited to become part of your family.
  5. Invite your children’s feedback for ideas about how and when they meet your new partner for the first time. If you’ve been dating someone for a while and feel relatively confident that you are heading toward commitment, talk to your children and explain that you are dating someone who you care about and that you’d like to introduce to them. Ask them if they have any questions. Keep the first meeting short and low key. Going to a restaurant or neutral spot for the first meeting is best. Ask your kids where they’d like to go and don’t invite your partner’s children to join you on the first few visits.

Be sure to be careful about sleepovers with your partner when you have children living with you. It’s not wise to plan an overnight with your new love interest in your home right away because it can increase rivalry between them and your kids. If you co-parent, it should be easy to spend an overnight with them when your children are with your ex. Having your new partner spent the night should only be an option once you are fairly sure that your relationship is permanent or you are engaged.

Let your children know that you have an abundance of love to go around. It’s crucial that you assure your kids that your partner will not replace their other parent or change your relationship with them. Don’t be surprised if your children reject your new partner at first. Some kids express anger or defiance and may even threaten to move out – or go to live with their other parent full-time. Adopt realistic expectations about your children’s acceptance of your new partner. Just because you are enthralled with this person, it doesn’t mean that your kids will share your enthusiasm.

Wait Until Your Kids Have Healed from the Divorce Before Introducing Your New Partner

In sum, the key to successful parenting post-divorce is helping your kids heal from your breakup, and introducing them to a new love too soon might complicate, delay, or damage this process. You can simply tell your kids that you’re going out with a new friend and that’s enough information. Consider the amount of time since your divorce, the age of your children, and the level of commitment to your partner. Waiting on introducing a new partner to your kids will pay off for everyone in the long run.

This article first appeared on DivorceMag.com

The post 5 Rules for Introducing Your Kids To Your New Guy After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

7 Signs Of Manipulation In a Relationship

7 Signs Of Manipulation In a Relationship

Have you been asked to do things you don’t want to do, things that put you in an uncomfortable situation or left you feeling unsettled?

Maybe even asked to do things that go against your values? And when they make the ask, maybe the other person made light of it (like it’s not a big deal) or they brought up your relationship with them and how if you truly cared about them you would do it for them. Often you end up doing as they wish in fear of losing the relationship with that person.

Manipulators prey on innocent people, especially individuals who have no boundaries or who have codependent patterns.

When we don’t realize we are being manipulated we have no defense.

Watch this video to learn how to spot the 7 signs of manipulation in a relationship, many of which are often overlooked.

The post 7 Signs Of Manipulation In a Relationship appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

a message of hope on mother

Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms

a message of hope on mother's day

Courtesy of Brooke Kelly Photography

We have all the odds against us, but we are going to beat those odds.

 

“Four years ago, my life fell apart. I was married with a 3-year-old little girl, and we lived in an adorable gated neighborhood in the suburbs, just 4 miles inland from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I could cross highway A1A at work and eat lunch on the beach. My Jeep always had sand and seashells in it.

I felt so fortunate to have this opportunity in life after working my way through nursing school, and eventually finishing grad school with a newborn. I finally had my dream job as a pediatric nurse practitioner. My career took me to Nashville, Kansas City, and that’s where we ended up on the beach. Sounds like an amazing adventure, right? Well, little did I know, my husband was living a double life and my world was going to come crashing down on me very soon.

I was on my way home from work on a Monday afternoon, just 2 days after my daughter’s luau birthday party, and I found out we had been evicted. All of our belongings were thrown out like trash, even her new birthday presents. I wasn’t allowed back in our home, and I was told the locks had been changed.

I felt sick and like I had no control, like I had been stabbed over and over and I was moving too slow to stop the bleeding. After questioning my husband and our landlord, I discovered that we were 3 months behind on rent and other bills, despite the fact that I was shelling out money to him for our living expenses. He couldn’t answer where the money was going, but all of a sudden, things made sense. His erratic sleep habits, weight loss, running errands all the time. He always had somewhere to go and never wanted us to tag along.

I did some digging and found empty pill bottles and many empty beer cans in his car. The car that drove my child to daycare. The car that always parked in the guest parking spaces in our neighborhood instead of the driveway. I also found several years worth of MY mail in his trunk. He had been keeping random letters from collection agencies, bills, and birthday cards from me for YEARS. Why did he keep all these secrets from me?

Confused, hurt, and angry were my only emotions for the next few days.

I was running on fumes and couldn’t eat or sleep. I felt so stupid for not seeing the signs. I had been so busy with raising a child and building my practice at work. I was married to a drug addict who abandoned us in a Target parking lot 4 miles from the beach.

He had been lying to me for YEARS, and my credit was unfortunately ruined because of it. I had no idea how easy it was to open credit cards and take out personal loans in your spouse’s name. I thought I had stayed on top of my bills but had no idea he was secretly hiding things from me over the course of our 7-year marriage.

I later found out that he had another daughter! He lied about being in the Marine Corps, he lied about his education and his job. I had been living nothing but lies for almost a decade of my life! I thought to myself, ‘How could life be so cruel? How could I be so dumb?’

That first night living in a hotel, I made a Walmart run at 8 p.m. to get clothes and toiletries for us to survive the next few days while I planned my next move. I washed clothes in a hotel sink. My daughter and I tried to make the best of our ‘vacation’ as I called it, while I cried over the things we had lost, wondering how in the world I would sort through this mess. My sweet baby girl lost everything, and we had no support there.

Our closest family was in Tennessee, about 10 hours away, and my soon-to-be-ex-husband left us alone to fend for ourselves without showing any remorse. At night, I would just think of all the things we had lost. I cried silently at night, in the shower or while I was driving. I missed my belongings, and I missed the part of my heart that was stolen. I could never get those things back.

I cried for my daughter because she didn’t deserve this as part of her story. I worked so hard to get where I was, career-wise, and everything was just ripped away. Why couldn’t I just go back and change things sooner? He was a con artist, and I got duped.

I tried to smile through the pain and be strong for my daughter.

I tucked my tail, hung my head, and began my journey home. At 32 years old, I moved back into my old bedroom with a 3-year-old. I was so ashamed of myself. I left the beach and moved back to crummy ole Tennessee. To make things worse, it was SNOWING when we moved back. It was March and snowing in Tennessee. How could this situation get ANY worse?!

My daughter, on the other hand, was thrilled to make snow angels and ride in a makeshift sled with grandma and grandpa. My parents were ecstatic to let us come home. My daughter had her own playroom and slept with mama every night. (Fortunately, my parents keep EVERYTHING. Her playroom was like taking a peek back into my childhood. We’re talking original Cabbage Patch dolls, a Little Tykes kitchen from 1985, y’all. It was glorious!)

Since I had to work diligently on getting my nursing licenses in order, I wasn’t able to apply for any nursing jobs for the next few weeks. My plan was to take an assignment as a travel nurse to save up some money and pay off these old bills that I recently discovered. In the meantime, my daughter and I were going to the gym and the park almost daily.

My heart was bruised, and I needed to slowly put my life back together. I needed to show my daughter that this was our new normal and that living with grandma and grandpa would be a fun adventure. I was trying to convince myself of this too.

A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms

I desperately needed to find some friends, but I had no idea where to even start.

I finally texted an old guy friend from high school (actually, I think I went down my Facebook list and sent messages to everyone in town. I was THAT desperate for adult interaction). I jokingly asked if he knew any hot single dads. This wasn’t even relevant in our conversation, just a random thought that popped in my head. To my surprise, he said yes and immediately gave me a name.

Good heavens, was I ready for this? I was SO newly divorced, but hey, I needed friends and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get out of my parents’ house to meet people. My Facebook detective brain got to work. This single dad had a daughter, who appeared to be the same age as mine. After showing my mom his Facebook picture with his daughter, she screamed, ‘I KNOW THAT LITTLE GIRL!’

Come to find out, his ex-wife’s sister does my mom’s hair, and my mom had seen pictures of this little blonde girl. We live in a big city, so this is a rare occurrence. My mom wanted some juicy gossip, so she pushed me to meet him. (If she thought meeting a stranger was OK, then surely it was fine, right?!) I sent this random guy a Facebook message, and he answered back. I gave him my number and HE. CALLED. ME. So, awkwardly, I answered the phone.

He said he wanted to talk. Like, with his voice. What in the 1990s was going on?! We talked all night just like teenagers. I think it was 2 am when we finally hung up. Maybe it was sleep deprivation, but I felt like one tiny piece of my heart was placed back.

Two days later, we met for lunch. I was a little rusty on appropriate first date clothing, and I was raiding my mom’s closet for most of my attire since I was just starting to rebuild my life and wardrobe. I happened to have a job interview that day, so I wore some comfortable black flats and a pair of my mom’s black dress slacks. Yup, slacks. With pleats down the front. I also wore this shirt I lovingly call ‘the curtain shirt’. This was my 1st first date since I met my ex-husband, 10 years earlier.

He was on his lunch break, so he showed up wearing police gear and a gun on his hip. I was intimidated at first because he is a big dude with a beard and a lot of tattoos, and again, this was my first date in a decade. I am a nurse practitioner and I had never had any type of personal interaction with a police officer in my whole entire life. Now I was on a date with one!

He insisted we take a selfie that day to send to Brian, the guy that introduced us.

We went to the Bayou and sat on the patio. I don’t remember one thing we said during the entire date because I was nervous and trying not to make a mess. I ordered a shrimp po’boy (I couldn’t have ordered something messier, right?) and I don’t even remember if I ate half of it.

I just remember looking at him and getting butterflies. He had the prettiest hazel eyes and I had never dated anyone with a beard, so I’m sure I stared at it. When we were done eating, he walked me to my Jeep and gave me a hug.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

After lunch, I was on cloud nine. I had the biggest grin all day, and I was smitten. I could not stop thinking about him! Was I ready for this? I thought, ‘There was no way he could be interested.’ After all, I was just damaged goods. With my awful credit and all the baggage I had, surely this guy would just move on and there was no reason to get my hopes up. I just couldn’t stop thinking about him, but I definitely wasn’t ready to jump into a relationship.

To my surprise, he called me that night. (What is up with this guy? Why can’t he just text?) We had our second date on Friday night, and our first kiss. I knew at that time this was something special. However, I wasn’t quite ready to trust him, and I certainly didn’t want my tender heart to be yanked out of my chest again.

I saw him again on Sunday, which happened to be Easter. We decided to let our girls meet each other that afternoon. My daughter needed some friends too, and they became instant best friends. We looked at them playing, and then looked at each other. Huh, these girls could be twins. I could feel my heart slowly starting to grow back together.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

On Mother’s Day, he told me he loved me.

I knew I was falling hard and fast. When you know, you know. But, I wasn’t quite ready to let my guard down. He gave me a key to his house and told me to ‘snoop away’ while he was at work. And…I did just that. I went through every piece of paper in that house, and I couldn’t find anything. He always left his phone unlocked, his email pulled up on his laptop, he was an open book. He did not have a thing to hide.

He showed me his credit score, his bank account, and his up-to-date mortgage payments. He was a genuine, honest, open, loving person. I was damaged goods with a credit score of 300 and a deadbeat ex-husband. But, for some reason, this guy loved me and adored my daughter. I was slowly letting him into my heart and he was helping me rebuild, piece by piece. I certainly didn’t need to be saved by anyone, but he swooped in and saved me.

We discussed moving in together, but I just wasn’t sure. Things were still new to me, and I just had to protect myself and my child. I couldn’t move her again if things weren’t going to work out with us. And plus, staying in Tennessee wasn’t part of our plan. This was supposed to be just a pause in our story. Or so I thought.

He asked me to be his forever wife.

We were sitting on the couch one morning in June before he went to work, and he pulled out the biggest sapphire ring I had ever seen. He asked me to be his forever wife, while my daughter watched E.T. and clapped for us. At that moment, I knew my intent to move out of Tennessee just wasn’t part of the plan right now. Something brought me back home and love was going to keep me there.

My daughter and I moved into his 3-bedroom, 2-bath bachelor pad, which he insisted that we call OUR house. He had almost no furniture and nothing on the walls, so he told me to ‘go nuts’ with it. I had so much fun starting over from scratch. Losing all of my belongings had been so terribly painful, and I got a lump in my throat when I thought about my things just being tossed out like trash.

I shed millions of tears over the things I would never get back. However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. I had a blank slate so that we could start OUR home. Funny how life works out sometimes.

We talked about getting married just to make things official, and I started researching courthouse weddings. I knew we needed a photographer to capture our special day, so I emailed a husband/wife team to check their availability. Well, they had 1 available date for a wedding. August 15. Wow. This was less than 2 months away and my heart skipped a beat knowing this was actually happening. I called Steven and asked him what he was doing on Saturday, August 15. He said, ‘Marrying you.’ That was all I needed to hear in order to make this happen.

We decided to elope on August 15, 2015, which was about 4 months after our first date.

I could not believe how my life had changed in those few months. I survived a failed marriage to a con-artist, moved back in with my parents as a single mom, and was now planning my wedding.

The plan was to keep our marriage a secret until our Halloween Party, and then surprise everyone by dressing as a bride and groom and showing off our wedding pictures. However, Steven refused to take off his wedding band and we just couldn’t keep it a secret longer than 2 weeks.

We got ready for our special day in a hotel room at the Peabody and walked to Court Square Park where a family friend performed the ceremony. Our little blonde girls were the flower girls and the bridesmaids. My new husband and I danced to our song playing on his phone in his shirt pocket. ‘Fall Into You’ by Brantley Gilbert. Yes, it’s cliché that we live in Tennessee and danced to a country song, but have you heard it?!

Courtesy The Kennys Photography

The girls went home with my new mother-in-law for a slumber party so we could spend our first night as a married couple, kid-free. We had an amazing dinner, laughed over drinks in the Peabody lobby, and I could not wipe the smile off my face. This was not a dream, but my real life. The entire day was perfect.

We eventually bought a bigger house with a pool, and then right after my 35th birthday in 2017, we found out that we would be adding an ‘ours’ to the mix. We had our 3rd daughter, Junebug, and completed our family. We had our little blonde bookends, and this brown-eyed baby girl is the perfect caboose.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

Some people will tell you that our marriage is doomed. We both have extremely stressful jobs (his more than mine). We are both divorced and got married 4 months after our first date. We both have ex-spouse drama and are currently involved in a custody battle (I am winning). We have all the odds against us, but we are going to beat those odds.

People are always curious to hear our story, so we just look at each other and smile. Usually, our story goes, ‘We met on a blind date and got married 4 months later.’ In the end, love wins.”

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

The post Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>