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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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emotional abandonment

Emotional Abandonment: When Your Needs Are Being Met In a Relationship

emotional abandonment

 

We may not realize that we’re feeling emotionally abandoned or that we did as a child. We may be unhappy, but can’t put our finger on what it is. People tend to think of abandonment as something physical, like neglect. They also may not realize that loss of physical closeness due to death, divorce, and illness is often felt as an emotional abandonment. However, emotional abandonment has nothing to do with proximity. It can happen when the other person is lying right beside us – when we can’t connect, and our emotional needs aren’t being met in the relationship.

Emotional Needs

Often we aren’t aware of our emotional needs and just feel that something’s missing. But we have many emotional needs in intimate relationships. They include the following needs:

  • To be listened to and understood.
  • To be nurtured
  • To be appreciated
  • To be valued
  • To be accepted
  • For affection
  • For love
  • For companionship

Consequently, if there is high conflictabuse, addiction, or infidelity, these emotional needs go unmet. Sometimes, infidelity is a symptom of emotional abandonment in the relationship – by one or both partners. Additionally, addiction may be used to avoid closeness. If one partner is addicted, the other may feel neglected, because the addiction comes first and consumes the addict’s attention, preventing him or her from being present.

Causes of Emotional Abandonment

Yet even in a healthy relationship, there are periods, days, and even moments of emotional abandonment that may be caused by:

  • Intentionally withholding communication or affection
  • External stressors, including the demands of parenting
  • Illness
  • Conflicting work schedules
  • Lack of mutual interests and time spent together
  • Preoccupation and self-centeredness
  • Lack of healthy communication
  • Unresolved resentment
  • Fear of intimacy

When couples don’t share common interests or work/sleep schedules, one or both may feel abandoned. They have to make an extra effort to spend time talking about their experiences and intimate feelings with each other to keep the relationship fresh and alive.

More harmful are unhealthy communication patterns that may have developed, where one or both partners doesn’t share openly, listen with respect, and respond with interest to the other. When we feel ignored or that our partner doesn’t understand or care about what we’re communicating, then there’s a chance that eventually we stop talking to him or her.

Walls begin to build and we can begin living separate lives emotionally. Signs are if we talk more to our friends or a relative than to our partner or are disinterested in sex or spending time together.

Resentments easily develop in relationships especially when hurt or anger isn’t expressed. As a result, we may either pull away emotionally, put up walls, or push our partner away with criticism or undermining comments. Unexpressed hurt and needs lead to more disappointment and resentment.

Denial or shame about our feelings and needs usually stems from emotional abandonment in childhood and can cause communication and intimacy problems. Usually, this fear isn’t conscious. In counseling, couples are able to talk about their ambivalence, which allows them to grow closer. Sometimes, abandoning behavior occurs after a period of closeness or sex. One partner may physically withdraw or create distance by not talking or even by talking too much. Either way, it may leave the other person feeling alone and abandoned.

Emotional Abandonment In Childhood

Good parenting provides children security that they’re loved and accepted for their unique self by both parents and that both parents want a relationship with them. Parental failure to validate their feelings and needs is a trauma of emotional abandonment. Often clients tell me that they felt that their family didn’t understand them, that they felt different from the rest of the family or like an outsider. What is being described is the trauma of invisibility.

This can also happen when parent-child interactions revolve around the parent, the child is serving the parent’s needs, instead of the other way around, which is a form of abandonment. Even if a parent says, “I love you,” the child may still not feel close and accepted for who he or she is as a separate individual, apart from the parent.

Emotional abandonment in childhood can happen in infancy if the primary caretaker, usually the mother, is unable to be present emotionally for her baby. It’s often because she’s replicating her own childhood experience, but it may also be due to stress or depression. It’s important for a baby’s emotional development that the mother attunes to her child’s feelings and needs and reflects them back.

She may be preoccupied, cold, or unable to empathize with her baby’s success or upsetting emotions. He or she then ends up feeling alone, rejected, or deflated. The reverse is also true – where a parent gives a child a lot of attention but isn’t attuned to what the child actually needs.

In addition to situations where a parent is physically absent or doesn’t share in parenting, abandonment happens later, too, when children are criticized, controlled, unfairly treated, or otherwise given a message that they or their experience is unimportant or wrong. Children are vulnerable, and it doesn’t take much for a child to feel hurt and “abandoned.” Abandonment can also occur when a parent confides in a child or expects him or her to take on age-inappropriate responsibilities. At those moments, the children must suppress their feelings and needs in order to meet the needs of the adult.

A few incidents of emotional abandonment don’t harm children’s healthy development, but when they’re common occurrences, they affect children’s sense of self and security and can cause internalized shame that leads to intimacy issues and codependency in adult relationships.

As adults, we may be emotionally unavailable or attracted to someone who is. We risk continuing a cycle of abandonment that replicates our abandoning relationships and be easily triggered to feel abandoned. For an in-depth examination of this process and how to heal, see Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You.

Couples counseling can bring couples together to enjoy more closeness, heal from abandonment, and change their behavior.

The post Emotional Abandonment: When Your Needs Are Being Met In a Relationship appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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5 signs it

You Deserve Better: 5 Signs It’s Time To Dump Him

5 signs it's time to dump him

 

Getting back into the dating game after a long time is an adventure. Winks and suggested matches on dating sites, endless swipes on Tinder, midnight sexting with that hot stud you exchanged phone numbers with who eventually ghosts you, a few awkward dates with men that you don’t have anything in common with.

After weeks and weeks of this back and forth game, you end up thinking “I just can’t be bothered” and settle down for a guy who seems to be ok: not too shabby in terms of his looks, smart enough to keep up with a conversation, maybe not exactly your type, but oh well. “You need to compromise”, – your friends say and you do your best. You overlook the things that are essential for you and put up with his ways while totally forgetting your own needs.

When somebody asks you “Are you happy with him?”, you just shrug your shoulder, “t could be worse I suppose”.

Stop!

You deserve better than that.

Here are 5 valid reasons it’s time to dump him.

He doesn’t show enough attention

The days when he texted you all day every day (that lasted for the first couple of weeks when you started dating) are long gone. Now he doesn’t text you much if at all, doesn’t reply to your text messages and there are no more cute emojis in his texts. You might think it’s not a big deal, but in fact, it signals a couple of things: it’s either he is not an attentive person and doesn’t see a need in putting an effort into a relationship and igniting the fire or worse – he has lost his interest in you.

When was the last time you received flowers from him? Does he treat you with any gifts every now and again or take you out on a date? Does he give you compliments? If it hardly ever happens and you find yourself in a boring couple’s routine, it is not a good place to be.

You are aware that a relationship is a two-way street and you try to put a spark into your relationship but he does nothing. You cook a nice dinner. He complains that there’s not enough salt in the food. You buy a new dress. He doesn’t even notice. You score tickets for an exclusive theatre performance. He says he’d rather go for a beer with his mates.

Let’s face it: he doesn’t appreciate your effort and takes you for granted. The paradox is that you try even harder hoping that it will eventually pay off. It won’t and he’ll end up sucking your energy like a leech.

Everything bugs him

No matter of your effort he is not happy with it and sometimes it seems there is no way you can please him. Every little thing that you do or you don’t do flares up in an argument. At first, you were trying to stand your ground and explain your position in a calm and logical way, but that only enraged him more. Being a rational woman as you are you decided to take a different approach and let go of those minor things.

Now you end up apologizing for everything and it encourages him to keep on pushing the limits and makes him feel that he is always right. His ego grew to the sky and he feels he can nag you about everything. Did you put his dirty towel in the laundry? “You should have asked me before doing that!”, he roars. Did you order a dessert after dinner? “You should watch out for those calories”, he snarls. He questions every choice of yours and wants you to be his mirror image – as perfect as he is.

The relationship with him feels like a battleground where he is ready to fight you in every single step. He is paranoid that you are fighting against him and somehow trying to harm him. All your good intentions are turned around and interpreted as bad and you don’t know anymore how you should act to avoid the collision. If you are trying to be yourself, you crash. If you are trying to be somebody who could please him, you crash again. Do you see a vicious circle here? Most likely you became a victim of a manipulative man and you put all your efforts to please him that will never happen anyway.

He wants to have his independence

Having a partner who likes the exact same things as you would be naive: you are a unique person and it’s natural that you have slightly different preferences. However, the gap between your lifestyle and your hobbies seems to be as big as The Grand Canyon. You enjoy going out for dinner,  while he always wants to stay in and order a takeaway.

You prefer a healthier lifestyle and he can’t live without his burgers and fries. Your ideal weekend is going on a road trip, while all that he wants to do is close the curtains, sit in the dark and play video games. When you try to find some compromises, he says his independence is very important to him and suggests you go and do your own thing.

You find yourself spending most of the weekends alone, going out only with your girlfriends and traveling solo. All the time that you spend together is when he pops over to yours for dinner and a sleepover before disappearing again in his man cave. When you mention the importance of quality time together, he gets back at you with the importance of his private space.

Living together is not even in the cards. While having separate homes can have advantages, eventually, you will start questioning yourself where this Living Apart Together relationship is taking you. The lack of intimacy and shared experiences is not a solid foundation to build your future as a couple.

He is emotionally unstable

You find yourself in this never-ending emotional turmoil as his mood is constantly fluctuating. One day he might be nice and affectionate (and that’s when you start thinking maybe your relationship is not that bad all in all) and the next day he is unhappy about the whole world. It might not necessarily be related to you, but his pessimism and bitterness unavoidably rub on you.

He likes to be in the center of attention and he expects you to support him when he is feeling down. However, when you have a bad day, instead of empathizing with you he gets frustrated himself and starts pointing out to you your weaknesses. Instead of giving you a hug and trying to make you feel better, all that you hear are his sarcastic remarks “You are such a cry baby” or “Come on, get your sh*t together”.  That’s totally not what you want to hear.

The worst part is that his mood swings are totally unpredictable. Anything can throw him out of balance and cause his fury: a bus that came 5 minutes late, a restaurant that was closed when you arrived or coffee that was served too hot.

Sometimes he even blames you for his own life choices or the consequences of them such as gaining some weight. When you subtly hint at him that you always suggest ordering a salad instead of fries in the restaurant, it infuriates him beyond words and he concludes that you should stop going to the restaurants altogether.

He controls your life

Even though his life seems far from perfect, he feels he has a right to say what you should or shouldn’t do with yours. While he’s been watching Youtube at work all day every day and that is the reason why he hasn’t advanced in his career, he nags you that you are wasting your potential with your corporate job, meanwhile, you’ve been promoted to a senior position recently. He is opinionated and he has high standards for everything apart from those of his own life.

When you have some ideas about the activities to engage in, be it a new business opportunity or a hobby, he is always skeptical and does not support you. He sees the negative side of things and he doesn’t believe you can succeed. The doubt creeps into your head and you get discouraged of pursuing your dreams and ambitions.

You feel like a puppet in his hands and every time you try to resist him pulling your strings, he still finds a way to do it. He might even make you believe that you are not worthy without him and he defines the whole purpose of your life. He criticizes you for the choice of your food, clothes or friends as well as for your suggestions or opinions on certain things. Your confidence slowly vanishes until it totally disappears.

No wonder you long for the days when you felt strong and independent, but the false sense of security while being with him holds you back from making a decision to cut off the ties. Loneliness is what scares you the most and the current connection seems like the only tangible thing that you have.

Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction. Take a step aside to reflect it all. Book a weekend getaway with your best friend. Make a list of things you always wanted to do that you sacrificed for the current relationship. Create a vision board of your dream life. Is this relationship – a part of it? If the answer is no, take a leap. You deserve only the best things in life and you can have them.

The post You Deserve Better: 5 Signs It’s Time To Dump Him appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Men Every Divorced Mom Needs

5 Men Every Divorced Mom Needs

Bitch, please. I got this.

No. Really. As resourceful and resilient singledom has allowed me to become, as I turn the corner on four years without a ring on it, I know this for certain. Men are important. Never fool yourself into thinking you can live without them.  If my social circle only consisted of women, I might hang myself with a pair of Spanx and, just to make sure I ended, puncture my liver with a McQueen heel.  Life needs testosterone.

With that in mind, I’d like to present you with the 5 men that every divorced mom needs in her life.

And I would know…I’m as single as a dollar bill.

1. The Handyman.

Men Every Divorced Mom Needs

No shit. The Handyman is Numero Uno in your life. You don’t have to sleep with him and he’ll change your air conditioner filters. Seriously, how awesome does it feel not to have to negotiate sex to get something done around the house?!? Finding the perfect Handyman is more important than finding a boyfriend. I am non-sexually in love with my current Handyman.  I hit the Tool Time jackpot with this one. He hangs chandeliers without asking me to swing from them, digs post without asking to “post” me, and lays carpet without…well, you get the picture. I would give you his number, but, fuck that! I’m keeping him to myself.

 

2. The Hot Neighbor.

Handsome man.jpg

Everyone needs that equally single guy neighbor that can come running should you have an emergency.  He’s like the backup quarterback. You don’t plan on using him, but he’s nice to keep around. His hotness level is irrelevant, but since mine happens to be hot, really hot, I figured I’d take this moment to brag about it. (Unfortunately, he has an equally attractive girlfriend, which makes my walking my dogs back & forth in front of his house, hoping he’ll walk out for a conversation, slightly psychotic.) The single neighbor is the guy you call if something seems awry in your house at midnight, or if your car won’t start.

 3. The Ex.

 Irrational Ex.jpg

You don’t like to admit it. I don’t like to admit it, but the ex-knows us pretty damn well. So much so, that when you get crazy because the guy you went out with on Monday hasn’t called and it’s Wednesday, you can call the ex and he talks you down. Because he knows your crazy….he’s experienced it first hand. Always keep an Ex on deck for moments of insanity. Of course, this one is totally up to you. If he left you high and dry and you want nothing to do with him, that’s understandable.

4. Friend With Benefits.

 Hook Up.jpg

No explanation needed but, in case you do, here is an article for you. A woman has needs.


5. Secret Crush.

 Crush.jpg

It’s not really a secret that I have a crush on the produce guy at my grocery store. It’s not like I stalk him (I don’t even regularly BUY groceries!) or know his schedule or anything creepy like that, but on that rare occasion when I see him, terrible thoughts enter my head that involves knocking down entire displays of apples.

I know. I’m a bad grocery girl. But quite honestly, everyone needs a secret crush…and not just single ladies.  An SC lets you know you are still alive. That no matter how routine and humdrum your life may seem, you still have that spark of frisky.

So if you’re single like me, you keep these five in your bullpen until the ONE comes along to make them all obsolete.

The post 5 Men Every Divorced Mom Needs appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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dating while also protecting your children

How Do You Tackle Dating While Also Protecting Your Children?

dating while also protecting your children

 

Being a single mother is the most rewarding, yet most trying job placed on a woman. Add dating to the mix and you are ready to throw your hands up in the air and call it quits. Why?

Your child becomes the most important factor in the equation. You don’t want to transform your front door into a turnstile, creating and severing attachments that your child is forming. You also don’t want to place your child in an unimaginable situation by bringing the wrong person around. So what do you do?

How do you tackle the obstacle of dating while also protecting your children?

First, it is important that when dating someone new, they understand this about you and embrace it. Many ask if bringing up a child on the first date is a big “no-no” and the how/when it should be discussed and when the potential suitor should be introduced.

For me, when I used to do match.com, my dating profile said, “Delicious Mom.” I wanted them to know right off the bat that I’m a package deal. So I don’t think you need to hide the fact that you are a mom whatsoever. I don’t think it’s a big no-no whatsoever. I think if you dominate the conversation talking about your children and nothing else, then you aren’t really a woman you’re just a mom. You are more than that; however, I get the importance of your children.

So I’d say just be real and up front. There’s nothing to resist; there is nothing to hide. Going into this conversation like it is something wrong makes it like there’s this big speed bump in front of you that you have to get over. Just level it. Just be you.

Your children are the most important things in the world to you. There is nothing to apologize about, it’s just how it is. Talk about other things that are the most important thing in the world to you–living your truth, your heart, what brings you joy, just anything. Just be a woman and be all of you.

Then, when you are completely authentic and you’re not overcompensating, hiding, or just doing the dance, you meet someone that is just like, “the most important thing in the world to you, that’s awesome.” When you meet someone like that then there is just a fit.

There isn’t a specific “timeline.” I think when you are dating someone exclusively and not dating other people and you’re thinking “I wanna see where this goes with him.” That is the time when I would introduce them. I would introduce your children to him in a non-pressure way, maybe out on a playdate or at a park with other people.

When you’re all out at dinner and you’re all looking at each other, there is nowhere else to look. This can be really intense. There can be a lot of pressure on both of them. So, just make it easy and fun. See how everybody gets along in a very non-pressured way.

In my experience, when someone is a good person for you they tend to bring the best out in you and your children. I’ve also had a client who was dating this woman and his two daughters did not like her at all. Yet, when I looked deeper with him on the coaching call, she wasn’t actually a fit. This is just my opinion but they were bringing to light what he was unwilling to see in the first place.

As you love your most important things in the world, your children, you make room for you to be loved and room for another masculine figure to gift your son in this world.

The post How Do You Tackle Dating While Also Protecting Your Children? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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