spend money on after divorce

5 Things You Should Definitely Spend Money On After Divorce

spend money on after divorce

 

Divorce could be a big payday for some but most of us will be on a budget after the papers are signed and we part ways with our ex forever. Let’s face it, usually, money is going to be pretty tight after divorce.

It’s difficult transitioning from living off of two incomes to living off of one income while also facing the expenses that come with divorce. So it begs the question when it’s all over, what should you spend your money on?

Things You Should Definitely Spend Money On After Divorce

Living Arrangements

Where someone lives after a divorce is always different depending on their circumstances. If you keep the house in your divorce, you should consider the expenses it takes to keep it and decide whether or not you can afford it on one income.

It’s not just the mortgage and the taxes you should consider either. Think about what it’s going to cost for landscaping in the summer, snow removal in the winter, repairs to the house and appliances which may break and need replacing. It’s always a good idea to save 2% of your home’s value for repairs and general upkeep every year.

If this isn’t something you feel like you can afford on one paycheck, consider downsizing and moving into a smaller home or apartment. Once you move, you’ll also have to think about getting new furniture, dishware, and maybe a new bed to help make your new space a home.

Usually, couples figure out living arrangements during the divorce but since it is such a stressful time, you may feel like you didn’t choose the best long term living arrangements for you. When everything is over, thinking about where you want to live and putting some money towards that is an important thing to consider to set yourself up for success moving forward.

Self-Care

It’s okay to take a little time to yourself after the divorce. It’s a stressful time and there’s nothing wrong with putting a little money aside for self-care.

How can you best position yourself for success if you haven’t started moving on? Take a day, unwind, and maybe try something new.

Go to the salon and get that new hairstyle you’ve been wanting to try. Or maybe you finally take that yoga class you’ve been thinking about. Whatever you need, you should take time and treat yourself so you are mentally prepared for whatever comes next in your life. Remember to put yourself first during this stressful time. If you’re not in a good headspace, you won’t be able to positively affect those around you.

Divorce Party!

Celebrating a divorce coming to a close with your most supportive friends is a fun and stress relieving event which can help put a positive close to such a hard time in your life.

Divorce parties are becoming more popular and for good reason. It’s nice to know that when your life changes completely, you still have a great support structure around you to help you move forward.

Think About New Ways to Manage Your Money

I see a lot of people trying to pay off debts right after a divorce but it’s not always a good idea to have zero dollars in your bank account so you have zero debt.

Some debt is healthy and you can use it to your advantage.

For example, it might be a better idea to put your money into a retirement account with 9% interest than to completely pay off a car payment with 3% interest. If you decide to pay off the car loan, you are missing out on the 6% interest you could have made in the long run from investing in your retirement while also continuing to pay off your car month by month.

As long as you have a healthy amount of debt with good interest rates, you can invest your money elsewhere and win out long term. This is something I help women with every day as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.

What Do You Need?

These are all examples of things you could potentially use your money for after divorce but we’re all different. Think about what YOU need.

Just because the morning news or your neighbors tell you it’s good to pay off debts immediately after a divorce doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.

Maybe you want to start an online business, maybe you want to take a road trip and travel the country, or maybe you want to move to a different country altogether! All of these things are possible and each one of them has different financial considerations.

It’s always a good idea to consult with a financial professional so they can help you figure out the best place for your money no matter what you are trying to do with your life.

What else should someone consider spending money on after a divorce? Let me know in the comments!

The post 5 Things You Should Definitely Spend Money On After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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!!

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high conflict divorce and post traumatic stress

High Conflict Divorce and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

high conflict divorce and post traumatic stress

 

“Once you go through a high conflict divorce you are never the same,” said Dana in an interview I had with her a few months ago.

Dana divorced her husband in 1999. Her ex, Jim had been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and he has made Dana and their children’s lives miserable for 20 years. Due to the long, drawn-out legal battle and Jim’s emotional abuse before and since the divorce Dana was recently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is being treated as an inpatient and discussed what life has been like for her over the last few years.

High Conflict Divorce and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

“I feel as if I’ve been in the middle of a war zone for an extended period of time. I’ve lived with daily fear for years; there has been no relief because some sort of conflict with my ex was always lurking around the corner.” Dana says. I didn’t have time to process one event before I was dealing with another one.

When divorced from someone like my ex you don’t have time to stop, process your feelings, grieve and move on. You have to have your guard up at all times, be focused and ready for what is coming next and you learn quickly that there will be something coming.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a normal emotional and psychological reaction to trauma (a painful or shocking experience) that exists outside of someone’s normal life experiences.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health people who experience a traumatic event will react with shock, anger, nervousness, fear, or even guilt. For most people, these common reactions go away over time, but for someone experiencing PTSD, these feelings continue to escalate until the person has difficulty living a normal life. Someone with PTSD usually has symptoms for longer than a month and cannot function as well as they did before the traumatic event.

In Dana’s case, prolonged exposure to trauma didn’t give her the opportunity to heal from the divorce because the divorce was ongoing.

“It’s like I’m constantly in survival mode,” Dana, a resident of Nashville, Tennessee says. “I perceive a lot of things as a threat. My reaction is an immediate defense for survival. I’m hypervigilant and find it hard to enjoy life.

My reaction to an unexpected tap on the shoulder from behind is quite different from someone without PTSD. I jump, scream or run as if I’m under attack. It is hard to explain but everything feels like an attack on my safety or security. A car turned in front of me one day, there was plenty of room, no danger of the car hitting me but I froze. I was unable to drive ahead, could only sit and cry. I’ve lost myself and my ability to calm myself after even the smallest adrenalin rush.”

Symptoms of PTSD are often grouped into three main categories that include:

  • Reliving the Traumatic Experience – Survivors of trauma may experience nightmares or flashbacks of the traumatic event. This might be triggered by something that reminds the survivor of the event like the anniversary of the event or a similar location or even a language.
  • Avoidance – People may remove themselves from people or situations that are similar in some way to the traumatic event. Survivors may become detached from their loved ones and lose interest in their previous passions.
  • Increased Arousal – Those with PTSD may become more sensitive to their emotions or bodily sensations. They may have high anxiety levels, insomnia, trouble focusing, be hyper-vigilant (always on guard), among other symptoms.

“I’m constantly under some kind of pressure,” Dana says. “I’m not the same happy, loving person I once was. It feels like there’s a barrier wall in front of me and I can’t scale it.”

Recovering from PTSD is a process and differs for each survivor. The goal for PTSD treatment is to reduce the physical and emotional symptoms as well as improve the survivor’s ability to interact fully with their everyday life.

“First and foremost is some kind of personal conversation, talking or psychotherapeutic relationship,” Dr. Arthur S. Blank Jr., a Vietnam veteran and a renowned expert on PTSD says in a video for The Washington Post. “People need to be able to talk about whatever they have to talk about to someone who is an experienced listener.”

To supplement psychotherapy treatment for patients diagnosed with PTSD, sometimes doctors will prescribe medications like antidepressants as well as many other kinds of prescriptions that can help people along the road to recovery.

“I’ve been told by doctors that time will tell,” Dana says. “Medication does only so much. Each individual has a different reaction to what traumas they suffer.”

When asked if she had any advice for women going through a high conflict divorce, Dana offered this…

“Know when to give up the fight. I expected the legal system to protect me, to make sure my ex was punished when he defied court orders. I was proven wrong over and over again. My ex-husband left and took 87% of his income. Leaving me to raise three children on my own.

I worried about feeding them, clothing them and housing them. I worried about their emotional welfare and I worked long hours. On top of that, I was a victim to his ongoing legal abuse for years after the divorce was final.

At times I worked two jobs to make ends meet. My children and I were trying to live our lives, struggling to get by and at the same time my ex was reaching in from a distance to make it just that much harder. You can’t look to the legal system to protect you and the only way to win over someone who wants you to suffer is to give up the fight. Let it go, your health is more important.”

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solo travel after divorce

What You Need to Know About Traveling Solo After Divorce

solo travel after divorce

 

Feeling intimidated about solo travel after divorce?

That’s understandable. One of the benefits of marriage is that it usually means you have a travel companion. If you have children, then school breaks are a great incentive to getaway.

All that changes with divorce. Suddenly, you no longer have your spouse to travel with. Compounding that, chances are your friends are all married so tagging along with them just feels weird. It gets even harder if you’re an empty nester and your kids are doing their own trips.

A common complaint from newly-singles is that they have no one to go away with so they just end up not going on vacation.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can travel solo. And once you start, there’ll be no holding you back.

What You Need to Know About Traveling Solo After Divorce

The Possibilities Are Endless

Just to get you started thinking about solo travel, divorce coach and founder of SurvivingYourSplit.com, Martha Bodyfelt recently returned from a three-week trip to South America, visiting countries she hadn’t been to before. That included Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, and Ecuador.

Bodyfelt, who speaks fluent Spanish, has always been passionate about South America and when she saw a really cheap business class air ticket, she grabbed it. Then she began to plan her trip.

“I started to do a little bit of research and they just seemed to have these hidden gems,” said Bodyfelt. “For example, I had no idea that Uruguay has this amazing wine region. I love wine so any undiscovered wine territory, pack my bags and I’ll go there.”

Solo Travel Is Easy Once You Do It

I’ll confess, I haven’t done any solo travel. Before marriage, I always traveled with friends. Then it was traveling with my husband and kids. I’ve always had travel companions or traveled to places to meet with friends or family. The idea of going somewhere solo and not knowing anyone is intimidating for me.

But my kids are now grown and off doing their own things. If I want to go exploring or have a vacation then I’m going to have to push through my fear.

Bodyfelt, by contrast, grew up in a big family where it was hard to find alone time.

“I think the seed of independent travel was planted in me at a young age,” said Bodyfelt. “My parents took us on a trip across the border to Nogales, Mexico. I took it upon myself to go wander away from my parents and my little nine-year-old self thought, ‘hey, this is really great.’”

That was the beginning. In college, Bodyfelt did a study abroad semester and hitchhiked through Europe. Traveling while married though was different because Bodyfelt’s travel style didn’t match her husband’s.

“I always felt a little bit resentful having to travel with someone,” said Bodyfelt. “When my marriage didn’t work out, it was almost an emancipation. I felt it gave me permission to travel again.”

How To Get Started

Traveling anywhere means figuring out transportation, lodging, and activities. Bodyfelt, being the seasoned traveler almost always books it all herself. That comes with practice. But you don’t have to do that.

For starters, you don’t have to do a three-week international trip to four different countries.

“If this seems overwhelming to you, you can start small,” said Bodyfelt. “You can plan a weekend trip by yourself. But you’re not going to feel comfortable doing it by yourself until you start doing it by yourself.”

The first step is to know where you’d like to visit.

Once you’ve pinned down your country, start looking for your flight. Bodyfelt uses Kayak.com and she’ll set up alerts so she’ll get notifications of changes in fares.

Once she’s got her flight, then Bodyfelt starts to look at lodging.

“I really like the local flavors, so I love using Airbnb,” said Bodyfelt. “It’s an amazing way to experience what a local would live like and you can find some incredible deals.”

For hotels, Bodyfelt uses Booking.com.

Consider A Tour

If even thinking about finding your airfare and searching for accommodation has you stopped in your tracks, then consider a package tour. Bodyfelt used this approach when traveling to countries where she felt nervous about booking for herself such as Jordan and the Middle East.

I see tours offered on Travelzoo and Bodyfelt suggests On The Go Tours, Intrepid Travel and Roads Scholar.

With tours, everything is going to be planned for you although there will likely be some optional excursions during the trip. The great thing about these vacations is that while you may be traveling solo, as soon as you meet your tour group, you’ll be with other people from all over the world. So, no need to worry about being alone.

Be Prepared For The Single Supplement

One of the inequities about traveling solo is the single supplement. It’s what tour operators charge you when you’re not traveling with a companion. Supposedly, the rooms are more expensive when only occupied by one person.

The charge is very trip and tour-operator dependent. But you can often get deals where it is waived. Bodyfelt suggests doing an Internet search for tours with no single supplement. If all else fails, always try to negotiate it with the travel company.

Choosing Where To Travel

When you’re choosing where to travel, I would start by making a list of the places that interest you. The truth is the order in which you visit the places doesn’t matter. There is no wrong choice. Having the list means you’ll be ready to snap a deal when you see it.

Bodyfelt shares a tip from a guide she met in Russia. He told her that where you want to travel is the city you see in your dreams.

Consider An Activity-Based Trip

If you’re nervous about what to do when you get to your chosen city, you can solve that problem by looking for a tour based on a specific interest or activity.

You can do a culinary tour, a bicycling tour, a volunteer trip or a religious tour. You could chaperone a Girl Scout trip. You could also do a language immersion course to get your Spanish up to a level to give you the confidence to travel around South America like Bodyfelt.

“Basically, the sky’s the limit,” said Bodyfelt. “Whatever you want to do, whatever interests you, there is a trip for you to take advantage of that interest.”

Consider Your Safety

Solo travel solo does demand some daring on your part. If you listen to all the unforeseen and unexpected incidents from worldly travelers, you could easily be scared into staying on your couch.

“It’s a balance,” said Bodyfelt. “You want to be prepared and you want to be vigilant but don’t want to be paranoid.”

Before booking a trip, and especially if you’re not going to be with a tour group, you should check the State Department and the Center for Disease Control for travel advisories. Bodyfelt also recommends checking the equivalent government entities in other countries. For example, the U.S might advise against traveling to Mexico City whereas the Australian government might advise only against specific neighborhoods.

Bear in mind too that safety is relative to your own experience and comfort level. There are plenty of places in the U.S. that foreigners see as being extremely dangerous.

Some safety basics include making sure that a close friend or family member in the U.S has your detailed itinerary and that you check in with them periodically.

Don’t Leave Without Travel Insurance

If you travel, then at some point your luggage will be delayed or even lost altogether. As inconvenient as that is, it is just that when compared to what can happen if you get sick or injured overseas. Bodyfelt always buys travel insurance to cover medical expenses and emergency repatriation back to the U.S. Such policies are not expensive – your credit card may even offer coverage if your flight is purchased with the card. This is important – you may have health insurance here but it is very unlikely that it provides any sort of coverage overseas.

Solo Travel Will Boost Your Confidence

Bodyfelt swears that the best way to build your self-confidence is by traveling solo because it’s not going to be comfortable.

Solo travel will show you that you are strong, and that you are capable.

“If you recover from dysentery in Vietnam, if you can negotiate with a guy in New Delhi to get the price you want, if you can haggle with somebody to go into the Pyramids and not get ripped off, that’s going to give you a sense of accomplishment,” said Bodyfelt.

You internalize those kinds of experiences and translate them into being assertive at home. There’s no reason you can’t negotiate a raise. There’s no reason you can’t tell your ex you need them to watch the kids for the weekend.

“That instilling of confidence is something that I have not gotten from any other thing in my life,” said Bodyfelt. “Only solo travel can do that.”

Other people will notice the shift in confidence too. Bodyfelt says that whenever she comes back from traveling her coworkers comment on how much happier she seems and more confident.

“That is something I never take for granted,” said Bodyfelt. “It’s coming back from trips realizing, ‘hey if I can do that, I can do anything.’”

Traveling Solo Makes You Resilient And Flexible

No matter where you go, there will inevitably be incidents. You’ll miss your connecting flight and be stranded for three days. You’ll get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. You’ll get a stomach bug. Somehow, whatever it is will get resolved. You’ll figure it out or the people around you, even strangers, will help you.

“A byproduct of that is you gain a better perspective,” said Bodyfelt. “Once you’ve experienced that kind of stuff, being late for your train when you get back to the United States pales in comparison. It makes you a lot more resilient, a lot more flexible.”

Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce recovery and confidence coach whose website “Surviving Your Split” shows divorced readers how to finally get some peace of mind, regain their confidence,  and move on with their lives feeling like Wonder Woman.  For your Free Divorce Goddess Survival Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split today!

Mandy Walker is a divorce coach, mediator and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®. She works with men and women helping them through the logistics and practicalities of divorce with grace and dignity. You can follow her blog at SinceMyDivorce.com.

This article was originally published on SinceMyDivorce.com.

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be more confident

Want To Be More Confident? Then Stop Being Afraid To Piss People Off

be more confident

 

This is the #1 thing you must do to stick up for yourself.

Here’s the uncomfortable truth, friends.

In your journey to be confident and feel better about yourself, you cannot be afraid to step on toes. In other words…

Want to be more confident? Don’t be afraid to piss people off.

Strong women will end up pissing people off. And that’s okay.

Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about pissing folks off in the wanton, sociopathic, “Fatal Attraction” bunny rabbit kind of way.

What I do mean, however, is that from now on, you need to start internalizing that you matter. What you want matters. Your worth matters.

Because here’s the thing. As you recover from your divorce, rebuild your self-esteem, and learn how to set healthy boundaries, there will be many people around you—some may even be close friends or family members–who may not like that you’re voicing your opinion.

If the people who don’t like it, let this year be the year you stick up for yourself. And if they get angry or offended that you’re sticking up for yourself, forget them. Because you don’t need their toxicity anyway.

Let this be the summer you learn to stick up for yourself.

So many of us have been raised to not raise our voice. To just play nicely. To not cause a ruckus. And yeah, when you’re at a funeral or in a theater, those are great guidelines.

However, that social conditioning means that during your marriage, you probably let your spouse always have their way so there wouldn’t be a conflict. Maybe you went along with decisions–even when they didn’t serve you—because you didn’t want a fight or to make him upset.

But doing that for years probably made you resentful, or stole your self-confidence and ability to find your own voice. And this silence may have buried that part of you–the part that had dreams and hopes and goals that were every bit as valid as your partner’s and your children’s.

While it may not seem like it, that part of you is still alive. That part of you deserves to be heard, acknowledge,  and validated.

But you have to do it yourself. It may seem intimidating, but you must speak up for yourself this year. And let people in your life know what you want.

Because, what other choice do you have?

It won’t be easy though, but at the end of the day, at the end of this transition to being divorced and independent in your life, there is one thing that will always be true.

No one will stand up for you but you. But you are all you need.

You’ve mattered all along, although people in your life probably weren’t reminding you of that. Hell, you probably forgot to remind yourself that you mattered. But you must start internalizing this. You must not be afraid to tell the people in your life–the ones who drain you and take advantage of you and don’t appreciate you–to back up, to shape up, or to get the hell out of your face.

You must be your own advocate.

You must be the person in the mirror who tell yourself that you got this.

You must know that it’s time to put yourself first for a change.

And if you need help, for the love of all things holey, ask for help.

Because at the end of the day, you have yourself. And if you do it right, that is all you need.

So, what steps will you take this year to stand up for yourself?

What does finding your voice again look like for you?

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divorce when you still love him

4 Ways To Deal With The Divorce Process When You Still Love Him

divorce when you still love him

 

In my divorce mediation practice, I often work with couples where one party is still, deeply in love with the spouse who wants a divorce. In this article, we’ll focus on advice for wives who find themselves in this painful situation. To be honest, I’ve found it’s just as often true that it’s the wife who wants to end the marriage and the husband who is still in love.

In any event, these are heart-wrenching divorce cases and over the years I have given this topic a lot of thought. Here are my thoughts.

4 tips for dealing with divorce when you still love him.

1. Do not retaliate or act out

The momentary urge to “get even” or act on hurt feelings can be difficult to resist. Taking action in the midst of hurt or anger may be satisfying and feel good in the moment, but be aware that acting on this urge will have consequences.  In one of my early cases, I observed the consequences of a young wife and mother who acted on those feelings when she was angry at her husband whom she deeply loved. During a marital argument, he moved out and demanded a divorce.

In the midst of their argument, he had made a caustic comment about her haggard appearance and post-pregnancy weight retention. The comment was understandably deeply hurtful to her. Reacting to the pain of his callous remark and his decision to move out, she retaliated. She had a short fling with one of her husband’s close friends.

A few weeks later the couple patched things up and he moved back home with his wife and their two young children.  A few weeks later she discovered that she was pregnant (…the pregnancy was not the result of make-up sex with her husband).

They stayed together for a few more years rationalizing that since he was the one who had left, he really shouldn’t complain about her behavior during the breakup. Meanwhile, the husband’s former good friend was paying child support every month and had visitation with the baby. As you can guess, this arrangement just kept reminding the husband of his wife’s retaliation; eventually, the marriage failed.

So my best advice is to avoid taking any action which will harm the man you love or the marriage you say you want. Examples of what NOT to do may seem to fit a stereotype. Even so, I’ve found them to be very common in cases where the husband seeks divorce and the wife is still in love, but hurt and angry. (Could this same advice be given to husbands who still love their wife who’s asking for a divorce? You bet.)

 Here is a partial list:

  • Don’t bad-mouth him to your girlfriends or your parents. If you need to process your feelings, find a therapist or support group.
  • Don’t buy things for yourself which you have wanted but cannot readily afford. Divorce often centers on money issues. Racking up credit card debt or draining a bank account on an impulse purchase usually brings more grief than joy in the long run.
  • Don’t act out by damaging his car, destroying his tools or lashing out in any way. If you want to physically express your anger, take a brisk walk or enroll in a martial arts class. (Don’t even think about anything which would end up as a YouTube video!).

I do not mean to promise that he will come back to you, but I can attest that you make it a lot harder if you retaliate or act out when he delivers the news that he wants to leave.

2. Try not to escalate

If while still married you and your husband are fighting and he threatens divorce it is imperative that you remain as calm as you can. Yes, he may truly want a divorce and be committed to that path. However, it’s also possible that while he may have said that what he wants is a divorce, what he may truly want is to stop fighting with you.

Divorce may seem like the way to get the fighting to stop. He may also be yearning for the dynamic that existed in the early years of your relationship but not know how to reclaim it. When arguments escalate it’s common for one or both parties to say things in anger they later regret.

Of course, when the prospect of an unwanted divorce raises its head, it is wise to protect yourself and look out for your own interests, even if you still love him and would prefer to stay married. Depending on the circumstances, hiring an attorney at this stage may seem to be the best course of action.

Just keep in mind that hiring an overly aggressive lawyer may preclude a smaller step like one-on-one mediation. Being a divorce mediator, I may be biased, but I’ve seen mediation work wonders in these situations.

Remember that divorce attorneys make their money by litigating divorces. Mediators thrive by creating harmony through mutual effort to resolve conflict. Many men have told me they find divorce mediation far more satisfying than marriage counseling because it is focused on problem-solving, (often their strong suit) rather than therapy which is focused on exploring feelings (often their weak suit).

If you need legal perspective, talk with a mediator with legal experience or call a lawyer from a town far away just to get some general advice. If you still love your husband and the marriage still has a chance of survival, jumping into litigation is highly unlikely to yield the results you seek.

3. Consider whether addiction is a factor and if so, get help.

One of the frequent coping mechanisms of couples going through the hard times prior to a divorce is to escape the pain of their lost romantic feelings using addictive behaviors. If your husband has shown any signs of addiction, then it is likely that you have reacted with your own countermeasures. Sometimes they are co-dependent behaviors like nagging, trying to shame him into good behavior, lying to cover up problems and so forth.

Whatever the details, when a couple is in this addictive cycle the marriage has almost no chance to thrive unless the addictions are addressed. If you have addiction anywhere in your marriage, then start with an honest assessment of your own reactions. If he has a problem behavior, and you still love him, there are proven ways to maintain your dignity and sanity in the relationship. Try Alanon or another 12–step program geared to support the friends and family of someone with an addiction problem.

4. Explore Your Deepest Truth

The hard truth is that I have seen cases where there are wives who love their husbands and there are other cases where the wives are attached to being married but seem to be indifferent toward their husband as a person. These might seem the same, but there is a world of difference.

Explore your deepest motivations about your relationship and your marriage because at some level your husband can probably tell how you really feel about him. If you are clinging to the idea that you love him but actually, deep down, you are insecure about not being married, that will tend to energetically push him away.

On the other hand, if you truly love him and that is the priority in your heart and soul, then living in accord with those emotions may have the effect of drawing him toward you.

What might this look like? Every relationship has its own qualities and dynamics; there are as many ways to put this advice into motion as there are couples. It takes some self-examination and wisdom to know what is a kindness you can genuinely offer without feeling like you are being taken advantage of or becoming a doormat. Healthy boundaries vary from individual to individual and relationship to relationship. This is definitely not a case of one-size-fits-all.

Here are a few approaches I’ve seen succeed in drawing a couple back toward each other rather than driving them further apart:

  • If you have children, and abuse is not a concern, consider allowing as much access as possible during the first phase of your separation. Show him that you value his role in their lives as a father even if he wasn’t the greatest dad before the divorce started. Invite him to visit with the kids in the home and be gracious when he shows up. Preparing extra food for dinner so he can eat with the kids is an act of kindness which he will notice and may appreciate. If the children are engaged in after-school sports, be sure to give him notice of all the games and ask him to sit next to you when he attends. Make an extra effort to include him in family gatherings and celebrations.
  • If he has moved out, you might provide him with a generous share of the linens and silverware, maybe even spare furniture so that he does not need to go buy replacements. Consider letting him store his big-ticket items in the garage rather than force him to move them to a storage locker.

It may be counter-intuitive but sometimes making it easy for him to leave, makes it easier for him to come back.  At the same time, only you can determine what crosses the line into unhealthy co-dependence and being overly generous for the situation.

Conclusion

Every case is different because every couple is different. If you still love your husband and he says he wants a divorce, you will have many opportunities to choose how you show up when whatever happens next unfolds. Over the course of my mediation practice, I’ve witnessed couples move toward reconciliation after one or the other, or both, initially thought divorce was inevitable. Of course, many couples do complete the divorce process, even when one of them really wants to stay married.

Either way, these four principles help provide the best chance of moving forward with a positive outcome. 1) Don’t retaliate, 2) try not to escalate, 3) if addiction is a factor, get help and 4) explore your deepest truth.

The post 4 Ways To Deal With The Divorce Process When You Still Love Him appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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safe as a single mom

4 Tips To Help You Feel Safe As a Single Mom

safe as a single mom

 

While living alone can come with a series of benefits for one’s mental well-being, it is also associated with a litany of challenges. One of these prominent challenges includes personal safety. Fortunately, there are easy ways to begin your journey as a single mother safely and securely. Here is how you can start today.

How to Feel Safe As a Single Mom

Have a Home Security System

In today’s day and age, technology can help people in a variety of ways. When it comes to your house, getting a home security system would be an excellent first step in ensuring your safety. This is because having this security system will not only ensure that people who are not supposed to be in your house stay out, but you will be alerted of any danger before it arises.

There are a series of components that can make a home security system even more powerful. For example, a motion detector will be able to track if someone suspicious that you were not expecting approaches your house. You will also be able to interface with the system so that it recognizes only you as the primary entrant. Wire-free cameras that latch onto the outside of the house is another cost-effective alternative to give you a view of what is taking place outside.

Build a Rapport With Neighbors

Moving into a new neighborhood can be a fun experience, but that does not mean you should ever let your guard down. One of the best ways to approach this is by establishing a support system in the form of your neighbors. When you move in, introduce yourself kindly and try to get their personal information. That way, if something were to happen and your family isn’t around, you can always rely on those next door to you.

Many people do not like trying to establish a relationship out of fear. However, do not let fear get in the way of helping out with your safety. You never know when an emergency may arise and if you will need swift assistance.

Do Not Reveal Your Status

There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to being a single mother living alone in a home. However, you should realize that revealing this fact could prove to be a huge safety hazard. Unfortunately, many would-be criminals or thieves see a single mother with no one else living in the household as an easy target.

You can be confident in yourself all you please, but understand that many home invasions occur in groups and not just singular adversaries. Take pride in being independent and do not be ashamed of it. At the same time, be wise about it and do not make it obvious that it is only yourself and furniture inside your home.

Use Common Sense

Finally, you will always want to use common sense, especially to deter potential criminals. What does this entail? First, you will want to close all of the curtains so as to not reveal how many people are currently inside. Also, you will want to keep some of the lights on until late in the night. After all, the key for criminals is stealth and the ability to commit a crime without having their identity exposed. Also, make sure that your windows are shut and your doors are locked. You can spend money on security systems, but common sense helps.

As you can see, living alone can be fun, but it comes with great responsibility. Follow these tips and you will feel more safe and secure.

The post 4 Tips To Help You Feel Safe As a Single Mom appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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child-centered summer activities

Single Mom Budget: 10 Fun & Inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities

child-centered summer activities

 

Growing up in a family of six children, raised by a single mother, vacations were few and far between. I cherish those moments and remember many inexpensive things done near home.

Airplane tickets were out of the question and with six kids, even a small vacation was expensive. My mom was often so busy, angry and exhausted that having a break, just to relax and enjoy time together wasn’t at the front of her mind but I wish it had been.

I want to create fun memories for Hidalgo, broaden his mind, help him become a well-rounded individual. This also means broadening experiences and getting out into the real world. I can’t afford to take him to multiple exotic summer homes but I can do lots of little things.

Here are 10 inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities

1.  Tent Camping:

If your only experience of camping is on a crowded campsite with dodgy plumbing this sounds horrible. There is a better kind of camping, in nature. Check the regulations at your nearest state/national forest, borrow or rent some basic equipment if you’re not convinced and try it with your kids. With a car, a map and some basic equipment, you can head to the hills.  Be surrounded by silence, tell stories and roast marshmallows over a campfire, take walks and explore in nature. Kids love it. I love it. Maybe you love it?

2.  Rent a cabin:

I’m a huge fan of state and national parks and forests. The low-cost resources available at them are second to none. Europe does not have the extensive land or preservation system of the U.S. and these are resources that can become a lifetime of vacation memories. If the thought of sleeping on the ground really creeps you out, cabins are very affordable. The rustic nature plus convenience of indoor plumbing get you out of your surroundings and into nature without going fully feral.

3.  Fishing:

Again, this one involves equipment (borrow at first), nature and a car. Don’t forget to the fishing license from your local bait shop (kids are free). I’m a bit of a tomboy and really like the thrill of catching my meal.  My love of it came from those tight money times when my mother crammed us into the car and drove us to the nearest lake to spend the afternoon angling for the big one. To this day, I have no idea if we needed that fish to supplement our meager rations or it was really a vacation. We just liked being outside, all together, focused on the wiggle of the pole and eating the spoils.

4.  Canoeing:

As you see, there is a theme building in terms of nature activities which involve equipment. I lived a few years in the Western part of the U.S. just after graduation when I had the least money but the most energy. I’ve tried many outdoor pursuits…kayaking, rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, fishing because they were cheap and fun. Many state parks and local outfitters rent equipment at reasonable prices. Who knows? You might love it so much you buy your own equipment and find a great new hobby. There are tons of things to do in nature.  Inspire your kids, Inspire yourself.

5.  Amusements:

Amusement parks, zoos, science centers, water parks, aquariums, and natural history museums are all fun and inexpensive activities. I don’t love them all but the little one thinks they are great. The ones in your town or near your town are probably good. Drive an hour and maybe the large city nearby has great options. I find it odd that people will spend lots of money to come all the way to France to see museums and exhibits but have never been to their local attractions. Check your city’s visitor guide. I bet there is stuff you haven’t seen or done yet.

6.  Ride the rails, Ride the ferries:

Depending on where you live, this is either very easy or near impossible. Public transportation is of poor quality in the states compared to Europe but there are places the trains go and if you buy early, they can be economical. Many large bodies of water are traversed by public and private ferry service. Think of a novel form of transport that gets you somewhere new. Kids like new experiences…riding a training even if it’s just a few towns over for a burger might be new to both of you.

7.  Build a fort:

When I was a kid, we were allowed to roam the neighborhood at all hours and discover the edges of our little world. We built kid camps just on the borders where the houses stopped and the ravines and wild places began.  Sadly, many kids don’t have this kind of freedom anymore. But a fort can be built over summer with found objects in your own back yard. Help as necessary for safety but let them do as much as they can on their own. If you’re lucky, they’ll sleep in it and give you some much needed quiet.

8. Join a local recreation center:

Join a local recreational center, like the YMCA, which offers affordable memberships and plenty of programs. My summer days were spent at the local city pool run by the recreation center. A pass purchased for a city-run activity is quite inexpensive.

9. Thank local heroes:

Take a tour of your police or fire station. Since most locations don’t have set visiting hours, call ahead to arrange an appointment. What better lesson for kids to learn than showing respect for and thanking their local heroes.

10. Build an obstacle course:

Build a backyard obstacle course with hula hoops, jump ropes, even a hose, then time the kids. The building and running the course, will teach them creativity and keep them occupied with a fun activity.

Having fun does not have to cost lots of money. I grew up poor but didn’t really know I was until the later years. Times were hard but my mother did the best she could with what she had. We had fun, we did stuff during the summers as a family and we enjoyed it. That’s how I want Hidalgo to remember his childhood.

The post Single Mom Budget: 10 Fun & Inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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4th of July without your children

Life, Liberty and Shared Custody: Surviving 4th of July Without Your Children

4th of July without your children

 

Are you in too much of a funk to give a second thought to fireworks and hotdogs? Holidays…the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas can be difficult to celebrate if you are without your children. Let’s face it; watching other children in awe of the magic of fireworks isn’t easy when your children are spending the day with their Dad. Your “funk” is understandable!

Surviving 4th of July Without Your Children

How do you get yourself out of a funk?

One thing that has always worked for me is to let go of the guilt I feel over feeling less than celebratory. There is nothing wrong with missing your children, especially if your tradition has been to spend special holidays with them.

It has been my experience that feeling bad about feeling bad only made me feel worse. It was like piling one more negative emotion to deal with on top of everything else. If you are divorced and feeling alone and funked you are experiencing normal feelings. Accept that it is fine to feel how you’re feeling…berating yourself over valid feelings doesn’t do anything except make you feel worse.

You need to also give yourself permission to enjoy the holiday regardless of what kind of adversity you have or, are experiencing. Feeling lonely and isolated doesn’t have to become a foregone conclusion. Just because you aren’t all red, white and blue is no reason to immerse yourself in maudlin activities while others are out and about enjoying their 4th of July.

Here are a few suggestions that will hopefully help alleviate some stress and help you survive the 4th of July without your children.

1. Don’t participate in any 4th of July activities you feel obligated to participate in. If you aren’t in the mood to be around nosy relatives, then make a different choice. Listening to Grandma’s complaints or having to answer your cousin’s questions about your divorce can be nerve-wracking. Be kind to your nerves and yourself!

2. Friends who supported you through your divorce, who know what you’ve been through will also get you through a lonely holiday. Spend time with people who are invested in helping you get the most out of life…who better than close friends who don’t expect too much from you.

3. If you find yourself alone, remind yourself that you have a right to a good time. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone one year. I wasn’t looking forward to it but now that I look back I realize that, although alone it was one darn good time. Whether it be the 4th of July or any post-divorce holiday alone, treat yourself to something special.

A bubble bath, a day of romantic comedies, a bit of wine and a few chocolates. Maybe even a sparkler or two! Pamper yourself on your day alone and be rested and relaxed for when the kids get home.

Stress and negative feelings during a post-divorce holiday can be difficult, but they don’t have to be debilitating. Making time to relax and do the things you enjoy is essential to keeping a balance. When facing a holiday alone, remind yourself that you have as much right to a good time as anyone else so, relax and enjoy the occasion to the best of your ability.

The post Life, Liberty and Shared Custody: Surviving 4th of July Without Your Children appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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finding yourself after divorce

Suffering An Identity Crisis? How To Find Yourself After Divorce

finding yourself after divorce

With a little imagination and some self-love as a foundation, divorce can be the gateway to living your best life and find your self after divorce.

 

When I had my children all those years ago, I was shocked to learn some hard truths about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.

Some of the surprising facts no-one thought to tell me about include: there are consequences to natural vaginal deliveries, you can still look five months pregnant after giving birth, having children can lead to marital discontent, and the biggest shock of them all, many women lose themselves in motherhood.

Although it’s not widely discussed, identity loss is a real and devastating side effect of raising children.

I for one was secretly harboring a depressed state of low self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth, behind a calm and collected façade. It took a divorce for me to recognize this truth and eventually restore my sense of self. And now, as a Life Coach to moms, and a friend to many women with children, “motherhood, as an identity theft”, is an issue I see emerging again, and again.

Most recently I came across an interview featuring actress, Jada Pinkett-Smith, who bravely revealed that motherhood had caused her to “lose her groove”. Even as a star, in the throes of raising her children, she too found herself asking “Oh my gosh, where did I go?”.

It does seem to happen that way. You throw everything into raising your children, helping them build their own identities that you lose sight of your own. You wake up one day and realize you’re a distant shadow of the person you once were.

So, here I share my personal story about how I was able to piece together my identity and how you can do the same. 

Art has always been my passion. I’ve loved art since I was a kid.

The most memorable picture I created was that of a bird. An Eastern Rosella, with its fluorescent yellows, bright greens, and deep hues of red and blue. This drawing, at the age of 10, ignited my love for creating beautiful things.

As I got older, I continued to dabble in small pieces of art, mostly paintings I gave to family and friends. But as life got busier with the need to work and the arrival of children, art became something that I only did with my kids. Whilst I focused on helping my children build their creative muscles, my own desire for personal expression was put on hold.

It wasn’t until more than a decade later, during the early stages of my separation, that I reconnected with this part of me.

In the quest to “find myself”, I decided to take up painting lessons under the guise of an accomplished artist. I created artwork that I was proud of and felt myself come alive. As I left the studio each day with paint on my hands and clothes, I also wore a permanent smile on my face that I just couldn’t wash off.

But sadly, financial constraints and altered childcare arrangements meant that I could no longer continue the classes. What started as the equivalent of writer’s block for an aspiring painter.

I lost my inspiration and flow.

Everything I did outside of those classes, felt below par.

Frustration started to build as I was no longer enjoying the process. I bought into the ideals of our productivity-obsessed culture. The guilt of wasting time and money on fruitless activity weighed heavily on me. I felt a need to make my works of art “saleable”.

To that end, I continued with my mission to create big pieces of art. I was stuck on the notion that “large paintings made a bigger impact”. Consequently, I started focusing too much on the end result. I lost sight of why I was painting in the first place – for the love of creating beautiful things.

One after another, half-finished paintings piled up into the corner of a room. Nothing was good enough. It was only a matter of time before I gave up.

Several seasons passed by before I found myself contemplating art again. I moved into a new house and came across my old, boxed up, paints and brushes. So, I decided to give it another go. This time I would ease myself back into painting and only paint for leisure.

Like reacquainting with an old friend, I started to relive the joys of painting again. I chose to do something for myself and it felt great.

From there I started finding more opportunities to do more of what I loved. With each act of self-love, I continued to discover other parts of me that I had left behind or long forgotten.

A beautiful quote by a soulful writer, Beau Taplin, comes to mind, which I believe rings true: “Self-love is an ocean and your heart a vessel. Make it full and any excess will spill over into the lives of the people you hold dear. But you must come first.”

As self-indulgent as it may seem, doing things that bring joy to your heart during divorce is not a self-fish act.

When you do things to look after and love yourself, you become the best version of yourself. Only then, can you give your children all of you and more.

So, what is it that you love or would love to do?

Were there things you wanted to do while married, but couldn’t for some reason (e.g. learn a new hobby, spend more time with family and friends, volunteer, bungee jump, etc.)?

Instead of making excuses about why you can’t do those things, research, make time, plan, find support to care for the kids, and do those things.

If money is a factor then that’s an opportunity to be creative. Brainstorm ways you in which you can engage in similar activities that will bring you joy.

In my case, I traded in big expensive canvases for small sheets of watercolor paper. I also swapped acrylics and oils to watercolor paint. Not only did this make painting more affordable, but less messy too.

Another example is my substitute for a trip to a Day Spa. A full afternoon of professional pampering may be out of reach, but soaking in a hot bath (uninterrupted), donning a face mask, with added bath salts, a good book, and a cup of tea, can make a world of difference to the hamster wheel of life.

There’s also plenty of resources and ideas online that show you how to make pampering products with ingredients straight from the pantry. Who knows, you could enjoy the DIY process more than the pampering session itself.

The possibilities are endless!

You, resilient mom, can now make your own decisions, try new things, make new friends, and eventually find someone to love you the way you deserve to be loved.

With a little imagination and some self-love as a foundation, divorce can be the gateway to living your best life and finding your best self.

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