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Dating After Divorce? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions First

Dating After Divorce? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions First

The post-divorce healing process gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, how you relate to others, and the problems you need to work on. Take advantage of that opportunity before dating after divorce.

The post Dating After Divorce? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions First appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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love the next time around

Love the Next Time Around: 5 Questions To Help Find “The One”

love the next time around

 

Many of us want to find delicious, deep love after divorce but it’s hard to know when you are truly ready to really find the “right one”.  Dating after divorce can be weird and awkward. Most likely it’s been a very long time since you’ve been on a first date and dating as an adult, especially as a parent, can raise all sorts of fears and insecurities.

All of that fear and anxiety could cause you to jump on the first train heading to your station (so to speak), but I want you to find long-lasting love.  Unless you just want to play around in the shallow end for a while, in which case, see you next week.

But, if you happen to be one of my lovely readers that might be thinking of dipping a toe into the dating pool for the purpose of finding a meaningful relationship, let me suggest 5 questions to ask yourself to figure out if you are truly ready to find YOUR “right one” (and how to know when it’s okay to throw someone else’s “right one” back in to the pond)…

1. HOW OFTEN DO YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EX? I can’t tell you how many really nice guys I dated after my divorce that spent the entire date talking about their ex-wife. This is a huge red flag that someone is not ready to find deep love with a new person. You may want companionship, you may want affection, but if you are still talking about your ex on a daily basis, you probably aren’t disconnected enough from your former marriage to form the kind of attachment that will lead to long-lasting, deeply connected love.

2. ARE YOU LISTENING? If you are overly eager to find a reason to like a person, you might not actually be hearing what they are saying. Maybe you are listening for magic words (Did he say he hikes? I love hiking? We’re soul mates!) but you miss out on the big picture (He said he hikes with his buddies on a guys’ trip every year – that’s very different from wanting to hike with you on romantic weekends, and it could leave you feeling left out or hurt down the road).

Take a step back from constantly searching for common interests and really listen to what your date is saying. Remember that you don’t have to pick your next mate on the first date, consider the first few dates a learning experience – not a compatibility test.

3. ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED? If you want to find love that is truly satisfying and will make you happy, you have to be willing to speak up when you need something. I always wanted to meet somewhere for just a drink on the first date because I knew that if someone said something really offensive or I was just not attracted to the person that I didn’t want to sit miserably through a whole meal.

I broke my own rule a few times, either because I didn’t have the courage to express my feelings about first dates or because my date overruled my concerns – it never went well. If you don’t feel comfortable enough with this person to state what you need, or if the person asking for a date isn’t willing to adjust for your concerns, then either you aren’t ready or this person might not be your “right one”.

4. DO YOU TRUST YOURSELF? A dear friend of mine said to me shortly after his own divorce, “I think my picker is broken. I just can’t pick well right now”.  If you don’t trust yourself to choose the right person for yourself, don’t force it. One thing I have learned through my work is that there are many, many single people out there – and you don’t have to be in a rush to find your perfect match.

If you are going on dates or looking at dating websites and you find yourself overwhelmed or not sure who is right for you, take a break. Learn what you like to do and what kind of lifestyle works best for you. Once you have a good idea of what makes you happy and how you want your life to be, THEN you are ready to start diving in to those profiles.

5. DO YOU KNOW HOW GORGEOUS YOU ARE? Nothing makes me sadder than the woman that tells me she has to lose weight or the guy who says he has to have a better car or more money before she/he can start dating again. Deep, lasting love comes from two people connected by shared values, shared interests and shared goals. Do you want the guy who fell for you because you starved yourself into skinny jeans or the one who will spend the next fifty years snort laughing with you at Adam Sandler movies?

Know that you are beautiful to the man of your dreams, exactly as you are right this minute.  Know that the woman of your dreams will love you, whether you are driving a Porsche or a Pinto.

Dating when you aren’t ready is like trying to buy furniture for a house you’ve never seen – it might be really nice furniture, but if it doesn’t fit in the house, it will never feel right.  In the end, the “right one” comes along when you know what you need and what makes you feel loved…that’s when we fall truly, madly and deeply in love with the person that fits just right.

The post Love the Next Time Around: 5 Questions To Help Find “The One” appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Saying Yes To Dating After Divorce

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Saying Yes To Dating After Divorce

I advise my coaching clients to not begin dating after divorce or thinking about a new relationship until they have recovered from the old relationship…the one they have just extracted themselves from.

The emotional upheaval you feel during and after divorce is an opportunity to grow as a person. Consider the first year after your divorce a time-out that offers you to sow the seeds of your self-development. A time in which you give yourself the opportunity to emerge from the experience of divorce knowing yourself better and feel stronger and more enthusiastic about what the future holds.

In order to fully recover from a divorce and move on with your life, you need to understand what went wrong in your marriage, acknowledge the role you played and change negative behaviors that could interfere with future relationships.

It is imperative that you fully accept and understand that you made choices in your marriage that had a negative effect on the marriage. You made mistakes; learning from those mistakes is the best way to not repeat them in future relationships.

Some questions to ask yourself before saying yes to dating after divorce:

  • Step back and look at the big picture. How did you contribute to the problems of the relationship?
  • Think about how you react to stress and deal with conflict and insecurities. Could you act in a more constructive way?
  • Do you accept other people the way they are, not the way you think they should be?
  • Examine your negative feelings as a starting point for change. Are you in control of your feelings, or are they in control of you? Do you respond to circumstances based on emotions or logic?

I’m not suggesting you beat yourself up for mistakes you made or negative behavior traits but I do suggest you take an honest inventory and make constructive changes. The post divorce healing process gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, how you relate to others, and the problems you need to work on.

If you are able to objectively examine your own choices and behaviors, including the reasons why you chose your ex, you’ll be able to see where you went wrong and make better choices in future relationships. When you can do that, you are ready to jump back into the “dating scene.” But when you do, beware that pesky rebound relationship.

The post 5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Saying Yes To Dating After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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build emotional intimacy

8 Questions That Help Build Emotional Intimacy In Relationships

build emotional intimacy

 

Part of being human means having emotional needs.

We want to be loved and to give love.

We want to feel we belong and have a sense of purpose. We want to feel self-esteem and respect from others.

These are some of the most common needs, but individuals have emotional needs unique to them. In a healthy relationship, both of you understand the other’s primary emotional needs, and you both work to respond to them because you love and respect your partner.

In order to get your emotional needs met in a relationship, you should discuss those needs with your relationship partner. It’s imperative that you each know the other’s emotional needs in order to meet those needs.

Below are questions that you and your partner can use to open up a line of communication about emotional needs. What they are, whether they are being met and, if not, what needs to change.

Questions That Help Build Emotional Intimacy In Relationships

1. Am I responsive enough to your emotional needs?

We can’t expect anyone person to meet all our emotional needs, even our love partners. Sometimes we have needs that are beyond the scope of any one person to handle.

But we can ask our partners to be responsive to our needs and to honor them. There are some emotional needs your partner might be happy and willing to meet, but he or she is simply not aware of them. It’s your job to enlighten your partner.

There might be needs that they aren’t able to meet. Discuss the emotional needs you have where you’d like more from your partner. Speak honestly and specifically about what you are each willing to offer the other, and discuss alternatives for getting your needs met without your partner if necessary.

2. What should I say to you when I need more from you emotionally?

It’s hard to hear the words, “I need more from you. I need more love, more affection, more respect, and more intimacy.” We all want to feel like we’re enough, that we are appreciated and accepted for all that we do and give to our partners.

But you can’t intuit all your partner’s needs, and you might not be able to understand or relate to some of them. Even so, your partner should feel comfortable expressing those needs and asking you to respond to them. How can you make that request safe and easy for your partner?

3. Do I give you enough emotional space?

One of your emotional needs might be autonomy and freedom. Perhaps you need less emotionally than your spouse does. Needing emotional space doesn’t mean you don’t want to be intimate or close with your partner.

You can balance the need for closeness with the desire for space. Ask each other if you have enough emotional space. If not, exactly what kind of space do you need, and how can your partner support you in this need?

4. What could I do to make you feel more understood?

Even if we can’t meet all of our partner’s emotional needs, we can strive to empathize with him or her. We can listen and show we care. We can acknowledge the efforts at meeting his or her own needs (for self-esteem or independence, for example) or in reaching out to another support person to help.

We can let our partners know they aren’t in this alone, and that we acknowledge and understand their feelings and desires.

5. Do you feel free to express your emotions with me?

Some of us are more expressive with our feelings than others. We laugh and cry easily and have little difficulty saying what we feel. Others don’t feel so free to express emotion, especially painful emotions.

Or we might express our feelings in unhealthy ways, such as anger or withdrawal. In a love relationship, we need to feel safe expressing our deepest emotions, especially those that are painful or shameful.

We need to know that our loved one will treat our feelings tenderly, without judgment or criticism. Find out from your partner whether or not he or she is completely at ease with you in expressing emotions. If not, what is holding him or her back?

6. Do you have any negative emotions about our relationship you need to express?

We might hold back when expressing our emotions because we fear the reaction of our partners. Maybe they will be hurt or angry. Maybe they won’t understand. Maybe they’ll diminish how we feel.

If either of you are harboring negative emotions about the relationship, you need to discuss these and get to the root cause. When communicating negative emotions, speak kindly and constructively. When listening, set aside defensiveness. If negativity exists for one of you, it is an issue you both need to resolve.

7. What from your past has shaped your emotional needs and reactions?

So many of our emotional reactions and triggers are shaped by our childhood experiences. How you were parented and the environment in which you grew up can have a profound effect on your emotional well-being as an adult.

Your significant other can’t fully understand you and your needs until he or she knows something about how the past has shaped your outlook and behaviors. Share with each other the positive and negative events that have contributed to your particular emotional needs.

Would you consider yourself a highly sensitive person, and if so, how can I support you?

A highly sensitive person (HSP) is one who feels things more keenly than the average person. You notice more subtleties in the environment, feel overwhelmed by too much sensory input, and are easily affected by other people’s moods.

You have a rich inner life and enjoy creative pursuits. You also need time alone to recharge and get relief from too much stimulation. Highly sensitive people are extremely conscientious and try hard to please others.

If one or both of you are highly sensitive, you will need to have a special understanding of the traits of HSPs and what they need in order to feel comfortable and thrive. This is particularly true for the non-sensitive, as many of the HSP traits might seem overly sensitive or needy. However, this trait is perfectly normal and has many positive qualities. Find out how your highly sensitive partner needs your understanding and support.

8. What other ways do you have for dealing with your emotions if I feel overwhelmed by them?

When emotions run high during conflict or during times of difficulty or pain, both partners might be flooded with emotion and have little reserve to offer each other. If you are accustomed to turning to your spouse or partner for emotional support, then you need an alternative plan when you are both feeling overwhelmed.

If one of you loses a job, there’s a death in the family, or you have financial difficulties, you both might need outside support to see you through. What is your emotional back-up plan if your partner can’t handle your emotions in a particular situation?

The post 8 Questions That Help Build Emotional Intimacy In Relationships appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Family Lawyer Answers Most Important Divorce Questions

Family Lawyer Answers Most Important Divorce Questions

Divorce can be a painful and traumatic experience not only for the couples involved but also for their family and friends. If you are planning to file for a divorce, make sure to read these questions first. According to statistics, about half of marriages in the United States end up in divorce. The most common […]

The post Family Lawyer Answers Most Important Divorce Questions appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Learning How to be a Better Attorney by Asking Questions

Learning How to be a Better Attorney by Asking Questions

It seems that clients’ chief complaints are a lack of prompt replies from their lawyers, and a lack of substantive, proactive communication.  Let’s take each of these subjects in turn. 

The post Learning How to be a Better Attorney by Asking Questions appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Questions Kids Have About Divorce

Mother May I? 10 Questions Your Kids Want To Ask About Divorce But Don’t

Questions Kids Have About Divorce

As a mother, you inevitably feel a grave sense of concern about how divorce will affect your children.

Kids of all ages are deeply impacted by divorce simply because they feel the same sense of disillusionment that you do around the loss of an intact nuclear family.

Your instinct will be to protect your children from pain, and you may feel that they are better off not knowing too many details about what’s happening.

Talking to your children about divorce is delicate and needs to be age appropriate in nature, but they definitely need a forum and safe opportunity to express their experience and ask questions.

Their instinct will be to mind their own business, and to feel unsure about what’s permissible to bring up or discuss.

They look to you as the gatekeeper of what is allowed.

Protection can often come across as guarded or defensive to your kids so you need to be mindful and cautious about your non-verbal communications, and what kind of message you’re sending.

You obviously don’t want to expose them to toxic interactions, and you never want to use them as therapists.

What you do want to create is the space for them to feel comfortable asking you pretty much anything.

Getting your children to open up in a healthy way shouldn’t be hard. The one trick you’ll want to use is what I call “going first.” You basically ask them directive questions about their feelings and experience to send a message that questions are helpful and welcome.

Avoid general inquiries like “Are you ok?” or “I’m here if you need to talk.” Be specific with questions like “Are you sad about what’s happening?” or “Do you feel scared with what’s going on?”

Even if you don’t get answers your children will still know that you’re interested, and that curiosity is a good thing.

You can also explicitly tell them that you invite their questions, and that you’ll answer as well as you can. Your goal is to build trust so they are eager to share with you.

Questions Kids Have About Divorce But Don’t

1. Is this divorce my fault?

Children are quick to blame themselves for divorce. It’s too scary for them to blame you because they depend on you and need you for their survival.

You can be sure that they are wondering if they are to blame for the divorce so it will be important to address these feelings.

2. Am I allowed to tell my friends about your divorce?

When and how to tell friends about the divorce is tricky for everyone in the family. This is a good question and you will have to answer it based on your own family values.

Whatever you decide make it the same rule for everyone if possible so there is no hypocrisy or misunderstandings.

3. Do I need to pick a side?

Many divorces are riddled with parental alienation and blame. Children get caught in the middle and wonder if they need to protect or take the side of one parent.

They are very perceptive and observant so if you don’t address this they will just automatically pick one parent because they feel they need to even though they should never have to.

4. Does this mean I won’t see one of you?

Fear of loss and the reality of less time with each parent is upsetting for kids. They want to know that they will be minimally affected by the divorce so it’s natural for them to wonder whether they will lose time with one or both of their parents.

Even if your custody is not yet determined they need to know that the goal is equal time with both parents (barring any unusual circumstances).

5. Will we have to move?

Another loss for children is connected to their home. Worrying about being displaced and feeling anxious about change is prominent for children going through a divorce.

You may not have the answer, but what they are really wondering is if they will feel safe. You can always assure them that you will make sure they do.

6. Will you stop fighting now?

Some couples remain in a very toxic marriage for years before getting divorced and kids witness this.

There may be a sense of relief in knowing that there will be a peaceful household, but they may also feel guilty for the sense of relief they feel.

7. Will I be able to live with my brother/sister?

Siblings are the saving grace for children going through divorce. It makes sense that they would think each child might go with one parent.

Assuring them that they will stay together will ease their anxiety and bring them closer together as allies.

8. Should I be mad at one of you?

In line with the idea of taking sides your children might feel they need to pick one of you to hate. Someone has to be to blame because their limited cognitive ability makes it hard for them to imagine anything else.

9. Will you still love me as much?

The loss of an intact family can easily be grouped with a loss of love for a child. Anything split in half means less of something for them so they will wonder if they will get the same attention and love they always did.

Kids don’t like to share and they don’t have a sense of abundance.

10. Can I be angry and upset about your divorce?

Your children will be very confused about their feelings. They may believe that they are supposed to just accept the situation because they have no power over whether it happens or not. Even though they are innocent victims they still need to have and feel the power of emotional expression.

Most importantly you want your children to know that they are loved, safe and protected. You want them to express their feelings, talk to you about everything inside of them, and to feel like they are part of the process without feeling like the problem.

You have the power to help them heal, but only if you know how they’re suffering.

The post Mother May I? 10 Questions Your Kids Want To Ask About Divorce But Don’t appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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children

How To Deal With Children’s Difficult Questions About Divorce

children's difficult questions about divorce

 

“Can you and daddy get married again?”

“Why can’t I stay with you”?

“Do you and mommy still love each other?”

“Whose decision was it to get a divorce?”

 

Children in divorce often have questions; they can come at the least expected moment.

For parents struggling to adjust to the challenges of single parenting in a two-home family, such questions can strike at the heart of their own emotional vulnerabilities and trigger uncertainties regarding their relationship with the other parent, their own parenting, and the wellbeing of their children.

However, such questions, if responded to thoughtfully, can be valuable opportunities to help children adjust to real changes and instill hope and confidence in both parent’s continued commitment to listen, guide, and give comfort.

Deal With Children’s Difficult Questions About Divorce

Be prepared before questions arise. Understand that:

  • Children often ask questions when and with whom they feel safe and consider it as a sign of the strength of your relationship with your child.
  • Children’s questions can be about needing actual information, but they can also be about a need for deeper understanding or simply a bid for a parent’s reassurance.
  • Younger children often ask questions that have to do with changes and anxieties about their daily lives. They often need simple, brief responses that reassure their fears regarding the change.
  • Older children may ask direct questions about their parent’s relationships but are actually seeking reassurance for themselves. They may need reassurance that they can continue being children and do not have to care for parents, take sides and can continue their focus on independent goals.
  • Older children may also ask questions about their parent’s relationships in order to form their own concepts and expectations of their future romantic relationships and their concepts of love and family.
  • Don’t confuse intellectual understanding with emotional understanding in children. Intellectual maturity comes well before emotional maturity. Don’t give children inappropriate adult information.

When questions arise:

 Center:

Take a deep breath and calm yourself before responding.

  • Resist the attempt to avoid the question due to fear or sadness regarding your child’s pain- Children are not immune from grief and sadness.
  • Recognize your emotional reaction regarding the divorce, yet put it aside- you can process any feelings later with your own support.

 Listen:

  • For younger children get on eye level and pay full attention
  • For older children give signals that you are listening but know that a little less direct approach or a little activity may make older children them more comfortable- you be the judge.
  • Ask open-ended, neutral questions to get a fuller understanding of their experience before offering a response:

“You sound worried/sad/mad is that right or is it something else?”

“That’s an important question, tell me more”

Understand:

Ask yourself what they are really expressing/wanting/needing.

  • Are they primarily expressing emotion-do they need comfort/reassurance?
  • Are they asking for basic information that they have a need to know?
  • Are they asking information to gain a deeper understanding?

Respond with care and follow with comfort:

  • If the message is an emotional bid for comfort/reassurance, answer the question with a brief, direct response:

No I will not leave, both daddy and I will always for you even if we live in different houses”

  • If they are asking for information that is helpful and not hurtful to them or their relationship with either parent, give an honest, simple and neutral (not blaming to either parent) answer:

“No mom and I are not going to get married again, but we both love you and will always be here to take care of you- we will always be your parents”

  • If they are seeking a deeper understanding and the answer is not harmful, first help clarify their deeper question and give honest, brief and neutral information:

“I think you’re asking if you were made from love- you were. Even if dad and I care for each other differently than when we were married- our love for you will never change”

  • If the answer to their question is possibly harmful or “adult business”, reassure them that it’s okay to ask but that their job is to be a kid- not be involved in adult issues:

“It sounds like you are asking if anyone is to blame. I know you want to understand, but marriage and divorce is adult stuff and we are okay.  Know that we love you and you don’t need to worry or take care of either of us”

  • If the question is “adult business” but for the older child, really about their own future, first clarify the question and provide an answer to that rather than giving inappropriate adult information:

“I wonder if you are really asking if because we got a divorce that you question if love lasts. Every relationship is different and you will get the chance to make your own choices about love and who you marry”.

Children’s ability to navigate the shifts of daily life and make sense out of the bigger questions are essential parts of healing in divorce.  With each question, children begin to build a framework of understanding and learn what divorce changes and what it does not change.

They develop a more flexible, durable, concept of family and love. Children’s questions can be hard, but listening and responding with care and gentle guidance is one of the most loving acts a parent can provide.

The post How To Deal With Children’s Difficult Questions About Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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