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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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Co-Parenting and Depression: 4 Ways to Cope

Co-Parenting and Depression: 4 Ways to Cope

Depression impacts so many physical functions, from your own well-being and ability to have a new, meaningful relationship to your child’s happiness and social life.

The post Co-Parenting and Depression: 4 Ways to Cope appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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5 Delightful Ways To Do Self-Care Without Feeling Guilty

5 Delightful Ways To Do Self-Care Without Feeling Guilty

 

Self-care can be a struggle.

We may tell ourselves that we don’t have time, and…

There are things or people in our life that are SO much more important right now.

Or maybe self-care is something we have never known how to do for ourselves.

This I know, with releasing my own struggle with self-care and assisting so many others get free of their self-denial too, that we can carry DEEP guilt in regard to looking after ourselves.

We may have MANY multi-layered painful beliefs regarding this!

In today’s Thriver Tv Episode I want to deeply investigate this with you, to help free you also from the guilt of looking after you.

Not just for yourself, but for all others and everything you touch.

Which is why self-care is SO important.

As you will discover today!

 

 

Video Transcript

Putting oneself first is not an easy thing. There can be many multi-layered beliefs that have stopped us thinking this is healthy to do.

Guilt can be a big barrier.

How many of us have thought that taking care of self is wrong, selfish and even narcissistic?

Many of us came from the mindset of the previous generation of survival, and energy expended must be on practical ‘doing’ tasks, rather than so-called ‘self-indulgent’ ones.

Today I want to grant you 5 wonderful ways we can take care of ourselves, as well as the internal shifts we can do on our subconscious programs, to evolve beyond guilt and get healthier.

Okay, before we get started, thank you for being a subscriber to my channel, and if you haven’t yet, please do subscribe. Also, if you like this video, please give it a thumbs up!

Now let’s look at the reasons why healthy self-care is essential!

 

By Honouring Ourselves We Honour the Entire Field In Honourable Ways

I want to begin by saying what we do need to be-come and shift into – it’s what we are all taught by the airplane analogy – to put our oxygen mask on first before attempting to help anyone else with theirs.

If we are gasping for air, we potentially do more damage than good to others.

This is why I am so adamant about parents healing themselves as their first point of call, before attempting to sort out things for their children.

Quantum Law is a very exact Law of so within, so without. If we try to serve others whilst we are going empty, then our efforts will only bring more pain and emptiness to others and ourselves. Yet if we come from a place of wholeness, then we affect others and the entire Field in whole and healthy ways.

What is also vitally important is that we don’t continue the message of dire co-dependency that we were fed growing up –  that going without and people pleasing and keeping the peace so that others will love you, is what we should do.

We all know how that turned out.

Also, if we stay broken and empty and our children see this, whilst we try to give them everything they need, then they will grow up not emulating what we want for them, but rather how we were to ourselves.

That’s what children do, take on the programs of how their parents modelled ‘self’ to them.

Okay so now that we have this clear, that we need to become a healthy model of self for self, others and all of Life, let’s look at the first delightful way we can do this.

 

#1 Say ‘No’ When Exhausted, and Replenish Yourself Instead

If we keep helping others when we are wrung out and exhausted ourselves, then we are in Wrong Town. Sometimes of course, when we have little children and we have no option, this is all a part of being a parent. What I am really talking about here is when other capable people ask for our help, and we fear saying ‘no’ to them.

We may be scared of losing their love or approval if we were to honour ourselves. Yet if we say ‘Yes’ when we don’t have the energy to comply, or it compromises our values and boundaries to do so, the energy will be murky. We could be resentful that they expect us ‘to drop everything for them’. We may lose valuable self-esteem and self-worth. We may be pissed because other people in the family or friendship circle won’t help and we are the one that gets lumbered with it.

If we are playing victim to all of this, we make out it is the other person’s lack of consideration that is causing our distress, yet truly it is our own poor boundary function.

There is a very essential truth about all of this – if you are okay with honouring your energy levels, other healthy people respect this too. They have other options. They don’t think badly of you. They know that being the generous person you are, that if you could assist you would.

The bottom line is when you have healed internally about this: you are not obsessing about whether or not they accept your ‘No’ because you know that honouring self is your number one priority, regardless.

If you get sorted in your inner beliefs and boundaries and know that you are not serving others in high and honourable ways, unless you are replenished – then you know if people don’t accept your ’no’, they should not be in your life.

What you will also discover is that when you do respect yourself, people respect you more too. If you are the always ‘giving person’ who bends over backward to give people assistance, you will discover that when it comes time for you to need help – no-one will be there for you.

Why not?

Because they are reflecting back to you how you are not there for yourself.

What is vitally important here is moving out of guilt to discover how easy and unselfish it is to be honest with people regarding whether you can help or not.

Those of you who are NARPers, if this is an area in your life you still struggle with, I suggest feeling into these beliefs:

  • People will only love me if I serve them.
  • If I say ‘no’ I will be punished.
  • I have to earn love and approval.
  • Other people’s needs and energy are more important than my own.
  • Other people don’t respect or support what I need.
  • I don’t deserve my own kindness and care.

If you feel any emotional charges in your body when you check inwards on these beliefs, then you would benefit greatly from clearing them out.

I recommend NARP Module 1 and the Source Healing and Resolution Module to do this effectively and powerfully. Then you will be-come that person who can say ‘no’ and honour you so much more easily.

 

#2 Ask For Help When Needed

I know this can be a tough one to tackle, and it may not feel ‘delightful’ at all. But please know ‘growth’ doesn’t come from not facing uncomfortable feelings.

Please know that asking for help and granting others the opportunity to supply it, is one of the most beautiful ways people can bond with you. It’s scientifically proven that the act of giving grants the giver oxytocin, which emotionally bonds them with feelings of love to the person they are giving to.

Many people don’t realise that if they are doing everything themselves, and they are not asking for what they need and allowing themselves to receive, then they are not generating deeper connections with others.

If you are the only one giving, it is usual for the person continually receiving to lose interest and start disconnecting from you.

Belief systems have a huge amount to do with being able to be a receiver. If you feel guilty about asking for what you need and terribly uncomfortable with receiving – which is very normal for people who have suffered narcissistic abuse – there is work to be done here!

Let’s look at the goal of where we want to get. It’s this: being able to ask clearly and confidently for assistance when needed – without being winey, passive-aggressive, trying to guilt others into it, or giving long-winded explanations about why we can’t do it ourselves.

All of this is a product of not believing we deserve help, and then we will see the results reflected back to us of exactly that!

I know with myself, this was huge (as were all my deservedness and boundary function issues!). Personally, I believe that if this is a struggle, there are some very important belief systems that we may need to look at and release and heal.

Here is my list for you to check out:

  • Everything is up to me.
  • I am unsupported by life and others.
  • My needs are invalidated and unimportant.
  • I am invisible.
  • If I let people do things for me, they will hold it over me, control me and hurt me.

Again Module 1 and the Source Healing and Resolution Module in NARP can powerfully release these beliefs for you – granting you the trajectory of life where you CAN ask for and receive support, as well as let people go who were a match for these previous painful beliefs.

 

#3 Do Nice Things for Yourself

Once upon a time, I used to feel bad for someone having to work too hard on me with a message, even though I was paying them for it! And I felt so guilty spending money on it that I couldn’t enjoy it anyway. In my mind, it felt like time wasted on myself, when I could have been doing something so much more productive.

If we are into being over-practical, incredibly responsible and frugal and self-denying – then it is extremely hard to do nice things for ourselves.

How many people work hard and are over practical all their life, and then it is too late to enjoy the fruits of their labours? Maybe they are too old, or they get sick, or even die before they do.

Many people who have security fears struggle to have holidays, or a new hairdo or a night out to dinner, or to buy some clothes or do something pampering for oneself.

I love it how people in the NARP community have granted themselves the most beautiful acts of self-giving, by doing things such as their own ring ceremony to affirm their love to themselves, or they buy themselves flowers on Valentine’s day.

I remember when I was coming out of my over-functioning, brutal workaholism and self-punishment that I would take myself out to dinner, to a yoga class, or a beautiful location for a holiday.

When financially recovering from narcissistic abuse, little joys and time spent with yourself don’t need to cost money. Time spent in nature is free and replenishing. We can do things like taking a picnic and a good book on the beach.

Or if staying indoors, turning on some music and dancing in your living room to it.

The ways to do nice things for ourselves are endless, and the more we clear trauma our of our Being, the more space we have within to start connecting to Lifeforce and the good stuff.

Even our healing time with ourselves is a special act of self-giving. I love making this time for me, by making myself a lovely cup of something, sitting on my couch and releasing dense energy and bringing more Light in. Or I do this when I am walking on the beach in the morning – and I always feel fantastic afterward.

What I love about treating self in healthy ways, is that this sets a precedent for being able to accept others giving to us as well. It also means that we will be generous with our giving to others.

Let’s look at some limiting beliefs that can block us doing nice things for ourselves.

  • It is wrong, selfish, ungodly etc. to do nice things for myself.
  • There are others who need so much more than me.
  • If I spend money on me, I will not have enough.
  • If I am not focused on the practical, something terrible could go wrong in my life.

Again NARPers you know what to do, to dig these beliefs out and start living your life free of them!

 

#4 Eat Healthy

With the number of toxins and chemicals that have infiltrated our food sources, it has become more necessary than ever that we choose whole and healthy foods.

Healthy fresh whole foods are delicious when a little care has gone into their preparation. Food education hasn’t been something the generation before us were focused on. Packaged convenience food were things that many of us were brought up on, to accept as okay in our diets, yet this isn’t healthy at all.

Food can harm or heal. Nonconscious food choices can create weight gain, diabetes, inflammation and organ, nervous system and brain damage. Healthy whole foods nourish our brain and body.

A very large part of our health, radiance, energy and wellbeing is about what we eat.

In the information age we live in, truly ignorance doesn’t cut it anymore – we can all google and learn about what is healthy and what isn’t.

By eating whole foods and eliminating sugar and preservatives as much as possible from your diet, you will reap the rewards of a healthy body and mind, as well as a glowing lifeforce within.

I truly believe healthy food is essential self-care.

Let’s look at some limiting beliefs that can prevent us from eating healthily

  • Healthy food is boring, unappetising and unpleasant.
  • I won’t enjoy myself if I can’t eat the foods I want.
  • I don’t deserve to nourish my being.
  • I will be rejected or ostracised by my family or peers if I eat healthily.
  • Sugar and bad foods fill my emptiness within.
  • I punish myself with bad food.

And of course, there may be others that are very specific to you.

Belief systems are such a big part of healthy food struggles, I really recommend doing the inner work to make this journey easier for yourself.

All you need to do is target the traumas with Module 1 or the Source Healing and Resolution Module that are generating your limiting food beliefs.

By clearing them, you will evolve beyond them and reset to your organic truth which is ‘health and wellbeing’.

 

#5 Move Your Body

Our Life-force when stagnant gets depressed, stuck and even toxic. Holistically and optimally we need to move our body every day. This is such an important part of our recovery, evolution and expansion to open up the cells in our Being, as we release trauma, so that Lifeforce and Wellbeing (Source) can enter us and move through us as us.

Exercise is a big part of this.

The benefits from exercise are so good – emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Exercise is a very personal journey. I love walking, yoga and Pilates. it is a very rare day that I don’t do some form of exercise, even just a walk.

Let’s look at some limiting exercise beliefs

  • Exercising is unpleasant and boring.
  • I don’t have the energy or the motivation to exercise.
  • I don’t deserve to be healthy and fit.
  • What is the point? It’s going to be too hard and take too long to achieve the results I want.
  • If I open up to exercise, I will be unsafe, exposed and not able to contain my emotions.
  • I punish myself by not moving.

Naturally digging out our limiting beliefs can be very confronting, yet if we leave them there we have a constant battle with ourselves, where we can literally drive ourselves crazy and the guilt is horrific each time we default back to the limiting belief.

As Dr. Bruce Lipton explains, when the subconscious and the conscious mind go up against each other, the subconscious wins, hence why doing the reprogramming there is so much more effective.

With all of these five self-care delightful practices, a very powerful and easy way to get them online is to target the traumas in your Inner Being that are blocking you doing (whatever the self-care practice is) and one by one you can dig them all out and release so that you naturally flow forward into these desired practices.

Again Module 1 and the Source Healing and Resolution Module in NARP are very effective solutions for this – and all you have to do is follow the instructions in these healings.

This is what I love about our Thriver Journey, it is so much more than just escaping narcissistic abuse, it is REALLY about becoming our healthiest and most actualised self.

If these are areas of your life that you wish to heal and improve, I’d love to help you, from the inside out, achieve this. My entire system for recovery of ourselves is highly effective, and you can learn more about this in my free 16-day recovery course which you can access here.

And I’d love to hear your feedback regarding this episode. Did you relate to these five areas and the limiting beliefs? Do you want to see more videos about topics like these? Also, let me know what topics you would like me to cover regarding healing stuff apart from narcissistic abuse.

And if you liked this – click like. Also, please share with your communities so that we can help people awaken to these truths.

As always, I am greatly looking forward to answering your comments and questions below.

 

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Ways a Divorce Coach Can Make Your Divorce Easier

7 Ways a Divorce Coach Can Make Your Divorce Easier

Why hire a divorce coach? For most people, the prospect of a divorce is an overwhelming life crisis. A Divorce Coach will teach you how to negotiate, how to best support your kids, and how to set up your post-divorce recovery and transition to your new life.

The post 7 Ways a Divorce Coach Can Make Your Divorce Easier appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Ways a Divorce Coach Can Make Your Divorce Easier

Ways a Divorce Coach Can Make Your Divorce Easier

Why hire a divorce coach? For most people, the prospect of a divorce is an overwhelming life crisis. A Divorce Coach will teach you how to negotiate, how to best support your kids, and how to set up your post-divorce recovery and transition to your new life.

The post Ways a Divorce Coach Can Make Your Divorce Easier appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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5 Ways to Feel Safe As a Single Mom After a Divorce

5 Ways to Feel Safe As a Single Mom After a Divorce

As a single mom, it’s important that you take every possible precaution to protect your family against potential dangers, therefore adding home improvements should be among your top priority.

The post 5 Ways to Feel Safe As a Single Mom After a Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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self-care tips

5 Efficient Self-Care Tips: Pamper Yourself In All The Right Ways

self-care tips

 

I’ve seen myself fall into an existential trap that my own mother wallowed in for the most of her life. She was a kind and industrious woman, but she could also be unbearably clingy. Above all else – she demanded attention. While I was a youngster, I used to tell myself that I will never turn into that person, but you know how your parent’s own pattern of behavior tends to creep up when you least expect it.

I used to be crushed by sadness when my own children forgot to, for the lack of a better expression, shower me with attention on birthdays and anniversaries, and I had to jump through serious hoops until I really accepted that happiness comes from within.

Here are 5 efficient self-care tips for all of you moms out there.

1. Adopt the right mindset by asking the right question

As it has already been established in the introduction, happiness comes from within, which means that you should rely on yourself to find the most opportune and enjoyable ways to celebrate a particular holiday that pertains to you. Remember, it is not about date or tradition. The date is merely an excuse for self-pampering, and it should be treated as such. The question you should be asking is NOT: ‘What sort of surprises do my kids have in store for me?’ but ‘What can I do on this day to make my week more enjoyable?’ By asking the right questions, I learned how to self-indulge in ways I previously unimaginable. Mindset is everything.

2. Organize a day of hearty meals

Good nutrition is the foundation of health. Therefore, you can exploit the holiday to organize a day of hearty meals for yourself (the presence of other family members is optional) and relish in banquets in restaurants that you always yearn to visit yet rarely have time for it. Instead of kicking the day off with a toast and a cup of coffee, have a fruit-laden breakfast with vegan-carrot cake and top it off with an espresso. Why not?! Embark on a culinary adventure and try out dishes that you never tasted before. It is all about you, at least for the day.

3. You’ll never regret investing in your hobby

The entire goal of a hobby is the combination of enjoyment and self-improvement. Therefore, any investment into a hobby is a form of self-care, and there is hardly a better way to treat yourself than to purchase something that will encourage you to continue that pursuit. The hobby might be something creative – like painting, and you can ‘arm yourself’ with a new set of brushes or color palettes. If it is a hobby that entails exercise, like running or swimming, a cool water-resistant triathlon watch is a quality investment. A useful gift is always better than a mere trinket, and it can represent an important part of your self-care lifestyle.

4. Rejuvenate your self-care style

Open the browser and begin the selection of local spa centers until you’ve narrowed it down to top-3 for services such as beauty treatment, massage, and sauna. A full day of rejuvenating treatments may just be the best sort of reward you can get, and you can encourage your family members to chip-in. Here, we get to another positive mindset you need to adopt – you have a full right to ‘shamelessly’ remind your kids and your partner that a Mother’s Day or your birthday is upon them and that they might as well do something about it. If they have forgotten about it, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care, and most of them will gladly contribute.

5. Alone in the outdoors

Finally, one of the greatest self-care habits you can embrace is the stroll through the closest natural reserve. Savor the scents of opulent nature and have a meditative walk alone to replenish your energy wells. Did you know that 30 minutes a day in nature does wonder for your immunity? Going wild in the outdoors is an amazing way to add a dash of adventure to your life.

The post 5 Efficient Self-Care Tips: Pamper Yourself In All The Right Ways appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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survive financially as a single mom

3 Ways Single Moms Can Survive Financially

survive financially as a single mom

In the end, there are really only two things to focus on if you want to survive financially as a single mom: decreasing expenses and increasing income. The more you do both of those things, the better off you’ll be.

 

Whether you’ve always managed the household checkbook or this is your first time, the financial struggles of being a single mom can feel overwhelming. Stop, breath, and start with these simple steps to getting your finances under control.

3 Tips For Surviving Financially As a Single Mom

1. Stop incurring new debt.  If you’re in the red hole, the first step is to simply stop digging deeper. It’s just not possible to get out of debt if you keep creating more. It might be easier for a while to just stop using credit cards in order to not incur any new debt. Every day that you don’t add to your debt is another day closer to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. If you find that you can’t get to the end of the month without incurring debt, Step 2 below will help.

2. Budget every dollar. I know, it’s a dirty word to many, but I turned my financial life around when I got serious about budgeting. One of the reasons we find ourselves out of control financially is because we don’t have clarity on what goes in and what goes out. Even if you think you know, you never really do until you track your income and expenses and account for every dollar. Mint is a free app that can help, but I find YNAB to be worth every penny (plus, you get a free month trial to then budget how to pay for the app).

If apps don’t appeal, there’s always pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or even a Word doc to get you started. You can round up to the nearest dollar, but you may be surprised on just where those dollars have been going! It will help you figure out where you really can cut back, and where you can’t. YNAB uses the zero-based budgeting method (this method can be used with or without the program) and the concept is, you can only budget the dollars you have. If you’ve been budgeting by assuming your income and expenses, it will take some adjustment to get used to this new method, but it will be well worth it to get you on a more solid financial footing.

3. Beware the Single Mom Guilt.  I have been there. I have felt so guilty about my marital status that I’ve spent more than I could afford, trying to overcompensate. But after using my tax refund to pay off credit card debt, and then building up debt, and then paying it off, and then doing it again, I finally had enough. And I realized that throwing money at the problem wasn’t really helping.

The more financially stable we became, the less stressed I was. The less stressed I was, the happier my girls were. The happier my girls were, the more we could simply enjoy being together and not have to spend so much money on cable, on outings, on activities they weren’t really enjoying. Instead, my oldest daughter helped out at the dance studio to get a break on tuition.

My youngest daughter shops at Goodwill when she needs new leggings. We come up with solutions together when we hit financial blocks. And if you feel bad for saying, I can’t afford it, try saying, “sorry, that’s not in our budget right now” instead. A small difference, sure, but it takes the focus off the negative part, and reminds both you and your child that you have financial goals.

Of course, personal finance is always personal, and you will have to make some difficult decisions, but try to remember, that’s true for most of us! Divorced or not, kids or not, we all can only work with what we actually have. And you may find that there simply isn’t enough. If things are that tight, you may need to look into increasing your income.

I ended up going back to school once it became clear to me that I was never going to make it on my salary as an Assistant. So I went back to school, got my Paralegal certificate, and got promoted. I took out some student loans and was able to get reimbursed through my employer’s educational assistance program for some of it. Thankfully, my interest rate on my student loan is low, but I am currently throwing any and all “extra” money into paying that off. So far, I’m paid a year ahead.

If going back to school is not an option, consider freelancing. Please do NOT pay for any “work from home” opportunities. But there are things like ride-sharing services, babysitting, and e-commerce sites. I have a friend who has done very well with her Etsy shop!

In the end, there are really only two things to focus on when it comes to managing your money: decreasing expenses and increasing income. The more you do both of those things, the better off you’ll be.

Our family has gone from surviving to thriving, and I can trace it back almost to the day that I was absolutely done with the paycheck-to-paycheck struggle. I am now a month ahead financially, and having that breathing room definitely, helps when we get hit with a new financial problem.

I am out of credit card debt completely, and we even went to New York this spring to see Hamilton, all completely paid for in cash. (I do use credit cards again, but only for the rewards, and I have auto pay set up to pay the balance in full every month so that I don’t pay any interest.)

It’s true that money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s also true that money can’t buy the previous, married, 2-parent household, either.

It’s also our job to teach our children about personal finance. As with everything else, they will learn these lessons by our actions, and not our words. If you want your children to have a healthy relationship with money, it’s time to have your own healthy relationship with it, too.

You’ve totally got this!

The post 3 Ways Single Moms Can Survive Financially appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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4 Ways In Which Pets Can Help Children Deal With Their Parents’ Divorce

kids pet divorce

 

Divorce is always hard on those involved. A marriage falling apart is something no-one likes to see. Often though, the party most affected by it are the children. The sudden loss of stability, perception of weakness in their parents who otherwise previously appeared so strong to them and the general confusion at what the future holds can leave children with serious emotional consequences, some of which could last their whole lives.

In those difficult times, children will often look for things to cling on to for comfort. One such comforting presence is a pet. Pets have proven themselves incredibly helpful to children going through any sort of trauma, including divorce.

When everything else around them is stressful and seems to be collapsing, pets can have a massive positive impact on a child as they try and deal with all of the problems that come with a parent’s divorce. Let’s take a look at the ways in which pets can positively influence your child’s experience of divorce.

Pets Can Help Children Deal with Their Parents’ Divorce

1. Consistent Love

Though the large majority of parents feel unconditional love for their child, in the stress and turmoil of divorce, children can feel ignored. There’ll be a lot of moments where it will be difficult for an adult going through this tough time to give their child what he or she needs.

“Having a pet, particularly a dog, gives a child a companion who, no matter what is going on around them, will be a constant source of love or at the very least the semblance of love that can imbue their lives with a needed sense of consistency”, says Ira Byrd, lifestyle blogger at LastMinuteWriting and Writinity. Having a pet there will allow a child to feel loved when they are uncertain about the concept itself as they witness their parents’ relationship fall apart.

2. Mental Health Monitor

It’s been proven that animals have the power to reduce stress in human beings. This phenomenon is what has bred the growth and embrace of therapy pets, animals that travel with humans who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression and other psychological problems.

Even if your child isn’t explicitly affected to that degree, the presence of a pet is therapeutic and can provide positive, soothing emotions for them as they try and cope with the divorce. It’s also a good motivator for exercise, as a lot of pets encourage children to run around. The proven benefits on stress and mood of exercise make this a bonus reason why pets are good for your child’s mental health in this difficult time.

3. Someone They Can Talk To

Even adults will catch themselves talking to their animals, it’s a common part of the owner-pet dynamic. For children, the sense that their pet is actually listening to them is elevated and so it can have an extremely strong effect on them. Children need to talk through things during a divorce and it’s often the case that they will feel unable to discuss anything with either of their parents. On the other hand, a pet will listen to everything in a non-judgemental way. “In a sense, a pet can be a bit like a therapist for a child.

They can absorb everything that the child is thinking about a situation in a non-judgemental, quiet way and not expect anything out of the child in terms of behavior or mood”, writes Myra Mcguire, psychology writer at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK.

4. For Security

One thing that can be really frightening about divorce for children is feeling like they have been abandoned by their parents. Parents might change in their children’s eyes as they go through the divorce process and, with all of the stressful complications that can arise in divorce, parents might find themselves very busy, without much time to attend to their child. Pets help children feel defended and secure, temporarily making up for the lack of security from the parents.

Conclusion

Divorce is never going to be easy on a child and it will always leave a lasting impression. However, having a pet by their side during the process really can help to mitigate some of the hardest parts of enduring this traumatic family event and can help them recover faster after the fact.

The post 4 Ways In Which Pets Can Help Children Deal With Their Parents’ Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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3 Ways To Find Happiness In Marriage If You’re a Woman

happiness in marriage if you're a woman

 

I don’t have studies to back up what I’m about to say but, I’m going to say it anyway. I do a lot of reading and research about divorce and why people divorce. The number one complaint I hear from women about why they chose divorce is, inevitably, “I was no longer happy.” Their marriage wasn’t making them happy, their husband wasn’t making them happy, the way they viewed that moment in time in their lives didn’t make them feel happy.

The running theme is, for some reason, women expect their happiness to come from without, not within. When they settle into marriage and the daily humdrum of raising children, making a living and holding a marriage together women become disenchanted because it turns out, marriage isn’t a fairytale and no one will live “happily” ever after.

According to Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, “Happiness is at least 50% genetic. Positive psychologists tend to acknowledge a much weaker version of the happiness set-point view and often point out that even if genetics determines about half of our happiness, the rest is caused by factors that we can control to some extent; our circumstances (about 10%) and our intentional activities, such as the way we choose to think about things (about 40%).”

Let’s break that down, genetics is 50% responsible for how happy a person feels. Circumstance is 10% responsible and how one chooses to think about their circumstance is 40% responsible. It isn’t my intent to diminish anyone’s feelings BUT unless you are married to an abuser, alcoholic or slacker it is possible that these women aren’t happy because of genetics or the way they choose to think about their circumstance and, not as a result of a bad marriage.

As my grandmother used to say, women who divorce because they are no longer happy could be “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Getting rid of the thing that could bring them the most happiness by divorcing, in pursuit of some skewed idea of what it means to be happy or, what happiness actually is.

How to Find Happiness in Marriage If You’re a Woman

Happiness is a state of mind, not of circumstance. If you want a happy marriage, you have to make it a happy marriage. Happiness doesn’t magically occur when he stops working 50 hours a week and spends more time with you and the children. It won’t magically occur when the children are grown or there is enough money to cover all the bills. It won’t be found in regular date nights or, snuggling on the couch every night watching romantic comedies.

Your life, inside your marriage, is now, today, dealing with what comes your way and how you choose to think about what it takes to get you through the day. Happiness comes from determining to feel good about whatever life dishes out on any given day. It’s about attitude.

If a woman is blessed with a loving husband who works hard to provide and children who work hard at driving her crazy she is going to find happiness in those blessings because she chooses to view them as such. To be happy one has to allow that 40% positive attitude to hold more authority than the 10% negative attitude about her situation.

Get over thinking someone owes you happiness. Or, that some outside force can “make” you happy. Husbands and children can impact how happy you feel but, ultimately you are responsible for your own happiness. If the drudgery of working, being a wife and mothering is sapping your energy and ability to feel happy it is your job to introduce activities into your life that balance those obligations with activities you enjoy.

Most women become unhappy in marriage because they lose their identity to the marriage and they put their needs second to the needs of their husband and children. That is a rule book written by women and it is full of rules that need to be broken. One way to do that, to stir the pot and not fall victim to the antiquated idea that your needs aren’t important is to simply, get out and do things you like to do.

Your children, marriage, husband, and home will not fall apart if you spend a few hours at an art class or, go to the gym daily to work out and keep your body and mind in shape. Women who are happily married have a life outside the marriage, husband, and children.

I have a friend who takes a yearly, weeklong vacation away from her role as wife and Mom. She also maintains a popular blog about women’s issues and writes daily. That is her life and passion, something she does for herself that in no way is related to her role as someone’s wife and mother. Do something, on a daily basis that brings you a sense of joy, is an escape from the whining children and constantly working husband. If you do, you will have a deeper appreciation for your own sense of autonomy AND the daily drudgery that is marriage and raising a family.

Be your authentic self. Did you go into marriage with a set of rules about the kind of wife and mother you want to be? Are the rules realistic? Can you eat off the floors, are the beds made daily, your children dressed and spat shined? Do you have a routine you follow from the moment your feet hit the floor in the morning until your head hits the pillow at night?

That image you have in your mind about the perfect wife and mother may play a role in unhappiness you feel. Why not give yourself a break and be yourself, not who you think you should be for your children and husband but, yourself. If that means not making the beds daily, so be it. If it means sitting your children in front of cartoons in the morning while you journal or meditate, go for it.

Let go of the need to keep up with your own false image of who a good wife and mother is and allow your own personality to drive the kind of wife and mother you are. Your husband and your children will benefit by getting to know the real you. You will benefit by being able to relax and let go of some silly preconceived notion and living your own reality.

Adjusting your attitude, taking responsibility for your own happiness and living authentically may lead to things like, a husband who comes home early from work because he enjoys the company of a wife who is upbeat and happy.

A lot of research has been done on attraction and it all points to the fact that people are attracted to others who are friendly, happy and self-confident. If you have a full life, interests of your own and don’t need anyone or any institution to “make” you happy, guess what, you will be happy. You don’t need to leave your marriage to find happiness, you only need to make a few adjustments.

And, those adjustments will promote and change in the way your husband and children react to and engage with you. It’s a simple way of taking away the need to divorce because you are, “no longer happy.”

Disclaimer: This article does not apply to women living in abusive marriages where they are in danger of physical harm or death.

The post 3 Ways To Find Happiness In Marriage If You’re a Woman appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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