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Global Guide to Divorce

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13 Reasons Why You’re Single And What To Do About It

When you are successful in your professional life because you’ve worked hard at it, it stands to reason that working hard at your love life in the same way will lead to the same result, right? So why aren’t your efforts yielding the desired outcomes? Why are you still single?

The following checklist will help you uncover 13 possible reasons and what to do about it. However, don’t let this list be a source of despair, because there is a solution!

  1. You don’t really believe there are great single men out there. Perhaps you think all men are just after 1 thing… Limiting belief systems are like sets of tinted glasses through which you view an altered reality, selectively seeking out and focusing on what you deem to be true to support your idea of reality.

  2. You are following the same destructive pattern by dating the same guy with a different face over and over again. We all know what the definition of insanity is, right? You need to start doing things differently if you want a different result.

  3. You are holding on to your past: The secret to closing the door on your past is letting go with love and forgiveness. If you don’t let go of your past it will destroy your future. But it’s not so easy, is it? (See point 1…)

  4. You are scared. You may have a fear of dating, of falling in love, being emotionally attached, trusting someone, losing someone close to you. You are not alone! Pretty much everyone seems to be affected by some degree of fear of social rejection, and this fear can be debilitating. It keeps you from taking action and tricks you into believing that you are better off staying in your comfort zone and striving to be happy there and not facing the fact that you are indeed miserable.

  5. You have Expectations! Oh NO! You have this perfect image of who you want to date and be in a relationship with and, try as you might not to, you expect your date to fit a certain type of pre-defined criteria. 100% chance of things going wrong – and you know it, but you still….

  6. Self-esteem issues anyone? If you are looking to enter into a healthy relationship it is best to start developing a healthy relationship with yourself first and foremost. ‘Like’ attracts ‘like’. We think we can hide low self-esteem but it shows up in so many unattractive ways. If you don’t think you’re worthy, how can someone else think so?

  7. Confidence. Closely related to the above, but worthy of its own point. Confidence is the key to dating success. If you aren’t confident about your worth, why would you expect someone else should take time out of their busy schedule to get to know you better?

  8. Boundaries! Boundaries are sexy and they tell men that you are valuable. Boundaries are evidence of high standards and values, indicate healthy self-esteem, and attract people who recognise what you live by and expect those close to you to live by. Even the most confident and successful career-woman can be tempted to loosen those boundaries to ‘keep a man’. If you are one of those, then you will always be someone else’s doormat.

  9. You don’t think you can be truly fulfilled without a partner, and it shows. There’s nothing attractive about that at best, and at worst it reeks of desperation. You should be living a full social life doing things you love doing with the friends and family you adore. Relationships flourish in the right social environment.

  10. You underappreciate the allure of your feminine energy. Many of us are out of touch with our dominant feminine energy and therefore lead unbalanced lives. Men are attracted to femininity and don’t respond well to masculine women in a romantic environment.

  11. You lack commitment in the area of love and relationships. You can still be living a full life, enjoy a successful career and be committed to finding a relationship. Yes you can indeed have it all! It shouldn’t drop off your ‘to do’ list in favour of chance. Where your energy goes, that’s where you go…or stay.

  12. You are dating from a mind-set of scarcity. You can’t imagine finding anyone, let alone opening your eyes to the abundance of choice that will become available to you when you turn that mind-set inside out and go forward with an ‘abundance mind-set’. I know it’s easier to sit back and wait for destiny to come knocking, but sorry, that’s not how it works. You therefore need to get out there and start creating choice in your love life.

  13. Singles are finding dating tough and telling each other just how tough it is. Well it’s tough because we are losing our social competence, especially when it comes to dating and relationships. Work on your interpersonal and face-to-face communication and conversation skills, work at being approachable – and you will be.

Perhaps you need some help?

The fact is that when it comes to your love life, the ‘work hard’ approach is clearly not enough, and if you don’t address the above, it often only leads to disappointment and frustration.

You need to stop and think about doing things differently! You know you need a new approach – and you need it now, because your intimate love relationship will affect pretty much every other area of your life. It will determine your happiness, fulfillment and overall quality of life more than any of your career success or achievements ever will.

So what are you to do if you are serious about having a loving and lasting relationship with someone amazing? Find yourself a reputable Love Coach to support and love you every step of the way. To your success in love!

Author of article is Bonita Grobbelaar. Biography:  Relationships and the way we embark on them have changed, and Bonita Grobbelaar believes in helping her clients to do the work from the inside out. Women who have succeeded in all areas of their life but love, have benefited from consulting with Bonita. She puts her clients back in the drivers’ seat of their lives, and helps them to map out a journey to their intended destination in love.

A believer that all women not only deserve, but are fundamentally entitled to a life they love, in the company of a solid partner through the good and the bad, Bonita specialises in guiding and supporting successful women around the globe towards healthy, lasting relationships.

Her industry experience spans over a decade, and during this time, Bonita has helped thousands of women to find and keep love.  Her own experiences saw Bonita living through ten years of negative dating and a failed marriage. Questioning the reasons for this led her to a journey of great self-discovery, where probing and testing brought her to the revelation of why all areas of her life, except love, were successful.

Today, Bonita is happily married and has two daughters. She experiences deep gratitude for a life she loves daily, and teaches her clients how to apply what she has learned, to help them find balance and relationship success in their own lives.  

Join my NEXT FREE workshop: Unlock Lasting Love, Without Relying On Online Dating:   Find time in my calendar that suits you best and let’s figure out what’s stopping you from finding the love you want and how to change that:

Creative Ways To Date During Corona Virus

It is more challenging to date during the Corona Virus. Venues you usually pop into, may be closed during this global shutdown. Streets are deserted. Stores are shuttered. It feels like one is a character in a sci-fi film or waiting for the zombie apocalypse to begin. This time period is not the ideal circumstance to start a new dating relationship.

The same rules apply as they did before the virus. Particularly for women, if you do not know someone well, then do not invite them to your place. Be safe. If you break off the relationship, better for them not to know where you live. Also, you do not want to get into a tricky situation where your date thinks you are on the menu.

There are plenty of cafes and coffee shops which have lattes and luscious pastries for take away. There is often a bench nearby, where you both can sit down and get to know each other while enjoying your treats. One grocery store which sells lattes, has concrete benches in front. I meet up with a different friend from time to time. We are not in a crowd and are keeping the recommended social distance in this pandemic. This is where I planned to have my first date with a new guy.

Various restaurants are serving their tantalizing food in to go containers. Pick up your favourite food and enjoy it al fresco with the warmer weather. London, for example, has many parks where one can grab a bench and eat your lunch. Have an in-depth conversation over food you just purchased at the deli.

When you have gotten to know someone, then have them over to catch up on films you missed at the cinema or a marathon session watching a boxed set of DVDs. Feel free to invite several friends.  You may want to play board games during this stay-at-home pandemic. Before the shutdown of our city, people were coming into the bookstore where I work and stocking up on puzzles.

Be outside on your dates. Go hiking, mountain climbing, skating, kayaking. A long walk provides the opportunity to learn more about your date. If you have dogs, plan on walking them together. Go for a drive in the country and unpack your picnic lunch out in nature.

Do an activity together. Pick a theme such as cooking Italian pasta, making tiramisu and watching an Italian film.  The point is to be creative while following the rules of where you live during this corona virus outbreak.

Stay away from a crowd and have fun with your date. Going out with another couple is fine. Skip parties and gatherings.  Keep hand sanitizer with you. Stay clear of people who are coughing.  This is the time to avoid a one-night stand and possibly a goodnight kiss. I used to be a school nurse and was around viruses, strep throat, etc. and did not get sick. Taking precautions such as good handwashing, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet reduces the chance of catching anything. Manuka honey is anti-viral and I take a teaspoon every day.

Continue dating during this time. Be creative where to go and how to have fun.

Tips On Dating For Introverts

Going on dates can be intimidating for the introvert. It is easier to stay at home and watch romantic films than go meet potential dating partners.  Fear can stop people. Fear of getting tongue tied or sounding stupid can keep individuals from venturing out of their flat. There are ways to have dates and be in one’s comfort zone.

Think about going out in a group.

You can laugh and have fun without the pressure of carrying on a conversation solo.  Members of the group all contribute comments. There is less of a feeling of being judged, when in a group setting, as opposed to only being the two of you. If you hit it off with someone, a private conversation is still an option.

If a person seems interested in you, it is less nerve-wracking to issue an invitation to a group activity. Say, “A bunch of us are going to the Greek Festival on Saturday. The food and music will be great – want to join us?”

Go where there is a community table.

I do this in several coffee shops and have talked to interesting people. One coffee shop is open late with led lighting which changes colour. It has DJ training classes which ensures edgy music and a lively vibe.  I write in this place and encounter creative types like me.

Spend time with outgoing friends.

They will talk to others and draw people to your group. You can meet the individuals who come over for a chat. A potential date may be on the shy side too, and find talking to you in your group a bit less of a chance for rejection.  Various podcasts give tips on how to meet people when by yourself or in a group.

Practice making connections. 

Talk to people who are not potential dates – grannies, kids, a parent. This is like training wheels when learning how to ride a bike. Practice engaging others in conversation – the person behind you in the queue at the cashiers. I talk to people during the long wait at the post office. It makes the time pass quickly and the parting winks are nice.

Engage in conversation to those around you.

It will lead into talking to those who could be interesting to date. You are not targeting them specifically, when you talk to everyone.  I chatted to people in a queue for a festival.  One of them asked me out and we got engaged ten months later. One never knows.

Introverts can give off the wrong non-verbal message that they are not interested.

An introvert may turn away or avoid eye contact even though they are hearing wedding bells in their head. This is a deterrent for the other individual to pursue any more contact with the introvert. Force yourself to maintain eye contact. Turn towards the potential date. If you freeze and your brain cannot form a sentence, at least smile and nod.  Anything to show interest and prevent them from misunderstanding your feelings and walking away.

Connecting with those you are interested in as a date, is a skill.

One does not learn how to play the violin overnight, so do not expect to be dazzling the first few times you attempt to meet people to date.  Consider making friends with a variety of people.  By doing this, an organic relationship can develop into a lifelong partnership.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine

First Dates – What To Do And When To Bail

First dates can be tricky.  What is expected. When to bail. The first of these two podcasts gives information about how to get ready and act on a first date. Advice given by Wendi Schuller and Daniel Isle Skye on a new dating series with podcasts released every week on

3rd podcast  First Date

Dating disasters.  Wendi and Daniel share dates which did not work out and how to avoid these blunders.

4th episode Bad Dates

7 Ways To Express Your Love For Your Partner Without Saying It

Love is that effortless emotion that can transform even the most impassive person. Sometimes we miss out on the signs or moments where we can express our love, without saying a single word. These are simple gestures towards our partner. Understanding the tiniest detail of your loved one shows how much you love him/her.

Saying ‘I Love You’ always works and will end your fights magically. Here are a few other creative ways to express your love for your partner without having to say it.

  1. Share your deepest fear/secrets  

Our deepest and darkest fears or secrets are very personal. Sharing these with your partner will make him/her believe that you trust them entirely. This can make them feel really special and loved. It expresses your faith in your loved one and assures he/she is the most important person in this entire world. Also, it allows your partner to help you get out of it if you wish to. Growing together in love, eliminating flaws or accepting them, finding serenity is all that matters.

  1. Attention to Details 

When does he/she wake up? What is his/her favorite dish? Or favorite T.V show? Small details can bring immense happiness. If you know your partner’s favorites, what keeps them happy or what puts them off, you will be able to express your compassion towards them. It will show that you care for the minute details only to bring that smile on your partner’s face. For instance, opening the car door for her, placing the food on her plate, keeping the hot water ready for his/her bath. Small acts matter in love. And these are not just a onetime action. Practice it to engrave it in your nature. Be genuine and don’t make it pretentious.

  1. Listen  

Listening involves paying interest to no matter what your partner is saying. Put your phone down, and prioritize the person in front of you longing to communicate. To listen to your partner is to show that you genuinely care for him/her. It shows your involvement physically and mentally. Look at them and show your concern, and when the need arises, give your opinion. Your partner might need your consideration or assistance with something which they might have shared just yesterday. It is the simplest way of expressing your affection without the need for uttering a word.

  1. Send Gifts  

Yes, and there is no need for any special occasion. Randomly pick a flower and surprise her. Send gifts to his/her office, giving them a chance to chuck out tensions. As said earlier, a gesture of your love, your presence that you are there for him/her forever, makes a huge impact. That is how you can convey love. Send your girlfriend a dainty piece of casual white dress to let her know that she is the angel of your life. Or surprise him by planning for an adventure, a dinner date, where you could cook for him and eat with some wine like Stella Rosa Black and champagne like Totts or maybe a football game date or any other sport he enjoys the most.

  1. Understand Each Other’s Ambitions or Choices 

At the end of the day, you and your partner are two separate individuals with different aims in life. Your ideologies are compatible, but ambitions might differ. Your way of expressing affection should involve an understanding of that. Compassionate love is about appreciating by allowing your partner’s individual growth and success. It becomes a matter of respect. Give your partner space. Believe it, giving each other space will make your relationship healthier. How much you value your partner’s dream to achieve something. Learning how to cook a new dish is also an achievement. Celebrate it without any reason to show her love.

  1. The Magic of Touch 

Animals express their love through touch, and that is always mesmerizing to witness. The magic of touch is effective enough to heal even an ailing person. Hold hands while watching a movie. Make your partner feel exceptional because he/she has you to support and stand by any day. A simple act of touch and cuddle can tickle that spark between you every time. A kiss on the forehead itself speaks a thousand words.

  1. Stay Positive  

‘To err is human; to forgive, divine.’ Focusing too much on flaws will bring negativity to your relationship. Instead, ignore those aspects and center your relationship on positive things. What binds you together? What do you love about him/her? Life is too short to hold on to grudges or fights. Be thankful for who your partner is. Imperfection makes us the person we are. So, figure out how to accept those and move on. That will show your true love.


Communication is the key to build that mutually engaging relationship where both can pour out energy and soul in making each other feel special every day. Compromising at times on petty issues will prevent unnecessary arguments. Love might mean different for each one us. Do not conclude that your partner doesn’t love you on the basis of these. He/she might express it in another way. An act of kindness, a piece of thoughtful advice, touch, is some everyday actions that show love and compassion.

Author’s Bio:
“Jessica Smith has been writing for a few years now. She is a writer by day and reader by night. She was a very quiet child but writing always inspired her and that is why she began writing in her free time. She loves reading, be it a newspaper, a book or anything. She also loves cooking, traveling and dancing. She wants to be a successful writer as writing is her passion.”




Your Partner Is Not A Mind Reader

Some people getting divorced stated it was partly because their partner did not fulfil their needs.  These individuals said if their partner really loved them, they would know what to do.  No, your partner is not a mind reader. How can a person expect another to know what is going around in their head? A spouse does not intuitively grasp what the other person is thinking and feeling.   Be specific, such as “I had a rough time at work today and want to chill for a few minutes.”

Relationships are built on good communication and not on assumptions. Ask questions to ensure that you are both on the same page. Do not assume that you both are feeling the same way. Use I statements to be clear in your communication. “I feel shut out when I sense something is wrong and you won’t talk.”

People have dealt out the silent treatment as if it were a punishment.  An American man fell in love with a European woman. When she was upset, this woman would sulk for a few days and refused to have a discussion no matter how much her partner tried. He could not read her mind nor make amends for perceived acts which may have bothered her. The man eventually walked away from a person whom he loved. Counseling may have helped this couple to communicate more effectively and avoid a break-up.

Help a partner to share their thoughts by asking open ended questions.  “You are more quiet tonight, what is going on?” Make it clear that you have no idea, so your partner does not expect you to telepathically know how they feel. A couple near my son with a young child, are getting divorced. The wife’s voice comes through his wall, saying “You don’t love me. If you did, you would have known that I wanted to be held when I went to sleep last night.” Or “You should have realized that I had a bad day at work and made dinner.”  The husband tells my son that if he had a clue how she felt, He would have cooked the meal and so forth.

Be specific what you need. My male friends want to fix whatever needs fixing – my problem, car or wherever it is.  I have to be clear, since they cannot read my mind. “I only want you to listen right now. I am going to vent about my co-worker and then we can move on to something else.” The guys then get that I want to let off some steam. If I do not express what I want, then before I am done with my story, these fellows have already formulated an action plan.

Please read more in Divorce Magazine

How to Maintain a Relationship – People Share Their Secrets

After getting divorced one may be more cautious when dating again – wanting to avoid potential pitfalls. Your marital union has ended and it can be puzzling how other folks stay together for half of a century. A variety of couples graciously revealed their secrets to what makes a relationship last.

Just let go

At the end of the day, let go of the trivial things which happened. Do not get worked up over the small stuff, but rather focus on what is important. When we carry all of these insignificant grudges around, they become a big load. No one is perfect – so give your partner some slack. Do not keep score. “I did this so you had better do that.” One acquaintance kept a tally of grievances and when she reached a high number, they got a divorce. A friend kept track of who did what chores. She expected them to be split 50/50 even though she worked fewer hours outside of the home. That ended in divorce. Your spouse’s actions are not motivated by malice, so just let go. We all have annoying quirks.

No one has the power to  “make” you happy

People have divorced or broken up with partners when that individual no longer “made them happy.” We choose our feelings and no one else has the power to make us feel a certain way. It is in our control to be happy or not. Long -term couples said that they required other relationships besides the marital one, such as being in clubs and with friends. The Dalai Lama states “True happiness does not depend on an external being or thing. It only depends upon us.” When becoming unhappy, that is a red flag to have a discussion with your partner. One woman informed her husband that she wanted a divorce because she was so unhappy. Talking this through, they discovered that she missed her old job and was miserable being a stay-at-home mom. Once back in the workforce, she was content with her life.

Follow your gut instinct

A priest said that he talks to both mothers when doing weddings. He tells these ladies not to interfere with their children’s relationship. Do not let your friends interfere with your relationship either. Friends can mean well, however give lousy advice that is detrimental. They may have their own agenda, which does not align with yours. Two co-workers were close and the friend played racquetball with the other’s husband. She pretended to support her married pal, but the end result was that the couple got divorced and the other two got married. Trust your gut instinct and do not rely on others to offer opinions on what to do. I knew it would be a mistake to get married to my now ex-husband. An older family friend kept insisting it was only “pre-wedding jitters” and to go through with it. Big mistake listening to her.

Be  careful about what you say

Be careful of what you confide to others -especially when going through a difficult time. Friends will side with you and may not like your partner after hearing your complaints about him or her. They often continue to loathe them after your problems are resolved. You may be told you are too good for your spouse, when personal details are overshared with family and friends. What you say in anger can have a negative effect on their viewpoint of your partner and of you remaining in the relationship.


Couples stated that sharing was important, which includes sharing child care responsibilities. One father said that he is “the bottle washer” since his wife also works full time. Sharing household duties means looking around for what needs to be done and not waiting for a partner to ask for help.

Have fun and a sense of humor

Many said having a sense of humor keeps things running smoothly. Laughter connects people and having fun adds spice to the relationship. Couples have taken up Salsa dance lessons, golf, joined gourmet dining clubs or got into volunteering. They have become active in community issues or rediscovered a long-lost passion in life. These people are reinventing themselves together on the same path. Life events have kept some individuals from traveling in the past. I have met many couples in second marriages exploring the world and ticking off exotic places from their Bucket Lists. Others have gotten involved in projects together, such as renovating a house for retirement is a sunny locale.

At a fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration, the wife said that “commitment is love – you can’t have love without commitment.” When they went through rough patches, they each knew the other was committed to the marriage and was not going to bolt. Secrets to lasting love is to have kindness, be respectful of your partner and put them first in your life above others.

Originally published in Divorce Force

Tips For Going On A First Date Post-Divorce

Going on a first date after a divorce has its challenges. One may have done well finding a person online that seems compatible or through an old-fashioned introduction. Now comes the hardest part – making a great first impression and sustaining that throughout the evening. A speech on networking at a Toastmasters International meeting had a lot in common with dating. The audience was surprised that when initially meeting someone, to keep 99% of the conversation on that person.

Ask Your Date Questions About Them

In networking which also pertains to dating, begin with asking about their family and move on to what is their occupation. Ask what are their hobbies and interests, finishing up with inquiring what really matters to them. What gives meaning to their lives, their passion and what makes them tick. People enjoy talking about themselves, and by asking these questions you will be viewed as the most interesting person on the planet. There is now rapport and it is a good time to start revealing fascinating tidbits about yourself.

Reveal A little At A Time

Bombarding someone with your life story when first meeting them is a turn off. One acquaintance wondered why she rarely got a second date. She did not ask the above mentioned questions and focused the conversation solely on herself. A co-worker told too personal details about her body functions and friends’ sex lives. Have some decorum.

Be Aware Of Your Body Language

Have a friendly demeanor and be cognizant of your body language. Arms folded across your body can mean “stay away” or as in Martial Arts, a sign of aggression. Nervous habits such as jingling change in your pocket or tapping your foot can be interpreted as impatience. Watch the amount of eye contact. Too little indicates lack of interest and staring can be uncomfortable for the receiver.

Have Conversations Topics Ready

Be up-to-date on current news and major sporting events, like the Super Bowl. Be able to have discussions, but try to veer away from religion and politics on a first date. Have some amusing stories about co-workers, travel adventures and so forth ready in case you get tongue-tied or your mind goes blank. Pauses in conversation are okay and not every second has to be filled in by talking.

It is fine to mention that you are a parent, but hold the cute toddler tales. Let your date know you are a well-rounded adult, not a one dimensional person. This does not only pertain to being a parent, but also when focusing on one aspect of your life. For example. I briefly dated an attorney whose whole existence revolved around his job. When I suggested that we see a film, he said that he did not own any casual clothes and would have to wear trousers from one of his suits. I knew this relationship would not work out, so ended it quickly.

A multi-faceted person is enticing. Having a full life before dating is more attractive to someone than having dating be your life.  Please read more

Early Warning Signs Of A Potential Abuser

There are early warning signs that you are in a relationship with a potential abuser. After divorce, one may have joined an online dating site and now has a string of first and second dates. While people put their best foot forward and hide their darker side – it is still possible to catch a glimpse of who that person really is. One may feel it is love at first sight, however if something does not quite seem right, put the brakes on. Trust your gut instinct. Your subconscious is screaming at you to back away when these signs of a potential abuser appear:

  • Are they disrespectful to anyone? While no one agrees completely with another, people can agree to disagree in a respectful way. When a date treats others callously so early in a relationship, this is bound to get worse. This may include name calling or derogatory labels. If women are called obscene terms, hit the road.
  • Are they controlling? They want to plan your social life and dictate whom you may see. They may tell one how to dress or where they can go. They want their dating partner to get their permission to do various activities.
  • Potential abusers excel at using sarcasm with little jabs at others. They may mock what you say. They make “jokes” at your expense and say you are “too sensitive” if you are hurt or object. They are critical and judgemental. There do put downs which may begin in private and progress to belittling you in front of family and friends.
  • They are possessive which may seem flattering at first. One can mistake this for affection, when really it means you are their property. For example, a person may keep their arm permanently attached to you in a group setting. Instead of love, it can be marking their territory. They may call multiple times of day to check up on you.
  • They are jealous of your relationships and may attempt to isolate you from others. In some cases, the person is jealous of their date’s children. They resent the time the parent spends with their kids and competes for attention. These potential abusers want to be the centre of the universe and get upset when forced to share their date.
  • They blame you for their bad mood or blame others for any misfortunes. They cannot handle feedback that points to any mistakes they have made.
  • The biggest sign is that they have violent behaviour which may not necessarily be directed at you. They start with a small action at first, such as throwing a book across the room in rage. It progressively increases in intensity, such as hitting the couch near you, or tossing your possession at something. It is only a matter of time before you become the target of physical abuse. It is so important to get out of this relationship immediately and not listen to any excuses. Leave after the first violent act and not wait until you become the punching bag.

This true case illustrates several points mentioned above. Violet dated a medical student from a fantastic family. Ken appeared to be loving and caring, yet a few things bothered her. He blamed others for his mistakes or said they were wrong when his discrepancies came to light. He belittled Violet in front of others and her mum begged her to leave him. She did not. Right before her trip abroad, Violet asked Ken to drive her to a store to get some cosmetics. He refused –saying he did not want her to look pretty for other men. Then he gave her a prominent hickey on her neck which was very visible.

When Violet returned, Ken put a fist through a door inside her flat. Shortly after that he threw her shoe at the wall, which resulted in a hole. The violence scared her and she realized what would be happening next. Violet realized she had given Ken too many chances and promptly broke up with him. A few years later an acquaintance revealed that Ken married and got divorced the next year. She knew why.

It is easy to fall into the trap of listening to excuses and giving extra chances as Violet did. When any act of violence occurs – no matter how small – end the relationship.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine


Top Ten Concerns That Divorcees Have about Dating Again

The time will come when you might want to consider dating again after your divorce.  It may seem a bit of a leap into the unknown and it’s not unusual to feel worried. We asked divorcees what things most worried them about dating after their break-up, and there was quite a range:  from worries about sex, to finding a someone who will love their dog!
Here were the 10 most common.
1. Am I ready? 
Well done! It’s good that you are asking yourself this question. Only you can really decide, but bear in mind that you can just try a date and if it doesn’t feel right, you can stop again.
2. I don’t know if I’ll remember how to date!
There’s no right or wrong way (within reason). A date is just an opportunity for you to be yourself with someone else. Your date can expect no more of you.
3. I’ve never done online dating
It may feel like a scary way of doing things – or something you are eager to have a go at. Give it a whirl, trying to keep hold of your common sense and enthusiasm – nothing ventured, nothing gained.
4. I’m the wrong side of 40, I need to find someone quick…
Try not to rush things.  Do you know what you want in a date or a relationship, and what you need to be happy?  Taking time to think about what you need will help you find a partner who is a good match.
5. All the good people are taken – only the crazies are left!
This is NOT true! Although you could say we all have our crazy moments!  Lots of people are starting again for all sorts of acceptable and common and NORMAL reasons. And if you are on the market again, why not someone like you?
6. I’m scared of rejection
If you are feeling very fragile, take some time before you start dating, particularly online dating, which can require a bit of a thick skin. Ask a suitable friend, family member or therapist to support you in building up your self-esteem.
7. No one will want me. I don’t like the way I look, why would anyone else?
Many people feel less confident in their bodies or looks than they once did post divorce. This has knock on affects on their sexual confidence.
Try not to date until you feel confident and desirable – work on your self-esteem before you hop into bed with someone.  Remember you probably fancy people for qualities other than
their appearance – it’s the whole package. Make sure you remember everything that you have to offer.
8. Will I have to have sex on the first date?
It’s a common misconception that you are expected to have sex on the first date.  NOT TRUE!  You should only have sex when you want to and feel comfortable – ‘make friends before you make love’.
9. Dating makes me miss my ex
This is a not uncommon, especially if you meet someone who you don’t click with.  Make a list of why your ex was not suitable for you and a list of what you are looking for. This should help you to focus on why you should move forward instead of looking backwards.
10. How will my children take it?
Make sure that you allow your children enough time to grieve and adapt to your new situation. Before you introduce your children to a new partner, wait a sensible amount of time to understand and trust the person you are dating.
Authors of this article, Lucy Davis and Isabelle Hung, run  The Divorce Club     an online support network for people going through divorce and separation.     Wendi’s Note: The Divorce Club in London is a great way to meet others who are going through similar experiences. Wisdom and laughter are shared at Lucy’s get-togethers through this group.

You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating

you could be hindering your teen's dating potential     You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating Potential  

While some parents may be hindering their teen’s dating potential, I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing. I am not advocating for overly strict parenting where you don’t allow your teen to date at all, but there are some important precautions I think all parents should consider when their teen starts dating…
Set Clear Curfews

Not too long ago, my teenage son took a more serious interest in girls. He became interested in spending time with girls outside of school for dating purposes or “hanging out” as he calls it. So he wanted to renegotiate his curfew. His curfew changed when he moved from middle school to high school but hasn’t been updated since. I saw no need to change it, as he could stay out until 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday and 11:30 pm Friday – Saturday. 

He decided to challenge this when out on a group date and came home at midnight on a Saturday. While he tried to argue he was only a half-hour late, he knew the consequence for breaking curfew was a week of grounding with a week added for each curfew-breaking offense.

Tips for parents who want to curtail bad teen dating habits by setting a curfew:

  • Set clear curfew rules.
  • Set reasonable and relatable consequences for breaking these rules.
  • Follow through with punishment or curfew breaking will be a regular thing.Teen Date Nights and Money

Part of teaching your teen how to date responsibly is teaching your teen how to deal with their personal finances. The sooner your child understands basic savings and financial planning, the better equipped they will be later in life.

My teen son knows I won’t play the money tree, being a backup when his personal funds are running low. When he takes a girl out on a date, he has to think creatively and within a budget. Sometimes that just means a movie night at home with some popcorn, which helps me keep an eye on the dating couple.

I have found this has made my son more responsible overall. If there are activities and dates he would like to go on, he has to plan them in advance and secure the finances to do so. He has felt the sting of not having enough money to take a girl out that he likes and it’s a good reminder for him to manage his finances responsibly to obtain the things he wants. I also like to think that by not offering to pay for his extravagant dates, he thinks of creative, less expensive dates and therefor doesn’t rely on flash or funds as a crutch for getting to know girls.  

Everyone On Same Dating Page   

Not only does your teen need to be on the same page with any rules you set up but so does your parenting partner. This can be tricky for co-parents who are divorced but is possible when working with clear communication.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson  enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn



New Trend for Second Marriages

There is a new trend after divorce when getting remarried, which is each person keeps their own home. Some divorced folks whose subsequent marriages are in their second decade or so, claim living apart is their secret to marital satisfaction. Keep in mind, these are people who do not have a child together who would be shuttled back and forth between two places. These couples are childless or have offspring who have flown the nest. Why is this occurring?

In one case, a couple could not decide which location to live in. Although neither had nine-to-five jobs, they had work commitments tied to their residences. He free-lanced in London and she was an artist near Cornwall who painted exquisite landscapes. They felt that they had loads of time to decide where to live which turned out to be the key to making this work. He spends long weekends enjoying the bucolic countryside around her cottage and she likes the excitement of a few days in London. They use their time apart for some solitude or getting together with local friends. What surprised these two was that they had already hit upon the solution – to continue their current lifestyle permanently . When together, they are very focused on each other. How does living in separate households work?

  • Are you both independent types who crave alone time or do not want someone around 24/7, no matter how much you are in love? One couple who each have been divorced, are both in education. He is on the faculty of a college and she is a therapist in a primary school. They live nearby in their own houses and have been together for nine years. She states that they would “Drive each other crazy” if they ever lived under the same roof.
  • Logistically is it better to have your separate places? This may be due to having to be near elderly parents or a family member with a terminal condition. Another example is when job commitments are in different places and each wants to keep their house.
  • It may be temporary, such as when someone has a job contract that will be finished in several months. A divorced woman with a beloved elderly cat married a divorced man who has a severe allergy to them. The cat was not going to be around much longer. She was at her condo every day to feed and be with the cat, sometimes spending the night, particularly at the end. Her husband told me that he has such respect for his wife. They knew this was a temporary set-up and the cat died six months after their marriage. This woman has no regrets since her eighteen-year-old companion lived out his final days in a familiar place.
  • Maybe one is a big city person and the other loves farm life or living in the countryside. This does not have to be an either-or situation. Living separately part-time and commuting to be with each is doable. It helps when the couple’s places are an easy drive or linked by good public transportation.
  • Two opposites may attract, yet not be able to live day-to-day with each other. A divorced woman wed a military man who was a widower. He had been married for fifty years and was used to things being done in a certain way, plus has quirks from his time in the military (extreme neatness). She is a creative artist who is oblivious to a mess and is attached to her tiny home. He bought a condo a block away and so far, this situation is working out for them.

Families may not mix well. I asked my divorced friend what was the happiness secret for her subsequent marriage which lasted twenty years. She replied “Because we each had our separate houses.” Please read more

Online Dating Tips

Online dating has created many happy unions. Sometimes it works out well and other times it fails. The intention of both parties may not be in synch which can derail the success of their first date. Ascertain if the other party seems to be on the same page as you. If you are seeking a new partner – is the other person also, or merely looking for a good time?

Several men in their twenties have clued me in on a point. Young people may not be searching for a committed relationship, but instead are desiring a hook up. They rapidly swipe on the left just by looking at the picture (Tinder). If the photo looks like “that person will put out the first time” then they swipe on the right. Keep this in mind if you are the one receiving the swipes on the left. Do not think of this as rejection, but rather saving you from a date who only wants sex.

A fellow said that one can go through a lot of people’s profiles quickly online and view them superficially. This is particularly done when looking for a short-term fling or an easy conquest. Put some thought into how you are presenting yourself on dating sites. Have a friend check your profile and photo. What you think shows your fun-loving side may be misinterpreted for something more shallow. That is why having another pair of eyes going over your profile and picture is important. You want your profile to reflect the different facets of your personality. If you are wanting a long-term relationship, then be clear about that so people after a one night stand are not contacting you.

Take safety precautions when going out with someone who was met online. Meet in a public place. If the person seems creepy or only wanting a hook up, you can then escape quickly. Consider having a friend phone or text you about forty-five minutes into the date. If things are going badly, you can pretend this is an emergency and make a hasty exit. Do not get in their car when first meeting them or go to somewhere secluded. It is better to error on being too cautious with a new date.

An unfortunate presence in today’s dating world is the date rape drug. Recently in the news, a bartender in the UK noticed a man putting something in his date’s drink. The bartender distracted the guy and quickly switched their cocktails. The man passed out, was taken into police custody and later arrested. The woman was very lucky that an astute bartender noticed, and took action which saved her from a perilous situation.

If the person looks menacing abort the date immediately. Leave quickly and do not worry about being polite, as your safety is more important. My friend and I went to a party with two new dates. We were among the first to arrive and the atmosphere felt strange. We looked around and noticed one room contained wall-to-wall mattresses. Being the only females present, we were concerned about being drugged. We made eye contact with each other and moved towards the front door. Once outside, we sprinted and got away. Trust your gut instinct and act on it.

Contact the dating site later with your concerns of a possibly dangerous person, as often a background check was not performed. If someone is questionable, the site may want to ensure that they are not a criminal to avoid any future problems. There are companies that do a background check on potential dates. This also can be a good idea if something seems fishy about your new partner. They may be married and looking for a bit of fun on the side.

Dating is an adventure and most people are okay, even if they are not your type. If your intuition is screaming that something is amiss, then pay attention.

My article was originally published on Digital Romance


Dating Again After a Break Up or Divorce

Consider letting the ink dry first on your divorce decree before jumping into the dating scene. Some guys start dating during divorce and bring old issues into new relationships. Take a breather after your divorce to make sure you are truly over it and ready to move forward. Your ex-wife may be the devil’s love child and you have every right to complain. New dates do not want to hear about her and that is a big turn off. Instead, tell your buddies over a pint about your lucky escape from Hell.

Let people know you are ready to start dating again. They may have a cute cousin to set you up with or do a double date. Going to parties is a great way to meet many women at once and see whom you like. You are relaxed and having fun with others, which makes it easier to approach someone interesting. I know a few couples who met at these gatherings and later got married.

Get involved with networking and joining professional groups at work. Not only do you boost your career, but you expand your connections and get to know fascinating people. Several doctors and lawyers met each other at professional functions and got married. Going to networking luncheons is another way to enlarge your circle of friends. It can be enjoyable to go out with co-workers after work for Happy Hour. Sparks may fly when getting to know them on a more personal level. Several marriages were the result of this at a large hospital where I used to work.

There are many online dating sites. Some vet their potential clients by doing background checks and interviews. With others you have to hope people’s profiles are accurate and their photos are from this decade. This also means you cannot use the photo where you had hair and a trim waistline, if that is no longer the case. Have a friend look over your profile to make sure it is enticing and not a bunch of fiction, as you want to meet someone who shares your interests. Speed dating is becoming more popular as a quick method to meet many at one go. There is a specified amount of time that you talk to each woman. Then after the event you turn in a sheet to the organization saying whom you would like to date. If there are matches, then you and the women are notified of them. There is no rejection on the spot which takes the pressure off you.

Sometimes after a heartbreak it can be difficult to begin dating again. There is no timetable when to start, so do not let friends try and push you into it. If they keep asking about your dates, tell them you will let them know if you become serious about anyone (even if you are not actively dating). There are ways to enjoy female companionship when not ready to date. Volunteer for a charity or cause which ignites your passion. Although several divorced people were not intending to remarry, they did after becoming friends with someone in their animal rescue group. Others joined photography, hiking and other groups and met some great members (platonically and otherwise).

Some people have gone to a movie, play or concert on first dates so they could start to feel more comfortable without having to make a lot of conversation when nervous. The event itself generates things to discuss. Others have found that hiking, walking or being out in nature is relaxing. If feeling stuck or awkward on dates, seeing a dating coach is an option. They can help you come up with strategies for either meeting women or having them want more dates.

Podcast on dating tips

My article was originally published in  Men’s Divorce   We believe everyone deserves equal treatment in family law, so we strive to educate men on how to protect themselves before, during and after divorce.

The Benefits of Practice Dating

There is a way to ease into dating again after a break up or divorce. Get your feet wet before diving in, by doing practice dating. One recently single woman told me that she and her divorced friends found that having a few practice dates made it much easier to feel comfortable entering the dating world. They selected men whom they absolutely did not feel any romantic attraction to, as their dates. Everyone was clear about this and what the purpose was for the date.

Consider practice dating as a dress rehearsal for the real thing – and take it seriously. It gives one the chance to make some mistakes, see what works and what needs improving. Whether it is a West End, Broadway, or children’s school play, they have a practice performance before the public one. This is the idea behind practice dating with a non-threatening opportunity to get some suggestions and encouragement.

Treat it as a real first date and take care to be well groomed and dressed according to the activity – edgy for an art gallery show or more refined for elegant dining. Go through all the motions of a date: do you arrive together or meet at a designated place, how to split expenses, determining the time frame of it. Think ahead about some good topics to discuss. Feedback at the end will include if you monopolized the conversation or shared too intimate details of your life. You are looking for balance.

How does one find someone who understands this get-together is just for practice? Find a friend who is amenable and willing to give brutally frank feedback at the end. One man who was getting back into dating, asked his lesbian friend to give him a critique of his dating behavior. She enlightened him that he hardly gave the other person a chance to jump into the conversation. This was due more to nerves so he had to work on being okay with not trying to plug gaps in the dialogue. Let the other person have time to digest what is being said with some silence.

One of my employers said that several of her divorced friends did practice dating through the organization Rent A Friend. Part of their website is devoted to “Practice Dating” which states “Hire a friend to practice going out with you and give you the feedback you need to improve your dating.” They stress that they are not a dating site or escort service. A website like this one, is another option if you cannot find a person to be your practice date. Her friends only needed between one to three practice dates before they felt relaxed enough to start dating.

Understand that feedback is crucial at the end of a practice date. The point is to learn from it, and not to be defensive. The practice person points out how you come across on date, in order to ensure people will want to see you again. Someone may have an annoying habit that will be a turn-off for another. Examples are: constantly clearing one’s throat when not medically necessary, picking at or biting nails at the table, chewing with an open mouth and more. People can be clueless about these behaviors and a practice date can bring it to an individual’s attention.

Sports require practice to improve one’s ability and dating can be like this too. A footballer is not going to score a goal without practice. A variation is to go on group dates which lesson performance pressure. There are others around the table to keep the conversation going and the mood lively. If feeling that your dating skills are shakey or out of date, consider having a practice date first.

My article was original published on Digital Romance   Publisher of Text Your Ex Back & Text The Romance Back. We teach men and women how to have better relationships.


Flirting – The Dos and Don’ts

Flirting can put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Flirting is an innocent interaction that lets people realize that both find the other attractive, without an agenda. The Merriam-Webster definition is “To behave amorously without serous intent.” There is no promise of intimacy or anything else. Europeans often have a more relaxed attitude about this. Some Americans that I interviewed for this article, seemed to think flirting was a prelude to a sexual encounter. I had a short flirtation while in the queue at a post office in London. The parting wink was lovely too. More often I have these flirtatious moments in France or Italy. Be open to them when at home or on the road.

What are the parameters? Are you in a safe place (public)? Are you where one of you has to stay put (like on a city bus or behind a counter)? No overt sexual remarks or references to body parts (breasts) are made. You both feel comfortable with the interaction. There is a café where the staff are also writers, singers, therapist and so forth. I flirt shamelessly with one guy who works there and is quite charming . We laugh a lot. Would we ever go out? No way. The bonus is I take more care with my appearance when I am out and about – which is beneficial when running into colleagues and potential buyers for my book.

Flirting with someone at a bar or club can be an invitation to something more. Flirting at a party can be iffy. You are amongst people, yet the other individual may think that they will get lucky. There is a balance of power between equals – not a boss and subordinate engaging in this activity. Be careful of being flirtatious at your workplace as you do not want to be accused of sexual harassment.

Having boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not, is important. Here is an example. On a Nile Cruise in Egypt, sometimes the manager would help out at the front desk during the busy times. When he handed me my key, he often said “That is my cabin too.” I laughed, said something, knowing it was just in fun. This was mild flirting. A young staff member must have overheard this and one morning he called me “Baby.” I firmly put him in his place and told him I was a mother of two sons. I matter of factly changed the conversation to what sights I would be seeing that day. He got the picture and was respectful the rest of the time. Had he not been, I would have spelled it out to him in a stronger manner. I enforced my boundaries.

Flirting may be between individuals of vastly different ages. I took my nineteen-month-old and five-year-old sons to a resort in the Caribbean. An American soap opera was being filmed there and my toddler was entranced. The gorgeous star came over to him between scenes told him he was such a big boy and oh so handsome, etc. My son gave it right back to her in his limited vocabulary and was in a great mood all day. The camera man told me that the actress was the biggest flirt and she did not care what the age was of her male target. The bonus was when we came back home, my toddler told me he was a big boy and no longer needed diapers. He potty trained himself in one day and did not have any bed wetting or accidents.

A seventy-year-old woman bristled when I asked her if she did any flirting. She denied any, saying that was what her ex did when he was having an affair. I was surprised a week later when I got her phone call, “Oh Wendi, I thought about your question on flirting. I had the best time doing a little bit this afternoon.” Now I get periodic updates on this new activity. She is bubbly and enjoying this innocent pastime.  Consider giving flirting a go.

Originally  published on Digital Romance


Advantages of Low-Key Dating Post-Divorce

After a breakup of a long-term relationship, one may feel desperate to meet someone.   Dates turn into assessing people for marriage material. Somewhere along the line, the fun of going out for laughs gets thrown out the window. Consider doing what you did back in college – date just to date. Go out with people who share your interests and wicked sense of humor. This is what I call “Low-Key Dating.”

Low-key dating helps one to really be in the moment and enjoy what is happening right then – not be daydreaming about what the future may hold. One young man says that it is easier if you go out without the pressure of a relationship. If a date turns into a relationship, then wonderful, if not, that is okay too. What low-key dating does is to let one be more relaxed and not feel judged. One can have dates with individuals who might not be at the top of the list for marriage. Several folks with different backgrounds and religions dated when newly single again. They were drawn together by common interests and gradually fell in love. Had they been actively seeking a new partner instead of some companionship, these happy unions never would have taken place.

One women said that she was having a dry spell between dates. When questioned further, this was not the case, in fact she was doing low-key dating. She recently had a coffee date with a younger DJ whom she is sometimes a guest on his radio show. She had a series of lunches or coffees with a single former classmate. Since those took place in the patio area at Whole Foods, she did not consider those slightly flirty get-togethers as dates. When I lived in another city for a year, I went to jazz concerts with a nice guy. I insisted on buying my own tickets and he paid for our meal afterwards. This is another example of low-key dating. There was no pressure to make it more than pleasant interludes.

Before you turn down a date because he/she is not “The One” reconsider it. Do something that you both enjoy – a movie, bowling, hiking, street fair and so forth. You two have a great time, good conversation and are staying active instead of moping around. It is interesting meeting different types of people. Broaden your horizon with low-key dates which are informative or amusing. Going out with an accountant helped me to get a better handle on my finances. I dated a medical student when I was in nursing school and we studied together. A friend dated a conditioning coach for a while and received great fitness tips.

You may be friends with a person and setting up a low-key date lessens possible rejection. Going out for lattes or to a get-together are relaxing ways to connect. Several colleagues went on low-key dates and sparks started to ignite when away from the work place. This casual way of dating resulted in discovering they had romantic feelings for each other and there were a few marriages. If these dates only led to deeper friendships, then that would have been good too.

In one case, a man confessed that he had been harboring a crush on a woman for a few years. She explained that she would be moving out of state in a year or two and did not want to get involved with anyone at this time. He agreed to go on platonic dates. She got the vibe that he would try to get her to change her mind or get hurt in the process. This is not the circumstance for low-key dating when the other person wants a lot more than you do. We tend to take life too seriously and low-key dating is a way to lighten up.

My article was originally published on Digital Romance







Dating After a Break Up

After a divorce or the breakup of a long-term relationship, it may be tempting to get right back into the dating scene. One may feel lonely and crave companionship, erroneously thinking only a romantic partner can fill this need. The fear of being on one’s own can be the push to flit from relationship to relationship. Consider taking a pause from dating to think things through and regroup. This is the opportunity to do a self-assessment and discover who you really are. Have you been a reflection of your spouse and not clear about what are your own passions, ambitions and interests? Some folks I interviewed, saw themselves as part of a single unit (couple) instead of as a whole entity (person). No wonder after a death or divorce, they felt like a fragment and very lost.

Have a Full Life Before Dating Again

Take the time to be comfortable with your own company and not require a companion 24/7. Guys have told me that some mutual female friends were “too needy” and they quickly parted ways. When someone has a life packed with hobbies, cultural activities and friends, they are captivating to others. When an individual is not waiting around for a date, but rather is hiking the Appalachian Trail or doing a charity bike ride in some far flung locale, this is what is attractive to others. One can have adventures abroad or in their hometown. Yes, mourn the past relationship, acknowledge and process your emotions, then get on with life before entering into a new relationship. When we do not pause between relationships, we can drag old issues into new ones. Look at why you broke up, take responsibility for your part in it, so that you do not repeat the past mistakes.

Patterns with Dates

Look for patterns. If you are having a series of breakups it could be that you are dating the same type of person over and over again. One acquaintance dated mainly biker dudes and wondered why her guys drank and partied so much. Another one dated a few Narcissists and complained about their preoccupation with themselves. Talking to trusted friends can help one see a destructive pattern with their choice of dates. Ask them if your new date also has these undesirable qualities. I know some people who met with dating coaches and were quite pleased with the results. They learned how to accurately access new dates and how to present themselves in the best light. All said it was money well spent. One gains some clarity with their dating situation when getting feedback from a neutral third party.

Join some groups and meet a variety of people that way. There is less pressure of feeling judged when being with others who are focused on the same cause or area of interest. One has camaraderie and can make friends who later become romantic partners. Several of my friends met their second husbands this way.

When someone has a life full of activities, volunteering, travel and more, it makes their online dating profile much more enticing. Potential dates are looking for individuals with shared interests and the more you have in common, the more people will respond to your profile. After divorce, get back into doing fun things, reconnect with others and show how fascinating you are with your intriguing profile on a dating site. It is helpful to have a friend check what you want to post to make sure it sounds interesting. If you have not gone on a date in a decade or so, feel free to have some double dates initially to increase your comfort level. Think of dating as an adventure and the ones that bomb can make a hilarious story.

My article was originally published in Digital Romance

Dating a Narcissist – Part 2

After being out of the dating pool for a decade or so, post-divorce it can be tempting to give an individual the benefit of doubt for erratic behaviour. One may wonder if things have changed in the dating world, or is it just them. It can be difficult to ascertain when a new partner has a personality disorder. Whether a person is a full-blown clinically diagnosed Narcissist – or shares a few of those traits – there are clues that someone is bad news.

  • If there are problems in your relationship, are they willing to work on them? Narcissists do not seek out therapy since it is the other person’s fault that the relationship is deteriorating. Narcissists may begin therapy when pressured, but drop out fairly quickly. They do not want to see their flaws or contribution to a floundering relationship. They are not going to exert any effort for a change nor try to understand your viewpoint and needs.
  • Sense of entitlement. Narcissists feel they deserve special treatment – the best restaurant table, hotel upgrade to a suite, place of honour and so forth. They want special consideration from others and bask in adoration. Narcissists will trample on family and friends to save face or get what they want. They are very in to materialism.
  • Narcissists perceive themselves as experts. You name it – they will know all there is on that subject. A young woman received her degree in philosophy, yet a narcissistic man working in security initiated a discussion to show off his brilliance. Although he was clearly off the mark on a philosopher, he bragged about winning the “debate.” He regularly spouts nonsense to the staff and gets belligerent when facts conflict with his views. Watch out if your new beau is Mr. Know-It-All or your girlfriend always has to be right. They get furious when others disagree with them or catch their discrepancies.
  • Is your new partner extremely competitive with you – even when your careers are vastly different? Narcissists crave fame and do not tolerate you sharing their spotlight. When a partner moves up the career ladder, garnishes praise or wins professional awards, this can be threatening to a Narcissist. They want the attention with a date in the background. One may be on the receiving end of putdowns concerning their abilities and stating achievements are due to luck. I sometimes socialized with an acquaintance, who was an excellent nurse, and with her husband. He would criticise her and this was awkward for the rest of us. After their divorce, Clare stated that her ex was a Narcissist and she had reached the breaking point. Disrespect towards you is a red flag that this is not a healthy relationship.

Narcissists want power over others. They are the puppeteers who pull the strings so others do their bidding.  Your new date is controlling which can initially be mistaken for seemingly to be in love. The old Rolling Stones’ song “Under my Thumb” describes this controlling behaviour and lack of a cooperative partnership.

Narcissists attempt to steal centre stage from others. For example, when a person told a joke or humorous story, one Narcissist would quickly add his sentence to the end of it, right before people started laughing. His lame one-liner was not relevant to what the jokester had previously said.  We were not fooled and were not laughing over the Narcissist’s addition. A Narcissistic date may try to top your or other people’s adventures in a conversation. They have to come out on top.

Relationships are not exactly 50/50, but if yours is 90/10 in their favour, then something is amiss. Are your needs and desires being lost in the background while their every whim is being met?  Remember, a relationship does not consist of a dictator and follower. If yours is beginning to feel that way, then talk it over with a trusted friend or professional.

Originally  published in The Divorce Magazine

Podcast on narcissists

Dating Again When Over 45

Getting back into the dating scene after celebrating your 45th birthday can be a bit scary. Whether due to divorce or death, you lost your safety net for going out as part of a couple. Married friends may be out of date with their advice on dating etiquette. Before signing up for various online matchmaking sites, get yourself ready for this new adventure.

Update your image especially if the last time you changed your hair style was in the 1980s. Enlist a savvy friend for advice on your appearance and to select a few trendy outfits. Department stores have style consultants who can give you a makeover from head to toe. Various studies indicate that people make a judgement about others within thirty seconds and this is largely based on appearance. Make a positive impression on potential partners by good grooming and nice clothes.

Do a little research to see what is expected nowadays when dating. Both genders share the expense of dates, whether splitting the tab down the middle or alternating who is paying when getting together. This point was confusing to older women I interviewed who were dating again. Some sidestep this issue by having men over for wonderful dinners and buying tickets to shows ahead of time. As long as there is give and take in these new relationships, then the burden of paying for things does not fall on one person.

Consider being with both genders in a group setting before going out on single dates again. One can be more relaxed when not having to carry on a conversation alone. One feels less judged when with others, than when meeting a date for the first time. has various activities such as hiking, going to movies, dining out, plus so much more. Being friendly can lead to a possible romantic connection with someone from the group. Some over forties have volunteered in causes that they are passionate about and ended up marrying a fellow member.

Go to group social gatherings from work, your neighborhood, political party and others that come your way. Some churches have a single’s group. My friend in her sixties is quite active her church’s one and they have a lot of fun things to do, such as movie night. See if where you worship or an organization has a single’s group you could join.

There is a similarity between going to a job interview and starting back into dating. Both require that you put your best foot forward, taken care with your appearance and have positive statements ready about yourself. In both situations you are selling your great qualities whether for a job or a relationship. Have a friend look over your dating profile and initial responses online to potential dates to ensure you are on track. Once you start dating, get some feedback on your interactions. Double date with another couple who can give you some hints on how to improve your dating style and how you come across to others.

Parties are a way to talk to potential dates, whether by themselves or in a group  Please read more


Single and Wanting to Meet People?

Whether one has been divorced, taken a sabbatical from dating, or recently arrived from the International Space Station, there are ways to get back into dating after a hiatus. It may seem easier today to find a special someone in the age of online matchmaking. Personal introductions seem almost old fashioned. Look around your immediate environment for potential relationships. I worked in a large university hospital and many happy unions were between doctors and nurses along with other staff. There are lawyer couples with long-term marriages too. Be careful of boss/employee relationships, where one person holds most of the power.

Where else to look? Join a group or cause which you feel passionate about to encounter like-minded people. Several people I know became friends with another in their charity. They were not trying to impress anyone and felt comfortable with these pals who eventually became their spouses. These groups may be political, religious, save the environment, animal rescue or whatever floats your boat. One divorced friend’s Anglican Church has an active singles group with a variety of social activities, such as movie nights, pot-luck suppers and more. She has met some great people at these gatherings. is global and has a plethora of special interest groups. This is a wonderful way to make friends which may lead to something more romantic. Groups include hiking, dining, going to the theater, volunteering and so forth.

Go to festivals and community events where people interact with each other. I met my former fiancé at our local Greek festival. It was such a lively atmosphere which made conversation easy. Bars can be tricky. If your locale has pubs where people of various ages go for a sense of community and camaraderie this may be an option to meet someone respectable. Some bars are more of a pick up joint for one night stands – so use your discretion.

Online dating sites are another method of meeting people. Before joining one, consider making a list of what values and characteristics you are seeking in a potential date. Then write down your own ethics and unique qualities that you possess. There ought to be similarities on both lists. You want to meet someone who shares important core values and traits. If you are a party girl, dating a hermit may not be a good match. When you write your profile for a dating site, include some of what is on your list about who you are. Have a friend read your profile and check out your photo to give honest feedback before submitting them. You want to be clear about what type of person whom you want to date.

There are matchmaking companies who screen, interview, and personally select a potential partner. This is especially useful for people in high powered careers who have more money than time to spend looking for a mate. Dating candidates are carefully vetted for background, interests, ethics and other qualities. The staff bring people together for a price, rather than someone sifting through dating profiles online and contacting potential dates themselves.

Please read more …

Going on Dates Again Post-Divorce

Dating again after a divorce has its challenges. One may have done well finding a person online that seems compatible or through an old-fashioned introduction. Now comes the hardest part – making a great first impression and sustaining that throughout the evening. A speech on networking at a Toastmasters International meeting had a lot in common with dating. The audience was surprised that when initially meeting someone, to keep 99% of the conversation on that person. In networking which also pertains to dating, begin with asking about their family and move on to what is their occupation. Ask what are their hobbies and interests, finishing up with inquiring what really matters to them. What gives meaning to their lives, their passion and what makes them tick. People enjoy talking about themselves, and by asking these questions you will be viewed as the most interesting person on the planet. There is now rapport and it is a good time to start revealing fascinating tidbits about yourself.

Bombarding someone with your life story when first meeting them is a turn off. One acquaintance wondered why she rarely got a second date. She did not ask the above mentioned questions and focused the conversation solely on herself. A co-worker told too personal details about her body functions and friends’ sex lives. Have some decorum.

Have a friendly demeanor and be cognizant of your body language. Arms folded across your body can mean “stay away” or as in Martial Arts, a sign of aggression. Nervous habits such as jingling change in your pocket or tapping your foot can be interpreted as impatience. Watch the amount of eye contact. Too little indicates lack of interest and staring can be uncomfortable for the receiver.

Be up-to-date on current news and major sporting events, like the Super Bowl. Be able to have discussions, but try to veer away from religion and politics on a first date. Have some amusing stories about co-workers, travel adventures and so forth ready in case you get tongue-tied or your mind goes blank. Pauses in conversation are okay and not every second has to be filled in by talking.  Please read more




Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

Narcissists can be charming people who are the centre of attention. The spotlight shines on them and it can be enticing to be their date. They crave admiration for their overinflated egos. Something may seem a bit off, but then one thinks,” must be my imagination” since they are the focus of an adoring crowd. Here are some signs your new partner is a Narcissist:

  • Lack of empathy. These individuals do not get how others feel and are unable to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They do not comprehend another’s viewpoint. They may appear callous and could care less about the plight of people or animals. While they may volunteer or work at a charity, it is because they garnish attention and are in the limelight. It is not because of a desire to make the world a better place. If you are upset or want to discuss a problem, they show no support.
  • Narcissists have an unrealistic sense of importance. The topic of conversation will be about them and their perceived achievements. Some of this is embellished or outright lies whether on a CV or about awards which were never really received. When caught in lies about false accomplishments, they have a plausible cover story or attack the accuser. Narcissists put others down who are perceived competitors, especially when others win awards. They are not team players and can view co-workers as obstacles to their success. See if you can talk about yourself, or if the conversation bounces right back to them.
  • They are social climbers who exploit others to help them move up to more elite social circles. They are rude and dismissive to those who cannot advance their careers or social standing, such as wait staff, sales clerks and so forth. See how staff is treated to get a true picture of someone. They will turn the charm on like a faucet when they desire a perk – airline seat upgrade, discount, prominent table in a restaurant, for example. They may make “jokes” (really insults) about those who seem worthless. They tear others down in order to build themselves up.
  • Their lives are about being seen. Yes it is fun to go to the latest clubs, restaurants and high profile events, however your role is to be arm candy. That gets old. Narcissists can exhibit hostility to those who do not give them the praise and adulation which they think they deserve. When not given the red carpet treatment, they can get nasty and belittle others.

Narcissists may not be that interested in meeting your family and friends. They make a charming first impression and then feel that they did their part. They are not going to be going to your mums for weekly Sunday roasts or chilling out with your gran watching Coronation Street. They will not be helping your parents with DIY projects or doing deeds that do not directly benefit them. They may seem bored or distant when out with your friends.

When dating, there is give and take in relationships.  With a Narcissist as a partner, there is an imbalance with them doing the taking. They may be using you, such as asking for money right away.  If you have a crisis or illness, is your partner a source of compassion and support? If having a problem, can you talk it through with your partner? Are you with someone who can just listen? If no, get some feedback from friends and family.

Cannot tell you how many folks I interviewed who chose not to listen to their friends’ warnings and said they could have avoided getting divorced if they had. If feeling confused, consider talking with a dating or life coach to ensure you are on the right track.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine

Podcast on narcissists

Modern Reasons to Get a Prenuptial Agreement

When prenups first became popular, they were often seen as a weapon by which wealthy spouses took advantage of less sophisticated (and less wealthy) partners. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that so many people today have an instinctively negative reaction when they hear the term “prenuptial agreement.” To make it worse, it seems like every week we are hearing about another messy divorces amongst celebrities and their high-stake prenups. As  mentioned in Wendi Schuller’s  new book, The Global Guide to Divorce, prenups can be crucial to your “happily ever after”, whether you stay married or get a divorce.

The Global Guide to Divorce also relays that marriage and divorce is evolving with the times. Modern-day marriage is not only a romantic relationship, but is also a business partnership. In fact, marriage throughout history has been an arrangement of sharing property, while the romantic aspect of marriage is a relatively modern development. Similar to a true business partnership, prenuptial agreements are used to protect both spouses.

The divorce attorneys in Scottsdale suggest prenups for people in their 30s or older with any substantial assets, children or a former spouse. Prenuptial agreements are particularly useful for people who are entering into a second marriage. In the case of remarriage, one or both spouses may already have significant assets, and may want to arrange that family members from the first marriage inherit property and assets.

Modern-day couples are obtaining prenups for five main reasons:

  1. Spouses who have children from a prior marriage are often concerned about their future financial protection. A prenuptial agreement can be used to ensure your children (and your spouse) will be taken care of as you wish, if something happens to you.
  2. A prenuptial agreement can protect against joint liability on individual debts. For example, if a spouse owns a small business and personally guarantees loans, a prenup can limit legal responsibility and preserve assets for both of the spouses in the marriage.
  3. If one spouse co-owns a business, a clear succession plan is often necessary to obtain financing. A prenup can make running the business easier as well as clarify what happens if the business owner dies.
  4. By clearly showing how assets will be titled during the marriage, a prenup can facilitate gift and estate tax planning.
  5. Although laws are in place to protect inherited property at the moment, they can always be challenged or changed. Address any inherited property beforehand, in a prenuptial agreement. You’d hate to see your grandparent’s beach home just because your spouse is entitled to half of it.

Experts believe that prenups will become more socially acceptable in the coming years. Both men and women will be more interested in safeguarding their future by beginning their marriage with a prenuptial agreement in place.

Amanda Rumore, author of this article, is a family and parenting expert. She has worked throughout the US in marketing and public relations for a variety of industries, as well as worked for various media outlets. Amanda currently resides in Phoenix, AZ., where she is a freelance writer.





Reasons to Hire a Dating Coach After Divorce

Dating rules and expectations have changed since being single again after a decade or two. What worked in the distant past does not seem to be working now after a divorce. It can be daunting stepping back into the dating scene after a long hiatus. Questions pop up – Who pays? When do I initiate dates? How do I meet people again? Who are you going to call – the dating coach!

  1. It is nearly impossible to do an unbiased self-assessment. A dating coach is able to give you honest feedback regarding your strengths and weaknesses. She enlightens you to which areas need an overhaul – attitude, confidence or unrealistic expectation of nabbing a billionaire. She helps you to get a realistic picture of yourself.
  2. A dating coach can help boost one’s self-esteem which took a battering in a toxic marriage. If one feels that they are unworthy of a great person – they may be repeating marital patterns and dating those who put her/him down. A dating coach reaffirms a person’s self-worth and to raise the bar on the qualities of dating partners.
  3. A dating coach can gently suggest some outward improvements to give a better first impression. Different research studies indicate that folks make decisions about new people between 1/10 of a second to thirty seconds, with the average being seven seconds. The coach may refer a client to a department store stylist for a few wardrobe upgrades. Or getting rid of grey hair for a more youthful appearance. I still see women in their 50’s-60’s wearing bright blue eye shadow which was popular   decades ago. A make-over can be just the ticket for updating one’s looks when starting to date once more.
  4. A dating coach can look at one’s interactions to determine a few things. Are you tongue tied? Do you chatter non-stop out of nervousness? Are you a good listener? How to encourage the other party to talk about themselves and not answer by yes or no?
  5. Knowing how to navigate different dating sites is a job for a dating coach. She guides people in making a profile, selecting a self-photo and the other intricacies of online dating. She can assist in making the initial contact and in answering any responses from potential dates until one feels more at ease. She is a good resource for deciphering men’s profiles and any other concerns that crop up with internet dating.  Please read more

Online Dating Tips After Divorce

Statistics vary from 10% to 35% of marriages today are due to meeting one’s spouse from an online dating site. The higher range is from studies that are sponsored from the various dating sites themselves. Regardless, many people are successfully using this method to meet their life partners.

  • Do expect some disappearing acts. One will meet wonderful, charismatic dates whom seem like candidates for long-term relationships. Then they utter the words reminiscent of uni days, “I’ll be in touch.” He or she does not call or answer any texts. If one is finally able to catch them, they are vague and say “no” to a future date. You never find out what happened.
  • Do not take a first date to your flat, or give out personal contact information. 29 year old Sharon Siermans met a man on a dating site in Australia, who seemed kind. They arranged to meet in a public area. After seeing him in the flesh, he gave her the creep and she did not want to be seen with him. Grabbing a quick cup of coffee and terminating the date would have been more prudent than bringing him back to her house for a quick snack. She avoided him and refused more dates, which angered this fellow. The news reported that he went back to Siermans’ house at a later date and murdered her. The extra sad part is that her four year old son, Aron, witnessed this horrific act. If you meet someone and your red flags go up – terminate the date quickly without mentioning personal information. One way to do this, is to nip into the loo and arrange for a friend to call you in ten minutes.
  • Do not expect a dating site to vet out undesirables. Jason Dinsley, who murdered Sharon Siermans, had been in jail for a vicious rape and that was why he had been absent from the dating scene. Before the internet, one met other people’s co-workers, neighbors, third cousins, and so forth. Then these dates came with a known background. When I was at uni, my pals and I were into recycling. When we went out with perfectly lovely guys – that just were not our type-we passed them along to worthy friends with recommendations.
  • Keep your profile realistic with a recent photo.       Please read more

First Christmas Together When In A New Dating Relationship

Your divorce or break up is over and you have moved on. Now you have been seeing someone for only a couple of months and the relationship is quite new. Christmas is looming on the horizon and you are not sure what to get or how much to spend on a present. The holiday season is about celebrating with family and you have not even met your date’s relatives yet. Here are some tips on getting through the holiday season with a recently met love interest.

First thing on many people’s agenda is “what do I get them for Christmas?” Something too cheap appears that you have a slight interest in them. The too personal or expensive gift hints for commitment (or possibly marriage). Avoid fine jewellery that could suggest stronger intentions than you may have. Ethnic jewellery may be okay- however several guys recommended staying away from that too. One man buys vibrantly coloured silk scarves for new girlfriends.

Something in the in the middle is a safer bet, but what? Consider purchasing an item in their field of interest that is unique, but not a big ticket thing. One woman who travelled for business, picked up golf balls and inexpensive logo accessories from esteemed golf courses. This was a major hit. A chef might like cool new gadgets with some exotic ingredients (African spices for example). Foodies may appreciate a custom made gift basket from a gourmet shop. Guys may want to pop into a skin care shop, such as Neal’s Yard Remedies to have an expert staff member select some fabulous serums and lotions. Get natural products with essential oils or organic ingredients which will appeal to more women. One fellow goes to a local store on his travels and picks up regionally made hand cream, lip balm and so forth. This is well received.

The goal is to give a personalized gift without screaming how much it costs. Several smaller items grouped together a as present, makes it less obvious what the monetary value is. One divorced woman  does  searches to see how much was spent on a bracelet, etc. when she is on the fence about a relationship. She uses that as a guideline for selecting gifts for new relationships.

I had started dating a guy who noticed that I could use a small bookcase. That was one of the best presents that I received. If you are handy making something, that is a thoughtful gift. If not the imaginative type, ask some co-workers for a few suggestions.

If you recently started dating, you may not have met each other’s families yet – including children from previous relationships. This is the time of year when you may be meeting almost all family members at once during large holiday gatherings. Yes, you may be judged, but keep a pleasant demeanor and be a good listener. Do not get drawn in to family conflicts, just stay on the side lines. These celebrations can involve a copious amount of alcohol and it may be tempting to overindulge to calm your nerves. Do not give into this temptation. You cannot go back in time to undo embarrassing antics or take back stupid comments said, when you got a little too tipsy. Make sure to drink water to stay hydrated and nibble on food when consuming alcohol at these parties.

It helps to find out ahead of time how dressy or casual an event will be. You do not want to show up in formal attire for a laid back party where people wear their worst holiday sweaters received as gifts. When I start dating someone around the holidays or am invited to a boyfriend’s’ family get-together, I take my signature Italian cookies.  They are different and show that I put care into baking these goodies.

Insert  fun into a new relationship by enjoying holiday festivities. Walk around downtown gazing at the Christmas lights. Go ice skating at an outside rink. Allow the holiday season to bring out your playfulness.





Group Dating After Divorce

After a hiatus of a few decades – it is challenging to jump back into the dating scene post-divorce. Dating expectations have changed and our svelte figures have morphed into middle-aged bodies. There are a plethora of options in meeting potential mates which can be a bit overwhelming. What is a simple way to dip your toe into the dating pool without totally plunging in? Group Dating.

Group dating is a recent global trend that makes it less daunting to meet new people. Conversing in a group setting takes the pressure off feeling being judged. Remember the laughs back in high school and college when you went out in a mixed group? It was enjoyable whether or not you ended up with someone. Group dating is the grown-up equivalent of this activity.

In London and spreading elsewhere, there is “Six Dinners Later.” After getting on the site’s guest list, a profile is uploaded. This is a fun one which includes favorite dishes and who would be an ideal dinner companion. Then one waits until invited to a dinner party by another member at his or her house for potluck. There are three members of each gender at these gatherings. The next step is that one gives a dinner party at their place and includes the former host. You would pick four others from the site to attend. After one attends these “six dinners” they will have met 25 people. This gives the chance to meet new pals as well as potential dates.

In the US a variation on this theme of group dating is “Grouper.” One does a short profile on this dating site and Grouper also checks Facebook to ensure compatible matches for get-togethers. Two people are matched up and they each bring two single friends along with them. This is a little different from “Six Dinners Later” where you totally do not know anyone. The six people are contacted with a date, place and time. A fee is collected that covers the first round of drinks. Sometimes the whole bar will be reserved for “Grouper” members and the host will bring people to the correct tables. Having two buddies with you makes for a fun night whether there are fireworks or not.

In the Atlanta area, Singles for Service is a free dating site that combines community service projects with dating. This gives people a way to see other’s more authentic selves when they are helping others. It also serves to enable singles to meet other singles with a similar area of interest. Singles for Service claims to bring “quality singles together.” is an international organization with various groups, including singles’ ones. Other groups are according to special interests, such as hiking. Even if not in a specific single’s group, one can meet many fascinating people in the other ones. The group I am in, gets together for coffees, lectures and so many other activities.

Excerpt from Group Dating Post-Divorce in Divorce Magazine

Getting Back into Dating Post-Divorce

It can be scary getting back into the dating scene after a long hiatus. Work on your own issues first before getting into a new relationship. One’s self-esteem may be close to non-existent after a toxic marriage. One woman I know dated right after the ink was dry on her divorce decree. She equated sleeping around with a slew of men as being popular and these relationships were short-lived. She got a reality check during therapy and now opts for quality over quantity regarding men.

Before You Date Again:

Write down what you are looking for in a future partner:

Ethics, values, kindness, interests and so forth are important in any relationship they are especially important in men you want to date. What is a deal breaker for you? Do an intake of what you have to offer someone else and see if these qualities are similar to what you are seeking in someone else.

Ask trusted friends for an honest assessment of your behavior to see if you have anything which is annoying or off-putting. One of my friends laughs like a hyena, I suggested she tone it down. And I had to suggest to another that she close her mouth when she chews. These are little things but may influence a guy not to want a second date.

Be specific about the kind of man you want to meet in your profile:

Have an accurate profile and be very specific what you are looking for in a partner. Use your intuition to weed out the nutjobs. It may be worth the extra money to go to a professional matchmaking service who does extensive personality testing and background checks. They do personal interviews to ensure compatibility right from the start. This saves time and effort when zeroing in on just the right guy. Please read more….

Dating Your Opposite Post-Divorce

Sometimes dating one’s opposite adds spice to a relationship or in other cases, tears it apart. The trick is knowing when someone is quirky vs. not the right match at all. Lust or the heady feeling of being in love can blind some to potential problem spots. Having one’s head in the sand like an ostrich does not make problems go away, but rather delays dealing with them. Whether it is being of different religions, ideology or life philosophies, issues need to be addressed before rushing to the alter.

An example of opposites working out differences and being happily married for fifty years is Violet and Terrence. She is city girl who loathes camping out, doing long treks, or white water rafting. Her outdoorsy husband releases his inner mountain man by long hikes and sleeping rough in the wild. They cherish each other and learned to compromise. They bought a luxurious camper van with all mod cons including a cosy kitchen. This couple takes short hikes together and she happily reads while Terrence does the arduous ones solo. I have joined his camping trips staying in tents for white water rafting adventures. Violet keeps busy with extended family while Terrance is away on these short jaunts. They both taught me to cross country ski. Violet is happy for the gentle nudge to enjoy being out in nature.

There are some fundamental issues that sometimes cannot be resolved. A former co-worker of mine is an in-your-face vegetarian who had married a carnivore. She ended up getting a divorce and it had not helped their relationship by having hunters on his family tree. Sometimes opposite temperaments and interests are the death knoll for relationships. My former fiancé was an introvert and I am an extrovert. I love to dance and he would rather stick a pin in his hand than get up on the dance floor. His idea of a perfect evening was staying in and mine was socializing. Although this is not what broke us up, I realized that our opposite preferences would not have worked out well in the long run.

No one is going to tick all of the boxes on our wish list. However, being in alignment with ethics, values, interests helps. If you sense that your dating partner may not want to be a vagabond and you are not a homebody, then a frank discussion is in order. Pre-marital counselling is highly recommended for the second time around to ensure you understand each other’s positions. In the earlier phase of dating, if there is a sticky issue it can be helpful to discuss it with a neutral third party, whether a family friend, clergy or life coach. If the issue is a deal breaker for each of you, it is better to discover that before putting in more time or energy into the relationship. Talking with friends can help give insight to your dating situation.

If something does not feel right when dating, then step back and analyse what is trying to grab your attention. Still your mind through meditation, a walk through the woods or whatever grounds you. Maybe take a break and go away for a short holiday to things over. People in long-term marriages tend to have a sense of humour, compromise and respect the person even if they have an opposite viewpoint. Dating a person who is your opposite can expose you to exciting new adventures, however it is crucial to maintain good communication.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine




How To Pick Right Marriage Partner

Sometimes we pick the wrong partner due to inexperience and youth, or because someone’s true colours show up later. Alice admits to being the personification of the cliché “Love is blind.” When Alice was quite young she married a Vietnam veteran who had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and he self-medicated with marijuana. In the era of anti-war protests, this couple’s friends were other veterans and their wives. Her husband’s war buddies also were stoners. Alice said that she was too young and meek to make a stand that this was unacceptable to her. When the group gift at their sons’ first birthday party was a bag of pot, that was a wakeup call for Alice that this situation was out of control. They divorced after three years of marriage. She now warns others not to think you can change or fix someone after marriage.

Alice and her young son moved across country where she got a job at a university. She developed an acute medical condition which required surgery. Then her mother and close friend died while she was recovering which added to her misery. Alice’s child support was minimal and she struggled financially as a single parent. Henry, a professor in her department, reached out to Alice in her vulnerable state. Henry helped her financially and emotionally as she was trying to cope. Henry became Alice’s mentor, lifeline and then husband. He excelled in the caretaker role – helping Alice get through her medical crisis and mourning.

When Alice felt better, this couple adopted a toddler. Alice metamorphosed from a victim into a strong person and an equal partner in the marriage. She voiced her opinions. Henry did not want to step out of his role as caretaker and advisor. He did not like sharing his power and became a “bully” to Alice and the children. He was emotionally and physically abusive. She got another divorce.

Alice felt that she was a good judge of character and had learned quite a few life lessons from her two marriages.

A charming, caring man who oozed charisma entered into Alice’s life. She fell in love (or lust) and allowed him to move in with them. When Alice and her sons were away visiting family, her boyfriend stole all that was of value in her home. He disappeared before their return. Her suspicion that this charmer may be a sociopath was confirmed when the police contacted her. The con man had a string of crimes and there was a warrant for his arrest. His police record showed past convictions for theft and assaults.

Alice moved house and changed her phone number as a precaution. Alice suggests doing a police check on a new beau to make sure they do not have a criminal record.

Alice finally learned to take it slowly when dating and not to rush into marriage. She met a kind man and took her time getting to know him. They have been wed over a decade and are very happy. Once Alice made it past the five year mark, she started to relax and knew this relationship would last.

Alice shared these bits of wisdom.

  • Do not marry so young and do not go along with someone’s vices.
  • When one is going through a trauma – do not get married in the middle of it. Wait until you are back on your feet and can properly assess your feelings. Marrying your rescuer or caretaker can backfire once you have recovered.
  • When someone comes on too strongly or quickly – this is a red flag.  When one’s self-worth has taken a beating during an abusive marriage this contributes to being extra susceptible to flattery and being taken in by a sociopath.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine



Is Dating a Liar a Deal Breaker for You?

It is a tough call whether to stay or bail when one’s partner emulates Pinocchio. Lies chip away at the foundation of trust and discovering the cause of them can determine how to proceed. Sometimes we women set guys up to lie and don’t realize it. In these cases the men feel trapped – say a white lie to keep status quo or tell the truth and risk hurt or angry feelings. An example of this is “Honey, does this (clothing) make my bum look big?” Of course he is not going to answer “Yes, about the size of the state of Kansas.” Most likely the reply will be along the line of “Not at all, dear.” Save these questions for your girlfriends. Also do not ask if you look old, fat or any other similar ones when you are really seeking reassurance rather than the brutal truth.

Determine if your partner is a habitual liar. One woman found out that her boyfriend was not really in medical school, as he claimed. A family friend was the secretary in the med school and spilled the beans. The fellow said the secretary was incompetent and later admitted that he was just thinking of applying there. She foolishly gave him a few more chances before breaking up permanently. The woman could have cared less if he was enrolled in grad vs medical school and did not like having her friend disrespected to cover up his falsehoods. If you find out that your man lies just to lie, even about trivial matters, then run in the opposite direction.

Some people are shy or feel awkward in social situations. They may exaggerate their job title, golf scores, or exotic vacation destinations in order to make connections with others. There may be a self-worth issue where they do not feel good enough about themselves when meeting others. These types of people may stop lying when their self-esteem is boosted or they realize lying is not necessary. Some sessions with a therapist can clear up faulty thinking – if they are willing to change.   To read more:

First Step When Dating After Divorce

It may be tempting after signing the divorce papers to jump back into the dating scene. Many people skip the first crucial step and then start dating the same type of person over again. What is this first step?  Do a self-assessment.

A self-assessment clarifies one’s needs, values, strengths and problem points. Be clear who you really are and what you are looking for in a relationship. Find yourself first before finding a new partner.  Someone who went straight from the parental home or dorm room into marriage may not have a good sense of self, merely being a reflection of their mate. Some people are like a fragment or piece of the puzzle and only feel complete when part of a couple. I call this serial dating when a person flits from relationship to relationship without a break for introspection. One thrice married woman was bemoaning being single again at age seventy-two, and wanted a new husband. Almost like any port in the storm would do.

When taking stock of yourself, analyse what went wrong in your relationship. It is imperative to take responsibility for your part in the demise of your marriage. Replace blame with forgiveness for your ex. Forgiveness severs the bond that keeps one tethered to a person or the past. Forgiveness is part of moving on after divorce before being in a relationship again. Forgive yourself and remember that hindsight is 20/20. We all make mistakes and these are life lessons.

After taking stock of your own qualities, determine the ones that you are seeking in someone else. Assess if you are being too picky – wanting the same qualities that you did eons ago in college. Someone looking like she stepped out of Sports Illustrated is unrealistic. Wanting a buff guy driving an expensive sports car is superficial. No one is going to tick all of the boxes on your date wish list. What traits do you have that can attract the type of mate that you desire? An acquaintance of mine said that in her AA group, they are told to make a list of the values and characteristics that they would want in a mate – and to be that person.  Read the full article…

Reconnecting with Former Love

It is so easy nowadays to reconnect with a long ago love. There are various online sites from social media to searching for classmates, which facilitate getting in touch again. What starts out as curiosity regarding the one who got away can end up as an affair that rips families apart. It may be innocence or nativity that views exchanging a few updates as no big deal. If rekindling a relationship with a former flame cannot be discussed with a spouse, then it falls into the danger zone. In the majority of these cases, at least one spouse is married.

When the old sweethearts meet up again, it has been described as being like a vacation in Disneyland. There are no mundane tasks or bills, just fun activities. The reunion may have already budgeted expenses, so the day to day juggling of finances is not present. This situation is similar to episodes of bachelor/bachelorette television shows filmed in an exotic locale. The people stay in a five star hotel, with great meals and amenities. There are exciting diversions without the stresses of daily life. When former lovers reunite, this new relationship is built upon the quicksand of fantasy without a firm foundation. No wonder these relationships have a higher rate of divorce or not making it to the alter.

This true story echoes so many of the other ones they were shared with me. Jerry’s wife decided to go online and discover whatever happened to her college boyfriend. He was single and just seeing his photo brought back happy memories. They decided to get together for a weekend. Soon after this initial meeting, Carol decided on a divorce and left Jerry. Carol and this college flame got married, but this relationship did not work out, so she got divorced again. Having a whirlwind courtship while getting a divorce, did not give a realistic picture for this new relationship. It is not just picking up where both parties left off over a decade ago.

People searching for old flames do so for different reasons, such as being bored in their marriages. They may want to relive their youth or now have that middle age itch. There may be something lacking in their lives now, so they feel if they had married their former fling, they would have been fulfilled. They are not taking responsibility for a void and think a past love could fill it. They want excitement, or say they are hooking up just as friends.

If you are married – do not look up former boy/girlfriends. If you are single and do –please respect the other person’s marital status by not contacting them if they are married. If you both are unattached, then consider giving this a go. The relationships that seem to be most successful are the ones that broke up due to parents’ interference or because they were too young. There have been reunions which led to successful marriages, but both were single and did not leave marriages to reunite. If one’s marriage is unhappy, go for counselling to fix it or end it, before pursuing a former partner.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine



Dating Scene – How to Tell the Good Ones from the Bad Ones

Post-divorce you may be stepping back into the dating scene with some trepidation. The rules seemed to have changed and the phrase, “He just isn’t that into you” is floating around in your head. Now you meet someone who seems like a dream and adores you. That is wonderful, or is it? Here are eight tips for differentiating the good date from the bad date. These tips are pertinent for both genders,

1. A good dating partner takes their time getting to know someone and a bad one may push for a commitment right away. A relationship is not a race from the starting line to the finish (marriage). A good partner wants to get to know you too in order to determine if you are marriage material. If someone is pressuring you for nuptials quickly, then wonder why. Is there some dark secret lurking in the background that you are not to discover until too late?

2. A good dating partner lets you go out with friends and family while a not so good one has to always know your whereabouts. She will contact you frequently to see where you are and whom you are with, to make sure it is with the guys. This type of person may start to insert themselves into your social plans, even when just out with some pals. It was awkward when a friend’s fiancé did this and she and I lost contact soon after her wedding. This controlling behavior may escalate after getting married into emotional abuse. Some newlyweds become isolated from friends and family or only visit when the spouse is present.

3. A good date is respectful to all and treats those in the service industry the same as a CEO. They do not belittle anyone for faults, ethnic/religious differences, or for any other reason. They are a good citizen, may volunteer or help people/animals in some way. The bad one makes fun of underlings or folks different from them as the butt of  “jokes.” They loudly comment on the perceived shortcomings of others within hearing distance. One divorced woman tells that she knew divorce was in the future when her spouse told a rape “joke” and did not get what was wrong with that.

The One Who Got Away

Most of us have stories about “The One That Got Away.” He might have been a high school crush or the lovely woman from a previous job.

When we hit a bumpy road in life, such as with divorce, we wonder “What would have happened if we…?”  You still may be dealing with a broken heart and your friends have a glazed look when he is the topic of conversation for the hundredth time. The cliché “Time heals wounds” does not seem to working for you. Understanding what the one who got away represents, gives clarity in determining what is lacking in your life now. That relationship may remind you of happier, carefree days. You were younger without all of the current burdens and responsibilities.

When we feel overwhelmed, it is natural for our minds to drift off into fantasyland of what might have been. Does that relationship conjure up fun and excitement that seems to have vanished with divorce? It does not always mean that you want the actual person back, but rather the circumstance surrounding that former relationship. When a few friends talked about the one who got away, it seemed like they were missing the social clique and parties more than the boyfriend. Think about whether it is really about that specific individual.

What did you learn from that relationship which can be brought into new ones? Perhaps it is having a sense of fun or someone who treats you respectfully. Examine the specific behaviour or action that caused this break up. If she left you for someone else, then her interest level plummeted and it was over. If you drifted apart – analyse that situation so you can gain closure. We look at the past through rose coloured glasses which can affect our sense of reality regarding a former relationship.

Divorce – The One that Got Away

How to Get Over an Ex-Spouse or Past Relationship

Part of moving on after divorce is leaving your reconciliation fantasy behind. When one is feeling lonely, that makes it tempting to dwell in the past and ponder if an old romance could be rekindled. A few people have wondered if they were too speedy in wanting a divorce and could have hung on longer.  Really think through why the relationship ended. Was there any abuse or lack of respect? Do not fall into the “What if trap.”  “What if we had tried…..”   Relationships end when interest wanes.

Sometimes people are too different to really make a go of it. My friend Connie was having a bad patch in her marriage and looked up a former love. They have different lifestyles which may have clashed in the long run. He is happily married with a very active life in the political arena in Washington D.C. He makes the news with the parties he attends and his well-dressed appearance. Connie rarely entertains, is more of a blue jeans type of a girl, and is vegan. When asked if she would throw lavish soirees, serve meat or be elegantly attired on a regular basis, she had difficulty responding. Eventually Connie realized that if they had stayed together, maybe she would not be as happy as she had fantasized. When she and her husband made up, that longing for that past relationship diminished.

Please read more…

Arranged Marriages

The divorce rate is much lower (4-6%) for arranged marriages than for traditional ones (40-45%). India leads the world with the lowest divorce rate (1.1%) with 90% of their marriages being arranged in some fashion. Are arranged marriages better than love matches? There are pros and cons to each type.

In some cultures, especially Asian and Middle Eastern ones, divorce is less acceptable than in the Western world. Spouses may be informally separated which would not be reflected in the divorce statistics. In areas where domestic abuse is higher, there may not be a support system in place for women wanting to leave their husbands. Some families paid a dowry, so disentangling is more complicated. Having a divorced offspring may bring shame to a family. These are external forces keeping a couple together.

Parents or matchmakers determine the personality traits, outlooks, interests, and temperament of a person and find a suitable mate with similar qualities. The young people are from the same background, educational level, class, and religion to ensure compatibility. Some of the divorces in the West are due to vastly different backgrounds which become insurmountable when problems surface down the road. The parents check on potential mates’ backgrounds and more modern ones may hire a private detective.  Please read more…

Anger Keeps You Attached to your Ex

Anger is another way to keep you attached to your ex after divorce. Here are reasons to sever the anger tie that keeps you bound to your ex.

1. Anger can shrink rather than expand your social network. One divorced woman I know was perpetually angry with her ex and his truly awful family. Instead of being pleased that she got out of that mess, got her Master’s degree, and an exciting job, Penny kept harping on her ex. She endlessly kept going back to that subject, even though her friends lost patience eons ago. She drove pals away when they responded “enough is enough” and Penny refused to listen. Anger can turn a friendship from give and take to just being a sounding board for someone’s misery.

2.  Anger is energy that is spent thinking about your ex or plotting various ways of his demise. It may be a two way street with your anger fuelling his, with retaliation. Anger robs people of time and energy that can be used in a more constructive manner. If you are neutral about someone, such as a co-worker or neighbor, there is no specific tie to them. You interact with them, but then go on you merry way about your own business. Anger is a strong emotion – no take it or leave it attitude. Do you really want this attachment to your ex?

3. Anger builds a wall around people. it is like wearing a “No Trespassing” sign around your neck – stay away. One woman who was bitter post-divorce would yell at her daughter over trivial things. Anger towards her ex splashed over into most areas of her life. The girl did not have much of a relationship with her mother until after college when they were more like friends. Be careful that anger is not endangering your relationships with your children and friends.

Please read more…

Red Flags When Dating Again After Divorce

One may have gotten through a traumatic divorce and is now on the path to recovery. Perhaps a stint in therapy gave insight on how to avoid repeating the same relationship patterns that contributed to the demise of the marriage. A charming suitor enters your life and is breaking through your barriers. How does one differentiate between someone who is potentially dangerous from a soul mate?

  • Trust your gut feeling. What is your initial reaction to this person? Are you comfortable or a tad uneasy? Your subconscious is screaming at you that something is not right, and a bit off. Things do not quite synchronize, actions vs explanations. It is easy to give someone the benefit of doubt a few times. When this becomes a pattern, then it is a red flag. Does he seem caring, yet you feel like pulling back, but are trying to analyze why? Listen to your body, are you tense, but not sure of the cause? When you have an unsettling feeling, then investigate the cause of it.
  • The new relationship moves too quickly and becomes intense. One may rationalize that it is love at first sight, but that is still not a reason to move from just meeting someone to becoming a tight couple.  We may have lost self-esteem in our marriage and here is a person who thinks we are absolutely wonderful. Some very charming individuals are cons who prey on vulnerable people. Whether they are conning elderly out of life-long savings, or on the verge of proposing, they are after something.  In retail, the saying, “If it seems too good to be true, then it is” also applies to dates. If someone seems too perfect and just what you need, take your time in getting to know that person. If it is love, they will not rush you into a situation that you are not ready to be in.
  • When one’s friends and family are asking if you have taken leave of your senses that is a major clue that something is not right with your new partner. Are you getting angry with the negative feedback from loved ones or really listening to unanimous lack of approval? Put your feelings and ego aside and determine just what their uneasiness is about regarding your new girlfriend.
  •   Please read more…

Are You Too Picky When Dating Post-Divorce?

When interviewing both genders on the qualities they seek in a partner, men were more general and women tended to have a long shopping list of requirements.  Some of these seemed to still be rooted back to uni days, such as “he must be buff” or have “an awesome sports car.” Now is the time to update your list of qualities for partners by your current age and not your younger self. Kathy is 5’8’’ and wears 3 1/2 to 4 inch heels and is only looking for a date who is 6’2’’.  She says this height is just perfect for her. Reasoning with Kathy has not worked. Are you looking for a very specific type – like a key to a lock? Do you feel that there is only one person who is right for you and bypass others who are nearly right? A clue this is happening is by having many dry spells between dates.

Be willing to compromise

Brenda specifies that all people she dates must love doing day hikes. Even if guys are active in other ways, not doing day long hikes was the deal breaker for her. When asked why she could not hike and meet up with the guy afterwards, Brenda answered “no way.” In contrast, Jerry is divorced and an outdoorsy type of fellow who swims almost daily. Although he is seeking an active woman, she does not have to even get in the water, much less go swimming. Jerry said that he could have a date with a girlfriend after he goes to the pool. If they go on vacation, he will swim in the ocean while she reads on the beach. He is more flexible and willing to compromise than Brenda is.

Having high standards, ethics and spirituality is not being too picky. 

If marrying outside of your religion is non-negotiable, then date only members of it. There are specific dating sites, such as for Jewish singles or Mennonites, and online searches are easy.  If sex outside of wedlock is taboo then date only others who also share this belief. Values that align with someone else’s’ is the basis for a long term  relationship.

What do you bring to dating?

A few women stated that they were looking for handsome men to take them travelling on a long-term or permanent basis.  When asked “What do you bring to the table?” they went blank. When probed, what qualities do you possess that would specifically attract such a boyfriend they could only answer “Well, that is who I want to marry.”  Friends probably are not going to point out to these few that they lack charisma, charm and the ability to hold stimulating conversations on a variety of subjects with people of different cultures. Think about what great qualities you have that would attract the type of person you want to date.

Be exactly clear what you mean when using labels to categorize people.

Sandy is a hairdresser who states that she does not date doormats. She runs around with a biker crowd and has had some relationships post-divorce that teeter on the brink of abuse.  A fantastic, kind man came into Sandy’s life. He would sometimes drop by the salon with flowers for her. Sandy’s co-workers and customers adored him. Sandy kicked him to the curb. Why? Sandy’s faulty thinking confused being a nice, respectable guy with being a doormat.

Make a list of the qualities that you seek in a spouse by order of importance.

Look at the more trivial ones at the end to determine if they can be eliminated. Sometimes relationships develop slowly and grow with intensity over time. One may lose out on a great love if the first date lacked chemistry and there was not a second one. Of course be safe and if your gut feeling is screaming at you to bail, then do so.  You may be feeling something is greatly amiss on a subconscious level. Avoid  being too picky by dumping someone too quickly because they did not tick every box on your list.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine


Serial Dating Post-Divorce

It may be tempting to jump into a new relationship while on the rebound. Instead, stop and take stock of yourself. Are you truly recovered from your divorce or do you fear loneliness? It is important to differentiate between being alone and loneliness. One can live alone, yet have a full social life and career. Fear of being alone can include getting sick without someone around, financial concerns, and not wanting to dine or attend social events alone. Some folks indicated that being married ensures an escort when needed.

It can be daunting to face issues of self and easier to be a mirror of one’s mate. Some see themselves as a fragment and the relationship as the whole. They are not complete unless part of a duo. One can lose the sense of self in relationships which can be a comfort for those who do not want to face their flaws. A way of not dealing with foibles is to limit time between relationships. So many people interviewed told stories of family and friends who flit from relationship to relationship. These serial daters were more apt to cancel plans with friends to accommodate their mates.

Some people go right from college or their parents’ homes into marriage without discovering who they are and what makes them tick. They may be apprehensive about being on their own post-divorce and want to enter into another relationship quickly. Mabel is one example of this. At 17 she got married and had a baby a year later. Mabel became a young widow after child number two and had adequate support. She quickly became involved with a sociopath and that marriage lasted a little over ten years. Right after her divorce, she met and married a nice fellow. Now widowed in her late seventies, Mabel is unhappy about not being able to find another husband.

Having low expectations can lead to being a doormat. Relationships compliment people and are not first aid for low self-esteem. Do not marry a copy of your former partner, especially when there was abuse. A life coach or therapist can assist one who feels unloved by family and feels the need to always be in relationships to compensate for this.

Tips for Those Who Fear Loneliness

  • A quiet flat can compound loneliness. Consider adopting a pet or being a temporary foster parent to a cat or dog.
  • My divorced mum would have the radio or telly on during the evenings. It was like having company without the work,
  • Join as I did. I am in a Women’s Transition group that meets for lattes, gallery shows and other fun activities. My divorced pal is in the hiking group.
  • Get out and meet people to enlarge your social network. I volunteer one morning a week for a cat rescue group, cleaning cages, feeding and cuddling the cats. Join a book club or other group.
  • Reconnect with old friends. Spend more time with family.
  • Change your work schedule if a certain time of day is more difficult to be home alone.
  • Discover new interests. I took up Tai Chi and Qigong post-divorce.

Serial dating is not a quick fix for a broken heart.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine