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Global Guide to Divorce

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Moving On

Divorced? Here Is What To Do With Your Diamond Ring

A diamond wedding ring’s value and meaning to you will obviously change after divorce. However, that doesn’t mean its value goes away entirely. Although the marriage may be over, the ring is still worth something to someone. 

Selling a diamond is certainly an option; however,  a smart way to take advantage of this is to redesign your post-divorce diamond jewelry. Since you likely won’t want to keep the metal setting, removing the diamond and using it in a new way ensures it isn’t wasted. 

Are you interested in redesigning your divorce jewelry? If so, consider the following project ideas. 

A Necklace  

Setting a diamond into a necklace or making it a pendant is a simple but incredibly effective way to elevate a piece of jewelry.   

When planning your design, consider how every detail will impact the look of the necklace. The diamond may be the most noticeable feature, but it is by no means the only feature worth paying attention to.  

You also want to look into chain options. You want to decide whether adding pearls to the necklace will complement the diamond’s beauty, or distract from it. If you choose to add them, you want to make sure you pick the ideal size pearls. 

Luckily, this can be a fun experience, giving you the opportunity to explore and express your own personal creativity!


Earrings prove just how gorgeous a diamond can be. Despite being very small, diamond stud earrings can nevertheless transform any look.  

Thus, you might want to use the diamond from your old wedding ring to create half of one pair. Work with a jeweler to find a similar diamond for the other half, or if you prefer, simply wear one earring; some people find this unique twist to be very stylish.  

A New Ring  

It’s worth noting that redesigning your diamond jewelry after a divorce doesn’t need to involve completely changing the nature of it. If you like the look of a diamond ring, you can still remove the diamond from its original setting (it’s best to hire a professional to do this for you if you lack the proper experience) and insert it into a new setting. 

This is another instance when you should take the time to consider your preferences and tastes. Research different setting styles to find one that appeals to you.  

This is the most important point to keep in mind. For understandable reasons, you might assume the process of redesigning post-divorce jewelry will be upsetting.  

It certainly doesn’t have to be. Instead, it can be a joyful experience, giving you the chance to learn about yourself as you embark on the next stage in your life.

Author of this article  Rae Steinbach   is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing.”

Letting Go Of The Past After Divorce Or Break Up

It can be hard to let go of the past when married life is over. Focusing on what was instead of what is, hinders an individual from moving on post-divorce. Divorce may come as a shock and fixating on what used to be, gets in the way of taking action now. Some people interviewed, kept dreaming about the past, as the present was too painful. Yet others felt if they denied what was happening (a spouse leaving), things would go back to what they were.

One sign that a person is hanging on to an ex-spouse and not letting go, is by talking endlessly about them. An acquaintance went on and on about her former husband until somebody else changed the subject. She did not date, but instead wallowed in that relationship which she failed to leave behind post-divorce. There were no children and it was a clean break.

I occasionally run into her former husband who has never brought up his ex and was able to move on in life. He is happily remarried and is a proud step-father. It is a choice whether to stay mentally attached to a former partner or face the cold truth of reality that the other person is not coming back.

Part of getting beyond reliving the past is that the void has to be filled. When an old life and marital relationship ends – something has to fill this gaping hole. This was the problem with my acquaintance. She did not try to meet people, take a class or pursue new endeavours. The void remained.

A first step to moving on, is replacing the loss of people and things with new adventures, activities, and friends. Expand your social circle by joining a special interest group or renewing friendships that may have fallen by the wayside when married. I joined travel and book clubs. Other divorced pals are in film and hiking ones. There are many studies globally that show the health benefits of being connected to others.

A new job during the early phase of my divorce proceedings, was mentally stimulating. There was less time to think about my losses. Others have taken courses or changed career paths after a divorce. Take up a sport for a physical challenge. The goal is to keep mentally and physically active to fill the void and find life more fulfilling. When one’s agenda is crammed full of events, and pleasurable pursuits, looking ahead instead of behind is easier.

Please read more

The Way to Let Go Is Through Forgiveness

As human beings, we instinctively do everything we can to avoid harm. We look before we cross the road, we’re careful when chopping vegetables, wear protective equipment when we’re engaging in potentially dangerous tasks and so on. Indeed, our desire not to damage ourselves is so ingrained that there are too many examples to name – but there’s one exception.

Whilst we actively do our utmost to prevent ourselves from suffering emotional pain, an awful lot of us seem to make an exception when we believe someone else is to blame for our suffering – something which is particularly true of disgruntled divorcees.

It’s strange how when one spouse wants a divorce and the other doesn’t the reluctant party usually relents, recognising that there’s little point in remaining married to someone who no longer loves them, but continues to harbour resentment towards their former spouse. It’s completely understandable that the rejected party feels hurt, of course, but without a concerted effort on their part, it’s all too easy for hurt to become hatred which, in turn, becomes prolonged pain and suffering. Worst of all, afflicted spouses that find themselves in this position are reluctant to let go of their anger. Some even feel that these horrific feelings – and the pain they cause – are necessary; a reminder of why they should never trust the person that brought them such anguish.

Forgive for your own good

I myself know how difficult it can be to forgive and forget. I suffered from severe bullying throughout my time at school and I spent a significant portion of my life hating the perpetrators. People that cared about me recognised this was causing me pain and encouraged me to forget things and move on. Their suggestions fell on deaf ears – I was even offended by them, as if they were taking the side of the bullies and dismissing my feelings. They weren’t, they were trying to help me help myself.

As much as a part of me felt like I would have been letting my tormentors off the hook if I forgave them, it was actually myself who benefited when I bit the bullet and sought the help I needed to deal with my painful memories. My quality of life improved immeasurably as a result and I can assure you that, however hard or even impossible forgiving your former spouse may seem, it is possible and, more importantly, it’s in your best interests to do so.

Seek help if you need it

If you find that you can’t forgive your former spouse, you’re far from alone. Many people need professional help to let go of painful memories – I did, and I can assure you that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. The anxiety I previously felt is all but gone, my self-esteem has improved and I’m a significantly happier person.

If you’re able to forgive and forget without assistance, great. If you aren’t, there’s no shame in seeking the help of a professional like a counsellor or psychiatrist and I’d strongly recommend you do. It’ll benefit those around you and, most importantly of all, you too.

Author Bio: Jay Williams works for Quickie Divorce, one of the UK’s largest providers of quick online divorce solutions and divorce papers. He lives in Cardiff with his wife and two-year-old daughter Eirys.


Tips On How To Recover After Divorce

Ways to start recovering post-divorce:

Divorce shakes up the foundation of one’s existence. Just as a house is not rebuilt overnight after an earthquake – neither is one’s life after parting ways. Putting the pieces back together or starting totally anew, takes some time. One can feel immobilized and not know what step to take next. Some have described themselves as floating along during proceedings as if on automatic pilot. Get grounded. Qigong and Tai Chi (forms of martial arts) increased my energy and being able to focus on tasks. Meditation and yoga help quiet the mind when thoughts are scattered and concentration is needed.

Part of recovering – whether from an illness or trauma – is taking care of oneself. Get adequate sleep, intake of protein, nutritious food, such as green vegetables. Check with your healthcare provider for adding supplements. B -Vitamins are depleted by stress, so I took them regularly. I also included supplements to decrease inflammation, such as curcumin and Omega-3. Increase exercise to burn off anxiety and elevate endorphins (the feel-good hormones). Think about what gives you pleasure and add more of that into your life. Chocolate and pampering spa products made that list for me. Treat yourself with kindness as would for someone else in your circumstance.

Reach out to others to form a support system. Having lattes with friends during and after divorce kept me sane and lowered my stress. Keeping emotions bottled up inside can lead to an explosion down the road. Prevent this by venting to pals. If they are getting weary listening to you, consider booking a session with a life coach. This person can do wonders putting your life into perspective and helping to point out options that may not be obvious. Step away from needy people and those that drain you. Having time and energy for your children and for your recovery are much higher priorities. Being with my sons was more important than having relationships with acquaintances out of pity or habit.

Part of recovering from divorce can be dealing with loneliness. Consider joining a divorce support group. I am in one in London, The Divorce Club, through Being in various groups takes the focus off one’s divorce situation and on to social interactions or worthwhile causes. Volunteering is a way to help others and feel appreciated.   Please read more

Taking Positive Action In Life

No matter what has come before in your life, whether its divorce, loss or other trauma, the first thing to keep in mind is that you and only you are responsible for your own life. Only you are responsible for your own happiness. It is within your control, a decision almost. You are the deciding factor in initiating change in your life.

Support is important, even necessary, but accepting responsibility yourself gives you back control, it gives your life meaning and can be quite empowering. Never underestimate the power and significance of having purpose in your life. A reason to get up in the morning, a goal or objective to aim towards and pursuing a passion are vital for your mental wellbeing. Quite often the pursuit of an aim is more worthwhile than the achievement of it. The chase outweighs the success so to speak.

Mindfulness, meditation, exercise and most essentially a good night’s sleep all help maintain productivity and an open, positive outlook on life. 7-9 hours’ sleep a night has been proven to be crucial. 6 or less hours (like the majority of the population actually has regularly) leads to increased risk of memory problems, depression and anxiety and even an increased chance of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. So try and change your routine, don’t rely on sleeping medication, try eye covers and ear plugs and most of all put those phones and tablets away well before it’s time to sleep. The benefits of a good night’s sleep have been thoroughly researched and documented so drop the stigma, it’s not lazy, get yourself well rested!

Meaning and responsibility can come from anywhere. That focus can be on a career, your family, a lover, a project or hobby. The list is endless. Just concentrate on you, not your peers or contemporaries. Envy can drive you wild and it’s counter-productive. Don’t compare yourself to someone else, someone else’s life, family or success. Instead compare yourself today to who you were yesterday, small incremental improvements lead to big development, this will give you motivation and a feeling of real progress. If nothing else it helps you identify for certain what you need and want to change about your life and routine.

Make your goals achievable but don’t limit yourself. Set realistic but significant milestones and objectives. Again this will do a world of good to your motivational outlook. Everyone’s a victim of procrastination, just remember, action is positive. Action creates change and gives you a real sense of accomplishment.

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and custody schedules.



How To Find Happiness During Divorce

When one is going through divorce it is easy to wonder “Will I ever be happy again?” The answer is YES. Happiness is a fleeting feeling which requires frequent boosters. Happiness fluctuates in intensity as do other emotions. One can choose to be happy or not during the turbulent time of divorce. My divorced mother decided to be bitter for years afterwards, which resulted in having a barrier between her and the world. I went down a different path and found ways to insert moments of happiness amongst the chaos. My trick was to look for the positives and have a laugh at the absurdity in life.

Think about what brings joy or when you were truly happy. Schedule these into your agenda on a regular basis. Weekly lattes with pals contributed to my happiness. Talking about my spouse’s outrageous antics brought on the giggles. It is hard to be in a negative place when laughing with friends. Others get their happiness boost by a vacation. I went to Hawaii with my mother and sons during the nastiest part of my proceedings. I became ecstatically happy walking among the palm trees and talking to the wise Polynesian people. I brought this relaxed attitude back with me into the rest of the divorce. Some friends escaped to the spa or gym. Remove yourself temporarily to pleasant surroundings.

The secret to being happy is to find one’s meaning and purpose in life. Viennese psychologist Viktor Frankl wrote about his ordeal in a concentration camp in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. While imprisoned, he found that those who discovered their meaning in life were more apt to survive. Two men in particular had given up and were waiting to die. Frankl found out what was important to them, one needed to finish his book and the other had a child abroad waiting for him. Frankl helped these fellows to realize the meaning of their existence and they made it out alive from the Nazi death camp.

What gives purpose to your life or ignites your passion? Consider having experiences over accumulating more stuff. When you look back at your childhood, it is the great times that brought you happiness. You can increase your happiness and your children’s by doing enjoyable activities. The youngsters will remember fun adventures more than another toy. Giving back to others or being productive in one’s work can also give meaning to life.

There are various studies which indicate happiness can be achieved by connecting to others. Psychologist Dan Gilbert from Harvard said “The quality of connections with people is the biggest predictor of happiness.” Several studies were done by Gillian Sandstorm and Elizabeth Dunn which also found that happiness increases with the more interactions people have with each other. Interactions both with people the subjects had strong ties to and acquaintances, led to a sense of belonging to the community.

Explore ways to engage with others, whether it is professional networking or on a personal level. This means face-to-face encounters, not the kind on social media. Strengthen ties to those individuals you already know. Enlarge your social circle with new acquaintances. I joined some groups and took classes post-divorce and enjoyed meeting people. Attending travel talks and going to local events helps me to feel connected to others in my community. Make a point of speaking to those around you – the barista, cashier, neighbors and so forth. Going into isolation hinders happiness. One long-term friend told us that she wants to be left alone and will call us when her divorce is over. That is her prerogative, however she is miserable. Reach out to others and include pleasurable pursuits to boost your happiness.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)


How To Prevent Fear From Holding You Back

Fear of the unknown can hold one back during and post-divorce. It can keep a person stuck and prevent movement. An individual may feel that they are in the freeze part of the flight or fight response to a perceived danger (the divorce drama). Not taking action can seem like the safer bet, when someone feels paralyzed with uncertainty. This indecisiveness can come back to haunt you later, as it did a few people who were not happy about how assets had been split. If feeling clueless and overwhelmed, consider having your attorney or paralegal clarify the information being given. Asking for specific options or advice is helpful.

Fear creates a stress response which releases a cascade of hormones, such as cortisol. The University of Minnesota found that fear “impacts thinking and decision making in negative ways.” It leads to “impulsive reactions” instead of taking a better course of action. One reacts in a rash manner instead of having clear thinking, which is needed to get through divorce proceedings. Reducing stress is way to get out of the panic mode. Do what works for you – mediation, prayer, retreats, exercise, being in nature and so forth.

Fear can keep an individual rooted in one spot – not comfortable taking a step in any direction. This happened to me during divorce. Rather than making a mistake, I decided to take no action about the marital home and just stay there. It was the easy way out. Luckily, I got out of the fear mode, found a small house and then applied at a few companies for a mortgage. It was work moving, but worth it.

There are other causes besides fear which can cause people to feel stuck. It can be challenging to step out of one’s comfort zone, such as deciding whether or not to take a different career path post-divorce. One may feel it is easier to stay in an unfulfilling job, than to pursue various possibilities. Divorce can bring a new opportunity to start over. I got a job as a school nurse after my divorce which became stressful when too much work was crammed in to only a day or so. I stayed out of fear that I would not find other part-time work with some flexibility. After talking over my job situation with a Life Coach, I realized my folly and resigned. Being in a stressful situation, as in divorce, makes it harder to calmly go over options. Get help. More and more middle-aged adults are seeking the guidance from a Career Coach. Others get vocational testing or training at a community college to open the door to other career directions.

Are you stuck, unable to move on because you have too many commitments which includes helping others? We can be afraid to tell people or organizations “no” or worry about being judged if we do.   Please read more

Overcoming Loneliness Post-Divorce

It can be a shock going from having a companion (spouse) to being on one’ s own. When a divorce was unexpected and unwanted, it is especially unsettling going out into the world alone. Jumping into a new relationship to ward off loneliness has backfired for some. These individuals brought emotional baggage into it, before working through their feelings. If you are dating to avoid being alone in your house, then consider getting a pet. Adopting an animal is therapeutic and lowers anxiety. The furry friend makes a great confidant for the children.

Adjust your routine so that you are not following the same pattern that you did when married. This helps to alleviate the void in your life. Instead of going to the cinema at night, as you did with your partner, join the other solos at a matinee. If you miss your cappuccino, then go to a coffee house with a community table. One can socialize or read a newspaper, but still be among others. Cafes are following this trend of making it friendlier for single diners, with the option of eating at a large table. It is nice having the opportunity to strike up a conversation with other patrons.

This is the time to join others in activities. Guys I know, participate in sports through the community or with buddies from work. They regularly play racquetball, baseball or rugby with co-workers, post break-up. Delve into new tasks on the job. Several have become involved with the charity sponsored by their company. These individuals met employees from different departments as well as new faces from the non-profit organization.

Evenings and weekends can be challenging to get through when newly single. See if you can change your work schedule to coincide with your lonelier hours. I started an exercise class two evening a week after my divorce. Some divorced folks choose to work on holidays to avoid being alone. Job sites often have a potluck or some type of celebration on these days.

The big part of loneliness post-divorce was losing mutual friends or not knowing how to go about making new ones. What helped me was joining which is world-wide. We go out to movies, lunch and other venues. Attend your local events. Twice a month our travel bookstore/café hosts travel talks. These are interesting and gives me a chance to connect with other travel enthusiasts. A divorced friend enjoys her dining club and met a nice fellow. Several others are in book clubs.

Please read more:

Surviving Stress: The Women’s Guide to Getting Through the Day-to-Day

Every woman knows the feeling: After countless days of work, eat, sleep, and little else, energy drops to an all-time low and sanity starts to waver. You question why you’re working so hard at all, and if any of it even matters. It’s all too easy to let the stresses of daily life get you down, but giving up isn’t the answer. What you need is to regain balance in your life so you can bring your best to each and every day. Here’s how.

Manage Stress at Work

Even if you love your job, spending 40-plus hours a week at work can wear on you. Whether it’s an overly-demanding boss, inefficient coworkers, or just the mundanity of the same thing day in and day out, a full-time job is bound to get to you. When it does, you’ll need strategies to cope.

When it comes to stress management, the best offense is a good defense, so make sure you’re practicing good sleep and diet habits and working exercise into your schedule. A healthy lifestyle is one of the best defenses against stress and its cousins, depression and anxiety.

To ensure enough time to take care of your personal needs, set professional boundaries with an eye on work-life balance. Don’t make a habit of working overtime. If your boss gives you a project with an unrealistic deadline, negotiate the timeline rather than scrambling to get it done. Colleagues constantly interrupting your lunch break with work requests? Start leaving the building during lunch so you can use that hour to relax.

When you walk out of the office at the end of the day, turn work off. No matter how strong the temptation, don’t check your email or squeeze in “just one more hour” of work. Avoid venting about work as much as possible, and when you just have to, stick to a hard limit of 20 minutes. The last thing you want is for your workplace stresses to seep into your home life.

Practice Self-Care

Women today are expected to do it all — have a successful career, a loving relationship, happy children, and a Pinterest-worthy home — but living up to those unrealistic standards can leave little time for actually being happy. Try to focus less on outward appearances and more on taking care of your own needs.

What does that look like? For starters, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep each night and eating healthy meals. Eating well both preserves your health long-term and keeps you happier and more energetic now. In fact, good nutrition has been linked to better health outcomes in everything from cardiovascular health to mental health.

But self-care is about more than meeting your basic needs. It’s about building a rich personal life that brings you joy and fulfillment. That means making time for hobbies, cultivating new interests, spending time with the people you care about, and practicing gratitude every day.

Bond with Your Pet

Pets take care of us in more ways than we give them credit for. In fact, the simple act of being in the presence of a furry friend has emotional benefits. Spending quality time with your pet can be an instant mood-booster and can help stabilize your stress over the long-term.

If you don’t currently share your home with a critter, consider adopting one from your local shelter. Saving the life of an animal in need will instantly lift your spirits every time you see your new family member. If adopting isn’t an option, you can enjoy the emotional perks of spending time with animals by offering to help with friends’ pets, such as by dog boarding in your home or even dog walking.

Nurture Your Relationships

When everything is going wrong at work and life is a mess, it’s friends and loved ones that can lift you up and get you back on your feet. That’s why no matter how busy life gets, it’s critical to always nurture your personal relationships.

Social relationships are so important that they actually help us stay happier and live longer. To make sure you sustain this pillar of wellness, carve out time every week to connect with your friends, family, and romantic partners. Whether it’s a Saturday barbecue or a quick phone call, making time for relationships helps them grow stronger.

Of course, personal relationships aren’t without their own stresses. Whether it’s a boyfriend or a best friend, work through your relationship issues respectfully and lovingly. Arguments come and go, but when you treat them right, good people stay by your side for a lifetime.

Life can be overwhelming at times, but when you take care of yourself and prioritize your needs, you can get through whatever the day throws at you. Try implementing these tips in your daily life as part of your journey to a less stressful, more centered life.

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website









Is It Possible To Be Happy Again After A Divorce?

After a separation it’s quite common to wonder if you’ll ever bounce back and be happy again?   Peter recalled “I felt so low I could hardly get out of bed, and all the things I used to enjoy, felt pointless.  I asked myself if after this exhausting period I could ever be happy again?” 

Peter in fact found contentment some time after his divorce, although it wasn’t immediate, “It was really gradual.  One big moment was noticing that I laughed and then I thought, “Hey, I can still find things funny!” and these moments just got more frequent”.  

But it’s not necessarily a linear process – there are ups and downs: “Some days I felt worse again, like when I found out that my ex was dating someone new, but overall things got better.” 

So what’s the secret to finding happiness after divorce? 

There is a lot of research about grieving and recovering from break-ups.  Perhaps one of the best studies found from Stanford University  .  They found that how quickly you recovered depended on how many additional stressors you had in your life, and what coping strategies you had. 

It is hard to avoid some stressors but you can work on your coping strategies. 

What this study found about coping strategies was actually quite suprising.  They found that talking about your problems could actually make things worse!  Talking too much and repeatedly about how low you feel can lead to you focusing too much on this horrible time. 

Talking to people who you think do not understand what you are going through can also increase stress.  It is important for people to know that the way they feel is normal but without focusing on their own expereince the whole time. This is why you should come to one of our Divorce Club Events which you can find here! 

Doing things with friends is a helpful coping strategy  

So what are the adaptive coping strategies that can help us be happy after divorce? 

According to bereavement expert Nolen-Hoeksema,  adaptive coping involves “doing things that renew your sense of control and take your mind away from your worries for a short time. People typically use things like sports or hobbies or going somewhere with a friend, such as to a movie or shopping,” she said. “A little bit of distraction leads to more motivation to do more pleasant activities. You can start small and build.” 

Ineffective coping strategies, include distracting behavior that is reckless:drinking alcohol, casual sex and other risky behaviours.  Another unhelpful strategy, (which is also the one we are most likely to do), is sitting home and thinking, “I just don’t have the strength to do anything,”.  All that happens if you stay at home, alone and without distraction is that you go back over the same distressing thoughts without actually doing anything to relieve your low mood.  This is known as passive rumination and unsuprisingly, those who engage in passive rumination will remain depressed for longer. 

So is talking bad for you? 

No! It is important to talk about what is going on.  People who just try and shut it out, end up ruminating more.  Men have typically been the ones prone to finding happiness more slowly as they are less likely to talk about what has happened to them, particularly if their wife was the only ones they used to talk to about their problems. 

The important point is that you must balance talking, with also doing other activities which can give you a break from thinking about how bad you feel.  And when you do talk, pick people who will understand you, and even a therapist who can stop the talk becoming passive rumination, and instead be a helpful perspective that can set you on the path to feeling happy again. 

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.




Moving On After A Divorce Or Break Up

Moving on Mentally After A Divorce

In the United States of America, a couple divorces every 13 seconds. Divorce has become a norm in our world today but this does not mean the process is any less painful or stressful. By the age of 50, more than 90 percent of Americans get married but almost half of them do not find their happily ever after. For some, it has been a long hard decision taken over months or years spent trying to make their relationship work. For others, it is swift and sometimes unexpected. So how do you move on from a divorce? Here are just a few tips to get you started.

Accept & Let Go

The first step to moving on from a divorce can be one of the hardest. It is facing the situation and acknowledging the end of your marriage. The period immediately after can be emotional and unpredictable; ranging from sadness over lost dreams to regrets and denial over your decision.

It is completely okay to mourn the loss of your marriage. No one enters a marriage thinking they would like to get divorced. In fact, it is important that you let yourself feel the loss and come to terms with it. Grief is a natural reaction to loss.

Reconnect with Yourself

Whether it is through self-reflection, venting to a close friend or counselling, reconnect with your spiritual side. Begin by focusing on yourself. Banish any negative unwanted thoughts and look to defining your self-worth. Your marriage may be over but there are many positive things you may have to offer. Realize that your failed marriage does not define you.

As you begin to find your true self again, a clear understanding of what you want and what makes you truly happy will help you move forward. Finally, self-reflection and acceptance mean addressing your responsibility in the breakdown of your marriage. It is vital that you not only recognize your part but make peace with it and learn from your mistakes for your future relationships. Understand that you cannot change the past events and you cannot change your ex-partner. What you can change, however, is yourself.

Make the Shift

Finally, one of the most important steps is making the change in mindset. This can easily be judged as one of the most difficult parts of moving on and requires the commitment to moving on.  In the beginning, it is normal to grieve over what occurred but now it is time to commit to being happy again. This does not mean that all the feelings of sadness or loss automatically disappear. Instead, spend time focusing on the future and exercise the strength to put a time limit on the self-pitying mindset that may still pop up from time to time. It is the perfect time to pursue those unfulfilled dreams of yours that got lost in the translation of your marriage.

In reality, life is not written as the fairy tales are and we do not always end up having that happily ever after. While incredibly painful, divorce can also serve as a catalyst for growth and self-evolution. This does not happen overnight; there is no time limit. However, with these tips, you can slowly begin the process. After all, why shouldn’t you find happiness again?

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.


Having a More Positive Attitude in Divorce

During and after divorce it is easy to slip into negativity. Lives are changing with a dip in finances and time spent with the children. Dwelling in what is not working out can blind you to what is going right in your life. People that do not move on after divorce, can build a wall around themselves which keeps others away.

How a Positive Attitude in Divorce is Beneficial

Various studies have indicated that people who were more positive about what lies ahead were less likely to have ailments. Web MD found that “People who have a positive attitude during stressful events are 22% less likely to have a fatal or non-fatal heart attack than those who hold negative attitudes.” The Mayo Clinic discussed the health benefits of optimism – seeing some positives including in stress-full situations. Some of these are “greater resistance to the common cold”, less cardiovascular issues and decreased risk of depression. The Dalia Lama states “Unhealthy attitudes disturb the body. The body/mind relationship affords ample proof that human health depends on positive feelings.”

Surround  Yourself with Positive People

Choose to be surrounded by positive people. One attracts friends who are like them. Being negative is like a magnet which draws others with negative attitudes to you. These pessimists may forecast gloomy outcomes for your divorce or hold you back by focusing on obstacles to success. I had a divorced friend who was concentrating on what was not working out in my divorce. I would change the subject and she did not get the hint. My son finally told her bluntly to stop talking about divorce. She eventually drifted away when I refused to discuss the negatives. I surrounded myself with upbeat people who are still my cheerleaders today. One’s outlook is how they see the world -as a scary, dark place, or where many good things happen. One projects their positive or negative outlook onto others, as if they were a screen.

People sometimes seek out the negatives as a way to validate their political, career or other life choices. I heard a speech recently whose message was since her candidate did not win the election, that the apocalypse is coming. She refuses to try and see anything positive and attempts to dissuade others from doing so. When I was in London during the Brexit voting, it was a similar situation. The other side was totally wrong for many people.   In divorce, this type of attitude hinders negotiation and being flexible in working out custody arrangements.

Live in the Present, Not in the Past

A way to be more positive is by not living in the past. Put energy into focusing on the present and near future. You cannot change the past, but can learn from it. Be in the moment as in mindfulness. Tend to what is needing your immediate attention: splitting assets, dividing personal property or just taking the dog for a walk. Distraction helps to gets one’s mind off the negativity of the divorce situation and on to something fun.  Please read more

Dealing with Anger in Divorce

Anger and other strong emotions are a by-product of divorce. It is natural to get upset over the crazy antics of one’s soon-to-be ex. Perhaps one’s partner sees divorce as a contest where there is a clear winner and loser. The word “compromise” is not in their vocabulary. There are ways to deal with anger during the divorce process without having an explosion. Anger in itself is okay, but how it is expressed may not be. An example of this is road rage. The driver takes out their hostility by ramming the car in front of them or threatening someone else. They over react to a slight provocation. An especially tragic act of divorce anger is when one parent retaliates against the other by killing their children.

Anger is an emotion which needs to be acknowledged first before dealing with it and moving on. Anger is a response to a perceived threat or being the target of hostility. Analyze the situation to determine what action you can take. If it is out of your control, accept that and realize that you do have control over your reaction to it. When spouses get tangled up in anger, that can lengthen proceedings which results in higher legal fees. How to get rid of anger:

  1. Physical activity helps to release anger and anxiety. Exercise lowers the stress hormone cortisol which is responsible for raising blood pressure and the heart rate. Go running, to the gym, a fitness class, on a hike, or cleaning spree to keep you moving. Some people feel that striking an object releases anger better for them, such as by playing tennis, golf, or bowling. Others don boxing gloves and do sparring.
  2. Write a letter to your spouse about your grievances. Pour out your wrath in detail. Put down your feelings and then notice how cathartic this activity is. Later rip it up or burn it, but do not send it. A variation of this is to keep a journal and jot down your thoughts on paper. This helps to release strong emotions and months down the road one can look back and appreciate the progress in healing that has been made.
  3. Release your anger by discussing what you are going through with friends. They will listen and p put your situation into perspective when anticipating a bleak outcome. They remind you what is going right in your life so you see there is some balance. Having friends’ support enables one to know that they are not going through divorce alone.
  4. Consider joining a divorce support group or co-parenting class. The camaraderie in a “Women in Transition” class kept me from losing my sanity. It was helpful in a co-parenting course to hear the other gender’s point of view. The guys had me laughing and not being so serious, which got rid of much anger. In support groups, the non-judgmental acceptance can be a life-line to getting through the divorce process.

What counteracts anger is looking for several pleasant things that happened to you each day.  Please read more…

First Steps During Initial Post-Divorce Period

Moving on after divorce can be done in small increments or in one giant leap. Sometimes one may need to get away in order to evaluate their options and just to think about things in general. One man had an ingenious way to get over a traumatic divorce and get past overwhelming feelings. His mind kept dwelling on his unhappy circumstance and severed marital relationship. What came as a surprise was the dramatic metamorphosis and finding his purpose in life. Alan’s career was in Martial Arts and his back, neck and joints cried out for him to retire.

A Way to Recover Post-Divorce

What is his secret? Alan left his job post-divorce and booked a Round-the-World (RTW) airline ticket which was for several months of travel. By immersing himself into the various cultures, Alan’s focus was off his own woes. He discovered that humans around the planet are more alike than different. People have more in common than not and he developed a respect for others’ customs, beliefs and spirituality.


This compassion spilled over to himself, enabling him to accept that his old life was finished. Forgiveness for himself and ex-wife set him free and he was transformed. Alan was on the last leg of his journey in Cape Town before flying back home, when he discovered that he could book another RTW ticket for half of what he had paid in London. He used this opportunity to fly back to Asia.

Going on a retreat can be the key to gaining self-awareness. Alan attended a ten day retreat in India in which meditation was taught. The participants were silent for the first nine days and spoke on the last one. He had judged others and formed preconceived notions about who they were and what they did. On day ten when all were allowed to speak, Alan was blown away about how wrong he was. During this retreat, Alan learned more about himself than he had his whole life and spirituality gave meaning to his existence. He now helps others globally to find their right path after situations like divorce.

Gaining Self-Knowledge

Gaining self-knowledge and wisdom can come at a much cheaper cost than a Round-the-World ticket. A weekend retreat and being around positive people can be a catalyst for change, as Alan’s longer ones did. Shop around for the experience or assistance that you require in your price range.

A woman in the Philippines said “divorce was impossible” so eventually was granted a “civil and Catholic annulment.” She too desired to get away to find herself and to heal. She searched for the best price for a European river cruise and found out that booking the same one in another country and in their currency can lower the fee. She got this cruise for half, through the Canadian branch of that global company by paying in their currency. She is enjoying cruising Eastern Europe on the Danube right now.

Be diligent when chasing your dream by checking on various options. If one road is blocked then take a detour, however keep trying.   Please read more ….

Getting Past Obstacles Post-Divorce

During or after divorce – there are obstacles which make chasing a dream or pursuing a goal challenging. Sometimes barriers to success are more in our minds than in actuality. People are stressed out and often do not think a situation through, but more on a superficial level. This is where friends come into the picture. Discuss where you feel stuck and are not able to get past an obstacle. Let friends bounce their ideas around and a feasible solution may be discovered. Really listen and be open to their suggestions. Several people I know who had problems post-divorce, talked about them endlessly. However when we gave practical tips on how to solve these dilemmas, they were quick to find reasons why they could not work. It was as if they did not want to move on and enjoyed wallowing in their dramas.

Reframe Your Situation

Getting through an obstacle post-divorce correlates with how first aid is performed. One does an assessment of the injury or situation. One looks at what is really going on, how it happened and the extent of the damage. The next step is to evaluate one’s capabilities. Is one able to remedy the problem or is additional help required? With a patient, they may need an x-ray or stitches which is out of your scope of practice. Next is to reframe the situation and act on it. Instead of seeing a situation as a catastrophe, it is reframed as being a minor setback. One cleans a wound and applies a bandage or comforts an individual until an ambulance arrives.

Can You Fix It?

When facing a barrier hindering your success, do an assessment. Really look at your situation and attempt to understand what happened. Is it something totally out of you control that you just have to accept, at least for right now? Or does it look like you have some options for getting past it? It can be beneficial to discuss this blockage with a life coach to help you devise with some strategies for dealing with it. Evaluate your capabilities to find ways to remove the obstacle. Visualize different scenarios for getting past the barrier between where you are now and where you want to be. Analyse what your strengths are and utilize them in getting on with your life. Reframe the situation in your mind to take on a more positive view.

Several people who were made redundant with their jobs, said they felt their careers were over. When reframing that they had the chance for new opportunities their lives turned around. Some did freelancing and had a better work/home life balance. Others capitalized on their hobbies by turning them into new careers. People have started online businesses after losing jobs and remarked how their stress level went down.

An obstacle in life is unreasonable people, You can change your actions, but cannot not change someone else. You only have control over yourself.  In a mathematical equation, changing one variable can alter its outcome. When you are the variable that changes in a situation that can alter how an obstacle affects you. Several people wanted out of the marriages quickly and their spouses were creating roadblocks which prevented this during the divorce process.

When these individuals changed their behaviour and told the spouses to take whatever they wanted from the houses, that barrier was removed. The divorces then moved along quickly and these folks got their freedom. It is your choice how to react when facing a barrier with divorce. A minor change in your perception or reaction can mean a big change in your circumstance down the road.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine



Tips on Getting Through Divorce

In the early stage of divorce one may be in shock, regardless of who actually filed for it. Having a partner walk out or being the bearer of divorce news is traumatic. One is on autopilot going through the daily motions of life. One divorced man said just put one foot in front of the other and keep walking. These tips will help one get through the first months of the divorce process.

  1. Do not be stoic and feel you can do this alone. Gather the troops around you and vent. Or at least surround yourself with people in a public place, even if not in the mood for interactions. A few divorced folks that I know who withdrew from friends and family were bitter and angry. They erected walls around themselves which became permanent.
  2. Ensure that you maintain contact with your children. One of your lawyer’s first tasks is to set up regular visitation, particularly if your spouse is being uncooperative. As a part-time school nurse, here is what worked for other parents. Talk to your kids’ teachers to see how you can volunteer with their classes. Offer to tutor, chaperone field trips or be the muscles needed to hoist up scenery for class plays or school concerts. The kids are proud and it gives extra contact with you. This also goes for scouts, sports, chess and other activities. The bonus is when custody or shared care is being determined, you are viewed as the involved parent that you are.
  3. It may seem like having fun is frivolous when one’s world is falling apart. It is not. When snipers were shooting citizens in Lebanon a decade or so ago, folks reported risking bullets to go to cafes, get manicures and so forth. When interviewed, they seemed surprised to be asked why they did not stay put. Life is about balance. Keeping anger and anxiety bottled up inside can lead to cardiovascular problems and a good laugh can release them. Having a blast with your kids at an amusement park, soccer or other entertainments, is also good for bonding.
  4. Take care of yourself. Eat some nutritional food every day and take out is fine. Living on junk food and beer will sap your energy which is required to get you through the divorce process. If you try to run your vehicle on junk –it will not go far. You have important decisions to make when dividing assets – so eat protein for your brain. Consult your health care provider for which supplements to add when your diet is dicey.
  5. Consider making your workplace as your sanctuary away from divorce.  Please read more…


Divorce Workshop in London


Finding Support When Going Through A Divorce

Divorce is a traumatic and stressful experience which can trigger many negative emotions. A person may feel unsettled, frightened and uncomfortable with the many changes they are going through. They may experience depression, guilt, anger and despair over the ending of their relationship. They may also feel frustration, fear, and anxiety about their future. The ending of a marriage frequently leads to sadness. A person may also dread the prospect of being single. If they’ve been married for a long time, they may also have to deal with changes in their social and financial state.

Divorce can bring out the worst in people, leading some to make to petty demands and display abusive behavior. Some people may begin to feel guilty that they were not able to do more to save their relationships. Others may become depressed at the thought that their life is going to change and they may not be able to handle it by themselves. All of these jumbled up emotions can make a person miserable.

As painful as these emotions are, they are a natural part of the grief process. This is how many people respond to life-altering events. These emotions are difficult to handle and there is no cure for how you feel. However, there are some healthy ways to handle your feelings, so that you can gain strength, compassion, and wisdom from what can be a very negative experience. Your emotional healing process begins when you allow yourself to grieve the end of your relationship and you will begin to heal when you can finally move on with your new life.

Some people find that sharing their feelings with others can reduce their suffering. A sympathetic ear can do wonders for a person in emotional pain. That’s the reason people turn to family and friends when they are in the process of getting a divorce. They ask for assistance and support from the people they trust and those who are best able to offer help.

While many people find someone who will allow them to vent their anger, cry out their hurt, talk about their fears and listen to them, it can be difficult for some to find that comfort. Many people have complex and stressful lives and over time, they may tire of listening to a person’s grief, especially if that person cannot get over their pain and move on. Unfortunately, some people find that they do not have anyone to support them through their divorce. For those people, support groups or a professional therapist can offer the help they need.

The main benefit of attending a support group is that you are with other people who are going through the same type of situation. These meetings are usually held in a church or community center. A person can meet face-to-face with others in various stages of grief, all healing from the pain divorce has caused in their lives. In these groups, people come together to learn how to handle their emotions and support.

Some people find it difficult to attend a face-to-face meeting or there may not be one available in their local area. Online support groups offer 24-hour support. However, the support provided is not as personal, although it is more accessible. With online support groups, a person has the opportunity to meet people who are going through the same pain. But be warned that these groups are often plagued by trolls who use this public forum to insult and ridicule others.

If a person has existing mental health conditions, divorce can make things worse, especially for anyone suffering from anxiety, depression or personality disorders. Divorce is often viewed as a personal failure and for some, this increases any feelings of inadequacy they may already have. Therapy is one way to work through these feelings. Some people need to understand why their marriage ended and therapy can help give them a new prospective, which can help stop them from blaming themselves for everything that went wrong.

Many people who have divorced have learned about what they want and don’t want from a relationship. However, in order to learn this, they need to discover more about themselves and their personal characteristics. Therapy, during and after divorce is more about a person learning about themselves than it is about them getting over their marriage.

A qualified therapist understands the effect divorce can have on a person’s life and the changes they will experience during the divorce process. They can offer a person a place to vent in a healthy way. A person can talk openly about their fears and share emotions that may be too intense to share with their family and friends.

A therapist can show a person various techniques to help with stress, grief and negative thinking. This can help a person going through a divorce to be a caring and effective parent who can help their child cope with the divorce in a healthy manner. It also lays the foundation for a healthy new life after the divorce is finalized. Before choosing a therapist, a person should interview several and then, choose a person that makes them feel safe, but is also prepared to guide them out of their grief.

A person does not recover from divorce overnight. This is a process without any time limit. There are many changes to adjust to. It’s not uncommon when couples split that friendships are also dissolved and in-laws will be lost. This only makes the pain worse. A parent may also feel guilt over the pain divorce causes for their children.

Getting the right support can help a person work through these issues in a positive way and can help to turn a difficult event into an empowering and life strengthening experience.

Ferdinand Marin is the publisher of CBT Worksheets,  providing custom worksheets which help mental health professionals to more effectively and accurately use the Cognitive Behavioral Method in their practices. Visit to learn more.



Getting Past Divorce

Divorce is a life transition to move through as quickly as possible. Yet some folks relive it over and over again. Their proceedings are their go-to- topic of conversation, which gets old. There are traps that keep one stuck in divorce instead of moving forward with life.

It is hard to forget about your ex when plotting revenge. This may be repeatedly taking a former spouse to court for perceived infractions, or starting rumours which border on slander. Revenge is a way to keep attached to your former partner by wishing evil things to happen to them. These revenge fantasies drain energy and time which could be used for something more productive.

People sometimes project their own emotional states onto someone else, like an ex-spouse. If they are vindictive, they see their former spouse as that way also. Our views are projected onto others as if they are a screen or mirror. A happy individual interprets interactions as positive and a bitter, angry person encounters a hostile world. A person stating on social media that their ex cannot move on is probably the one who is not letting go. Could your complaints about your ex really be about your own issues?

Following the same routines as when married, may be a way of hanging on to that relationship. One’s former partner may have jumped ship for someone else, yet they are haunting the places that they went together as a couple. Dining in your favourite restaurant as you did when married or replaying a song from your wedding keeps you attached. This is like lyrics from the 1980’s band Naked Eyes’ song: “I walk along the city streets you used to walk along with me. And every step I take reminds me of just how we used to be. Well, how can I forget you, girl? When there is always something there to remind me.”   Instead of going to the same Greek island or walking the streets of Paris that you roamed as a duo, discover new destinations. Grab buddies and go away for a long weekend to somewhere enticing. Shake up your routines by finding new cafes and a favourite pub. It is time to exorcize your ex’s ghost by having new adventures.

Open the door and allow joy to enter your life. Divorce evokes negative feelings such as tension and hurt. It is easy to fall into the habit of staying in the place of anger instead of climbing out of that dark pit. At first it takes effort and practice to notice the sweet things in one’s life  Please read more…

Becoming More Confidant After Divorce

Getting a divorce can affect one’s self confidence. One may have to get a job, move to a different locale or meet new people. A lot is thrown at you at once. Divorce does not define who you are, but is a word indicating your marital status. Being divorced is just a part of one’s multi-faceted being. There are ways to boost one’s confidence which leads to a more fulfilling life.


The first step for gaining more confidence is to do a self-inventory. In what areas do you feel overwhelmed and could use improving? Think about where you excel, such as on the job, with some relationships, or in your hobbies. Your talents and abilities, may have brought accolades, such as when winning local tournaments for a sport. A person may have a magnificent voice which is central to their choir. One may be surprised at how many areas of confidence outweigh what scares them. People sometimes focus on the negatives instead of the positives and feel that they lack confidence in general, rather than in a few specific aspects of their lives.


Learning new skills, material and strategies is the way to fix the areas that are weak and lacking in confidence. Building confidence is like building up a muscle when lifting weights – it benefits the whole person and not just one part. Take a computer class if feeling wobbly about IT on the job. Some scientific   guys have confided they feel awkward trying to make small talk. Small talk is a way to connect with others and is important socially as well as at work. Joining groups with a purpose, such as hiking, photography, chess, books and so forth make discussing the subject at hand easy, which then leads to other conversations. The trick is to get help for what is draining one’s confidence.

Rewards do work. I had a phobia for public speaking and as an author, I knew interviews and doing workshops were inevitable. I joined Toastmasters International to help get over this fear and increase my confidence. However, I paired Toastmasters meetings with getting together afterwards at a coffee shop with friends. Eventually my brain linked going to Toastmasters with treats. I no longer feel the need for lattes afterwards and found I really enjoy speaking in front of others and doing radio interviews. Pick a treat to motivate you to go to a class or do something out of your comfort zone.  Please read more

Finding Meaning in Life Post-Divorce

Divorce shakes one’s foundation, so doing some rebuilding of one’s life afterwards is a must. What seemed important when married such as extended shopping sprees, may be viewed as trivial now. Let divorce be the catalyst to shift priorities in order to have a more rewarding life. One can feel like they are drifting along and every day is the same. How to get your groove back after divorce? The secret is to discover what is meaningful to you and gives you a sense of purpose in this world.

Leo Tolstoy said “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” Volunteering is a great way to connect with others, while getting so much more back. Volunteering counteracts misconceptions of feeling worthless, powerless or weak which can be by products of a toxic marriage. Seeing tangible results of how you make a difference in the world is what gives meaning to your existence. I volunteer weekly for a cat rescue organization and the kitties’ purrs and affection just make my day. Other divorced friends help out at soup kitchens, delivering meals to homebound elderly, or use professional skills such as accounting. This is what ignites the spark in our lives. Think about what your interests are and find a position in one of those areas. In the public schools – we have executives who tutor youngsters over their lunch hours. The staff tells them that this is their most important job and these high powered individuals readily agree. The Dalai Lama stated “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.”

Reaching out and strengthening connections increases life satisfaction. There are all kinds of studies which show that having bonds to people increases longevity and contributes to better health. Rekindle old friendships which may have slipped away when married. Spend more time with family and be an involved aunt. Childhood is fleeting and your children grow up quickly. Give them undivided attention with your devices switched off and really listen. Plan fun outings and special pizza nights at home. I expanded my social network and feel more content. I am closer to my college pals post-divorce and this creates more pleasure in my life.

Discover what kick starts your passion and go for it. For us it is going on global journeys. We live frugally and diligently save cash to reach our goal, which is a good life lesson in itself. My sons and I become closer without the distractions of being at home. It is possible to travel to far flung places on a limited budget. For others it is dusting off an instrument, painting, hiking, treks in exotic places and so forth. Engaging in your passions is what quality of life is all about. This includes following your dreams.

Experiences give richness to our lives much more than another handbag or the latest gadget. It is the memories of visiting your grandparents’ farm or summer trips to an amusement park that are meaningful, not some item which was broken eons ago. Instead of buying things for the quick fix of feeling better, consider which experiences will give long lasting joy.   Please read more


Getting Rid of the Divorce Blues – Moving On

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when stress and loss mounts up in divorce. Going through monumental changes and downgrading one’s lifestyle can result in feeling blue. There may be financial worries and the realization hits that one will see the children only part-time. If a person is prone to depression all of this turmoil can be a trigger that pushes one down that slippery slope. One way to stop melancholy moods is with distraction. When sadness is like a DVD playing over and over in your head, substituted it with happier ones. The blues may hit expectantly like a huge wave, and that is when I mentally insert a DVD of fun times on holiday. Sometimes I can banish morose feelings when looking at our holiday photos and reminiscing about our adventures.

  • Many people have expressed being in nature rejuvenates them. This is as simple as eating lunch outside or taking a stroll in a leafy area to lift one’s mood. There are hundreds of studies that back up the physical and mental health benefits of being out in nature. A study out of The Netherlands analysed records of 195 doctors with the focus of seeing if living near a green space was beneficial to well-being. They found that there were less “disease clusters” for those who lived within 1 kilometre of a green space. This particularly held true for those with depression and mental illness. University of Washington has on their web site a result from a study where some participants took a walk inside and the others did out in nature. 71% of the ones taking a walk outside had a decrease in their depression as opposed to 45% who were inside. Professor Jules Pretty from University of Essex and other researchers analysed data from ten studies. The common denominator was being out in nature improves “mental and physical health”. Even five minutes in the green is shown to improve health.
  • Do something special for yourself. One friend has a glass of her favourite pinot grigio wine and watches a classic movie. This week she laughed her way through “How to Marry a Millionaire” with Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall. Last week her treat was watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” A divorced acquaintance watches snooker when thoughts of his ex-wife occur. When I am feeling blue, I enjoy a hands on treatment, such as facial (Neal’s Yard) or a pedicure.
  • Get out of your flat. Moping inside only compounds the blues, so go to a coffee or tea shop. If you are feeling lonely, chatting with other at the community table may be just the ticket. If not in a sociable mood, take your book or laptop and be surrounded by people, but not interacting with them. One elderly divorced woman made it to daily Mass with a treat afterwards. She was not auditioning for sainthood, but having somewhere to go every day was important to her emotional well-being.
  • Go to the cinema or theatre. Being engrossed in a thriller or comedy is a great temporary escape from the stress of divorce. Crying through a heart-breaking film releases pent up sadness and despondency and one can feel so much better afterwards. West End has so many choices for whatever mood you are in, and I feel comfortable going alone.   Please read more


How To Boost Your Happiness

You may be going through the motions of life while others seem to have the secret to happiness. Happiness may have alluded one during marriage and finding it after divorce is high on the list. What exactly is happiness? It is a transient feeling which requires frequent boosters. Planning an exotic getaway, buying designer shoes on sale, or a day at the spa bring on happiness temporarily. Once the boost is over then one looks for another fix. We are born with a set point for happiness and various studies put it between 33% to 50%. This means that how happy we are is partly due to genetics and we can control the rest. Some people seem to be born cheerful and others more morose, as I have witnessed in the school setting. Andrew Carnegie, the American philanthropist born in Scotland, said “If you want to be happy – set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” During divorce, just surviving and getting through it may be the goal. After divorce come up with long-term ones such as exploring the world, a better financial situation or balancing family and work.


Cultivating a positive outlook helps one to view the world as a friendlier, safer place. If one expects to be treated badly, then they perceive normal interactions with others as negative. In one study on happiness, people were asked to think about a memory. The happier folks thought of happy ones. The test subjects who were depressed gravitated towards sad or unhappy remanences. What is the secret to happiness? Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert states “The quality of connections with people is the biggest predictor of happiness.” This message is echoed in a 72 year study by Harvard of 268 men in regards to life satisfaction and happiness. Psychiatrist George Valliant was one of the researchers who found that “The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.” Post-divorce focus on the quality of the connection with other people. Having several close friends brings more happiness than 500 ones on social media. What is important is engaging with others. Strengthen your ties to friends post-divorce. American psychologist Jaime Kurtz has done much research on happiness in the field of positive psychology.

How to Sustain Happiness

To sustain happiness is to have meaning and purpose in life. Ask yourself these questions. What inspires you? What is your passion? What drives you? If you are drifting along and not sure what you want to do after divorce, map out a life plan. Where do you see yourself next year, in five years, in ten? Giving back to others, whether volunteering, doing pro bono work, or mentoring helps give meaning to life. It is easy to be self-absorbed and reaching out to others creates healthy connections. Some people post-divorce started practicing gratitude, where they learned on a regular basis to appreciate the good happenings in their lives. Stop and notice the little things.

If you were on your deathbed now looking back over your life – did you accomplish all that you set out to do? What would any regrets be? What would you have left unfinished and do you have a legacy to pass on to family and friends? This is a good starting place to examine what you want to still accomplish. People that I talked to on their deathbeds, wished they had spent more time with others or had travelled to specific destinations. Let this guide you into have a more fulfilling life which brings happiness.

Schedule fun activities with friends and family. Since these only affect happiness on a short-term basis, fill your calendar with these events. This may be the time to adopt a pet who showers you with unconditional affection.  It takes time to heal after divorce or other adversities, however if feeling like you cannot climb out of a black pit, then seek some help.  Originally published in The Divorce Magazine


Take a Pause in Divorce

Divorce can seem like a roller coaster ride – speeding along at break neck speed with a multitude of decisions needing to be made. During this frenetic time it is okay to put the brakes on and take a breather. The mind gets overloaded when stressed out and one can feel like they are wandering around in a fog. This is when you hit the pause button. The Harvard Business Review said that taking a break from tasks helps one to reevaluate what they are trying to achieve. It is a way to step back and look at the whole picture so as not to get caught up in the minutia. This advice is helpful in the divorce process when one tends to just see what is immediately in front of them instead of the future outcome.

It is okay to inform your mediator or solicitor that you require a short pause in the proceedings. Just as a computer stops and reboots for optimal functioning – do this yourself. Taking a pause, whether for a day or a week, resets your mind and body. Walking in a nearby park is relaxing and helps one to face the crazy day. There are many studies showing the benefits of nature on one’s mental and physical well-being. Dr. Marc Berman of the University of Michigan, USA conducted a study which found that walking in nature improved test subjects’ memories and attention spans by twenty percent. If you are forgetting details during your divorce, consider taking your break in a leafy area.

When one feels pushed into hasty decisions – this can backfire down the road. Making snap decisions to move house or not taking a more diversified portfolio when splitting assets, can haunt you later. Think about taking an afternoon off from work and then sit in a coffee shop as one divorcing woman did. She felt this mental health break was worth it and was able to think through issues calmly while sipping lattes. I felt better after seeing comedies at the cinema with friends. Get your mind off your proceedings by doing something fun in town or going on a mini holiday.

When life is hectic and one is juggling so much more besides divorce, hit that pause button. When life is hectic and one is juggling so much more besides divorce, hit that pause button. Trade babysitting with a neighbour or drop off the kids for a fun overnight with your parents. The idea is to give yourself some space to get centred. When your needs are being met – you are in a better position to focus on the divorce tasks at hand. Feeling less frazzled helps one to be more attentive to the children. I was lucky that a trip was already scheduled pre-divorce with my mother and sons. That was my pause button from proceedings. We came back rejuvenated after traipsing around castles and cobbled stone streets. I was so much calmer and ready to get back into the divorce fray.

Think about areas in your life, besides divorce where you could use a pause.    Please read more

Fun with Friends Post-Divorce

One can have fun out with friends and not break the bank. Years ago, an acquaintance of mine was going broke in NYC because her pals only met up for dinner at pricey restaurants. They split the bill evenly so Mandy was funding filet mignon for others when she was ordering salad. This got me thinking about how to have an active social life while having plenty of cash left over for my passion in life, travel.

  1. Ditch the expensive restaurants or go there occasionally for lunch. Tally up your share and add 25% which includes tax and tip when presented with one bill for the group. I just put my money in and do not participate when someone tries to make all pay the same price. It is not advanced math to do this simple calculation which is fairer. Some upscale grocery stores have a nice buffet with plenty of tables both inside and out. I occasionally meet friends there.
  2. Meet your friends at a coffee shop for lattes instead of lunch. One orders at the counter and pays individually which is simpler. Those that want delectable food can get it. Another alternative is to meet pals in a Starbucks that seem to pop up in many grocery and discount stores and do your shopping together.
  3. Go to a reasonable nail salon for pedicures. The Asian owners can accommodate around six people for pedicures and charge a great price. We like the coffee shop a few doors down and sometimes combine these two indulgences.
  4. There are some free lectures in town and great plays at a nearby college. Nice that the student center has a coffee shop which serves lattes. Check with the chamber of commerce for free community events from concerts, craft fairs to the annual tree lighting on the green. I’ve gone to a few high school plays that have been outstanding.
  5. Watch DVDs and have a potluck at someone’s house. One friend has a small art studio which is perfect for these movie nights. This group of friends was so nurturing to my sons during my divorce and beyond. Sometimes we do quick meditations before the movie which gets me back on track.

Go to a class together. My Zumba one only charges $5.00 and my Qigong one is close in price.   Please read more



Playing the Victim in Divorce

Many people go through divorce playing the role of the victim and are oblivious to their part in the end of the marriage. Casting oneself as the victim in this drama is putting the blame onto their spouse. Blaming their spouse for what went wrong relieves them of any responsibility for a failed marriage. These people may go through life being the victim in other settings, such as on the job. One older man blamed his two ex-wives for his divorces and reduced finances. He was bitter and said his life was miserable because of them, even years after they had left him. A former friend of mine kept talking about her divorce and how she was wronged by her spouse. It was all his fault. On the job her boss supposedly was out to get her and she claimed to be the victim of co-workers’ jealousy. This got old and we eventually parted ways.

Some seem to be comfortable in the role of victim and derive satisfaction from it. They may take centre stage when telling tales of their divorce. It is like they are a leaf on the water, floating wherever the river takes them. This fatalistic view has them drifting along and not exerting energy to make changes. Getting out of victim mentality requires introspection and a willingness to see both sides of issues. Feeling like a victim can impact divorce proceedings. The situation will not be viewed realistically and the person may too passive. They may not be receptive to a fair distribution of assets if they interpret the divorce is 100% the other spouse’s doing.

What some solicitors and mediators do in this circumstance is mandate both spouses have at least one session with a life or divorce coach. The victim can have a reality check and get help with viewing the divorce from a different perspective. The spouse being blamed can get some support and strategies to deal with their soon to be ex.

Empowerment is the opposite of being a victim.

This is taking control of one’s life and doing the necessary actions to stay on course. Knowledge is a part of empowerment, whether it is learning about divorce law or emotionally supporting oneself. It is taking an active role in the divorce process and seeking advice on the most advantageous spit of assets. Empowerment is taking classes to keep current in one’s career for better financial footing post-divorce. Empowerment is discovering strengths and talents in order to feel good and be fulfilled.

Avoid feeling like a victim by taking responsibility for your life. This is taking charge of yourself. When a person admits their mistakes, they learn from them and can move one. Get out of childhood patterns of behaviour such as feeling you are a victim with the world out to get you. Break free from the past to ensure healthy relationships in the present. You are in the driver’s seat for your life, and not a passenger going along for the ride. If repeating old ways of interactions, consider seeking professional guidance to learn how to communicate more effectively.

Does feeling like a victim bring happiness? No. It is vacillating between being helpless and angry. The victim mentality can lead to depression when one feels powerless.

Please read more


How to Prevent Loneliness Post-Divorce

It is natural to feel lonely after a divorce and there are ways to make this transition easier. The secret to beating the “I feel so alone blues” is distraction and making connections. I experienced more loneliness during my marriage than I ever did post-divorce. The divorce process itself drains time and energy away from pursuits and people. These tips are what I did to combat loneliness and a collection of worked well for others.

  1. Gather your support system around you like a protective cocoon. Reach out to people who are   sticking by you through this transition. Allow friends to do things for you and accept their assistance. Ask for help and this can be challenging at first. I asked a neighbor to have my younger son over for dinner a few times, which lowered his stress and was fun. If you are still in shock post-divorce, let others know to contact you with plans. I wanted to go out for lattes and appreciated my friends calling me with these arrangements1. Gather your support system around you like a protective cocoon. Reach out to the people who are. I just had to show up for movies, etc. without making decisions and coordinating these events.
  2. Join Groups and meet new people. is international with local groups having a variety of activities, such as hiking. You meet new folks in a relaxed setting having fun, getting fit, or volunteering. I joined The Transition Network through this organization, and met many new women also going through life changes. We are each other’s boosters. Consider joining a book club. I developed a love of Scandinavian mysteries through mine, and lonely weekends are a thing of the past. Some divorced people have become more active in their church and synagogue groups plus added these people to their support team.
  3. Volunteering takes the focus off your woes. Giving back to the community distracts you from being caught up in the merry-go-round of thoughts swirling around in your head. You are concentrating on your activity and making new connections with humans or animals. I joined a cat rescue group and one morning a week feed, clean cages, and cuddle the kitties. A purring kitten reaffirms that I am being appreciated. Others enjoy the camaraderie and physical exertion of building houses and other charity projects. Taking supplies to South Africa post-divorce, enriched my life more than it did for any recipients.

4. Do not try and fix loneliness by jumping into a new relationship. Do spend some time to heal and work on yourself first.     Please read more

De-Cluttering During Divorce or Downsizing

Divorce is a unique life transition where one has the challenge of making decisions of what possessions to keep and what to let go. This is an emotionally charged time, so the secret is to calm your mind with meditation, relaxation CDs or whatever works for you so that clear headed choices are made. Leaving precious items behind out of spite or anger can cause regrets down the road. Selling items in a panic can backfire. I sold a cherished book from my childhood and the money received for it was insignificant.

One may have to leave the marital home to sell it during a divorce. After the division of personal property, how does one sort through the remains? Moving out of my house gave me the extra motivation to go through my books, clothes, decorations and crockery to save on moving fees. Noticing the lack of storage available in my much smaller new home was another motivating factor. I had a yard sale a week before I moved and another smaller one a few months later after determining that I still had too much stuff.

Practical Tips

How does one get started de-cluttering? One way is to enlist a friend to help you begin this daunting task. She is neutral without the emotional attachments to your things and can give objective opinions. If one is undecided about some articles, then box them up and store them for a short while. Not feeling pressured to make quick decisions can take the pressure off downsizing. Packing heirlooms and important items first gives momentum to carry on to the more questionable ones.

Have your teenagers pick out their favorite childhood toys and books, then put these in storage boxes. My sons were glad for the extra cash the remainder fetched at yard sales. I keep my sons’ precious drawings (edited collection) in expandable folders and some are used as holiday decorations.

Do an online search to see what some of your objects are worth. This will give you an idea whether to sell or to donate them. If you can wait a bit for extra cash, consider a consignment shop. It may take a few months for the right buyer to appear, but that can mean a bigger payment. I went this route as well and had money trickling in over the first several years post-divorce. I sold all of my wedding china and crystal since keeping these presents would have been a tie to my ex. After divorce one may not be giving huge dinner parties nor want all this of this excess goods.   Please read more

On the Fence About Getting Divorced?

The beginning of a new year is when people take stock of their lives and see what is not working out well so that resolutions can be made. Relationships are one aspect that comes under scrutiny. New Year’s resolutions may be to exercise more, cut down on booze or make a decision about the future of an unhappy marriage. It is time to resuscitate a dying marital partnership or end it. When on the fence about divorce, consider marital counselling, even if your spouse refuses to participate. This will help you recognize if the marriage is salvable or if you have been missing these clues that have led others to file for divorce.

  • You are repulsed by your spouse and do not want to be alone with them. Being in different postal codes would be even better. Sex is a distant memory. Doing things together is just not your cup of tea. You do not even like them and feel trapped being in the relationship. This is not the same as couples losing the spark that initially attracted them to each other. That often can be relit by a holiday in an exotic local or discovering a new passion that draws them back together.
  • Are your beliefs and ethics opposite? When a spouse continues to have affairs and states that you are overreacting, then consider making a permanent exit. It is being callous with complete disregard for your feelings to say you are the one with the problem, since you cannot accept it. This repeated bad behaviour with no remorse, is showing a lack of respect for you.
  • Your partner has an addiction and no amount of rehab has stopped it. There are repeated promises and tears, yet the problem remains. It could be gambling away your joint finances or being impaired. You have been patient but enough is enough. It is not healthy for you to watch someone you love self-destruct with this slow suicide. Stop playing a part in their destructive drama and walk away to protect your well-being.

One or both of you are completely indifferent. You may lead separate lives but still share the same address.

  • Having a spouse turn into a roommate keeps you trapped in a rut. Consider breaking free to have a fulfilling life and the opportunity to meet someone else. Getting a divorce takes money and energy and this may not be the path you choose at this moment in time.

Is there some type of abuse, even if not physical? Emotional and financial abuse erodes a spouse’s self-worth.

Please read more

A Place of Refuge is Needed during Divorce

Divorce can be a time when lives are in an upheaval and the stress level climbs to stratospheric heights. One’s mind and body need a break from the chaotic atmosphere of divorce. What some people do is escape to a special place for a breather to regroup. Is there a destination that brings you joy and contentment? For me it is Kirkwall in the Orkneys or being on a relaxing sea voyage. A divorced friend goes to Aspen, USA to hike and breathe in the fresh mountain air. This revives her to face whatever is ahead.

Think about a short getaway from daily burdens during an acrimonious divorce or when post-divorce issues are emerging. Go on a day trip if going farther afield is not feasible. Some have gone back to the comfort of their childhood homes and met up with old friends. The point is to recharge your batteries by going to your place of refuge. It can be as low-key as spending the afternoon in your favourite café people watching and reading. Coffee shops are friendly and one can get to know the staff. My friend and I have ours in Marylebone, London and they ask us if we want “the usual.” It is a way to feel connected and have a pleasant time while forgetting about one’s troubles. A local pub might be someone’s sanctuary (I have one of those too) where you laugh and chat with the regulars. It might be somewhere quite different, such as a bookshop. Hatchard’s on Piccadilly knows my taste and always recommends some great books. Getting engrossed in these mysteries also is a way to shut out the world.

There are therapeutic trips to consider – yoga retreats near home or in distant places like India. Getting pampered in a country hotel spa or around the corner, such as Neal’s Yard, helps one to look and feel rejuvenated. There are divorce retreats and workshops in picturesque places around the UK. Sometimes it is easier to take off from work when going to a professional conference. Pick one that includes a tour or is set in an exotic locale. It is interesting to meet with foreign colleagues and learn some new job skills. I went to some great nurses’ conferences in places such as Kenya and Egypt. In the middle of my divorce I fled to one in South Africa while my mum stayed with my teens. This is probably what saved my sanity in the midst of contentious proceedings.

Going to one’s sanctuary during divorce can be internal and not on a physical level. Several divorced people said that they mentally visualize their special place and go there whenever needed. It may be a beach, city or rural setting.

Please read more


Forgiveness Sets You Free Post-Divorce

Forgiving your ex-spouse is not about them – but is about you. Forgiving a former partner gives you closure before embarking upon a new chapter in life. Forgiveness is like when a business stamps a receipt “Paid in Full.” That bill is paid and the account is closed and back to zero. Forgive your ex and visualize “Paid in Full” stamped on that relationship. You then emotionally do not owe each other anything else and can go your separate ways.

You made mistakes in your marriage and so did your former spouse. Some were petty and others seemingly monumental. Both spouses contributed to the demise of the marriage. Forgive yourself. In hypnotherapy school – we learned that people do the best that they can in their circumstance. Feeling overwhelmed in a stressful situation is like having tunnel vision. Not all information can be absorbed when on the verge of a breakdown during a toxic marriage or divorce. Reactions are quite different than when not in crisis and being in a more relaxed state. Give yourself a break and realize that hindsight is 20/20 when ruminating about the past. You did what you could at the time, so forgive yourself.

By forgiving your ex – that affects the present. Forgiving them severs the bond between you and sets you free. When no longer tied to your former partner, then interactions can be more impersonal – polite with less of an emotional charge. Forgiveness lessens any power that an ex may try to have over you.  Please read more

De-cluttering During Divorce

When one is faced with major life decisions and transitions – having to determine what to keep is one more burden. Separate your emotions from the practicality of de-cluttering during divorce. Do not get rid of objects when in anger. My enraged spouse left behind the gifts that I had given him when he moved out of our marital home. I was overjoyed when they later sold on E-Bay. This is a project for a clear head. Reacting in haste can cause regrets down the road when you wished that you would have kept your cherished childhood toy.

One woman got rid of her household goods after her husband departed during their divorce. She was fuming and claimed that she did not want the “junk” from her marriage. When she went to refurnish her house, she got a big surprise. Prices had gone up on these items and she struggled to replace them on her meager post-divorce budget. Her friends had not heard of the new trend, “Divorce Shower” so this woman was out of luck. Getting rid of some things to start anew makes sense, starting out from scratch when flat broke does not. However, several people I know mainly left with clothes and personal items and never looked back. See what works best for your situation.

Be cognizant of items that have particularly painful memories and possibly eliminate these first. What to do about your wedding gown? If a daughter or niece does not want it, consider donating it to charity. When I tried to sell mine online, they were only going for a pittance. Last Halloween, there were several wedding gowns as costumes and that is one creative solution. These “Gruesome Brides” had fake blood dripping down their gowns and were having a great time at the party.

Meditate, listen to relaxation CDs, or get to a place internally where you are calm, before tackling emotionally charged items. De-cluttering in a panic can backfire. Have a “Sell”, “Trash”, “Donate” and “I’ll think about it for a few days” bins. Knowing that you do not have to make snap judgments regarding your possessions takes some of the pressure off you. I had a huge yard sale the week before I moved out of the marital house. After I got settled in my new, smaller home, I had another one a few months later.

I already had a paid trip that was scheduled before my divorce commenced. Since it looked like I would be losing some nice decorations midway through the divorce, I used this opportunity to purchase a few new items. I really enjoy looking at the hand painted tiles and pottery from that vacation that was during the worst part of my collaborative proceedings.

The hardest part is the initial step. Once you get going, you build momentum. Look through your possessions and see what brings you joy as my grandparents’ china does for me. Other things that bring sadness or regret can be let go. If you can look at the cat statue from Italy and appreciate it for itself, then great. If it reminds you of exploring Sorrento on your honeymoon, then Goodwill would be a better spot for it. Enlisting a neutral third party can help you be less emotional and more realistic with paring down possessions.

Be careful of well-meaning family members unloading their clutter on to you. Your parents may try to give you some of their household goods or mementos. Just say something like this “I really appreciate you wanting me to have these treasures, but I am downsizing and am not the right home for these. Thanks for thinking of me.” You are required to make choices, but do not let guilt be one of them.

Getting rid of unwanted and unnecessary goods is mentally freeing also. Too much clutter is a mental distraction and can be an energy drainer. The trick is to have some open spaces, whether in your closet or your schedule, so new treasure and adventures can come your way.  Originally published in Divorce Magazine

How to Get Closure After Divorce

There are rituals surrounding transitions in life – except for divorce. My sons even had a graduation ceremony between nursery and primary school. There may be a party to announce an engagement followed by a bridal shower and later a hen night. The fellows have their stag party. The wedding is marked by a reception, whether it is a quiet affair with family, or a big gala at a five star hotel. This is closure for the single life and a celebration to send the newlyweds on their merry way in life. When there is a death in the family, a funeral service is held followed by a wake. People mourn together, reminisce and have closure.

What happens after the divorce is finalized? Nothing. No ritual and no particular closing ceremony. When my husband and I signed our papers for divorce in my solicitor’s office, I commented that champagne would have been nice. Although our divorce would not be finalized by the judge for several weeks, I felt like there should have been something afterwards. Think I stumbled into a coffee shop for a latte on my way back to the car.

On the day the judge was to issue our divorce decree, my sons gave me flowers and chocolate. My mother took us all out to lunch, more because the ordeal was over than anything else. For the next few years they gave me more flowers and chocolates to mark “our” (their words) divorce anniversary. Friends took me out for a few weeks following my divorce which was a nice gesture. I did not have any specific closing ceremony.

In interviewing people – some said that they had a closure activity involving their wedding rings. One said she threw her gold wedding band into a roaring river and it soon was swept away. Another had her wedding band melted into a pendant. One woman waited until she had collected two wedding bands to have them made into another piece of jewellery. Some swapped out the diamond for a coloured stone. I sold my engagement ring on e-bay.


Tips about the Divorce Process

Divorce is a life transition that generates permanent changes. One can never go back – only forward. Divorce affects finances, relationships and career choices. It can be a positive catalyst for a metamorphosis.

Divorce is not a linear process, one can back track, hit a speed bump or nearly get derailed. My husband and I were in the collaborative process and he suddenly dropped out when it did not go as he expected. We had to start over with new solicitors for litigation. Then he decided to return to collaborative and luckily our original solicitors let us pick up where we left off from before.

Divorce does not have to mean only negative changes –but can push people in a positive direction. Maribel was a stay-at-home mum who was bored out of her mind and felt unfulfilled. Getting a divorce forced her back into the working world. She opted for a lesser paying job in retail and is ecstatic about life. Maribel is much more vibrant now, than I ever observed in her marriage. Two co-workers lead busy, fulfilled lives now that they are divorced.

Divorce has an end point. My maintenance and child support have finished which means contact with my ex is 100% in the past. I will be moving and can totally close that chapter of my life. Other people’s end point may be when their divorce is finalized, especially when there is a Clean Break. The divorce process seemed endless at the time, but it helped when folks said that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Get centred, clear your mind and think through your choices and decisions. I made stupid missteps in a panic – rather than stating “Let me think about it and get back to you.” An issue can be tabled until the next mediation/collaborative session – or you could send an e-mail the following day with your decision. Reacting quickly, instead of mulling it over can haunt you in the future.

Get the necessary experts on the divorce team. If it seems as if some assets are missing, then get a forensic accountant  on board. In an acrimonious divorce, a custody evaluator may be brought in to do an extensive study to determine the percentage of shared care between parents.

There are support groups available to enable you to make it through the arduous divorce process.  Conduct your own online search to discover ones in your locale. Talking to others going through divorces gave me support and I felt less alone.

It is normal to feel that you cannot take much more stress without exploding. People interviewed expressed that they were surprised that they got through divorce without a nervous breakdown. In our crazy divorce, the two solicitors mandated that we each see a designated life coach for at least one session. My husband brought his to one collaborative session and that made for a smoother meeting with less tension for all of us.

You will discover traits that you did not realize that you possessed. Hidden strength will bubble up and get you through tough negotiations. You will discover your resilience which helps you to be flexible and bend like a pine tree rather than being rigid like the mighty oak and breaking in a storm.

A Family Law solicitor said if one party is pleased in the divorce – then something is not fair. When both people are unhappy about the asset division, then it is fair. I made sure I got the few things that I really desired, the water colour painting of our deceased cat, plus several other items. I refused to get in a battle over our joint personal property which resulted in my husband letting me have a bit more. Hold out for what you really want in the personal property division and do not haggle over every little thing. Not worth the time, increased legal fees and anxiety.

You may be at loggerheads with each other during divorce, but may like each other down the road. Some former couples are friends and even have get-togethers with the new spouses. This is really lovely for the children during the holidays when this happens. Memory has the trick of glossing over the unpleasant parts and this is helpful after divorce.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine

How to Let Go and Move On Post-Divorce

The secret to moving on after a divorce is to let go. It may sound simple, but can be difficult to accomplish. Trying to hold on to something to prevent the enviable (like a divorce) is a futile effort. After trying to fix a marriage, prevent divorce, and do all that we can, just let go. If a spouse is going to leave, they will. So letting go of the marriage can mean a better period is on the horizon. You do not have to agree with a situation (departing spouse), but accepting that what is happening is partly out of your control, allows you to start getting unstuck and moving on with life. Recognize what is out of your control during the divorce process.

Let go of the minutia and concentrate on the most important aspects of divorce, such as the division of assets. This will help you to let go of the small stuff and concentrate on what matters the most to you.

Some people choose to allow divorce to rule their thoughts and emotions. They do not let go of the marriage, their spouse, or how ugly the divorce process came to be. Their divorce plays like an endless loop in their heads. Notice how this type of bitter person, who cannot let go, drives others away. Whether it is a marriage, a job, or whatever that ends, let go so you can move on to something else.

Filling Up The Hole That Divorce Leaves:

Filling that void is important. The gap of a departing spouse and end of a marriage needs to be filled. One way of plugging up this hole is to pour oneself into work. Take the course you have been meaning to which will advance your career. Take on extra projects which will also help your finances. Distraction helps to ward off the feeling of emptiness.

If you are used to doing activities as a duo, then start reaching out to others. Spend more time with family and renew friendships. I joined which is available globally, to meet other women. Going to luncheons or gossiping over lattes with new girlfriends keeps any feelings of loneliness at bay. Pursue former hobbies or new interests. You have let go of your old life and get busy starting your new one.

Starting Over Post-Divorce

Divorce provides the opportunity to reinvent yourself. This could be a new career path or change in scenery as in a move across country. It is how one looks at divorce as either the world stops – or gently nudges a person into trying new endeavours. Reframe the negativity into something positive. An example is several stay-at-home-mums reframed losing a leisurely life style with divorce, into having a fulfilled life with never a dull moment. They got jobs, met a new circle of people and expanded their social lives. These woman are fun to be around with their interesting lives. Some dads are full of funny stories with their recent pursuits of coaching or mentoring. It is all about how you look at things post-divorce.

What helped several people post-divorce up was starting over in a new locale. One high powered business woman without children, moved to a different city and got a job. She was totally out of her familiar environment both socially and professionally. This ecstatically happy person said to let others in divorce situations know about considering a move with finding different employment. Another way to start over is by taking a vacation. Another woman was devastated after her break up and took a road trip from her home in Toronto to the Wild West. She stopped in a city for what was supposed to be a week and has been there eighteen years. She became an American citizen and enjoys her teaching job.

Others start over in less drastic ways. A second job in an area of interest catapulted several people into new careers. One divorced Canadian women followed her love of knitting and got a part-time job in a knitting shop. Now she owns it and has the pleasure of connecting with other enthusiasts as an instructor. I know other divorced people who renewed their love of writing into careers. Discover your passions – whether or not that morphs into an occupation. One animal loving friend opened an animal sanctuary post-divorce for horses and farm animals. The bonus for her kids is that her ex is the manager.

Being in a toxic marriage or acrimonious divorce is draining. There is not enough time or energy to give back to others. Volunteering with a cat rescue group post-divorce gives meaning to my life. Taking care of appreciative cats and fun-loving kittens weekly, takes the focus off any problems that I am facing. They are homeless and I am not. Other divorce pals volunteer at soup kitchens, through their churches’ outreach programs and so forth, and also have a sense of fulfilment.

Starting over after divorce forces one to become more independent with relying on themselves.    Please read more….

Can Exes be Friends Post-Divorce?

The simple answer to the question of can exes be friends after divorce is….it depends. Some people were great pals before marriage and want to continue this post-divorce. It is doable with these caveats. Let there be some space between your divorce and picking up the friendship. Both parties may not be over hurts or harbour some resentment over the divorce process itself. One may be farther along on the divorce continuum of moving on, and the other is stuck and not catching up. Waiting a bit helps in establishing clear boundaries and avoiding the “friends with benefits.” Jumping into bed immediately after divorce – when neither have sex partners – hampers starting separate lives. Meet up again when not feeling lonely or craving intimacy. Enlarge your circle of acquaintances and business networks, plus renew old friendships. Feeling fulfilled with your social life fills the void left by a departing spouse.

Be proactive and inform your friends that you both are cool about your changed relationship and there is no need to take sides. Tell mutual friends that they are not being disloyal remaining in contact with the two of you. This alerts them that neither of you has to be dropped from their guest list nor is bumping into each other socially an issue.

Avoid meeting at your favourite places that you frequented when married. Go to a new café or have more informal get-togethers at coffee houses. The point is not to relive your marriage when forging a new relationship with your former spouse. When the marital history is firmly anchored in the past, some divorced people claim that they are great judges of potential partners for their exes. They know these peoples’ strengths and weaknesses and can give an opinion on whether or not it is a good match.

When children are involved, make it clear to them that mummy and daddy are friendly, but are not getting back together again. Ever. This is important so that the kids can accept a future step-parent. It is lovely when both parents can share important moments and holidays with the youngsters. Children can feel more grounded when parents are not perceived as enemies, but rather being on good terms.

Take stock of your emotions. Maybe being friends with your former spouse is just not in the cards. Some couples are totally done with each other after a break up. Someone can have an ulterior motive in “Let’s be friends.” If something does not seem right, then pull back. You may need to take a breather to carefully evaluate your situation. Perhaps you both require a break from each other to gain some clarity in setting up boundaries for this changed relationship. It could be that being friends is a no go. Do not let yourself be coerced into anything, and if friendship is on the agenda, it will happen.

Take stock of your emotions. Maybe being friends with your former spouse is just not in the cards. Some couples are totally done with each other after a break up. Someone can have an ulterior motive in “Let’s be friends.” If something does not seem right, then pull back. You may need to take a breather to carefully evaluate your situation. Perhaps you both require a break from each other to gain some clarity in setting up boundaries for this changed relationship.

It could be that being friends is a no go. Do not let yourself be coerced into anything, and if friendship is on the agenda, it will happen.

Originally punished in The Divorce Magazine

What Surprised Me about Divorce

There were surprises both good and challenging in the post-divorce period for me. I learned to expect the unexpected! Below are 8 things that surprised me after my divorce.

1. The sense of freedom was a delightful discovery. I could plan trips where and when I wanted (with notifying our court-appointed mediator). After my sons left home, I took advantage of a flash sale for a last minute river cruise in Europe. My divorced friend also took 2 seconds in deciding to go and we just got back from sailing in the Czech Republic and Germany for nearly a 75% discount! My sons and I could eat on the run en route to a movie or spur of the moment activity. I didn’t realize how bound we were to a schedule until after my divorce.

2. I need less “stuff” after my divorce. The serving platters used for business entertaining gathered dust until my last garage sale. I seemed to use objects to build a cocoon around me during an unhappy marriage. I thought beautifying our house would make it easier to get through a turbulent time. I feel so much lighter now and less tied down after having a massive clear out of art, furniture and half of my things. You can even sell unwanted jewelry to help with finances. This philosophy of not accumulating more stuff frees up time for adventures when traveling since I am not spending that time shopping.

3. Post-divorce finances was a mixed bag for me. I thought I would be earning more post-alimony, however, my expenses are lower than anticipated, so there is a balance. As long as I can do some travelling I am okay. Finances seemed to be a big concern with my divorced friends, so we happily meet for coffees instead of expensive meals out.

4. It was surprising that a few of my long-time friends said they did not want to choose sides and wanted to be in touch with us both. Strange, because some barely knew my spouse. Since I was being taken to court after our divorce I could not risk confiding in these “friends” and we parted ways. A nice surprise was the couples who either knew my ex from teenage years or worked with him, yet showered me with kindness. I get big hugs from these fabulous people, although we do not get together.  Please read more…

Dealing with Past Regrets

It is easy to fall into the trap of living in regrets. One may regret the distribution of assets in divorce. Another cannot seem to get through a week without saying, “If only I had…” My two sons are pragmatic, and calmly state, “Well that’s in the past – get over it!” when I rue that I did not buy a lifetime pass to United’s Red Carpet Lounge. I did not realize that it was a one-time opportunity, and I had put it off. When asking people about any regrets, the overwhelming answer was what that they regret what they did not do, rather than what they did. It was actions or possibilities not taken, not what they did or had said. Lucille Ball of “I Love Lucy” stated, “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things that I haven’t done.”

I used to be a trauma nurse in a busy surgical intensive care unit. Some patients who felt death was knocking on the door were willing to talk about their past. All were calm and ready to go, but had a common theme about their lives. The universal comment was letting opportunities pass them by or being too afraid to take chances. It was not about what they had done (with the exception of working too many hours and missing out on family life), but instead what they hadn’t done. That regret shaped my attitude of spending as much time possible with my sons. A regret can be a wake-up call that something needs to be changed. It can be a positive stimulus to make an adjustment in your life, such as embarking on a new career path that holds more meaning and passion for you. If you are regretting some life choices, then let this propel you in a new direction. My mother’s only regrets on her deathbed were not getting to Provence, and procrastinating on taking a desired tour to Turkey. That regret pushed me into taking my sons to far flung places so I would not have her same disappointment down the road. I am not putting off travel, and instead am ticking off places from my Bucket List.  – See more at:

A Trip is Essential After a Divorce

IMG_1164Getting away post-divorce is just the ticket to rebooting your life and making a fresh start. My post-divorce journeys were both internal and external as in “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. After being divorced for a few months, I felt like running away and that I did – to South Africa. It was a nurses’ tour, so I balanced alone time with camaraderie. This took me out of familiar surroundings and into the unknown. That is a way to focus on something else other than one’s woes. The other travelers asked me questions that were not directed by my divorce situation. Friends at home kept reminding me of my new single circumstance, it was great to be away from that. And, seeing lions, elephants and more in their natural habitat leaves one with a sense of awe. It was an honor to be temporarily a part of their world. The obstacles in my life became smaller after seeing what these animal mothers endure, with poachers, hunters, and illegal snare traps.

Teens can be a handful in the best of circumstances and more so after divorce. Near Cape Town is a penguin colony and their adolescents reminded us tour members of our kids. These young penguins were acting cool and huddled in a group. They would yell when younger siblings tried to join them. If a parent started to come over to them, these juvenile penguins turned their backs and ignored the adults. Sound familiar? Lesson learned was being able to laugh at these penguin adolescents enabled me to find my sons more amusing.

The women in Africa were building huts, foraging for food and had a rough existence by our Western standards, yet seemed very happy. That put my life in perspective. I became more grateful for what I had and readjusted my attitude. Several divorced women have surprised themselves by achieving feats such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or doing treks in Africa. Getting out of your comfort zone refreshes one’s outlook especially when in the midst of great scenery. Please read more….

Get Rid of Guilt in Divorce and Life

We may live in guilt for what we did or did not do while still married. We might think we could have tried harder to salvage the marriage or feel guilt over not putting it out of its misery earlier. Let the feeling of guilt be a wakeup call that something needs to be changed and use it as an indicator to embark on another course of action. One cannot go back into the past like Dr Who, so being stuck in guilt is a blockade to having a fulfilling life now.

One young man is an example of this and feels guilty that he did not try harder and undergo marital counselling before calling it quits. Guilt is holding him back from committing to his new partner. On a positive note, guilt is pushing him into having a strong relationship with his former spouse as a co-parent. His two children are reaping the benefits of having two parents on the same team.

Sometimes guilt is dumped upon someone although it is their choice whether or not to accept it. Several women said their husbands married them mainly for their looks. After a baby or two, they gained weight and a few wrinkles. At first they felt guilty when spouses insinuated that they were breaking a deal (to look good). After their divorces, they are comfortable with their bodies and increased their self-esteem.

During my hypnotherapy training, our New Age instructor said that the Catholics got it right regarding guilt. They make mistakes (sins), report them (confess) and do reparations (say a Hail Mary or two). They wipe the slate clean and go on their way. He challenged us to come up with our own rituals to banish guilt. First acknowledge its presence and determine what it is telling us. Perhaps we are chronically snapping at the kids or have been ignoring elderly family members. Make amends. Apologize to the youngsters and explain that you are feeling overwhelmed. Then add some fun activities into your schedule with them. Visit or at least call relatives who may be feeling left out of your busy life.

Whatever is troubling you, face it, deal with it and move on. The secret is not to wallow in guilt but view it as a messenger to approach life or people in a different way. Someone may be punishing themselves over guilt when other people did not feel that they were mistreated at all. We can be hard on ourselves and our worst enemy. One friend felt guilty that she did not spend more time with her mother before her death from breast cancer. She was caught up in her wedding plans which her mother understood, and was fine with the situation. My friend was able to let go of this guilt by becoming a mostly stay-at-home mum, cherishing family togetherness.

If you have chronic guilt, consider discussing this with someone. When I am on a guilt trip, my friends set me straight and I readjust my outlook. Guilt keeps one partly living in the past, so apologize, make extra donations to charity, anything to release guilt and move on.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine





Why I Like Being Divorced

Sometimes our happily married friends pity us divorcées and wonder how we can manage without a spouse in the house. Here is what I have to say to them:

Dear Married Friends,

You do not have the flexibility or freedom as we do to be nomads in India or get lost in the labyrinth of Venice. I pull a painting off the wall or raid my china cabinet and use that money for new adventures. Post-divorce, we take off for parts unknown and I do not plan trips with military precision as I did when married. We do not have the constraints of a spouse’s schedule and take journeys when our time and money allows.

I am glad, dear married friends, that you enjoy your lives filled with cocktail parties and soirees. You are happy with this, and I am so glad to be off that party circuit. I spent a chunk of my life preparing hors d’oeuvres and entertaining my husband’s friends and colleagues that could have been spent with the kids. I feel that I missed out on some of their fleeting childhoods and I grab every minute of it post-divorce. Instead of attending long business dinners as when married, I catch up with friends for quicker lattes. I have more me time post-divorce, and spend it reading a great Scandinavian mystery or lounging on the couch with my cats and a magazine. I have the time and energy to try new pursuits, such as Zumba.

Dear Married Friends, I told you while married, that I was like a single mother without the sympathy. Now I am one and can enjoy the autonomy that goes with it. I no longer cook huge meals, but make quick and easy ones. I am not tethered to my kitchen, as a few married pals are who have burly husbands to feed. I play my 1980’s records loudly and take dance breaks. I am no longer banished from my bedroom due to loud snoring, nor exist on a few hours of sleep because of this. Even strangers comment on my zest for life, and this is due to being divorced.

Please read more…

Divorce Changes Friendships

Divorce shakes up friendships and you may be surprised at who leaves and who remains. Tips on what to expect and how to deal with relationships through this transition. Divorce is a transition which means a change in many aspects of life.  One of these areas is relationships, particularly with friendships. Divorce is a time to reevaluate these friendships to see if they are still beneficial or have run their course. Pals that have stuck by you through thick and thin may no longer be as supportive and it is better to not be taken by surprise. If someone is really your friend they will stick around. If they do not, is that a person you really want in your life? Divorce gets rid of these dead branches and allows new growth (friendships) to appear.

Miranda met someone in her women’s group and they clicked right away. They became close friends and had frequent lunches together. Carolyn was right there when Miranda had two miscarriages and they later got to know each other’s children. Once in a while their husbands attended birthday and holiday parties. Miranda confided about her stressful marriage and eventual divorce proceedings. Miranda also shared with Carolyn, recently revealed abuse that prevented overnight visitation.  She was shocked and her sons upset when Carolyn stated several times that she loved both Miranda and her ex and would support them both. In abuse situations, this is not a helpful thing to say to children in therapy or to a longtime friend. Carolyn refused to take sides and that friendship withered away.

People whom you assumed were close, may choose to side with your former partner. Grieve for this loss in your life and the heartache.   As you move on, you may see how shallow these people really are.

Friendships Change after Divorce

Empty Nest article on Maria Shriver’s web site

It is that time of year, the kids are leaving for college and leaving us with an Empty Nest. After all the years of driving them to school, making dinners and having pizza nights, we will be having an eerily quiet house. Many of us wish we could take back those nights we worked too late or missed school plays, and turn back the clock. Some of us are still adjusting to a recent divorce and now have to face another life changing event…our children leaving home Remember the Empty Nest syndrome is a form of grief, as we are mourning the possibility that our children will never be living under our roofs full-time again.

How does one escape the empty nest doldrums?

1. Have a plan for an immediate adventure or fun event as soon as your child leaves for college. My friend took her youngest to college last August in New York City. After getting her daughter settled in, she stayed with her college roommate whom she had not seen in two decades. Her pal lived just outside the city and they had so much fun that she felt a little guilty for not missing her daughter right away. She then went on to visit her sister in a nearby state for more good times.

2. Nurture yourself. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge the pain that you are suffering, and seek some remedies. Mine was to meet a friend for a latte and get a blissful pedicure after my son left. I got a stack of favorite British magazines and dove into them while munching on high quality chocolate.

3. Reach out to others in the same situation. I get together with my fellow Empty Nesters for films and fun. I joined two groups for a variety of activities. See if there are any groups that you might like, such a book club or a hiking one. Some women that I know became more active in the groups that they were already in. Please read more…

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…

Divorce Stigma

Society has come a long way in accepting divorce, but still has more to do. Growing up in the late 1960’s meant that I was different because I had a divorced mother. I was mortified when my first grade teacher, Sister Julie Clare, said that she would pray that my parents would get back together. I was sure that nuns had more clout with God, so was afraid that this tragedy might occur. My mother assured me that there was no way in hell that this would happen, so I became my happy self again. There was only one other girl in the school with a divorced mother and none in my neighborhood. No one overtly teased me, but I still felt judged by my situation.

Fast forward four decades and it almost seems like the norm to be divorced. Kids discuss their half-siblings and step-relatives with ease, as if it is to be expected. It has been more elderly people who have attempted to give me condolences, instead of the high five. My happily married friends share divorce stories of other friends and relatives to reaffirm my normalness. They joke that being in long-term marriages seems to be the new anomaly. That said, in some cities in the UK and US, divorce is less accepted.

I went to India which has a 1.1% divorce rate, so expected to be looked down upon in my divorced state. What a surprise to be so wrong. A leading Indian women’s magazine had an article on how to get through your divorce `. Our guide was reading the section in the paper where parents were looking for good mates for their offspring. There was even a part for parents seeking new spouses for their previously divorced sons and daughters. No one batted an eye that my sons only lived with me.   Please read more.–should-society-just-get-over-it

Girlfriends Got Me Through My Divorce

Girlfriends helped me keep my sanity during the crazy time of divorce. When I was falling apart, they put me back together again. They were my cheerleaders and reality check. When teetering on the brink of a breakdown or meltdown, they knew just what to say. I would not have been able to move on this well without them.

What is the difference between girlfriends and friends? I have an eighty-seven year old friend that I have known since the 1980’s. I can confide in her and we are close. There are boundaries that I do not cross, such talking about sex, or telling her what I really think about some of her family members. My girlfriends are more chatty and catty. They bluntly express when I am acting stupid, spending too much money, or need to step back from a college-age kid, to let him make his own mistakes. Friends may be more diplomatic, but girlfriends keep me right on track. Both friends and girlfriends are invaluable for reducing stress and getting on with life.

One girlfriend bought me a relaxation CD at the onset of my divorce. Putting it on before bedtime, or to chill out in the afternoon, reduced the tightness in my muscles and induced sleep. Another gave me some spa items which were bliss. Going out for lattes helped me to feel connected to the outside world when my life centered around collaborative divorce meetings and the numerous e-mails in between. My girlfriends listened to my rants over and over again, while my friends were more impatient. My friends discussed many interesting topics which took the focus off me and I appreciated this diversion.

Tell people what you want and need, since they most likely are not telepathic. Let others know that even going out for a coffee will boost your spirits. Divorce can be a lonely experience paired with loss. Being receptive to others’ gestures will go along way in helping one to feel a sense of connection, when the marital one is being severed. Girlfriends told me of their pals’ divorce horror stories which made my situation seem tame by comparison.
Allow girlfriends to be there, help you and be an important part of your life in this topsy-turvy time.

Lessons Learned from Divorce

Lessons learned from divorce can have a positive impact on life. They can propel us in new directions, such as with careers or help us appreciate what we had taken for granted.

Divorce taught the importance of taking a break and getting out of one’s environment. My sons and I were allowed to go on an already scheduled cruise during my divorce. The other passengers were fabulous and shared their getting through adversity stories. Walking through the souk in Tunis put our divorce situation right out of our minds. Distraction helps alleviate stress.  Our batteries were recharged during this journey.

I discovered how important family is during a crisis like divorce. My cousin loaned me £15000 which I required immediately for part of a down payment on a house I was buying during my divorce. Without that act of kindness, I would have lost the opportunity to purchase it. My divorce split was coming later. I learned who not to count on for assistance.  My wealthy aunt refused the loan.

When I was enduring a bad marriage, I was focused on survival, not bits of joy. Consider thinking of several things a day for which you are thankful. This helps to not take kindnesses for granted. Or pay attention to what increases your happiness and plan these regularly into your schedule. Fun and laughter have health benefits and decrease my headaches. Meeting friends is a necessity and not an indulgence.  This actions help one get through the craziness of life.

One is vulnerable and is prone to put too much weight on other people’s opinions. When I first got divorced most things seemed monumental. I had to learn when to step back and when to charge ahead. I sometimes felt like I was in a fog and relied too much on others. When visitation deteriorated post-divorce, I listened to my mum and other well-meaning people about just letting it go on as scheduled. Instead of filing a motion with the court to suspend it, my younger son was particularly traumatized by going to visitation a year longer than necessary. He has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which may have been less had I heeded his demand not to go anymore. Neither son has contact with their father or his parents. The point is listen to your gut feeling and push for a resolution to a problem sooner than later.

Divorce can be a teacher to slow down.  Instead of reacting, take a pause from the situation to come up with a response.  Reactions are hot-headed and responding is taking in the facts and making an informed decision about what to do. One does not have to make quick decisions in a panic, but can say, “Let me get back to you.” This also applies to family members, work colleagues, or anyone who may try to enlist your time and energy when you are running on empty.

Going through a divorce has increased my social and professional networks. At first the pool of friends shrinks, but then expands as we meet new people. Moving house in divorce  taught me that I do not need so much stuff.  Many people I interviewed, said that possessions became less important and experiences more so. Post-divorce is an adventure with many twists and turns.



Divorce as an Adventure and New Opportunity

Divorce is a new beginning that opens unexpected doors. Venturing into the unknown leads to exciting new adventures that were only in dreams while still married. The unknown can be perceived as scary or reframed as a new discovery. One’s outlook on life will determine if post-divorce is a tragedy or a time of renewal. If your perception of the world is that it is a negative place with untrustworthy people, then that is what you will experience. Change your outlook to a positive one, and kind people and worthwhile experiences will come into your sphere. How to do this? A life coach can give a reality check and a therapist more intensive treatment. Work on the baggage from divorce in order to be able to recognize and receive new opportunities coming your way.  Do not drag old problems along with you when meeting new people or getting a job. Fix them and start life with a clean slate.

A positive aspect of divorce is enlarging your social circle. Do the necessary housecleaning of getting rid of toxic or energy draining relationships. Sometimes the logistics of divorce will take care of this for you. Moving during divorce does the job of eliminating annoying neighbors. Look closely at friendships that no longer serve your best interests or are reciprocal in nature. Let divorce be your excuse that you are too busy and unavailable now to continue seeing them. Embark on the adventure of meeting like-minded folks who better reflect who you are currently.

During marriage, you may have been focused on your spouse’s wants and needs. Now you have the time to reach out to others and form new friendships or reconnect with the ones that you already have. It takes a lot of energy keeping up appearances in a bad marriage, so use this post-divorce time to join interesting groups and become involved with new people.

Getting throught the Crisis of Divorce and Parent’s Death

When one is newly divorced, there is the dilemma of where to go on vacation. Do you repeat family trips that you did while still married, or start different types of adventures with the kids? Is it sad or reassuring to follow vacation rituals from pre-divorce?

A little over a year after my divorce, my healthy mother had a quick series of vascular events and ended up in Hospice. My two sons and I already had a week cruise to Alaska scheduled and Hospice insisted that we go on it, since we were on the verge of breakdowns. This time was so special and we bonded over having normal conversations again that did not involve death. The incredible scenery and other passengers were just the tonic we needed at this point.

Before she had her medical crisis, my mother had demanded that we go on a Christmas/New Year’s cruise to Australia and New Zealand (I am an only child). While on board the ship in Alaska, it seemed like she was whispering in my ear to book the holiday trip for my two sons and me. Holland America kept saying that there was availability, but the pricing was not correct. They had to give the cruise to us at the price listed on their computer, which was three for the price of one passenger! The day this happened turned out to be the very day my mother passed away. That was her parting gift to us. My travel agent later said that this nominal cost was unbelievable.

What a special adventure this turned out to be and a more pleasant way of spending our first Christmas without her company. We flew into Auckland, NZ, checked into our ship, and threw our luggage into our cabin. Several people told us before we left, that a magical island caught in the fifties, was a short ferry ride from Auckland. Indeed Waiheke was a fantasy of laid back people in a breath taking environment. The coffee shop, beach, and plethora of flowers just banished any blues. This was our second Christmas since my divorce and we decided to start new rituals.

Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem After Divorce

One’s self-esteem can take a beating during marriage, particularly if wed to a spouse with a personality disorder. Some may find it difficult to trust again or not feel confident about decisions. Without a higher self-esteem as a buffer, we feel life’s hurts more acutely. First recognize that your self-esteem has dipped and seek ways to get back on course. Tips on boosting one’s self-esteem:

  1. Surround yourself with supportive and nurturing friends. This is not the time to deal with competitive or catty acquaintances. Take a break from people who are not your cheerleaders. If you have a few negative relatives who find fault, take a breather from them. Just say, ‘’I have a lot on my plate and will get back to you when my life is calmer.’’ You are not pointing a finger at anyone’s meanness, just stepping back to regroup and feel better about yourself.
  2. The key to boosting self-esteem is to follow your strengths to success. Kick-start your self-esteem by perfecting a talent. Karri had an acrimonious divorce and her self-esteem had plummeted. She had enjoyed dabbling in painting as a youngster and decided to give it a go again. Now her paintings hang in galleries across her state and she has a line of cards showcasing her artwork. I felt devalued during my marriage and put aside my love of writing. Post-divorce, my book got published and I am thrilled with my new career. Write down your strengths and talents. If you feel stuck, get some honest feedback from friends who will help get you thinking in a new direction. A life coach can be invaluable in exploring this area with you.
  3. Push yourself to accomplish new endeavors. This may be training and completing a marathon, or joining a choir. When self-esteem is low, doing something one did not think was possible gives a sense of achievement. Reaching new goals amps up a low self-esteem. Connie was divorced and decided to get out of her comfort zone and do a jungle trek through the interior of Bali. She was renewed and since then has completed more challenging physical feats. Other women have opted to take part in charity treks and bike rides globally to raise funds for various charities. The camaraderie and life changing experiences have increased their self-worth and esteem post-divorce.


How to Co-Parent with a Difficult Ex-Spouse

Co-parenting is a challenge with a difficult ex from an acrimonious divorce, however there are ways to make this task easier. The main point is to fly under his/her radar. These people are looking for ammunition to get back at you for leaving, so do not give any opportunity for an attack. This includes not mentioning them or divorce details on social media. The less direct contact one has with this type of ex, makes co-parenting smoother.

A way to make co-parenting with a high conflict individual easier is to make sure you are nurtured. Get a massage. Go out and vent to buddies. Join a support group who can give you understanding and strategies on getting through this ordeal. Do activities that bring you joy and may have been buried during marriage. Get yourself in the best place possible, mentally, physically, and spiritually to be able to deal calmly with a co-parent who does not want to cooperate.

Whatever you can do to empower yourself and become stronger – weakens the hold of these contentious co-parents. Take a class which could lead to a new career path. Do a charity bike ride in a far flung place. Trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro for a life changing experience, as one divorce pal did. These physical challenges have awakened a new sense of power and increased self-esteem in many people. Sometimes one’s self-esteem and self-worth took a battering in a toxic marriage and requires this boost.

Connect with others through volunteering. When you have other interests, a social network, and new areas of expertise – you are less able to be manipulated or controlled. Approach interactions with your ex, without emotion as if it were business ones. Redirect communication to stay focused, so the high conflict parent does not go off on tangents. The goal of co-parenting is well-adjusted children who feel safe with both parents. If the co-parenting experience is not going well then discuss this with your attorney. Perhaps meeting with a mediator or your child’s therapist (if there is one) may help everyone to be on the same page

Co-Parenting with a Difficult Ex-Spouse

Tips on How to Have Fun When the Kids are away on Visitation

The first several visitations post-divorce can be particularly difficult. I cried during the second one and realized that making an effort to do fun things was a logical solution to this situation. What worked was polling some divorced pals on what they did during visitations. The key to surviving visitations is distraction. Discover diversions and amusements to keep you occupied and the time can fly by.

1. Play tourist in your own city. Have you avoided your local art museum because it did not make your children’s top twenty list? Rediscover interesting and quirky places that might not appeal to the kids. Do you live near a winery that could be a leisurely day trip? Grey Line Tours and your local ones go to interesting sites around and beyond your locale. I sent my son and a house guest to a nearby tourist town and they had a great time. They enjoyed the others on this day tour as much as they did the itinerary.

2. Go to an amusement park, circus, or similar fun place. Post-divorce I took my sons to Disneyland for a long weekend and had a 45 minute chat in line with the lady behind me. Apparently her kids were at visitation and she “needed” to have a bit of fun. She was laughing and discussing the other rides that she had been on earlier. I had never thought about going to an amusement area by myself before, but this is something to think about for your situation.

3. Check out upcoming festivals in your town. There are crowds and I usually run into people I know. Quite a lot of singles are enjoying these fun events, so I don’t feel like I stick out in a crowd. In two places where I have lived, there is an annual Greek Festival, with music, dancing and of course fantastic food. There are other international events which feel like a vacation by just attending. See if there is music in a park or craft fair by the river. Your local Chamber Of Commerce or a hotel concierge are good starting points.

Anger Post-Divorce

It is natural to be angry at what comes up during the divorce process, but the trick is not dwelling in this place and learning how to cope with divorce anger. Recognize this feeling of fury and admit you have it as a response to what nasty actions your spouse may be doing. It is how you deal with this anger that can impact your health and your children’s well-being.

If we live our lives motivated by anger and hatred, even our physical health deteriorates.   The Dalai Lama

A study at Ohio State University rated people on how well they could control their anger. It did not matter if anger was expressed openly or internalized because the results were the same. Blisters were formed by suction cups on the participants. Those that experienced more anger had higher levels of Cortisol (stress hormone) which prolonged the healing of their blisters over the more easy going folks. Much research has shown the correlation between anger and increased blood pressure plus other cardiovascular events. Is carrying a grudge against your ex worth this health risk?

One way to deal with rage is to write a detailed letter to your ex-spouse naming hurtful acts and how she did you wrong. Don’t mail it, but burn it for closure. When our aunt cut us out of her life after my divorce, she sided with my ex.

My son was hurt by this action and wrote a letter to her expressing that “blood is thicker than water.” He outlined the abuse that he had received from his father and spilled out his disappointment in her. Then he tore this letter into tiny bits. A burden was lifted and his pent up anger had evaporated. This exercise works for mean co-workers and any other people who annoy you, but destroy the letter afterwards.

Take responsibility for your part in the demise of your marriage. Even if your spouse is Satan’s daughter, both parties contributed to the divorce. By doing this, it is easier to gain clarity and not repeat similar actions again in future relationships.

Forgiving yourself first is the step before forgiving others. Realizing that I make mistakes too, makes it is easier for me to get over my anger and forgive my ex. All humans make mistakes, it is the magnitude of these errors that is different.

When anger is allowed to escalate that equals longer litigation and greater fees for both solicitors. No one is saying that one’s anger is not justified, just decisions made during divorce in that state can be more vindictive than rational. Post-divorce interactions can be more volatile in an irate state, making an explosion more likely.

Anger is a stage in the grief process which may surface during divorce or right afterwards. When one is prepared for the various stages, it makes getting through these a bit smoother. Parties do not start divorce in the same place, so usually hit the anger stage at different times. The person initiating the divorce often has resolved some of the anger issues which are now confronting the other party.

The interim child psychologist in my divorce said that her job is easier when both parents are on the same part of the anger continuum. She said that my very irate spouse was at one end of the angry continuum and I was at the other end, practically viewing my imminent divorce “In the rear view mirror.” I was almost gleeful at that point of the divorce.

Take a time out to process anger. Anger does not dissipate overnight. Give yourself extra nurturing and rely on your social support system to get you through this angry stage.

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





Wisdom Gained in Divorce

Divorce can be a horrific event to experience or can be the greatest life teacher. While no one I interviewed enjoyed it, many stated that they gained such wisdom from it. As with other transitions, divorce can be a catalyst for a major life change or new career path. Some felt as if they were merely drifting through life and their divorce came as a big wake up call.

Inner strengths

The overwhelming response to my interviews was that people discovered inner strength. Some felt like they would fall apart or have “A nervous breakdown” during divorce proceedings. Post-divorce they are much stronger people. Hidden skills, talents and positive character traits emerged during this calmer period. One woman retrained as florist and opened her own shop. Another women did not learn until her divorce that she is a world class mother. She is proud that she nurtures and passes along her newly found strength to her children.

Patience was another life lesson. Several quoted “This too shall pass” and continue saying it post-divorce when irritations and problems crop up with their exes. Instead of exploding or shutting down, as was done in the past, they face complications more calmly with patience. Ironically, when dealing with someone patiently, the situation is less likely to escalate. It takes two to Tango and two to fight.

Resilience. Some echoed my sentiments, “If I can make it through this divorce, I can make it through anything else that life throws at me.” Instead of feeling like a victim, some are now thriving. When my finances take a nose dive or my ex decides periodically to stop alimony early, I am confident that I will get through these disasters okay. Some reiterated that learning to manage their finances had an impact of being in control of all areas of their lives.

Annette said that divorce gave her the opportunity to learn how to forgive. She has forgiven her ex in order to move on and was surprised how useful forgiveness is in other situations too. When co-workers are catty or family members inconsiderate, she does not dwell on this. Annette does not agree with these actions, but forgives people so she keeps looking forward and not backwards.

Others contemplated their spirituality and turned to their faith or a Higher Power to get through divorce proceedings. Post-divorce, they get their spiritual “batteries” recharged on a regular basis.

Others felt inclined to learn imperative life skills, such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness. They have mentioned how invaluable these are to their lives today. Several became a yoga instructor, Nia teacher, massage therapist and cosmetologist and in other disciplines that were useful to them in this traumatic situation. Now they help so many others while enjoying the well-being from these new careers.

Independence. Being able to make one’s own decisions is liberating and some expressed that they did not realize how oppressed they were while still married. One woman was told by her spouse that visitors (including family) were severely restricted and had to leave by 7:30 pm. She was exhilarated post-divorce to entertain on her own schedule. A few told me as soon as their spouse moved out during the divorce they redecorated or rearranged their bedrooms. Sometimes when we are trying to hang onto a marriage, our preferences go out the door to keep the peace.

Going through an especially dark period enables one to appreciate relationships on a deeper level. Friendships that were taken for granted can blossom. Family members that were supportive are valuable allies when post-divorce complications arise. Many joined groups and expanded their social networks which upped their happiness on a long term basis. Showing compassion for others, such as through volunteering, lessened the focus from them during divorce and enabled these folks to feel better in this turbulent time. Be open to the wisdom and life lessons learned as a result of divorce.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine








Self Growth During Marriage

Sometimes people discover new talents and career paths during  marriages that lead to self-fulfillment. This can be challenging for one’s spouse who may resist this change and can lead to divorce. Others’ spouses are thrilled to witness this metamorphosis and be an observer on this journey. A lot depends upon the partner and if the change seems threatening or unbalancing to them.

Carla was a secretary in a large hospital and enjoyed the atmosphere. She had a  desire to be a nurse which grew stronger as time marched on. When her daughters became teenagers, she decided to take the plunge and go back to school to fulfil this dream. Her husband became more discontent when supper was not on the table by 6 pm and there were other changes to his routine. The girls were proud of their mother and did not require much of her hands on time, like her husband felt he should have. The marriage limped on until Carla filed for divorce once the youngest was almost through with college. Carla was so happy with her career change and the salary increase was helpful post-divorce.

Carla’s example is not the only time where a divorce happened when there was a career change. In a similar case, a women went back to school when there were children at home and her husband refused to pitch in and help. That marriage too ended in divorce. The people that I spoke with that had life changes during marriage and divorced, had very traditional male and female roles. The husband took care of the outside, including vehicle maintenance and the women did child care and “inside”  work. When the roles were suddenly altered then there were hard feelings on both sides. When the roles were more fluid, these were the marriages that I saw adjusted and even thrived when changes occurred.

There are plenty of stories in magazines such as “Women and Home” and “Good Housekeeping UK”  where women started businesses and their husbands not only kept the home fires burning but gave assistance with the new enterprise. A lot depends upon if the spouses are rigid or can bend with the winds of change on how the  marriage will weather.

Gaining Self-Awareness Post-Divorce Before Dating Again

Before jumping back into the dating pool post-divorce, get a clear sense of self. Knowing your values and who you are is paramount for personal growth. It does not make sense getting to know another individual if one is confused about their own desires, needs and interests. Take a break after your divorce for personal introspection. Rediscover your passions & dreams first.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert felt trapped in her Suburban marriage, but was not sure what she wanted out of life. She was cognizant of what she did not care to repeat. Ms. Gilbert went on a yearlong quest to discover herself in the book “Eat, Pray, Love.”  She challenged herself by learning Italian, living on her own in a foreign country, and having new experiences. Next on the agenda was spending time in India for an inner journey of meditation and self-reflection. Ms. Gilbert faced her problems, accepted her part in the marriage’s demise and obtained wisdom. Gaining clarity in Bali boosted her self-esteem and opened her eyes to what she was seeking in a future relationship. With this self-exploration behind her, Ms. Gilbert was ready to recognize a stellar man with values that aligned with hers. She finally moved on with her life and they later got married.

Learn to recognize your problems so you do not carry them into the next relationship. Take an inventory of yourself and see what mistakes have turned into valuable life lessons. Discover your strengths and weaknesses to challenge yourself.  One divorced woman who had been fearful and clingy in her marriage, took a trip to Europe by herself. It got her out of her comfort zone and was life changing. Serena is now independent and self-sufficient, claiming she does not need a partner in order to survive life.

Your answers to these questions can lead to greater self-awareness before dating again:

  • what adds meaning to your life and brings you joy.
  • Could your hobbies and interests lead to a new life path that increases your fulfilment?
  • Did you live up to your potential in your marriage or is it beneficial to explore different areas of opportunity now?
  • Are you clear about your values and expectations with others?
  • How do you nurture yourself and have fun?
  • What have you learned that you do not want to repeat?
  • Are you pursuing your dreams or were they put on the back burner during your past marriage?

Some people feel writing in a journal helps to bring understanding and answers to their issues. Taking up meditation, yoga or other activities has helped others. Some divorcees have taken tours to exotic locales and discovered new insights. If you seem to be losing yourself in relationships and repeating mistakes then see a life coach or therapist to get you unstuck. Hypnotherapy aids in changing faulty self-beliefs and gaining self-awareness.  I have asked friends for brutal honesty and took their comments to heart. The important thing is to truly know yourself before entering into a new relationship post-divorce.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine


Moving On Post-Divorce

When one is caught up in the turmoil of the moment, it is difficult to fathom that situations will get easier down the road. Time really does heal or lessens the divorce trauma now being faced. So many people expressed the same sentiment, “Wish I would have known that things get better.”

“Didn’t Recognize My Ex”

Annette was married for nine years and stated that she could not be herself or reach her full potential.  This was compounded by her husband being unfaithful. They mutually decided to part ways and got divorced. Annette dated “many men” and met Sean eight years post-divorce. He seemed to be “the one” but Annette was cautious and married Sean three years later. They have been blissfully wed for ten years and Annette says it is hard to remember what her life was like previously. She claims that she “can just be me now” and is living life to the fullest. One morning they were rushing through the airport for an early morning flight. Annette had the strange sensation that someone was intently staring at her from the other side of security and felt uncomfortable. She then saw a man grinning and waving at her. It was only when he called her name that Annette realized that she had not even recognized her ex.

In another example, someone asked Nina about her ex-husband’s current wife, who had been her long-time former friend. Nina could not remember this woman’s name until a day later. Nina is not going down the path of dementia, but rather she has moved on and this couple is no longer on her radar. In other cases, a former partner is a friend and they happily bump into each other at social events.

How Do You Reach This Point of Moving On?

  • Vent your frustrations to friends. If still feeing angry and on edge, then seek out a professional. A divorce coach can give you concrete strategies on how to become unstuck and move on with your life. Join a divorce group for support and learning that you are not alone in your situation.
  • Quit running the movie of your ex in your head. The more you think of her, the more fixated you become. Replace this continuous loop of reruns with visualizations of new opportunities, activities and adventures
  • Learn Meditation and start practicing it for ten minutes a day. This helps to quiet the brain, calm the body and lower blood pressure. Relaxation CDs lead to tranquility and being able to regroup after stressful proceedings.
    1. Discover distractions. Joining groups, learning new skills, or exploring exotic locales changes one’s focus. When one’s brain is concentrating on new material, less time is spent dwelling on the divorce situation. Enlarge your social network by meeting new people such as with
    2. If it is in your belief system, surrender to a Higher Power. People interviewed said that their faith helped them get through the divorce and forgive themselves, and their former spouses.
    3. Get rid of photos, wedding album and mementos of your marriage, or store them off your premises. If you kept the house, then donate or sell objects particularly related to your ex. Many said they got rid of the sheets and bought a few new decorations.
    4. Remove triggers that remind you of your former partner. Avoid listening to the tunes or frequenting the special spots you did as a duo. Find a tour to a new destination.
    5. Acknowledge your loss and recognize that you go through the stages of grief to get to the other side. Suppressing grief can lead to depression or anger issues.

    Interviews with people post-divorce indicated that it took an average of a year to move on after divorce. Resist the urge to check social media for your former spouse’s posts and instead, reconnect with old friends.

    Originally published in The Divorce Magazine

Why Forgiveness is Important Post-Divorce

Forgiving your ex can seem like a daunting task that has no merit for you. So why do it?  Webster’s Dictionary defines forgiving as “ceasing to feel resentment towards an offender”. Holding on to this resentment is a way to stay attached to your ex. Forgiveness is a way to sever these binding ties.

To start my forgiveness process, I imagined my ex with having strings around him like a marionette.  I then visualized giant scissors cutting through all of these strings until no more remained. I felt like a burden had been lifted from me and it was easier not to want any ties of resentment to attach me to him again.  Forgiveness is not about the other person, but rather about you. You do not even have to tell anyone that you forgave your former spouse.

Holding on to a grudge, whether it is your spouse or an in-law, is detrimental to your health, such as by increasing your blood pressure.  Muscles tighten, restricting blood flow and oxygenation which in turn leads to headaches and worsening chronic pain. The esteemed Dr. Carl Simonton of the Simonton Cancer Center in California, stated that not practicing forgiveness can lead to an “increased risk for cancer.”  Is your anger towards your former spouse worth all this?

During divorces, some people wrote a long letter regarding their anger and disappointment in their spouse.  They spilled their vitriol onto the pages and were amazed when they felt so much lighter afterwards. Destroy and do not send it.  The experience of writing that letter can lead to the path of forgiveness and healing.

I found a note in the bathroom stating my spouse was leaving me and I was fired from our small, jointly owned business. In the space of seconds I went from having a spouse and being employed to feeling like I was standing on the edge of a deep abyss. I had to admit, and then process my shock first before I could even think of moving on. My two sons and I were going out of town that morning and their father was leaving on a business trip. My older son saw the note and wanted to continue with our trip plans for the long weekend. I walked around Disneyland alternating between shock and euphoria. After a week, I hired an attorney to start divorce proceedings.

Marie was bitter for decades after her divorce and held much resentment towards her former husband. Her daughter married a similar type of man, so it was no surprise when she later got divorced too. Marie saw her own situation in her daughter’s and had a massive heart attack a year after her daughter’s divorce. A stroke followed and then a burial. The daughter fortunately had decided to forgive her spouse during her divorce to avoid her mother’s complications. Sometimes even a bad example can spur us on to take a prudent path in our lives.

If you are having a difficult time forgiving, then talk to a therapist, life coach or your clergy. They can help you to become unstuck and clear up any faulty thinking. What also helped me were writing positive affirmations on colored index cards about forgiveness and other issues. Author Catherine Ponder has a selection of excellent positive affirmations in her books. One that I used was “I now fully forgive everyone including myself. I let go and everybody who is not part of my Divine plan is no longer part of my life. I am free of resentment from my past and present.” I said variations of this everyday.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine










Losing Friends with Divorce

Divorce weeds out the superficial people and reveals true friends. People whom you considered your exclusive pals – may latch onto your spouse if he/she is the more valuable commodity. I had two friends whom I met up with regularly. One completely dropped me when my divorce commenced because my husband was helping her with a small business problem. The other one contacted my husband in the midst of our divorce to write a letter of recommendation, but did it in a sneaky way. It was safer to cut ties with her since she had a tendency not to respect confidences. Divorce forces one to take stock of friendships and if one does not seem right, then to disengage from it.

Midway through Tess’s acrimonious divorce, her long-time friend, Rhonda stopped taking calls and initiating contact. This was quite puzzling to Tess until her sons later found out during visitation, that their father and Rhonda had become a couple. Rhonda had decided to go after the vacant position of doctor’s wife and they got married a bit after the divorce was finalized. Tess claimed she felt grateful that she was not going to be spending more time and energy on someone who did not deserve it.

Have you been hanging onto friends out of habit? We often take relationships for granted and divorce has a way of shaking them up. Evaluate whom you want to have in your life and who is draining your energy. The diva and drama queen may not be worth your limited time and attention. If they are not giving you support in this traumatic transition, consider distancing yourself. Gently say you are currently unavailable in this divorce situation.

When you have shared details of abuse in your marriage, and these friends still voice “I love you both”, cut ties – or at least let the friendship peter out on its own. This is hurtful and disrespectful to what you endured. When people have links to your soon-to-be ex or his family, personal information could reach their ears. You do not want this to throw a spanner in the works when deep in divorce negotiations.

The friends that were supportive during my divorce have become more important. Our relationships have grown closer either due to their kindness or by having more time after letting go of the energy vampires in my life. I have joined and met new acquaintances who bring laughter and joy post-divorce.

Expect to mourn friends that you have lost or have distanced themselves from you as a result of divorce. It is disconcerting to discover that people whom you thought were permanent fixtures in your life – are not anymore. Realize that grief has various stages including anger, which eventually leads to acceptance.

Sometimes friends hover on the side lines not knowing what to do or say. This may come across as uncaring, when in reality is just being clueless about how to be supportive. It is okay to ask for help and give these people something specific, such as let’s get together bi-weekly for lattes. On the flip side, if friends are too intrusive or judgemental, explain that you are not up to discussing that issue. You do not owe anyone an explanation and feel free to walk away and remove yourself from that situation. I found that there is balance in life. I lost some friends, but gained closer relationships with the ones that remained.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine








Loss of Identity Post-Divorce

When one’s identity was wrapped around the ex, such as being a doctor’s wife, it is especially challenging to reinvent oneself post-divorce. Suddenly the role of being the social director for the office staff and charming sidekick at far flung medical conferences is gone. If you owned a business together, you may lose your job in the divorce, particularly if your wife was the solicitor in the law practice and you had another role. In a divorce, the stay-at-home spouse or one to leave the family business, may get a lump sum for job training. A new trend in collaborative divorce is to bring a career coach on board to determine how much it would cost to get this career training. Or the career coach may assist in determining alimony if one spouse did not work and now has to start over in the job market.

Mary was married to a plastic surgeon and enjoyed the perks that went along with being a doctor’s wife. They entertained, went to extravagant parties and took some nice trips.  She appreciated being able to stay home with their children. Mary was in a devastating car accident and underwent months of rehab therapy. During this time her husband began an affair with his secretary and filed for a divorce before Mary was completely recovered. Mary was blindsided by this and stated that being a doctor’s wife and stay-at-home mum was her whole life. It took a bit of adjusting not to be part of the medical community anymore and have to seek a part-time job. Mary also changed her volunteer venue from the hospital to another one, in order to avoid her ex and was happier with her new choice. It took over a year for Mary to develop a new life. You are more than a job or spouse of a professional.

Tom was a stay-at-home father for their daughter and money became especially tight when she turned nine. There were after school activities and less of a need for one parent to be home. Tom just could not give up his identity of house-husband and this was one factor in his divorce. Much to his family’s dismay, he only held a part-time job for a brief time. He later married a woman who saw herself as the stay-at-home spouse, so this marriage too ended in divorce. Tom is fixated on his house-husband or stay-at-home parent role and still has not adjusted to a change in identity.

Loss of the “Family Man” identity has been difficult for many men when they no longer see their children 24/7. Their work mates change their label from “Married Man” into the category of “Single.” A few men have expressed that they do not see themselves as swinging singles and that their married colleagues have been more distant. Others have indicated that their father role has contracted when they are not hands on every day. Some divorced men in my community have volunteered with Boy Scouts and other youth programs to transform the father role into mentoring others along with their own children.

Several women have expressed anxiety over losing their housewife identity and sense of structure post-divorce. They had a daily and weekly routine of tasks and activities and took great pride in running an efficient household. My older friend was one of these women who felt a bit lost without a schedule, but learned to enjoy having the freedom of not catering to someone else’s needs.

First steps in dealing with loss of identity is to realize that one’s former identity is gone and not coming back. Mourn this change and share these feelings of identity loss with friends. A support system allows you to vent and points out new opportunities on the horizon. Look at other components within your identity, nurturer, events planner, and so forth to develop them for hobbies, jobs or volunteering. See what new tasks you can do for a favorite charity, which is fulfilling and can lead to a paid position. Losing my job in divorce, turned out to be a great thing. Discovered that I had been stuck in a rut, and my job post-divorce is an adventure.

Look at your different roles in life, such as aunt, daughter, and volunteer to expand them. Spend more time with family or become a more involved aunt. When you are losing one identity, seek out new ones, by becoming a member in social, book, religious, political or other groups. The trick is to discover what obstacle is hindering leaving the past behind. Be open to new opportunities and friendships. Getting through an acrimonious divorce made me stronger and more resilient. Find people and activities that support your newly single status. Uncover your hidden interests and talents that will enrich your life.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine




Use Language to Propel You in Right Direction

Language is a powerful tool to enable you to reach goals. Or it can derail you.  Use positive words to point you where you want to go and to achieve your desired outcomes. I f  you want to remember your lunch for work then state it that way, not “I can’t forget my lunch.”  Otherwise you are putting forget and lunch into your brain. Certainly in a divorce situation, you would think, “I have to get the house”  not “Oh, I might lose the house.” Stating what you want is clearer to your divorce attorney. Say what you desire to achieve from asset division or visitation, not what you do not.   With a little practice, it becomes easy. Think where you want to go and phrase words accordingly. Don’t make statements about what you don’t want to happen.

A school district in the US, spent about $40,000.00 writing a conduct code manual which included bullying behavior and consequences. This took months to complete. When the committee went over the final results the whole project had to be scrapped and redone from the beginning. The entire manual contained “don’t” statements, not what students and staff  were to do.  It had behaviors and strategies that were unacceptable, not clear instructions about what was  expected. Using positive language of what is expected is also a more effective way to deal with children.  “Bums in the chair” or “feet on the floor” is clearer than “don’t jump around here.” Even instructions to dogs are positive words for outcomes, “sit” instead of “don’t run around.” Before I used positive language, there was more confusion. I got a call from my  son “where are you?”. I had said that I could NOT pick him up and later he remembered something about picking him up. Stating “walk home from school today” (desired outcome) would have been the way to go. In life, determine your goals and use language in a positive way to help you obtain them. Use upbeat language to help you visualize your dreams.

Have Laughter & Fun and Live Longer

The health benefits from having fun and laughter are many. Different organizations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to WebMD agree on the same principles that it increases one’s well-being.  I like the following quote from Roald Dahl:

“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest of men.”

When you have fun and laugh, that relaxes your muscles relieving or diminishing chronic pain, by releasing endorphins which are natural pain killers. More oxygen and blood circulate around one’s body increasing blood flow to the heart. The stress hormone, Cortisol is lowered which then aids in improving the quality of sleep.

Norman Cousins wrote the book “Anatomy of an Illness.”  He was incapacitated by a spinal column illness and in great pain. He tried both conventional and more holistic types of remedies without a cure. For one month he closeted himself away and watched comedies and read jokes. After that time period, he presented himself to his stunned doctors who could not find a trace of the disease.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, CTCA, “Laughter Therapy” is an integral part of cancer treatment. Having fun and laughter boosts the Immune System, increasing natural killer cells which destroy tumor cells.   Laughter aids is boosting one’s positive outlook on life, which is important particularly when facing challenges like cancer or life transitions such as divorce. Having fun connects you to others and various studies have shown the positive affect of socialization on longevity.

Go to a comedy, have lattes with friends, go to Disneyland as I did right before my divorce. Think of what you enjoyed in the past and view this as just what the doctor has ordered, to increase your well-being.