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Global Guide to Divorce

Jack Jack the Cat

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Changing Careers Mid-Life

Ever think about changing your career after age 45? Feel stuck or unfulfilled?  Want to join this trend? If so – you are in good company. CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell said that “60% of American workers change careers after 45.” Today individuals are less likely to spend decades in the same job.

What can cause people to jump ship from an established career and try something new? Life changes such as divorce is one reason. People may be getting back into the job market when their marriage dissolves. This happened to me. I opened up a medical practice in my twenties and lost it in my divorce in my forties. I was out of a job which then propelled me to pursue a different track.

Another cause is Empty Nest. The chicks have flown the nest. You have time for yourself and the energy to discover what work seems interesting. One is forced to deal with change when a place of employment folds. Sometimes there is not much notice.

A way to get started in finding a new career option is to follow your passion. What is it that gives purpose and meaning to your life? Could that become a career? A friend is a wonderful artist. Her passion is saving animals. She put this dream into action after her divorce. She set up a small non-profit sanctuary for farm animals. Ones that are retired, neglected or might be killed. Then she began to paint these new residents. What came as a surprise was how well these paintings of sheep, cows and so forth, sold. She branched out in to having cards and prints made of her pictures. The bonus is that it helps fund the sanctuary.

Another example is my son’s kindergarten teacher. Her passion has always been flowers. Mid-life, Miss Marla left teaching and opened up her own florist shop. Years later she was so happy to make a prom corsage for my son’s girlfriend. Let your passion be your guiding star.

It can be helpful to have a firm idea of what you will be doing after leaving current job. My friend’s husband is in his early sixties. He will be retiring from an intensive engineering position in a few years. His passion is riding his dirt bike and motorcycle. He already has a job lined up at a store, selling parts for motorcycles and dirt bikes. He is looking forward to this career change.

Do an assessment.  What skills do you currently have that could be utilized in your new career? Do some research. Will you need to get more training? Can you update your knowledge by taking online courses? Look at your finances. Do you have enough to fund more education if this is needed?  Going to part-time is one way to still bring in income, while pursuing other job options.

Internships are a great method to gain practical skills for working in a different field. Although they might be unpaid, the knowledge learned is invaluable. It may be possible to volunteer when contemplating starting over again. A veterinarian student volunteered in an animal clinic. Although her motive was to gain experience, volunteering helped Chloe realize this was not the career change which best suited her. Her passion is animals and becoming a vet seemed to be the logical choice. Chloe was traumatized when animals were in pain or had to be euthanized. Before plunking a huge amount of cash down for a new path, ensure it is the best fit for you.

Remove obstacles. What is holding you back? Is it others telling you what you want to do will not work or are pressuring you to stay in a high paying job which you loathe? This is your life and you decide how to live it.

Is fear of failure holding you back? If you let an opportunity pass by (new career) you will be talking about it on your deathbed. As a nurse, I have been the recipient of these type of conversations. When feeling confused or pulled indifferent direction, consider seeing a professional, such as a career coach. They can look at your situation realistically and help you formulate strategies to achieve your career goal.

When A Relationship Ends Abruptly – What To Do

One can go into full-blown shock when the other person abruptly ends your relationship. Even if there were a few hints something was amiss, it is still a shock. Hard to believe this is happening. As far as the other person is concerned, there is not much you can do. If they made up their mind to break it off, it is done.

Harder when the decision was made and you were not notified. You see then at work, a social event, their musical gig, whatever and find out at the same time as everyone else. They may take great pains to ignore you. Maybe are dramatic and turn their back if you get nearby. Not cool when done publicly at a gathering.

Of course, you would like an explanation and not be playing guessing games in your head. This may never happen. It is difficult when there are loose threads.  In both cases – whether you got an explanation or were ghosted – closure is needed. Easier to move on when there is a clear-cut ending in your mind.

Accept what happened is final.  Wishing for a reunion keeps you attached to them and is it not going to happen. You are wasting time and energy on this fantasy. This mental connection prevents one from moving on.

The big thing about an abrupt ending is not having closure. Since there is no communication, you cannot be sure if it was something you did or if got dropped for a new love interest. One is left hanging.  If someone is upset that should be discussed. If a boundary was crossed into a no-go area, then at least you would understand why there is an ending.   It is childish for them to do silence.

Emotionally getting through this situation

Spend a day really feeling your grief. Cry, wail, scream, curse or whatever else you feel needs expressing. You are experiencing a loss, a death of a relationship. Concentrate on dealing with it being over. Later as time moves on, you can appreciate the fun times.  You got some life lessons from this episode.

Rally your support system around you. Call or go out with friends. Talk it out with them. Have some fun. Try a new café.

Get out in nature. Take walks in leafy areas. Exercise releases pent up energy and anxiety. One feels better after a run when the endorphins are increased. Getting a physical work out calms nerves and helps one be able to deal with this situation.

What to do or not do

Do not contact them no matter how tempting it is to text or call. This is giving them power to reject you again.

If they call, do not answer it. Go ahead and listen to their message later, if you want. If a text is sent, do not respond. If you cannot resist, then say “I accept that you ended our relationship. I am moving on now.”

They may beg for a second chance and promise to change. That would be short-lived and the disrespect would creep back in again. If they were really into you, this would not have happened in the first place.

There is a void – empty space inside of you from their departure. Fill it up. When one removes a dead tree, they do not leave a big hole. It is filled in with a plant or something else. Plant something else inside of you. Take up a new activity. Join a MeetUp.com group and expand your social network.

Getting into a new environment can help. You are not running into them or dealing with as many triggers.  Travel to an enticing destination on your bucket list. The point is not to allow them to dwell in your head.

Ending a relationship abruptly is disrespectful and not valuing you. Do you really want a relationship where you are not cherished and it is all about them? No!! You deserve much more. Move on to someone who will appreciate you.

 

 

Reviving A Long-Term Relationship

Tips on how to add sparkle to a long-term relationship and avoid a divorce. Before calling it quits, explore different ways to bring the relationship back to life. Does your marriage feel like a prison sentence? Boredom and being in a rut can make a marriage seem dull and lifeless. Hints on how to revive your marriage.

Several couples took up golf together with the added bonus of improving their game in foreign locales. See if you can build upon a common interest – plus it gives you both something to talk about. Some couples have bought a holiday home and renovating it reignited the spark in their marriages.

Go out to a neutral place, such as a café and have a respectful conversation about your feelings. Use “I” statements, “I feel…” without blame or accusations. Intently listen to his responses and what he feels could be changed in your marriage.

S00metimes people rely too much on their spouse for companionship and to meet their social needs. The happiest couples I know each have some individual pursuits and interests outside of their relationships. Consider widening your social network through such groups as MeetUp.com to enrich your life and to see if this improves your marriage.

Take a vacation together to provide time to talk in a pleasant atmosphere. It may be easier to have structured group time, such as being on a tour or cruise. Then there is a balance between interacting with others and having alone time. Getting away from your routines and environment, plus having a lot to talk about can realign a relationship.

If you have been drifting apart and pass each other as two ships in the night – plan for couple time. Each week, alternate who selects the agenda for a night out. What fun trying new restaurants, attending concerts and seeing films. Some celebrities have claimed they split up due to lack of time together.

Put yourselves in each other’s shoes to see a new perspective to the other’s point of view. Is there validity to their complaints? Some couples have come up with this compromise – each stopping an annoying habit. One husband habitually threw his towel and clothes on the floor. The wife’s cosmetics and lotions covered the bathroom counter. Each spouse ceased the aggravating behavior and now have been married for over two decades.

Sometimes a partner has to leave for a period of time to really think things through. They may choose a work sabbatical or live in a distant land to determine if they should stay or divorce. Some have to get out of their place to gain clarity for their situation.

You may want to get legal advice and have a trial separation handled by an attorney. This formal separation may become the first step to a divorce.

If there is abuse – get out of the situation quickly. A domestic violence shelter can advise one how to extricate herself in the best way from an abusive spouse.

Consider marital counselling with your spouse. It can show you how to communicate more effectively which is important both in marriage or divorce. The Retrouvaille Program has weekend retreats for couples to get their marriages back on track. If divorce is imminent, then counselling helps a couple to have an easier time parting ways.

Divorce does not have to be the end of a relationship, but rather a change in it.

 

Guide for Moving to a New State After a Divorce

After a divorce, you may be looking to turn a new leaf and start afresh in a completely different location. But before you pin a map to the wall and throw a dart at it to find your new spot, there are a few things – and people – you need to take into consideration. So let’s go over four instances where planning ahead will help you make the right decision:

If You’re Looking for a New Place to Live

Costs of living vary greatly from state to state and even from city to city, so take that into consideration before you settle on a place to live and consider what you’ll be able to afford, taking into account spousal support, child custody, and other expenses. And before you even look at your options, if you and your ex-spouse have children together, discuss how you’ll share custody once you two live further apart, and make sure you have your co-parent’s consent in writing before you take off to a different state. Look at the available amenities in the neighborhoods you are considering moving into, and make sure they are safe and suitable for your children.

If You’re Ready to Relocate

Before you book your movers to take you to your new home, make sure your divorce is completely finalized and take inventory of what you have, what you plan on taking with you, and what you want to get rid of. When you have shared assets with your ex-spouse, it’s best to discuss together how you’re planning on dividing those and come to an amicable agreement. Also, remember that if you’re the one moving away, it will cost you less money to transport fewer items across states than a complete household move would. Once you’ve decided on what you’re keeping, look for movers in your area and get at least three quotes in writing before choosing a company. And don’t forget to read reviews online to avoid scam artists and unreliable people.

If You’re Starting a Business

If you’re planning on launching a business after you relocate, make sure you check the legal requirements for business ownership in your new state in order to stay compliant and avoid penalties. Create a plan describing your company, detail how you’re planning on selling your products or services, explain how your business will be structured, include what funding you’ll need to get your startup off the ground, and come up with some financial projections to attract possible investors. And if you’re looking to find partners for your new venture, think about joining the local chamber of commerce, or renting a coworking space where you’ll get to mingle with other solopreneurs and make new friends in your new city.

If You Need to Find a New Doctor

Relocating to a different state means you’ll need to find new doctors, such as a dentist and a general practitioner, to help you manage your health and to treat you in case of illness or injury. If you haven’t found your bearings in your new place yet, you can find an online doctor and get an appointment for a remote consultation. This is an easy, safe, convenient, and private way to seek treatment if you’re not feeling well, or if you’re just in need of a checkup. You’ll be able to book a same-day appointment from anywhere, and if you need medication, your prescription will be sent to the pharmacy of your choice for added convenience.

Making a complete life change after a divorce by relocating to a different state may help you in your emotional recovery. But before you embark on your next adventure, make sure you do your research. And don’t leave any loose ends that could cause you and your ex-spouse potential issues later.

Looking for advice on dating, relationships, or divorce? At globalguidetodivorce.com, you’ll find tips on co-parenting, legal issues, and much, much more.

Author is Suzie Wilson ⎸info@happierhome.net  ⎸Happier Home

Spring and Summer Safety: Tips to Protect Your Kids

As parents, we instinctively want to shield our kids from danger. Sometimes, however, the outdoors can present hazards we might not even dream of, especially during the warmer months of the year. Courtesy of Jack Jack the Cat, we share some tips for ensuring your children are protected.    

Outdoor Inspection   

Even if you took precautions last fall, it may be time to tidy up once spring arrives, as winter can be hard on a home’s exterior. Take a walk around your property, looking carefully for potential concerns. Trim trees and shrubs to prevent growth from encroaching on your home, and cut them back at least two feet to keep pests from getting too cozy or to eliminate any hazards to your children.   

You should also inspect the fence that surrounds your property, if you have one. Make sure there are no areas that need to be replaced or repaired. Strong fences are especially important if you live in a high traffic area or a neighborhood with a low walk score. In other words, if foot traffic is low because the area doesn’t have many shops within walking distance, then you are likely to experience more auto traffic. Then, a good fence is important for your kids’ and your home’s safety.   

Also, sometimes when we live with things, we don’t think of them in terms of posing dangers. Eliminate sources of standing water such as toys left in the yard or flipped open garbage bin lids, as they also provide opportunities for mosquitoes and other pests to thrive.    

Pool Safety  

Pools are an obvious source of potential danger. If you have a pool, the Red Cross recommends having your children take swimming lessons. It’s vital to keep ladders and steps secure to prevent children from falling into the water, and remove ladders when the pool is not in use. Install protective barriers and use a safety cover. Also keep the water clean and ensure the chemicals are at the right levels.   

Secure Equipment   

Outdoor equipment can be inviting to curious children. Ensure items such as grills, lawn care equipment and electrical appliances are secured properly. Pick up and properly stow sharp objects and tools. Also lock storage sheds, garages and barns, and install childproof locks on gates.    

Sun Exposure   

Just like adults, kids need some sunshine to help their bodies produce vitamin D. However, too much can damage your youngster’s skin. Raising Children explains it’s particularly important to keep toddlers and babies safe from damaging ultraviolet rays. Dress your child appropriately, using a hat to protect your child’s head from the sun’s rays. Infants do best in soft hats that allow babies to relax comfortably. Choose one with a chinstrap or tie, and if your little one objects, keep trying until she or he accepts it as part of the normal routine.    

Also, prolonged exposure to sunshine puts your child at risk for future cataracts. Sunglasses can help guard against damage to your child’s eyes; opt for close-fitting, wraparound glasses for the best protection.   

Riding Toys   

A big part of warm weather fun is getting on a tricycle, skateboard or bike. If your youngster has riding toys that come out as soon as temperatures rise, ensure the proper safety equipment is at hand. Some experts recommend helmets when riding on toys, but note helmets should be removed for playground or swing set play as they pose choking hazards.   

When using strollers, use the safety straps provided by the stroller manufacturer, and if your baby is too little to sit up on her own, steer clear of hauling her in wagons with low sides. If your kids are old enough for bicycling on streets, Healthline notes you should teach them the rules of the road, such as riding the same direction as traffic, obeying traffic signals, using hand signals, watching for other vehicles and not riding on sidewalks.   

Preparations Mean Safety   

Keeping your child safe is one of your first priorities. Warm months present special hazards, but with proper preparations you can prevent tragedy. Working parents often need support during the summer, like trading play dates with neighbors or having a teenager watch the kids while you work. It’s important that you share these tips with anyone who might be watching your child so that everyone involved provides your child with a safe environment through carefully thought-out precautions.   

If you’re looking for some summer reading options, check out Jack Jack the Cat. Whether Jack Jack is at home or exploring the jungle, he is sure to find himself in the middle of an adventure. Check our website for more information about Jack Jack and his weekly adventures for plenty of summertime fun. 

Tips For Making A Long-Distance Dating Relationship Work

Long-distance dating relationships can be challenging. Easier to keep the passion high when you can call up your partner and say “Hey, come right over.”  Long-distance requires planning, not spontaneity.  Many people who have been through these types of relationships, say it was worth the separation. Being sure of each other’s commitment got them through this period.

Long-distance take extra effort to keep them alive. One person might be doing more in the reaching out and this can become frustrating. Logistics have to be factored in, who is travelling and who is not. It is one thing when in the same locale, to decide who pays. Quite another when getting together requires serious money.  An example is Harry, who moved and had a six-year long-distance relationship. He resented paying 100% of transportation costs for them both. No give and take financially. Eventually Harry thought about how in other areas of their relationship he was his doing most of the work. Although relationships are rarely 50-50, there has to be somewhat of a balance.

People in long-distance relationships mention how getting together in short bursts is more like being in Disneyland. Fantasy vs reality. It is like being on a holiday, doing fun activities. While this may be fine for some, others want a relationship on a deeper level.

People brought up that they missed or ignored red flags in a long-distance relationship. They concentrated on having fun instead. They dealt with the cracks when these could no longer be ignored.  A local relationship could have been patched up or ended sooner. Nip problems in the bud before they get huge. Your partner is not a mind reader, so bring them up.

The Pros

Distance allows commitment to be gradual. One is more conscious of it and makes a choice instead of falling into it. You decide to be a couple and less likely to take the other person for granted. When dating in town, one can fall into a pattern. On Friday night we do this, on Sunday we go out for brunch. When living in different locales, one is not in a predictable schedule or rut.

Being apart forces one to build a stable foundation. The relationship may be moving at a slower pace. One man said there are less triggers to get to him in his long-distance relationship as are in past local ones.  He also said that they met on different levels before initiating physical intimacy.  One was getting to know each other spiritually. They did not jump into bed right away, as what happens when dating locally. He feels they really got to know each other first before having sex.

Tips for making it work

Communication is imperative. Be conscious of word choice. Are they expressing your intention and exact emotion?  Easier to give a more ambiguous communication when not done in person. Emails and texting can seem blunt without vocal quality.

Be aware of your own emotions

Other emotions can come through subconsciously with communication such as hostility or resentment.  If you are angry, disappointed, then express them using “I” statements. “I feel hurt when you take several days to answer a text.”  Be direct and not sarcastic.

Keep in touch, even if a quick text “Thinking of you. Hope your day is great.”

If becoming serious, discuss where to live together. A US man with a girlfriend in Norway, advises finding neutral territory to settle. They are looking for a city which fits both of their needs. Others may want to move to a place where one of them lives, especially if that person has children. Some couples live in different loculations indefinitely and spend time blocks together. One couple does six weeks together and six weeks apart. This is working fine. Discuss if there is a time table for when living together. Or, if commuting is desirable for you both.

Flexibility is a plus in a long-distance relationship

Here is an example with a happy ending. Matthew and Elizabeth became a couple when they attended university. Matthew went on to law school and Elizabeth studied to be an ophthalmologist in different cities. She had internships in various places during the summer months when Matthew did not have law school. He stayed with her during that time for three years. Elizabeth managed to get one in Matthew’s hometown. They got together at other times during the year.  The long-distance part of their relationship for lasted three years. They are blissfully married with two children. When a couple is committed to make it work, it can.

 

Celebrating Your Divorce Anniversary

Do you celebrate your divorce anniversary?  Is it a day you mourn or instead viewed as Independence Day? Easy to have mixed emotions.

We do hear about extravagant parties to small gatherings of friends marking the occasion when a divorce is finalized. Some hire limousines to whisk their group away to the pubs. No drunk drivers. There are paper plates, napkins and decorations to spice up the divorce party’s atmosphere. My friends took me out for lattes that first month after the divorce decree was issued.

What about the anniversaries? For the first few years my two sons gave me flowers and chocolate on that date. We went out for lattes or did something else special.

One January a few years post-divorce, my sons and I went to Disneyland. I was not thinking about my divorce. The woman at the check-in desk asked if we were celebrating any occasion. I told her “No.” When we got up to our room, my younger son asked why I had lied. “Lied?”

He explained, “Yes, you told that lady we weren’t celebrating anything. This is the week of your divorce anniversary!”  I said “Well, I’ll go back down and tell her.” My older son jumped up and accompanied me to the lobby.  I felt a bit strange informing that clerk about it. Her face froze. My son quickly intervened.  “We are so happy about this occasion so we are celebrating.” She laughed and was quite relieved. We were handed three large pins saying “I’m celebrating” written across them.

I cannot remember laughing so hard for two days straight. When strangers came up and asked what we were celebrating, we informed them. They laughed at the unexpected answer. The boys were giggly too. This was one of our best holidays.

My sons went to college and moved into their own places.  This past January, my younger son was at home. “Congratulations Mum” he said. It dawned on me it was my divorce anniversary. We collected his brother and went out for lattes.

Your divorce may have been tragic, especially if dumped for someone else. A day you do not want to be reminded of ever again. You have the right to ignore it. Or perhaps use it to reflect where you were and how far you have come. You moved forward.  You got past a traumatic event. Perhaps made some big changes in your life for the better.

You have the option of reframing it from an ending to becoming a new tradition. It can be your meet up with friends day each year. You plan fun activities and enjoy their camaraderie. I think about how less stressful my life is by not being in a toxic marriage.

A consideration is the children. They may feel torn between loyalties or are having a rough time with their parents not being together. A celebration would not be appropriate.  In my case, for years afterwards, the boys periodically asked “What took you so long to divorce?” They were flowers which bloomed post-divorce.

When this date is about to roll around, perhaps get out of town. Avoid old triggers which remind you of your relationship or its end.  Go on holiday abroad or explore new sights closer to home.  Do what feels right to you. Ignore it or celebrate. Your call.

Continuing Self-Care Trends in the New Normal

Signs of the new normal are emerging as newly-vaccinated Americans venture out of their homes, and it’s not the raucous “Roaring 20s” everyone predicted. Rather than racing to return to normal, Time magazine notes that people are holding onto the habits and routines they built during 2020-21. That’s not to say we aren’t eager to see old friends and hug relatives. However, people are rethinking what it means to look and feel their best in a post-pandemic world. Wendi’s Tips shares four trends shaping the way we present ourselves. 

Comfort Over Fashion 

Staying home more in the past meant the privilege of working in pajamas and slippers. Now, people are questioning why “real clothes” have to be so uncomfortable and redefining the meaning of professional attire. 

 For fashion, that means more athleisure and dressed-up loungewear. Think joggers in trendy prints and durable leggings that are just at home in the grocery store as they are in the gym. Office dress codes are relaxing, too, with workers opting for pared-down professional wardrobes composed of comfortable basics. If you’re dreading the day you have to give up your “work sweatpants,” tap into comfort-first workwear trends like loose-fitting trousers and slacks for your return to the office. 

Back-to-Basics Skincare 

Women are abandoning heavy makeup as they shift beauty spending to skincare. If you’re one of the many people affected by maskne, you’ve probably started paying more attention to skincare during the pandemic yourself. 

 There’s a dizzying array of skincare products out there. Where do you start if all you’ve ever used is moisturizer and SPF? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to skincare because everyone’s skin is different. However, if you’re new to skincare regimens, Elle magazine lists a few kits designed for your skin type, which is a great place to start. When you want to take your look up a notch, opt for a tinted moisturizer or a glow kit instead of foundation. These lightweight alternatives are less likely to clog pores. This is also the perfect time to experiment with fun eye makeup looks. 

Returning to Our Roots 

Many people looked forward to their first salon haircut during the new normal. But while some people are going bold with their new look, others are embracing their roots by growing out their hair, keeping their grays, and letting their natural curls shine. In fact, L’OFFICIEL notes that the past year has seen a surge in products designed to enhance hair health. This includes shampoos and conditioners designed for your hair type, whether you want to clarify, hydrate, repair, thicken, define, or grow. 

 If you do go for a dramatic new look, donate your tresses to a good cause. Locks of Love, Children with Hair Loss, and Wigs for Kids are among the leading organizations that accept hair donations. 

Embracing New Ventures 

Feeling your best in 2022 isn’t just about the way you look. The toll that the pandemic took on so many lives seems to have intensified interest in not just self-care but nursing itself. Improving oneself may include career goals, particularly going back to school to get a degree in business. Whether it’s taking courses online or in person, many programs are set to maximize convenience and thoroughness, and some are extremely timely. Going this route provides you with the latest information and technology, preparing you to advance your career or take it another direction. 

 You may also be looking at changing jobs or starting a new business. If it’s the latter, be sure to check off a few essential boxes right away. This includes getting a business plan together, creating a home office if you plan to work from home, and lining up all the legal requirements. It’s important to determine what type of business you plan to operate by choosing which type to form as, whether it’s a self-proprietorship, a partnership, or an LLC. Fortunately, you can outsource the process with the help of an online formation service, which is quick and affordable.  

 People are also asking how they can maintain healthy habits now that responsibilities have returned to normal. Many of us have spent more time working on ourselves, getting active, appreciating nature, and utilizing naturopathic medicine and massage therapies during the pandemic, and we may be reluctant to relinquish that self-care time. 

 For the most part, schedules have shifted to what they used to be, but it’s still possible to make time for wellness. The key is scheduling it. Build self-care, fitness, and other healthy routines into your schedule the same way you would a business meeting to ensure wellness is given the priority it deserves. A huge part of this is embracing relationship changes as well, so identify the toxic people or situations in your life and call on dating coach Wendi Schuller to help you navigate your options. 

 Life looks much different now after the pandemic — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The past couple of years led us to rethink priorities, from how we spend time to how we present ourselves to the world. As we step out in 2022, it might not be back to the old normal. However, the new normal we’re building takes a more holistic view of what it means to be well. 

 Author is Chelsea Lamb  clamb@businesspop.net      She has spent the last eight years honing her tech skills and is the resident tech specialist and co-founder of BusinessPop.net. Her goal is to demystify some of the technical aspects of business ownership and entrepreneurship

Dating coach Wendi Schuller of Wendi’s Tips draws upon her knowledge as a nurse, neuro-linguistic programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist to provide a blueprint to guide people through divorce and beyond. Contact Wendi today to schedule your coaching session, or to find out more! wendischuller@hotmail.com 

Relationship PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Portrait Of Young Shy Couple Sitting On Sofa At Home

Trauma from past relationships affects a current one.  The person may do the hot/cold dance – wanting to get closer, yet afraid of being burned again. Not only is relationship PTSD traumatic for the individual, but also to the other in the relationship. The person with PTSD can be afraid to acknowledge even to themselves, deep feelings – as this has led to heartbreak previously.

UK ‘s National Health Service (NHS) defines PTSD as an “anxiety disorder caused by very stressful or distressing events.” People with PTSD have high levels of stress hormones. When danger is perceived, the body produces adrenaline to trigger the fight or flight reaction. “People with PTSD have been found to continue to produce high amounts of fight or flight hormones even when there is no danger.”

 

How PTSD Manifests

 

In relationships, the person may bolt when things are getting serious. They are okay at the beginning – the Getting To Know You stage. When simple requests/demands are voiced by their dating partner, it can be overwhelming. “Do I stay and face a risk of rejection (whatever the trigger is)?”  This person dances into a relationship, then dances right out again.  Or keeps the partner at an arm’s length.  You might be kept in the friend zone or friends with benefits one without a commitment.

The individual with relationship PTSD can be self-medicating with either drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or all three. This is to numb themselves and tamp down emotions. It feels more comfortable to put up an emotional blockade around themselves. If they are like a zombie, then there is no opening for trauma to sneak in. This is a faulty protection mechanism which is harmful to relationships.  Insomnia is another problem for those with this PTSD. Some get flashbacks whether or not in a new relationship.

A person with dating PTSD is trying to avoid being hurt again. Also tries to avoid repeating patterns which led to the trauma -being left behind and heartbreak. The Lehigh Center for Clinical Research in Allentown, PA, USA states “Avoidance is a common symptom of PTSD. If you avoid communicating with your partner about important matters such as your feelings, because building a wall to protect yourself is easier, then you may be suffering from PTSD from your last toxic relationship.”

One man, Peter, had three traumatic dating relationships in a row and developed PTSD, complete with flashbacks. He opted not to date for 10 years.  He became an alcoholic trying to deal with this trauma. Attending AA meetings gave him support dealing with his life.  Now he is living with a fabulous woman.

 

What to do when dating a survivor of PTSD

  • Go Slowly.
  • Be Patient
  • Learn when to pull back. They may crawl into their cave when the relationship is getting too intense.
  • Give them space.  They not initiate contact for a few weeks.
  • Allow time to build a firm foundation. Then they can begin to trust you bit by bit.

It is a delicate balancing act

Pushing to get closer scares them away. Too little leaves them guessing if you are about to do a runner, which may have led to PTSD from previous relationship. Consider sending a short, to the point text “How is your day going?” or when something notable occurs. “I didn’t get the job” or “My short story won a prize.”  Responding is easier than generating a text.

 

Have a full life

When you are busy, your mind is focused on these activities and less likely to be dwelling on the frustration of this dating relationship. You are more interesting and enticing when you do get together.  They can laugh and wonder what antics/classes/events you are up to next. Your full life gives fuel for conversations.  Taking improv acting classes, having fun at karaoke an d so forth, helps you seem different from previous dating partners where trauma occurred,

You may have to accept their pattern of being there and then backing away. No one can change another person. One can express needs with “I” statements. “I need you to text or call at least once a week.” “I want to get together at least every other week.”

 

Questions to ask yourself

  • Are you getting frustrated with the dance backwards and forwards?
  • Are you getting something out of the relationship?
  • Are the good times outweighing the disappearing act?
  • Are you feeling secure in the relationship?
  • Are you both able to discuss personal history, problems, worries, etc?
  • Are they focused on you when you are speaking?
  • How strongly do you feel about them? In love? Or is it lust or merely a fascination?

Your dating partner is operating from fear. Fear is their reality. They are looking for indications that they may be mistreated again.  You may be able to slowly build trust and have a successful relationship. Communication is imperative.  Give it your all, and then if you need to bail, you know you did everything that you could. There is hope that after a bumpy start, your relationship can be successful.

 

 

 

How Single Parents Can Better Manage Stress

Life can be stressful for single parents and their kids. For parents, there is financial stress, job stress, interpersonal stress, and the overarching stress of having to raise the kids alone. For kids, there is a completely different type of stress – fear of the unknown and feeling self-conscious about coming of age without their mother or father in the picture. As a single parent, it’s hard to manage it all.

Here are some tips to help give you some ideas on how to minimize stress.

 

Cut Yourself Some Slack

The first tip is likely the hardest, but it’s something you must strive toward. Single parents often set high expectations for themselves – often too high. However hard it may be, try to cut yourself some slack. Despite any shortcomings, you’re doing the best you can.

 

Practice Relaxation Techniques

The seemingly obvious way to reduce stress is to remove the stressor from your life. Unfortunately, when it comes to managing a single-parent household, this isn’t always an option. So take steps to alleviate the effects of that stress instead. This is where relaxation techniques come into play.

Meditation can be very effective. Listen to guided meditations or try to focus on whatever brings you inner peace. Simply put, meditation is being mindful in the moment.

You can repeat a mantra, or you can just be in the moment consumed by your present surroundings. If your kids are old enough, you can even get them in on the practice. As Psychology Today points out, meditation is scientifically proven to boost all the best parts of life while removing negativity.

When you’re meditating, make sure you’re in a quiet space in your home to promote relaxation. Wearing comfortable clothes like leggings and a roomy T-shirt can also help you focus.

 

Get Your Kids Involved  

You’re not being a bad parent if you want some free time. You need it if you want to keep your sanity. One way to increase your alone time is to get your kids involved in activities. After-school clubs, sports, community arts groups — you can find an organization that specializes in facilitating the exploration of their interests.

Cultivate their love for community service and volunteering by registering for animal welfare or environmental organizations. If your child is athletic, team sports are a great way for them to meet new people and encounter new role models. Talk to your kids about their interests, and there will surely be something they’d love to get involved in.

 

Foster a Stress-Free Home Environment

You spend most of your time at home, so it’s naturally going to have a lot of impact on your stress level. A messy, disorganized home is a stressful home. Even if you aren’t a super tidy person, excess clutter can be a problem. This is especially true for a family run by a single parent who is already busy. Take some time to fully declutter your home from top to bottom so it’s more manageable. You can also use some sensory tips and tricks to reduce stress. Plants, essential oils, aromatherapy candles, and natural light can help people feel relaxed. Open those curtains and let the sun shine in.

As a single parent, you are managing a family alone. There’s no way around that. There will be a lot of stress to deal with — both your own and that of your kids. Try to combat this stress by getting your kids involved in engaging activities, making sure you have a clean, organized, calming home environment, and setting some time aside to practice relaxation exercises.

Author Janice Russell  believes the only way to survive parenthood is to find the humor in it. She created Parenting Disasters so that parents would have a go-to resource whenever they needed a laugh, but also to show parents they aren’t alone. She wants every frazzled parent out there to remember that for every kid stuck in a toilet, there’s another one out there somewhere who’s just graced their parents’ walls with some Sharpie artwork!

 

 

You 2.0: How to Regains Confidence After a Divorce

None of us get married planning to be single again. But, whether it be for incompatibility, infidelity, or money issues, divorce happens in about 50% of all first marriages, and the rates are even higher for subsequent nuptials. No matter how many people you know that have gotten divorced, it is still a personal challenge that can have a serious impact on your finances, emotions, and health.

Here are some tips on how to take back your life.

Wait to date.

While there is no magic formula that can tell you when the time is right to date, most experts – and divorcees – agree that it’s best to wait until you know it’s truly over so that you can really focus on yourself. While it’s perfectly normal to get lonely, you must learn how to be comfortable in your own presence so that you can truly figure out what you want. Although dating apps might provide you with some form of affirmation, you’re not going to find happiness in the praise of others, but in the love of yourself.

Check your finances.

Money is a significant issue, especially for the economically disadvantaged spouse. But, money is not everything, and what you lose in financial support, you may gain in freedom, independence, and happiness. If you’re concerned about your finances, Global Guide To Divorce suggests examining your credit, making a budget, and giving yourself an emergency fund.

Consider making another major change.

A divorce changes your life significantly, but many aspects may still stay the same, especially if you remain living in your marital home. If you want to truly break free from the memory of your marriage, you might want to make other life changes, such as going back to school to earn your master’s degree. Even if you have kids and a full-time job, getting a degree in a field that you’ve always been interested in (perhaps education or business) will give you the credentials and skills you need to break out of your comfort zone and into a new life. Similarly, you might even go back to school to learn skills, such as accounting or business, so that you can become an entrepreneur, which Biz Journals acknowledges gives you a chance to build a future for yourself.

Improve your self-image.

If you have put on a few pounds after divorce, you’re not alone. Men’s Divorce explains that marital transition changes a person’s eating habits. This can lead to weight gain or weight loss, either of which can have a negative impact on your self-image. If this is the case, you can start working on your weight by exercising and eating well. That takes time, so, in the interim, focus on buying clothing and accessories that make you feel attractive right now. For women, a pair of butt-lifting leggings or a cozy sweater will go a long way. Jewelry, such as a Tiger’s eye necklace – Tiger’s eye shows with alternating colors, depending on the light source, making it a versatile piece – can also go a long way toward improving how you feel about your appearance. For men, a new pair of jeans or a nice suit will enhance a lackluster wardrobe.

Change your habits.

Habits are hard to break, especially for those of us who were in long marriages and are now divorced. But, you have to give yourself permission to live your life on your terms. Don’t be shy about breaking habits, such as having tacos every Monday or visiting a specific city on vacation. You now have a precious opportunity to build your world the way that you want it, you don’t have to let relics from the past define what you do in the present.

Divorce is not easy for anyone. It’s difficult to find your sense of self and to be confident enough to live your life on your terms. But, trust that with a few habit changes and a positive mindset, you will get over the greatest challenges. Good luck in your new single life, may it be better than you could have imagined.

Visit Global Guide To Divorce often for more tips from experience dating coach Wendi Schuller.

 Author Rhonda Underhill is a classic example of a health scare leading to a complete lifestyle change. She hopes her site, Getwellderly.com, can encourage adults approaching their golden years to get serious about their physical health now rather than later.

 

Grief May Surprise You After Divorce Or A Break Up

One may think they are over their relationship or got past divorce and later feel the loss. Grief can sneak up on you and catch you by surprise. It is like swimming in calm waters and a big wave comes up and slaps you hard. It takes time to mourn a marriage or love interest. One day you are fine and the next in tears. It can be lonely at first.  Grief comes in stages and one can move back and forth between them.

Denial

This is avoiding the situation. Pretending that things are not happening. Not dealing with reality, such as thinking if you do not hire an attorney, then the divorce will not happen. Or he/she will come to their senses and stay with you. It is delusional thinking. Denial may be manifested as carrying on as usual with the same routines as if nothing is happening.

Anger

This is when a person realizes denial is not stopping the divorce or a break up. The other person is firm, “It is over.” They have collected any personal belongings at your place and have dropped off yours.  In a divorce situation, it is no longer possible to deny the divorce is happening.   Papers are served. The other party’s attorney has contacted you or perhaps a court date has been set. One is furious that their life is in such an upheaval. Anger can have one reacting instead of responding. Reacting is impulsive and not thinking with a clear head.

Anger can lead to revenge – such as using the children as weapons. Too often in the news, a parent kills the children in a divorce situation to get back at the other one. It can be trashing a spouse’s reputation on social media.

Bargaining

It is hoping that if you change your behavior then the divorce or break up will be stopped. One may try and make a deal with the other person.  “I can change.  I won’t do (whatever annoyed them) anymore.” Or with a marriage, “I will agree to a divorce if we go to a weekend retreat to try and patch up our relationship.”

Being in the bargaining stage is acknowledging the situation which is not done in the denial stage. It is moving along in the grief process. It is wishing for a miracle to happen.

Depression

Depression in grief is not the same as the chronic clinical one. Rather, it is numbness. Feeling as if stumbling around in slow motion. There may be brain fog or lethargy. The body is worn out from having the strong surge of emotions from earlier in the divorce process. These ranged from shock, panic to despair. It can be a time to take a pause and nurture yourself. The stress hormones, such as cortisol, have flooded one’s body. This quieter time can be a way to chill out and regroup.

Acceptance

This last stage might come during the proceedings or a bit later. One has come to terms with what happened – no longer being married. When it is a break up, finally realizing that person is no longer in your life.  One acknowledges the loss and begins to look ahead to the future. A new chapter is opening in life which can include changing careers or relocation. Taking up new challenges and hobbies. It is a time of exploration – whether it is a self-assessment or travel to enticing destinations. Time to start a new chapter in your life. Many of us change careers.

This is based on my article published in the Divorce Magazine out of Toronto.