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The Big, Bad Financial Truth About Life After Divorce

Divorce From Huffington Post - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 15:03
Recently I was catching up with one of my close author friends, who, like me, is a recent divorcée, and in our discussion on post-divorce life, we discovered a commonality that was all at once surprising, horrifying, and hilarious. Both of us had recently been to the grocery store and while trying to live within our insanely tight post-divorce budgets, we had each ogled packages of juicy figs but had decided that they were too expensive. In my case, the figs were only $3.99, but since I am literally counting hard-boiled eggs at home and rationing spinach leaves, figs are just taking things too damn far right now.

When my friend told me that she, too, had decided against the figs -- but damn did she want them -- I could not help but burst into laughter.

How ridiculous and sad that two multi-published authors -- who at one point in our careers were making six figures and answering so much reader mail we couldn't see straight -- have arrived here. Still writing, still striving, still trying to make this single writer thing work for us, but somehow we have arrived at the point of not being able to buy figs.

How did this happen, we wondered? How on earth did we get here, and more importantly, how do we get as far away from here as possible?

It's not about the figs, people.

What this is really about is that financial insecurity -- and in many cases, complete financial devastation -- is a reality of post-divorce life for many women, and it's a reality we rarely talk about.

It's a reality we are embarrassed to admit. That without our once-stable marriages and our husbands' stable incomes, we can't even buy a damn package of figs without worrying about the consequences.

It's embarrassing and exhausting to constantly turn down dinner requests from friends who are boasting those lovely six-figure incomes and to tell them, yet again, that I'm not in a position to do nice dinners out. People, I can't buy the fucking figs so I clearly can't do extravagant dinners.

There are many reasons that I have landed where I am financially. Being severely depressed for a significant portion of the three years I have been on my own and not having it in me to produce a new book every few months; not asking for alimony; and of course some poor decision-making on my part are just a few of those reasons.

Another reason is that I am committed to my craft as a writer. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health -- I am married to my career. I need to write as much as I need to breathe. And so I have worked out every conceivable alternate career arrangement in my post-divorce life so that I can keep writing... and keep breathing.

I have built a wonderful French tutoring business with some of the most amazing, dedicated students I've ever known in my ten years of teaching. I teach writing, I teach yoga, I take care of babies, I walk dogs, I feed cats, and I don't get a lot of sleep. Because in the minutes and hours when I'm not doing all of those things, I'm writing.

I'm not depressed anymore, thankfully, and because of this beautiful feeling of happiness I'm experiencing, I have the energy and the drive to whip out books again like it's my job.

Because it is my job.

And not being able to afford figs is only temporary.

Divorce may have taken away my happiness for a long while. It may have taken away the stability in my life -- not only financially but in so many other ways.

But divorce has not robbed me of my dreams.

Of my courage. Of my desire to write and to share my stories with readers and to watch my books shoot to the top of the charts once again... and again... and again... and again.

That will happen because I'm stubborn and I simply will not stop writing.

And in the meantime, if I have to count eggs and ration my spinach leaves, then so be it. That is a choice I am making, plus I'm thankful for the eggs and the spinach. I'm thankful, too, for my friend who understands what it's like to not be able to buy figs but who thinks it's so damn funny because we know this isn't forever. And we're going to keep writing anyway.

It always takes courage to be on your own, to live without a safety net, and to persevere in the face of heartbreak, loss, and uncertainty. It takes courage to follow your calling, no matter what.

And it takes courage to admit to your friends and loved ones that this is just where you're at right now.

So, this is just where I'm at. And I refuse to be embarrassed about it any longer. I'm not ashamed. Instead, I'm amazed that I've come so far from the girl who once laid on her bathroom floor contemplating suicide because she saw no other way out. Divorce took me there, but I survived, and I found a way out -- and that way was through.

And so if the problem of the figs is my biggest problem these days, well, I'm lucky.

I'm alive. I'm working. I'm writing, and I'm laughing.

And one day, my author friend and I are going to throw a fig party for all of the divorced women who've been in our shoes. Don't worry ladies, the figs are on me!

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

6 Negative Thoughts That Can Destroy A Relationship

Divorce From Huffington Post - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 22:28

When you’re married or in a long-term relationship, there are plenty of things best left unsaid

Negative thoughts can be just as harmful. Below, marriage therapists share six of the most damaging thoughts you can have about your relationship or your spouse. 

It’s common for people to worry if their partners have become less invested in the relationship over time. But wondering if your S.O. loves you can create a cycle of negativity, especially if you ask them about it, said Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington.

“It can create what psychologists call a self-fulfilling prophecy: Even though the partner might protest and say ‘of course I do,’ asking might make them start to wonder if there’s cause for concern,” she said. 

Instead of asking if they still love you, try ending phone conversations with a simple “I love you” or kissing each other goodbye before work, Schwartz said.

“It may not tell you everything but affectionate behaviors are a good barometer of emotional connection,” she said. 

Tardiness is a placeholder for anything here: Your spouse’s lack of interest in sex, their seeming inability to load the dishwater. What matters is that you’re being unnecessarily critical of your spouse and using generalizations, said Greg Cason, a psychologist based in Los Angeles. And judgemental thoughts are very likely to end in contemptuous behavior, he said. 

“We default to criticism as a way to punish our partner and try to get them to act differently in the future,” he said. “It’s better to zero in on a single behavior and express your feelings about it. For instance, ‘You’re late and that upsets me’ or ‘I’m disappointed because I was hoping to get physically closer to you.’” 

For the most part, idly daydreaming that your partner was more like Ryan Gosling or your ex-girlfriend from freshman year is innocent ― but don’t get carried away, said Leslie Petruk, a marriage and family therapist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

“If there are qualities or traits that you admire in someone else, then let your partner know you wish they did more of that and find out if it’s something they are willing or want to change,” she said. 

Of course, nothing breeds discontent more than fantasizing about being with someone else, said Kurt Smith, a therapist who specializes in counseling men.

“Thinking is not too distant from actually doing it and it will destroy your relationship faster than just about anything else,” he said. 

It’s completely unfair to expect your spouse to know exactly why you’re reacting so negatively to something they’ve done. And even if you don’t say anything about your expectations, your silent treatment and eye rolling likely speaks volumes. 

“It’s such a common issue with couples but 99 percent of the time, their interpretation is inaccurate or incomplete,” Petruk said. “If you think you know the motivation behind their actions, check it out before coming to your own conclusion.” 

There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing about the days when you couldn’t keep your hands off each other. But look back with a fair perspective, said Abby Rodman, a psychotherapist and the author of Should You Marry Him?: A No-Nonsense, Therapist-Tested Guide to Not Screwing Up the Biggest Decision of Your Life. 

“Sometimes I’ll look back and ruefully say to my husband, ‘Remember when we...?’ or ‘Remember how great that was...?’” she said. “He’ll smile and say, ‘Yeah. Wasn’t that great?’ He doesn’t say, ‘Yeah. Why don’t we have that anymore?’ or ‘It sure was. What happened to you or us?’” 

The point is, while it’s important to treasure the past, none of us can go back to a time to when everything about the relationship was new and exciting, Rodman said. 

“For the relationship to go on, that needs to be OK,” she said. “Sure, remaining in love is absolutely possible, but to lament that your mature marriage is no longer what it was in the beginning will only invite disillusionment and discontent.” 

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

These Comics Capture The Awkwardness Of Being Friends With An Ex

Divorce From Huffington Post - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 19:34

It’s a noble goal to stay friends with your ex after a breakup. Let’s be honest, though: It rarely goes as planned. 

The College Humor illustrations below perfectly capture the awkward process of trying to be friends post-split. (Did you really think meeting your ex’s new, super good looking S.O. was going to go over smoothly?)  

The comics were written by Shea Strauss and illustrated by Andy Kluthe, who runs the comic site Nerd Rage. To see the full series, head to College Humor

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

Are You Ready To Start Dating After Divorce? Here's How You'll Know

Divorce From Huffington Post - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 17:46

Dating after divorce is different for everyone. Some people start dating right when they decide to separate and or move out, perhaps because their marriage has been over for years and they have felt alone for such a long time. Others wait months or even years, due to the trauma or shock of the divorce, because they lack self-confidence, or possibly because they just need time to heal.

There are so many variables in dating after divorce and what the right time is. And, there are no right or wrong answers.

Again, every divorced person has a different timetable on when he or she feels comfortable in dating after divorce. That said, here are 10 signs you will know you are ready to start dating: 

1. You find yourself thinking less about the past and what happened. You stop trying to figure out what went wrong and you are more focused on today.

2. You feel like you are in a routine. A good one—not the come home from work, crack open a beer or pour a glass of wine, sit in front of the TV and be sad, but rather work is feeling productive, you are enjoying time spent with your kids, and single life is becoming not just bearable, but actually good.

3. You see a man or woman walking down the street and you feel hopeful and happy (and majorly attracted to the person.)

4. Someone asks if they can set you up on a blind date and you are not disgusted by the thought.

5. You feel good about yourself — more confident and much better than you have in the past.

6. You meet someone and you actually feel curious to get to know him or her more. You’re not even sure what you want, you just know you’d like to know more about this person.

7. You are accepting what happened and you have stopped blaming yourself or your ex. You have decided to focus more on this new life—not what he or she did to you or what you did to add to the demise of your marriage.

8. You are less angry and sad, and find yourself more at peace with what happened.

9. You like yourself.

10. You have physical desire for sex.

The thing is, dating after divorce in my opinion really does depend on who you meet, combined with where you are in your divorce healing process.

You could meet the perfect person, but the timing is off because you just aren’t ready to date yet. Or, you could really feel ready to date and go out there and not meet anyone who feels like a good match.

The advice I would give to anyone asking how he knows if he is ready for dating after divorce yet is:

1. Don’t put pressure on yourself to date. Just wait until you want to. If you force yourself, it won’t go well.

2. Go out with people as platonic friends. Again, no pressure. Just go out with people to enjoy someone’s company and to make a new friend. The best relationships start out that way.

3. When you start dating after divorce, don’t feel guilty—like you are doing something wrong, or that because you have young kids you aren’t a good parent if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend. That is just a waste of energy, and unproductive.

4. Let dating be fun. After what was probably the roughest time in your life, you deserve to enjoy yourself and just be happy getting to know new people.

I can’t count the number of newly separated or newly divorced men and women who exclaim, “I’ll never love anyone like I loved my wife/husband ever again.” And they end up falling madly in love. For some it takes months, for others it takes years. But it does happen if the person wants that. Just be patient, don’t rush into anything (although who are we kidding? We’ve all done that) and let yourself be happy. You deserve it!

Jackie Pilossoph is the creator of her website, Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of her novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationship column, Love Essentially, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press. Pilossoph lives with her family in Chicago. Oh, and she’s divorced.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Divorce Stuff

'My Husband Cheated And Won't Have Sex With Me, Should I Stay?'

Divorce From Huffington Post - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 17:04
Reader Dazed And Confused writes,

My problem is this: I am 54 and my husband is 55. We have been married for 27 years. We have four grown children. Twice he has had an affair with someone much younger, once fifteen years ago and now last December I found out he'd been seeing a 25 year old on and off for about a year. He wont tell me anything about what happened, so its hard to be sure how long it was going on. I found out through other people and his weird behaviour. I was very surprised because we get along well, and I thought him incapable of doing something so cruel to me. We live in a very small town (1000) and everyone knew before me, and this person lives close to our home and my work, so I occasionally run into her without wanting to. It has been very humiliating; I feel really vulnerable.

I was very hurt and furious for a few months and wanted him to leave. He wouldn't go, said he was very sorry, it was a mistake, not my fault and that he loved me and wanted us to be together. He has stayed. But instead of a great, new revived marriage, it just keeps on sucking. I do not trust him. Every time he goes out to work or to town or is gone for any length of time, I feel he is hooking up with her. He's says he wont do it again, but it still seems like he hasn't resolved his midlife crisis. He's very concerned about his appearance and has many more face creams than I do. He's fastidious about bathing and getting cleaned up, but I don't feel he does it to look good for me. Often I come home from work and he's showered and changed and gone out somewhere. He refuses to let me see his phone or know his access code, saying I just have to trust him, which drives me crazy because that was one of the ways he carried on with this other person.

We don't have sex anymore. Since I found out about the affair, we've had sex a handful of times. I miss it a lot and feel like I'm not ready to give it up. Sex was an area of our marriage that was  good. Except for, it had started taking a dive when he had the affair. But he seems to have ED: I feel rejected, like he is not attracted to me anymore because I'm too old to be sexy. He denies this but still can't/ doesn't want to have sex. We went on vacation to the beach for a week to relax and reconnect and it was utterly disappointing. No sex. Although he is affectionate and nice enough. I thought if he stayed and we worked things out, he should be happy about that, but he often gets depressed, like he's not living the life he wants. He always says it's money problems or his back hurts (yet he still will ride his horses) or he's tired or whatever.

I wanted to get some counseling, he grudgingly went first to one guy we both didn't like, next to another who was much better, but he wouldn't go back. I feel stuck, but feel like we have so much time invested together that it would be gut wrenching to separate. I love him. I think he loves me, but just not the way I want. I don't want us to settle because we're afraid of the unknown future on our own. On my own! I feel convinced he's one of those guys who wants to toss out the old and get someone young, new and hot. And I just can't compete with that. Is there hope for us? What's wrong with us, why do I feel so stuck?

Dear DAC,

Creak creak!  What's that sound?  Why, it's the sound of your bed when you leave your husband and, after a dignified waiting period, like three weeks, you make sweet love with some guy in his 30's who's into MILF's.  On a serious note, you have done every single thing I can think of to rebuild after infidelity.  You have gone to counseling (like I told that guy in the linked piece who was cheated on), empathized, tried to have sex with him, everything.  And yet he doesn't seem to want to change.

The complaining about "money problems," his back pain, and his need for multiple face creams makes me think that your husband is fairly narcissistic.  And of course the keystone of that theory is that he cheated with someone who you know and could see around, without a thought for humiliating you, his wife of 27 years and mother of his four kids.  You first thought to leave your husband was correct, but then, out of fear and obligation, you're back in a crappy marriage.  Crappy and sexless and devoid of basic trust.  Why do you deserve this?  You don't.

Your children are raised and you have the second half of your life standing before you, like the promised land in front of Moses.  Reach out and traverse the Red Sea of irritating divorce announcements and splitting your financial assets, and emerge on the other side, single and ready to mingle.  In reality, we all die alone.  Women live longer than men, so more of us die alone even after awesome marriages.  Do you want to spend the next three or more decades watching your husband complain about money, then spend it on face creams and horses, and even on 20 something year old future affair partners?  You deserve better.  Like I told this woman, get out.

You may also want counseling to get you through this time.  Divorce can suck, but sexless marriages with narcissists suck worse. Keep me updated, and until we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says, I'll Help With Your Match Profile.

This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family. Learn about Dr. Rodman's private practice, including therapy, coaching, and consultation here. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

Russell Wilson Said The Sweetest Thing About Ciara And Her Son

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 23:47

Russell Wilson is officially a stepfather. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback married singer Ciara last Wednesday, and he recently opened up about his relationship with Ciara’s son to People magazine.

When You Know You're Fresh... . #GiorgioArmani Custom Suit For The Big Day. #MyBoys

A photo posted by Ciara (@ciara) on Jul 9, 2016 at 10:48pm PDT

“I think, ultimately, the one thing I can say about being a stepdad and any person that’s a parent ― but especially when you come into a new situation ― the key is loving the child as your own,” Wilson told People. “That’s the biggest thing.”

As for adding more kiddos to the mix?

“I want to have a bunch of kids – me and Ci do,” Wilson said. “I think that ever since the first day I ever met Ciara and Little Man, too, it’s been really cool and really special.”

Grateful For This Love. #MyBoys

A photo posted by Ciara (@ciara) on May 7, 2016 at 7:05pm PDT

Wilson also only has praise for Ciara as a mother.

“Ciara’s such a great mom,” Wilson said. “She reads to him every night. I read to him, too, and we just share so many special moments together. That’s what family is all about. Ultimately, it’s about giving back and loving as much as you can to your fullest. That’s what you’re able to do together.”

It’s not the first time Wilson has opened up about his new stepson. In June, he wrote a sweet comment on a photo of Ciara and her son on Instagram:

Watching him grow over the past year and a half has been the most fulfilling and special things I’ve ever been around. He gets the purest and the sweetest love from you and to watch you be the woman and mom you are ALL the time. Every morning. Every night. Every day… No matter what the circumstances or situation… good or bad… brings me so much joy & most importantly him. He is so blessed to have you hold him and hug him and love him with so much pure and real love that he will have no limits to what God has in store for him.

It Was Just Yesterday I Was Holding You In My Arms Like I Am In This Photo. Now My Angel Baby Boy Is 2 Years Old!!....Running Around, Talking Up A Storm, Learning Fast & Getting Into Everything! It Has Truly Been The Best Life Experience Watching You Grow! I Am So Grateful To God For You, & I Can't Wait To See All The Many Other Amazing Things He Has In Store For You! Mommy loves You Soooo Much! #HappyBirthday To My Prince, Future Zahir. 2️⃣

A photo posted by Ciara (@ciara) on May 18, 2016 at 9:09pm PDT

H/T People

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

16 Couples Who Are *This Close* To Divorcing Because Of Pokémon Go

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 22:21

Sure, the new Pokémon Go mobile app can bring two people in love closer together: What’s more romantic than roaming around the city with your boo, dreaming of finally catching a Lapras?

But if only one of you is Pokémon-crazed, catching ‘em all could come at a price. Below, 16 tweets from people who are questioning their marriages because of Pokémon Go. 

H/T BuzzFeed 

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Divorce Stuff

Advice To GOP: Don't Say 'I Do' To Donald Trump Without a Prenup

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 20:58
Prenuptial agreements are common for couples preparing to tie the knot when one (or both) have something to protect in the event of a divorce. As a matrimonial lawyer in New York City, I have seen and drafted quite a few. To my knowledge, however, such agreements have never been used by a political party preparing to get hitched to its presidential nominee. But, of course, there has never been a "marriage" quite like the one the Republican Party is about to consummate.

The Republican Party is preparing to wed Donald Trump in a "ceremony" to be held in Cleveland on July 18. The Party appears to be quite apprehensive about entering into this union, which is understandable. Trump has had so many failed ventures, the Party has plenty to be concerned about. After all, each time Trump did quite well for himself, while leaving his former partners and others holding the bag.

Trump's presidential bid is no different. If it ends in a fiasco, Trump will be just fine. He is not spending much of his own money on his campaign, and he will undoubtedly emerge with even more notoriety and celebrity, something he clearly values and craves. The Republican Party, on the other hand, has already suffered quite a bit from Trump's presidential ambitions, and may sustain even more, and longer lasting, damage.

In light of all this, it appears that the Party officials would be well served by taking a page out of Trump's book and insisting on a prenuptial agreement. Trump himself is notorious for never marrying without one. "An ugly instrument, but they'd better have one," Trump told New York Magazine in 2002.
Prenuptial agreements can be useful in giving the spouse with the most to lose in case of a break-up more protection than the law would otherwise provide. Trump successfully used prenuptial agreements to greatly limit what each of his wives received in divorce. Trump's first wife, Ivana Zelnicek, after an unsuccessful challenge, reportedly received a total settlement of $25 million, despite Trump's allegedly multi-billion-dollar fortune and despite being married to Trump for more than 10 years. Trump's second wife, Marla Thompson, fared much worse and reportedly received no more than $2 million, as Trump ended the marriage weeks before the fourth wedding anniversary after which Marla would have been entitled to a hefty settlement.

But what would a prenuptial agreement between the Republican Party and Trump provide?

Prenuptial agreements protect the assets with which a person enters into a marriage. In addition, they commonly address distribution of marital property, entitlement by one party to receive spousal support and the parties' rights to inherit the property of the other after death.

Clearly, the first priority for the Republican Party would be to protect its separate property with which it is entering the "marriage." The main asset the Party needs to protect at this point is whatever dignity it has left. Although there may be little of it, it is obviously important to try to preserve it. Thus, the Party would be well advised to insist on an agreement that Trump will no longer call its leaders "ridiculous," "pathetic," "hypocrites," "morons," and otherwise not humiliate and belittle them.

In return, and to ensure the enforceability of this agreement, the Party should allow Trump to preserve his separate property. Clearly, the most valuable asset with which Trump is coming into the "marriage" is his name. Thus, under the agreement, Trump should retain the right to continue to be known as "Mr. Trump." In addition, the agreement can provide that after the Convention, the party officials will no longer call Trump a "nutjob" (Lindsey Graham), a "fraud" (Mitt Romney), "a jerk" (Jeb Bush), "a pathological liar" (Ted Cruz), and "a carnival barker" (Chris Christie).

The next issue this agreement will need to address is the division of assets acquired by the Republican Party and Trump during their "marriage." The increase in the value of one spouse's separate property, when due to the efforts or contributions of either spouse, are often considered marital property and are subject to distribution between the parties. It is hard to see how the dignity of the Republican Party can increase in value during its marriage to Donald Trump, so the Party can safely leave that alone.

The Trump name, on the other hand, will undoubtedly increase in value, especially among certain groups of voters (i.e., "uneducated older white men"). Therefore, the Republican Party should insist that the increase in the value of Trump's name be treated as "martial property" and be distributed between the parties in the event of a break up. Thus, although Trump will generally retain the right to continue to be known as "Mr. Trump," it would be advisable for the Republican Party to negotiate the right to use the Trump name for a number of years on its buildings and in any kind of electioneering with the core Trump supporters, by, for example, putting the name on baseball caps, universities (as long as they confer no recognizable degrees), and campaign materials. In addition, the Republican Party should negotiate the exclusive right to use, in any future election, the phrase "it's going to be a beautiful thing" to print on balloons for future rallies.

In terms of the spousal support the Party will receive from Trump, it should certainly demand that Trump turn over his main advisors, including Corey Lewandowsky (one of the best campaign managers universally loved by all, especially the press) and Chris Christie (not only a brilliant politician as demonstrated by his own presidential bid, but also currently one of the most popular governors in history).

Finally, in the event the Republican Party outlives Trump's presidential bid, the party should make sure Trump agrees that he will never ever (ever!) run for President again, because even if the Republican Party manages to survive this marriage once, it may not be so lucky the second time around.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

How Being A Mistress Changed My Perception Of Marriage

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 20:54

It takes two. It's give and take. It's all about commitment. Those are a few of the slogans I've heard people use in regards to relationships and marriage.

While I agree that all of those things may be important and true, sometimes we fall short in keeping up with those standards.

I never considered myself to be the type of person who would fall short at anything that really mattered to me. I had integrity, I was loyal, and I was determined. Then -- life happened.

By my late twenties I was already divorced. The relationship had been an abusive one and it took me years to extract myself from it. After the divorce was over with and I had moved away from my ex-husband, things felt as if they were finally getting back on track. I had a great job, I didn't have children. I was an independent woman.

And then I slipped.

I did something I had judged others for doing in the past and something that I had always said I would never do.

I had an affair with someone who was married.

The person I did this with was a repeat offender in the cheating department. They had no visible qualms about it. I was in way over my head. My judgement at the time was obviously questionable but, nevertheless, I did it.

While recovering from one destructive relationship, I ended up jumping straight into another. Much of my hope about the validity of a healthy, long-lasting relationship had disintegrated and -- fittingly -- I found someone who didn't even respect their own marriage. By entering into this affair, I effectively participated in the erosion of another marriage.

Though my behavior was inexcusable, I did learn some things. I learned how easy it can be for people to betray those who love them. I learned how a lie can become a convoluted web of unmanageable anxiety. I learned what it feels like to not love yourself.

The experience of an affair really makes you wonder about all relationships and marriages. It makes you wonder about the secrets people potentially keep, the lies they tell, and the capacity of people in general to remain loyal to one another.

You realize how much effort it really takes to be in a successful, faithful marriage or long-term relationship. It takes guts and constant communication. It takes dealing with your issues and confronting your fears. It takes a great deal of love and respect after the initial passion is gone. And I don't mean love as in lust - but love as in I'm going to care for you, support you, and remain faithful to you even when you're being unlovable, annoying, or sick kind of love.

Long story short -- I eventually got myself out of the affair. It was a torrential mess that left known and unknown emotional carnage in it's wake. I made an ugly decision that gave me momentary pleasure and offered up a way to escape feelings I wasn't finished dealing with yet. I got wrapped up in the secrecy, the passion, and the taboo nature of the beast.

I spent several years alone after the affair. There was no dating and my sense of self was slaughtered. It's an experience that will drain you and leave you dry. Make no mistake - the beginning phase of an illicit affair may be very thrilling but this feeling will rapidly be replaced by stress, desperation, pain, and guilt.

Over time, I started loving myself and my body. I ate well. I worked out. I started to make my own happiness. I admitted what I had done and -- even though the darkness of it still disturbed me - I was able to turn it into a lesson for self-improvement.

There may be no way to tell if your partner is lying to you or cheating on you. There may be no way to know for sure that you will never commit an act that hurts your partner or anyone else -- even when you believe you never would.

Relationships are a complicated dance of empathy, understanding, compatibility, and effort. Ultimatums don't work. Jealousy doesn't work. Lying doesn't work. Know yourself before you expect someone else to know you. Love yourself. Be prepared to forgive things that you would want your partner to forgive you for. Know what you can't forgive and don't expect it in return.

Marriage can be a beautiful partnership and journey. One of the biggest lessons I learned by turning my back on the idea of marriage all those years ago, is that marriage is still sacred and it is still a big deal.

Sometimes we forget how long a lifetime can actually be when we enter into a partnership like marriage. Perhaps we also falter because many of us haven't learned the value of a relationship that bears the fruit of effort, care, patience, and respect. Sometimes we become so jaded and resentful that we don't fully connect in a healthy way.

But there's always a chance to come back, to learn, and to use our mistakes as stepping stones to greater things. Sometimes the darkest lessons lead us to the highest peaks of our potential. I went there -- and I came back.

More from Michelle - 5 Signs Your Romantic Relationship May be Abusive

Originally a Vancouver Island native, Michelle now resides in California where she is an ex-corporate slave, writer, artist, mother, stepmother, & wife.
Join Michelle as she explores & stumbles through society, parenting, step-parenting, health, beauty, relationships & much more. Visit The Pondering Nook's website and Facebook Page for more.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

The View From the Day Before

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 18:50
Today is my last day as a married woman. After 30 years of marriage and 34 years together, tomorrow my husband and I will stand in front of a judge who will undo what a hippie rabbi did in 1986. Unlike that rite of passage, this one doesn't involve invitations, seating charts, choosing a menu, or hiring a band. It will be a much more intimate affair -- no friends and family, just the two of us and our lawyers.

For 30 years we lived together, slept together, made plans together, laughed and worried together. We shared a bed, countless meals and bottles of wine, went to ball games, hiked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, visited national parks, explored the marvels of Angkor Wat, Pompeii, Hana, and Tangiers, chatted about our work days, discussed politics and world events, went to the theatre, attended weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, confirmations, and dinner parties, celebrated family holidays together. We planned parties, had barbecues, sent out holiday cards, and bought gifts. We gossiped about people mentioned in the local paper.

We raised a son. We worried about his grades, his SAT scores, his friends, his health, his future. We rented an apartment, bought a coop, moved to the suburbs. We redid the house and collaborated on every choice: yes to the mission dining room set, to the tiles for the kitchen backsplash and master bath shower. Yes to the iron towel racks and stone switch plate covers. Yes to the patio furniture bought on Craigslist. We gave to charity. We volunteered in the community. We tried our best to be good, decent people and good parents. We were a team. We built a life together.

Now the furniture and the house have been sold. All those items that we carefully curated together are either at the town dump, Goodwill, or in someone else's home.

The grounds for our divorce, which will become final tomorrow, are "irreconcilable differences." According to the free online legal dictionary, this means "The existence of significant differences between a married couple that are so great and beyond resolution as to make them unworkable." That sounds really dire -- as if we fought tooth and nail for years. But my husband and I generally agree. We share similar world and political views, have similar taste, like the same restaurants and mostly, the same people, including each other. So when the judge asks me about those irreconcilable differences (as my lawyer tells me he will), I really don't know what I'll say. The only thing that comes to mind is that my husband really hated it when I rinsed the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher -- and I continually refused to change that behavior. (Hopefully my husband will be able to come up something a bit more irreconcilable to impress the judge).

Will I look or feel any different tomorrow, when I will no longer be a wife? I imagine the effect will be much like that of a milestone birthday. The day, much anticipated and possibly dreaded, comes and then goes. The next day you look in the mirror and are somewhat stunned that your image appears unchanged from the day before. But as we know, there are things that, although invisible to the naked eye -- like atoms or virulent strains of bacteria -- exert powerful forces on the universe. So although I will look the same once tomorrow passes, beneath the surface I know I will be deeply and irrevocably changed.

Going forward, I'll be reminded of that change every time I meet someone new and they ask me to tell them about myself. I'll be reminded every time I fill out a form at a doctor's office or government agency and I have to check the "Divorced" box after having automatically checked "Married" for over 30 years.

Tomorrow I will no longer be a wife. I'll still be a lot of other excellent things: a woman, a daughter, a mother, a friend, an American, a writer. But I will no longer be a wife. I will no longer be able to casually toss the words "my husband" into a conversation. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. But I suspect this one's going to take quite a bit longer than that.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

You & Your Divorce Settlement Agreement- BFFs

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 18:46

image: Javier Ruiz via Graphic River

You and your divorce settlement agreement. The newest BFFs on the block.

If you're been through a divorce and are still connected to your ex in some way (business, kids, real estate, etc), finding that delicate balance of moving forward while being cordial can be challenging.

When things seem fine between you, you may even be inclined to exhibit some good will behavior by helping each other out or doing things in good faith that are not required of you by the divorce settlement agreement.

However, if your relationship becomes strained and you no longer want to extend certain courtesies, the terms of your Divorce Settlement Agreement always prevail. You are not setting a precedent simply because you did a favor and it's perceived by your ex as a change in your divorce agreement terms.

So if and when you hear, "you've set a precedent so it must continue," your response should simply be, "the divorce settlement agreement prevails, there is no precedence." Just shut it down.

You must have a full understanding of your divorce settlement agreement.

Chances are it'll become your voice of reason and your best friend for some time to come. This is why it is so important that you are an active voice when it's being drafted by your attorney and that you have a full understanding of its meaning by the time you signed.

Believe me, one word in a sentence can mean either winning or losing an argument.

When it's being reviewed with you, ask questions if you don't understand something. Challenge the way something is being written if you see a possible loophole. Don't simply assume that your lawyer is smarter than you.

Of course your divorce attorney knows the laws and how to write things out legally, but only you know your ex, your situation and the dynamics of how you deal with each other.

The reason you need to have a firm understanding of your divorce settlement agreement is so that you can present your position on potential future disputes with full support of what you both legally agreed to.

Additionally, if you still are at a standoff on a matter and it requires the involvement of the Courts, if you confidently understand your divorce agreement, you can represent yourself and not spend thousands to have your attorney to do it for you.

During a dispute, a judge isn't there to change your divorce agreement. A judge is there to uphold a legal contract.

That's why it's so important that you understand everything in it. Follow what you agreed to and you should be fine.

If you have any matters tying you to your ex for any period of time and there are legal disputes, you could end up spending as much or more on legal fees post divorce as you did to get divorced.

I'm not suggesting that every matter can or should be handled without a lawyer, but what I am saying is that if you leave the marriage with a solid understanding of each topic and the legal language written to protect you from disputes, there will be matters that you could consider handling on your own.

If you have the slightest doubt in your ability to handle legal matters on your own, then get legal advice immediately.

Here's the bottom line though. You've just paid handsomely for a divorce agreement that is designed to protect both parties. It's a legally binding contract that is accepted and signed by both of you. If you're smart, in both good times and in bad, you will never deviate from it!

Yes, I did say never.

Even if by doing so it's better for you. Even if you want to build a better rapport with your ex. Even if you want things to feel normal again. Even if... well, I could go on but you get the picture.

Always stick to your divorce settlement agreement and you will save yourself from a lot of grief.

Has your ex tried to alter your divorce agreement? Tell us how in the comments below.

Al writes more about divorce on his blog, Divorce Candor

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

#ChooseHappy: Happiness One Day At A Time

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 18:37

As I write this article I'm thinking about the past ten years of my life. It seems just yesterday that I left Malaysia after my divorce with three kids in tow.

As the head of a single parent family I can honestly say that the challenges have been many, not just for me but for my children too.

These very challenges have made us strong as people and as a family. I have always believed and lived my life in the belief that life is what we make of it. Everyday we get up and make a conscious choice to be cranky with the world or to be happy with it. I have been on both sides of the shores, I've had my fair share of cranky days but I have also had astounding happy days.

My children have been my strongest allies and believers in all the little reinventions of myself over the years that have allowed me to provide for them. For this I'll be ever grateful that God and my ex have blessed me with wonderful children.

My success in life has not been determined by financial gains, or at least not yet. I have based my success in life on raising outstanding citizens for the world that we live in. Citizens with a strong value of personal integrity, honesty and kindness towards others. I also wanted them to be able to face challenges head strong, capable of turning their big or small setbacks into comebacks. Above all I wished for them to be tolerant individuals, respectful of others beliefs and not limited into believing that there are differences in ethnicity.

My job as a mom, as they are now young adults, is almost complete. Now begins my role as supporter of their choices in life as adults and partners to the someone they wish to bestow their love upon.

Having been on the other side of the fence, I will patiently guide them and be their listening and comforting ear, allowing them to make their own experiences without interference but always there to heal their wounds as they discover the various shades of a relationship.

My take home in all this has been the constant decision to actively exit bad emotions and feelings the moment they appear. Negativity has a way of trying to slip through any little crack in our day. Over the years I realized that I made a conscious choice to inject and choose happiness in my life. The so called bad days were nothing more than little rocks in my path that were there to shape my determination and strength as a single mom and a woman who had to jostle the role of a father and a mother.

In all this I am indeed happy that life has turned out the way it has cause it has made me realize that happiness is something we have to constantly choose. It's not something that we should take for granted. In times when relationships breakdown we have to #ChooseHappy. We have to build and allow happiness to permeate our every day, one day at a time.

I was able to reconnect all the dots in my life when I began to become literally unstuck from limiting beliefs and became whole when my intentions totally aligned with my actions.

Over the past ten years I would write stories that would help me unroot all the limiting beliefs that I had in my life, realizing at times that some of those limitations were not even mine. This has helped me change my narrative, and I stopped listening to that little voice always trying to tell you that you can't do this or that, or just using its venomous chatter to make us think that we are not good enough.

Creating a new narrative and stop listening to this false friend has allowed me to make of my life a project. This project which is also the title of this post has once again, let fate play a big part in it when it connected me with two wonderful, caring women, Michelle and Marion. I have always believed that we women can do so much when we work together. Our trio spans across the oceans, Michelle is from the USA, Marion from the UK and me from the everlasting and beautiful Italy. Chance, fate or destiny has brought us together, unlikely in our backgrounds, but united in wanting to bring happiness to everyone's life.

I know that this experience has made us stronger as women, and has also made us realize that at times we have to let other people in and trust them to really and truly make our project a success.

In conclusion I invite you to live your life in total happiness, knowing that it's you who has to make the first step in wanting and consciously desiring to bring happiness into your life even if one day at at time.

#Choose Happy - One day At A Time.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

Reasons NOT To Stay In A Bad Marriage

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 15:19
Divorce sucks.

The thought of slogging through painful lawyer meetings, dealing with social stress and living alone is enough to get people to reconsider their divorces altogether-- no matter how miserable their marriages are.

But you're different. You've thought it through, and you're committed to moving forward. But you're scared. Have faith, and consider that:

1. Getting divorced is infinitely better than staying in a bad marriage. It proves that you have the courage to live a life of happiness. And if you're happier, you'll be a far more effective parent.

2. You've tried everything, because you really wanted to keep it together. And now the last issue is dealing with "what will others think?". But having the courage to reject the societal pressure to uphold a "married" label and accept your divorce can be liberating. You'll learn far more about yourself, what you truly value, and eventually learn to embrace it.

3. You will inflict far less damage on your kids by letting go than if you stayed in a marriage filled with anger and sadness.

4. You will be happier. Learning to let go and step into the unknown may be the single most important thing you can do for your own sanity, and the sanity of those around you.

5. Because all of the reasons to stay in the marriage-- money, kids, stability, and upholding your vow, were important. Until you realize that you are sacrificing the essence of what makes you a happy and self-fulfilled human being.

6. Life is simply too precious and too short to waste on continuing the madness of a poor or failed marriage.

7. Staying in an bad marriage sends a message to your kids that it is okay to accept a life of unhappiness. But it is not okay. Teach your kids that it important to have tried, but it is ok to have failed. And it is equally important to move forward in life.

Good luck!

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

A Reform Marriage, An Orthodox Divorce

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 13:30
It's not often that a reform Jew needs what's called a get -- a divorce decree that is usually reserved for the most observant Jews. But not long ago, Ellen, my ex-wife, asked me to give her a get. She isn't suddenly going deeper into Judaism; she's just dating a man who is conservative, which means that she will need a get before they can marry. (If they wish to. Eventually.) She had to ask me because tradition dictates that the ex-husband present the get to his ex-wife.

I had no problem with this. Ellen and I are very close, still, and I didn't want to stand in her way, whatever her plans may be... or whatever they become. We got the name of a rabbi in Lakewood, New Jersey, which has a very large orthodox population as well as Beth Medrash Govoha, the largest yeshiva in the United States (6,000 students). I texted him, and then we spoke and made an appointment.

What I pictured was that Ellen and I would walk in, sidle up to a window, answer some questions, say a few prayers, sign the forms, and then the get would be ours. I figured this was a sort of DMV for Jewish divorce.

Not so much.

What actually happened was rather more complex -- and a great deal more emotional.
Ellen and I entered a second-floor room in Lakewood's Congregation Ohr Meir. At least ten men were there -- a minyan -- the number of Jewish men needed to conduct a religious service. They were bearded and wore black suits and keepot. There was also a scribe, who looked a lot like Dumbledore, but Jewish. The rabbi we'd spoken with -- a younger man than I thought he would be -- ushered us in, sat us down, and started the proceedings. At this stage, it was mostly a Q&A session between the rabbi and me. Was I here of my own accord? Was I coerced in any way to be here? Had Ellen and I already had a civil divorce? What were our fathers' Hebrew and American names?

I was surprised no one asked about our mothers. After all, one is only Jewish if one's mother is Jewish.

Once all the questions were answered and information gathered, the time came for the get to be written. It's supposed to be written by me, but my Aramaic isn't as up to snuff as I would like. Anyway, that's what the scribe is there for. There's a ritual, of course. With a warm smile, yet very officially, he presented me with the necessary tools in a black plastic box, and then I presented them back to him. Inside the box were a prepared piece of parchment and a quill fashioned from the feather of a kosher turkey.

There's great symbolism in this ceremony. The word "get" is comprised of two Hebrew letters, the gimel and the tet. The two letters do not appear anywhere else in scripture -- after all, this is about separation and the two are separate except in this instance. In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter has a numerical value. The gimel is three and the tet is nine. Hence: twelve.

Why is that symbolic? Because the get is comprised of twelve lines of text, written (in this case) in Hebrew. It's written in the first person, as if I wrote it myself, and mentions the date, the place where it was written, and the names of Ellen and her father and me and mine. All of this is arranged in twelve perfect lines, a square of text.

The writing is intense. The letters cannot touch -- again, this is about separation. Once the ink is dry -- and it must be dry, lest it spread -- the get is signed.

When my get was ready and dry, its validity was discussed among the scholars, and I was asked a few more questions.

Having been written, witnessed, and approved, now the get needed to be presented by me to Ellen. You guessed it: more ritual. We stood, facing each other, her hands cupped before her. The rabbi folded the get and handed it to me. I was prompted to recite several lines in English and Hebrew, then dropped the get into her hands. It had to be dropped, not placed. Maybe this is to assure that we are not touching the get at the same moment. Ellen tucked it under her left arm, to be near her heart, and walked several feet away, symbolizing her being apart from me, and then the get was sliced with a knife. I imagine this is to symbolize the death of the marriage, much in the way that observant Jews rend clothing when someone dies.

Believe me, the DMV for Jewish divorce this isn't.

What surprised me was the ceremony's emotional weight. Its gravitas. Eighteen months ago, Ellen and I divorced collaboratively. We did not need to appear together in court. Though emotional, our civil divorce was, well, civil. The getting of the get, while no more difficult in the practical sense, was harder on my heart. It felt much more... final. It felt like a divorce before God, far more meaningful than a sheaf of papers presented to a judge in New Jersey. When I told Ellen, in Hebrew and in English, that I released her and that she was free to move on with her life without me, I was unexpectedly moved.

Driving up to Lakewood, Ellen and I riffed on the word "get." "We're off to get a get." "It's getting late. We better get going." "We're going up to Lakewood. Can we get you anything?" We did that to lighten the mood, because in the end the get is serious business. It's tradition. It's meaningful. For two people who are more culturally and spiritually Jewish than Jewish in the religious sense, the get brought us an oddly calming sense of having, well, gotten to a new place.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

Why This Author Thinks ‘The Bachelor’ Is Ruining Your Relationships

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 13:00

It’s a Monday night and you’re watching “The Bachelor.” Season after season you (somewhat) reluctantly return to the reality series, hate-tweeting the endless cheesiness, crazy contestants and over-the-top dates along the way. Still, by the finale’s end, you’re undoubtedly moved by the outlandish proposal and just slightly envious of the size of that Neil Lane diamond ring. One day, you too will have a “Bachelor” moment. All it takes is finding that one person ― your “soulmate,” right?

According to author and philosopher Alain de Botton, you won’t find Mr. or Mrs. Right and will probably end up marrying the wrong person ― but that’s OK. De Botton, who burst onto the literary scene in 1993 with his debut novel, On Love, is an expert at relationships and breaking down the intense emotions and intricacies that accompany falling for someone. So even if you marry Mr. Wrong, you can still make it work if you heed the lessons that lie within de Botton’s newest work, The Course of Love. 

Part novel, part counseling session, The Course of Love is the story of two characters, Rabih and Kirsten, who fumble arguments and struggle through the challenges that go hand in hand with long-term love. De Botton works to correct certain romantic assumptions by weaving instructional passages throughout his story to show the reader how to, in so many words, love better than “The Bachelor.” 

The reader’s first clue that The Course of Love is unlike any old romantic story is evident when, instead of ending the book with a fairytale wedding, his new novel focuses almost entirely on life after the “I do’s.” De Botton skims over the brief courtship, simple proposal and small wedding of his characters Rabih and Kirsten. Instead, de Botton fills pages with agonizingly long and drawn out arguments over little things, like furniture and whether windows should stay open or closed at night. His characters deal with job struggles, an affair, the death of a family member and countless therapy sessions. In de Botton’s words, the book is “very boring, very normal, which is actually how most of our lives go.” 

“It’s an attempt to show two people who are very enthusiastic about love and are very romantic, but nevertheless, don’t really have the first clue how to run a relationship,” de Botton told The Huffington Post in a Skype interview. “It follows them over time and tries to teach the reader as they are taught themselves by their own life experiences. It’s like a sort of ‘life simulator’ that’s trying to spare the reader a bit of time.” 

And in a world full of flash mob marriage proposals and endless reality TV soulmate-searching, De Botton’s novel is different, refreshing and, at times, a little too real. All in all, it’s much better than a show that pretends two months of romantic dinners, sunset cruises and countless vacations is the norm. 

“Things like ‘The Bachelor,’ they’re just playing to the worst impulses in our brains,” de Botton said. “Most of what’s wrong in relationships is not that we haven’t found the right person, it’s just that we don’t know how to manage a relationship. And therefore, shows that keep locating the fundamental problem of love in the idea that you haven’t got the right person, is kind of taking the wrong target.” 

Despite the premise of finding true love, the relationships on the show often crumble after the cameras move on. Many “Bachelor”/“Bachelorette” alums like Andi Dorfman knock this image of a perfect courtship once they’re off the air and detail the real-life struggles with their newly betrothed in candid tell-alls. 

So if we know that many relationships from the show don’t last and ― thanks to the show “UnREAL” ― that basically all of the storylines are fake, why do we still watch? De Botton thinks it’s because “many of the best ideas are not presented to the general public in appealing enough ways.” 

“If you go to a bookstore, the front areas are filled with romance novels that look so appealing ― the covers are nice,” the author said. “And then, somewhere in the back, there are rather thick, intimidating tomes telling you about how not to be avoidant in relationships or whatever it is and you kind of think, ‘Oh. It’s slightly, badly prepared.’”

In terms of real romance in the media, de Botton recommends Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight” for all of the “recovering romantics” out there ― a term coined by someone at one of de Botton’s book tour talks. The movie, which is part of the “Before” trilogy, depicts the couple having a massive, necessary argument that is rarely seen at that sort of level on the big screen. 

“It shows how badly people behave in relationships by certain kind of standard and, yet, how normal it is to behave badly because there’s so much fear and resentment and feeling and all sorts of things and that’s OK,” de Botton said. “Like a lot of good art, it reassures us that we’re OK, even if we’re a bit tricky. But as I say, there’s not enough good art around and it’s not popular enough. That’s kind of a problem.”  

The Course Of Love
by Alain de Botton
Simon & Schuster, $26.00
Published June 14, 2016

Follow Alain on Twitter, read along on his website, The Book of Life, and be sure to watch his YouTube channel, The School of Life

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

The #1 Death Knell For Married Sex

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 10:30
Teenagers are consummate C-blockers! 

They put the kibosh on romance because they have the hearing of Doberman crime dogs; they can hear a mouse fart through your dense plaster and lathe walls.

The thought of you and their father having sex makes them want to projectile vomit.

You're not allowed to hug or kiss or even give each other shoulder hugs in public. Because this is mortifying. People are watching! Also, it's gross.

They won't watch an episode of Friends with their father in the room (they're girls). He must leave and you MUST NOT use the show as a "teaching moment."

You need to stop explaining that if Joey had as many one-night stands as he's supposed to be having he'd be imprisoned for overdue child support unless one of his baby-mamas ran him over with her Sienna minivan first.

At night your husband serves as your teddy bear. Because you're both chubbier than you should be.

You eat too much cheese, chocolate and ice cream because life is too structured, which is good for your teenagers, not so good for you.

You can't just run off to Sri Lanka, spending your days filming a documentary on the knitwear sweat factories while visiting opium dens in the evening.

You have to drive your children to fencing lessons, to Jeet Kune Do, to the orthodontist where you'll pay for their straight teeth in the blood of your fathers.

You looked at your husband today, not one foot from you, and you thought, "Man, I miss that guy."

He's right there. But you miss him.

You miss being alone with him. You miss talking to him about how Murnau's Sunrise was boring as shit and exclaiming that the UCLA film and television department has to stop screening it.

You think they should screen Bridesmaids instead. Screw film history! You'd rather dine with Trump than sit through fucking Last Year at Marienbad again.

Oh, the liveliness of this conversation, that would certainly lead to sex.

You have friends with teenagers who seem to be really attempting to keep sex alive. You know this because you used their bathroom today. And as you sat, contemplating their Oaxacan tile, you noticed the latest edition of The Economist sitting in their toilet magazine rack.

The fucking Economist!

This means they're still interesting!

They're still aware of what's happening in the outside world and probably discuss it when they come up for air from fellatio.

You don't read The Economist.

You watch The Bachelorette because your teenagers watch The Bachelorette.

The other night these words actually issued from your thinning lips:

"I just don't trust Jordan. Just look at that Haircut. It has 'cheater' written all over it. Also, he has knock-knees."

You know the names of all of the other bachelors on The Bachelorette, despite the fact they all seem to have the same hairdresser, manicurist and genital groomer.

You think about the fact that human beings are the only animals who keep their young this long.

Granted, elephants are pregnant for 22-months and give birth to 250 lb. babies. So there's that. But they only keep them for a couple of years.

You don't necessarily want your teenagers to leave. At least ... not permanently. You love them. But you'd like them to live with you two weeks on, two weeks off.

Perhaps, you realize, this is why people get divorced?

You don't want to get divorced.

You'd just like your teenagers to occasionally live a few blocks away with Julie Andrews, who'd keep them wearing clean drapes and singing Edelweiss while you and their father could have one of your former "hospital days."

This isn't as geriatric as it sounds. A "hospital day" meant unplugging from the outside world and not getting out of bed all day.

This included:

  • Sleeping

  • Watching "When Harry Met Sally" (you) and "Stalingrad" (him)

  • Making love

  • Eating Trader Joe's mozzarella-prosciutto roll (you), Captain Crunch(him)

  • Napping

  • Giving back rubs which led to making love

  • Reading Wired (him) The Enquirer (you)

  • Sipping tea (him), quaffing Prosecco (you)

  • Smoking the odd Bolivar Coronas Gigantes Cuban cigars

  • Drifting off to sleep in each other's relaxed embrace

You worry the next time you take a "hospital day" together it will be in an actual hospital.

Sometimes you do THIS and THIS to fight The Man (aka Teenagers). But usually you're treading water as fast as you can.

Married Ninjas: How do you keep things thriving in the sack with teenagers guarding The Wall? xo S

If you enjoyed this article you'll thoroughly enjoy Shannon's: Married Sex: Fact & Fiction.

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Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

11 Reasons Divorce Is Better Than Staying In A Bad Marriage

Divorce From Huffington Post - Tue, 07/12/2016 - 00:01

When you’re considering divorce ― or reeling from your ex’s decision to end the marriage ― it’s easy to focus on the negatives: How will I possibly get by living on my own again? How will the kids be impacted by this? Am I doomed to be alone for the rest of my life?

While those concerns are understandable, it’s equally important to focus on the good that can come of being single. Below, HuffPost Divorce bloggers share 11 reasons divorce is preferable to staying in an unhappy, unhealthy marriage. 

1. Marriage may give you a sense of security but divorce gives you a new lease on life. 

“Staying in a bad marriage can provide security because at least you know how your life will go. But getting a divorce gives you hope ― the hope to be who you want to be, the hope to be happy and the hope to find someone else to love.” ― Barry Gold

2. Being a single parent is better than modeling an unhealthy relationship. 

“If you’re a parent with young kids, getting a divorce is better than staying in a bad marriage because these are formative years for them. They will likely seek out and emulate the types of relationships they see modeled. I want my relationships to be happy, healthy and mutually respectful, so that my children never settle for anything else in their own lives.” ― Lindsey Light 

3. Divorce clears the way for you to meet the right partner.

“Divorce is painful but it’s kind of like pulling off a Band-Aid: The anticipation is horrible but once it’s over, it’s pure relief. Bonus: It allows you the freedom to meet the person you were meant to be with!” ― Al Corona 

4. You get to focus on you for once.

“After divorce, you find yourself again and fall in love with the wonderful attributes that make you you. As a mother especially, you can parent with just your own mama instincts and all your love and energy can flow into your little one(s). You find genuine peace and happiness and an appreciation for life that may have been sucked out of you during your bad marriage.” ― Shelley Cameron 

5. Divorce isn’t the worst thing that can happen to your kids. Enduring a hostile home life is.

“After my first wife and mother of my five children left us permanently, I felt like going through divorce was the worst thing that could happen to a family. So when my second marriage was falling apart, as my kids sole and single parent, I was desperate to protect them from the trauma of another divorce. As a result, I kept the family in a situation that wasn’t good for any of us. The reality is, the worst thing for your children is for them to live in a hostile home and have them see you unhappy. My life and my children’s’ lives have gotten better and happier with each passing day after the divorce.” ― Matt Sweetwood  

6. There’s a big difference between loneliness and solitude. 

“My divorce helped me discover the gift of solitude when I once experienced the pain of loneliness. Now that I’ve learned to enjoy being alone, I’m free from that awful feeling of separation that comes from being with the wrong person.” ― Tammy Letherer

7. You and your partner may be stifling each other’s growth.

“I feel that divorce should rarely be the first choice because generally the only thing keeping a ‘bad’ marriage from being a ‘good’ marriage is sustained mutual effort. That being said, there are times that divorce is the best choice in order to allow both partners to grow and achieve the life they desire, and in some scenarios, the life they deserve.” ― Derick Turner 

8. A happier parent is a better parent. 

“Learning to let go and step into the unknown may be the single most important thing you can do for your own sanity and the sanity of those around you. Divorce proves that you have the courage to live a life of happiness. And if you’re happier, you’ll be a far more effective parent.” ― Carey Fan 

9. You can devote your energy to other important areas of your life. 

“If you have done all the work of trying to make the marriage better and nothing is changing, finding the courage to leave and move forward pays off in the long run. The pay off? You stop putting all your energy into a relationship that no longer works and put more energy into yourself and your kids.” ― Cherie Morris

10. You deserve a partner who’s just as invested in the relationship as you are. 

“Divorce is preferable to a marriage without love. We all deserve to be loved. I never want to be in a marriage where that partnership isn’t sacred and a priority.” ― Carly Israel

11. You lose a spouse but you gain happiness.  

“Divorce brought me happiness. Life is far too short to spend it immersed in an unhealthy relationship.” ― Nicole Lavery

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

10 Ways To Improve Your Emotional IQ

Divorce From Huffington Post - Mon, 07/11/2016 - 22:01
A major reason that people struggle in all types of relationships, is that they struggle with their emotional intelligence, and truly understanding others.n Emotional IQ is our ability to relate to and read others. It is the skill of putting yourself in someone else's shoes, trying to think about how they might be feeling, and saying and doing what they person needs from us in that moment. Many people struggle with their emotional IQ, and often ask how they can develop those skills so that they can more easily connect with others. One could see how strengthening these skills could benefit them in every relationship areas of their life. This list will hopefully provide you a good start to ways in which you can develop these skills and be more emotionally connected with others.

1. Learn to listen to that voice in your head, or that knot in your stomach. I have often told people that you should not ignore that feeling when you have it, as it is usually telling you something, and it is usually right. When there is a feeling about something we cannot shake, we need to take a closer look at it and ask why.

2. Keep a daily mood journal or tracker. This is a way that you need to pause and really ask yourself how you are feeling today and why. It helps us see patterns, learn our common feelings, and see how our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected to each other.

3. If we go all the way back to Sigmund Freud, we come across the idea of Free Association. This is the act of stopping what we are doing, quietly laying by ourselves, and letting our thoughts roam free. This can tell us a great deal about what is occupying our subconscious, and can help us be more in tune with it consciously.

4. See if you are able to connect your thoughts and feelings. People will often tell me that they are not sure what is causing their anxiety or their depression. If we make a concerted effort to ask ourselves why we are feelings a certain way, we will become more and more able to do so freely in the future.

5. Do not edit or judge your feelings. Do not tell yourself that what you are feeling is wrong or silly. Allow yourself to feel it, and to ask yourself why you are feeling a certain way. This will help you connect physical manifestations with thoughts and feelings, and to have more control over them in the future.

6. Learn to stop personalizing with others say and do. Too often we assume what others are thinking about us, that they are acting a certain way or doing a certain thing because of something we have said or done. When we learn that each person has their own issues they are thinking about and dealing with, ones that most often have nothing to do with us, we stop personalizing, and start considering others feelings.

7. Learning to be assertive in situations that warrant it. Often we build up a great deal of anxiety with situations that make us uncomfortable, or thinking about things that we want and need to say. If we can learn to develop our assertiveness, we can get these things out, and reduce our levels of stress and anxiety. It also helps us learn how to work with and deal with others more effectively.

8. Learning to manage our emotions when someone upsets us. If we stop and ask ourselves, what is it about them that is upsetting us? Why do they make us feel this way? We not only develop insight, but we might create a situation where we are able to speak to the person and address the issue head on. It can create greater understanding on both parts.

9. We need to learn to reduce negative thinking and replace it with realistic and positive thinking. We need to learn to bounce back from our miss-steps and failures, and learn to believe in ourselves. It is the ability to develop a faith that we can overcome adversity, and be more successful that we thought possible. Always remember that the greatest successful people in the world, have themselves suffered some of the most serious set-backs. The different is they believed in themselves, picked themselves up, and moved forward.

10. Learning to express what you are thinking and feeling to those that are important to you. This may be one of the most important tools to develop in emotional IQ, the ability to communicate your thoughts, feelings, and needs to those who matter. As we find ourselves more and more able to both express and hear the others feelings, our own emotional IQ will grow by leaps and bounds. It can take just a few successful interactions to build our confidence, and to allow us to use our newfound skills on a regular basis.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

What Your Divorce Lawyer's Hourly Rate Doesn't Tell You

Divorce From Huffington Post - Mon, 07/11/2016 - 19:43
Question: When does a 3-minute call from a divorce lawyer who charges $300 per hour cost MORE than the same call from a lawyer who charges $400/hr.?

Answer: When the $300/hr. lawyer charges in portions or "increments" of 2/10 of an hour, and the $400/hr. lawyer charges in 1/10 increments.

Wait... WHAT?

The great majority of divorce lawyers charge by the hour. Their hourly rates depend on factors such as experience, reputation, location, and perhaps how much they're shelling out for their kids' college education.

Clients consider hourly rates a key consideration in choosing a divorce lawyer, and rightly so. The problem is that hourly rates are usually misleading.

Based solely on their hourly rates in the example above, you would expect "Attorney 300" to charge you $15.00 for that 3-minute call, and "Attorney 400" to charge $20.00.

But they won't. Why? Because neither of those lawyers charge for the actual minutes spent. Instead, "Attorney 400" charges in increments of 1/10 (.1) of an hour (6 minutes), and "Attorney 300" uses increments of 2/10 (.2) of an hour (12 minutes).

What you see... and what you get
You know how the interest rate on your credit card isn't what you actually pay? That's because banks base interest charges on something other than your card's overdue balance.

Most lawyers' hourly rates aren't what you actually pay either. That's because lawyers base their charges on something other than the actual time they spend; namely, increments. And what makes incremental billing so expensive is that when lawyers bill in 6 or 12-minute increments, those increments become minimum charges. A lawyer using .1 increments charges a minimum of 6 minutes for anything she does on your case--even if it only takes 2 or 3 minutes. And a lawyer using .2 increments bills even more in extra fees--a minimum of 12 minutes!

Put anther way, clients pay more than their lawyer's hourly rate every time a .1 increment lawyer spends less than 6 minutes on a task, or a .2 lawyer spends less than 12 minutes.

The "effective hourly rate:" a more accurate measure
Minimum charges are the reason that hourly rates are an inaccurate measure of how much a lawyer charges. And they can mislead folks who choose a divorce attorney based on her hourly rate.

A more accurate comparison of lawyers' charges can be made using what I call the lawyer's "effective hourly rate" (EHR). EHR is more accurate because it takes into account both a lawyer's hourly rate and the increments in which she charges.

To illustrate how EHR works, let's look again at that 3-minute phone call:
"Attorney 400," who charges in .1 increments, will charge $40.00 for that call: $400 x .1 = $40.00 ($13.33 per minute). But "Attorney 300," who charges in .2 increments, will charge $60.00 for the same 3 minutes: $300 x .2 = $60.00 ($20.00/minute)! To compare the two lawyers' 3-minute EHRs, simply multiply their per-minute charges by the 60 minutes in an hour. That yields a 3-minute EHR (are you sitting down?) of $800/hr. for "Attorney 400" and $1,200/hr. for "Attorney 300." I know!

While your heartbeat returns to normal, remember that EHR applies only to tasks that take less than 6 minutes for .1 increment billers, and less than 12 minutes for .2 increment billers. EHR doesn't apply, for example, to a half-hour meeting because it exceeds both 6 and 12-minute minimum charges. Thus, regular hourly rates accurately measure the cost of that meeting at $200.00 for Attorney 400 and $150.00 for Attorney 300.

Nevertheless, minimum charges add up. While they won't make "Attorney 400" cheaper than "Attorney 300" over the course of a divorce, they can substantially narrow the difference between "Attorney 300" and a lawyer charging $350.00/hr. but using .1 increments.

Reducing the impact of incremental billing
You can't eliminate the extra fees incremental billing generates. But you can reduce them.

Find out what increments a lawyer uses before you retain him. As our example shows, lawyers using 12-minute increments rack up substantially more in extra legal fees than those using 6-minute increments. And precious few of the .2 billers that I know hit enough home runs to be entitled to that big a bonus.

You can also control minimum charges by avoiding them whenever possible. Wait, for example, to call your lawyer until you have several topics to discuss, rather than just one. And don't call your lawyer at all to check whether a hearing has been scheduled; contact a staffer instead.

If you're considering retaining a 12-minute minimum lawyer, make sure the extra charges will be offset by a lower hourly rate or some other benefit such as special expertise your case requires.

In all events, use your understanding of incremental billing to save money in your divorce!

Learn more about saving money during divorce
in Larry Sarezky's new book Divorce, Simply Stated
available in print and Kindle versions at amazon.com

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Divorce Stuff

12 Cards Any Newly Single Person Would Be Happy To Get In The Mail

Divorce From Huffington Post - Mon, 07/11/2016 - 19:35

Whether your bestie just ended a summer fling or a 10-year marriage, chances are he or she is in need of some cheering up.

There’s no better way to say “I’ve got your back” than with a snarky or sweet card. Below, we’ve rounded up 12 Etsy cards that do the trick.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Divorce Stuff
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