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Divorce and Separation: Being On Your Own Again

Divorce and Separation: Being On Your Own Again

Q. “How do I get used to being alone and not so addicted to trying to find a new mate?”

A. When you’re in pain at the ending of a relationship, it can be sooo tempting to just find someone quickly to fill that void. We torture ourselves with thoughts of “I’m going to be alone forever!” ringing in your ears. Particularly if your former spouse has already moved on with someone else, some people go even more all out to get their next relationship so they can “keep up” with or prove something to their ex.

But you’re wise to notice how strong your drive is right now to find a new partner, and to ask how you can get used to being alone. With about 50% of marriages ending in divorce, the statistics are even grimmer for second and third marriages! Unless you take the time to stop and as honestly as you can reflect on what went off the rails in your first marriage, you’re setting yourself up for a scenario where history may repeat itself in future relationships.

Here are some tips to help you in this transition period!

1. Date Yourself First

Treat yourself with the love, respect and appreciation that you would like to have in a romantic relationship. Little love gestures like giving yourself flowers or lighting candles for dinner add up to a lot in terms of setting the stage for new love.

2. Identify What You Want

Extract all the wisdom from your divorce by identifying what didn’t work in your relationship. Make a list of the characteristics and dynamics that didn’t serve you well, e.g. “My ex was close-minded.” Ask yourself what you do want instead in a new partner and write that down, “My partner is open-minded.” You’ll end up with a much clearer idea of what you do want in relationship.

3. Indulge In Your Passions

Give yourself time to devote to your passions. Indulging in them not only fills up your emotional reserve tank, but it gives you the opportunity to connect with other people who share that same passion.

Harvest Your Wisdom for Future Success

When facing challenges or uncertainty, some of the greatest tools we have at our disposal is past experience. Every incident – whether joyful or traumatic – contains the seeds of your greatness that help you step into the next greatest evolution of you.

Too often we rush quickly past the missteps, the failures and even the successes in our drive to get on to the next thing. But in that rush to get to some preconceived destination, we miss the joy and the wisdom of the journey. Just as the vineyard owner carefully harvests the grapes to produce a fine wine, so we must take the time to harvest our own wisdom of life experience so we can savor the fullness of life.

I invite you to use these contemplations and action questions to help you harvest your own wisdom so you can apply it in service of your future success.

H – Heart

Too often when people are faced with a challenge, they try to “figure it all out” and lead from their head. (I know – I’ve done that many times myself!) Adopting a strictly rational approach and minimizing or denying our feelings is ultimately a recipe for disaster. This has been a year when so many people are waking up and feeling the call of their hearts to lead lives of more passion and deeper meaning. Letting yourself lead from your heart creates powerful connection to others.

What could be possible for you if you could let your heart’s wisdom and strength guide you even more powerfully this year?

A – Acceptance

Acceptance is a key ingredient to living with more peace and ease. Of course there are situations where wrongs must be righted, boundaries set or expectations clarified. But I see everything as part of a spiritual curriculum that we have created for ourselves. I accept that I can choose each day to live with as much heart and consciousness as I am able. Some days are easier than others to do that! I accept that heartaches, victories and quiet moments all contribute to the fabric of who I have become today, and I am grateful for it all.

Where have you been in resistance to something and how can you find a greater level of acceptance?

R – Resilience

The pace of our daily lives operates at such an accelerated rate and change is the only constant. More than ever, we need to be adaptable to changing and challenging circumstances. Resilience helps us to draw upon those inner resources and strength we may not have realized we had. It allows us to stay flexible and regroup when we need to.

Where can you acknowledge yourself for the great resilience you are already showing?

V – Vision

Like the beacon of a lighthouse guides a ship through rocky waters, our vision of who we want to be in the world and what we want to accomplish is our personal beacon. It can be easy to lose sight of that vision or to substitute someone else’s for your own. But creating a vision uplifts and motivates you to keep going through even the tough times because you keep the bigger picture in mind.

What elements need to be a part of your life’s vision so that it would inspire and uplift you?

E – Excellence

No matter what you do, bring your best effort and highest integrity to it. Hold an expectation of excellence for yourself and others. In the world today, there are too many people taking shortcuts or backdoors. When you commit to excellence you naturally alchemize the best that is already within you to come forward.

Where can you express excellence today?

S – Service

I’ve always had the perspective of leaving an environment a little better than when I found it. Even when I was working in a bullpen office on Wall Street putting together municipal bond deals, I was looking from the lens of “How can I make this process a bit better? How can I empower others to work together more effectively?”

How can you be of service – to others and to yourself – so that you leave the world at least a little better off than how you found it today?

T - Trust

Without trust, we become paralyzed. The road ahead can never become clear unless we are willing to take the first step out in trust. With trust, we know that we are never given more than we can handle.

What can you do today to feel more trust within yourself?

Divorce and the Holiday Season

Q. “The holiday season is coming up and I’m recently separated. I have two school-age boys. My stomach feels like a knot thinking how different the holidays are going to be now for them. Is there some way to make it easier?”

A. Family holidays are supposed to be relaxing and stress-free, but often they aren’t. Planning family holidays is a particular challenge for the millions of divorced families out there. In fact, one out of three Americans is part of a blended family (and I suspect the statistics are similar for Canadians).

Divorced families face an even bigger challenge with holiday planning with children shuttling back and forth between mom’s house and dad’s house. There are all those logistical questions. Whose turn is it to have the children for Christmas morning? What if both parents are having a turkey dinner on the same day? How do you handle summer break? What do you do if you end up solo on a major family celebration day?

The key for separated families, like yours, is to doing some advance planning and preparation. Without that, holidays can end up being a time for stress and re-opening of old wounds instead of a time to relax and unwind, both for divorced parents and their children. There are some tips I can offer to make it a bit easier. First of all, instead of planning your holidays one at a time, … Read more »

Divorce and Separation: Stopping the Negative Mental Loops

Question:

How can you stop the negative loops recalling what went wrong (and what was so right)? How do you stop trying to ‘fix’ it in your own mind?”

Answer:

Divorce, heartache, grief and rebuilding your life – it’s all part of the healing journey everyone must travel when your relationship ends. The mind is a beautiful problem-solving tool. But when it comes to matters of the heart and relationship, our brain is often not well-equipped to help us heal.

Having those cyclical thoughts and questions of “What if….?” or questioning what might have turned out differently if you’d made different choices in the past is quite natural. It is simply the brain sifting, sorting and trying to find patterns and solutions from past experiences it has stored to find a way out of the situation you find yourself in. Sometimes you know your relationship is on the rocks, and sometimes you don’t. So our powerful brain is literally scanning its memory banks to find pieces of data that might help you to create a solution and get to the other side of your heartache.

But your power and choices lie in each present moment. The problem with unchecked cyclical thoughts is that they keep you replaying the past or projecting yourself into a fantasy future that is sheer speculation. The key to making empowering choices for yourself and navigating through your divorce is when you stay present, moment-to-moment.

If you find yourself caught in a mental spin cycle, a great way to break out of it is to write it all down. Use a journal to capture your thoughts and questions. This will assure your brain you’re doing something productive with all of its gyrations and help loosen the grip of these negative loops on your mind.

You can also set some boundaries around this kind of thinking. Give yourself a time limit of some kind to fully review the good, bad and ugly about your situation and how you got there and then once your timer goes off, stop. Break your physical and mental state by putting on some great tunes and dancing, or do some jumping jacks, and then undertake another kind of activity.

It’s also important to ask great questions. Setting your brain to the task of “How could I “fix” things?” assumes that something is broken that you are responsible for fixing. Redirect your powerful mind to answering the question “If this experience is part of my soul curriculum, what are the gifts in it for me and my personal evolution?” or “What can I learn from this that will serve me in all future relationships?”

Have a question about divorce you’d like to see answered? Submit yours to Thrive after Divorce by sending an email to askthrive@ThriveAfterDivorce.com.

 

Divorce in a Small Town

Question:

“I live in a small community. My biggest challenge is I am always seeing my ex and the woman he had an affair with and married on a weekly basis because of the children’s activities. I feel like I can’t “get over” my divorce because I am kept inflamed constantly in the present.”

Answer:

Living in a small community where “everybody knows your name” can pose an additional challenge to those trying to rebuild their life after divorce, particularly when your ex and his partner seem to be omnipresent. Nonetheless, the basic principles of thriving after divorce … Read more »