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Guest post by Steven L. Fritsch

While children generally enjoy spending time with their non-custodial parents, this is not the case for every child of divorce. Your child likely has very specific reasons for why they don’t want parenting time with their other parent. There are rational and anxiety-driven reasons as to why they don’t want to see your ex. Depending upon their age, they express their anxiety in many ways. Younger ones tend to throw tantrums, act clingy, or pretend to be sick. Adolescents may lash out by withdrawing or over-reacting. It is painful for both you and your ex to endure.

Another possible reason your child doesn’t want parenting time with their other parent is because spending alone time with them is a continual reminder that their parents are divorced. It is important that you don’t push your child into spending time with their other parent. There are a few steps you can take to make sure that your child spends quality time with them. Do your best to follow these best practices:

Ensure You Are Not Contributing

Determine if the way you are speaking about your ex in front of your child is a problem. Avoid bashing your ex or telling your child very specific problems about your strained relationship with their other parent. You shouldn’t be trying to get your child on your side at the expense of their other parent. Confide in a close friend to vent about your ex and the problems within your relationship with your ex. If your child knows about every mistake their other parent has made, they might think less of them. That may cause them to not want to spend time with that parent.

Communicate With Your Ex And Your Child

Make sure to communicate with your ex once a week. It is very easy to shut your ex out of your life after a divorce, but you shouldn’t do this if you share a child with your ex. Let your ex know where your child is in terms of wanting to see your ex. Communicating with your ex is important and even if your child needs time alone to process the divorce, you need to tell your ex. Remind your ex that divorce overwhelms the child who is in the middle of it and to not take it personally. You also need to take the time to talk with your child. They might hate talking about how they feel regarding their parents’ divorce, but it is necessary. You need to make it clear to your child that you will always be there to listen, even if what they have to say might be painful.

Try Therapy

Therapy can be a very helpful way for you or your child to get healthy advice on how to constructively deal with a divorce. Simple advice such as how to compartmentalize a divorce so that your child doesn’t bear the weight of a divorce entirely on their shoulders can do wonders. A therapist can also keep you informed of your progress. If your child decides to see a therapist, you need to let your child work through your divorce on their own terms. Don’t inquire on how your child is doing with their therapist. Therapy is self-serving at its core and should be treated as such if your child goes to therapy.

Make Alternative Arrangements

Some children refuse to see the other parent simply for environmental factors. They might not like the house or apartment that your ex has moved into or their significant other. Adjusting to a new step parent can be very difficult if it comes directly after a divorce. This can lead a child of divorce to feel like they don’t have a family anymore. Environmental factors can be fixed, but you need to pay attention and communicate with your child so that you can identify these problems.

Understand Your Child’s Perspective

You need to listen to your child and make an honest effort to understand their point of view after the divorce papers have been signed. Some parents are resistant to this as they believe their relationship with their children has to change. This is not the case and you need to maintain or improve the relationship you have with your child. Custodial parents become the foundation of their child’s lives and you need to be there for your child to lean on you.

Major Challenges in One-Parent Households

Forcing your child to see someone they don’t want to see isn’t natural. When children do not want to visit the other parent and are forced to, three issues tend to come up:

  • Parents become suspicious of one another, and;
  • The relationship between parent and child becomes strained, and;
  • Legal ramifications may be on horizon depending on the state, in California family court for example.

Suspicion: Custodial parents begin to wonder what exactly is going on at their ex’s house to make the child not want to visit him or her. And rightfully so, but a non-custodial mother or father may begin to wonder if you are turning their child against him or her. Hopefully, you and the other parent have a strong line of communication open to avoid this challenge.

Strain: A child will not hide their displeasure if he doesn’t want parenting time their other parent. On one hand, the custodial parent doesn’t want their child to feel invalidated. On the other, the non-custodial parent will often take offense if their child doesn’t want parenting time with them. Their relationship can break down and they can become estranged.

Legal Ramifications: Some states, such as California, have strict parenting plan laws that must be followed after a divorce is final. Parenting plans are enforced through a court order that is issued and must be followed to the letter of the law. Not following a court order can put a non-custodial parent in hot water.

A divorce is hard enough on you, your child, and your ex. It is important that you do everything in your power to remain a family for the sake of your child. You need to communicate with your ex and your child, avoid bashing your ex in front of the child you share, and consider therapy for both you and your child to make sure that your child remains in your ex’s life. Maintaining a family dynamic, albeit a different family dynamic than your child is used to, will allow your child adjust after the final divorce papers have been signed.

Author Bio

Steven L. Fritsch is a family law and divorce attorney in California. Steven has dedicated his career to help everyday people who are seeking a divorce and need legal expertise.

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Feeling intimidated about solo travel after divorce?

That’s understandable. One of the benefits of marriage is that it usually means you have a travel companion. If you have children, then school breaks are a great incentive to get away.

All that changes with divorce. Suddenly, you no longer have your spouse to travel with. Compounding that, chances are your friends are all married so tagging along with them just feels weird. It gets even harder if you’re an empty nester and your kids are doing their own trips.

A common complaint from newly-singles is that they have no one to go away with so they just end up not going on vacation.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can travel solo. And once you start, there’ll be no holding you back.

My guest for this Conversation is divorce coach and contributor, Martha Bodyfelt founder of SurvivingYourSplit.com. It seems that every time I contact Martha she’s just getting back from a trip or she’s just going on one. And she does it solo, often to places that are off the beaten track.

Listen in to hear Martha’s advice on how to get started, or keep reading.

The Possibilities Are Endless

Just to get you started thinking about solo travel, Bodyfelt has recently returned from a three-week trip to South America, visiting countries she hadn’t been to before. That included Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Ecuador.

Bodyfelt, who speaks fluent Spanish, has always been passionate about South America and when she saw a really cheap business class air ticket, she grabbed it. Then she began to plan her trip.

“I started to do a little bit of research and they just seemed to have these hidden gems,” said Bodyfelt. “For example, I had no idea that Uruguay has this amazing wine region. I love wine so any undiscovered wine territory, pack my bags and I’ll go there.”

Solo Travel Is Easy Once You Do It

I’ll confess, I haven’t done any solo travel. Before marriage, I always traveled with friends. Then it was traveling with my husband and kids. I’ve always had travel companions or traveled to places to meet with friends or family. The idea of going somewhere solo and not knowing anyone is intimidating for me.

But my kids are now grown and off doing their own things. If I want to go exploring or having a vacation then I’m going to have to push through my fear.

Bodyfelt, by contrast grew up in a big family where it was hard to find alone time.

“I think the seed of independent travel was planted in me at a young age,” said Bodyfelt. “My parents took us on a trip across the border to Nogales, Mexico. I took it upon myself to go wander away from my parents and my little nine-year-old self thought, ‘hey, this is really great.’”

That was the beginning. In college, Bodyfelt did a study abroad semester and hitchhiked through Europe. Traveling while married though was different because Bodyfelt’s travel style didn’t match her husband’s.

“I always felt a little bit resentful having to travel with someone,” said Bodyfelt. “When my marriage didn’t work out, it was almost an emancipation. I felt it gave me permission to travel again.”

How To Get Started

Traveling anywhere means figuring our transportation, lodging and activities. Bodyfelt, being the seasoned traveler almost always books it all herself. That comes with practice. But you don’t have to do that.

For starters, you don’t have to do a three-week international trip to four different countries.

“If this seems overwhelming to you, you can start small,” said Bodyfelt. “You can plan a weekend trip by yourself. But you’re not going to feel comfortable doing it by yourself until you start doing it by yourself.”

The first step is to know where you’d like to visit.

Once you’ve pinned down your country, start looking for your flight. Bodyfelt uses Kayak.com and she’ll set up alerts so she’ll get notifications of changes in fares.

Once she’s got her flight, then Bodyfelt starts to look at lodging.

“I really like the local flavors, so I love using Airbnb,” said Bodyfelt. “It’s an amazing way to experience what a local would live like and you can find some incredible deals.”

For hotels, Bodyfelt uses Booking.com.

Consider A Tour

If even thinking about finding your airfare and searching for accommodation has you stopped in your tracks, then consider a package tour. Bodyfelt used this approach when traveling to countries where she felt nervous about booking for herself such as Jordan and the Middle East.

I see tours offered on Travelzoo and Bodyfelt suggests On The Go Tours, Intrepid Travel and Roads Scholar.

With tours, everything is going to be planned for you although there will likely be some optional excursions during the trip. The great thing about these vacations is that while you may be traveling solo, as soon as you meet your tour group, you’ll be with other people from all over the world. So no need to worry about being alone.

Be Prepared For The Single Supplement

One of the inequities about traveling solo is the single supplement. It’s what tour operators charge you when you’re not traveling with a companion. Supposedly, the rooms are more expensive when only occupied by one person.

The charge is very trip and tour-operator dependent. But you can often get deals where it is waived. Bodyfelt suggests doing an Internet search for tours with no single supplement. If all else fails, always try to negotiate it with the travel company.

Choosing Where To Travel

When you’re choosing where to travel, I would start by making a list of the places that interest you. The truth is the order in which you visit the places doesn’t matter. There is no wrong choice. Having the list means you’ll be ready to snap a deal when you see it.

Bodyfelt shares a tip from a guide she met in Russia. He told her that where you want to travel is the city you see in your dreams.

Consider An Activity-Based Trip

If you’re nervous about what to do when you get to your chosen city, you can solve that problem by looking for a tour based on a specific interest or activity.

You can do a culinary tour, a bicycling tour, a volunteer trip or a religious tour. You could chaperone a Girl Scout trip. You could also do an language immersion course to get your Spanish up to a level to give you the confidence to travel around South America like Bodyfelt.

“Basically, the sky’s the limit,” said Bodyfelt. “Whatever you want to do, whatever interests you, there is a trip for you to take advantage of that interest.”

Consider Your Safety

Solo travel solo does demand some daring on your part. If you listen to all the unforeseen and unexpected incidents from worldly travelers, you could easily be scared into staying on your couch.

“It’s a balance,” said Bodyfelt. “You want to be prepared and you want to be vigilant but don’t want to be paranoid.”

Before booking a trip, and especially if you’re not going to be with a tour group, you should check the State Department and the Center for Disease Control for travel advisories. Bodyfelt also recommends checking the equivalent government entities in other countries. For example, the U.S might advise against traveling to Mexico City whereas the Australian government might advise only against specific neighborhoods.

Bear in mind too that safety is relative to your own experience and comfort level. There plenty of places in the U.S. that foreigners see as being extremely dangerous.

Some safety basics include making sure that a close friend or family member in the U.S has your detailed itinerary and that you check in with them periodically.

Don’t Leave Without Travel Insurance

If you travel, then at some point your luggage will be delayed or even lost altogether. As inconvenient as that is, it is just that when compared to what can happen if you get sick or injured overseas. Bodyfelt always buys travel insurance to cover medical expenses and emergency repatriation back to the U.S. Such policies are not expensive – your credit card may even offer coverage if your flight is purchased with the card. This is important – you may have health insurance here but it is very unlikely that it provides any sort of coverage overseas.

Solo Travel Solo Will Boost Your Confidence

Bodyfelt swears that the best way to build your self-confidence is by traveling solo because it’s not going to be comfortable.

Solo travel will show you that you are strong, and that you are capable.

“If you recover from dysentery in Vietnam, if you can negotiate with a guy in New Delhi to get the price you want, if you can haggle with somebody to go into the Pyramids and not get ripped off, that’s going to give you a sense of accomplishment,” said Bodyfelt.

You internalize those kinds of experiences and translate them into being assertive at home. There’s no reason you can’t negotiate a raise. There’s no reason you can’t tell your ex you need them to watch the kids for the weekend.

“That instilling of confidence is something that I have not gotten from any other thing in my life,” said Bodyfelt. “Only solo travel can do that.”

Other people will notice the shift in confidence too. Bodyfelt says that whenever she comes back from traveling her coworkers comment on how much happier she seems and more confident.

“That is something I never take for granted,” said Bodyfelt. “It’s coming back from trips realizing, ‘hey if I can do that, I can do anything.’”

Traveling Solo Makes You Resilient And Flexible

No matter where you go, there will inevitably be incidents. You’ll miss your connecting flight and be stranded for three days. You’ll get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. You’ll get a stomach bug. Somehow, whatever it is will get resolved. You’ll figure it out or the people around you, even strangers, will help you.

“A byproduct of that is you gain a better perspective,” said Bodyfelt. “Once you’ve experienced that kind of stuff, being late for your train when you get back to the United States pales in comparison. It makes you a lot more resilient, a lot more flexible.”

Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce recovery and confidence coach whose website “Surviving Your Split” shows divorced readers how to finally get some peace of mind, regain their confidence,  and move on with their lives feeling like Wonder Woman.  For your Free Divorce Goddess Survival Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split today!

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Remember the saying about spending two months salary on an engagement ring? You can thank a 1930’s marketing campaign by the jeweler De Beers for putting the guilt trip on customers trying to impress their future bride.

In actuality, the average size of an engagement ring in the US is a 1-carat diamond and today that would cost about $5,500. After your divorce, you may be wishing you had that amount in cash – or at least two months salary! Have you considered getting your ring valued to see what it’s worth?

Just think about it for a moment…. if you did sell your wedding ring, what summer vacation would you take?

Camp In The Great Outdoors

Have you ever wanted to explore the national parks of America? Perhaps your state has a well-maintained state park system, hidden swim holes or mountains to be hiked?

If you sell your wedding ring, you may be able to purchase camping gear to take you and your kids exploring – tent, sleeping bags, camp stove, hiking shoes!

Consider the valuable experience you’d be learning and teaching your children:

  • How to appreciate nature and get away from technology
  • Basic survival skills
  • Seeing animals in their natural habitat
  • Spending quality time together away from distraction
Visit Another City

The value of your wedding ring may be enough to purchase air and hotel in a new city. You could see the beaches and the world famous zoo in San Diego. Tour the Smithsonian museums and national monuments in Washington, D.C. Take your time walking through the larger-than-life aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Touring other U.S. cities takes you away from your everyday life so you can be present with those around you. Being a tourist in a new place means opening yourself up to new experiences, meeting new people and learning about science or history in a new way.

Take A Long Break

If your ring really is worth two months salary, you can take that time for a longer break. Consider taking a month off of work to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain or take an Italian pilgrimage such as the one we learned about with Chandi in a previous Since my Divorce interview.

Consider your own divorce quest like Elizabeth Gilbert’s in Eat, Pray, Love or Cheryl Strayed in Wild when she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. You may have a memoir in you that’s aching to be explored or written. Selling your ring could afford you that time.

You deserve it. Think about it. Get your wedding ring valued and start planning your summer vacation trip.

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Guest post by Karlynn Quinn

A life-altering transition like divorce can trigger stress and many different emotions, both good and bad. Depending on the circumstances of the separation, it can lead to a dive in self-confidence and produce overall confusion on steps to take next. In times of change, it’s not uncommon to allow your emotions to get the best of you, leading to increased stress and turmoil.

It’s important during a divorce to be good to yourself, address your feelings, and take things one step at a time. Feeling better won’t happen all at once, and often doesn’t happen exactly when you want it to. Recognizing your divorce stress and dealing with it is essential in order for you to move forward and lead a productive, healthy life.

Oftentimes, when we think of stress, we think about the obvious tell-tale signs. Heart palpitations, a surge of fear or uncertainty, uneven breathing. However, stress displays itself in many physical forms which can signify that you’ve let it go too far. Here are a few signs that the stress from your separation is affecting you physically and some tips on how to work through them:

Constantly Tired

During periods of excessive stress, it’s not abnormal to feel restless and even experience insomnia at bedtime. This can lead to low energy throughout the day and extreme fatigue. Stress can make your body shift into fight or flight mode leaving you with more energy at the wrong time, oftentimes when you should be resting instead. Additionally, prolonged stress can take a toll on your body and make you tired no matter how much sleep you’re getting.

Skin Outbreaks

Your skin is one of the most visible ways stress presents itself. Your adrenal gland releases the hormone, cortisol, during times of stress. This can lead to a hormonal imbalance causing increased acne breakouts. Furthermore, conditions like eczema or psoriasis can worsen due to stress-induced inflammation. Stress can even lead to an outbreak of hives, causing a bunch of white, itchy bumps on the skin. On the other hand, feeling burnt out can cause you to neglect taking care of yourself altogether, resulting in these skin troubles. If it feels like these skin outbreaks are happening randomly, it’s a good indication that stress is the underlying factor.

Frequently Sick

If you notice that you’re constantly catching a cold or other illness, divorce stress is likely the culprit. Times of emotional duress can weaken your immune system and therefore make you more susceptible to illness. A weak immune system can typically be a sign that something bigger is going on.

Stomach Problems

Digestive issues can often be linked to excessive stress. Symptoms, like diarrhea or constipation, can be indicators, especially if you typically don’t experience these problems. This can also be associated with changes in appetite due to prolonged worrying. For some people, divorce stress manifests itself into a lack of appetite, while for others, turns into a need for comfort food. This fluctuation can confuse your body and lead to intestinal problems.

Tension Headaches

If you begin to notice yourself developing headaches more often, this can be a key indicator that the stress you’re experiencing is taking a physical toll. Headaches can be triggered by a variety of different factors, but if you have a tension headache with pain on both sides of your head and down your neck – this is plausibly a stress headache.

Nightmares

Most of us have had a nightmare at one point in our lives. They’re vividly realistic and can wake you up from even the deepest of sleep. Psychological triggers, such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can cause nightmares. An extended period of experiencing these can impact your quality of life and even increase your anxiety with a cyclical effect.

Here’s What You Can Do:

Create a consistent bedtime routine. Start by giving yourself an hour or two before you’d like to fall asleep to wind down, both mentally and physically. This time can be spent reading, doing a face mask, or doing some restorative meditation. It’s also important to put your phone or tablet away during this time. Both the negative effects of blue light on sleep and the compulsion to keep checking your phone will make it very difficult to get a good night’s rest. Lastly, only go into your bed when it’s time to sleep and do this around the same time each night. This will allow your body to adjust and get more rest.

Make a conscious effort to take care of yourself. This involves drinking plenty of water, eating nutritious food, and keeping up with your skincare routine. Once you start letting these things go, you’ll find you’re just adding onto existing stress. Focusing on healthy habits will keep you feeling your best and help prevent unnecessary stressors. Start by buying a reusable water bottle for motivation to stay hydrated. Find some healthy recipes you’d like to try so you look forward to your meals. And lastly, plan out your mornings and evenings to be a serene time to focus on caring for your skin and hair. You’ll start feeling more and more like yourself as time goes on.

Get active. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve anxiety and boost your overall mental and physical health. When you get your heart pumping, you’re allowing your body to release those “feel-good” hormones, like serotonin. Initially, it may be difficult to get into the habit, but starting a fitness routine is a great outlet and will help tremendously in the long run. There are many different ways to stay active, so try out a few different things that you enjoy doing. This part is important because you don’t want exercise to feel like a chore.

Journal your thoughts. Journaling has been known to help reduce stress, encourage mindfulness, and improve your overall mood. Taking a pen to paper (or starting a blog) allows your mind to unplug and focus on you. It can also help extinguish negative thoughts and emotions you’ve been feeling during your separation. Your journal is a place to put down all of your thoughts, feelings, and fears without judgment and without unsolicited advice. Start journaling by buying a notebook, sitting down in a quiet place alone, and see where your mind takes you.

Reach out. During your divorce, you may feel closed out from the world, embarrassed even. It’s hard to put this change into perspective, especially when you never imagined this would happen to you. This is why it’s crucial to reach out to somebody, especially if you’re body is reacting to divorce-related stress. Whether it’s a family member, your best friend, your soon-to-be ex-spouse, or a therapist. Communication is so important and quite helpful when you start to feel alone or confused.

Karlyn is a coffee connoisseur, passionate about women’s health, and a writer who is fueled by curiosity. She’d do just about anything for her friends, family, and her black lab named Binx.

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Unfortunately, stalking is not uncommon during the end of a relationship. With today’s technology and our quest for connection, it’s easier than ever. There are many more ways to stalk and it’s easier than ever to do it without the victim’s knowledge. It’s also harder for the person being stalked to stop it.

According to the federal Office on Women’s Health, one in six women has experienced stalking in her lifetime and women are twice as likely to be stalked as men.

So, what is stalking? When does stalking become a crime? What are common methods of stalking and how do you protect yourself?

Joining me for this Conversation About Divorce is BreAnne Meyer, Outreach Director for the Safe Shelter of St. Vrain. They offer services to all victims of abuse, working with them to develop their safety plan for remaining in the relationship or leaving.

Listen in below or keep reading …

What Is Stalking?

Simply put, stalking is repeated unwanted contact which sometimes creates fear.

Stalking takes many forms like showing up places where you are or phone calls. Meyer says it can also look like care such as sending or giving flowers and greeting cards. These days, there can be a big technology component.

Don’t Discount Weird Events

Stalking often starts as small behaviors that might have you thinking that something was weird or odd and then you let it go. For example, you come home to find the garage door is open and you typically always close it when you leave. Or your ex asks you if enjoyed an event you went to last week. You don’t remember telling them you were going because you’ve stopped sharing that sort of information.

“Deep down, we always know that there’s something a little bit off,” said Meyer. “Not only are we discounting their behavior or trying to explain it away, but women tend to discount our feelings about how that didn’t feel good. Maybe we tell ourselves a story about why it might have been OK or that he didn’t mean it that way.”

The bottom line here is to trust your gut. If your sense is that something weird is going on, then something weird most likely is going on.

Cell Phones Make Stalking Easy

There are tracking apps that can be installed on your cell phone. That applies if your stalker purchased the phone and also if they have ever had access to the phone.

“It’s good to go get the phone checked out,” said Meyer. “The phone could have an app in the background that’s running. It could be hidden to track locations, to track emails, texts, anything that’s happening on the phone.

If your phone is still on a family plan to which your stalker has access, you need to get off the plan.

If you have your phone cleaned and it’s still on the family plan, then it’s all too easy for your stalker to just install everything again. In my experience, the phone companies don’t make it easy to get off the family plan especially if you have an equipment charge or want to port your number. Be relentless and persistent. It might mean getting a new phone and number. That’s worth it to stop this from escalating.

Another reason to get off the family plan, is that it gives your stalker access to data about who you’re calling and messaging. That then gives them what they need to start calling those people and saying whatever he wants about you. That’s going to get ugly real fast.

If you do go to your cell phone provider and ask them to clean the phone and they want to give you a new phone, you could be losing evidence that could be used either in divorce proceedings or in a criminal matter.

More About Cell Phones And Stalking

The number of ways in which cell phones can be used to stalk keeps expanding and it’s hard to keep up.

For example, if you find an unfamiliar cell phone in your car, it could have been put there by your stalker, It can be set to auto-answer so when your stalker calls the phone, it answers. Then it stays on picking up whatever conversations you’re having. Eventually the battery will die but, in the meantime, your stalker has been eavesdropping. And if not placed in your car, it could be somewhere in your home if they have access or placed in a bag that your child uses to travel between homes.

With call spoofing, your stalker can make it look like it’s someone else you know who’s calling. You might think it’s your boss or best friend and then find it’s your stalker. It’s pretty easy to do and can also be done with emails.

Even more baffling, a stalker can set up a free phone number. They can then keeping changing that number to another number while calling and calling. It’s difficult to track where those calls are coming from and to prove they’re all from the same person.

“It makes enforcement really difficult,” said Meyer. “Not only can it make you question yourself, but it can also make the police question you. If you report that ‘I’ve gotten these 45 phone calls from these 45 different numbers and I don’t know why and I don’t know how to stop it,’ the police are probably not going to be able to do much about that.”

Smart Home Devices Can Be Used To Stalk

Who doesn’t have at least one smart home device? Maybe Alexa or Siri? A home thermostat that connects to your phone? A Ring camera that monitors who’s at your house? A garage door control with a camera? An irrigation system controlled from your phone?

If your stalker had any of these installed on their phone, then they could still have access and control to them all. That opens a whole other realm for stalking and harassment. Think about being able to see your coming and goings from the house, who else is visiting, changing the heat in your house, blasting music at 2 in the morning, running your sprinklers all day … even locking you out so you lose control.

“There are so many ways that technology can be used,” said Meyer. “I don’t think most of us want to think about all the different ways that technology can be used for this purpose.”

If you’re stalker is using these devices, then it’s quite possible that you won’t make the connection.

“You might not necessarily think right away this has got to be that person doing this,” said Meyer. “You might just say, ‘that was weird.’ That head game piece of stalking is also very common.”

As a precaution, regardless of your relationship with your STBX, once they have moved out of the house, your first action should be to change the password on your WiFi network. Then you’ll need to go through each of your smart devices and figure out how to take control of them and remove the access your STBX has.

Children Become Pawns

Sadly, if you and your stalker share children, then the stalker may use them as pawns to get to you. For the kids it may seem like a normal conversation. Where’s mommy working these days? Are you still living on XYZ St? Where’s mommy working these days?

It’s also easy for a stalker to place a GPS tracking device in a child’s backpack and use that to track your movements.

Create An Incident Log

It becomes really important to document everything including what may appear as random, weird events.

“Stalking rarely takes just one form,” said Meyer. “It’s often many forms: showing up, calling work, calling friends, going to places the person frequents. When we start to paint a bigger picture, it becomes a little bit more prosecutable.”

The Stalking Resource Center has a sample incident log for victims.

Why Stalkers Stalk

Meyer says there are several reasons why stalkers stalk. It’s often at the end of a relationship and so they’re feeling rejected, angry, or jealous.

“It could be many things, but I think underlying it all is a pattern of power and control,” said Meyer. “They want the person to either be in a relationship with them or they want something from that person.”

Typically, a stalker wants their victim to know they’re being watched. One of my early interviewees, Lisa Wynn shared how mean and vindictive her ex became and gave many examples of how he was stalking and harassing her. The horrifying incidents were easily traced back to him.

How To Respond To Your Stalker

Responding to a stalker is about vigorously enforcing your boundaries and disengaging.

“I recommend for people to make a very clear statement, ‘I do not want this contact. Any further contact from you, I will consider harassment and I will be reporting to the police,’” said Meyer.

Once you’ve communicated that, then don’t respond to any further communications from the stalker.

If you have children together and have shared parenting, then not communicating is not a viable option. That’s when it’s time to use one of the third-party communication platforms.

Be sure to document your request for no further communication so that it can use in Court if it comes to that. Emails and text-messages are great because you can print them. Phone calls may also work if you can record them, but you need to be sure you’re not violating state recording authorization laws.

Often, that request to stop is enough.

Enforcing your boundaries may feel uncomfortable and especially for women.

“I believe we are socialized to believe that our needs and wants are not important or that we need to stuff those needs and wants down,” said Meyer. “That’s often why it’s so difficult to ask for what we want and to draw those boundaries.”

If the stalking doesn’t stop, then it’s probably best to reach out to an advocate at your local domestic abuse organization. They’ll be able to brainstorm with you what’s best in your specific situation.

Stalking is a criminal matter so you can also directly to the police.

Get Support

Working with an advocate to create a plan for dealing with the stalking and to create a safety plan is a priority. Therapy and self-care are also important.

“The people who have been affected by stalking have a long road to healing,” said Meyer. “When you’ve been violated in this way, it can be really difficult to gain back a sense of confidence and believing in yourself when your reality has been changed in a way that it won’t go back.”

Joining me for this Conversation About Divorce was BreAnne Meyer, Outreach Director for the Safe Shelter of St. Vrain. They which offer services to all victims of abuse working with them to develop their safety plan for remaining in the relationship or leaving. 

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When two parents get divorced, it does not change their parental rights or responsibilities. Provided having relationships with both parents is in the best interest of the child, the court will likely grant shared custody of the child to the parents. This means that the parents must abide by a set schedule for trading off time with the child, as well as determine who will make which important decisions for the child’s well-being, including education, religion, and healthcare.

Working together to share custody in an amicable and cooperative manner is not always easy for divorced spouses. However, co-parenting can be emotionally healthier for the child and beneficial in many ways. The following is some information about co-parenting and whether it may be right – or possible – for your family.

Benefits Of Co-Parenting

Children often have a difficult time adjusting after a divorce – especially for younger children. They go from having one household to having two, each one with its own routine, parenting style, toys, chores, rules, and more. If parents are willing to stay positive with one another and work together, there can be many benefits for the child. Some of these include:

  • Reduced stress – Divorce is already stressful enough for a child, and when the parents do not add unnecessary conflict to the situation, it can significantly reduce the emotional and mental stress on the child.
  • Increased sense of security – Having their home as they knew it split up can affect a child’s sense of security. Children often may feel like a divorce is their fault or that a parent moving out means that they do not love the child anymore. When parents each make an effort to create a positive and loving home while sharing custody, it can make the child feel more comfortable and secure when they are changing environments.
  • Setting a good example – Even though parents may not want to be married anymore, they can still set a strong example for conflict resolution, respect, and cooperation for the child. When parents have a positive attitude toward one another instead of criticizing one another or having constant conflict, they show the child that there are respectful and positive ways to resolve problems.
  • Greater chance of maintaining close relationships with both parents – When each parent makes the most of their time with the child and does not use that time to say negative things about the other parent, it can increase the chances that the child will stay close with both parents. This can increase honesty and communication, which can reduce the chances of drug and alcohol use as teenagers or other types of reckless or harmful behavior.

The above are only some of the many benefits of co-parenting for both a child and the parents. It is certainly worth it to try healthy co-parenting when it is possible in your situation.

The Way Your Divorce Is Resolved Can Affect Your Ability to Co-Parent

How you work to resolve the many issues in a divorce can set the stage for possible co-parenting. For example, if spouses refuse to agree, act with spite and stubbornness, or want revenge on one another during the divorce process, they likely finish the divorce process in an acrimonious state. This is hardly the situation that will foster cooperation and compromise when parenting.

On the other hand, if spouses see the benefits of working together to resolve divorce-related issues, they can often reach a settlement agreement without angry disputes or dragging each other into court to air personal details. Not only can some spouses get through a divorce without tearing each other apart, but the process of finding the middle ground during a divorce can set a precedent for finding the middle ground when co-parenting. Often, the way a divorce is resolved speaks volumes about how ex-spouses will work together to parent their child.

How An Attorney Can Help You Set Yourself Up For Co-Parenting Success

Often, when spouses begin the divorce process, there will naturally be some conflict and emotions involved. However, this does not mean they are destined to fight during and after the divorce. Instead, the help of the right divorce attorney can encourage and facilitate cooperation and agreement out-of-court. A divorce lawyer can assist with negotiations, discussion, mediation, or even collaborative divorce so that spouses can resolve their divorce in a healthy and cooperative manner. Not only does this start the path toward successful co-parenting, but it can also leave spouses in a better financial situation, which can also reduce parenting stress.

Remember That Your Custody Arrangement Can Be Modified

A lot of strife between divorced parents arises when a custody arrangement and schedule is not working for one or both parents. Too many parents stick with a frustrating – or nearly impossible – schedule for far too long. If parents are open and cooperative, they should not hesitate to raise the possibility of modifying the custody arrangement.

Custody modifications are common when there is a substantial change in circumstances, such as changes to a job schedule, changes to the child’s schedule or activities, health conditions, or relocations. In such situations, parents can cooperate to find a new schedule that works for everyone. They can then submit the proposed modifications to the court, which can approve the new arrangement as long as it is in the best interests of the child. This allows the parents to continue co-parenting in accordance with the new arrangement with the least amount of stress on the child possible.

When Co-Parenting May Not Be Possible

While every parent may wish they could have a healthy co-parenting relationship, it is simply not possible in some situations. If an ex-spouse is abusive, has substance abuse problems, or otherwise provides an unhealthy environment for the child, it may be best to fight for sole custody from the start instead of trying to share parenting time. An attorney can evaluate when it may be worth it to fight for primary custody of your child based on your specific circumstances.

Furthermore, some spouses simply refuse to compromise in any way before, during, or after a divorce. If a spouse cannot let go of anger or has a personality disorder, it may be more trouble than it is worth to keep attempting to co-parent. All you can do is try your best and provide the physical, emotional, and financial support your child needs. You cannot control whether or not your ex-spouse is willing to co-parent. All you can do is set the best example you can for your child.

Author bio:

 Paige Gleason

Paige is a highly skilled Denver divorce attorney at Colorado Legal Group, located in Denver, CO.  She has been nominated as one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Colorado by the Association of American Trial Lawyers and as a Lawyer of Distinction.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/colegalgroup

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/coloradolegalgroup/

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If you’re currently going through a divorce, you know how stressful it can be. In fact, the American Institute of Stress has rated divorce as one of the most stressful events an adult can experience. Because of this, it is important for you to know what you’re getting into and understand what type of divorce is right for your situation.

The infographic above gives a brief overview of the differences between a collaborative divorce and mediation, listing the pros and cons of each. Let’s briefly look at these types of divorce in a little more detail, so you can think about which type may be right for your situation.

In a divorce via mediation, the goal is to use a neutral third party (the mediator) to come up with an agreement that works well for both parties. This type of divorce has many advantages. First, it is a lot cheaper than both parties hiring a lawyer and potentially entering a court battle. Second, the goal of mediation is to make things as easy for the family as possible. This can eliminate some emotional turmoil and stress. Mediation is also generally a quicker process than a collaborative divorce, since there is less back and forth between the two parties.

While mediation may sound like it would work well for almost anyone, it isn’t always the best choice. With a collaborative divorce, you have an expert family lawyer advocating for your position, and in some cases, this is necessary. For example, if you are dealing with a high-conflict person, you may need a lawyer to advocate on your behalf, instead of trying to go through mediation with someone who simply won’t cooperate. Additionally, if you’re dealing with a high stakes situation, such as deciding on a child custody agreement or dividing up a significant amount of assets, you may need an expert to advocate on your behalf as well. Another benefit of collaborative divorce is that your lawyer can call in experts in fields like mental health, finance, child-support etc. to support your case if your divorce ends up in court.

There are pros and cons to both collaborative divorce and mediation, and ultimately, you will have to decide what is right for your situation. Mediation is a great option if you’re dealing with someone who can set aside their emotions and work with you, but you may need a collaborative divorce if you’re dealing with a high-conflict individual, or if there are significant assets or issues at stake.

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No matter what, parents love their children, and children love their parents, so divorce inevitably becomes stressful for all family members. The way each of them overcomes stress depends primarily on the relationship between parents, their emotional maturity and mental stability, their ability to separate the roles of “spouses” and “parents,” and their willingness to cooperate after the divorce.

The marriage relationship between men and women may break down, but they are still parents. Now they face a new challenge: to remain good parents and build new relationships both between themselves and with the children. It is not only the parent who leaves the family home that faces tensions with their child. Misunderstanding of the reasons for divorce, the feeling of guilt, the feeling that it is necessary to take someone’s side in the conflict, and many other conflicting thoughts haunt the child after the divorce and can have a negative effect on trust in parents, as well as the friendly relationship with them.

Parents must minimize the negative effects of the divorce on their children.

In general, the consequences of the divorce for children can be of varying degrees of intensity, but in any case, the parents are in charge of helping the child adapt to new conditions to preserve the family, even after dissolving the marriage. It is a psychologically challenging task, but it is possible.

Here are some tips on how to minimize the adverse effects of divorce for children and maintain their close relationship with both parents.

Take Care Of Yourself

The brain of a child continues to develop throughout childhood. The areas responsible for willpower, regulation, and decision-making are far from where they will be as an adult. Therefore, children “connect” to the brain of their parents: they adapt their behavior to the parents’ behavior, learning how to experience stress, how to treat themselves and others, and how to react in general. If the mom and dad become psychologically unstable, then the child has nothing to “connect” to.

It can be said that here, the airplane rule “Oxygen mask – adults first and then children” works. Take care of your personal emotional and mental state first in order to be capable of helping your child. You will need skills in emotion regulation. If you’re finding it difficult to cope, ask for help and support. Seek a therapist or a clinical psychologist.

Take Care Of Your Child

Ask your child what is bothering them, and how they feel. Talk about this frustration. Avoid dismissing or downplaying your child’s feelings. Even if your child does not say anything, it does not mean that what is happening does not bother or hurt them. Explain to your child why mom and dad will no longer be together. Tell your child that they are not to blame for your breakup, that you will remain their parents forever and that you will always love them and take care of them. Depending on the age of your kid, think about how you can tell the true but understandable story of your separation.

Explain How Life Will Change Now

Tell your child whether you will move, whether they will have to transfer to a new school, how often they will be able to see the second parent, who is now living separately, and how they will maintain a relationship.

Work On A Relationship

In one study, it turned out that when divorced parents healthily interacted with each other and skillfully resolved conflicts, their children ended up feeling good. One could say that they almost did not suffer from their parents’ divorce. Refrain from an unfavorable comparison of the child to the other parent, such as “You’re crazy, just like your mother!” or “Chip off the old block!”

Do not turn your child against mom or dad. This can have the opposite effect, and it will be harder for you to stay close to your child as a result, especially if we’re talking about teens who have the right to choose which parent to live with.

Remember, what happened between the parents is the parents’ responsibility. Do not turn the child into a friend or a psychologist, for hours on end complaining about your partner’s shortcomings. Do not force your child to take sides. Your child unknowingly identifies themselves with their parents, and when you speak negatively about the second parent, you directly hurt your child’s self-esteem.

Cooperate With Your Former Spouse

Parents should be concerned not only with “how to cope with life following a divorce,” but also “how to build a life after divorce.” Breaking a marriage doesn’t mean ending a relationship – now, it has to transform. You are no longer spouses, but will always be parents.

Your experiences concerning the marriage should not affect your child. According to stories from Divorce Magazine and similar resources, a lot of women try to punish their former husbands using their child: they limit communication, they allow him to come only on the day of alimony, they convince their child that dad is bad or “you don’t have a dad anymore.” Sometimes, they even lie about ther child’s health. This behavior is absolutely wrong. Your son or daughter should not be a pawn on your battlefield.

No matter what kind of custody was awarded, now you need to provide discipline and stable participation in the child’s life. When everyone lived together, it was an easy task. Now it is essential to agree with the former partner about the visitation schedule, the possibility of meetings outside that plan, and how to solve educational and other child-related issues.

Sometimes, ex-spouses gloat if their former partners have difficulties and failures after the divorce. You must remember that the success and happiness of your former partner directly affects the emotional state of your child as well as their attitude to you. If you try to cause harm – emotional, financial, social – to your ex-spouse, you will do damage to your own child.

Help Your Child Keep In Touch With The Second Parent

When you forgive a former partner, you teach your child to forgive. When you help yourself cope with a divorce, you show your child that caring for yourself is important.

Once in a while, you’ll get cases where the second parent ceases to appear after leaving the family. He (usually ‘he’) no longer calls the child, does not come, forgets about birthdays. Try to help him see the damage of these actions, and go to a psychologist together. If nothing helps, help your child survive this loss without needing to blame your former spouse. Find out how your child feels, express your love and support and say that you are sorry.

Episodes like these spoil the relationship between the departed parent and the child. It is very painful for the latter party. To help build a better relationship between your child and the ex-spouse, tell your child about the good qualities of the former partner. It is crucial that the child hears good things about the parent who no longer lives with him.

Weekend Parent Rules

In general, all the above rules apply to both the custodial and non-custodial parent. Divorce can emotionally distance any parent from their child. But if in this situation, you are a parent who does not live with the child, then there are specific difficulties in actually staying close and maintaining constant contact. Divorce experts like OnlineDivorce.com or Mediate.com insist that the main task is to create a proper parental agreement. But sometimes, this turns to be harder than it seems.

How should I act if the former partner does not allow me to communicate with the child or allows it extremely rarely?

First of all, you need to restore the trust of the former spouse. To achieve this, you need to do the following things:

  • Apologize for the past. Call or come and apologize. You should be prepared for the possibility that your ex won’t talk to you or answer messages (won’t answer for a long time, refuses to speak to you dozens of times). Remember that in this case, your aim is not to save face, but to ease tension and reconnect with the child. Be patient.
  • Use the friendship formula: communicate, help, pay attention. Remember, 80-90% of the time you need to talk on practical topics. Make sure to be interested, to give reminders, and to clarify desires, issues, goals, and problems which are essential for the former spouse and the child.

A child should be treated as a person who has their own problems, interests, goals, and dreams. This may be associated with kindergarten or school, maybe to buy something for classes. Make sure your focus is outside while your locus of control is inside. Many people have a problem with this. Usually, the divorced parents’ attention gets stuck in the past – insults, dialogue, and marital quarrels.

Therefore, always pay attention to the child, but without trying to buy love and respect. Financial and practical help is good, but it is also important to help with information.

It often happens that, for example, the father begins to invest financially, and the former wife is in no hurry to get along with him. In this format of relationships, people get stuck for many years – one of the parents always remains at a distance. What does informational help mean? For example, text to the custodial parent: “I got the phone number of an art school. I’m not 100% certain about it, but friends say they liked it.” When you walk down the street, or are browsing the internet, and see some ads – for instance, a guitar teacher or a math tutor – take a picture and send it immediately to the second parent. You can write: “If you want, I’ll cover this.” Or: “I remember, we were looking for… How about this?” Send helpful information such as contacts of a dentist, massage therapist, psychologist, or something useful and exciting related to the interests and hobbies of the child.

The key point – do not respond to provocations! If your ex does not want to communicate and provokes a quarrel, e.g.: “I will block you. Do not call me,” your reaction should be: “OK, got it. I’m sorry.” Try to call back in a week. The next possible step would be something like: “I would like to give the child a package; I reckon he’ll like it (telephone, ball, school supplies, etc.).” As an option, send it by mail or leave it the front door. Even if the ex-spouse throws away your first gift (do not buy something too expensive), this is natural. Do not despair. He/she might refuse ten times, and on the 11th time, it will work.

P.S. Divorce is a painful process for the child, but it cannot destroy his life. Many children of divorce achieve success in life, stay in harmony with themselves and with others, build strong relationships, and retain motivation. A marriage where mom and dad do not love, or even hate each other and stay together only for the sake of children, is much more harmful. If you decide to get divorced and are not sure if you can handle it, you should contact a psychologist to work on your particular case.

Author bio:

Leslie Caro is a legal assistant, divorce mediation-trained specialist and certified divorce coach with 3 years of work experience. She specializes in providing custody and family mediation services and assistance with an uncontested dissolution of the marriage. Aimed to make a divorce proceeding as amicable and straightforward as possible, she focuses her practice on helping the parties to make their settlement agreements and parenting plans.

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Falling in love happens organically. It’s exciting, scary, energizing all at the same time. But what happens when the relationship ends, and especially if it’s not what you wanted?

What do you do when you still love the person who no longer loves you?

Do you really just have to wait for time to heal all wounds or are there actions you can take to help that process.

My guest for this Conversation is Wellness and Divorce Coach, Lisa Arends. She writes the blog Lessons From the End Of A Marriage. Arends wrote about how to fall out of love. She identified 14 features about being in love and create an antidote for each of them.

Falling Out Of Love Doesn’t Just Happen

Falling in love just happens. That feeling might evolve over time but there isn’t anything you do to specifically make it happen. Just as that is so, we often expect the reverse to be true. We think that falling out of love just happens. That’s especially if your STBX has done something horrific like cheating, or abuse. There’s more.

“The other part that people struggle with is that they think that time is enough,” said Arends. “If they just wait patiently, that they’ll fall out of love. Time helps but it certainly isn’t everything.”

The good news is that there is lots you can do to speed up the process. It’s similar to recovering from a physical injury: you can sit around and wait or you can go to physical therapy.

Fill The Voids

Of all the antidotes that Arends identified, she believes the one that helps everyone is filling the voids. She has this analogy for that.

“Think about being in a warm bathtub. You’re in there by yourself. You’re perfectly content. Somebody joins you in the tub. No problem but you have to let a little of the water out because otherwise it’s going to overflow. That’s getting into the relationship.

Then that other person leaves. All of a sudden that tub that was full with them in it now only has two inches of water in it. And it’s probably cold. You’re feeling your weight on that cold porcelain. You’re miserable.

You can sit there, and you can complain about what’s missing. You can focus on what’s gone. Or you can turn on that tap and fill the tub again.”

Arends is quick to add that this doesn’t mean that you should rush out and find another person to jump into the tub with you. Rather, it means discovering all the things that bring you joy and excitement that can fill the voids.

Find Activities To Fall Out Of Love

Filling the voids means finding your passions. These are the things or activities that make you feel loved and comfortable.

They might be the things you used to have in your life that you dropped to make room for your marriage. Now’s the time to bring those things back to fill the voids.

It may also mean trying new activities like ones you’ve thought about trying before but have never gotten around to doing.

Arends says divorce is a perfect time to do this because so much is changing in your life already.

“It’s a great time to just go ahead and try something new,” said Arends. “Your comfort zone is long gone. It’s a good time to take some risks, to reach out and try something new.”

Binge-watching the latest on Netflix or Amazon has its purpose but it doesn’t count towards filling the voids. It may stop you from feeling bad in the moment, but it doesn’t do anything to make you feel good. And as soon as you ‘ve finished the series, you’re back to where you started… what am I going to watch now?

Plan Ahead

One of the hardest parts about ending a marriage is spending time alone. That’s compounded when you have children and you know they’re leaving to spend time with their other parent. You see the weekend coming up, don’t have anything to do and dread even the thought of being alone.

“If all you’re doing is being at home, you’re going to be very aware that they are missing,” said Arends. “Take advantage of the fact that hey, I’m child-free for the weekend. What can you do now that you couldn’t normally do?”

DePersonalize The Situation

Arends says when you’re falling in love, you hear the good things your partner is saying, and you internalize them. You like the compliments. They build you up. They make you feel good.

When your partner falls out of love with you, those compliments change. They often become cruel and heartless barbs, accusations, blaming.

But you’re so used to accepting what your partner has said, that you take these to be true too. They’re not true though. More likely, these statements are reflections of your partner. It’s what your partner needs to say to make it easier for them to leave you.

Arends says you have to depersonalize the situation, realize that it’s not about you.

“My ex-husband was unfaithful, and he said some really horrific things to me,” said Arends. “As I kept talking to other people I was like, ‘oh, yours said the exact same words.’ It’s like there’s a playbook or something. Once I saw how universal that was, I saw this really wasn’t about me. This is what cheaters say. It’s a lot easier to accept that way.”

While depersonalizing what your ex is saying about you is healing, you still need to take responsibility for your choices and your behavior. Arends says there has to be a balance. You can’t blame your ex for everything. Recognizing what you were responsible for within the marriage creates the path for personal growth and applying that going forward.

Take Your Ex Off The Pedestal

When you’re in love you idealize your partner. You cut them a lot of slack for the negatives and bad things. You discount them and don’t see them as red flags. Now’s the time to stop that. Start looking at everything they’ve done through a different lens.

There are times to appreciate the gifts from your marriage but if you’re trying to fall out of love, then now is not the time for that.

“I compare it to gravity,” said Arends. “If they keep fighting themselves, getting pulled back into the gravitational field of their ex, maybe it’s time to look at the bad. Not for a long time but just for long enough to get some of that distance that you need.”

What your ex says and does is up to them. How you respond is your responsibility. This is the time for you to stop listening to their voice telling you that you can’t do something, that you’re not capable, that you’re not enough.

Seeing everything about your ex is not a healthy place long term. It’s too negative but it’s where you need to be to start healing.

Speaking of her own experience, Arends said, “After that initial emotional aspect had been resolved, that’s when I was able to go back and really appreciate the gifts and the positives about the marriage. And, also the gifts from the end of it.”

Get To Know Yourself

My favorite from Arends’ list of antidotes is getting to know yourself again. So many people have told me that by the time their marriage was over, they no longer knew who they were. You might not know what makes you laugh or what feeds your soul.

“Divorce is a really awesome opportunity to figure out who you are apart from anyone else,” said Arends. “If you’re a parent, this is also a critical time for you. Being a parent does become a huge part of your identity but it’s not all that you are.”

Getting to know yourself again doesn’t come easy. It doesn’t happen overnight. Arends says that it often helps to go back in time to when you didn’t have adult pressures. What were the activities that excited you as a kid?

“Part of it is building some of that self-confidence,” said Arends. “Take this time to do things you normally wouldn’t do or things you’re afraid of. It really helps you to see what your capabilities truly are.”

Take Back Your Favorite Places

Who doesn’t have a favorite restaurant, hike or place? We all do but when that place is associated with your now ex, there’s a cloud hanging over it. But it’s a shame to have to cross that off your activity list. Arends has the solution.

“At first I couldn’t even go to those places because it was way too painful,” said Arends. “It would just trigger all those memories. One day I got angry. I was like ‘I want this back. I’m going to take this place back.” So, I invited friend after friend to go hiking with me at that park, intentionally layering new memories over the old ones.”

Arends calls this memory layering. Do it enough and those memories of your times with ex will become so faded you’ll hardly remember them.

Schedule Smiles

An easy fix for you to start working on right away is do what Arends calls scheduled smiles. It as simple as putting something on your calendar, not too far in the future, that you enjoy. Then do it. It could be visiting your favorite coffee shop or it could be bigger like taking a road trip somewhere.

“What I like to tell people is that at any point you should be able to pull up your calendar and have at least three scheduled smiles on there,” said Arends. “It keeps your mind focused on the positive. You always have to be thinking about what’s my next scheduled smile going to be.”

My guest for this Conversation was Wellness and Divorce Coach, Lisa Arends. Arends writes the blog Lessons From The End Of A Marriage and here’s her How To Fall Out Of Love article. Arends also has a YouTube channel.

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It may have been months since your divorce ended, and you thought you were doing okay.

You were picking yourself up financially, making your home your own, and trying some new activities and were feeling pretty good about yourself.

But then it hits you and won’t leave.  That anger–that pure rage once you look back and realize just how awful your ex treated you.

The time you found the messages from another woman on his cell phone.

Or when you’d come home after a week-long work trip, only to find the house a complete mess and him sitting on the couch watching football.

Or when you’d go to the gym together, after a few comments he’d made about “you don’t look like you did when we met,” only to have him completely ignore you and pretend he doesn’t know you there.

The list could go on and on. Each memory making you see a deeper shade of red, wondering why you didn’t see the signs–why you didn’t leave.

And it’s that feeling of unfairness and injustice that can make you feel blind and keep you from moving on.

What is this sudden frustration and rage?!

That’s called anger, my friends. And it’s appearing now because you’re getting stronger.

These feelings of rage are coming because you’re healing. You’re moving on from the divorce and you’re getting stronger. But during that process, the present, more confident you has a new set of eyes that are looking back on the past you.

The stronger, more confident you is bearing witness to all the disrespect and mistreatment the past you endured and she wants justice, dammit.

You may be asking, “But Martha, why now? I feel like this is completely derailing my recovery!”

Think of your recovery in a couple of steps. The first step was when you were getting mistreated by your spouse, but you may have blamed yourself or you may have normalized it, thinking it was somehow just how your marriage was.

The next step is where you are now: you realized that the marriage was no longer healthy for you, and you are either in the process of divorce, or you are finished with the divorce and are working hard to move on.

So, the anger gap is actually the delta between those two parts. It is you now realizing that:

  • Getting treated like crap was NOT okay.
  • You deserved better than getting treated like crap.
  • You are now frustrated because you can’t go back in time to change the fact that you were treated like crap.

This frustration that you’re feeling now is the Anger. The anger is directed in a couple of places:

  • Your ex because they treated you poorly.
  • Your ex because they will most likely not apologize and truly regret how they treated you.
  • Yourself because you’re now kicking yourself that you let it go on for so long.
  • What a mess. It’s no wonder why you’re feeling stuck and not sure what to do.

Do you see the commonality with all these things?

They are all things you cannot control.

Reexamine your Anger

You can’t go back in time and get your ex to treat you better. They were a jerk who didn’t deserve you anyway. It’s as simple as that. No excuses.

You can’t “make” your ex apologize. You cannot “make” them suffer or feel bad for all the things they did. They may be emotionally unavailable. They’re feeling bad and truly expressing their regret or sorrow ain’t gonna happen, sweetheart.

Trying to go back and dissect “what should I have done differently?” or blaming yourself for not standing up to your ex, or not recognizing toxic behavior only keeps you from moving on now.

So now what?

Redirect your anger to something productive and healing for you.

No, I don’t mean you have to pick a bunch of flowers in the meadow and make a vision board if you don’t want to.

Hell, I’m not even saying forgive them right now.

But what I am saying, friends, is to channel that anger you feel into something that can help you move on with your life. I call this the PPF Model—short for Past Present Future.

Past: What lessons can I learn from this anger?

Present: What can I do NOW to turn this anger into something good?

Future: What will I do in the future to protect myself from this toxic BS?

It’s not easy to just “let go” of all the memories that are pissing you off right now. But you can’t let them keep you stuck in rut and unable to move on with your life. Right now, you have two choices. (1) You can choose to stay stuck in a rut, paralyzed by a past you can’t change. Or (2) you can learn from the past and let that anger remind you that you deserve better. You’re worth the work it’s going to take to move on.

Author Bio

Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce recovery and confidence coach whose website “Surviving Your Split” shows divorced readers how to finally get some peace of mind, regain their confidence,  and move on with their lives feeling like Wonder Woman.  For your Free Divorce Goddess Survival Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split today!

Website: http://survivingyoursplit.com/

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