Jackie Pillosoph was the mother of two young children when she went through a divorce seven years ago. It was tough, but she came through the process with a smile on her face, and she now offers up advice on the emotional side of divorce, including dating and parenting. She describes herself as a best friend next door who will talk to you about divorce and getting your life back together.
The answer to the question, “When is the best time to sell your diamond ring after divorce?” is different for everyone. My diamond ring sat in a drawer for 9 years before I finally decided I was ready to part with it. Other people sell it right away. I know a woman who sold hers 6 months after she got separated, and used the money to start an aerial dance and yoga studio. This guest post is the personal story of Stacey Freeman, who is the Lifestyle Editor, for Worthy.com, a company that offers a luxury auction marketplace for fine jewelry and diamonds.
When Is The Best Time To Sell Your Diamond Ring After Divorce?
by Stacey Freeman, Lifestyle Editor, Worthy.com
The paradox of divorce is that the more we force ourselves to let go before we’re ready, the more we cling to remnants from our past, such as a house, home furnishings, and our diamond engagement ring. So how will we know when it’s time to sell?
Two months ago, I decided to get rid of all my bedding, right down to the mattress cover. Every goose down pillow, throw pillow, and the duvet, gone. As I took off each piece, I recalled the time when my husband and I picked it out together. I loved it. Now, nearly five years after my divorce, though, I was finally ready for a change.
For many newly divorced people, the “marital” bedding is the first reminder of their past life to go. It’s a relatively small change to make but one that can clear a space of a lot of old energy and can be a solid step forward in the healing process, especially for someone like me who lives in the same house I once shared with my spouse. In my case, I still liked my bedding and didn’t feel ready to part with it until just a little while ago, despite the advice I received from well-meaning friends suggesting otherwise and the conventional divorce wisdom dictating what the “order of operations” should be in the divorce recovery process.
The thing is since my divorce I stopped ascribing to conventional wisdom. I had gotten to where I was – 39, separated, and without a career to fall back on – because I followed other people’s rules and designs for my life. The day my husband announced he was “done with our marriage,” I, too was done; done doing what the world expected of me or thought was best for me. Whatever I was going to do from then on, I told myself, was going to be in my best interest because it made me feel good and propelled me forward in my life. If that meant waiting to toss my bedding until I was good and ready, so be it. One day two months ago, I suddenly became ready.
Diamond engagement rings fall into the same category, with one stark difference: their utility after getting rid of them is endless. Unlike my bedding, which, best case scenario, I dry clean and donate to a family in need, the sale of a diamond can carry you years into the future. With the proceeds from your ring, you can go back to school, start a business, save for retirement, buy a car, put down a deposit on a home, take a much-needed vacation, or spend the money another way. The day you decide you want to reach any of these goals, or a different one, you’ll know you’re ready to sell.
Fortunately, I found Worthy, a new way to sell your diamond ring that provides the most trusted online auction platform in the industry to assist you with your sale. Worthy will have your diamond professionally graded, photographed, and presented online to multiple potential buyers who will then compete for it via an auction. Within a matter of days, you can have a check in your hands and a down payment on your new post-divorce life.
When all is said and done, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve held onto your diamond or how quickly you’ve decided to sell it. What’s significant is the moment you recognize you’re ready to let it go. Worthy is here for you when you are.
Stacey Freeman is the lifestyle editor at Worthy.com.
Dating is hard enough, but dating as a divorced parent brings on a whole other set of challenges, from finding time to spend together to introducing the kids or not–it’s a fine line. In this week’s Love Essentially, I shared the story of a frustrated reader who is dating a divorced mom. I also offered 6 dating tips for divorced parents.
6 Dating Tips For Divorced Parents
by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Media Group
All relationships have challenges and issues. Even in the best of romances—those with an amazing connection, intense passion and a genuine friendship – times can get tough, and that’s when you find yourself at Starbucks telling your friend over an iced cinnamon dolce latte that you are feeling frustrated, disappointed and unsure about the relationship you thought just a week ago was blissful, even perfect.
Relationships take on a whole different set of complexities when one or both people are divorced parents. This reader is a good example:
I have been dating a divorced woman with a 5-year-old daughter for a year and a half. I love her and her daughter greatly, and it seems they both love me, too. The only wrinkle is, her ex of 11 years throws fits when she or they go anywhere with me. He does not have a good place to visit the child, so she lets him use her house. If I leave anything over at her house, she has to hide it before he sees it, i.e. cough drops, shampoo, etc. I try to be patient and understanding, but the other night we had a date and he was supposed to come over to stay with their daughter. She told me not to come to the door when I got there, that she would come out and meet me because he didn’t want to see me. He texted her the entire time during our date. When we headed back to the house, she had me stop and let her out, and told me to drive around and that when he left, I could come in.
Let’s start with the mom. It seems like she is trying to keep everyone happy – her daughter, her boyfriend and her ex-husband. While understandable, I don’t think she should have to walk on eggshells around her ex-husband or hide her boyfriend from him. They have been divorced for over a decade, plus she is doing her ex a huge favor by allowing him in her home to spend time with their daughter.
With all the hell you are going through with your spouse, you’re probably feeling stressed out, unloved, and definitely unappreciated.
What better to take your mind off your misery, and boost your flagging self esteem, than a few dates with someone who is actually interested in you? And, if one of those “dates” leads to a more serious romance, so much the better!
Why not start your new life now, rather than wait until you have a stupid piece of paper in your hand that says your divorce is official?
7 Reasons Why Dating During Divorce Might Be a Bad Idea
As much as you might think that you are ready to move on, dating during divorce can have serious implications. It can hurt you both legally and financially. Here are 7 reasons why you might want to hold off.
1. Dating during divorce can damage your ability to settle amicably.
It doesn’t matter that your spouse cheated on you 1,000 times while you were married, and this is the first time you have even considered going for coffee with someone else.
No one cares that your divorce case has dragged on for well over a year.
It makes no difference whether you are actually sleeping with a new partner or not.
Unless your spouse is as calm and spiritually evolved as a zen master, when s/he finds out you are dating someone else, it’s going to feel like s/he just got sucker-punched in the gut. That, in turn, will make dealing with your spouse way harder. It will also make settling your case amicably much more challenging.
2. Dating during divorce can reduce the amount of spousal support you receive.
Under the law, you are considered to be legally married until a judge officially divorces you. If you are having sex with someone else before you are divorced, in some states, you may technically be committing adultery. (Sorry!) Putting aside the moral aspects of having a fling while you are still married, the legal ramifications of your actions may be deeper than you counted on.
If you live in a state that still recognizes fault in divorce, then your “adultery” may affect your ability to receive spousal support. It may also reduce the amount of spousal support you receive.
What’s more, if you are not just dating, but are living with, your new love, you might as well kiss your chances of receiving spousal support good-bye.
3. Dating during divorce can affect your settlement strategy.
Most people assume that spousal support is paid in monthly installments over time. However, depending upon the law in your state, you may have the option of taking spousal support in a lump sum as soon as your divorce is final.
The problem is, usually the only way you can get a lump sum is if your spouse agrees to pay it to you that way. Most judges won’t order your spouse to pay you support one big lump sum payment.
If your spouse knows that you are likely to be living with someone else soon, s/he will never agree to pay you a lump sum for support. Instead, your spouse will opt for monthly payments. That way, as soon as you start living with someone else, your spouse gets off the hook. Spousal support ends when you move in with a new partner.
4. Dating during divorce can cost you money in your property settlement.
Any money you receive as spousal support (maintenance) is generally taxable income to you. (At least this will be true if you divorce in 2018.) Any money you receive in a property settlement is not.
For that reason, you might want to give up your right to spousal support in exchange for receiving more money now. Your spouse may want to do that too because it will end his/her obligation to support you in the future.
Trading a bigger property settlement for spousal support makes for a clean break. It also eliminates a lot of potential problems for both parties in the future.
However, if you are already dating someone, your spouse may be much less likely to agree to give you more marital property in exchange for your waiving your right to support.
Instead, your spouse will probably opt to pay you support over time. That way, your spouse won’t have to give up any extra marital property. Then as soon as you and your new love start living together, your spouse can stop paying spousal support, too.
5. Dating during divorce can hurt your post-divorce parenting.
When you and your spouse are trying to make a parenting plan, each of you assumes that the other will be alone with the children during your scheduled parenting time. When that changes, making a parenting plan can suddenly get way more complicated.
It is not unusual for the non-dating parent to feel like s/he has already been replaced by the “other person.” That makes him/her even less crazy about giving up any time with the kids.
What’s more, the non-dating parent now not only worries about how the dating parent will raise the kids, but how the dating parent’s new squeeze will affect the kids, too!
All of this makes reaching a reasonable parenting agreement infinitely more difficult.
6. Dating during divorce can affect your kids.
Going through a divorce takes as much time and energy as a full-time job. If you already have a full time job (which you obviously need to keep because you now really need the money), that already leaves you with precious little time for your kids.
Yet, your kids probably need more of your time and attention now than they did before. Remember, they are trying to deal with their own emotions about the divorce. They are trying to navigate their own “new family.” They are trying to adjust to their own new reality.
New relationships, even casual dating relationships, take time … often a LOT of time. That means that you will have even less time and attention left for your kids.
You may think that your kids won’t care.
Don’t kid yourself. They will.
No matter how much you may tell yourself that if you are happier, you will be a better parent, the truth is, you need time. You have to have the time, energy, and enough emotional bandwidth to take care of your kids.
7. Dating during divorce distracts you from dealing with your own emotional stuff.
The problem is that, no matter how long you may have been thinking about divorce, or how dead your marriage may be, while you are going through a divorce, you are still not at your best. You’re not truly yourself.
In order to move on from your marriage, you have to deal with your emotions. Like it or not, you have to let yourself feel the pain, anger, sadness, and other emotions you feel. You have to take the time, and do the work, needed to allow you to truly heal your wounds.
Otherwise, you will simply repeat the same mistakes in your new relationship that you made in your marriage.
Hiding your pain in a new romance may feel great for a while, but, ultimately, it is nothing more than a temporary anesthetic. What’s more, once the romance fades, or the new relationship ends, you may find yourself picking up even more pieces of your shattered self than you had before you let yourself get swept away.
In this week’s Love Essentially, I offer advice not just to single parents, but to all parents, including working parents and working single parents! Having dinner together as a family is so important for so many reasons. I remember when I was first separated, this went by the wayside, because I didn’t really feel like we were a family anymore. Well, guess what? You are! Wonderful, happy and joyful things happen at the dinner table, and if you don’t have one, you will miss out on them. So, here is the article, which offers tips for single parents on how to make family dinners happen more often.
8 ways to simplify and enhance your family dinner experience
by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Media Group
Being a divorced working mom certainly has its challenges. Trying to balance a job, run a business, raise the kids, run errands, manage a household, adhere to social obligations, work out and still find time to have some fun can feel overwhelming and stressful.
One huge source of anxiety might seem trivial to some, but I can tell you it troubles me to no end. I ask myself on a daily basis: What are we having for dinner tonight?
I have to believe that most parents – regardless of gender, marital status or job status – share my angst in figuring out what to cook every night, whether or not to go out or stay in, how to please everyone’s taste buds and diets, and how to get your family to sit down together at the dinner table and talk for an hour or so.
So, when I attended a recent networking meeting and met Anita Brown, a North Shore culinary coach who teaches men, women and kids how to cook and be comfortable in their kitchens, I felt an opportunity arise.
I cornered Brown and explained my dilemma. She assured me that I am not alone.
Recently, I was talking to my favorite 5th grade teacher (named Mrs. Teacher for privacy purposes), who just happens to be the mother of my future daughter-in-law, and she offered some brilliant relationship advice. We were talking about difficult children and how they can often be unlovable and not so enjoyable to be around. Mrs. Teacher told me she has a policy with her students that she has found maintains her relationship with the students, as well as their belief in themselves.
When one of her students misbehaves, Mrs. Teacher hands out the appropriate consequences, has a conversation with the student and then reviews her next day policy. The next day policy is that the next day is an absolutely brand new day. There will be no grudges held or any further discussion on the previous day’s bad behavior. Mrs. Teacher tells her students they don’t have to worry that she will be mad or upset with them because it’s over and they are moving forward.
Think about the power in this policy. Children mess up. We all mess up. How amazing would it be to be fully forgiven and to know that the next day was a brand new start? Mrs. Teacher reports that her students don’t misbehave more, but rather less in that they know minimum attention will be paid to the misbehavior. It’s forgiveness, a lack of regret, and a fresh start all rolled into one fabulous grade school policy.
Living By The Next Day Policy
What would life be like if we all lived that way? What if we had an argument with our partner and we knew that the very next day we were moving forward with no grudge or residual resentment? How much less tension would we have in our relationships and how much faith in ourselves and our partner? What if we followed that same policy with our children and with the people we work with? What if we didn’t have to carry the traces of our arguments into the next argument?
How would it feel to be fully forgiven and know the next day was a brand new start? How would it feel to give that gift to our partners and friends when they fall short?
What would it take for each of us to let go of a disagreement, a slight, a criticism, and make tomorrow a clean slate day? Mrs. Teacher does this by having full faith that each of her young students is worthy of hope and worthy of being loved and respected anew. She sees how her students blossom under this level of love and respect. Not surprisingly, Mrs. Teacher has also been happily married for over thirty years.
We can’t make the other people in our life follow this rule, but we can live it ourselves. Recently I said to my husband, “You can stay mad at me if you want but I’m moving on.” He looked shocked, but he smiled and agreed. It only took us twenty-eight years of marriage to figure that out! I’ve always done the same with my children. No grudges, no staying mad and no holding onto resentment. It was good for them and good for me to live that way.
So I’m recommending the brilliant relationship advice of a 5th grade teacher to make each day a new one for any relationship you are in. Let go of grudges and anger. Move forward. How can you make that relationship better today?
Summer is upon us! It’s a time for pools, barbecues, vacations, and adventure. Typically in the summer months, things tend to slow down a bit and we find ourselves with more time on our hands. That’s why the summer is the perfect time to start dating and focusing on finding the one.
Having time to ourselves to enjoy the summer months can be both a blessing and a curse. With more free time on our hands, we often tend to notice the feelings and emotions we normally push aside. Feelings of loneliness or discomfort may arise when we realize we haven’t been focusing time or energy towards finding love or unleashing our inner fun and playfulness.
We typically head into the summer feeling one of two ways. One, we are looking at things from the “glass half full” perspective and are excited to start dating and are anticipating at least one or two hot dates. Or two, our glass is “half empty” and we’re sad about not having a special someone and are dreading the summer.
The truth is, you’re most likely a combination of both. Whichever side is more dominant in you, be sure to see both sides of the situation. Embrace the fact that summer is a time for endless possibilities and new beginnings.
Many of my clients believe another summer will come and go and they will stay in the same place – alone and feeling like there is nothing they can do about it. We get stuck in a rut and think there is no way to change our relationship status. So, we go about our summer and things stay the same.
The key to finding love this summer – or any time for that matter – is to manage expectations. Unrealistic expectations will only create more problems. I typically see two very different scenarios when it comes to my clients. On one hand, I have clients who can never seem to find a relationship because the men never measure up to their expectations. They only see the negative qualities and have trouble finding the positive qualities in their dates. On the other hand, I have clients who jump into dating and by the third date are already traveling together and making long-term commitments. The problem with that is that they haven’t taken the time to really get to know the person they are dating. As you can see, there are unrealistic expectations on both ends of the spectrum.
Whether you’re excited to date or are filled with anxiety and dread, it’s important to go into this summer with an open mind and heart. If you’re looking to find “the one,” check out my tips below to help motivate you to date this summer.
Tips for Finding “The One”
1. You probably will not recognize your soulmate right away.
When you meet “the one” you will not experience a rush of hormones, butterflies, or the typical fanfare depicted in novels. You will only know him or her by a very gentle tug on the heart. Instead of looking for an instant attraction or “spark,” look for that gentle feeling inside and start by building a friendship without any expectations for something more. If they are really your soulmate, that will become obvious with time.
2. Relationships rarely, if ever, are as they appear in romantic movies and books.
Real people fall into real love slowly. Instead of a “happily ever after”they live “fully ever after” and have a rich, full, and healthy life together. Things take time, work, and effort. No relationship is as it appears on the big screen, so be sure to take a realistic approach as you are dating and meeting new people.
3. It takes years to really get to know someone.
As you know, being human means we are complex beings. People have many layers and sides to them and it can take a while – years even – to fully get to know someone. Give yourself time to be sure you are really learning all there is to know about your partner.
4. A relationship is a living being that needs love, care, and space.
People tend to either ignore or smother in relationships. Neither of these are great conditions for a thriving relationship. Healthy relationships need time, attention, and consistency.
5. Great relationships are completely worth the effort.
There is nothing like being in a supportive and loving relationship. A good, positive relationship is completely worth the effort. When you find the right one, you will be understood on a deep level – and they will love you despite all of your flaws or eccentricities. This is one of the best feelings in the world.
So, now that you have some things to keep in mind as you approach the dating scene this summer, it’s time to start going on dates! If you think you may need some more help and coaching, my 3-month relationship coaching program might be the right fit for you. Contact me today to schedule a free consultation call.
Sue De Santo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a therapist in private practice for over 20 years. A graduate Loyola University with a Masters Degree in Social Work, Sue is also holds a certification in Relationship Coaching from the Relationship Coaching Institute. Sue has extensive experience in women’s issues, anxiety and depression, substance abuse, grief counseling, relationship issues, divorce recovery and couples counseling. This blog post was originally at: SueDesanto.com
It’s hard to understand how a person who used to be your husband (or wife) can switch gears so abruptly. What I mean by that is, once loving, kind and caring towards you in your marriage, now your ex is angry and hateful towards you. It’s not only strange and shocking almost, but it’s sad and hurtful.
When people get separated—I mean when they both know the divorce is really happening, they turn that corner and on come the gloves.
The person you slept in a bed with and made babies with is now like a stranger—a really mean stranger. He or she won’t speak to you, won’t say hello, goes out of his or her way to make you feel bad and uncomfortable, and at times, screams insults and obscenities in your face. You are now at war with the person you ironically stood in front of an audience and God and promised to love and cherish forever, while gazing longingly into each other’s eyes. It’s almost hard to grasp the change when it happens.
An ex’s anger and hate can go on for months, years, and even a lifetime. I remember a friend told me her 90 year old mom was dying, and told her children that their father (who was her ex-husband) was not to attend her funeral. I couldn’t believe it.
But understanding why your ex is angry and hateful can help you accept it for now, tolerate it, and not play into his or hands by fighting back and being mean and angry and hateful back.
Here are 8 reasons your ex might be angry and hateful towards you:
1. Stress and Fear. Separation, the divorce process, and the huge life change of divorce might be one of the most stressful situations a person will endure. It also causes tremendous fear. Fear of finances, fear of “will the kids be OK?”, fear of being alone, etc. And, when people have anxiety and fear, they get angry and mean. Who better to take out their anger and hate to? You, the person who caused all of this! (Not that that’s really the case, but in his or her mind, you are the cause, you did this, you are causing him or her all this stress and fear.)
2. Guilt. Here is a typical scenario. A guy leaves his wife for another woman. At first, he is really nice about it, feels terrible, etc. Then, the wife hires a divorce attorney and starts defending herself in litigation. The husband decides he hates her, and becomes really angry with her. In other words, he channels his guilt into hate for his ex because it’s easier to blame her. By the way, women do this too, it’s not just men.
3. Self-hate. I personally find that people are most hateful to others when they hate themselves. For someone who lacks self-awareness, it’s easy to transfer the hate they have for themselves to their ex. How many times has your ex come to pick up the kids and is really really mean to you that day, for reasons you have no idea? You’re thinking, ‘OK….what did I do now?” My answer to you is nothing! Something happened to your ex and he hates himself or herself for it, and so he or she decided to hate you instead. It’s easier that way. (To an unhealthy person with no self-awareness, that is.)
4. His new girlfriend/wife. Let’s say a guy is with a woman who has a horrible relationship with her ex. They treat each other with hate and anger. So, for her, that is the only way she knows for divorced parents. So, when her new husband is trying to co-parent with his ex wife, she can’t understand the friendship. In her mind, he is supposed to hate his ex, just like she hates hers. So, she might be putting pressure on him, fueling the fire, and almost convincing him that you are this horrible person who did this, this and this in the past, and that he shouldn’t forget it or ever be your friend. And, because she is now the woman in his life, he listens because he doesn’t want to create tension in his new relationship.
5. Addiction issues or mental illness. These are areas that you have absolutely no control over. Say this to yourself: I am not a doctor, I am not an addiction counselor, I am not a psychiatrist. Your ex needs to get help from a professional, and you need to take a step back. A big step back. Addicts blame everyone else for their problems. That’s addiction 101.
6. Hurt and pain. People cover up intense pain and hurt with anger and hate. Anger and hate are the protective shields over the wounds that aren’t healing. I could cry when I think of how sad this is, and how common. If they could acknowledge that their ex hurt them like hell, and that the pain they caused is still very much there, they might find alternative ways to channel the pain. I’m not saying the person should forgive an ex immediately for what he or she did, but being mean and angry for years is unproductive and very very bad for them, the ex and the kids.
7. Unhappiness. If someone is unhappy, they don’t want anyone else to be happy, especially the ex. So, if he or she senses you are happy, they want war. They are pissed. In their eyes, you don’t deserve happiness! You ruined their life! On the flip side, if you are miserable, you will find that your ex will be nicer.
8. It’s expected. Being amicable seems foreign to most people getting divorced, since most divorce stories are ugly. So, they automatically feel like it’s not right to be kind and courteous to an ex.
The good news is, countless couples are able to let go of the anger and hate after a divorce, which fosters acceptance, peace and a happier, better future for both partners. Letting go of anger and hate also benefits the kids. Not only can parents who are friends co-parent so much more effectively, but kids thrive when their parents get along. It takes so much pressure off of a kid, and makes the kids feel more like a family. If you think about it, whether a couple is married or divorced, the kids cringe when their parents fight. It makes them uncomfortable, sad, insecure, and filled with anxiety. I know that when I get along with my ex, my kids beam with happiness.
Here’s the thing about divorce anger and hate. During a divorce and after, it’s so easy to conjure up memories that sustain resentment. It’s easier to blame the ex than to look in the mirror and say, “Maybe I played a role in this divorce, too.” It’s also easy to hate if you know you can’t have your ex back, and it’s easy to hate someone who moved on before you, i.e. has a girlfriend two minutes after the separation (which so many people do.) It’s also easy to say, “He took the best years of my life” and resent him or her for that.
The key in letting go of anger and hate is to remember two things:
1. You have zero control over your ex’s journey, and his or her anger and hate towards you. Yes, you can try talking to him or her, writing a letter, apologizing for your role in the divorce, but that’s pretty much all you can do. He or she is the one who has to decide to let it go.
2. You have all the control over letting your anger go. I remember a woman once said to me, “I want to let go of my anger, but I don’t know how.” My answer is, stop looking back. If you focus on your children and your own life, the road ahead, the life you want moving forward, and you do what you can to get what you want from this point forward, your anger and hate will go away. The wound will turn into a scab and eventually fall off. Will you have a small scar? For sure. But it won’t be noticeable.
This week’s Love Essentially comes from the bottom of my heart. I think there are countless beautiful women out there who lack self-confidence and self-love and I just don’t understand why! I think all women are unique and beautiful inside and out, and need reminding every now and again about that. So, here are 15 self-confidence boosters that will make you feel beautiful all over!
15 material and nonmaterial self-confidence boosters
by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Media Group
A woman recently came up to me at a restaurant and said, “I love your dress.”
I replied, “Oh, thank you. It wasn’t expensive at all.”
“Well, it looks really good on you,” she said.
“Thanks,” I replied in an unassured tone. I then turned to my boyfriend and asked, “Do you really think so?”
Now why would I act like that? Instead of an uncomfortable reaction to not one, but two compliments, the best answer would have been, “Thank you so much!” Period. Listen to the compliment and believe it!
I realized right then that I am like countless other women in society who don’t know how to accept praise, and who lack self-confidence for some unknown reason. Has the world of Photoshopped magazine covers and touched-up Instagram photos ruined our chances of truly appreciating and having gratitude for our authentic beauty and unique traits?
As I get further into my 50s, the struggle to find happiness and acceptance with the way I look gets more and more challenging.
This is a guest post by Divorce Recovery Coach, Shannon McGorry. McGorry, who personally went through a divorce talks about the moment she figured out how to survive divorce, and offers that advice to you. So much of this post is in sync with my feelings on how to not only survive divorce, but to end up with a life that brings you happiness, peace and fulfillment.
How to survive divorce: My A-HA moment
The game changer which took me from that indescribable moment to my now incredible life.
“How am I going to do this?” “How am I going to do this?” I asked myself that question hundreds of times throughout my divorce. It faced me everywhere: brushing my teeth in the morning, pushing the cart in the grocery store, watching my daughters on the pre-school playground, in spin class, driving to my therapist; you get the picture; “How am I going to do this?” I felt like I was underwater, and holding my breath was starting to hurt.
The reality of divorce is indescribable. The emotions and the overwhelming details to sift and suffer through can’t really be put into words: too tough to explain unless you have lived it. I have talked to numerous women who identify with these two thoughts: 1. Finding ourselves in this place makes us question who we are, what our life has become, and how to move forward. and 2. We acknowledge that we either gave away our power or maybe had it taken from us (either intentionally or unintentionally). Like these women, I have experienced divorce first hand and I want to share with you the game changer which took me from those indescribable moments to my now incredible life.
It all started with what I call my A-HA moment. It was a simple yet oh-so-powerful shift in focus. The strength of what I am sharing is in this simple yet powerful step; turn your focus inward, get really clear on you, focus on yourself.The internal shift in focus is what allows us to not only survive divorce but to redefine ourselves and navigate this all important chapter of life very well.
I know you have one million things to do right now, and it may not seem like you have the luxury to spend time on yourself. Believe me I get it, but I also know the most powerful thing you can do right now is to shift the focus to you. (Now, I don’t mean check out of life and check into the spa,,, although I’m sure that sounds great to a whole lot of us right now!) The powerful shift I am talking about is an internal means of really getting to know who you are because when you know, accept, and love yourself you can make decisions that serve you best…and we know that divorce demands the best of us.
There are numerous ways to create this shift in focus and the beauty of the process is that it is customized by you. The clarity is created by getting in touch with yourself… remembering who you are, the things that you value in life, the experiences that bring you joy, the people whom you would choose to surround yourself with. It’s in the selection of your thoughts, feelings, and actions; the creation of positivity and confidence.
For example, when I shifted my focus inward the most powerful thing I realized was how important my faith was to me. I was able to use that awareness to strengthen and deepen my relationship with God. I developed and shaped my life, made the choices based on my values, and created life experiences with the people I love who so I know joy and fulfillment. And now, I love the journey I am on. Here are some of my go to’s that I use to regain clarity, and shift my focus internally:
I revisit my core values to use them as a barometer for decision making.
I reread my list of self-identified strengths and remember ways those strengths have served me.
I schedule time to do one thing a day that brings me joy.
And I make time to meditate and pray so that I can clear out the chaos of the external world and listen to my inner voice.
Feel free to borrow from my list or create your own; but the point is; focus on you. You have to get real with yourself. Now is the time to know, accept, and love yourself; not only for you but for those that you love and care about. I say this from a point of love and respect; to show you all that is possible. Shift your focus; spend some time and energy on you; you are so worth it. Only when we truly know, accept, and love ourselves can we shine our light and love to others.
So, I got my answer to the question that had replayed in my head hundreds of times. It was the powerful shift in focus on myself which empowered me to go from “How am I going to do this?” to living out “THIS is how I am doing this.”
A slight change in words…yes, but more importantly a powerful shift in focus.
Shannon McGorry is a Divorce Recovery Coach passionate about creating a powerful shift in focus for women who are ready to reclaim their power during and after divorce. Shannon is certified as a Professional Coach through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, a graduate of I Heart Coaching, and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Siena College with a B.A. in Economics. Her powerful coaching skills lead women toward lives of purpose, fulfillment, and joy; learn more at http://www.lovestrengthandgrace.com.
There are only a few guarantees when it comes to a divorce. Two of them include: Mom gets the kids on Mother’s Day and Dad gets them on Father’s Day. I’d have to bet it’s written that way in almost every divorce decree, not including cases of sole custody and other special circumstances.
So, tomorrow, your ex will pick up the kids and leave for the day, and you will be sitting home twiddling your thumbs, wondering what they are up to, and cringing that they are hanging out with your ex mother-in-law (who hates you). Right? Wrong!
To all divorced moms who dread Father’s Day, here is checklist that will not only change the way you end up feeling tomorrow, but it might change your entire outlook on your ex and the day that was designed to celebrate him.
1. Talk to your kids and get them excited about Father’s Day. Tell them how much fun they are going to have, and how they should be really nice to Daddy today because it’s a day to celebrate him. Don’t say, “Mom’s going to miss you so much.” Or “Tomorrow is going to feel so lonely.” Keep that to yourself.
2. Take your kids and go to Walgreen’s and buy a Father’s Day card for your ex. Or, buy him a gift or bake something with the kids. Or have the kids make homemade cards. Put your personal feelings aside because this is the right thing to do. This is teaching your kids how to be thoughtful and respect and appreciate their parents. What if your ex didn’t do that for you for Mother’s Day? Who cares!! Do this anyway. Trust me. Your kids will pick up on it and remember what you did. Do it every year, even if your ex never does it for you.
3. Father’s Day is a cease-fire day. If you can’t stand your ex, if he just did something horrible to you legally, if he is rude, if he gives you dirty looks, just ignore your feelings for a day and put on a smile. Say “Happy Father’s Day” and let him have a day. You don’t have to be over-the-top, just polite. It’s better for the kids!
4. The minute your kids and your ex leave, you better have some plans that make you happy! Do you realize that you have a whole day to enjoy by yourself? Clean out a closet, read a book in the bathtub, go to a pool by yourself, take a long walk, go shopping, call other divorced moms and get together for lunch. The possibilities are endless, so instead of feeling sorry for yourself, enjoy a beautiful summer day, knowing the kids are coming home in a few hours. And of course, if you can, go see your dad!
5. Remember that the kids need their father, just like they need you. If he cheated, or abused you, or even if he isn’t the best dad out there, try to put your ill feelings aside and remember that your kids need Dad. Not just on Father’s Day but every day. Kids who have no dad in their lives suffer a lot more than those who have a dad—even if he isn’t the best dad. And, if he is a great dad, but you just can’t stand him, give him credit! I know it isn’t easy, but it’s better for your kids.
6. Try to think about your own dad. Whether he is still with us or not, remember all of his wonderful qualities. Remember how important the role of a Father truly is. To a child (and for the rest of someone’s life), a father can be strong and protective and funny and smart and a best friend. Don’t you want your kids to have that regardless of the way you feel about your ex or what he did to you?
Just as Mother’s Day celebrates the hard work and dedication of a mom, Father’s Day is about your ex, whether you want that or not. Let him have his day. The divorce will be right back on track Monday morning. So, make Sunday a day of rest for the divorce. If everyone has a nice Father’s Day, everyone will benefit from it. That includes you.