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Divorced women know better than anyone the importance of good girlfriends you can trust during divorce. A true friend will listen to you for hours about your worries and fears. She’ll sit there with you while you cry. She’ll drink wine with you and come running to meet you at Starbucks whenever you need her. She’ll mean the world to you.

 

 

But, there’s one more thing a really good friend might do, and God bless her, she’s just trying to help: she’ll lie. Why? Because she wants to avoid you any further pain. So, beware. Here are 5 lies divorced women hear from their girlfriends.

 1.       I never liked him.

Remember in the early years how excited you were about him? Remember how you went on and on about how smart and kind and thoughtful he was? Your girlfriend didn’t just like him, she LOVED him, because she loves you, and she was happy to see you so happy. So, she did like him, and that’s okay. So did you!

 2.       He doesn’t even look good anymore.  

Maybe in some cases, this is true. But more than often Mr. Newly Single Man is working out and physically looks the best he’s looked in years. But, who cares?? Focus on how YOU look and feel.

 

 3.       You’ll meet someone before he does.

Not true in most cases. Men cannot be alone for two minutes. He will have a girlfriend very soon. She may even become his second wife quicker than you can say prenup. Not your concern. You just take your time and date if you want and have fun and meet new, interesting people. It will happen for you, too. (If that’s what you want.)

 4.       You don’t drink too much.  A couple glasses of wine every night is fine.

When getting divorced, people tend to drink a lot to numb the pain and ease anxiety. PLEASE don’t fall into this. Divorcing men and women are very susceptible to alcohol addiction. Plus, you don’t need a DUI right now. Drinking is not okay every night for a long period of time.

 5.       Everyone knows the divorce wasn’t your fault and they hate him.

As your friends are telling you he was completely at fault, there are a whole set of people who are telling him that “he’s better off, they never liked you, etc. etc.” Don’t let that bother you. You aren’t campaigning for votes. There’s no contest. You have your friends, he has his. As for mutual friends, some will take his side, some will take yours, and some will try to stay neutral (although that is very challenging.) Also, it doesn’t matter whose fault the divorce was or who wanted the divorce. Honestly. Try not to think about it (I know that’s not easy) but the focus moving forward needs to be on your new life and your children, of course.

 

 

People always say “a true friend is an honest friend.” I believe that to be true. But I’ve seen the best of friends tell these lies because they desperately want to see their girlfriend happy. I have also said to my very best friends, “Please be honest with me.” It can be brutally painful, but in the end, I would rather know the truth.

During my divorce, I had friends tell me: they saw my ex out on a date, the guy I liked wasn’t into me, and that a neighbor told a whole group of people that she didn’t understand why I was getting divorced and that there must be something wrong with me. I was devastated by all three of these truths, but I’m glad I knew.

I also ran into a friend who said, “I heard you’re getting divorced. I’m so sorry…” She then told me a story about my ex that she would not have told me if I was still married. Not sure if I really needed to hear that one.

But, hearing truthful things that aren’t so great does have its advantages. Although it might kill you to hear it, it validates that the divorce is the right thing.

One of the hardest things during divorce is not thinking about what your ex is doing, who he is with, if he’s happy. But, that can only cause a person anxiety and sadness. 

Try to just live your own life, focus on your kids, your career, and your health. And as time goes on, and you hear things about your ex, you won’t care so much. And your friends won’t have to lie to you anymore because the vulnerable, insecure, divorced girl will eventually blossom, and when your ex comes up in conversation, you’ll find yourself breezing over that subject and moving on to better things to talk about.

Like this article? Check out, “Divorce Advice: 9 Things For Rock Bottom”

 

 

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Divorce at any age is rough. But if you’re getting divorced over 50 (which is also known as a “gray divorce”) there are some issues that can arise that don’t happen with divorce at a younger age.

Here are 7 things you can’t ignore and MUST Understand when getting divorced over 50: 1. Cash Flow. 

Surviving a divorce after 50 requires more than just getting a good divorce settlement. You also need to make sure that you bring in enough money every month to pay your bills. In other words, you need positive cash flow.

How do you figure out if you’re going to have positive post-divorce cash flow? It starts by making a detailed monthly post-divorce budget BEFORE your divorce is final!

 

 

If you can see from your budget that you are not going to have enough money after your divorce to pay your bills you have three choices: make more, spend less or live off your assets.

Making more may mean that you need to get a job. (Yes. That’s frightening!) Spending less may mean seriously downsizing your lifestyle. And living off your assets only lasts for so long.

Once you spend down your assets, they’re gone. So, unless you can afford to live off your assets without risking that you will run out of money before you die, burning through your assets at warp speed after your divorce is a really bad idea.

 

 

2. Kids.

While everyone understands that divorce affects minor children, many people assume that a divorce later in life won’t affect their adult children.

It will.

It doesn’t matter how old your kids are. Your divorce will change their family forever. It will affect their relationships with you and your spouse. It may also affect their finances moving forward.

If your divorce leaves you (or your spouse) penniless who do you think will keep you from living on the streets? Your kids!

If your kids have to support you, your divorce will affect their finances. (Think about that when you’re negotiating your divorce settlement!)

Your divorce will also affect your kids emotionally. Adult children of divorce often have problems dealing with the demise of their parents’ marriage. It rocks their sense of security. It undermines their faith in marriage as an institution. It also shakes their own relationships to the core.

The bottom line is that you probably can’t shield your kids from all of the effects of your divorce. But if you pay attention, you may be able to at least soften the blow in significant ways.

3. Taxes.

The amount of taxes you have to pay on the assets you get in a divorce can dramatically affect your bottom line. If you don’t understand that, then you may be surprised at what’s left after you pay Uncle Sam.

 

What’s more, if you were expecting to live off of your assets after you divorced, then the amount of money you actually get after taxes matters a lot!

While explaining all of the tax ramifications of divorce would take volumes, there are a few basics you absolutely need to know. For example, you need to know the difference between pre-tax assets and post-tax assets.

Pre-tax assets are those assets that you HAVE NOT paid taxes on. Post tax assets are those assets that you HAVE paid taxes on. A Roth IRA is a post-tax asset. A regular IRA is a pre-tax asset.

Getting $100,000 from a regular IRA will not put $100,000 in your pocket. It will put $100,000 minus income taxes in your pocket. Getting $100,000 from a Roth IRA, on the other hand, will give you $100,000.

If you don’t pay attention to how taxes will affect your divorce settlement, you may find yourself in a huge financial bind after your divorce.

4. Spousal Support a/k/a Maintenance a/k/a Alimony.

Spousal support can play a huge role in many later-in-life divorces.

In Illinois, divorcing spouses who have been married for 20+ years can get maintenance for the same number of years they were married for, or for an indefinite period of time. When you’ve  been married for decades, that’s a significant amount of time!

Paying maintenance for that long can be a sizable obstacle in divorce negotiations. So can securing those payments.

When someone is going to have to pay spousal support after divorce s/he also has to make sure that there is enough money to keep making those payments even after s/he dies. Most people do that by buying a life insurance policy on the paying spouse’s life.

But getting a life insurance policy after 50 (or 60!) can be tricky.

If the spouse paying maintenance has a serious health condition, s/he may not be able to buy life insurance at all. Or, buying the insurance may cost a small fortune! Because of that, securing maintenance is often a much bigger challenge for older couples than it is for younger ones.

5. Health Care. 

The older you get, the more important health insurance and health care in general, becomes. Unfortunately, the older you get the more expensive it is to buy that health insurance!

Unless you are 65 and are covered by Medicare, you need to find some kind of health insurance after divorce that fits into your budget.  (Even if you are covered by Medicare, you may need supplemental health insurance as well.)

The mistake many people wait is that they don’t investigate their health insurance options until their divorce is either done or almost done. By that point, their divorce is settled or mostly settled. (Or, at least, that’s what they think!)

When they find out that their health insurance premiums are going to cost more than their mortgage, they suddenly have to re-think their entire divorce settlement! Doing that can completely destroy your settlement, and turn your divorce into an ugly mess.

 

 

That’s why it’s so important if you’re divorcing later in life that you work with a good health insurance broker as soon as possible.  That broker can help you find and understand your options …and keep you from tearing your hair out in frustration!

6. Retirement

Getting a divorce after 50 can throw a giant monkey wrench into your retirement plans. Even if you scrimped and scraped so that you had enough money to retire at 60, getting a divorce can change everything.

In the best case, you will only lose half of your retirement accounts. In the worst case, you could lose more.

So the first thing you have to realize if you’re getting a divorce later in life is that you might not be able to retire as soon as you thought you would. Or, you may not be able to retire at all. (Yes. Ouch!)

In order to figure out your retirement options, it helps to work with a GOOD divorce financial planner. S/he can run projections showing you how long your retirement money is likely to last. S/he can also tell you how long you have to work before you can start drawing on your retirement money.

Finally, as with health insurance, it’s important to get complete financial information BEFORE you finalize your divorce. That way you can adjust your negotiations based upon a realistic picture of your financial future.

7. Big Expenses (a/k/a Money Suckers).

If you are going to have to live on a budget after your divorce, you need to eliminate as many large, unexpected expenses as you can before your divorce is final.

Sadly, the two things that cause the most large, unexpected expenses tend to be two things people love very much: their house and their adult children. While you can continue to love both after your divorce, you may not be able to continue to support either.

 

 

Although most people think of their house as an investment, it is also a liability. Not only do you have to pay the mortgage, taxes, and insurance, but you also have to pay for maintenance and repairs. All of that can send your budget into a tailspin.

As much as you may love your house, selling it before you’re divorced can may make a lot of financial sense. That way you and your spouse will share any last minute repair costs as well as the closing costs.

Similarly, your post-divorce budget may not have room in it to support your adult kids. Even if you’ve been supporting them for decades, your divorce may force them to finally have to stand on their own to feet.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Although, it is likely to be painful in the short term.

Surviving a Gray Divorce

Surviving a gray divorce is in many ways more challenging than surviving a divorce at any other stage of life.  You usually have to deal with more complicated financial issues. You often have to deal with trickier health care issues. Plus, your kids can still be a problem.

If a gray divorce may be in your future (or in the future of someone you love), know that educating yourself about the divorce process, and getting the help you need, will be even more important for you than it will be for younger people.

 

Simply put: You can’t afford to make mistakes.

 

Karen Covy is a divorce attorney, advisor, mediator and coach who is committed to helping couples resolve their disputes as amicably as possible. She is also the author of When Happily Ever After Ends: How to Survive Your Divorce Emotionally, Financially, and Legally. Karen has been featured on the Channel 7 News, WCIU You and Me This Morning, WGN Radio, MarketWatch, The Goodmen Project, and numerous other radio shows, publications, and podcasts. You can find her articles on The Huffington Post, Divorced Moms, Divorce Force, GUYVORCE, and Your Tango, as well as on her own website at karencovy.com. This article was originally published on Karen’s blog. 

 

 

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Going back to work as a single mom is terrifying. I can speak from firsthand experience. But what I learned from having a full time job and being a mom is that Mommy’s new job can turn out to be the best thing, not just for Mommy, but for the the kids, too! Here is this week’s Love Essentially, where I list 8 benefits of going back to work as a mom.

Mom or dad’s new job might be the best thing to happen to the family

by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Media Group

Starting a new job can be exciting.

A steady paycheck, the opportunity to advance in the company, benefits like healthcare and the chance to do work you find fulfilling are all reasons to love that time in your life.

But what if you’re a stay-at-home parent who hasn’t worked in years and who, instead of looking forward to the new gig, is feeling, well, terrified?

That’s the case for one mom who recently posted this message on a Facebook group page:

Is it wrong to have so much anxiety … starting my first full time job in nine years and since having my kids? I know it’ll be fine, but, man, I’m scared! I know this is a huge positive in my life and will finally give me financial freedom, but I’ve been so used to staying home with my kids and doing everything for them.

I completely understand how she feels.

Three years ago, with two junior high-age kids, I started a full-time job after not having had a 9-to-5 in more than a decade. I feared everything from new technology to my ability to handle the role for which I was hired. And that’s not to mention relinquishing control of my micromanaging mindset when it came to the kids.

Click here to read the rest of the article, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press, and several other newspapers across the U.S.

Like this article? Check out, “8 Job Searching Tips For Moms Going Back To Work”

Dating Advice for a Guy Dating A Divorced Mom - YouTube

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You wait and you wait and you wait and it seems like your divorce is never going to be final. Am I right? Months go by, even years, and still, it lingers on. There always seems to be an issue that pops up that delays things, and then his lawyer is on vacation and then your lawyer is on vacation and then one of you changes your mind on something–you decide you want to stay in your house or your ex decides he wants more parenting time, and again, the divorce continues. Finality seems so close, but yet so far. And then, one day, either one of two things happen and you know your divorce is final: either you find out that everything is settled and you get a prove-up hearing date (where you go in front of a judge and agree to the settlement and he/she grants your divorce), or you find out your divorce is final during your trial.

You’ve lived for so long waiting for this nightmare to end, wanting to move on with your life, wanting to stop paying lawyer fees, and now it’s really here.

Are you happy? Are you relieved? Are you fearful? Are you sad? There are so many feelings that go along with a divorce being final, especially on the day it actually happens.

The day I got divorced (officially), it was my ex’s night with the kids. My dear, dear friend, whose divorce was set to be finalized about 2 weeks later called me and said, “We’re going out.”

We met for a drink and we sat there and it was kind of quiet. I wasn’t having a drink to say “cheers!” and I wasn’t having a drink to drown my sorrows because I was so depressed.

My friend described us having a drink as “Marking the occasion. Just having a drink to mark it. That’s it. Not good or bad, not happy or sad, just because it was a significant day.

I’d say for me, the feeling of my divorce being final was first and foremost, relief. I finally got to take it off my plate, so that I could focus more on being a single mom and getting my life together.

When the divorce is final, you get to be done worrying about your judge’s decisions and rulings and petitions and what the outcome is going to be. You now know. You know what the finances are, you know what assets you’re left with, you know your kids’ custody schedule is in writing. You know.  And knowing is very comforting. It may not be exactly what you wanted, but at least there’s no more guessing, no more getting your hopes up, no more worrying about what’s going to happen. The decisions have been made. Another biggie when it comes to relief: no more paying the attorney! That’s actually a reason to make a toast and say “cheers!!”

Other feelings are both sadness and happiness. It’s the official end of one life, the beginning of a new life.  So, I think the feelings are very mixed. There aren’t too many other instances in life that carry both of those feelings at the same time. In fact, I can’t think of one.

I just read a blog where the author surveyed a bunch of women who were getting divorced, and most of them said that even though their marriages were terrible, they still missed that life a little bit. You can miss anything, whether it’s bad or good, just because you lived with it for so long.

As far as the happiness, PLEASE don’t feel guilty if you feel happy. Don’t you deserve some happiness after all the pain you’ve endured, both at the end of the marriage (maybe even for years) and then through the divorce? Feeling happy is okay. It’s healthy, actually. I remember feeling like I had no clue where life was going to take me, and it was a little bit scary, but it was a good feeling, too. The unknown can be exciting if you have the guts to look at it that way.

As far as the actual divorce, I can’t resist talking about the fact that what I remember very clearly about that day, is that my ex, myself and our attorneys were standing in front of the judge and she was reviewing our agreements. When she was getting ready to wrap things up, she asked me a question. “Do you agree with this settlement? If you do, please answer, ‘I do.’” With my jaw on the ground, I somehow managed to say “I do.”

Sometimes I look back and I wonder if I dreamed that. Seriously? The last thing you say when you get divorced is “I do?”

Other things that happened on my divorce day: In the morning, before I went downtown, the girl my ex was dating at the time actually asked me (with more enthusiasm than Tony Robbins and a smile plastered on her face) if I wanted her to babysit my kids since it was “such a big day!!!!!!” That sort of set me over the edge. There were no tears during my divorce, I think because I was so angry at the girl.

Getting divorced is one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through in my life. Endless stress, tears, fears, worries, resentment, bitterness, loss, grief, gut-wrenching pain, loneliness, and anger are all feelings people can face for months, perhaps years during a divorce. But having gone through it, I’m stronger, smarter and I appreciate things more than I used to, although that might be part of getting older, as well.

When divorce becomes final, I think there’s one thing everyone feels: You once stood in front of a priest or a rabbi or a judge with this person, and you promised to love, honor and cherish him or her forever. And now, you’ve broken that promise (whether it was your choice or not).  There’s an immense sadness about that. It’s sad that your future isn’t what you thought it was going to be and the life you imagined isn’t going to become a reality.

That said, screw tradition and what life was supposed to be. It didn’t happen because it wasn’t meant to be. One or both people were unhappy enough to end the marriage. If it wasn’t your choice, then you had no control, and if it was your choice,  you were pretty damn miserable. Is that a good way to live? Nope. Isn’t it wonderful that you now have the opportunity to find a better life for yourself? Freedom is a beautiful thing. And that’s certainly something to celebrate.

Like this article? Check out, “The Long, Painful and Sometimes Unjust Legal Process of Divorce”

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Talking to your child about divorce isn’t easy, but there’s something I want to share that I think is very helpful and beneficial.

We all have a story about how we met and fell in love with our ex’s. I call it a “Once upon a time” story. If you are a woman, you probably remember the exact day, the place, who you were with, where you were in your life at the time, and even what you were wearing. The details of that first meeting never fade.

Even if you are someone who can’t stand your ex, or you feel like you are over the relationship, or have resentment or anger, and even if he or she wronged you so much you can barely stand it, that once upon a time story still happened. You can’t change the past.

You may not want to think about it because it’s too painful. You may want to block it out because he or she turned out to be a completely different person than you thought. It may disgust you to recall the memories of those passionate kisses that took your breath away, only to see him or her now and be completely repulsed to the point you might throw up.

Here’s my point. Despite any bad feelings you have now, I think it’s important to remember the story, and here’s why.

Don’t get mad, but if you haven’t done this already, I think you should tell it to your kids.

In fact, I think you should tell it to your kids over and over and over again. Why? Because I did that and it made my daughter so happy, it was beautiful to see.

One night several years ago, she was lying in bed, and she asked me to tell her a bedtime story. I’m not really sure what made me choose my “Once upon a time” story with my ex, but I began telling her about the first time her dad and I met, and I went into all the funny details about meeting him and what I was feeling, and how he asked me out, and even the first time we ever kissed.

Telling that story to my daughter didn’t make me upset or angry about the way things are now. What it did was bring me back to a time in my life with him when we were truly happy and in love. And that was nice.

Even more importantly, it made my daughter so happy, I almost cried. I could see the excitement and anticipation on her little face, I could see her hopeful expression, the joy in her eyes that her parents really did love each other at one time and that’s why she was born.

She wanted to hear the story over and over again, and I’ve probably told it to her about 100 times since.

I’m not a psychiatrist or therapist, but what I can tell you as a mother is, kids want to hear that their parents were once in love, and that they loved each other enough to actually have babies together. They want and need to hear that there was a time their parents connected and acted completely differently than they do now. I think it makes them feel more loved and secure.

Kids get tired of seeing their divorced parents at odds. Even if you never argue in front of your kids, there might be feelings of awkwardness and distance that they get. Every time you don’t say hello to each other, every time you use that formal tone when you are telling your ex something, or when he uses that tone with you. You may not realize it but it wears on them.

To this day, I constantly watching my kids’ faces when my ex and I are in the same room, or at school or sporting events. They are absorbing everything. I see their moods when we are not getting along. I see their moods when we are getting along. They are so much happier and more relaxed when they see peace between their parents.

So, telling the kids your “Once upon a time” story will give them a sense of security. When they hear that you adored your ex’s beautiful eyes, it will make them think THEY have those beautiful eyes, too. And when they hear that your ex said he loved your laugh, they will realize that THEY love your laugh, too. And when they hear that you and your ex once stayed up all night talking, they’ll understand more why they were born.

If you were a kid, wouldn’t it mean everything to you to hear those things? Wouldn’t it be a nice, refreshing break from the animosity that sadly enough is part of their everyday lives? Wouldn’t it be nice that instead of talking to your child about divorce, and telling them things your therapist (or their therapist) told you to say, that you could give them the gift of their parents’ loving relationship at one time?

Please, put your current feelings aside, and tell your kids your “Once Upon a Time” story, and I promise you, if you can tell it over and over again, and compartmentalize that from what you feel today, you will have a better chance of living happily ever after, and so will your kids.

The End.

Like this article? Check out, “20 Things You Might Want To Say To Your Kids”

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Here are a few reasons why people cheat:

1. A person gets drunk and makes a bad decision. 2. A spouse isn’t interested in sex and the person feels rejected over and over again. 3. A person feels unloved, unappreciated or disrespected. 4. When someone feels immense hidden anger and resentment towards their spouse. 5. Boredom in the marriage or sex life. 6. Feeling lonely or in some kind of pain.

But there’s another reason why people cheat. A recent story sent to me by a reader brought it to light for me.

This woman has been married for 5 years and has a baby.

Our sex life I would say was typical for long-term relationships – vigorous and exciting in the beginning, eventually getting to once a week (and started to feel like a chore). But, overall, we got along well, we have similar financial and life goals. He’s a good man with good values, and loves me for exactly who I am. I have no reason to not be in love with him.

She said a couple years ago, she started eating healthy and exercising, and lost a lot of weight. She met a guy and started having an affair. The guy ended it, and then her husband found out about it. They went to couple’s therapy, which was helpful, in her opinion. But then, the guy she had the affair with started contacting her. They got together once, and she decided it was wrong and plans never to see him again.

I’m not proud of my actions. The fact that I chose to meet with the guy again gives me pause as to how committed I am to my husband. My husband is a wonderful man, who doesn’t deserve this treatment at all. I’m honestly just bored in my marriage, and I want to WANT my husband. I just feel no desire for him in any sexual way anymore, and finding that re-desire was exhilarating. He’s my best friend though, and I don’t want to hurt him which I know I’m going to.

She’s now wondering if she should try to work it out or get divorced.

From reading her story, I believe the reason she cheated to be:

Lack of Self-love.

Let’s start at the beginning of her letter, about “sex feeling like a chore.” If you think about it, most long-term relationships start off vigorous and exciting in the bedroom, and then taper off to comfortable sex. That’s just life.

That said, I believe that there are countless couples who have been together for decades who still have great sex lives. Why? One word: EFFORT. Keeping your sex life good takes work. It takes doing things in and outside of the bedroom that promote desire, love, adoration and attraction. It isn’t easy but yet it is if you have the right attitude. Sex is sort of work and yet it isn’t. Both people have to be committed to keeping the sex good—no matter how much time goes by for it to stay good.

But if you truly love your partner—and this woman is saying “I have no reason not to be in love with him,” “he’s a good man,” “we get along,” and “he’s my best friend,” then why doesn’t she want to do the work? Did she think sex was going to magically stay great forever without any effort at all? When I say effort, I mean doing kind things for each other outside the bedroom, treating each other with respect, showing the other person you care about him or her and what’s going on in his or her life, having romantic dates, taking trips together, learning together, volunteering together, laughing together, holding hands, yes, shopping at Victoria’s Secret, and of course, keeping yourself healthy physically. These things are all foreplay that lead to good sex. I’d say it’s challenging, but if you are truly committed, then it isn’t.

Let’s get to the next issue. Why did she cheat? I get the feeling that this woman lost all this weight and felt sexy and pretty and desirable. But why did she feel the need to give herself to another man instead of to her devoted husband, who loved and adored her even BEFORE she lost the weight? I personally would have wanted to shower my husband (who loved me unconditionally) with my new, skinny body. He’s committed, and that to me is a huge turn-on.

I do not think this woman is a bad person. She just sounds like she needs some guidance. Her biggest issue in my opinion is that she doesn’t really like herself.

I think her lack of self-love is the reason why she cheated.

Being someone who has struggled with weight issues and body image issues for most of my life, I can understand how getting skinny can make a person like themselves more. That said, I’m not saying that’s valid. Sure, you can be proud of yourself for getting your body in shape, but having a good body shouldn’t define who you are. You have to have self-love for everything you are—what you do, how you live your life, how you choose to contribute to the world, how you treat people, (especially your loved ones and family) and how you choose to spend your time. These decisions are what make someone like or love themselves, not how much they weigh on a scale.

If this woman doesn’t realize what she has, I fear that she will divorce this man, and then regret it several years later. She will leave him, and he will have a girlfriend so fast, it will make her head spin. The girlfriend will adore this man, and this woman will be devastated by it.

The good news is, there is still time. It sounds like this guy loves and adores his wife and wants to work it out. I truly hope she chooses to realize that the best love comes from: commitment, trust, liking each other, and being best friends. In my opinion, if you have these things, the sex part should be easy. I also hope that she finds a way to start liking herself more. Maybe that means therapy. Maybe it means a new job. Maybe it means looking in the mirror and saying “I’m not proud of what I did, but I am going to forgive myself and make it up to my husband by being his best friend and acting like it.” If her mind is made up, then it’s too late. But if she has self-awareness (which it sounds like she does) then she will make the right decision. After all, I’d hate to see someone ending up divorced and thinking it was because she didn’t really love the guy, when in reality, she didn’t really love HER.

Like this article? Check out, “Why Couldn’t He Change For Me?”

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In what feels like a personal quest to help people appreciate your independence, instead of dread it, fear it, or be sad about it, I decided to write my Love Essentially column on the topic. I’ve been a single mom for 11 years now–hard to believe! Getting ultra comfortable with being alone, being independent and acting as the head of a household wasn’t easy, and it sure was scary. But I’m better for it, stronger, more empowered and loving life on my terms. Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Celebrate the holiday and then celebrate YOUR independence!

This year, celebrate your own personal Independence Day

by Jackie Pilossoph for Chicago Tribune Media Group

When I was a young mom, married with a toddler and a baby, there were times when all I wanted was to be alone.

I fantasized about escaping to a desert island where I could lie on the beach all day and hear nothing but the sound of an ocean. I adored my children, but I still occasionally felt smothered, or tired, and I longed for tranquility.

Just a couple of years later, after my divorce, I couldn’t stand being alone. I hated the silence when my young kids were at their dad’s house and I was home by myself. It was isolating, lonely and depressing.

Other moms would tell me, “Just enjoy the time off!” “Do something for yourself!” “You deserve a break.”

But I felt like I wasn’t allowed to appreciate time away from my responsibilities as a mother. The guilt of even the slightest bit of enjoyment was overwhelming. As far as I was concerned, “independence” was a naughty word.

The upcoming Fourth of July holiday got me thinking: What if our Founding Fathers had felt that same way in the 1700s as our country was being created? What if those patriots had instead viewed independence as a bad thing? What if they’d felt guilty for wanting to break away from England and let that feeling of guilt derail them? What if they feared their ability to self-rule?

Click here to read the rest of the article, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press editions, the Chicago Tribune, and several other newspapers across the country.

Like this article? Check out, “Stop Criticizing Your Body and Show It Some Love”

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Deciding if you should sell your ring—the essence of bittersweet sentimentality isn’t an easy decision. I get it, which is why my engagement and wedding rings sat in a drawer for about 8 years before I sold them.

I ended up selling my rings during a time when I felt like I needed extra money, and at that point, although I thought they were gorgeous rings and it was sad to part with them, I had reached a point where I became disconnected to them. In fact, when I finally physically parted with my rings, it felt almost liberating to have them out of my house and out of my life.

I realized later that the karma of keeping my rings might have been holding me back in a way from fully moving on after divorce. In other words, selling my ring was just another step further from my past and a step closer to acceptance, peace and living my best life.

I always tell people that they should wait as long as they want to sell their rings, so that they can naturally get to the same point I did, and that there will be no regrets.

But recently, I heard a story that changed my mindset!!

 

         The story was about a woman who contacted Judy Herbst, who is the Director of Marketing and PR for Worthy.com, a New York City based company that empowers women and helps them sell their jewelry via a unique consumer to business online auction marketplace. FYI, Worthy has been a partner of Divorced Girl Smiling for two years, so I know Judy well.

So, the woman called Judy because she wanted to sell her ring to help pay for her daughter’s college education. The woman had been divorced for 15 years (since her daughter was 3 years old) and the price she hoped to get for the ring was $10,000. She ended up selling the ring via Worthy and is happy about how the process went, and what she ended up walking away with.

But here’s the part that got me. This woman sold the ring to help pay for her daughter’s college. Coincidentally, my son is looking at colleges right now, so I know what the tuition costs at many schools across the country. Based on what I know, the $10,000 will probably cover a semester—in some cases, not even.

I’m not saying that the woman shouldn’t have sold the ring. Every bit helps, and good for her for a selfless act that will help her daughter’s education. But, what Judy brought to my attention is, had this woman sold her ring 15 years ago, gotten the $10,000, and invested it with a Wealth Management Advisor, what would have happened?

Let’s take into account the market performance history. From 1957-2018, the average S & P annual return is 8%. Now, while no one can invest in an index, (which is what the S & P is) the index represents the value of the 500 largest corporations, and it often used as a quick measure of the stock market and economy.

So, had this woman sold the ring 15 years ago, and made an average of 8% per year, she might now have $31,721. Had she sold the ring 10 years ago, she might have $21,589. And, even if she would have sold the ring 5 years ago, she would have $14,693. Remember, this is all based on an 8% annual return compounded; some years the returns may be higher and some years they may be lower.

The thing is, engagement rings and other precious stones don’t appreciate in value. The value stays the same—

Unless you sell it and invest.

Historically speaking, putting money under management (letting a professional invest it for you in stocks, bonds and other opportunities) pays off in the long run. Sure, the value of a financial portfolio fluctuates from time to time (sometimes so much it makes us jittery) but if you just leave it and if you are committed to keeping it in the account for several years, historically speaking, you will likely come out ahead.

Of course, there is never a guarantee with investing money, and past performance does not always guarantee future returns. But, when we look at the past 100 years of the market’s history, investors almost always come out ahead. But that means not pulling out the money when the market is down.

Additionally, you can choose to invest your money into safer, more conservative investments. You won’t make as high of a return, but you take on less risk. A good financial planner will help you with these decisions, by looking at your entire financial picture, which includes your risk tolerance, age, income, lifestyle, and several other factors.

The bottom line is, there are lots of reasons people decide to sell their rings after divorce. I wrote a whole article on the subject, which included what 35 women did with the money they got from selling their rings. Examples include a woman who donated it to a woman’s shelter, a woman who got breast implants, and a woman who bought a new set of tires.

But I truly think selling your ring to invest the money into the market is an amazing reason to sell it. I know it’s hard. I know it’s emotional. I’d even say it might be heartbreaking. But if you think about what you are really doing, think of it this way: you are taking something bad that happened (your divorce) and turning it into gold (almost literally!) You’re doing something wonderful and meaningful for your child with an object you wore on your finger, most likely during the time your child was conceived. And now you are helping that child, and that is a beautiful thing.

Remember that a ring is only a material item. The beautiful memories you have of being a young bride in love don’t come from saving your ring. Those memories live in your heart and you never have to sell those.

In closing, I’d like to recommend two resources I completely trust for selling your ring and investing your money:

1. Worthy.com.
2. Elaine Koby Moss at Vestor Capital.

I wish you all the best!

Love, Jackie

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I know Divorced Girl Smiling is a divorce website and you’re probably thinking, ‘Why would she write an article about healthy, young looking skin?’ Let me explain…

I’m the kind of person who if I love something, I want to tell everyone I know about it. That is how I came up with the idea to have Divorced Girl Smiling partners, which include Katz & Stefani, Worthy.com, Vestor Capital, The Center for Divorce Recovery, Jeremy Woods, Leslie Glazier and The Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois. I 100% stand by these businesses and highly recommend them.

Recently, I discovered Arbonne, a line of skincare products about which I’m wild!! I’m such a fan, in fact, that I decided to become an Independent Consultant for the company (i.e. I’m selling the products). Let me tell you why.

While at a networking group meeting several weeks ago, I met a woman who is an Arbonne Independent Consultant, and she made a lot of sense speaking about the ingredients that go into thousands of skincare products in the U.S.

I learned that the FDA only prohibits about a dozen ingredients to cosmetic and skin care manufacturers. What that means is, skincare companies in the U.S. can basically put whatever they want into their products! Even some of the expensive products from department stores have ingredients in them which can be harmful and even toxic to the skin. Now, in Europe, there are 1400 products banned from use (by the European Union) in cosmetics and skincare products. Here is an article that explains the difference between the U.S. and Europe on this issue.

I started to think about it this way. Like me, countless women over 40 (and even younger women) are so focused on nutrition—eating CLEAN and healthy and not putting toxins or other harmful chemicals into our bodies through food. On a side note, I recently gave up sugar for 21-days and cannot tell you what an amazing feeling that is! But while it is wonderful that people have this awareness of the foods we consume, we also need to be aware of what exactly we are putting ON our bodies.

Did you know that our skin is our largest organ? That means that anything we put on our skin is going directly into our bodies. It’s the same (or more) as if we ate something! 

Now, while I felt like I trusted the Arbonne consultant’s presentation, I decided to run the idea of Arbonne by my sister, an MD, who is also certified by the Institute for Functional Medicine. I emailed the product ingredient list for each Arbonne product I was considering buying to my sister for review. Guess what? My sister was thrilled by it, and said the product ingredients were safe and beneficial, in her opinion.

Here are the products I ordered and have been using:

1. RE9 Advanced Restorative Cream SPF 15
2. RE9 Advanced Smoothing Facial Cleanser
3. RE9 Advanced Brightening Night Cream
4. RE9 Advanced Brightening Eye Cream
5. Shea Butter Body Wash
6. Shea Butter Body Lotion

Not only are they safe and wonderful, they smell great, the texture of each is awesome, AND, they are no more expensive (in fact they are less expensive) than the skincare products I was buying at department stores.

Another benefit: ordering is really easy and they ship it right to your home. With Macy’s in my area going out of business, that is going to make it even more difficult to get the skincare products I was using.

Arbonne has been in business since 1980. The skincare products contain botanical ingredients known for specific beneficial properties. There are different collections, which include: anti-aging, brightening, lifting, men’s, acne fighting and sensitive skin. All of the skincare products are formulated without:

* Animal products or animal by-products
* Parabens
* Formaldehyde donating preservatives
* PABA
* Benzene
* Mineral Oil
* Petrolatum
* Phthalates
* Toluene

There are actually 2000 ingredients on Arbonne’s “Not Allowed” list—so more than the European Union’s list! Additionally, Arbonne skincare products are Gluten free.

People with Celiac disease may have trouble finding skincare/bath & body products and they can feel safe using any of the company’s 450+ products.

I want to make something very clear. I didn’t become an Arbonne Independent Consultant because I want it to become my career. At heart, my mission has been and still is to help men and women facing divorce, dating after divorce, and living life as single parents.  I became a consultant to offer my readers (and friends and community) a better, safer option for skincare—yet another resource to make people’s lives easier and better!

If you are interested in talking with me about Arbonne, send me an email: Jackie@divorcedgirlsmiling.com or go to my Arbonne page and order!

Remember that health and nutrition is an integral part of emotional and mental health. In other words, married, single or divorced, take care of yourself physically. Doing the right things for your body will help you maintain and/or improve your overall quality of life.

Love, Jackie

Like this article? Check out, “Health, Wellness and Love Over 50”

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Since I am both a psychologist and a professional coach, I am constantly asked about the difference between therapy and coaching. It’s a great question, and one that any consumer should be asking. It’s also important for therapists and coaches to be clear on this so they are not stepping on each other’s toes and they are finding ways to collaborate and serve people in the best way possible.

First, let’s talk about the similarities. Both therapy and coaching are based on a confidential and trusting relationship. Therapists and coaches both commit to complete confidentiality, unless they have reason to believe that their client is going to harm themselves or anyone else. The relationship is at the heart of where change comes from in that trusting someone with your deepest thoughts and feelings requires complete confidence and a sense of safety.

Both therapists and coaches are also devoted to helping people have awareness and insight into themselves and why they do what they do. Many therapy modalities are based on a cognitive behavioral model and almost all coaching modalities utilize that model. The model focuses on awareness of our thoughts and feelings and how those lead to how we behave or show up in life.

Where the differences come in is both within sessions and the focus of between session activities. Therapy is typically much more process-oriented in that clients have awareness of something in the past and then process feelings and thoughts around those awareness areas. Coaching also focuses on awareness, but not much on processing. Coaching focuses on forward moving steps with the awareness. This is why trauma, addiction, and major psychological diagnosis are not appropriate for coaching. Also, coaches are not trained or educated sufficiently in these areas.

Coaching focuses on awareness, action, and accountability. A skilled, professional coach will guide a client into awareness, how it leads to future action, and helping that client stay accountable to behavioral changes for the future. Core components of coaching focus on holding the client’s agenda and accountability around change. Some therapists may utilize this model, but most therapists take the role of the expert and utilize their expertise to lead clients into awareness. This sounds like a subtle difference, but it really isn’t. In therapy, the therapist is the expert and in coaching, the client is.

Coaching is future-focused and emphasizes awareness, action, and accountability.

Therapy often focuses on the past and possibly on dysfunction or illness, whereas coaching is a wellness model and focuses on the future. Both are extraordinarily beneficial. Simply having someone be fully present and listening to one’s concerns can lead to powerful change and satisfaction in life. I highly recommend both or either depending on what someone would like to work on.

Choosing the Coach or Therapist Who’s Right for You

One final piece of advice…Coaching is far less regulated than therapy, so if you are seeking a coach, make sure they have been trained by an ICF accredited coaching school. Many people call themselves coaches, but have no formal coach training. Therapists should be licensed by the state they are practicing in and typically able to take third party payments, whereas coaches work on a fee for service basis.

Therapists and coaches can also support each other by being clear on when a referral is appropriate or even a powerful collaborative relationship. I no longer provide therapy, but I value my relationship with other therapists as reciprocal referral sources. These reciprocal relationships benefit clients most of all by giving them as many resources as possible.

My advice to anyone considering either coaching or therapy is to have conversations with a number of coaches and therapists. Ask lots of questions, understand the process and what realistic outcomes might look like. Look for a good fit by both the person’s theory and process, but also around the connection you have with them. A good connection is the key to success in either setting.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D., CPC is a professional certified life and executive coach, psychologist, and professional speaker. She helps people tackle that “One day I’ll do this and then I’ll be happy” goal, today.  You can reach Lisa at Lisa@lisakaplin.com or lisakaplin.com.  This article was originally published on Lisa’s blog.

Like this article? Check out, “But First I’m Going To Yoga”

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