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Filling Up During the Holidays When Your Relationship is Running on Empty

We don’t know about you but the state of affairs feels a little bleak right now. The global pandemic is in its 10th month and we continue to live sorely disrupted lives. Some of us have experienced loss of health and tragically the loss of a loved one. 

We may be running on fumes socially, emotionally, physically and financially. Stress, anxiety and fear are at an all time time high. And on top of everything we are all somehow meant to add one more stressful life event: the holidays.  

When all of that is going on and your relationship is on the rocks or even ending, the pain right now can be searing.  You are not alone and we are here to help.  

Whether your relationship is suffering from pandemic fatigue and you’d like to make it better, you two are in a bad place and unsure if you’ll make it, or you’re just trying to buy time until you can separate or file for divorce, we’ve got you. 

Untangle The Knot’s online resources, programs, community and expert guidance, will help you untangle relationship knots big and small. Our intention is to provide you with the ideas and inspiration you need when you need it. We can get you and your relationship through this trying time with clarity, calm and proven strategies for decreasing overwhelm and moving forward. 

Over the next couple of months, we will be giving you a virtual lifeline… complete with strategies, practical advice and the direction you and your family need right now.

Join our private community now and receive free access through the new year to help you cope. Life is complicated enough, so there are no strings attached. You can cancel anytime!  Learn more at https://bit.ly/3evlqzi

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Divorcees in the Media: Why You Aren’t a Victim but a Victor

I recently ran across a comic routine that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I won’t name any names, but the gist of it was that the comedian had married a divorced woman, referring to her as “a rescue.” The animal metaphor went on for a minute or so, and while I totally understand that comedy is sometimes sarcastic and out-there, it bugged me more than a little bit.

Divorce is, after all, no new phenomenon. The media loves headlines that paint divorced men and women as fixer-upper projects. The new spouse is deemed as some sort of knight in shining armor stooping down from their pedestal to find someone in need of saving. It seems that this is doubly stressed if that person has children.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand that taking on a new family when you previously were a single unit is tough. It is. I get it—but it doesn’t constitute a rescuing. Divorcees are not victims. The courage to actually end something that is not healthy for you is, in fact, just the opposite. There is something very heroic in that. Leaving behind your comfort zone is incredibly brave.

Divorcees and Moving On: Realizing Your Unique Worth

So what do divorcees have to offer in a relationship? More than you can imagine! I know that the media will not change overnight, nor will the general idea of what it means to fall in love with someone who has been in love before, but I speak with so much personal experience and from knowing so many amazing people who have been there. When someone chooses a divorcee as a forever-partner, they choose them not in spite of that fact but often, in some ways, because of the strength they exude due to their experience.

Yes, you may be fragile.

Yes, you may have cried and still may cry over the past.

Yes, it is difficult as hell.

But underneath that is a decision, a choice you made to consider yourself worthy of more than a marriage that is causing you pain. Maybe you were abused, mentally or physically. Maybe vows were broken. Maybe you found out that who you married was not who you thought they were. No matter what the situation, it was your choice and it is an indication of your strength.

Alternatively, staying in situations that are hard in order to fight for what you love is equally admirable. However, if there is abuse in your marriage you need to get help. You deserve to be safe, and you have the strength inside you to create a safe and healthy environment; you just have to discover it. There are more than enough programs that can help you get on your feet and stay safe. You just have to know where to look. We will be doing a post on that one day in the near future, so be sure to check back here for resources.

The way the media teaches the world to view divorced men and women may never change entirely, but what we can change is how we view ourselves. Knowing that you are strong, that you are brave, and that what you are doing is a courageous move that takes a lot of empowerment and self-love will help you move forward. Not everybody has that within them, but you do. You can remedy the victim label by carrying that kind of limitless power as you journey ahead. Remember that you are a prize, not a rescue. What you have been through has made you better and wiser, and in that wisdom, you have created something that defines you.

That, my friend, is what courage looks like.

If you need help realizing that, we’d love to help. You are worth it. You are wonderful. You are a victor, not a victim.

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6 Simple Tips for Coping with Divorce Positively

Life after divorce is often a tricky road to navigate. In many ways, you’re recreating yourself while also potentially dealing with feelings of grief, anger, and stress. It’s for this reason that actress Stephanie March turned to plastic surgery for a self-esteem boost following her divorce from celebrity chef Bobby Flay. Of her decision, March candidly confessed:

“I decided to change my body because I couldn’t change my life.”

Ultimately, March turned out to be allergic to the implants, which ruptured in her chest and were later removed. Unfortunately, many women like March turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms post-divorce. So, how can that desire for change be channeled into healthier ways of dealing with divorce? Consider the following tips for coping with the breakup of a marriage:

1. Give yourself a time-out.

In the weeks immediately following a separation, give yourself a little time-out. Don’t use this time to make any major life decisions like buying a new car, quitting your current job, starting a new job, moving across the country, or indulging in plastic surgery. Instead, allow yourself time and space to adjust to your new normal. There will be plenty of time for decision-making down the road.

2. Stick to your routine.

There’s no doubt about it: divorce disrupts life as you once knew it. To help yourself cope and calm the chaos, try to return to your normal routine as soon as possible, particularly if you have kids. This helps establish a sense of normalcy and provides comfort during uncertain times.

3. Take care of your physical and mental health.

Be kind to yourself when dealing with separation or divorce. Take time to do the things you love—curling up with a good book, eating out at your favorite restaurant, or pampering yourself with a day at the spa. Remember to take care of your physical health, too. That includes eating healthy foods and making an effort to get enough sleep each night. Additionally, make sure that you’re exercising regularly. Exercise, after all, is good for both your physical and mental health. In addition to making you physically fit, exercise releases endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormone, which helps to fight stress and anxiety.

4. Reach out to friends.

In the days and weeks following a painful separation, it can be tempting to isolate yourself from friends and family. However, this is not a healthy way to cope; in fact, social isolation can exacerbate feelings of depression. So, make sure to reach out to trusted friends. Sharing your feelings with people you love is therapeutic and helps reduce feelings of loneliness. You might also consider joining an in-person or online support group for people going through divorce.

5. Explore new hobbies and interests.

Remember that salsa class that you always wanted to take but your ex-spouse hated dancing? Or, that yoga studio that always caught your eye on your way home from the office? Now is the time to explore new interests or reconnect with old hobbies that you enjoyed in your life pre-marriage. So, consider volunteering with an organization close to your heart or signing up for that intramural kickball team.

6. Stay away from drugs and alcohol.

While it might be tempting to indulge in drugs or alcohol to escape from feelings of grief or anger, avoid the urge. Instead, focus on healthier ways to cope with life after divorce. Turning to drugs or alcohol might feel good initially but is a destructive long-term choice.

Are you currently going through a painful separation or divorce? Know that you’re not alone. Learn more about how we can help you navigate the bumpy road of divorce and lead to a healthier, fuller life in the future!

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Life After Divorce: Why My Ex-Husband’s Affair Was The Greatest Gift

Most of the time, when we hear the word divorce, we think only of the negative things like lawyer fees, loneliness, and long, drawn-out negotiations. But, believe it or not, there is life after divorce, and sometimes, it’s better than you could have imagined.

A True Story

Allow us to tell you the story of “Allison.” Her name has been changed to protect her confidentiality, but her story is true.

Allison got married young, at age 23, to a man named “Dylan,” whom she had known most of her life. Because she was friends with Dylan when she was a child, she mistakenly thought that she knew him. She dated him only briefly before getting married at a beautiful outdoor ceremony.

Unfortunately, before the wedding party even ended, Allison realized that she had made a mistake, when she caught Dylan flirting with one of the guests. And things only got worse from there.

In a short time, Allison became aware of all of Dylan’s previously hidden character flaws and addictions, and it wasn’t long before he was completely out of control. He started lying and stealing from her to maintain his phone-sex addiction. But, not wanting to admit defeat, Allison stayed in the marriage for five years, reasoning that he had never actually touched another woman. Until he did.

Once a real-life affair had taken place, Allison knew she had to end the marriage. As much as she hated to let go, cheating was the one thing she couldn’t put up with. And so, she filed for divorce. Since there were no children, and they had no shared property, the proceedings were fairly easy, but that didn’t make it any easier on her heart.

The Healing Process

After the divorce, Allison took a year off from relationships. She focused on herself and her needs. She found out that she’s a decent writer, and that, despite the fact that she’s always considered herself to be completely inflexible, she’s not bad at yoga, either. Allison also went to therapy to work out some of the reasons that she was attracted to this guy in the first place, and to allow herself space to grieve.

Finally, when Allison felt ready to date again, she started. Slowly. It was very hard for her to trust at first. If a guy called to say he’d be late, she would immediately believe that he was lying to her. After a while, she realized that she was trying to date without getting hurt; so, back to therapy she went. This time, she focused on releasing her fear of hurt feelings. She realized that dating was risky, but that with her new connection to her intuition, she could trust that she would choose a better partner this time.

A Happy Ending

And guess what? It happened! Roughly two years after her ex-husband moved out, Allison met a new man, “James.” James was honest, loving, and caring, and she was scared out of her mind. She knew that this could be the real deal. James knew right away that he wanted to be with Allison, but she was adamant that this time she would take it slowly. James was patient, and finally, Allison agreed to marry again.

Allison and James just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, and they have two beautiful children.

What’s the moral of this story?

Life does go on after divorce! It may not seem like it at the time, but great things are in store for you. The amazing part of this story is how much Allison learned and changed from her experience. The fact that she met someone else and built a new life was the icing on the cake. But learning who she really was, that was the true gift.

If you would like more information on how to survive and thrive after divorce, contact us. We are here to help.

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Follow The Yellow Brick Road: What Oz Teaches Us About Divorce

The comfort of black and white…nobody knew it as well as Dorothy. She knew nothing but pecking chickens, garden-digging dogs, and mean old ladies on rickety bicycles. At the time, those problems seemed so big—until Dorothy found that all those tiny problems were nothing compared to what she woke up to face when her house pitched up in the air and landed in Oz. Bright new colors, vivid and scary—something she had never witnessed before. Color? What’s that?! Now, that old lady was a mean old witch, and she found herself desperate to get back home. Sound familiar?

Just as Dorothy felt when she landed in Oz, going through a divorce can feel like you’ve been thrust into a strange and scary new world. But in the hardship and newness of it all, there is much we can learn from Oz. These same lessons can help us to navigate the new normal and find that the very thing that threatens to destroy us will make us into the heroes, the flying-monkey-tamers, and the farm girls (or city girls) with courage that we were always meant to become.

“If we just keep walking, we’ll get to someplace sometime.” —Dorothy

There is a lot of wisdom in that line. You wake up one day, and the comfort of your black and white has suddenly changed to these new and foreign colors your eyes have never seen. You have no idea where you are going or where this path leads you; you only know that sometimes you just want to stop walking. You just want to give up. You want to lay down in the poppies and sleep forever.

But Dorothy was so wise when she said that, if we only keep walking, then we will get there—someplace at some time. Where that is and when that will be, well, that is still a mystery. But, if history tells us anything, things turned out pretty well for a certain Kansas girl who got everything she ever wanted, plus a little adventure in between.

“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” —Glinda the Good Witch

“I’m no witch at all!”

That was Dorothy’s response to Glinda’s question, and a great response it was. It was, however, easy to see why Glinda thought she had powers; she just dropped an entire house on a mean old witch!

It goes without saying that each day brings new emotions, and some days, we feel like the kind and sweet person who could take on the world with a smile. Other days, we want to drop a house on someone, on the situation, and on the whole mess in general. Recognizing that you are somewhere in the middle of these emotions will set you free.

It is okay to have emotions that change with the tide. It is going to happen, and it is normal. However, remembering who you want to be will help you be who you want to be. Stay positive. Be the bigger person. Control your emotions. You have the power to overcome any ugly, green, melted-puddle-of-an-emotion—all within you. The effort, even if only 15 minutes at a time, is well worth it and so good for your soul.

“Hearts won’t be practical until they can be made unbreakable.” —The Wizard of Oz

The man behind the curtain said it all, and at the time, it was the perfect thing to say. We all long for that once-in-a-lifetime love, that unconditional I’ll-always-be-here, but sometimes, that just isn’t how things work. It’s sad. It makes you wish you never, ever gave your heart away in the first place.

What good is love if it is so impractical? It can be so tempting to think that you have wasted your time here, but the truth is that you’ve always been right where you needed to be. Your marriage helped to shape your character and ready you for the path ahead.

Hearts will never be practical, and that is simply because hearts weren’t made to be. It is these difficult times that reminds us we are our own anchor, our own home, and that we are more than our circumstances. We weren’t put here for comfort, but to grow up through the hard dirt and blossom. When you are tempted to regret your choices, remember that, without those choices, you wouldn’t be the same amazing, wonderful, well-rounded you. And that you is pretty great!

“You’ve had the power all along.” —Glinda

Dorothy spent so much time trying to find her voice. Little did she know, she had the power all along. You do too!

Comfort returns. Black and white comes back. You are left with only the memories of that scary time that will also, ironically, be one of your favorite memories as time goes on. You will meet new friends. You will conquer things you never dreamed of. You will learn that you are a powerful, little something that no witch dare stand up against, and you will do all of this with the same grace, kindness, and courage you always have. The power is right there inside you. You’ve always had it. I’m a firm believer that we are born with everything we need to face whatever comes our way. We just have to learn to dig it up and make it shine.

When you find yourself spinning in a house, with bicycles flying by the window frame, take heart. You are not alone. You have so many people in your life that love you—whether you realize it or not. Even down to the person who pours your morning coffee at the local diner, people care. Open your eyes. Walk the yellow brick road. You’ll get to someplace at some time. If you need a little help navigating, we are always here for you.

Contact us today to discover ways to grow, change, and embrace this new journey. We know you can do it. You’ve had the power all along.

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Understanding the Real Benefit of Forgiveness After Divorce

Forgiving an ex can be one of the toughest things to do, especially when there can be so many reasons to be angry. Even though you may be justified in your anger, you can still benefit greatly from letting it go.

There is a saying that goes, “Acid does more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than to the surface on which it is poured.” This statement is even truer when it comes to harboring anger or resentment. When you carry those negative feelings around with you, they can impact your other relationships, even though you may think you are dealing with the anger just fine. The next thing you know, you have an open door that allows that negativity to seep into every other aspect of your life. It can grow to the point where aren’t able to compartmentalize it anymore. This can leave you feeling constantly angry and helpless to find peace from your pain.

When you hang on to hurt and anger, that harshness and bitterness can bleed over into all the wonderful new experiences you may have. Let’s say you take your children to the zoo. They’ve been looking forward to this trip for quite some time, but once you get there, you find that every little thing is getting under your skin. The kids are running around, full of excitement, talking 100 miles per hour, and you feel like your nerves are not going to be able to handle any more excited activity. The anger and frustration that have been gnawing at you have just cost you precious time with your children that you can never get back.

There is healing in forgiveness. When you are able to come to the realization that forgiving does not equate to condoning a behavior (nor does it say the other person is deserving of your forgiveness), you are the one who will truly benefit. Everyone comes to this realization at their own pace, so don’t feel like you have to reach it overnight; it may take time and work, but you can reach it.

Johns Hopkins has done research into the physical benefits of forgiveness, and the results may surprise you. They start by stating that forgiveness is a conscious action, a choice, that you must make in order to really move on. By choosing to hang on to anger, hurt, or bitterness, you can compromise your immune system, elevate your blood pressure, and increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. By choosing to forgive, you can enjoy a more stress-free life with less likelihood of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress.

But how do you start to forgive? Well, the article suggests either talking with the person that hurt you or writing about forgiving them. If talking with that individual is not going to be possible or healthy (and it can be very understandable why you wouldn’t want to go that route), then keep a journal where you write about what they did to hurt you, how you feel about it, and how you’re going to start forgiving them for that pain. Write a letter to them about your anger, and then write one to them about why you are forgiving them. You need not send either of these letters, just getting the thoughts written down can help start you on the path to forgiveness.

Forgiveness is generally thought of as a privilege or a gift that someone should ask for—or earn—before receiving. But the truth is, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Holding on to the anger and pain brought on by your divorce is completely normal, but it will not serve you.

If you’re struggling in the painful wake of your divorce, Untangle the Knot is here to help you through the healing process. Your ex may never come to you with an apology, they may never admit they did anything wrong, and they may never show remorse for their actions, but you can still forgive them. Not for their peace of mind, but for your own.

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Conquering Fear Through Divorce: You’ll Get Through This!

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now, we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Fear is one of the most paralyzing emotions that accompanies divorce. Fear of being alone, fear of making a mistake, fear of raising your children as a single parent, fear of making ends meet…the list goes on and on.

Unshakable fear is oftentimes a result of facing the unknown. Divorce is full of unknowns which is one of the reasons it is so terrifying. Everything in your life that has been your foundation is suddenly on shaky ground. You don’t know what to do next and you don’t know where your life is going.

How will things be when you are just you again? Will you like who you are? Will you be able to take care of yourself and your family? Will you ever be happy again? Each of these questions just led to more, and before you know it, you’re under the covers again, crying into your pillow, and wondering when things are going to get better. That’s the bad news. The good news is it won’t last forever.

Looking on the Bright Side

Although it does not seem like it right now, there are so many good things going for you. You are alive. You are breathing. You have eyes to see and ears to hear. You have hands to reach out for help when you need it, and there are a million other qualities that are so unique to you that you won’t find the exact characteristics in anyone else in the world.

Your unique talents, your kindness, your way of picking yourself up and dusting yourself off—these are all powerful reminders, telling you, “You are ok. Right in this moment. Right in this circumstance. You are achieving the impossible. You are living. You are alright, and you will be alright tomorrow.” By constantly reminding yourself of the positive forces in your life, you’ll be able to slowly shift your perspective to see the brighter side of things.

Moment By Moment, Day by Day

Overcoming fear happens by moments. By recognizing that you are okay right this second, you can reassure yourself that you’ll probably be OK the next too. Before long, those seconds turn to minutes. Minutes turn to hours, hours to days, days to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years, until one day you wake up and realize you did it. You aren’t afraid. You made things happen. You did all those things you said you couldn’t do, and you are better for it. You are stronger for it. You are.

When You Cannot Stop the Inner Voices

If you are playing that inner monologue right now, wondering, “Am I enough? Am I going to be alright? Am I ever going to be happy again? Am I still just as wonderful inside and out as the day we got married?” then let me tell you the truth. YOU ARE. You are going to get through this. YOU ARE—because that’s just what you do, and being here, looking for help, and reaching for it with both hands, that says something. It says that you are vulnerable yet brave, and it says that you have the drive it takes to keep moving forward, to keep journeying on, and to discover that you are not ever, ever alone in this.

Giving you a lifeline to help you through your fear is one of the reasons I created Untangle The Knot — To provide you the guidance and support you need to move through this most difficult time and into your next chapter. You are going to be okay!

I hope you will take a moment to see what I can offer you for support. I truly want you to live the life that you imagined –even if that story looks a little different than it did before. Together we can overcome fear and move ever closer to the happiness that is just around the corner!

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5 Tips For Dating Again After Divorce

Divorces happen, and they happen fairly frequently. Recent studies have shown that over 2 million Americans got divorced in the year 2015 alone, and that was not an exceptional year for divorce by any stretch of the imagination. However, it’s important to remember that, no matter how many people got divorced when you did, your divorce and your journey through it is still unique to you. This is why, if you’re thinking about dating again after divorce, it’s important to take a deep breath and make sure you’re truly ready to jump back into that pool.

1. Think About What You Want in a Partner

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re never going to find it. This sounds like basic advice, but coming out on the other end of a divorce often changes our wants and needs in ways we don’t think about at the time. Before you start going out again, you have to know what you want from a partner and what you’re looking for in a relationship. You might be looking for companionship, a casual friend to get dinner with once a week, or something a little more intimate and serious. Only you can make that decision.

2. Talk About Who You Are

Your marriage can often hang over you like a cloud after a divorce, and the things that happened to you are still fresh in your memory. When you’re dating, though, you should follow one of the most important rules you had when you were still single: don’t talk about your ex—at least not for a while. Before you regale your date with stories of your past relationship and divorce, it’s important that they get to know you, and you get to know them and are sure they’re worth trusting with your story.

3. Be Honest About Who You Are

Honesty can be in fairly short supply in the dating world, unfortunately. This is particularly true regarding online dating, where people may exaggerate their qualities to make themselves seem like better dating prospects. This is something you should absolutely avoid doing, because most fabrications on an online profile come to light sooner or later. Keep your profile honest, and before you go out with someone you met online, consider running a quick search on them. You might be surprised what you find.

4. Talk To Your Kids About Your Dating Decision

Divorce can be especially tough for your kids. If you and your ex have children together, you should take the time to talk to them about your dating decisions. Not only that, but you need to be honest with your kids about what your dating plans are (within the bounds of reason and good taste, obviously). While it isn’t necessary, or even recommended, for your kids to meet everyone you date, they should know that you are dating again.

5. Dating is Not a Fix-All

Too often we see dating portrayed as a way to fill a void or fix what’s wrong with our lives. Your problems, our culture says, will go away or become unimportant once you find the right person. However, dating isn’t something you do in order to fix your life; it’s something you do to enrich and share your life, once you’ve rebuilt it. If there are areas in your life where you are still healing and getting your feet under you, focus there before you begin dating. Whether it’s issues with intimacy, difficulties with adjusting to being a single parent, or just trying to figure out your new goals in a post-marriage life, having a handle on these core areas will be key to starting a relationship with a new romantic partner in the equation. I encourage you to really ask yourself the question if you are ready to date again after divorce.

Taking the leap to start dating again takes time, healing, and a healthy dose of bravery. When you’re ready to jump back in the dating pool, you may want some additional support and resources to guide you. We’re here to help!

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The Dating Dad’s Wedding Season Survival Guide

Summer is here. The days are longer, the kids are out of school, and everybody you know is getting married.

Yes, summer means wedding season, and if you’re newly divorced, or in the process, or just haven’t found your way back to the idea that marriage is a good idea for anyone, helping friends and family celebrate their nuptials can be an exercise in self-control. It’s time to sublimate your cynicism, put on your game face, and be the supporting, loving person you’ve always been.

But it isn’t easy.

I remember going to my cousin’s wedding just a few months after my own divorce was finalized. I’m not sure my cousin understood what she was asking when she requested that I hold a corner of the chuppah – the canopy in a Jewish wedding. I’m sure she felt like it was a demonstration of how close we’ve always been. But considering I was still reeling from the recent upheaval in my life, and the same rabbi who’d officiated at my wedding was doing hers, I could only dread the experience.

And it wasn’t easy to stand there while my cousin and the groom looked lovingly into each other’s eyes, the rabbi talking about a forever commitment. It wasn’t easy to suspend disbelief on their behalf, to smile and lend encouragement when marriage seemed to me a sham and a lie and a false promise people make to each other. It wasn’t easy to stand at the front of the room, before my family members in the front rows. And it really wasn’t easy when the rabbi turned to me at a quiet moment, put her hand on my arm, and whispered, “You’re doing great.”

In the years since my divorce, I’ve been to many weddings, and have been in the wedding party of several of them. In none of them have I felt so deeply out-of-place as that first one. I felt like an imposter.

So the good news is that it will get better. But that first round of weddings is a bitch. You just kind of have to suck it up, not take yourself too seriously, and know that you’re not always going to feel this way.

Here are select tips to help the newly divorced (or divorcing) survive wedding season.

1. Prepare yourself.

Whether it’s a family or friend occasion, you can probably get a good idea of the guest list before you go. Will you have compatriots there who have your back? It’s the bride and groom’s day, so don’t count on either of them to be attentive to your experience. But if you have a cousin or a close friend who knows what you’re dealing with, it wouldn’t hurt to reach out before the big day and have a chat about it. Talk about any discomfort, and make a plan for what to do if things start to feel iffy for you, whether it’s to make sure you have plenty of bubbly (or bourbon) to soften the sharp edges, or a place to which you can retreat, or an escape plan.

2. Wear something that makes you feel awesome.

Make the effort to look your best — it’s better to be a little overdressed than a little underdressed. You’ll feel more confident, and it’ll show. So take the time to find the clothes that fit the occasion and also fit you well.

3. Pack a couple hankies.

As a man, I always carry a handkerchief in my pocket, but I’ve learned to carry an extra at weddings, just in case the waterworks start near me. But if you’re in the early days of being single again, you may need them both for yourself. It’s okay to cry, even if it’s out of self-pity. Weddings are an in-your-face occasion, and they can bring a lot of crappy stuff to the surface.

4. Be a snob.

If you can make a wedding fun for yourself, it’ll go by faster and be much more enjoyable. For me, I have this weird compressed conflict of thinking, “Damn, I’m not sure I could do all of this process and fanfare again,” combined with “But if I did, I’d never include a song by Bob Dylan in the ceremony.” And then I think of all the ways my next wedding would be superior to the one I’m attending. Which allows me to drift into the fantasyland of the proposal and the wedding and the honeymoon with some as yet unknown woman. But not the marriage afterward—yikes! It’s absurd, of course. But it’s a fun game, and it allows me to daydream myself away from the present while still being in the moment.

5. Be brazen.

The more you act like you belong there, the more you’ll believe it. And the fewer maddening expressions of concern you’ll have to deal with. For me, it was the looks and the questions that I hated most. The last thing I wanted to talk about was my feelings and heartache at a joyous occasion. Nothing to see here, people. Move along.

6. Drink enough to lighten the mood, but don’t get sloppy.

Of course drinking yourself into oblivion would be an easy way to stay numb through the whole event. But you already know the many reasons why that would be a bad idea. Still, if a nip or a sip will settle your nerves, and you can keep the urge to binge drink in check, I say go for it. If cannabis is more your thing, the same rule applies—go easy. You don’t want to be the sloppy drunk or zoned out stoner who becomes the cautionary tale that everyone remembers.

7. Flirt (or be flirted with).

You may or may not be in the mood for love, but you can still surf the wave of built-in romance that always comes with a wedding, and see where it takes you. Maybe it’ll lead to a date, a tryst, a new friendship, or just a magical, stolen makeout session in a deserted hallway. Just make sure that doesn’t happen with the bride and/or groom.

8. You don’t have to stay for the whole thing.

If you’ve powered through the ceremony and the beginning of the reception, and you’re just not feeling it, make a quiet exit and feel good that you lasted as long as you did. You don’t have to stay for the cake ceremony. And you certainly don’t have to dance if you don’t want to. But…

9. You can dance if you want to.

Go for it. Be you. Smile, shake your hips, surrender. You have this.

Obviously, these are just shallow, surface-level tactics to help you power through the 3-6 hours (or, egads, entire weekend) of unbridled optimism and fraught emotions wrapped up in a wedding event. Whatever you do, don’t choose that time to sift through your own sentiments about marriage or dig into why you’re feeling the way you are. Save that for another time, and a safe space — like with your therapist, or best friend, or with a box of tissues and a binge-watching of Scrubs.

Eric Elkins has been divorced for 13 years, and writing his Dating Dad blog about the joys and humiliations of being a single father for more than a decade. He owns a social media consulting agency in Denver, writes books on the side, and travels often with his 16-year-old geek goddess daughter. You can find him on Twitter as @datingdad, on Instagram as @ericelkins, and Snapchat as @sazereric. Read more at datingdad.com.

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What Beyoncé’s Lemonade Teaches Us About Infidelity and Divorce

You may not have her amazing voice or sexy dance moves, but after the release of Beyoncé’s sixth album, Lemonade, many women have realized they may have something in common with the artist, after all—the experience of being cheated on.

Is Beyoncé’s new album a thinly veiled discussion of her troubled marriage? The release of the singer’s sixth solo record late last month generated speculation about her relationship with Jay Z, but there’s no indication the pop star is looking for a divorce.

It’s clear, though, that the 12 tracks on Lemonade, which were released along with a short film that knits all the songs together, tackles the themes of infidelity and the strength that emerges when one goes through it. The first song, “Pray You Catch Me,” starts with the lyric, “You can taste the dishonesty, it’s all over your breath.” In another song, “Sorry,” Beyoncé makes it even more clear that she’s addressing a cheating partner: “He only want me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair.”

Throughout the album, while she explores a variety of musical genres and pays tribute to black women who have experienced trauma, Beyoncé focuses in on emotions. What does a woman feel when she discovers her partner has been unfaithful? If you’ve gone through it, you may recognize the intense emotions that Beyoncé’s music touches on. Betrayal, jealousy, revenge, and anger all come into play.

What Are Your Options After Infidelity?

Infidelity generally has one of two outcomes: reconciliation and forgiveness, or separation and divorce. Neither answer is the perfect one, but from the sound of Beyoncé’s songs, she’s chosen the first.

Lemonade finishes with songs of forgiveness, most notably “Sandcastles,” an emotional ballad that wraps up the angst and reflection of the earlier tracks and “All Night,” a song about healing and resilience through love that clearly shows she’s giving her relationship another chance. The knowledge that beautiful Beyoncé went through the pain of being cheated on and emerged with her relationship intact may help you find the strength to work through your own troubled marriage.

On the other hand, if you think you may choose to end the relationship with your unfaithful partner, rather than reconcile, the tracks on Lemonade may make you upset or uncertain because you don’t feel like taking another chance. That’s okay too. You have every right to leave after your trust has been betrayed, especially if you feel like you could never recover enough to rebuild the relationship. What one person does or is able to do in his or her marriage should provide things to consider, not a blueprint of how you should react in your own struggle.

Why You Need Support—No Matter What You Choose

When you go through a trial like Beyoncé describes in Lemonade, it’s important to find sources for support. You’ll experience emotions similar to the stages of grief you would feel after the death of a loved one, and indeed, the death of a marriage is something to grieve.

You’re not alone as you go though this; 22 percent of married men have committed adultery at least once, and 17 percent of divorces in the U.S. are directly tied to infidelity. My guess is a much higher percentage is tied to infidelity without the other partner even knowing it!

However, it may be a struggle to find sources of support. That’s often because you and your partner share friends, who may not want to take sides or, worse yet, may emotionally distance themselves from you in this tough time. Even family members may not provide the type of unconditional support and assistance that you need.

Your other options? A divorce support group, even if you’re not sure that divorce is the right option yet, can connect you with other people who understand what you’re going through. Although, sometimes surrounding yourself with the bitterness of others who have been cheated on can negatively impact you. Instead, a one-on-one relationship with a divorce coach or therapist who can focus on your individual needs—both practical and emotional—can help you work through your feelings, find resources for support, and help you discover a solution that is right for you.

For help in coping with divorce and finding the resources you need to move through the pain of a troubled marriage, contact us. We can help you navigate through the process and move forward with more confidence into the next phase of your life.

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