, ,

Best Friend Untying the Knot? Throw a Divorce Shower

Did your best friend wed the wrong guy? Has your sister’s marriage come to a not-so-merry conclusion? Divorce is a life altering and painful event, but a happy life and new beginning awaits on the other side. Girls get together to have fun when one of their friends is about to become a bride, right? Expectant mothers are celebrated with fabulous showers. Divorce may not be the happiest sort of new beginning, but it’s still a new start and can be an exciting time in a woman’s life.

Granted, a post-marital bash may not be every divorcee’s proverbial cup of tea. Some women need time to mourn their marriage in solitude. Some newly unmarried women would prefer a weekend alone on a sunny beach with a good book to any sort of revelry. Some women want to get right back to work and pretend it never happened. That’s alright, too. But if you have a divorcing friend who’s up for a jolly good time, by all means do put together a festive celebration.

Plan a divorce party that suits your friend’s mood and style. In some cases, a quiet girls night in with tasty snacks and a few female-empowering, divorce-themed movies is the right way to go. First Wives ClubShe Devil, and Waiting to Exhale are fun choices.

If your newly single friend is the type who likes to dance and carouse, arrange a girls night out at a nice local nightclub. Share a table, and don’t wait for men to ask you to dance. Go ahead and take over the dance floor, if you like. It can be a lot of fun! Unless one member of the party wishes to be a designated, non-drinking driver, have the hostess call a cab or arrange for an Uber driver to take everyone home after the festivities.

Gifts for the guest of honor are always a good idea. Unless your friend lost a lot of household possessions during her divorce and needs to replenish those things, a gift registry is not generally required the way it might be for a baby shower. Presents can be useful things, but just-for-giggles gifts are much more fun to give and receive.

Some very successful divorce parties involve a visit to Las Vegas. If you and your friends can get away for a long weekend in Sin City, do it. Las Vegas offers a remarkable range of attractions and shows that are sure to keep your newly single friend’s mind off her just-ended marriage. Properties that specialize in singles packages include the off-Strip Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the Venetian Resort, and the trendy Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Each boasts one or more nightclubs on-site, so you can revel ’til your hearts content and never venture far from the hotel.

According to DivorcePartyIdeas, the best divorce parties occur shortly after the ink is dry on the final dissolution papers. A great divorce party can give a newly unmarried woman a fresh sense of vitality as she embarks on the next phase of her life.

Please bear in mind the fact that a divorce party should never be a surprise to the guest of honor. The divorcee being feted should always have the deciding vote, as far as timing, venue, and guest list are concerned.

We understand that divorce is not a lot of fun, and we don’t mean to make light of a sorrowful situation. It’s incredibly painful on levels nobody can understand unless they have traveled through it. Trust us, we’ve been there. We merely suggest that when divorce is inevitable, take a pause to have some fun and connect with your friends. Put on your prettiest party dress, take a deep breath, and enjoy a divorce celebration.



,

5 Hard Truths About Extra-Marital Affairs

While they don’t always mean the end of a marriage, affairs are almost always a sign that something, somewhere throughout the relationship, has gone wrong. We all know, deep down, that marital infidelity is not a simple matter. We also know that our emotions often get the best of us in these situations. Regardless, it is important to view the affair as a symptom of deeper issues. Whether you have cheated on your spouse or have caught your spouse cheating, here are some important truths to consider.

1. Affairs Rarely Work Out in the Long Run.
Perhaps you are wondering why this has happened. How could he or she (or I) prefer this other person? But the truth is, affairs are rarely about the third person. Remember that.

In a Time magazine article entitled “Why We Have Affairs – and Why Not to Tell,” couples counselor Mira Kirshenbaum looks at the deeper issues underlying affairs. As she pointedly advises, in an extra-marital affair that ends in divorce, the third party is like a “crowbar” to help get out of a broken relationship. Once you are out of the marriage, you don’t then marry the crowbar.

Whether you have cheated, or your spouse has (or you both have), it is important to put this point in perspective. A relationship that started with lies and deceit is unlikely to end well. For this reason, if not to save the marriage, make sure that the “guilty” party has done their best to honestly assess their reasoning before moving on and making the same mistakes all over again.

2. Affairs are, Unfortunately, Common.
The question of guilt brings us to the next point. According to the same Times article, approximately half of marriage relationships lapse into adultery at some point. While this is a sad statistic in some ways, it really means that adultery happens to us all. Perhaps you are wondering: why is this happening to me or why did I do this? Here is the answer: because you are human. Sometimes, we all fail. Good people make mistakes. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. That is why.

3. In the Case of Affairs, Honesty is Not Always the Best Policy.
If you are having an affair, you may want to tell your spouse, to get if off your chest. You may feel so overwhelmed with guilt that you cannot live with it anymore. Conversely, having found out about your spouse’s affair, you may wonder how they could have let you find out this way. Confession, in this case, can be hurtful and wrong — even selfish. Trying to keep the secret may have been your spouse’s way of protecting you from their mistakes.

Again, affairs are symptoms of deeper problems, and it is best to address those problems in meaningful ways — even if that means separation and divorce. Simply coming out and confessing unfaithfulness may seem like a solution, but is unlikely to get to the heart of the matter, unless the adulterous spouse has deep issues with monogamy and they refuse to confront those issues.

4. Statistically, Men and Women Have Affairs for Different Reasons.
An unsurprising statistic from a Rutgers University survey shows that men and women have affairs for vastly different reasons. The study found that over half of men have affairs, despite being content in their marriages. On the other hand, less than a third of women who had affairs reported being content in their marriages. It is a hard reality that, for men, affairs may be part of marriage. We are not so far past the age of concubinage and consorts, when some (not all!) men expected to have both a wife and a mistress, or multiple mistresses. This reality leads to our next point.

5. Do Marriages Recover From Affairs?
Writing for the Mirror, psychotherapist Philippa Perry looks at some of the reasons why people have affairs — and the relative likelihood of recovery. As noted in the previous point, there are times when men (and women) expect to be able to have an “open marriage.” In that extreme case, a marriage could reconcile with new boundaries, but you should never feel like this is something you have to accept.

Perry gives two examples where recovery is likely, and both involve the need to communicate more effectively. First, you may feel that you and your spouse have grown too far apart, and perhaps, the affair arose out of a need to have someone you or they could relate to. Second, you or your spouse may be inadvertently pushing the other person away due to insecurity or a constant need to be right. In either of these two cases, counseling can, and likely will, help to save your marriage.

On the other end of the spectrum, affairs can really signal the end of a marriage. If, for example, your partner wants to have affairs and you do not approve, then what else can be said? Cut it off now. If they choose to remarry in the future, they should be honest and let their significant other know that they do not plan to be monogamous. You are making the right choice by taking control and walking away from the situation. Remember, in such a case, it is not your fault.

For guidance in saving your marriage or making the decision whether or not to divorce, check out our Contemplating Divorce section for helpful information.



,

Bye Bye Bling: Selling The Wedding Ring After A Divorce

Whether you are in the middle of a divorce, or just on the other side of one, one thing is for certain: You have a lot on your mind. You are going through one of the toughest transitions of adulthood, which requires you to make many decisions that you would probably rather avoid. That’s why we, here at Untangle The Knot, want to make your life easier. We know what it’s like to be at your wits’ end, because we’ve been there too. So, let us help you — one decision at a time.

Today’s burning question: How do I know if I should sell my wedding ring?

The wedding ring is one of the most sentimental objects in a marriage. We wear it on our finger every day as a reminder of the relationship that we are in. So, for many, selling it is a way to begin to move on and let go of what hasn’t worked for us in the past.

If you do decide to sell, places like ebayCraigslist, and a relatively new option, I Do Now I Don’t, are good places to start. Typically, online auction sites will garner more of a return than a traditional jewelry store. But, if you have a great relationship with your jeweler, he or she may offer you a fair price.

Before you sell, it’s helpful to know exactly what you have so that you can set a realistic price. Most jewelers, and even pawn shops, have materials to test the quality of the metal, and of course, to be sure that the diamond is real. (Hey, you never know!)

But, if selling doesn’t feel right to you, there is always the option of donating. Your gift will be tax deductible, and you can help people, who otherwise couldn’t afford a ring, in the process. There are many websites like With This Ring, a Christian organization, or Tough Angels, which is participating in a project to turn old jewelry into much-needed housing for underprivileged folks. That’s a pretty awesome idea, if you ask us.

For some, performing a ritual with the ring, like giving it to the ocean or burying it in the desert, will feel right. This isn’t the time to worry about the conventional thing to do—unless, of course, you really need the money.

But, what if the jewelry is just too sparkly to part with? In this case, you may want to take the ring to a jeweler and have it made into something fabulous. Maybe a necklace or a bracelet? Something that uses the stones that you love, but in a new structure, symbolizing the fact that your heart will go on— just in a new way.

Finally, you could choose to leave the ring as it is and put it away for future generations to use. After all, it isn’t the ring that caused the break-up. No need to blame a rock, especially if it’s a gorgeous one.

Ultimately, you might not be ready to let go of the ring just yet, and that’s okay too. Whatever you decide, it has to be on your own terms. Rushing yourself to get rid of the ring when you want to hold on to it for a little bit longer is unnecessarily cruel, as is forcing yourself to keep it if looking at it makes you unhappy. As with so many parts of this process, your journey is unique. We can’t promise you that it will be easy, but we can promise that we will be here with you every step of the way. Please contact us with your questions, concerns, and dilemmas. We are here to help.



,

Beyond The Mirror: How To Cope With A Narcissistic Ex

Most exes are burdensome, otherwise, they probably wouldn’t be exes. However, there is one specific type of ex that puts others to shame with their exasperating nature: the narcissist. If you have to deal with a narcissistic ex of your own, you surely know how frustrating, and even demeaning, it can be.

Not to worry, though, we are here to help you learn to deal with your difficult ex. But first, let’s make sure we know who we are really up against.

How To Tell If Your Ex Is A Narcissist

The word narcissist gets thrown around a lot in popular media. Sure, they are full of themselves, and sometimes vain, but being a narcissist isn’t all about taking one too many selfies. True narcissists have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which is defined as:

A pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. They are also likely to exhibit some of the following qualities:

  • Feels superior to others
  • Lies about his achievements
  • Demands recognition
  • Is obsessed with success (financial/fame/money/power/beauty)
  • Believes they are special and can only associate with other gifted people
  • Feels entitled, expects unrealistic demands to be met
  • Exploits others for self-serving interests
  • Full of rage, especially when contradicted
  • Devoid of empathy
  • Unable to take criticism
  • Perpetually envious of others, believes others are envious of them

Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you are likely dealing with a narcissistic ex, which is not an easy ship to be sailing. The key feature of a narcissist is their lack of empathy, which makes it impossible for them to understand what anyone else is going through. But, believe it or not, what drives this infuriating behavior isn’t a real belief that they are better than you. In fact, deep down, narcissists are often severely flawed. At an unconscious level, they know this, which is why they do everything in their power to keep up the appearance of being bigger, badder, and better than they really are.

Unfortunately, people with NPD rarely recover. Usually, this is because they don’t feel that there is anything wrong with them to begin with. They seldom seek treatment, and even when they do, they are likely to blame everyone else for their problems.

So, How Can You Cope With A Narcissistic Ex?

The best thing you can do to cope with your ex’s narcissistic behavior is to avoid them as much as you can. Obviously, this may be difficult – especially if you have children together – but by creating strict boundaries between you two, you can limit the toxic impact they have on your life.

It is impossible to win an argument with a narcissist. In fact, being around this type of person is likely to make you angry, even if you aren’t sure why. What’s actually happening is that you are picking up on their internal rage, and since they aren’t able to own it themselves, you are unconsciously taking it on. When you stop letting your ex drag you down with their negativity, you will realize how much better off you are without them.

If you must communicate with your ex, keep it brief and to the point. They will likely try to engage you in arguments or put you down. Narcissists use a variety of manipulative techniques, like changing the subject, selective memory, and lying, to make you feel like the crazy one. Just know, it isn’t you! They have had a lifetime to perfect these methods, which they use to avoid the devastating fact that they are unhappy with themselves.

There are some helpful support groups online, which remind you that you are not alone and offer tips for how to cope with a narcissist. In addition, there are many great books like, “The Wizard Of Oz And Other Narcissists,” and “Why Is It Always About You,” both of which offer wonderful tips for dealing with one-way relationships.

In the end, the best thing you can do is be grateful that you are no longer romantically involved with your ex. If they are a true narcissist, the relationship never stood a chance. Still, you learned what you needed to learn, and you now know to avoid people like this in the future. As. C.S. Lewis said, “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

Looking for more ideas on how to cope with your difficult ex? Learn more about how we can help.



,

Overcoming Fear During Your Divorce

Whether you were surprised when your former spouse decided to file for divorce or you were the one who decided that it was time to untangle the knot and move on with your lives, the changes divorce brings to your life can be terrifying. However, overcoming that fear is a critical part of moving on with your life, seeing what’s on the other side, and learning to function in your new reality. It won’t happen overnight, but if you give yourself time, you’ll learn just what a strong individual you can be.

Live in the Moment

The future is, and always will be, a huge unknown. Maybe you’ve already considered new dreams and plans for your future, based on your new independent life, instead of life with your former spouse. Or maybe you’re still shaping those dreams and figuring out what you actually want. Whatever the case, the present moment is a lot less scary than all those unknowns. You’re doing fine, you’re handling things, and your current outlook really isn’t so bad. Sit down, breathe, and give yourself permission to live in the moment, instead of fixating on the distant future.

Appreciate the Little Things

There are benefits to being on your own. Regardless of the negatives, seeking out the positives can help you overcome your fears and come to enjoy your new single status. Consider this:

  • You have your entire bed to yourself (or can share it with a child or children at your personal discretion, instead of having to cater to your spouse) and can spread out as much as you like.
  • You can make your own meal choices, without considering your former spouse’s preferences. That fantastic meal that you love and they hate? You can have it whenever you like.
  • You have full control over the remote. There’s no need to negotiate on which show you’ll be watching tonight. Instead, you can choose the one that works best for you.
  • You can enjoy time with friends whenever you like and, in fact, you’re probably learning just how important some of those friends are in your life.

Being single for the first time in years may be intimidating, but it also offers an unparalleled freedom. Concentrate on those great positives instead of letting yourself dwell on the negatives, and you’ll be amazed by how much stronger you feel. It isn’t possible for fear to get the better of you when you’re focusing on all the good in your life.

Remember How Strong You Are

You’ve been through tough times before. Some of them may have left their mark on you, but you survived them all! Sit down with your journal and list those moments when you needed to be strong and were able to step up to the plate. Then, realize that you still have that same strength. You’ll be able to handle those scary moments when they come.

Give In and Imagine

If you can’t get that lingering fear to let go, try this strategy: let yourself imagine the worst-case scenario. Define your fear and name it for what it is. Then ask yourself, “What if?” How are you going to handle that situation when it arises? Develop a plan of action that you’ll be able to realistically put into place if that worst-case scenario actually occurs. Once you know how you’ll handle it, you’ll be able to lay the fear to rest and focus on more important things.

Your life will change dramatically over the next few months and years. You’ll deal with new situations, test your own strength, and discover that single you is even more capable than the married you ever dreamed. We’re here to help you overcome your fear and navigate the transition. Check out how we can help. We’ll walk you through the process and help you find the strategies you need as you evolve into your next chapter.



,

Valentine’s Day Divorce: Time to Kick Cupid to the Curb?

Valentine’s Day is approaching, but not everyone is feeling the love. Thousands of people are trapped in unhappy marriages and are ready to move on, but may be unsure of how or when to take the next step. For many, that time is now. So if you are contemplating divorce this Valentine’s Day, know you are not alone.

According to some reports, the month of February sees a sharp increase in the number of divorce filings. The reason for this is somewhat obvious. At a time of year when the air is thick with love, the unhappiness of a bad marriage can feel especially suffocating.

Valentine’s Day divorce filers usually fall into two distinct groups: those who have been planning to get divorced for a while, and those who are searching for a reason to stay.

The “Delayed New Year’s Resolutioners”

When it comes to those who have been wanting a divorce for a while, putting it off may simply seem easier than dealing with the grief and hardship that can come with it. Some are in relationships where they feel unsafe, while others are merely unhappy with their partner. These people have told themselves for years that they need to become single. And though the new year may seem like a perfect time to consider such a life changing decision, some people get cold feet and choose not to file, or postpone the divorce until the busyness of the new year has quieted down.

People that have made up their mind, but get cold feet right after New Year’s, usually regret the decision. By the time February rolls around, these people cannot stand the thought of another Valentine’s Day with their spouse. Faking happiness through dinner is just not possible anymore. These delayed New Year’s Resolutioners often choose to act before the special day. They want to be single again, and they want out of their marriage, before another miserable year goes by.

The “Waiting to Exhale” Crowd

On the other hand, some couples hold out for Valentine’s Day, in hopes of making one last attempt to reconcile their differences. Though one or both disgruntled spouses are considering divorce, they may still be holding onto the hope of fixing their marriage. Maybe they have children, or they are married to their first love. There are many reasons why someone would want to stay in a marriage, even while they are actively considering divorce. These people are waiting to exhale. Hoping that their spouse gives them a reason to reconcile, while still considering divorce an option.

Waiting for Valentine’s Day can be a good option for some couples. It’s not unheard of for two people to rekindle that spark that has been missing over a romantic evening, away from the normal stresses of life. Of course, some couples may simply wish to consider all their options, before making the final decision to seek a divorce. Maybe an extended separation or a vacation could save the marriage. By waiting, these couples might be able to save their relationship.

So What Next?

Contemplating divorce is a difficult process. Often your entire social circle is tied up in your marriage. You may feel completely isolated. Fortunately, there are numerous resources available to people considering divorce.

At Untangle The Knot, we provide an ideal resource for people considering divorce. The “Contemplating Divorce” section of our website is a great place to start. In this section, you will find numerous insights to get answers to your biggest questions. This section offers helpful information for those who might be worried about issues such as the cost of divorce or about losing custody of their children. We even discuss opportunities to save your marriage from the divorce. The guidance found on this page can be invaluable when making your decision.

Ultimately, if you do decide to move forward with divorce during this Valentine’s Day season, we hope that the resources here at Untangle The Knot can make the process a little easier. In addition to the wealth of information and guidance we provide, our site can also help you locate professionals in the counseling, financial, and legal professions, to give you the personal assistance you need.

Going through a divorce is stressful in so many ways, but living through an unhappy marriage can be even worse. We encourage you to get the guidance and support you need to move forward in your marriage, or into your single life.



,

Lessons from Yoga: Are You the Carrot, Egg or Coffee Bean in Your Divorce?

One of the many aspects of yoga that I love is the life and spiritual lessons that the teachers will weave into class at just the right moment. It often feels like an act of Divine intervention when certain stories and quotes prove to be timed perfectly, right just when I need them and so relevant to the current events of my life.

I remember one particular time where I was absolutely beaten down by what life continued to throw my way. I was overwhelmed by everything happening, and beyond disheartened because I try so hard to be a good person and do the right thing and the universe seemed to be ignoring that. Instead of having good things come back to me, as Karma would predict, I felt as though punches were being thrown at me at every turn. It was especially painful when the instigators of those punches were from people who I tried so hard to do right by.

The way I lived the last few years as my marriage was ending until this point should have earned me serious Karma points. I acted with integrity and grace while trying to exit my marriage (for the most part!), and I gave until I bled through the divorce process to keep it amicable. I’ve done my very best as a mother to help my children through the after-effects of divorce and to be emotionally well-adjusted. I work hard in my chosen business that was created to serve others during a difficult time in their lives. I look for the lessons hidden in the downturns of life instead of wallowing in the negativity. I’m there for my friends, give money to the homeless person on the corner, and lend a helping hand when needed. I return shopping carts from the parking lot and recycle. And thus, I should be getting some good juju back, right?

Wrong.

I had found myself in a perfect storm, where every core area in my life was blowing up at once. My daughter went through a major setback, I learned that my kids’ dad was building a house in my community with his soon-to-be wife, the on-again-off-again romantic relationship I had been in came to an end, a major family drama ensued, and then add a house repair fiasco on top of that. This all happened within a few short weeks, leaving me in a place where I could deal with no more.

Somehow I gained enough strength to find my way to the yoga studio, and that day, I heard exactly what I needed to.

The yoga instructor weaved the story of The Carrot, The Egg and The Coffee Bean by Pritesh Kalantri throughout the practice. The entire story is posted on our FaceBook page, so check it out (please note you may need to search for Pritesh Kalantri). It’s a great read! She would only give little pieces of the story at a time, which provided a good amount of time to process the story and who I wanted to be.

The story begins with a daughter telling her mother about all of the life challenges that have her so beaten down she just doesn’t know what to do anymore. Her mother put three pots of water on the stove to boil and placed carrots in the first, eggs in the second, and coffee beans in the remaining pot. After the items had a chance to swirl around in the boiling water for a bit, her mother asked her to look at each pot to determine what she saw. Each item had faced the same adversity, but came through it differently.

The carrot went into the water hard and strong, but came out weak. The eggs were fragile with a fluid center, but became hardened after being subjected to the boiling water. The coffee beans were different though, as they changed the water.

Through this practice, I had the opportunity to ponder who I wanted to be through this downturn in my life. Was I the carrot who was strong, but allowed the adversity to steal my strength? Was I the egg, with the soft heart that became hardened and bitter? I knew I didn’t want either of those options. I had experienced both before, and I was not interested in going there again.

She further explained the experience of the boiling coffee bean. When things are tough, do you want to change the situation around you? When life throws you the most hurtful punches, will you elevate to persevere through the challenges and emerge a better version of yourself on the other side?

In that moment, I chose to be the coffee bean. I’ve been the carrot and the egg at many times during my life, and certainly through the time period leading up to my divorce. Since that time, I have worked to be the coffee bean. At this point though, I’d been knocked down just enough to revert back to my old patterns.

So, I encourage you to ask yourself as you are in this phase of contemplating divorce or well into the process — who are you going to be? How do you want to handle the challenges that will be thrown at you in a potentially unrelenting way?

The coffee bean is a good analogy for what we have aspired to create with Untangle The Knot. We are giving you the divorce resources and all-around support — mind, body and spirit — to help you change your environment, create something wonderful from adversity and emerge on the other side a richer person who is now fully in the process of becoming who they are meant to be.

Please check out the Untangle The Knot Divorce Resources and discover how we can help you be the coffee bean! Have you found anything to inspire you to be the coffee bean during your divorce? If so, please share your comment here!



,

Father’s Day 101 for Divorced Dads

Let’s face it: Celebrating Father’s Day as a divorced dad is just not the same. In the past, your wife may have helped the kids create hand-made presents while you enjoyed a relaxing day free of “honey-do” lists and being honored and loved by your family. Now the day may bring on feelings of sadness or failure or frustration that you weren’t able to make your marriage work or that your relationship with your kids has changed. Here’s how you can put a positive spin on the day so that it continues to be a meaningful celebration for you and your kids, no matter what the situation is.

If you won’t be able to see your kids on Father’s Day, it’s important that you still reach out to them. Set up a time without interruptions where you can call, Skype or FaceTime with them. Make the day even more special by sending them a handwritten note or card telling them how proud you are to be their father. If you will be able to see them at a different time, plan to celebrate Father’s Day together then.

And even if you aren’t able to see your kids on this special day, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Schedule a game of golf with your buddies, go for a mountain bike ride or hike or grab dinner at your favorite restaurant.

If you have your kids for just part of the day, spend some time in advance planning out what special activity you would like to do together. Grab some sandwiches and hit the park to fly kites, throw a football around or ride bikes. Go for a hike, play a couple rounds of mini golf or plan a special meal you can make together.

If you have the kids for the whole day or weekend, make sure you have their typical nap, meal time and other schedules down pat so you can avoid any unnecessary meltdowns. Once again, get the kids involved in planning some activities. You could hit a baseball game or other sporting event together or have a “family movie night/slumber party”. If you know other divorced dads who have their kids for the day, send out invites for a kids/dad barbecue and lawn games.

When it comes to handling Father’s Day with your ex-husband, depending on the nature of your divorce, you may not be feeling a strong desire to shower him with gifts and celebrate his accomplishments as a father. But it is very important to support your kids in honoring their father; you must respect their relationship with him, and this is an opportunity to support that bond as you navigate your way through the ups and downs of the divorce process. Help them to pick out a gift for their father, encourage them to make cards for him, and do what you can to ensure they are able to spend some time with him.

The bottom line? Look at Father’s Day as an opportunity to get your kids involved in starting some new traditions. This will make the day much more enjoyable for everyone.  Dads – Leave a comment about how you plan to celebrate. Moms – leave a comment about how you are supporting your kids with Father’s Day.



,

How to Break Up Like An Adult

The break-up–it can be good, bad or ugly. Or a little of all three. We’ve all experienced break-ups–everything from those first middle school “romances” and high school loves to long-term relationships and marriages. While the middle school and high school relationships seemed so traumatizing and “real” at the time, telling your spouse you want a divorce or ending a long-term relationship is a very tough thing to do–for both of you; this is when all this business of being an adult might just make you want to revert to those simple days of school romances–can’t you just have your best friend pass a scribbled note to your soon-to-be ex during math class saying it’s over and you’re sorry? Yes, in this day and age of texting, Tinder and Twitter, things like that still actually happen in a slightly different form. But when another human gives you his or her heart and their life, you owe them a dignified ending. You’ll feel better about yourself in the process, and you will be more likely to salvage a co-parenting relationship or friendship going forward. Let’s explore some real-life scenarios–I’ll start by leading with some bad examples.

Here’s what not to do:

Settlement Option A, B or C

It was just another ordinary evening for this couple, who had been married for 12 years and had a toddler and a newborn. Unfortunately, not unlike many other evenings, the bickering began. This time, he decided he had enough and left. Three days went by, and the wife finally heard from him, albeit indirectly. A family friend called her to let her know that her husband had retained him as his divorce attorney, and he was requested to provide her with three settlement options from which she could choose. This is how she learned she was getting a divorce from the man she had put through school and supported through his career. She later learned he had left her for his mistress. Four months later, the couple was divorced, and he married his mistress shortly thereafter.

iMessage Sent

Their love affair was fast and furious, and they spent every free minute of the day and night together of their two-year relationship. Their friends thought they were the perfect couple, and they regularly discussed their future together. Until one Saturday morning. He left to run some errands, and she went to work out. They were planning on getting back together in a few hours. He received a text from her, which he initially assumed was her letting him know she was on her way. Instead, the words left him cold. She didn’t love him. She wanted out. iMessage sent and message definitely received, with zero closure and leaving him to not only deal with the pain of the relationship ending, but the truly disrespectful, unfeeling manner in which she chose to end it.

You’ve Got Mail

After a couple of years together, he had to relocate for a job he couldn’t refuse. Unfortunately, she couldn’t go at that time. They knew their relationship was something special, and they didn’t want to let it go. They continued on for several more years, but the timing was never right for them to be together. Finally, on one of their too few visits, they made a plan. He was moving back, and they would start their lives together. Marriage was in their future. A few days after he left, he went dark. She called, emailed and texted, with no response. Then, on Monday afternoon, he sends her an email explaining that he’s going through “some things” and she should move on. Quite the unceremonious ending to a 10-year relationship that was on the cusp of marriage.

These are all true stories, as unbelievable and heart-breaking as they may sound. Hopefully none of these stories resonate with you, from either perspective! Let’s talk about doing the right thing–about being an adult and respectful of yourself and your partner. Relationships run their course and may come to an end. Feelings, circumstances and people may change. It happens. However, I’d encourage you to make the parting as respectful as possible. Whether you are married, living together or simply in a committed relationship, your relationship deserves an appropriate ending.

Six Tips for a Mature and Respectful Break-Up Conversation

  • Don’t Lie – There is no need to be unnecessarily harsh, but be wary of hiding behind a white lie to spare the feelings of the person receiving the news. Chances are, he or she will learn the truth and will feel worse as a result.
  • Choose the Right Time and Place – Telling him you don’t love him any more on his birthday in your favorite restaurant is not the right time or place. Pick a neutral location, a place where, if things get emotional, you won’t be the center of attention. Allow time for questions to be asked, versus having to rush off to another commitment as soon as you deliver the news.
  • Avoid Piling On – Try to be sensitive to what is going on in his or her life. Is he struggling with a medical issue, or is she dealing with the loss of a loved one, having serious issues with a child or did someone lose a job? I’m not recommending you stay around if the issue will take some time to resolve, however, try to break the news when the stress is at a lower point.
  • Do It In Person – Very few circumstances make anything other than a face-to-face discussion remotely acceptable. You once loved this person and he or she loves you. Show some basic respect and have the conversation in person like an adult.
  • Be Empathetic and Respectful – This situation is difficult enough without making it worse by being insensitive. Put yourself in his or her shoes, and talk to them as you would want for yourself.
  • Talk Logistics – If you are living together, and especially if you are married, you’ll need to talk about who will be moving out. Perhaps you can offer to leave for a few days to let the other person get their feet under them while you jointly decide on the right path.

This is obviously the tip of the iceberg if you are married, especially if you have children. If a divorce discussion is in your future, please learn more about how Untangle The Knot can support you through it. Among many other resources, you’ll receive helpful information and scripts for telling your spouse you want a divorce and scripts and other considerations for telling your children about your divorce. Ending any relationship is hard work; doing it the right way may be even harder, but in the end, it’s the best way.



,

10 Tips for Celebrating Mother’s Day After Divorce

Celebrating Mother’s Day after divorce may initially have the same appeal as a root canal. Holidays are all difficult in the beginning, but this one can have a particular sting to it because it’s the day to celebrate you as a mom — a time when your husband and kids would come together in your honor, showing their love and appreciation for you with flowers, gifts and other special things.

Or maybe not. When you’re in an unhappy marriage, holidays often do not live up to Hallmark versions of the day. It could be that you were hoping for your family to shower you with love, but reality fell short, leaving you feeling rejected and hurt. Regardless of marriage troubles, this is the one day your husband and father of your kids should honor you as a mother. When it doesn’t happen, the cut is deep.

You’re in a new chapter now, and this is your chance to create new traditions, making Mother’s Day special and important to you. Depending upon the ages of your kids, you may need to take the reins in planning the day. Ideally, their father really should help the kids with a card and buying something special for you regardless of his feelings for you. You will always be the mother of his kids and that should be appreciated. Unfortunately, not all men will rise to the occasion. Remember, this is a reflection on him as a person, not you as a mother!

Here are some tips for creating your new Mother’s Day:

  1. Make a plan. Talk with your kids about what would be a special way to spend the day as a family. It’s a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of doing things for others.
  2. Pamper yourself. In the day or two before Mother’s Day, take some time out for yourself to do what makes you feel like a queen! Get a massage, pedicure or facial. Maybe get your hair done. You deserve to take a break and have someone take care of you for a change!
  3. Enjoy that breakfast in bed! Granted, more than likely you won’t be the lady of leisure waiting to be served. Since you’ll be a part of the process, you can be sure to have the breakfast you want. Maybe make some blueberry pancakes from scratch and serve with fresh fruit and special coffee for you and hot cocoa for the kids. Head back to your room and enjoy your breakfast in bed with your kids!
  4. Plant your garden. This has been my tradition since my daughter was two months old. I planted flowers as she hung out in her baby swing next to me. It’s much more fun now that my daughter and son are old enough to help. We plant herbs and flowers and these become a point of connection for us as they bring me herbs for cooking and pick pretty bouquets for me throughout the summer.
  5. Go for a bike ride or hike. Hit some beautiful surroundings to work in a little physical exercise. If you’re a mom who is parenting alone 50% of the time or more, exercise may be a very valuable commodity. This is your day, so put yourself first on the list!
  6. Buy yourself fresh flowers. Just because the father of your kids isn’t facilitating the purchase doesn’t mean you should go without. And don’t just wait for Mother’s Day. Beautiful, fresh flowers always make any room look and feel special.
  7. Go out to your favorite restaurant. Just beware that this could be a trigger for you with all those two-parent families out celebrating as well. If so, avoid it. Stay home and cook a special dinner. Or opt out of cooking and order take out. Set the table nicely, enjoy those flowers you bought, and pick up some Prosecco and sparkling grape juice for a Mother’s Day toast!
  8. Write a letter to yourself. Give yourself the appreciation, love and compassion you deserve! Tuck the letter away and pull it out next time you are feeling low.
  9. Add a four-legged friend to your family. Have you been thinking about adding a dog or cat to your family? It’s a great day for it! Check out your local shelters and find the little one who is looking for their forever home!
  10. Celebrate other single mothers. Send flowers or a card to another single mom. Let her know how wonderful of a mother she is and how much her kids love and appreciate her. Sometimes the best way to improve your mood is to make somebody else’s day! You can also invite another single mom to celebrate the day with you — you guys and the kids could start your own brunch or dinner tradition, or go for a hike with the kids that culminates in a gourmet picnic.

If these ideas aren’t resonating with you right now, go ahead and ignore them! You have a giant permission slip to feel any way you want and do anything you want. If you don’t want to do the traditional brunch with extended family — don’t. If you want to cuddle up with the kids in jammies and have a movie day, do that. It’s your day. Be kind to yourself!

Learn more about Untangle The Knot can support you through your divorce.

Happy Mother’s Day!