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May 27, 2008
No rings no strings!
So maybe you are newly divorced.  It is hardly the time to jump back into a relationship. But, who wants to figure out how to get back into the swing of things anyway?  Well, just in case you do, I would suggest a "no rings no strings" relationship.  I once had a summer that I entitled, "No feelings, no expectations", and I guess they are about the same.  It's just an opportunity to get back out there and get your feet wet.  Getting back into dating isn't the easiest thing in the world, so it is much better to practice when you aren't really looking for anything to be long lasting anyway.  I suppose there are the "friends with benefits", but that doesn't really get you back into practicing dating.  You know, when you have to make conversation.  Someone must make the first move.  You have to decide if you are going to stay overnight and all of that.  The only difference between a no rings no strings and a real thing, is that you must make it very clear that you have just got out of a marriage and you are really just looking to have some fun for awhile, No Strings!  Have fun......

May 26, 2008
"Separation" and the kids
So your marriage is on the brink of divorce.  Tensions are running high and your kids are being affected.  Perhaps its time for a cooling off period or a trial "separation", but what does that do to the kids?  Unfortunately it raises the tensions to even higher ground for all of you.  It makes everyone upset.  It makes everyone hopeful.  It makes everyone (especially the kids) try to be on their "best behavior" in hopes of a reunion.  If you've ever been through a bad break-up, you know the kind where it takes about 2-10 rounds of breaking up and getting back together before the break up finally sticks, then you know all about the push pull that goes on.  A trial separation does exactly that, only now you are dragging your kids into the push pull.  Unless your kids are not old enough to know what is going on, I'm not sure what the trial separation does other than drag everyone's emotions onto a roller coaster ride.  Perhaps what might be better is time and perspective.  After all that is what the trial separation is supposed to be about.  Maybe it would be good for you each to take a 1-2 week vacation, separately, so that you each have time to reflect.  It also gives you an opportunity to see just what it is going to be like to be a single parent in a shared custody situation.  It provides opporutunity for a cooling off period, but doesn't quite rock the boat so hard for the kids involved.  Maybe after the separate vacations, a vacation or even just a weekend away, the two of you will be just what you need to make or break your decision.  For more support on parenting through separation or after divorce, be sure to check out the free monthly group coaching offer on my website.  http://www.acpublicationsgroup.com/Coaching.php

May 25, 2008
Am I a better Mom since I got divorced??
I had dinner tonight with one of my "married" mom friends.  We were discussing so many aspects of life, one of which of course was being a mother.  We each have kids of similar ages.  Yet it seemed to me that maybe I had a bit more of a refreshed attitude about parenting and she had one where she was, well.............maybe burnt out??  I have my kids 4 days a week. She is with hers 7.  I have plenty of down time, time to enjoy my books, magazines, dinners with friends, and even a summer night of sharing wine with a companion on the patio.  I can shop in peace, write in peace, even be in peace in peace.  She on the other hand would probably kill for 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon to romp around in her pjs.  I think we both love our kids emmensely.  I think that we are both great moms.  I just wonder if because I have the built in down time, if that doesn't give me some different perspective.  I have time to know me.  I have time to ponder how to be an effective parent.  She on the other hand has time to ponder what's for dinner tomorrow, and when is she going to go to the store to make the actual purchase.  I made a comment that maybe the universe knew what it was doing when it handed me the divorce card............as I'm not sure I had what it would take to be a 7 day a week mom.  Hard to say.........

May 22, 2008
Now I can finally have that summer fling!
Well being divorced certainly has its perks.  It is 85 degrees here already and has me thinking about summer.  I've always heard of summer romances and summer flings.  Never quite imagined myself in the middle of one.  Yet these past few days I've been saying, "why not?"   Maybe it's now or never.  I'm certainly not getting any younger, nor am I anywhere near past my prime.  What would be wrong with having a little fun.  I've paid my dues.  I did the marriage thing.  It didn't work out so well.  So why can't I have a "no feelings, no expectations" summer romance.  I would love to have someone to go to those outdoor concerts with.  Even more I'd love to have someone to hang with on the patio on those nice summer evenings.  You know, the more I think about it, the more I am thrilled at the possibilities that divorce can bring.  The other beautiful thing is, my kids go away for several days a week, and usually at least one week a summer with their Dad.  So there will be plenty of opportunity............now I just have to figure out how it is one gets back into the summer dating scene.  I seem to have forgotten that part!

May 22, 2008
Exercise Your Way Through A Divorce
There are plenty of ways to cope with finding yourself embroiled in a divorce.  One could start drinking heavily.....and I'm sure I had my share of glasses of wine.  However, I don't think that ultimately is the most productive.  Neither is sitting around moping, watching old romantic comedies and calling your friends to spew for the ten thousandth time.  So I would recommend considering getting some exercise.  There are all kinds of things you can do, especially this time of year.  How about getting out that bike and going for a ride.  Yoga might interest you and calm your frayed nerves.  Walking the dog is good, or how about a dance class?  When I was getting divorced I did two things.  I signed up for ball room dance classes at a studio where you rotated partners.  I made several friends there, that are my friends to this day.  I often called my dance class a "blues chaser", because no matter how upset I might be when I walked into dance class, or later, a social dance, by the time I left I couldn't remember what I was upset about.  I felt great!  The other thing I did was I signed up for a 60 mile walk to raise money for breast cancer.  I spent an entire summer walking all over town.  I learned where every bike path and walking trail was.  I walked and walked until I just couldn't be sad anymore.  I think there is something to moving the body that helps chase the doldrums away.  Give it a try...........find something you love and get moving!

May 19, 2008
What do you tell the kids when you go on vacation without them?
I posted an entry last week about how wonderful it was to take a vacation without my kids.  It was so nice to have built in routine for them, without a lot of hassle.  That has spurred many questions about just how do you tell your kids you are going on a vacation without them.  My kids have been fortunate.  Both their Mom and Dad are passionate travelers, so though they get left at home often, they also get to go often.  However, occassionally the subject comes up.  I just simply explain that we all have things that we do without the entire family.  For example, they go to school and go on field trips that I don't get to go on.  They also go on trips with their Dad that I don't get to take, but that I anxiously await their return so I can hear all about it.  I have also explained that everyone needs some down time.  So just like maybe they want to go be by themselves for awhile in their room, that grownups too, need some down time, but that our stress is greater so our down time tends to need to be greater also.  I personally think it is very healthy for parents, married or not, to have vacation time away from their children.  I also think it is good for kids to have some time when they are not in their exact routines either, as life does not seem to unfold as one giant routine.  So, go ahead.  Take the vacation.  If you do it often enough your kids will hardly bat an eyelash and just say, "what did you bring me?" when you return.

May 16, 2008
Marriage counseling does give answers...sometimes not ones you expect.
A stranger once made a comment to me that I didn't know would later become a very critical piece of information.  She said, "It takes two to make a marriage, but it doesn't take two to break it.  It can take just one not trying."  I don't know why I filed that little tidbit away in my mind, but years later when one of the many "aha" moments of my crumbling marriage struck me, it became crucial.  You see, I was lucky enough to have a husband that was willing to go to marriage counseling.  I had two kids under the age of 3 and I really wanted to save my marriage.  After about the 3rd visit, my husband announced that this marriage counseling stuff wasn't doing anything and he wasn't going back.  I continued without him, but all the while in the back of my mind that stranger's comment was lurking.  I tried to explain to my husband that we did not get into this situation overnight, and that we wouldn't be getting out in just 3 counseling sessions.  He didn't buy it.....and that was just another thing that led me to the tipping point.  So I don't know if marriage counseling works or not, but I do know that in the long run, it got me right to the point of the decision I needed to make.  You see, she was right.  I didn't want to have a marriage where one person just quit trying.  So eventually I left.

May 15, 2008
I want a divorce, how do I tell him?
OK, so you've made up your mind inside that you want a divorce.  Now what?  How to you share the news with your spouse that you once pledged your neverending love for?  Do you plan a special dinner?  Do you blurt it out at half time during the Superbowl?  Do you wait until you have a huge argument and spring it on them then?  If you are like most soon to be divorcing couples, chances are you are both pretty aware of what is going on.  It is probably not terribly shocking that you are thinking about it.  Maybe your spouse has been thinking about it too.  There are those that seem to be completely shocked, but usually when they go back through the recent episodes they will realize they were just putting their head in the sand.  The signs are usually there, some of us are just better at ignoring them then others.  I don't really know how I did it.  I think it just evolved.  Like one of us used the D word, and then suddenly it was a possibility.  The word started being thrown around more and more and made it even more of a possibility.  Finally I think I just said in a normal unheated conversation that I thought maybe we both needed some time and I thought a separation was in order.  It seemed to ease the transition, and when it came time to actually get the divorce, nobody was shocked.  I think we were both grateful.  So to me the old term "foreshadowing" is the best way.  Just start laying the groundwork.  Start indicating you are not happy and wonder out loud what it might be like if you weren't together any more.  Eventually it will pave the way to lower the boom and it won't be quite so shocking....

May 14, 2008
Why am I glad I'm divorced?
There are those who seem to think being divorced is some bad thing.  I suppose even I thought that in the beginning.  What are my parents going to think?  My co-workers, the neighbors?  Worse yet, what will my children think as they grow up?  Today I think it was a gift.  I have had the gift of learning a lot about myself.  I have learned a lot about what I don't want in a relationship.  I have learned that I really can stand on my own two feet, and I don't have to spend my life miserable.  I have learned that it can be really thrilling to fix a toilet all on my own.  I've learned that my favorite person to spend time with is me, and that I don't need some man to make me "complete".  I've learned how to be civilized to someone that I sometimes wish would move to Zimbabwe.  Honestly, I think the experience provided me such growth and opportunity that today I really can say I am very thankful for the experience.  I don't know that I would want to sign up and do another, but at the same time it has given me such strength, that I honestly think I'm a much better person because of it.  So.....here's to being divorced!  Freedom, and independence.....yippee!

May 13, 2008
Vacation....without kids???
OK, so I know all of the newly divorced parent out there struggle when you don't have your kids and they are with your ex.  I know I certainly did.  I was one of the ones who sat in the hard kitchen floor sobbing when my 1 and 3 year old went off with their Dad.  I felt so alone and empty.  Well times have changed and a lot of healing has gone on, and now I've actually come to enjoy my time both with and without the kids.  You may have noticed I've been absent now for awhile.  That is because I just took a glorious 10 day vacation without my kids.  I was able to do this because I knew that the kids were safe and sound with their Dad, just like they are normally 3 days a week anyway.  There weren't any major adjustments, just a few schedule notices so Dad got the new routine for the days he normally doesn't have them, and off to Italy I went.  Now that is not to say I didn't miss them, but I am certain that if I were married, that trip likely would not have happened until we were both of retirement age, because where would the kids go????  So I went, I explored, I recharged.  I came back and it seemed my kids had grown at least two inches each, and I was soooo ready to be a Mom again!



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