Here’s a question I recently received from Karen:
Q: Hi, Laura. This is more of an OMG. I am feeling sorry for myself but here we go: My fiance of two years and I just recently split up. I have two children from a previous relationship but they have called him Dad a good majority of the time. Maybe a bad move on my part?
Now that we’ve split, he as completely cut the kids and me out of his life. Mind you, it’s only been two weeks but he’s already blocked my number and if there has been contact, it’s been on my part.
All he can say is that he is happier, that I need to move on and that he’s not going to allow me to guilt trip him into continuing a relationship with the kids. This is coming from a man who talked about adopting them at one point.
I am caught in a world of hurt. Sometimes, the pain is just unbearable. I’m left wondering how he could just move on and not care about the kids.
I though maybe you could help me understand and work through this. ~ Karen
A: Oh, Karen, My Darling, I completely understand that you’re dealing with a lot right now.
I’m certain that your pain is coming from not only your own loss of the relationship but also how his absence is affecting your children.
Since I’m unsure of what caused the relationship to end and who broke it off, I’ll just assume that it was a surprise to you. I’m also going to assume that his behavior since has also caught you off guard.
Tips for managing right now:
1. Put a time limit on your negative emotions. I’ve said this in past articles before but it’s really helpful. When you begin to feeling really down or like you need a good cry, don’t try to stop it. Just say to yourself, “Okay. Bring it. You’ve got ten minutes and then you’re done.” It’s good to feel like you’re the boss of your emotions and not the other way around. After the ten minutes (and use a timer if you need it), it’s OVER. You MOVE ON to an activity that you enjoy.
2. Lean into the knowledge that you may never know why this happened. As you’re reacting to his aloofness, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Who is this person? How could he just walk away from us? Why does it seem so easy for him to disconnect and move on? Did he ever really love me and the kids?”
These are thoughts that definitely cross our minds when our ex is acting in ways we never thought possible. Sadly, it happens and the questions regarding why can seem all-consuming.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you’ll probably never know what really happened here. People change. People make choices that don’t make sense and hurt others.
It doesn’t sound like he’s open to giving you any information about why he’s acting the way he’s acting. So, you’re left in that position of wondering…why? why? why?
It’s uncomfortable and you’d really like to know ~ how did we get here? What could I have done to prevent this from happening?
Beating yourself up at a time like this does you no good, Sassy Pants. Even though it’s painful, you may have to begin getting comfortable with the idea you’ll never know exactly what happened and why.
3. Count your blessings. If this is the REAL him, would you want to be with him for the rest of your life? Really? He’s showing you right now who he really is and guess what? It’s not pretty, Girlfriend. Be grateful that you found this out now and not later. I know it hurts but what if you two had gotten married and he pulled this? What if he had already adopted the children and then pulled this? That would be even more difficult. So…while it may be hard to imagine this being more painful, it undoubtedly would be if it happened down the line instead of now.
Karen, my heart goes out to you. Please know that you are strong and you WILL get through this. Countless women have been where you are today and have gone on to lead even MORE FABULOUS lives than they ever imagined ~ and so will you!
When coping with divorce or the breakup of a relationship, it’s often easy to overlook the good stuff. After all, life as you knew it is changing ~ and sometimes it’s a DRAMATIC change. But…does that mean there’s NOTHING good going on?
I’d like to introduce you to a little exercise called an Appreciation Avalanche. I first heard about this from a friend of mine, Sharon. She likes to do it every morning. Wow! What a great way to start your day.
It’s super easy and there’s just one step.
1. Think of all the things in life you have to be thankful for and say it loud and proud.
You can do this any time of day or night. Stand up. Look around you and start there. Maybe you’re grateful for the cup of coffee you have in front of you. Maybe you’re thankful for your health. Maybe you took a memorable trip somewhere that you loved. The list can be endless ~ if you really think about it.
Just let your mind go. I believe you’ll find that there are SO MANY positive people/pets/things/memories in your life to acknowledge.
Just go there! There’s no right or wrong way. No time limit. You can do it for ten seconds or ten minutes.
The key is to really get into it. DECLARE your gratitude for all that you have! Smile! Laugh! Clap! Woo Hoo!
If you’re at work or somewhere that you can’t boisterously proclaim your gratitude, then you can always have a “party in your head” and just do it quietly and silently. The results are the same.
YOU FEEL GOOD! YAY YOU!
You want to try it right now, don’t you? Well, go right ahead! Let’s do this!
Bring on the Appreciation Avalanche!
Okay. Here’s the deal…you miss him. I mean you REALLY miss him. Let me say it one more time – You REALLY SUPER DUPER BEYOND BELIEF MISS HIM! I understand. I’ve been there too. I’ve also made a bloody fool of myself in the midst of a breakup. That’s why I’m writing now. I want to save YOU from making the same mistakes.
So, without further ado, here is a list of things you shouldn’t do during a breakup in no particular order:
1. Drunk dial him at 2 a.m. or sober dial him at 4 p.m. The timing makes no difference. He can see right through this. He knows what you’re doing and you’ll feel like a fool afterwards. Really…you will. It seems like a gem of an idea after a couple margaritas with the girls. You get home. You’re feeling lonely. You imagine him feeling lonely too. He might need to hear your voice to comfort him through this time, right? WRONG!
2. Make up an emergency just to talk to him. So you twisted your ankle playing volleyball. Or maybe you won an award at work. Or maybe your dog vomited. Or maybe you’re just hoping for a “good” reason to contact him. Is this information he really needs or wants to know? Honestly? Huh-uh. No, Ma’am. He’s no longer in your life so he doesn’t get to hear about everything that’s happening to you whether it’s good, bad or otherwise.
3. Beg. Really? You’re fabulous. Why would you beg a moron who doesn’t realize your fabulousity to stay with you? Makes no sense. It’s beneath you. Don’t do it.
4. ”Accidentally” run into him. Yeah, we’ve all done it. You get that surprised look on your face and say, “I didn’t know you were going to be here!” Really? You so did. You knew he was going to be here and you planned it like this. The only thing you didn’t plan was the look on his face that says, “Oh, no. She’s here! Shit!” Not very fun. Not a good time. I know this destroys your vision of him looking at you, suddenly realizing what a dreadful mistake he made and taking you in his arms while simultaneously begging for forgiveness and booking you a trip to Bermuda. I wish I didn’t have to crush your dreams this way but…it’s highly unlikely that your dream will come true. Instead of planning a run in, why not spend the time getting a manicure or walking your cat? Both are better uses of your valuable and beautiful self!
5. Answer when HE calls at 2 a.m. or 4 p.m. for that matter. If you do, you will be providing what I call “breakup assistance” to him. This means that whenever he’s feeling a little lonely or reminiscing or regretting his decision – you’re always there for him to lean on. Effectively, you are helping him get over you. What? You want to HELP him get over you? Get over it. You deserve better. If he doesn’t want all of you, then he doesn’t get little bits and pieces here and there when it pleases him. If you give in, it will start happening less and less because…well, you’ve helped him get over you. Wouldn’t you rather help YOU get over HIM? Now that sounds better.
If you follow this list of don’ts — no matter how tough they seem — I promise that you’ll feel more confident about YOU and the choices YOU make! After all, you are FABULOUS!
Last week, I talked about settling for a so-so relationship. You know deep down inside that it’s not going to lead anywhere and he’s not Mr. Right but you hang on anyway. Why? Why would you do this when you’re so fabulous and deserve so much more? I asked you to begin thinking about the things in the relationship you didn’t like. Maybe it was some of his qualities or the way you related to one another or perhaps you forgot about or diminished your own needs. If you missed the video, click here to watch it now.
This week, I wanted to talk about a very important list. In life, I believe it’s important to get clear ~ I mean really clear ~ like razor-sharp clarity. This list is much more fun to compile than the one from last week because we’re focusing on what you WANT in a relationship. It’s everything you’d like to see in your ideal man ~ the qualities you’d like him to have ~ the way you’d communicate ~ the things you’d do ~ your sense of you being in the relationship. It’s all of those things wrapped into ONE list.
Here are a few tips on making the most of your wish list:
1. Frame it positively. For example, instead of writing, “He’s not a cheater” write “He is loyal.” Instead of “He’s not a slob” write “He appreciates organization.” You get the idea. Make the statements from a positive angle with a positive thought in mind.
2. Keeping adding to or changing your list as you have new experiences. I remember once during a lunch date with a “Match.com” suitor I thought I noticed that he had tiny hands. I mean REALLY tiny hands. I tried to be sly and use my peripheral vision and soon it became clear that ~ YES ~ he had what I know fondly refer to as Oompa-Loompa hands. They were the smallest hands I’ve ever seen on an adult man. As soon as I got home from our first and last date (I could go on and on about why this was the case but I’ll save that for another time), I wrote down on my wish list “He has man hands.” The importance of such criteria had never struck me before that moment but suddenly, it became very meaningful.
The photograph you see is an actual excerpt from the list I made before I met my husband, Jeff. When I met him, my list was two pages long. It seemed like I had wished for a lot and I had a few doubts about finding a guy that could meet even half of these wishes much less all of them but you know what? Jeff actually did fulfill ALL of my wishes. It’s funny how when you put it out there dreams can come true.
I invite all of you this week, who feel ready to let love in, to start making your wish list. After all, what if it comes true?
I’m coming to you live this week from my backyard. Trust me, when you live in Minnesota, you’ll take advantage of EVERY chance to be outside in the beautiful spring weather.
So this week, the question I’m asking you is: Have you ever settled for a less than stellar relationship?
Do you know why?
What steps could you take to ensure you don’t wind up in the same spot again and again and again?
Please click on the video above and check out my first tip on how to break this pattern! After all, you deserve it, Beautiful!!!
Are you facing a tough choice? Wondering if you should leave a relationship or stay? Click on this video to find out what you can look forward to when you finally MAKE that tough decision.
Let’s face it. Sometimes, when dealing with a breakup, you just have one of those days. Nothing seems to be going right. Everywhere you look, there are reminders of him or something else that makes you feel bad (like empty Haagen Daz containers littering the kitchen table). Once in a while, you might even have several bad days IN A ROW. Ugh!
It’s not necessary to spend another minute down in the dumps. We make choices about our mood every day. So the question is: What are you going to do to bring yourself up ~ to make things a little lighter and brighter? Pick even one of the five ways listed and I guarantee you will return to your cheerful self in no time!
1. Fake it. Sometimes, ACTING like you’re happy actually turns into BEING happy. ”When you smile, even if you’re not genuine, it sends happiness signals to your brain and makes you feel much better,” says Simon Rego of the Montefiore Medical Center. Also, try it while looking in the mirror. It’ll shoot another round of happiness indicators to the brain making you ~ right ~ even happier!
2. Exercise. Of course I’d say exercise. Why? First of all, it helps you to release endorphins which will naturally boost your mood. Secondly, if you choose a bit more aggressive exercise, say kickboxing or a punching bag, you’ll also take out some of your frustration in a safe and positive way. Afterwards, you’ll most likely think a bit clearer and therefore have a better perspective on the awesome life you’re building for yourself!
3. Wear something new and different. Maybe you’ve got an outrageous lipstick color that you never wear ~ wear it today! Or maybe those new shoes are still sitting in your closet begging to be worn. When you feel good on the outside, you’ll feel better on the inside. How about going to a store at lunch and spritzing on a new perfume? Sometimes, just a little bit of self-care can make a huge difference.
4. Veg out. Yep, distract yourself. If we have too much free time on our hands, it can lead down a spiral of doom. Let’s stop the spiral NOW! How about rewatching your favorite movie for the 101st time? Or going out to lunch with friends? Try out a new coffee shop in your neighborhood or grab a book and let your imagination go?
5. Have a venting session! You can either do this alone or with a trusted pal but here’s the kicker: Set the timer for 15 minutes (yes, really) or have your friend do it. ”Before you start, ask your friend to set the timer for 15 minutes,” says Darlene Mininni, author of The Emotional Toolkit. ”That’s a good amount of time to get things off your chest. Any longer and you’ll start focusing on the negative stuff too much.” Then ~ vent away! Rant, rave ~ or whatever you need to do. But remember: Only in moderation. You’ll typically feel a relief after venting. Afterwards, choose to be in a great mood the rest of the day.
Whether you’re dealing with a divorce or a breakup, you will have good days and bad days. Just remember that you can always turn that frown upside-down. It’s a choice. You are powerful and you can change a bad day into a good day! Best wishes for many good days ahead!
Q: Hi Laura. I’m divorcing my husband of six years. We’ve got two kids and I’m really scared. I feel uncertain about everything – my ability to cope financially, being a single parent, being alone and making decisions for myself and the kids. It all seems overwhelming and I’m constantly worrying about it. How do I handle this fear? ~ Molly A.
A: Hi Molly. What a great question. First of all, I must say that you are not alone. Your feelings are totally natural. You are going through a huge life transition here. You really don’t know what your life will look like in the future except that it will be DIFFERENT. When you get caught up in the worry, step back. Take a deep breath. Take another one. In these moments, it’s good to focus on the big picture and project yourself into your life one year from now. Ask yourself: Will you be living in a van by the river? No. Will you be living in a padded room at Shady Acres Mental Hospital? No. Will you be okay? Yep. Will you be stronger? Yep. Will you be happy? Yep. It’s during these times that I find “future daydreaming” most helpful. Let yourself feel the calm that comes with KNOWING you’ll be just fine. Ahhhhhhh. Now doesn’t that feel better?