Author: Tallie Rabin
Healing & Co-parenting After An Affair
If Tiger Woods and Elin Can Do It – So Can You!
Four years after their split-up, Elin Nordegren shared that she and ex-husband, Tiger Woods have a “really good relationship.”
I am not one for “gossip media” – at all. However through my research on this topic of my passion, peaceful divorce and having extraordinary family life no matter what the circumstance, I came across this story and it put a smile on my face.
Many of you likely know about the story of this famous couple. Tiger broke the sacred promise of monogamy in his marriage by engaging, not once, but dozens of times in extramarital affairs.
Affairs are damaging to marriage. Once that promise is broken, trust is broken with it.
Although there are many success stories of couples who successfully re-create their marriage vows on a new foundation of trust and continue to be married for many years, there are more stories of those who split up and go their separate ways after.
It is rare for a couple to go through this kind of marital devastation and come out the other side in good relations, whether still together or not. However, it is possible. And Tiger and Elin are an example of this. As Elin explained, they have a good relationship and the focus on their children.
When there are children involved in any divorce, it is critical for the couple to develop a relationship as co-parents, regardless of the personal relationship breakdown. That takes a level of maturity. It takes a willingness to learn and grow in the process so those issues don’t get in the way of providing a healthy upbringing to the children.
Here are some important steps for separated couples after an affair(s):
Forgiveness – the first person who often needs to be forgiven is the one who had the affair to be forgiven by their self. The one who had the affair is usually filled up with guilt and even self-hatred. Forgiveness is “for” “giving”. Only you can give it to yourself. And the same goes for giving another.
Trust Building – throughout your co-parenting relationship, practice making and keeping promises, small or big, that demonstrate reliability. It is important for the other partner to see a demonstration of some shift in character that will lend to the integrity of the parenting relationship and role-modelling to the child(ren).
What’s In The Past, Stays In The Past – once a couple has moved on, do not keep bringing up past incidents as a way to prove something wrong about the other person. “See? You always…” Or, “There you go again…” are usually communications that kill off the co-parenting (or any) relationship. This keeps people in the past, and unable to be in the present simply attending to the task that is, in reality, at hand in front of them.
While there are many other practices to take on in order to develop your relationship after an affair, I thought I would offer these few today.
If you have any questions about this subject, please don’t hesitate to contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Get a FREE copy of “5 Ways To End Your Marriage Without Ending Your Life” HERE
HOW TO LOVE IN ANY GIVEN MOMENT
Earlier this month in my blog, “How to Talk to Your Kids About Divorce” I introduced the concept of “Pouring On The Love” so your children feel nurtured, important and secure during and after the separation or divorce process.
A reader wrote in and asked, “How can I pour on the love when my situation is such that I have 4 children between the ages of 5 and 15, who are with me all but 2 weekends per month, I manage a household, a full time job, doctor appointments, etc….How do I make sure they are getting enough attention?”
Seeing as many of us parents can relate to having this type of concern, I thought I would share this with you all.
Pouring on the love is not always easy, but it is simple and is not necessarily what it seems. Mostly we think we need more time: If we had more time we could be more loving. While that perspective seems to make sense, it is not the only possible way. Being loving can happen in a given moment, in the process of doing what you’re doing.
Scenario: Take 1!
You are busy making dinner after a full day’s work. Maybe on the phone hands-free at the same time. Your child walks in the kitchen and wants your attention – to tell you a funny story or to complain about their sibling’s wrong-doings. In that moment, how you respond speaks. The first reaction may be a thought in your mind, “Argh, I can’t handle this all right now” or some version of that thought or feeling. When you react from there what is likely is an annoyed, frustrated type of reaction (words, body language, tone of voice, etc.), leaving your child with some experience of being a burden or the like.
I don’t think there is any parent who couldn’t possibly understand and completely relate to this kind of experience. And, while this is understandable and even justified, the outcome we are left with is less than satisfying, and if the truth were told, we as parents are left feeling pretty horrible, and not how we truly want to be.
Your child comes to you with the same interruption to your dinner-making. Instead of reacting with annoyance and frustration that may initially be there, you choose to be loving there and then.
“Can you hold on a moment?” you say to the person on the phone. You stop what you are doing temporarily. Look at your child in the eyes, and ask, “What is it?” And listen. (Often this takes less time in reality than our mind anticipates the interruption will be)
Then determine how to deal with whatever your child has said. If it was a story share, give them a kiss and say, genuinely “Thank you for telling me this. I’m getting back to making dinner; we’ll be ready to sit down together in about 15 minutes.” Or, if it was a complaint regarding a sibling, see if you can offer a word of advice for them to handle the situation and encourage them to go back in there and deal with it.
How you deal with your child actually speaks, often more than the words themselves. In this scenario your child is more likely to be left with the experience of being important and loved.
Now, you may reflect on this and think, “how can I be this way, really?” or “How can I be this way all the time?”
Hold on. Give yourself a break. You are in the “practice of parenting” AND if you’re in the process of separating or divorcing, you are in the “practice of parenting through separation” now, too. The operative word is “practice.” Allow yourself some grace and space. You will have some successes and you will have some failures, just like anyone who is practicing being good at something that is important to them.
The key is: Stay The Course.
And, I recommend that you don’t “be alone” in your practice. Buddy up with another like-minded parent or friend to support each other.
Consider getting some coaching or training from a professional on mastering this craft so you have more wins than failures over time.
Did this help you? Please leave a comment or question.
How To Manage Other People’s Opinions About Your Break Up
I remember in 2009 finding myself sitting in a lawyer’s office after stating I want sole custody of my daughter.
It felt strange. Like an out of body experience. But it was clearly me, sitting in my body, sitting in that office.
The “wake up moment” happened after I told that lawyer that I’d just brought my daughter to her father’s house for a Father’s Day visit and was planning to take her over there the next day again. The lawyer responded, “Don’t do that”
I asked, “How come?”
He said, “Because if the two of you are able to communicate between yourselves, then you don’t need me.”
LIGHT BULB MOMENT!
At the core of my value system is Communication. What I heard the lawyer telling me (and I’m clear that he was just doing his job cause I asked him to ‘get me sole custody’) was to go against my core value….in order that I can have the lawyer speak for me.
I thanked the lawyer for his time, went home and proceeded to call my ex-partner. Within a 10 minute phone conversation that neither of us will forget, we ironed out a custody and visitation agreement that we and our daughter are all happy with. We sorted out our inter-personal differences over time, and, until today, we maintain extraordinary communication.
Why am I sharing this?
Well, what led me to seek out sole custody and end up in the lawyer’s office was the opinion of other people who love me and care about me, and who were worried about what might happen if I don’t get full custody.
Were they wrong to express their opinion about what I should do?
What I didn’t realize at the time was that my emotions were clouding my vision so much that I was reacting to those opinions out of desperation, as opposed to listening to those opinions as exactly that, opinions.
So how should you manage other people’s opinions?
- Be open to listening to what people have to say, but remember it is their view based on their experience and knowledge. You want to weigh those views with your own carefully.
- Be clear about your vision for your self and your family life.When you have a sense of the end product you envision for your life personally and your family-life you can weigh those opinions against that vision. Ask yourself if pursuing those others’ approaches will lead you closer to your vision. The answer may be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and that is for you to determine and pursue.
- Be grounded in your core values.Often we think we know what our core values are but we actually have them mixed up with something else. Take some time to connect to your inner core, your soul, or what you believe is really important, no matter what. These core values are the anchor that keep you being ‘you.’ When your friends and family express their views, tune in to your core values and see if their suggestions would be an expression of your core values or not.
This is a dance; a paradox. Yes – listen to what others have to say. And, Yes – listen to yourself.
Please leave your comments below as I’m always curious about your views….
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How To Talk To Kids About Divorce
- How do you know when is the right time?
- How do you know what to say?
- How do you know how to deal with their response?
For example, you might start with “Mommy and Daddy have done a lot of thinking,” then explain, for example, that Daddy is going to get a new apartment/home. Aim to know what the visitation days and times will be before the conversation so you can share those details. It will comfort your child to know she’ll continue to see both of you and that there’s a plan.
Tell her flat out that the divorce is an adult decision and has nothing to do with her.
Sometimes one parent may feel so upset that they want to tell the child about the other spouse’s egregious or erroneous behavior. Refrain from this. Children will take this as a betrayal — or worse, criticism of them. For example, if one calls the other a “liar” or “cheat,” they begin to see themselves, half the product of that parent, as half a liar, half a cheat.
“Will I still see Grandma and Grandpa? (or other family or friends) Let her know what to expect regarding seeing relatives. Ideally you can say with authenticity that she will continue to see relatives as has been in the past and even that on holidays like Christmas, Passover, Eid, Kwanza or the like, there may be times when you spend it all together.
“Where will I sleep?” At this age, your child will have a lot of questions about how her daily life will be affected: “Will I still go to my same school? Who’s going to take me to dance/skiing/soccer?” These are very real concerns for a child, so go over the details. For example, “You’ll still live with Mommy here in our house. You’ll have a home at Daddy’s new house; you’ll have your own special bedroom.” Depending on what you agree on, you can tell her she can be part of searching for the new place and/or picking decorative items, etc.
“Who will take care of Daddy (or Mommy, depending on which parent is moving out)?” Your child might have a sense of empathy that’s developed enough for her to actually worry about the parent who is moving out.
Reassure her that the other parent will be just fine. You might say, “Daddy might miss you when he’s not with you, but he won’t be sad because he would see you again very soon.”
Pour on the love. Divorce is difficult for children to understand and accept. While your child adjusts, she’ll need a lot of your affection and attention. Resist the urge to talk constantly on the phone or let TV become the sitter. Give her more snuggle time or extra time during bedtime routine. Just as you benefit from your support network of relatives and friends now more than ever, your child needs extra hugs and kisses from you.
Keep talking. Even after the news has sunk in, be prepared to go over the same explanations and answer questions again and again, for weeks or even months. Make sure she knows that you’re open to questions about the divorce any time, even if what you really want is to stop talking about it. One way to keep the lines of communication open is to read kids’ books like Ricci’s Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids, or Lallouz’s The Case of the Clown Who Lives in Two Tents.
Keep routines consistent. Sometimes divorce can make it difficult to maintain routines or even keep the house tidy. But continuing a child’s regular schedule, in Mom’s house and Dad’s house, makes children feel safe. As much as possible, make basic mealtimes and other rituals the same between the two households. Make sure the kids keep going to school and any classes or practices — the more things remain the same for your child, the more stable she’ll feel.
Be aware of signs of trouble. Your child may have difficulties adjusting to visitation and custody arrangements. Look for signs like misbehavior or withdrawal, particularly after a visit with the other parent. To open up a dialogue without putting words in your child’s mouth, say something like, “I’m wondering if you’re missing your Mom right now.” Your child might just need time to transition from one household to the next or a safe way to vent.
Consider seeing a family coach or counselor to guide you and your child through this transition. Other parents have said it is the best thing they could have done as it gives a safe place for each parent, personally, to have support, and for children to ask questions or talk about things, without worrying about upsetting their parents.
Make a point of remaining positive. If your divorce means, as it often does, that you’re taking a financial hit and they can no longer have every toy they want or take expensive vacations, let them know you’ll still do lots of fun things together.
PLEASE share your comments below…
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How Realtors Can C.A.R.E. For Their Divorcing Clients
I received a call from a dear friend who is a Realtor. She said, “Tallie, I need to talk to you about an important business matter.”
We met soon after that call at a locally owned tea/coffee house. She explained to me that among the many clients she has who are listing their homes, she has several who are listing their home because they are divorcing. She was very committed to providing the utmost service to all her clients and felt that when it came to those who are divorcing, there seemed to be different, complicated and sometimes emotional issues that would arise. She asked me for my help in understanding them better, so as to provide her service with real care.
I’d like to share what I offered her. Here are a few keys to implement when dealing with real estate clients who are divorcing:
1. Compassion. This may seem like an obvious one; however to actually practice this way of being in reality takes some conscious effort. It includes imagining being in someone else’s shoes, while at the same time never assuming that you know what it is really like to be them. You are affording them the respect and appreciation they deserve for what they are dealing with in their life at the moment. This practice also requires acknowledging that your divorcing client is going through a phase that sometimes has them acting in ways (sometimes even irrational, emotional ways) that are not typical; and this phase will pass. Treat people as the mature adults they are, who obviously had enough of what it takes to purchase their own home to begin with.
2. Ask permission. Sometimes you, as a Realtor, can become somewhat of a confidant for your clients. When people are selling and buying a home Realtors know how emotional it can be for any client. With your divorcing clients you may be someone who can listen to what they are dealing with – without being a therapist or counsellor, but rather a confidential listening ear who is supporting them in this transition. Be open to being in that role, but always ask permission first before you discuss or ask questions about their personal affairs.
3. Review options. As a Realtor you know that the more time you have to properly stage a home for sale, the higher the likelihood for higher offers. For some of your divorcing clients, that could mean living under the same roof for longer than they would prefer! Discuss the options so that they are clear about implications of a quicker sale versus taking the time to “do it right.” Let your client choose what will work for them and bring your compassion and respect to their choice.
4. Evaluate & Elevate. After you and your client have evaluated all options and have made all necessary decisions, it’s time to move forward. Through the process, like any life situation, there may be some difficult times. Keep Elevating the C.A.R.E. principles to be more superior than the frustration that can often arise. This takes practice. So please, don’t only bring compassion and respect to your divorcing client, but also bring compassion and respect to yourself: someone who is choosing to practice new principles for making a difference for your clients.
If you have any stories to share, either as a Realtor or a divorcing client, please do tell!
How To Keep The Love When You Leave The Marriage
The 3 Biggest Mistakes People Make When They Divorce
It is hard enough to make the decision to divorce. But once that decision is made, there really are do’s and don’ts. Often each party to the divorce is so entrenched in their emotions and personal perspective about their position that they lose sight of the important bigger picture, and hence make some big mistakes!
Here are the 3 biggest mistakes people make and some suggestions on how to avoid them:
- Blaming the other person for the break-up of the relationship. No matter what the other party has done, and I have seen some horrible things, as long as you point the finger at the other person for why you are in the situation you are in, you have no power to truly move on (even while the divorce process is under way) and create a great, new life. The person you give the blame to is the person you have given your power to. Look to see if anywhere in your speaking or your thoughts you have a word of blame toward the other person. (Even the most enlightened among has have just a bit.) Then see where you can own what happened in the breakdown of the relationship, and bring forgiveness to both you and them.
- Giving up on communicating with the other person. You’re probably thinking, “We couldn’t communicate when we were together, how do you expect us to do that NOW?!” My answer is, “If you think you never have to communicate with this person again, you are mistaken.” Especially if you have children or other life situations that tie you together, you will need to communicate. Unless you want to pay intermediaries a lot of money to make your decisions and be your mouth piece, or you want to rock your personal health from the stress, make communicating a priority. Even if you’re not tied to this person in future, these skills are important in ANY relationship so making it important to transform and practice this now is a smart investment in yourself.
- Being short-sighted when making decisions regarding division-of-assets, family planning, etc. I have seen too many people fight for their right to have what they believe they deserve, such as property, money, custody of the kids, etc. without thinking through the long term impact financially and emotionally. Often the long term cost far outweighs the benefit. For example, legal or other costs eat into the once valuable assets or grown children stop speaking to one or both parents. I’ve also seen the reverse, where a person claims “I don’t need anything, I just want out.” Down the road they are struggling to make financial ends meet or they’ve settled on a family plan that doesn’t positively serve all involved. Think through the long-term implications of each decision. Ideally, do this with a professional who understands these matters legally, financially, emotionally and socially.
Tallie Rabin is a Family-Life & Peaceful Divorce Coach in Toronto, Canada. Tallie has walked numerous individuals and couples through their divorce process, and helped them successfully part ways peacefully and establish a family life they are proud of.
Get a free copy of Tallie’s E-report, “5 Ways to End Your Marriage Without Ending Your Life” at: http://www.familyforeverlifestyle.com
Have you counted your blessings today?
The day before yesterday I received a phone call from my step-Mother. “Sweetheart, Dad has gone into the hospital. After the medical test he had yesterday, he developed a fever…I didn’t want to take any chances so I took him to Emergency.”
Immediately I catch my mind racing; thoughts were racing so fast my mind was already in a future that was not even in existence in reality, as I imagine my father suddenly aged well beyond his years and beyond his actual health. I felt scared, worried, and even defensive and accusatory – “who’s fault is this!?” I pull myself back to the present reality as quickly as I catch the thoughts.
He ended up being admitted as there were further complications to deal with.
This was now a Saturday. On this particular Saturday, although it was my weekend to have my 2 sons with me, my son’s father and I agreed that they’d go over there for his wife’s mother’s 70th birthday party.
Now I’m trying to sort out getting myself over to the hospital to be with my Father, as I had my 4 and a half year old daughter with me. It doesn’t seem appropriate to take her with me to the hospital when I could end up being there several hours.
What could I do?
As a single parent these types of organizational dilemmas are fairly common. For those who can relate, you know that many times plans get foregone in order to heroically manage being the one to take care of the child(ren). And, of course, asking for help seems like the logical thing to do, but, again, for those who can relate, often it seems like such a burden to ask….yet again.
There I was thinking this through, there are several places she could easily go, and then “light bulb”…..I thought to myself, “the place Sarah would most rather be is with her brothers….who are going to their Dad and step-Mum’s….”
I picked up the phone. I got my boys’ step-Mum on the line. “Hey, Tal, how’s it going?” I explain, “Actually, Dad’s been admitted to the hospital….(I explain the situation)… I want to ask a favour, and it is completely ok to say ‘no’ as I know it’s your Mother’s 70th birthday party at your house….” Before I could even finish my sentence, “Tal, no problem. Sarah can come here. Thomas (their 3 year old) would be so happy to have her over.”
My eyes welled up with tears and I had a lump in my throat. I was moved at how gracious and caring she was. The truth is, we have this type of relationship. But, I realized in that moment, I really don’t take it for granted. I was moved by the openness and the love. This is family.
I count my blessings today for the life I have. And, even more, I count my blessings for the life I have created. The Family-Life I have is not one that would just have emerged this way automatically. This is one that, through difficult transitions, I and my family members as a team, have intentionally created. In moments like these, I am eternally grateful.
I also count our blessings that my Father is doing well.
If you have blessings to count today, please…do so. If you have loved ones or special people in your life to acknowledge and appreciate today…..please do so.
Please drop a line below with your comments and even your blessings.
Not crazy…after all these years!
10 years after creating a peaceful divorce, and maintaining a “Family Forever Lifestyle” I often take my accomplishments for granted!
This morning my first husband and I met with our son and our son’s academic coach. We met to discuss our son’s progress and create a plan for the next month of his work.
The whole thing was like a “no brainer.” I called him up and said, “….We need to meet and support Will’s progress…the coach can meet us at 8:30 in the morning” My ex said, “Sure, I’ll be there” Simple.
He and I operate as partners with a common goal: our children’s success and fulfillment. There were points in the meeting where he “took over” and I stepped aside and watched, supported, and listened. And, likewise, there were times in the meeting where I led and he listened and supported. The end result? Our son is supported and empowered! And….so are his parents!
It’s amazing to think that 10 years ago I could not have imagined this was what my family-life would look like. At that time, during our marital breakdown I spent days, weeks and months wondering and questioning “can I make this work?” “How do I get him to want to make this work?” “What have I done wrong? And how can I fix it?” and I had thoughts of “I have to make this work” “This can’t fail.” I was scared to answer these questions for I didn’t know what path the answers might lead me on.
Those were not easy times. But I not only got through that time, I even transformed myself in the process. I discovered a way to get my own sense of clarity and peace to be able to make the right choice, for me and my family. And, while separating was still sad and, at times, really difficult, I was able to do it with love and peace.
The process I developed is something I am now teach other people, in a 4-step approach. I developed this process because I see so many people suffer with these same types of questions. And, because it seems so difficult to answer these questions, so many people stagnate and take no action.
If you are struggling with similar types of marital or relationship questions, let’s talk.
I am offering a 4 – part Tele-class starting Aug 15 at 8PM Eastern Time. http://www.tallie.tv/sales
Or, you may want faster results, end the suffering quickly and begin to breath deep and feel at peace now. Then you might explore personal coaching with me on this topic – email me directly at email@example.com
Like always, I appreciate you taking the time to read and I trust you got value. Leave a question or comment below.