If anyone thinks they have the one right answer to this question, I would be hesitant to take their advice.
Ending a relationship or a marriage is a tough decision to make and is often very difficult and painful to get over.
In my profession I have worked with many people in this situation, plus I have my own experience to pull from regarding the ending and healing from a past relationship or marriage.
What I’ve also come to discover is how the relationship journey can and does continue, post-breakup or divorce. It is possible to move on, and it is possible to meet the person you can create a life with and be happy.
I am often asked: “How do I know if it’s time to get into a new relationship?” or “I am afraid to get into a new relationship that might go the way my last one did. How do I prevent that?”
Well, here are some important things to consider when answering these questions for yourself:
- Are you blaming your last partner for any aspect of why the relationship didn’t work? If your answer is even a slight “yes” this is a sign you have some things to still learn and grow from regarding your last relationship. That includes, how and why you picked that person in the first place? Was it to fulfill some need or void you didn’t think you have in yourself to fulfill? Or, was it because you simply didn’t want to be alone? Sometimes the answers to these questions are far beneath the surface and it isn’t easy to see right away. But when you start to ‘own’ the relationship, for all that worked and all that didn’t work, then you can start to move on independent from that relationship.
- Are you “OK” with yourself? It is important to be able to be with yourself – the truth is you’re the one with who you’re in the longest lasting relationship. Often when one avoids being with themselves, it’s a sign that you have some internal relationship building to do. What does that mean? It could mean exploring and understanding what is really important to you, what are your core values, and how are you or can you express those values through what you do, either for work/career, or hobbies, or through social interactions, etc. Often times in relationships people either don’t have that sense of them self and they use the relationship to fill that void, or they had that sense of themselves and have either forgotten or actively given it up in order to accommodate the relationship. This can lead to resentment and suffering. Either way, being OK with who you are and what your values are is an important place to be when you get into a new relationship.
- Do you know what you want? The truth is most people don’t know what they actually want. At best, they know what they don’t want. I have found that people don’t spend the time to explore, investigate and speculate on what they really want for their life. This can leave people reacting to circumstances and falling into situations, like relationships, rather than creating a life that is an expression of what they actually want. Give yourself the gift of that exploration. You deserve it and so does your future partner, who will also benefit from you having done that work. They don’t want to be your “next victim” of being your “wrong pick,” when for them you might be their “right pick.” This exploration doesn’t have to take too long , which can make it harder to put yourself out there, but you do want to afford yourself whatever time it takes.
If you or someone you know is facing these types of questions and you want a place to do some exploring, please contact me for a COMPLIMENTARY SESSION to begin that journey.
Also, KEEP YOUR EYE OUT for an upcoming invitation from me to a FREE WEBINAR COMING SOON hosted by a good friend and colleague of mine on the topic of How To Date To Marry and not waste your time on anything else.
With Easter, Orthodox Easter and Passover Holidays coming, it can be stressful enough as it is for any family. Who is hosting which dinner, lunch or brunch? Who to invite? Which invitations to accept, without offending others?
Add to this mix being separated or divorced and needing to decide “Who gets the kids?”
For many separated parents, that decision is made through the Parenting Plan or Separation Agreement process. Some parents figure it out on a per-holiday basis.
And even when there seems to be a decision made, it isn’t always easy for the other parent not to be with their child or children, when it’s not “their turn.”
Here are some ideas to consider that have worked for me and for clients I have supported:
- Alternate year agreement. One way to alternate years is to say, “Parent A gets the children for Easter/Passover (etc) on the odd-numbered years, while Parent B gets the children on the even-numbered years” Usually this will be written up in an agreement, (which helps to remember from year-to-year).
- Holidays with the Parent who the child doesn’t live with. Sometimes children live with one parent (possibly in a different city) full time. In such a case it can work to have the child spend the holiday period with the other parent. Depending on the relationship and willingness between the parents, the parent living away from the child may travel in and spend the holiday with their child together with the other parent.
- Holidays All Together. Depending on the willingness of the parents, it may work to have the holidays be a time to spend together. It’s not about the parents “being together.” It’s about the children having a meaningful and memorable holiday. I have had the privilege of my own parents rising above their past differences to be at the same holiday table with me and my family.
- Multi-Ethnic Family. You may be in a formerly mixed marriage situation, which means you don’t share the same holidays. This can work out well when the holidays don’t land on the same dates! What happens when they DO land on the same dates? Either you could apply the “alternate year” approach where by one parent gets them this year and next time a holiday lands on the same date, the other parent gets the kids. Or, there may be room to compromise by splitting the day or days themselves. For example, this year the first two days of Passover coincides with Catholic/Christian Easter Weekend. Kids could be with the Jewish parent Friday and Saturday and with the Christian or Catholic parent on Sunday and Monday.
And, the key is to make the decision and then stick to it, ideally letting go of any resentments and upsets when you’re the one not with the kids. This part is not always easy, but it is certainly possible.
Try to bring the spirit of what the holiday is, to your attitude and to your interactions with your former spouse.
I wish you blessings for the holidays, whatever you should be celebrating at this time of year.
If you are stuck regarding holiday decisions, or any other decisions related to separation or divorce matters or family-life matters, set up a COMPLEMENTARY STRATEGY SESSION with me and let’s get it sorted out.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Research has shown that many break-ups, relationships and marriages, happen just after Valentine’s Day. In fact, lawyers have said they have had their phone ring on February 15th with people inquiring about divorce, more than on any other day of the year.
Why is this?
Often times these break ups are a reaction to frustration due to expectations not being met, over time. Until finally the expectant party gets fed up and calls it quits. This can tend to happen after one might have given it a chance to see what happens on Valentine’s Day. And if, once again, the other partner does not measure up to one’s expectation, that’s the breaking point.
How can you avoid this or other ‘reactive break ups’?
Whether you’re the one who is fed up or the one not meeting the other’s expectation (or both!), there is something you can do to make a clear and healthy choice:
- Re-examine your relationship from a place of commitment. If you are truly committed to having your relationship work, although simply committing doesn’t guarantee it will work, you have a much higher chance of it working when you stay true to your commitment.
- Ask yourself, “What expectations have I had of my partner (and/or myself, or/or of the relationship) that have not been met? Make a list of these expectations and be truthful – let it all out.
- Then ask yourself, “Are these expectations realistic?” Sometimes we have such high standards about ourselves or our partners that, upon new examination, are really fantasy-like or in the realm of “perfection” of the kind that is only in the movies. What’s most common is to expect our partner to change some attribute of their personality or how they do things…”and THEN things will be different.”
- Next, ask yourself, “can I accept the way my partner is?” Really look to see if you are willing to live with, with full acceptance, of the way your partner is, without expecting them to change, in order for you to be happy or in order for the relationship to work.
- Finally, make an authentic choice. If you are not willing to accept the way your partner is now, without expecting them to change in the future, be honest with yourself and with them and say so. But remember, that is your choice that you are making based on what you are willing or not willing to accept. As opposed to, “I’m not willing to accept this because you won’t change.” You will never have personal power when the other person is to blame for your choice.
If you are willing to accept your partner as they are, with no expectation for them to one day change, then make that choice. And then, it’s time to do the work to learn to truly be with one another, as you are. It is only then that you can potentially grow and learn, together.
I wish you clarity and confidence.
And, if you feel stuck, or you know someone who might be stuck, please respond and request a complementary Strategy Session with me.
You’re not alone.