Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Five Things to Look for in a New Relationship

So you have just suffered a brutal breakup, but you are ready to return to dating. You may be feeling rusty. What should you be seeking this time to avoid feeling disappointed once again in the future?
  1. Find someone who cherishes you. People do best in relationships where they feel loved and appreciated for who they are rather than being badgered to change into someone they are not. Valuing the other person is key. Every couple has a unique story of how they met or connected, and that is often where the closeness derives. Try to keep this in mind during the ups and downs of a relationship as that initial attraction may remind you of what you like about your significant other.

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Leaky Cauldron Phase

The other night I went out with some friends, and we all laughed about the time I spilled my whole separation story to them even though we hardly knew each other. Just after my ex moved out, I found that I simply could not contain myself. I had to tell nearly everyone I encountered about what happened because I was in shock. My daughter recently reminded me of being in a restaurant back then and how I walked up to a random woman and gave her all the gory details of my recent travails.

Why was I so chatty? I was seeking understanding and sympathy, while hoping to find others who had suffered something similar. I really wanted affirmation that I was not alone. Always a Harry Potter fan, I call this my "Leaky Cauldron" phase.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Top Seven Post-Separation Annoyances

There are many things that happen during and after a divorce that are serious, costly or emotionally distressing. Other things are not that big of a deal, but they are really annoying. A month after separation, you expect to deal with some of these. A week after the divorce is final, you can still manage them cropping up again. But a year or more post-divorce? Ugh.

Here is my list of the things that irritate me:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Day Marie from the Bank Became My New Best Friend

Unfortunately for me, I was not very involved during my marriage with our day to day finances. My husband ran the checkbook and paid the bills. Although I knew where we spent our money, I let him handle the details. Big Mistake!

When we split, I had to take control and fast. The process would have been daunting enough on its own, but it became a nightmare when I learned there was a lien on my house. Apparently, my future ex had stopped paying some of our bills for close to six months, and the one that turned into the biggest problem was the real estate tax. If you fail to pay, the government has the right to put a lien on your home and can even take possession of it if you do not submit the fee and penalties after a period of time.

To untangle the mess I found myself in, I gathered my bills, including those for my real estate taxes, and went to the neighborhood branch of my bank. There I met Marie. She turned out to be a lifesaver in those dark days.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What’s Wrong with Going for the Money?

Divorced women attract many labels, and those who seek out wealthier men are often called gold diggers, if not something worse. But is that label fair? If a friend said she wanted to date someone who was handsome or tall, would that be such a bad thing? Shouldn't the man you seek after a failed marriage be exactly who you want, especially after the one you have have already experienced turned out to be a dud?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

And Now for a Completely Useless Exercise: Couples Counseling

Your marriage is in big trouble, so you do what everyone else does - you dial couples counseling 911. In my sessions, my ex focused on what I considered to be unimportant things. For example, that I did not want to take our sick dog to the vet one time in the midst of my work day. The undercurrent was that my unwillingness to do so made me a bad wife. He certainly expressed his anger with me, but he neglected to mention an important detail - he was having an affair. Instead of solving issues, we ended up having fights in the parking lot after sessions. As a result, my time with the therapist felt like a waste of time and money.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Be a Yes Woman!

When I was first gripped by the thunderstorm of divorce, it became all too easy to say no to invitations. I just felt under-confident about attending events that I would normally go to as part of a couple. Then I remembered one of my favorite movies, Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey. In the film, Carrey attends a self-help seminar where the speaker advises his audience to say yes to any question they are asked in order to live life to the fullest. While this approach gets Carey into some trouble, it is an attitude I recommend.

As soon as I started saying yes, I realized I was up for (almost) anything friends suggested and began to anticipate upcoming events. As a result, I felt more positive about the future. My kids always had a bunch of activities for me to attend, and I took pleasure in those. I also focused on planning things I wanted to do and looked forward to each one of them. It was just great to write on the calendar – whether it was to note a tennis game, a wedding, a charity event or just a night out with the girls. Rather than a door closing in my face when my marriage ended, I began to see a world of options opening all around me.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

And Now For The Really Important Question—Who Gets the Dog?

Breaking Bad’s Bob Odenkirk, portraying Marshall Eriksen’s former boss on How I Met Your Mother, barely holds back tears when grappling with this issue. “Darlene was a great girl. I trusted her," he claims. "Then she took everything – my house, my car, my dog, Tugboat…I watched as Darlene took everything out of my life like a deranged surgeon hacking out organs.”

Odenkirk’s concerns were similar to my own when it came to my beloved dog, Oliver. Who would get him?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Meeting Your Match Online

So, I was the worst online dater on the planet. Many of my friends have met great guys through Internet dating sites. I, on the other hand, not so much. I knew I was in trouble after signing up for, when my initial match was my first cousin. Not a happy surprise, and no doubt, a bad omen. My other attempts failed miserably too. Either I met younger guys who wanted to be with a woman with experience, or I encountered men who were much older, and I just could not get excited about them.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Know Your Mojo

You just got dumped by your husband of 21 years for his assistant, so what do you do? After a debilitating divorce, one of the first powerful urges most people feel is to be with someone new as soon as possible. Dating sites are ubiquitous with Match, eHarmony, JDate, Christian Singles and even Your single girlfriends are bound to be clamoring for you to go out to the most happening bars, but before hitting the tantalizing dating scene, it is important to determine what you are looking for so that you will have greater success in finding it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Spirituality is Overrated

In the most popular divorce books for women, memoirs such as Wild and Eat, Pray, Love, the female protagonists both seem to go on a spiritual journey to find satisfaction and redemption. But what about women who work full time or have kids to raise? They may not have the time, effort or means to take protracted journeys to distant countries or to traverse challenging mountain trails.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Labels and You

When divorcing during her 30s or 40s, a woman cannot avoid labels. So, who are you?
  • The Cougar. It worked for Demi Moore for a while and is a route many women choose. After all, it is always gratifying to have a little arm candy as your date. Younger men are often attracted to older women who possess experience and confidence. Girls their age just may not be able to hold their attention for long.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

5 Ways to Regain Your Confidence After a Devastating Split

Getting Back On Your Game

One of the toughest goals to achieve after a debilitating divorce is to regain one's confidence. When I first entered the fray, others told me that I would not feel better about myself for at least a year. I scoffed and assumed they had to be wrong. After all, isn't it a common occurrence for a husband to leave his wife for the lusty legal assistant? But they were right. Hopefully, it will take you less time!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Welcome to Sunny Splitsville!

So how does it actually happen? When do you know that your husband of more than 20 years is leaving? Well, for me, it was kind of like a car crash. Time stopped, but the wheels of action kept spinning.

“I need to talk to you,” he said slowly and deliberately. “Just sit down, Esther.” I could not remember the last time he had used my full name. “I have been seeing another woman for a while. I met her through work. She’s another lawyer, and I saw her at a conference. We had a drink and ended up together. If only you had come with me to that conference, this never would have happened!”

“Are you in love with her?” I asked as my jaw dropped and my hands shook.

“Yes, I think so,” he replied. “I packed some of my things and put them in my car outside in case you want to kick me out.” I did not tell him to go just then. I was not ready yet. We had three children, and I never wanted the kind of life for them where they would have to shuttle between homes. Sure, I knew the divorce statistic hovered around 50 percent, but I never thought it would happen to me.

In the beginning, I felt as if I had been hit by a truck – just flattened. It was hard to breathe. I struggled to find my footing and looked for guidance, but there was not much to lift my spirits. Friends kept giving me a book entitled When Things Fall Apart. It was bit too New Age for me. It just did not ring true in my experience.

Next, I looked in the self-help section, a new area for me. I found little there to buoy me either. All that really made sense was Nora Ephron’s memoir, Heartburn.  In it, she detailed how her husband walked out on her just as she was about to give birth. It made me laugh, and I appreciated that a lot back then.

People told me it would take a year for me to feel better, and I thought, not a chance. How could it take so long? Over time, I succumbed to the fact that they were right, but I kept thinking that if someone could just tell me about the positive side of divorce, then perhaps, recovery would not take such a long time. I kept hoping that if I could provide solace for just one person, then that would be worthwhile. So I set out to do it.

Welcome to Sunny Splitsville!!!