Thursday, December 11, 2014

Redefining Your Family Post Divorce

I walked up three steps to the bimah—the raised area in the front of the synagogue—toward my youngest daughter. Her father approached from the other direction. During my son's bar mitzvah four years ago, we had made this short trip together, holding hands. Besides a high school graduation, this was the first significant event that fully and publicly demonstrated the dramatic changes to my family since the end of our marriage. Later, I returned to my seat to sit between my other daughter and significant other, close to my sisters and parents. My ex settled in next to his new wife and step children; his parents were a row behind him. For some of the out-of-town guests, the scene must have been a bit startling. For me, it had become the new normal. I had learned that while my family had changed in unexpected ways, it was still strong.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Recognizing the Thin Bonds of Second Marriages and Tips for Succeeding in Round 2

A close friend who had been re-married for almost six years recently told me that he and his second wife were calling it quits. "Oh well," he said while shrugging. "It just didn't work out. I wasn't ready for that kind of commitment." Like anything about divorce and relationships, generalizations are tough because couples and their expectations, experiences, and needs are so different. That said, the demise of this union reminded me about the terrible odds of a second marriage—lower than the coin flip of the first. Should his outcome discourage those of us who want to re-marry? While there is no denying the numbers look bleak, I don’t think we should give up hope. We should, however, look at the common sources of problems in second marriages and confront them prior to reciting another round of vows.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lessons Learned from My First Post-divorce Date

It’s not your actual first date, but it feels like it since you have been off the market for so long. You are out of practice. Awkward silences fill the room. The conversation is stilted. The person across the table is not what you expected, and you may wonder if you made a mistake agreeing to go out. Fear not. First date anxiety is common, and this experience rarely results in a love connection. That said, it's good to jump back into the dating pool when you are ready, and it's OK for that first effort not to be the best time of your life. At the very least, date No. 1 will help prepare you for dates 2, 3 and more.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Getting "Married At First Sight": Drivel or Something to Think About?

Doug and Jamie meet and get hitched (image from
Those who are dating are always looking for new ways to meet interesting men or women—often people that they hope could be part of a long-term relationship. Cosmo used to suggest the Laundromat. I've heard some say the golf course could be the answer. Online dating has been in the spotlight for some time, although a recent study suggests it might not lead to happily ever after. Once in a while, you might hear someone joke about an arranged marriage. While marrying the person mom and dad picks might seem archaic, what about relying on experts in human behavior, sex, psychology and spiritual matters? Could that approach lead to eternal bliss? Married at First Sight (MaFS), a reality show that premiered this season, attempted to answer that question.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Tales from the Front Line of Online Dating (Guest Post)

By Liz Flowers

After reading the recent Sunny Splitsville post about divorced women worrying they'll never pair up with a man their own age, I wanted to share my  personal insight, for what it's worth.

I was divorced at 48, and I turned 50 this year. I actually haven't had a problem finding men to date, though, of course, I have turned down a couple of men I consider too old for me (can't blame them for trying, and they were gentlemen about it). I have found online dating useful to some extent.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Conscious Uncoupling May Work for Gwyneth Paltrow, but Could It Work for the Rest of Us?

Now that Beyoncé is allegedly heading down the path to divorce, she is calling on reported close friend Gwyneth Paltrow to help her navigate life's next chapter. Recently, Paltrow has received a lot of  attention promoting the theory of conscious uncoupling in her own split with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. So, many of us are wondering just what the concept is and can it possibly work in the real world. Personally, I think it's a cop out.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Even Strong and Confident Women like Beyoncé are not Immune to Relationship Problems

Recent rumors are swirling that Jay-Z may have strayed. I know what you're thinking: How could he—or any guy in his right mind—cheat on Beyoncé? She is a powerful, successful, beautiful and sexy woman admired by girls and women across the globe. But, as we know, in some cases of infidelity, it just doesn’t matter how great a catch the woman is. Remember Elin Nordegren? Tiger Woods’ ex was a Swedish model. Sure, there’s always the chance that these women aren’t all they seem to be, and usually in every breakup there’s some fault on both parts, but I’m guessing that in these cases, the men had the problems, and that’s something for us mere mortal ladies to think about.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Divorced, Over 40 and Dating: Feast or Famine?

One of the biggest topics among divorced, single women is what the dating pool offers. I remember talking to a group of my girlfriends, and although we felt that we looked pretty good and were happy with our lives, there was an underlying concern that most men our age would only be interested in younger women. A few years later, my core group of divorcee friends and I all have significant others close to our age, with one already planning a return trip to the altar. So, are we anomalies, or is the myth of the older man looking for the bouncy young woman more the norm?

Friday, July 11, 2014

What to do About Favorite Places with Tainted Memories

For those of us married for a significant amount of time—in my case, more than 20 years—we undoubtedly face a common dilemma. Whether it’s a beloved destination, a favorite cozy restaurant or a rocking band, we developed a fondness for many things during our married years and often shared our love of them with our former spouse. In the early dark months of a divorce, when the concept of abandonment and single-hood are most raw and scary, we may have sworn off these seemingly cursed venues and activities. Never again! Later, when the legal proceedings fade in the rearview mirror and we begin to settle into a new routine with our kids and a new life with a significant other, the question arises: Should we reclaim or leave behind the things we once enjoyed so much?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lessons Learned in Picking a Divorce Lawyer

As soon as you begin to think about a divorce, the most important decision you must make initially is determining which attorney to hire. If, like me, your soon-to-be ex is a lawyer, you might feel extremely apprehensive, like a foreigner fighting a war on someone else’s own turf. Legal issues were only an abstract concept to me but second nature to him. My first instinct, and one backed by the well-intentioned but inexperienced advice of some friends and family members, was to hire a “shark”—the “You can’t handle the truth” type of lawyer you see on TV or in movies that takes no prisoners and wins by legal expertise and force of will. However, I learned that this approach might not be the best move.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Life Beyond the Sunset: Thinking Beyond the Passion for Long-term Success

You wrap your arms around the taut, six-pack abs of Prince Charming, holding on as you ride his silver-maned horse off into the sunset. It’s a nice vision, particularly after the unexpected end to your marriage and the disturbing reality of being tossed into the modern dating pool. But the reality is that you have to get off the horse sometime.

There’s a castle to run, townspeople to deal with and gold coins to win. Even in fantasy, there’s reality. With another chance at lifelong happiness, it’s important to remember that the honeymoon phase always ends, and you need to look for a partner who you can love, support and cherish as you happily grow old together. Love and passion are critical, but they aren't the only ingredients required.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

5 Post-divorce Dating Tips from a Professional Matchmaker

How much would you pay to end up with Mr. Right, especially knowing how much it cost you to get rid of Mr. Wrong? For some people, paying thousands to a professional match-making service is a bargain, especially if they have delved into the mainstream online dating pool (e.g., and eHarmony) and found it lacking in prospects. One such company, Selective Search, will help you find "the love of your life" for fees upwards of $25,000. Hoping to gain some dating insight for divorcees, I spoke to Monica Mandell, a senior director at the company.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Other Woman is Silly but Satisfying

Image from; © 2013 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
To many of us, the very title of the new film, The Other Woman, might scream: Stay away, emotions and bad memories about to resurface! If you have lived through a real-life scenario involving a long-term mistress or trashy weekend flings, the mere concept might invoke a bout of PTSD. While some unwanted feelings could reappear, I would recommend at least putting it in your Netflix cue, even if you do not think it multiplex worthy. Unlike the frustrating Enough Said, The Other Woman is about spurned women thriving, and that is something I support.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Demise of the Compromise

No two people think exactly alike, but when you are a highly functioning couple and the heads of a loving household, compromise is not only acceptable, it is a positive force. What you might have thought a dumb idea when single, seems OK because your smiling partner with the flowers in his hand really thinks it makes sense. Years later, if you split, it suddenly becomes obvious that a huge gulf exists between you. With the bond of the couple broken, you start to evaluate your ex’s idea on merit, not because they are your avowed life partner. “Do what’s in the best interest of the kids and put aside personal animosity,” is the common platitude we hear as divorcees. But what happens when you and your ex disagree about “best interests?” Once again, the reality sets in of life after divorce.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mr. Reliable vs. Mr. Fun

In this corner, we have old reliable. The guy is financially sound and emotionally stable. He has a solid job and holds up well at dinner parties. In the other corner is Mr. Fun. He might not be a perfect match in your social circles, but he is never a bore. For a single mom that has to do it all, his spontaneity recharges your drained mommy battery. So, who should we pick? And, perhaps more importantly, will that choice hold true in 5, 10 or even 20 years?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Falling Asleep to Fifty Shades

For those who are recently divorced, a new relationship is tantalizing. But what kind should you seek? Do you want a long-term commitment, or are you looking for a fling based solely on a physical attraction? For those who may fall into the latter group, picking up a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey may be just the thing to get you in the right frame of mind for a wild adventure. With that in mind, I downloaded a copy and prepared to embrace the phenomenon. What I planned for was some heat. What I ended up with was a question: Am I missing something? Then I fell asleep.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

6 Surprises of Being Divorced

Marriages fail every day, but people do not really know what to expect when it happens to them. Stories you may have heard from friends or relatives and divorce portrayals in books and movies do not tell the whole story. Looking back, the first year of my divorce would have been much smoother if I had real knowledge of what goes on. So, while everyone has a different experience, I thought I might list a few of the surprises I dealt with in hopes of improving  your situation.

1. The legal aspects of divorce are never ending.
Initially, priority No. 1 is selecting a competent divorce attorney who is tough but fair. I know this sounds like a challenge, but really he or she is out there. It is important to set up an appointment with any lawyer you would consider hiring as well as the sharks you would like your ex not to be able to use. As long as you meet with a specific attorney, that individual becomes off limits to your soon-to-be former spouse. The nasty surprise is that once you select representation, you will probably find that person on your payroll for months if not years to come, even after your divorce is final. Nearly four months after becoming divorced and over three years since my separation, I still receive a monthly bill from mine. Too bad she knows where I live!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The value of forgivness after divorce

We can all agree that thriving post-divorce is our common goal, but does happiness, self confidence and success demand that we forgive the ex who ended our marriage and split up our family? The issue of forgiveness has come up numerous times in the comments on this site, and some seem to believe that either one is bitter and trapped in the past, negatively affecting oneself and the children, or a person has forgiven their ex and moved on to brighter days. My view? This either-or proposition is false.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Evaluation Day: Contemplating if He is (still) Mr. Right

Although Valentine's Day is meant to be about love and romance, it is a holiday that can lead to just the opposite. Besides fueling the profits of Hallmark and ProFlowers, the day can be a catalyst for dissolving or ruining relationships. For those of us thinking about a new relationship after a messy and emotional divorce, the day can take on another meaning: Evaluation Day.

Valentine's Day is all about expectations: meeting them, exceeding them or failing to match them. Women, especially, use the day to evaluate their significant other, and a poor result can lead to a dramatic turn of events. A recent study of divorce filings in New York, Illinois and California by, a legal referral site, found that February is the busiest month for divorce filings, with a rise of almost 18% above the average month. In addition, those seeking referrals for a divorce lawyer increased 38% after the holiday, with the biggest spike occurring on the day after. The seedy affair site, Ashley Madison, reports that the top two days for women to sign up are Valentine's Day followed by Mother's day.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Enough Said Is More about Self-Confidence than Dating

Screencapture from FoxSearchlight Enough Said trailer
Before I was divorced, I paid little attention to how the media and the entertainment industry portrayed those who are trying to move on from failed marriages. Now, I see these portrayals in a new light and compare these stories to my experience. So, when Enough Said, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini, showed up on iTunes, I thought it would be interesting to not only look at it from my perspective, but to ask a man what he thought about it. Was it accurate? Was it biased towards a gender? Did it capture what divorcees go through?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Finding More Love After Divorce

Marriage is like a comfy chair for many people. You can easily find your favorite spot in any room, and feel settled where you are. But divorce is like careening down a giant slide. Navigating this troubling, new territory can be harrowing and traumatic, but the biggest surprise is that you may actually find more love afterwards.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Focusing on Positivity

Anyone who has been through a divorce has war stories—ugly, gory tales. Sometimes it is helpful to commiserate with each other by retelling these unpleasant events, but Sunny Splitsville is mostly about the positive—learning to thrive after the trauma of an unexpected divorce. Negativity is omnipresent and simple to embrace; a positive outlook is harder to maintain, especially in the first few months or even a year post-split. Bitterness is not what you want as your defining characteristic, so learning to adopt positivity (yes, I know the grammar is off) is critical to long-term happiness and success, both for you and your redefined family.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Worst and the Best Day All Rolled into One

It is easy to get emotional whiplash from divorce. The process ushers in incredible emotional lows and even some highs. In the first few months, the negative feelings are often overwhelming, but, over time, the positives start to emerge again. I used to think that I had consistency in my life, and liked making long-term plans. Now, almost 14 months from the official demise of my marriage, I have discovered that my new normal is a bit of a roller coaster ride, and rolling with the punches is all part of learning to thrive. Some of the craziest days I have dealt with managed to cram dramatic highs and lows into only a few short hours. The day my ex announced his re-marriage, and my daughter heard about her early admission to college is a case in point.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ah, the Joys of Moving Out!

Don't you just love the holidays? Menorahs, Christmas trees and a little bubbly to ring in the New Year. In my case, however, this time of year marks the anniversary of my ex husband hitting the road. When he left, he only took a duffel bag with him. Nice job! As usual, I was left to clean up his mess. I found it hard to face the entire job of packing his things myself.