Ten Strategies for Keeping your Cool During Divorce

1. Eat Healthy: This a stressful time and it is easy to reach for unhealthy, comfort foods. I’m living proof that this isn’t a good idea. This is a time that you need to maximize your good days. If you are eating large amounts of sugar and fried foods or drinking a lot of caffeine, there is a good chance your moods will swing like a chandelier. This will guarantee less good days. One day you’ll want to date again, and you will want to look your best when that day comes!

2. Exercise Regularly: You will likely have more free time to yourself as a result of your separation. Use this time to get into an exercise program. Exercise promotes endorphins which tend to lift our spirits naturally. I prefer yoga. It works my entire body and calms my mind. No matter how stressed I may feel going in, I always leave feeling relaxed.

3. Meditate: You have a lot to consider right now and your mind may feel like it’s racing even more than normal. Meditation is a great way to quiet your mind and, as a result, you’ll make better decisions and feel more relaxed. If you are unsure how to meditate there are websites such as www.tm.org that can direct you. Anybody can do it and it’s well worth your time.

4. Avoid Excessive Alcohol: I have no idea how much alcohol is excessive for you, but you do if you are honest with yourself. If you are drinking more than you know you should then stop it! Alcohol is a natural depressant. The last thing you need at a time like this is to feel more down than you do. And by all means, DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE WITH YOUR KIDS IN THE CAR! I know this sounds ridiculous to bring this up, but I know of many people who do this on a regular basis.

5. Avoid Excessive Drugs: You know what you are taking and whether it is good for you or not, it’s not my job to tell you what to take. Just keep this in mind: drugs cause mood fluctuations which result in irrational decisions that you will have to live with for the rest of your life. And don’t forget, your kids know everything you’re doing-really!

6. Breathe: Before you make any decisions or answer any questions posed by either your lawyer or your ex, TAKE 10 LONG, SLOW DEEP BREATHS IN AND OUT. Think about what the best thing is for all involved and if there is a compromise you might suggest if you don’t agree with something.

7. Take the High Road: Nothing is EVER gained by revenge! You never win with vengeance as your motive. Keep in mind that we are all human beings that continually make mistakes and learn from them; nobody gets to skip being human, not even you. Don’t forget, forgiving isn’t about the other person, it’s about you and getting the negativity out of you.

8. Volunteer Your Time: When we are helping somebody else, we get out of our heads where our problems live. You automatically feel better once you start helping others. It’s a win-win.

9. Interview Several Lawyers: Find a lawyer that shares your values. If you hire someone who wants to “bury your ex” and you want a quick, amicable divorce, this could be a very long road for you. It’s best to be on the same page as your attorney. Keep in mind, anybody that thinks “burying your ex” is a good idea probably has your bank account as their motivator.

10. Respect yourself, your kids and your ex-spouse: Don’t play games! Get in and get out quickly. Be amicable and fair and don’t be afraid to compromise. Nobody wins when you and your spouse spend time in court fighting, except for your lawyers and they are typically quite happy. Replace any anger you get from your ex with love. You’d be surprised how quickly people can turn around when you aren’t fighting back. Mama always said “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

LET’S GET REAL ABOUT MARRIAGE! Free Test!!

Are you ready to get real about marriage?

Do you really know the person you’re dating? Do you want to know them better before you get married?

Click below for a test that will help you get to know them much better! Don’t be shy, ask the tough questions. Know that everybody has a past so don’t expect perfection.

Answer the questions honestly.  There will be no benefit to you if you aren’t honest with yourself.  Your partner will not see the answers unless you show them.  It is my belief though that many marriages don’t work because we don’t know enough about the person we are marrying and we are afraid to ask the tough questions. It’s better to know the truth up front and decide to love your partner unconditionally with all that they bring to the relationship, than to find things out slowly all the while building resentments.

Make a game out of it, pick a number then answer that question. Whatever you do, get to know that person you are considering marrying. Let’s lower the divorce rate! Thank you and may you have a long, healthy, honest relationship ahead!

Best of luck!

Karen Schultz Tarnopol

ARE YOU READY TO GET REAL??? GETTING REAL ABOUT MARRIAGE

Detox After Divorce Part 1

I was talking with a friend of mine today that had more or less a mirror image of my married life. We were talking about how after you get a divorce, you have a chance to look back on things and figure out what went right, what went wrong and how to do it better the next time around. While this takes some time and patience, it’s really a great process to go through before you do take a leap into another relationship. It’s worth the time and effort, like any good detox.

We all know that we need to find ways to detox our bodies if we want them to work well; eating right, exercising, getting a good night sleep, etc. We also need to detox our minds. A few ways to achieve this is through therapy, journaling, meditating, yoga, etc. The key to all of these methods and other modalities though is to be relentless in your search for the truth. Be open and willing to find out the truth about your role in the dissolution of your marriage; the good, the bad and the ugly. It won’t hurt nearly as much as your brain would like you to believe it will.

It’s easy to think that the other person is solely at fault for the ending of your relationship, but I’m here to tell ya, that is never the case. It takes two people to make a marriage go wrong. Those of us in the thick of it right now are nodding their heads in disbelief thinking that they are different. They are thinking thoughts like “You should see how he/she treats me.” The fact is nobody treats us anyway unless we let them. I know that is harsh and I am not defending anybody or anything, but we are responsible for our happiness and fulfillment, 100% of the time!

As I mentioned in prior blogs, I thought my ex was at least 80% at fault in our marriage ending. During my detox, which coincidentally is still taking place 6 years after we split up, I realized just how responsible I was for my own misery, and I mean misery.

A great example in my case is that I felt caged in when I was married. I felt as if my ex didn’t want me to go out with friends, take classes and do exercise, for example. Looking back, he would have been fine with me doing all of those things. He almost couldn’t help himself but to support me in doing these activities because he would see the obvious benefits. I would have been a happier person and a better wife, a win-win. It was all in my head; I was just being lazy and using him as an excuse!

This thought of feeling caged in has even kept me from being open to finding a new person to date because I was afraid of being in that position again. It’s amazing what a simple belief can do to our lives, especially those that are not true, like most of them.

The idea of the detox is to be honest with yourself. Really look at what happened and what your part was in the situation. The things you uncover are gifts that will teach you what not to do in your next relationship and what makes you happy. They will set you free from the blame, shame and guilt you are holding onto which are all completely useless emotions; they serve no useful purpose except to cause disease in your body. Be brave and seek them out and think of them as gifts, not as failures. It’s easy to think of them as failures, but on this road we walk along in life there is no such thing as a failure. We are always exactly where we are supposed to be. We are always doing the best we know how with the information that we have in that moment. In the next moment we may know more, so the next time we can do it better. In the meantime, no guilt, no shame, no blame-get it out of your life!

It is truly liberating! Don’t be afraid, these feelings will not hurt physically, they may sting for a moment and you may cry a lot but that is simply the feelings coming up to say goodbye. Don’t stuff them down, get them out and set them free! The sting will be gone quickly and you will feel lighter and freer. When you are done, be thankful for the treasures you found and keep digging, there’s more. Don’t stop until you get it all. Enjoy your detox!

5 Critical Things to Avoid in your Divorce

Aside from the obvious lying, cheating, stealing, physically hurting or killing another person, there are five vital things you will want to avoid when you are getting divorced.

1. Don’t play games! Decide up front what your goals are and how you want things to go for you. I would recommend peace and compromise because it worked very well for me, but it’s your choice how much stress you would like to endure.

· Don’t make things up about the other person to get ahead.

· Be fair and reasonable.

· Be honest with yourself and consider the effects your decisions have on everybody involved.

· Don’t ask your ex to do anything you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself.

· Take the high road and you will win in the end.

· Remember, what comes around goes around.

2. DO NOT USE YOUR CHILDREN AS PAWNS TO GET WHAT YOU WANT FROM YOUR EX! This is the greatest of sins if you ask me. Leave the kids out of it! There is nothing in the world worth fighting over at the expense of your kids.

Don’t deny the other parent custody because you want more money or possession! That’s absolutely ridiculous! You are purposely causing pain and suffering to not only your ex, but your kids too! Every child loves their parents and deserves to have both parents peacefully living in their lives. If your ex dumped you and you are bitter, go to therapy and leave the kids out of it!

I grew up without a father and believe me when I tell you that living without a parent in your life shapes who you become in your teens and as an adult. Let’s just say one might look for love in all the wrong places if they don’t have a good male or female role model in their life. Don’t fool yourself into believing that a step parent can fill the shoes of a biological parent-would that be good enough for you?

3. Don’t hire a cut throat lawyer that wants to tear your ex to shreds. There are plenty of good, qualified attorneys that have your same values and succeed in court without tearing the opposing party apart. One of my favorite sayings is “How you do anything is how you do everything.” If you hire a lawyer that thinks putting your ex through the ringer is a good idea, imagine what they have in store for you. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with keeping you in court as long as possible and taking all your money. Unless you want to spend all your time and money in court, I would think long and hard about who you hire to represent you.

4. Don’t continually change the parenting schedule, show up late or drop off the kids late. One of the best things you can do for your kids is to give them clear expectations and a consistent schedule. Children thrive when they know what to expect, they feel safer. Consistency is one of the keys to your child’s well being.

5. If you are required to pay child support, pay it! It is the right thing to do and, frankly, kids are a fortune to feed! It’s been my experience that no matter how much child support is awarded by the court, the person paying it ALWAYS feels like it’s too much and the person receiving it feels like it’s NEVER enough. I have yet to find an exception to this rule.

Detox After Divorce Part 2

In part one of Detox after Divorce I talked about being relentless in your search for the truth about your role in the dissolution of your marriage. I also stated that you need to get the guilt, shame and especially the blame out of your life and that you will feel freer and lighter once you do. When you stop blaming everybody else for what happened, you open yourself up to find your truth and this is what sets you free.

If I spend my time thinking about all of the things that my ex did to cause the demise of our marriage, I am wasting my precious time and energy. I might as well hit my head against the wall for a few hours. For one thing, when you are deciding if another person’s actions are right or wrong, you are in their business, a place you don’t belong. You cannot win this game. If the person’s right or wrong, then what? Then nothing, you have no control over their actions and what they do next, so stay in your own business!

Don’t waste your energy. I like to think of energy like a parking meter. You get a full meter at the beginning of the day, and depending on how you spend your energy the meter runs out either quickly or slowly. I like to make the energy in my meter last as long as possible so I don’t waste it on blaming others which drains the meter rapidly. It takes a lot of energy to run somebody else’s life and to tell them how they should conduct themselves.

So what exactly is the GIFT in finding the truth?

Let’s assume you’ve done your homework and have found a few things that you could have done differently in your marriage. Great work! Now you know what not to do next time. That’s a gift.

In my case, I had unrealistic expectations that no man could possibly live up to. I didn’t know that until I did some detoxing. If I hadn’t done any of soul-searching after my divorce I would have looked for the same thing the next time around. Why do you think people have multiple marriages? Because they don’t take the time to figure out what they did to cause the last one to end. Now that I know what I know, I can make a conscious decision whether I want to go on believing that prince charming is going to sweep me off my feet and make me happy or not.

So just to be clear:

Unaware = making the same mistakes over and over until you become aware

aware = new outcome – yea!

That is a huge gift! Ignorance is not bliss, that’s a bunch of crap.

I remember the day this concept resonated with me. I was in Israel and met a new friend that I spent the whole day with. I was exhausted by the end of the day and quite bitchy actually. I’m not sure how rude I was to him, but at one point he said “You are so self-righteous!” so I must have said something that wasn’t very nice. At first I was mad. I thought, “How could he say something like that to me?” “He doesn’t know me.” “I’m a nice person.” Then, I thought about it. He was so right! I am self-righteous and I always have been. I just never knew I was. I’m so thankful that he said that. I was living in the dark. How could I ever stop being self-righteous if I never even knew that I was? That day I realized that I could consciously decide whether I want to be self-righteous or not. Some days I want to be and some days I don’t, but I choose now. This is a gift!

Ultimately, it would be great to strive to find all of our faults so that we can decide how we’re going to behave rather than reacting constantly to outside forces. Ask friends and family to tell you what you can work on. Unfortunately, people don’t want you to know the truth because they are afraid of hurting your feeling, so don’t push them. You can do your own soul-searching.

Let’s stay in our business, focus on ourselves and what we do have control over; our behavior. Don’t be afraid to know the truth about yourself. It may sting for a minute or even make you cry, but then it will set you free! Dig deep to find your truth, it’s the path to your peace of mind.