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  • Spring Cleaning of the Mind

    You need time just for yourself. Period. Your body, mind, and spirit have been through so much recently or over the past few years. This world can be exhausting; as we've said before, adulting is challenging especially with divorce in the mix. Sometimes you literally ache in your bones due to the exhaustion of daily life. The trials and tribulations of work, kids, activities, home issues, and house cleaning are endless today. You must schedule a time to escape, whether booking a hotel in the city in which you live or getting out of town for a solo vacation. Yes, I said solo vacation. It’s actually hilarious when I tell people I'm going on holiday alone! They ask, “No family? No friends? All by yourself?" Answer: A resounding YES, all by myself. I am so lucky to live with a world of humans who care deeply about me and my well-being. I often hear, “I don't know if I could go on vacation alone. What do you do?” Answer: "Whatever I want. Period." Sometimes you must decompress and take a vacation from the daily grind because if you don't, you'll burn the candles at both ends and eventually suffer third degree injuries. The best thing you can do to be the best parent, partner, and friend is to take this time off to reflect...or not. When reflecting, figure out what’s working and what’s not. The other day, a good friend said, "your brain needs Spring Cleaning – evaluate who’s currently in your world, what you're doing as a purpose, and how’s that treating you." I thought that was BRILLIANT...Spring Cleaning for the Brain. Here are a few ways to get started: 1) Start with your journal or create something new in writing. Anything that's been on your mind, in no particular order. 2) List your goals, short and long-term. Where are you with them? Close, or are they in the future? Either way, it doesn't matter, list. 3) What would you change in your current world, and what would be different? Are people or work dragging you down? 4) Finally, make it happen. Manifest the life you want. Spring Cleaning of the mind is so beneficial that you will feel weight falling off you that you haven’t committed to cleaning out. You may feel like a new person with new energy because you must let go of whatever drags you down, people or things. The benefit to all of this is your overall health and positive spirit. It’s time to get started NOW so enjoy! Erin

  • In life, people get hurt. Period.

    At various times in your life, you likely will have great people who want to be in your world daily and that's a huge win-win, especially when you feel the same. However, there are some individuals in your life day that you're not into seeing day in and day out. This blog is about the latter. I hear many stories of someone who may be dating someone or, as the 'kids' say “hanging out.” So, what happens when you realize hanging out is not what you intended, and you've been down this road before? You may care for someone deeply, have been married before, but now that you're divorced and single, you're finding you're unsure what you want from this other person. Well, it happens to the best of us and most of the time, quite unintentionally. You start talking to someone from the past, and one thing after another happens, net net, they dive head-in first, but you want to take a hike and not talk about your true feelings. Let’s pause right here so I can convey something I've discovered: It's OK not to have mutual feelings if you express the truth to this person. You know it will hurt them, especially as more time passes. The hard, cold truth is you are not dating this person and they have gone beyond a boundary you set long ago. Let’s talk about what to say and what phrases may help them understand it is not you, it's me. I've always thought that was a total cop-out, yet as I get older, it's actually the truth. It IS you. You're not feeling it. Sometimes you may have some connection, but not for a relationship that is sustainable throughout your life. Honestly, want to be carefree and not feel trapped. Way before I founded Divorcee Dish, I've known folks who desperately want to find real true love, and maybe that’s still on the table, but it certainly doesn't mean the first few people you meet will be that person. So, without further ado, my top 5 things to say: "I enjoy our connection; however, I’m not looking for a relationship right now. We can be together and have fun but know this will not move forward."Why, they may ask? "I'm just not feeling it. Good friends are hard to find, and if you want me in your life, we can explore a friendship, but no more than that." "You're getting too emotionally attached, and we specifically discussed the boundaries of our relationship; you have now crossed those boundaries, making moving forward for me something I am not willing to be a part of." "Yes, that is/was fun, however, that's all it is right now: fun. I’m not ready to be attached to anyone." "I want to be honest with you, you are a great person, and I want you to find happiness, but I genuinely feel this will not work on my part. However, I’d like to keep in touch if you do." "You will always hold a special place, and I cherish our memories, though I cannot be what you need me to be or take on a relationship right now." Every situation is different and my goal for this post is to encourage communication and not just stop it if you have been talking to this person often. Treat the person how you expect to be treated, and you may find out they were feeling the same. Journaling thoughts: How many times have you had to do this since your divorce? Has someone in your life pushed your boundaries? What ideas and phrases have you used in these situations? Speak your truth, Erin

  • Today is National Single Parent Day...Happy day to all of us!

    Being a single parent can be great, although it has challenges. As a friend of mine said, "It Takes a Village." That statement, and every connotation it has, celebrates every mother, father, and grandparent who takes care of children independently, 24/7, or part-time. It takes a strong person to be a single parent: You are their sole provider, and they depend on YOU. Some people love it, and some people struggle. Did you know in the U.S. today, near­ly 24 mil­lion chil­dren live in a sin­gle-par­ent fam­i­ly? This total has been rising since the early '60s and covers approx. one in every three kids across America*. So in honor of today's special day, we're sharing a few facts on what it means to be a single parent, how to do the best you can, and what's most important. Here goes: Obviously, with the numbers above – you are NOT alone. Some resources can help single parents. Resources can start with hiring help or learning to navigate that crazy schedule by asking for help! Join forces with other single parents; they get it and are unafraid to lean on each other for transportation. Having kids play or being with another single parent can help you take the weight off your shoulders. It can sometimes seem chaotic to get help for childcare between work, school, and public life. Make it less messy and ensure everyone is on the same page. At the beginning of each week, ensure the kids know what is happening and where they will be for the week. Balance your schedule: You are one person, and though you’d love to do it all, it's not healthy or helpful for you to try. Call for help, and if you have teenagers that drive or kids that can fully support you…make it happen. Be consistent with your schedule. The best thing you can do for your children maintains a plan with your ex that works for both of you. This makes kids feel like they can expect the same each week even though there is back and forth. Enjoy your one-on-one time. No matter how many children you have, go into a single-parent day with a positive attitude and have fun with your kids. They may see you sweat at times, but overall memories you want to keep positive. Take care of yourself. Yes, even if kids are with you, know your limitations and do not feel guilty for taking an hour or so for yourself. Whether napping, working out, walking with a friend, or anything else you enjoy. Kids must be taught self-care; you do not need to apologize for needing your downtime. Establish special moments or traditions that are for you and your kids only. These new moments will last a lifetime. Kids feel loved and cherished during these times, times you and they will cherish forever. Be Human – meaning be honest; you do not have to be Ms. or Mr. Happy face or stoic – be you because otherwise, children can see right through that. Be accessible – when they are with you, maintain that you are there for them when they need to talk or snuggle. This fulfills one aspect of balance and stability. Lastly, life is ever-changing, and that’s all right. If you can communicate with your children what’s going on, whether good or bad, let them always know that you love them, and that’s what’s most important. One last thing: LOL at yourself! You're learning to be the best mom or dad you can, which means you’ll probably mess up, but that’s alright. Just keep a great attitude and giggle as much as possible. Xo, Erin * Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation

  • 10 Divorce Terms to know

    When you start the divorce process, it can be completely overwhelming. You have a lot to navigate through; it takes a team to ensure you correct everything. So, what terms do you need to understand as you go through the process? Annulment: An annulment is when the marriage is dissolved in a religious sector. This defines that your marriage is void and not like divorce; it is typically retroactive, meaning the marriage is considered invalid from the beginning. COBRA: This refers to health insurance; if you are on your partner's plan, you can choose COBRA as an option for 18 months after your divorce is final. COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and again relates to health, dental, and vision insurance. Deposition: You may have heard of these in general law practice many times. When related to divorce, it’s a meeting where you, the person deposed, are brought in, to tell the truth about your situation that can be used in court. Dissolution is a term used on legal paperwork and when ending a relationship for good. DR case: Meaning Domestic Relations when filing a divorce. This also means that you have officially filed, and your case will be assigned a number. Emancipation: This term is a divorce, separation, or custody battle that ends the parental control of a child. Also, the parent does not need to provide a child with any support via care or finances. Marital Indebtness: Debt that both parties acquired during the marriage. Generally, the court or your attorney splits this down the middle, and this would be anything jointly incurred throughout your “legal” time together. Prenuptial Agreement: This is defined as legal documents signed and agreed upon before your nuptials. It should clearly state what yours is yours and what’s mine and mine. Postnuptial Agreement: This agreement is a legal contract entered into after a couple has married. They define how a couple's finances, assets, and marital property will be divided in the event of a divorce or legal separation. Rehabilitative Maintenance: This term refers to short-term financial support until your ex-partner gets back on their feet. There are many more terms; however, these were chosen for clarity and knowledge as you enter this process. #beintheknow #divorce #divorceterms Good luck during your process, and try to focus on the tasks at hand and not let emotions overwhelm you. Peace, Erin

  • Kid Conversations: About Dating.

    While you and your family, particularly a child – whether he/she/they is 2 or 22 - adjust to your lives post-divorce, there's one significant adjustment you're going to have to handle sooner vs. later when someone new enters your life: How to tell them you're dating. For a child, especially a young one, learning that a parent is dating again can be super scary, induce anxiety, and do their project and worry about the future. However, most divorcees suggest not introducing someone new that may be long-term until about six months with your new partner. 1) Take it slow. Children may act out when they find out you are dating someone and sometimes immediately think - is this replacing my true "Mom, Dad, Mommy, Daddy" You need to be able to state; clearly, you feel comfortable enough with your new partner to introduce them to you. 2) Quick Introductions. Quick introductions mean 1-5 months in. Some people want their children involved in every aspect of their world, whether young or older. Ensure you understand how your children feel about this before introducing someone so quickly. I learned the hard way it was waaaaaay too soon - when I did an introduction in my early divorced years. 3) Begin with an opening statement of love. Tell them how much you love your children (period). Next, ask the question, "How do you feel about meeting a new person in your life? Or do I want to introduce you to someone special in my life? Are you at a place you want to meet them? Discuss with them, do not just tell them this is happening. 4) Make it clear that your new partner is NOT a replacement. Convey and reinforce that your kids will always have your ex as their true parent. For some children, it's hard not to see the person their parent is dating as a "new" parent or a substitute for mommy or daddy. Remind them that you and your former partner will continue to co-parent as a team, and that the person you're dating won't ever replace them. 5) Settle anxieties if they are present. Reinforce that this is someone you are introducing to them, they are not moving in, etc. Awareness and clarity for kids are critical to the future conversation. The vagueness of post-divorce life may be a lot for a child at any age to feel comfortable with, hold, hug, and reinforce how much you love them. Note: You will, at some point, date again, whether casually or seriously. Think of your kids. You may be pleasantly surprised by how they react. Have questions? Send us a note: Have a great day! xoxo Erin Journaling opportunity: 1) Have you talked to your children about fellow suitors? 2) How did it go? 3) What worked and what did not? 4) Do you feel comfortable moving forward in your relationship? 5) Stick to your word. What did you promise your children and partner?

  • Ch-ch-ch-Changes...(cue David Bowie)

    Today's lesson - no, mandate - Do NOT change yourself for others. Thinking about, in the middle of, or finito with divorce, so many of us believe it will make a difference if we change for them. Kids, I'm talking about new relationships/love interests. "If I reach out this time, they will respond or want to see me." Ladies and gentlemen: It doesn’t happen. I'm here today to express the importance of being you and loving yourself. Yes, maybe no one can understand why you text on a random day to check in on them, for instance, a friend, and if that’s how you roll, DO NOT CHANGE a thing. But today's world has become a cesspool of people just outright directing others. Chalk it up to the freedom folks feel from the outrageous online world where one can choose when and how they respond at a moment's notice. It's a great insight into who they are or how selfish they can be (is he/she an asshole or not? Check!) How about this? Think that no one likes you. As PiNK says "So What" Your inner workings have been with you since you were born. Yes, the way you grew up may have fostered your beliefs and theories about life, but ultimately your personality is your personality, and DO NOT CHANGE or ADAPT for anyone new in your life. I recently connected with someone I thought I had a lot in common with and could chat with for hours, yet I knew deep down in my gut there was something a bit off. I was RIGHT. It led to yet another ghosting episode. Sadly, this person, I believe, was ultimately insecure about so many things, yet chose to take that low road of “no response,” and, ugh, again, I felt like crap. Good thing I have a pretty tough exterior and get over that BS fast. But at the end of the day, what TF is wrong with people who flat-out disappear? There are days they want to connect with you so badly that they stop responding when you do the follow-up work and say, yes, let’s make it happen. It frustrates me, and I am a super patient person who I like to think is kind, loving, and careful. I recently told a friend, "you are my friend, so I’m not going to apologize for being me and checking in on you when I’m worried and haven’t heard from you." Friends, lovers, possible new interests: Why so many crickets? Then when they figure out you no longer give a flip to answer, they keep texting. What does that mean? And how long will you care? Net net, people show their true colors these days, and we all know in our hearts when we're not being treated right. Remember, when the ghouls start to ghost, we're worth more. So much more. So be true to yourself, stay true to you, and don't settle for anything less than you deserve. Xo, Erin

  • Let's talk about sex....

    Let’s talk about having fun and safe sexual interactions as adults. We wrote before on this topic, and I find it interesting that the questions I get or stories I tell my friend and when my friends share are fascinating. According to Health News: “Both men and women tend to be more sexually active in their 20s but do not necessarily have a more satisfying sex life. Sex drive is highest in men in their 20s and decreases with age, along with testosterone levels; as sex drive decreases with age, erectile dysfunction and other types of sexual dysfunction increase. In other words, men tend to have less sex and more sexual problems as they age. However, none of that matters when it comes to sexual satisfaction. Research has found that while sexual function decreases in men—especially after age 50—sexual satisfaction isn’t strictly determined by age. “ My thought – is that so? Primarily when, I have heard women hit another “prime period” in their ’40-’50s, even with the menopausal states setting in and erectile dysfunction setting. Fortunately, there is aphotic care and prescriptions for both – so no excuses for not having it. After a divorce, you may feel like a teenager catching up on years of new sexual experiences and becoming more comfortable with your body as an adult. I think you get to the point that this is what it is and, if not accepted by all sexual identities – causes a sense of the unknown. However, it’s almost like riding a bike. Do you remember the first time you had intercourse, the awkward, sloppy, I do not know what to do here; we must do this daily? This feeling can happen again, and it should. It’s harder to find your perfect mate, mainly because when you are in your late 40s or 50s and beyond, you find a different respect for yourself, and if people do not like it – who gives a flying f? It’s none of their business. The point is not to hold yourself back just because you do not have a relationship. Let yourself go and feel all the feels…create new sexual memories that you can now share and reflect on….and most like, give a nice giggle to your new adventures. It's essential to good health; do not make it shameful. Boys and girls, it's time to see what it is like later in life. Peace out, Have fun, as always! Stay Safe Erin

  • Divorce: 7 things kids need during the process.

    The effects on children and divorce vary between night and day. Some children are too young to remember, then others, it has traumatized or affected them in some way, shape, or form. Let's discuss 7 things you can do to make children feel safe and to help them through this process. No. 1: Do not fight about anything in front of the kids, and this behavior terrifies a child who doesn't understand what is happening to their family. No. 2: Get them on a consistent schedule immediately if we are in a custody battle for whatever reason - do not speak about it in front of the children. Make a schedule that they understand and know where they go daily. No. 3: If you are an adult, try to control any bashing of your soon-to-be ex-partner. Those are the things kids remember. For instance, when I was about 20-23, I asked my parents to please stop- I was still trying to navigate the new world and wanted relationships with both my parents. Much bitterness was happening during my parent's divorce; I was 15 and started acting out because of it. No. 4: Talk to your kids at their level. If they are younger, i.e., under 13, sit down and tell them in a way they can process and let them ask questions. It was a reeling pain when we told our kids, even though they suspected something was up. Idea: Prepare answers in advance and refrain from deflecting from those. No. 5: Make both places they like to feel like home. I find many children do not feel comfortable. There is undoubtedly the whoever keeps the house scenario. If children have "grown up" there, that house may feel like home. They will adjust over time in the beginning (even though I encourage keeping to a schedule - be flexible). No. 6: Focus on the children. Take them to do something or start a new tradition that they will remember and where they will feel special. This is so important -even though you are hurting, remember they are too and doing something fun: hiking, bowling, walking, riding bikes, going to a local festival. It can all start a new pattern of happiness. No. 7: You are human, and it's all right to be sad in front of your kids as long as you are not in a fight with your ex. It's ok to cry; this is a huge transition for you too. It would be best to practice self-care to implement all or some of the above. Tell your kids if you feel comfortable with "why" you are crying, and help them understand that this is not a sign of weakness. It's being HUMAN, and it is OK. Journaling activity: 1) Have you told your kids? How did they react? 2) How are you feeling? 3) How is your relationship with your ex? 4) What can you do to emotionally support your kids? Just a few questions to get you thinking. My heart is with you during this painful experience.

  • Texting with anxiety

    With so many methods of communication these days, it is a wonder that we do not miss some of the essential information from the day, whether it is a call or text, or DM through another messaging app. According to text messaging statistics, adults under 45 y/o send and receive approximately more than 85 texts each day. That is a lot of activity and brain time responding, and this also causes some unnecessary anxiety, feeling pressure to answer. Then we come down to making new connections with people, and you finally get to the next stage, and it fizzles, or they do not know what to say. What I am talking about is where an old school phone would ring, with hopes the one you want to be on the other line, yet it's your Grandparents or Parents. Now comes the boom, we are back to when will she text me back or when will he text me back. Next, we had a great exchange of information and not even a whisper. Then you wonder, did I say something wrong? I was just excited to talk to this person, and now you can hear crickets in the room, which is the worst. I'm writing about this topic which can create excitement or damn right disappointment. Connections, i.e., genuine relationships, are hard to find post-divorce; when you do, you want to hang out and be with those people or persons. Then for some reason, unknown people stop talking to you via text or messenger. Shame on them for leaving you in a search, like those phone calls you received as a kid (i.e., they finally called). In today's world, your heart may jump at a text - just the same. However, if someone is not mature enough to text you back, run. Run far you deserve better, and hell, you get too many messages a day anyway - make the most of the conversations with people that care. Be strong, and refrain from seeking reassurance from the incapable.

  • As they say in real estate, location is everything 😉

    Your comfort level on a post-divorce first date with a new guy/gal should be 100% chill, and something to look forward to - not freak over - and where you decide to go is a top priority. Why? Because you're entering uncharted territory with someone new, and when you take the upper hand on where to go/what to do, you're that much ahead of the game when it comes time to decide if there'll be a connection or you need an immediate escape plan. So, where should you go on your first date? It depends on how comfortable you are with that new someone. You're new to dating and headed out on your first date. Where you meet may determine how well it goes. And if it isn't a setup by a friend, online communique brings its own challenges: Do you know this person from a dating app, messenger, or texting? Do they have a verified account from an online source? Have you had a video chat with them and virtually met? If not, you should do all those things before you deep dive into a first date (FYI, many sites offer free background checks and always ask for a last name, so it's totally legit). And finally, to be safe before that first date, let someone you're close to knowing where you are and who you are with (they can also be part of the escape mentioned above route, if necessary, as mentioned above). Once you get to the first date, here are some vetted suggestions from trusted sources and friends we know: 1) Go for coffee at a favorite local, independent shop 2) Take a walk - decide on a meet-up spot and walk from there 3) Meet at your favorite restaurant or his/hers 4) Meet for one drink (don't overdo the alcohol) only to get a feel for them 5) If it's someone you know through a friend, try a group date 6) Do you have a hobby you may want to suggest you both share? Try that and see where it leads 7) Scope out events in advance that may interest you both These are not set in stone, merely suggestions, but always try to make it easy for both of you. My main advice: Be confident, and for heaven's sake, let yourself have some fun! It's not a marriage proposal, LOL (unless it's love at first site, and if it is, let us know immediately how you pulled it off!). Good luck out there, Erin Journaling Opportunity: 1) Where have you gone on your first dates? 2) How do you screen your future dates? 3) What are you looking for? 4) What's the best first date you ever had?

  • In a rut?

    Do not fear because before during, and after the D-word, you may feel like your life is in a rut, and you're unsure how to shake it off. Being in a weird place is part of it all, the downfall after the relief, grief, whatever you're feeling, that your marriage is truly over, and it sucks! I recently joined a few Facebook Groups focusing on separation, divorce, and guidance. It's heart-wrenching at times to read and hear others' heartbreaking stories about how they're coping (or not), but on the flip side, sometimes their experiences are filled with joy and success. One man the other day said, “I just feel like dying; it hurts so bad.” Or the woman who just found out that her husband had been cheating on her for the past ten years while she thought she had the perfect marriage. Soul-crushing to hear, yet thousands and thousands of women and men feel the same way. What do you say to that, and how does that make you feel? Not great, I'm here to tell you. Then there is the debate over divorce: Could I? Should I? The situations are endless and personalized; however, I've pulled together five tips from my own experience, and other reliable sources, for pulling oneself out of the infinite rut divorce can cause: When you feel hopeless and cannot stop crying, PLEASE ask anyone to come over and let you feel the feelings and settle down. I can no longer count how often I called in friends when I felt the pain, slightly embarrassed but knowing it was for the best. Get out of your house. You may not feel like it, and I don't mean hitting the bars to socialize; go for a peaceful walk, preferably somewhere with nature surrounding you, not city/neighborhood noise. Find a place to sit and take in the beauty. Being with nature will decrease anxiety by leaps and bounds, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how you feel once you get out. Start a new hobby that keeps your mind busy...but not so busy that you're not coping with reality. Some people get hyper about anything new to avoid the feelings, but guess what? That's a recipe for disappointment, so be realistic and go easy with hobbies, whether pickleball, knitting, crossword puzzles, or reading new books in your newfound time. Find something you can get into. Don't become manic about it. Be easy on yourself. You have been through one of the most traumatic events in your life, and no matter how you got there, be gentle with y-o-u. It's perfectly OK to want to practice self-care and not do anything for a day, and you should plan those days. E.g., this Saturday, I will do whatever I want, when I want, even if it's nothing. Fine to do. Journal your feelings, join groups and share your story. You will be surprised by learning about and learning from strangers. Hearing their stories will make you feel connected and that others have your back. There are an array of support groups, and when you find one that clicks for you, you'll realize, hey, that’s what happened to my marriage too. Maybe make a new friend in the local group and meet for coffee. It will make you feel less alone because you are NOT alone. Getting out of a divorce rut takes time, but remember that when you’re finally feeling better, you may hit another one. Very common and won't last forever because just one day, though it seems dark, is not forever, and you'll feel the sunshine again and become that new version of yourself you've wanted since your permanent separation from your ex-partner. Have faith in yourself; you are stronger than you think. 'Til next time, Erin Questions to ask yourself when you're feeling in a rut: What is one thing I can do for myself today? What interests me the most? Did I journal today? Did I join an online group?

  • Which dating sites do you use?

    Let us know and we will have a second part series - thanks for sharing!

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