Getting started with journaling can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know what to write. But with so many benefits, it’s easy to understand why so many people want to make it a habit.
Writing down your personal thoughts and feelings isn’t something most people do on a regular basis. So sitting and staring down at a blank piece of paper trying to figure out how to start journaling can be somewhat intimidating. After about five minutes of looking at your journal, it’s tempting to just give up altogether and just chalk it up as something that’s not for you.
However, writer’s block does not have to plague you. With these approaches to journaling, it’ll no longer be overwhelming or laborious.
Here are 10 journaling tips for beginners:
1. Use a pen and paper
Though we recommend using a traditional diary or notebook, doing so can sometimes be a challenge. Having an app allows you to write down your thoughts almost anywhere. The downside is that your device can quickly become a distraction when notifications begin to go off.
Writing by hand gives you a break from the screen, allowing your mind to unplug, especially if your work requires you to use a computer or phone all day.
If you’re going to write by hand (like we suggest), make sure you get a good journal to write in.
[Notes by Amythyst: For most of my professional writing experience, I've always chosen to hand write the first draft of a manuscript. It's only with the last couple books that I've forgone this practice in lieu of Libra Office and my computer. Journaling ALWAYS takes place by hand, with pen and paper, and preferably with an old-fashioned fountain pen... there's nothing like them, nothing writes this way, or feels this way, so connected to the paper and so grounded. There's something about hand writing your thoughts that open up the pathways to creativity. If you've never done it this way before, I suggest you try it. Find a notebook and a fountain pen that speaks to you.] 2. Journal in the morning
Studies show that it is best to write first thing in the morning. It’s when your mind is most quiet and free from external influences. Do not pick up your phone to check social media. Instead, keep a journaling book and a pen next to your bed. Once you’re awake, reach for it and start writing. It does not matter how groggy you feel, just let the words flow. This is also a great practice for dream journaling as well.
Night owls might not agree with this. If morning is not the time for you, set a time in your day where you’re most productive and least likely to be interrupted. Do this the same time every day to make journaling a lasting habit.
[Notes by Amythyst: I totally agree! I've always done the bulk of my writing (both my personal journaling, as well as working on manuscripts) in the wee early hours of the morning, preferably with a good cup of hot coffee, a comfy bathrobe, and when weather permits, an outdoor table spot. Your thoughts will flow while the birds do their early morning thing. I love it!] 3. Write Every Day
Whichever time you pick, morning or evening, make sure you write in your journal daily, even when you don’t feel like it.
If you perceive that you have nothing to write about, write that sentence down. After a few lines of struggling to get your ideas out, the reason why you don’t want to write will soon reveal itself. It’s likely that you’re running away from something you don’t want or aren’t ready to face.
[Notes by Amythyst: So true! The well is never completely dry, not even when you think it is!] 4. Make time
Sometimes days get off to a busy start, and you’re unable to spare time to write. On these days, carry a journal with you so you can write your thoughts down when you have free time. 5-10 minutes of quiet and uninterrupted time is sufficient. You don’t have to write in prose; state main ideas in bullet points. If you need to, you can go and flesh these out later.
[Notes by Amythyst: I have a couple thoughts to add here... 1. "Not having time to write" ~ I have written diary entries and written books while consumed with the physical care and home-schooling of six children, a huge house to maintain, meals to prepare, and babies to breast feed. The WRITER will WRITE, no matter how many obstacles are put in their path. 2. I've always carried a notebook to jot down unexpected thoughts and ideas because it never fails that if you don't write them down, you will forget them!] 5. Try stream of consciousness journaling
Write about everything and nothing. It is a non-judgmental flow of your thoughts; think of it as transcribing what is in your thoughts without any editing to have it make sense.
This session is known as a “stream of consciousness.” Don’t filter or censor your thoughts or feelings. Don’t mind the grammatical errors, just keep writing. After a few minutes, your mind will take on a more defined flow or theme that you can reflect on. This method is the rawest form journaling there is. It de-clutters your mind and shows you what the source of confusion, stress or pain is.
During this process, be patient. Most of all, don’t force yourself to think and write contrary to the “stream.”
[Notes by Amythyst: This is an excellent idea, though I've carried this a step further on my occult metaphysical path by trying my hand at "Automatic Writing". For those who've never heard this term before, it's kind of like turning your writing hand into a Ouija board planchette and allowing the spirits to take over. The results can be astounding, eye-opening, and a little spooky.] 6. Write about the current space you’re in
Journal about what’s happening in your life. In detail, talk about your relationships, work, home, family, health, finances- anything that affects you. Then write down where you want to be and the steps you can take to get there.
This approach to goal setting will push you to do what’s required to transform yourself for the better. It also gives you a realistic picture of where you are. In that way, you’re given the opportunity to course-correct to meet your target.
[Notes by Amythyst: I've kept a diary for years. Each one of my children has a diary entry relating the events on the day of their birth. When they inherit my diaries, they will also have well detailed imagery of our time at home, as well as special events, vacations, and mile stones. I have also kept dream journals, which are incredibly enlightening as to what's happening in your life and the effects at the time.] 7. Use journaling prompts
This is easily one of the best journaling tips for beginners.
Can’t get past the blank page? Journaling prompts like these will facilitate the frame of mind required when journaling. A journal prompt is just a question or topic that helps get your mind flowing. Since journaling from scratch is difficult for some people, prompts give you a starting point.
Reflect and answer each question as honestly as possible. This exercise is guaranteed to bring to the forefront of your mind the causes of most of your problems and what to do about them. Most of all, they help you shed off unwanted stress, anxiety and other burdens for a more carefree life.
[Notes by Amythyst: I've posted several "journaling prompts" atThe Writer's CornerFacebook Page. Just bring up photos and you'll find the prompts. You can also visit Pintrest, doing a search for writing prompts of all kinds.] 8. Talk to your inner child
Self-help books have popularized the concept of “the inner child.” It’s quite easy to shelf this under pop psychology, but this incorrect assumption may be costing you more than you think. The inner child is not literal, though it does exist. It refers to an unconscious part of your mind. Here is where you find the source of emotional, relational and behavioral difficulties that plague you in your adulthood.
To have a conversation with your inner child, ask your subconscious mind questions in the second person. This concept might seem strange, but remember, our conscious/awake part of the mind is just the tip of the iceberg. You know more than you think you do.
9. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Every time you journal, list all the things you’re grateful for in that moment. Doing this at the beginning frames the way in which your approach your problems. You’ll note a shift in your outlook on life. Positivity will become the norm, and not the exception.
Finding it hard to be thankful every day? This article highlights the physical, emotional, psychological, and behavioral benefits of being grateful. If you have a hard time remembering what to be thankful for, there are plenty of apps with reminders online you can download.
[Notes by Amythyst: I have tried gratitude journaling for a brief time. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I get more out of regular journal entries. I'm not sure why. There are indeed things I'm grateful for, it just seemed contrived and artificial when I tried to record it in a gratitude journal. You may feel differently about this.] 10. Keep it private
People new to journaling often wonder if they should keep it private, or share it with others. The short answer is, it’s up to you. Some people suggest that you could show sections of your journal to trusted people. If you have to, read it out loud or summarize what was written.
Otherwise, don’t show it to anyone. Treat your journal as a sacred object.
[Notes by Amythyst: There are a couple different ways of looking at this ~ 1. Sometimes I've actually enjoyed sharing the memories and pages of my diary with family or a friend. 2. Sometimes we write when we're in a very dark place, and this is what puts perspective on our life and the direction that we're going to take. If you don't feel that your inner-most darkest thoughts are private, it might inhibit what you write.] Journaling Writing for Beginners
When doing anything in life, having a personal and well-defined purpose. Journaling will encourage you to stick to it. Do you want to journal to relieve stress and anxiety? Do you want to deal with childhood trauma? Whatever your reason, the results will be the same. You’ll be wiser, enlightened, kinder and all-around better version of yourself. Do not be surprised when others notice the change before you.
Hopefully these 10 journaling tips for beginners are just the motivation you needed to get started. Don’t procrastinate any longer. Get a journal and start writing!
Cheating is defined differently by different people.
Boundaries and expectations should be set early in a relationship.
Just because you haven't had sex with someone else doesn't mean you are being faithful.
Emotional affairs, work spouses, deleting texts, and keeping in touch with exes can all be forms of infidelity.
For many people, the act of cheating is cut and dried... it is engaging in sexual contact of any kind with a person who is not your partner. But for others, being unfaithful can mean participating in any number of activities which your partner feels should be reserved exclusively for them.
In an interview with HuffPost, clinical psychologist Willard F. Harley Jr. explained that infidelity does terrible damage to your partner. Through surveys conducted by his company Marriage Builders, Harley said he has found that affairs are listed as being more painful than losing a young child, losing an arm, having your house burned down, and being physically abused.
Because the definition of cheating varies from person to person, clear boundaries need to be set at the beginning of a relationship, and both partners must agree to adhere to those relationship rules. Without setting boundaries and expectations, you or your partner might be unfaithful without realizing it. Here are some ways you might be cheating even if it doesn't feel like it.
You're having an emotional affair.
One of the most common ways people cheat is by having an emotional affair. To put it simply, an emotional affair is an affair of the heart. According to a HuffPost interview with author and marriage therapist Sheri Meyers, PsyD, if there is sexual chemistry, flirtation, and you fantasize about taking it to the next level, it is emotional infidelity — even if you haven't actually had sex with someone else.
Emotional affairs can hurt as much, if not more than sexual infidelity. As Wendy Lustbader, MSW, explained in Psychology Today, "someone has stepped into emotional territory previously reserved for them, to which they used to have free and exclusive access. Now there are sections of this sphere that belong to someone else, that are off-limits to them and have become private." In other words, the intimate communication you should be reserving for your spouse or partner is being given to someone outside of your relationship.
Emotional infidelity has become more rampant in the age of social media. It isn't uncommon to hear of someone sending flirty texts or direct messages back and forth with an old flame or a coworker, and having that lead to something more.
You have a "work spouse."
A work spouse relationship refers to two platonic colleagues who share a bond similar to that of a marriage. They turn to each other for advice, take breaks together, eat lunch together, and discuss their personal lives. Although office friendships are important, with work spouses, you quickly settle into a comfort level reminiscent to that of your real spouse. The lines between a professional and personal relationship can become blurred, and may lead to more intimate (and inappropriate) interactions.
Jacqueline Olds, MD, a psychoanalyst and associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, warned that a greater danger lies when you form this kind of bond with a person of the gender to which you are sexually attracted. She told the HuffPost, "two good friends who don't think they would be attracted can accidentally fall into infatuation. It happens quite often at work."
In fact, an Office Pulse study found 7% of office professionals have definitely crossed the line with their work spouse and up to 20% of them may have done something that could be considered inappropriate. If you're doing something that you wouldn't like your own spouse or partner doing in a similar situation, you are probably crossing the line.
Nikki Martinez, an Illinois-based psychologist told the Chicago Tribune that even if nothing suspicious is going on, it's normal for the real spouse to feel jealous of a work spouse. This can create big problems in your marriage, especially if you hang out with or text your work spouse after hours when you should be focusing on your partner.
You delete your texts, emails, and direct messages.
If you feel the need to delete your texts, emails, or social media DMs before your significant other comes across them, it's a sign that your correspondence is not exactly platonic. You may justify deleting texts by telling yourself that your partner will misinterpret or overreact, but this only serves to prove that you are intentionally engaging in an activity that goes against your partner's wishes.
Zack Carter PhD, a professor of communication at Taylor University, said he feels that digital communication can be a gateway to infidelity, which may be why you are inclined to erase the messages.
Carter explains in Psychology Today, "text messaging provides an opportunity for wandering hearts, hearts not fully committed to their spouses or partners, to seek pleasure from someone other than their spouses or partners when their relationship grass may be losing its color. More alarmingly though, text messaging provides an opportunity for even hearts most devoted to their relationships, to inadvertently seek pleasure from someone other than their spouse or partner."
You secretly keep in touch with an ex.
When you start dating someone new, it is important to learn their feelings on maintaining contact with exes. If you share a child with an ex, communication is not only inevitable, but essential in successful co-parenting. However, if you have no ties to your ex other than a failed relationship, you should get your new partner's blessing before keeping in touch. Doing so in secret could be a sign that there is more going on than just catching up.
In Psychology Today, Gwendolyn Seidman PhD, an associate professor of psychology and chair of the psychology department at Albright College noted a 2016 study that found that people are more likely to communicate with exes they still have feelings for. Additionally, researchers found a link between keeping in touch with exes and how happy you are in your current relationship. The more often you communicate with an ex, the less satisfied you may be with your current relationship.
The 4 cards that I pulled today for the FB tarot page were SO INTENSE!! Before I pulled each card today, I asked my Spirit Guides to show me something I needed to know, to guide me to say what needed to be said, to guide me to the people who needed to hear these messages. I hope you got it.
I've read a lot of articles lately about how nasty Facebook is and all the draw backs to having a profile. However, when you write books, or sell services, or own a business, you'll find that this social platform is a necessary evil and what would we do without it??? Not to mention keeping in close contact with family at all ends of the country, as we're rather spread out now.
So I've done my part to support this infamous social site with the following links:
Codependency and Problems with Letting Go of the Ex Are Not Unusual:
The title of this posting could have easily been "When Your Girlfriend Can't Let Go of Her Ex" or "When Your Husband Can't Let Go of His Ex-wife." You get the picture.
As a psychotherapist in NYC who sees individuals and couples with relationship problems, this is a problem that I hear about often: The client is in a relationship with a person who is wonderful in every other way, except that he or she still maintains regular contact with the former romantic partner, which creates problems in the current relationship. Whether it's a heterosexual or gay relationship, it doesn't matter--this can be a thorny issue to contend with and often leads to hurt feelings and, in some cases, the breakup of the current relationship.
How the Former Relationship Affects the Current Relationship:
The particular dynamic that I'm addressing has more to do with someone who leaves his relationship (where there are no children), enters into a new romantic relationship but, for whatever reason, he finds it extremely difficult to sever his ties with his former girlfriend or wife.
If you're in a new relationship with someone (whether it's with a boyfriend or a girlfriend) who can't or won't let go of his former partner and it's affecting your relationship, I don't need to tell you that you're in a challenging situation.
I'm not even talking about situations where there is actual infidelity going on with the former partner. I'm focusing on the situation where your partner still makes and receives calls or texts to his ex, still carries on a relationship with their ex (which does not include you), and feels compelled to do this even when it interferes with your relationship.
I'm mostly referring to situations where, for all intents and purposes, the prior romantic relationship has ended, but the two people who were involved decide to try to maintain a friendship. So, for example, in this type of situation, you begin a new relationship and you find that your boyfriend is still very focused on his ex.
Maybe they've ended the romantic and sexual aspects of their relationship, but (even though they might not admit it) they're still very emotionally dependent upon each other: He still feels that he must have her advice before he makes any major decisions, she still calls him frequently to help her with her problems, and so on. And if it happens frequently enough and it starts to impact your relationship, there you are, feeling left out and, possibly, feeling like you're having an affair with your own boyfriend.
Feelings Don't Always End When the Former Relationship Ends:
Just because two people have broken up doesn't mean that there might not still be strong emotional feelings between them. It's usually better to know about this before you enter a new relationship with someone. Then, you have the option of deciding whether you can handle a relationship with someone who still has strong emotional ties with his or her ex.
The point is that the end of a relationship doesn't necessarily mean the end of feelings. And if your boyfriend (or girlfriend) is unwilling and/or unable to be clear about whether you or the ex is primary, that's when problems develop.
The following vignette, which is a composite of many clients' stories over the years with all identifying information changed, is an example of the type of problem that I'm addressing:
Susan and John
When Susan met John, he had broken off his relationship with Jane about six months before. Susan and John began dating and they hit it off right away. They both felt a strong romantic connection that was different from anything either of them had experienced before. Their relationship seemed ideal--with the exception of one thing: He still maintained frequent contact with Jane.
John was very upfront from the start that he and Jane wanted to remain friends. They had been together for five years, and they still cared about each other, even though they weren't romantic or sexual any more. At first, since everything else seemed to be going so well, Susan told herself that it was admirable that John and Jane were able to maintain a friendship. But, over time, she began to resent John's frequent contact with Jane, especially as it began to interfere with her relationship with John. It seemed that things were not quite what they appeared to be at first. Susan never felt that John was cheating on her, per se. But she sensed that now that Jane knew that John was seeing someone new, Jane called John more frequently and seemed to depend on him more.
Whether it involved household repairs, late night talks about how lonely she felt or about her personal problems or wanting to get together with John (without Susan), more and more, Susan began to feel that Jane was taking up a lot more time than Susan felt comfortable with, and she was resenting it. Susan sensed that Jane still wanted to maintain an emotional hold on John, even though he was in a new relationship, and she sensed something manipulative in the way that Jane played on John's feelings of guilt for having ended the relationship with Jane. She also sensed that, for whatever reason, John was caught up in this dynamic.
When Susan talked to John about this, he responded by trying to reassure Susan that nothing romantic was going on between him and Jane and Susan had nothing to worry about. He seemed unable to see how much time Jane was taking up and how this affected his new relationship with Susan.
Susan felt that she was in a terrible dilemma--she loved John and she knew that he loved her, but she couldn't tolerate how his friendship with Jane was affecting their relationship. For his own reasons, having to do with his history with a dependent mother and his complicated relationship with Jane, John was unwilling to give up his friendship with Jane.
He loved Susan, he didn't want to hurt her, and he didn't want to ruin the relationship, but he felt tangled in a strong emotional web with Jane, and he said he couldn't let go of his friendship with her or even set limits with her constant emotional demands. He had an intellectual understanding that he was in a dysfunctional and codependent relationship with Jane, but he didn't know what to do.
It was a very sad and painful situation for both Susan and John. John began his own individual psychotherapy to deal with his family history which was a big part of the problem. Over time, he began to see that each time that Jane called in crisis, he felt emotionally triggered in the same way that he felt with his mother who had been overly dependent on him when he was a child. In many ways, John was "primed" for the codependent situation with Jane due to his family history, and this was primarily why he had such a hard time letting go of Jane or even setting limits with her.
As John began to work through those earlier issues, he developed greater awareness and insight into the current situation and realized, on a deep emotional level, that he was caught up in a codependent situation with Jane and it was ruining his relationship with Susan.
Although it was difficult for him, he began setting limits with Jane, letting her know that his relationship with Susan was primary--no more late night crisis calls, no more getting together without Susan, and so on. Jane did not respond well to this type of limit setting and, eventually, she decided to sever her ties with John. Over time, John dealt with the loss of this friendship in his own individual psychotherapy, how it related to his family history and, over time, his relationship with Susan began to thrive again.
It Takes a Commitment from Both People in the Relationship:
This vignette illustrates that couples can work out problems when one or both of them can't let go of a former partner.
It takes a big commitment from both people, a willingness to work on this issue in couples counseling, an understanding of the underlying psychological dynamics that are often involved in this type of situation beyond the current people involved, and a recognition and acknowledgement that the friendship with the ex is having an impact on the current relationship and, ultimately, a commitment to the current relationship as being primary and a recognition that, if the friendship with the ex cannot be modified so that it's not adversely impacting the current relationship, that friendship needs to end.
Unfortunately, not all relationships that have this problem end well. Sometimes, there's just too much unfinished business with the former partner or spouse. Other times, the partner who is maintaining an enmeshed or codependent relationship with the ex refuses to see it for what it is and thinks the current partner is being unreasonable. Sometimes, it just gets too complicated. But it's more likely to work out if you don't wait too long to try to get help.
"She talked about how nothing can grow and thrive without trust, and that learning to trust someone is like a leap of faith, just like jumping off that cliff. You’ll just know in a weird unexplainable way that they will catch you and safeguard your heart and soul, because they are who they are."
On Friday, June 26, 1998, at 4:30 a.m., Debra Sue Murray walked out the front door of her home at 708 W. Shawnee Dr, Chandler, AZ. Debra was on her way to work where she was the manager of a local Jack In The Box fast food restaurant. An unknown person ambushed Debra in her front yard. Debra suffered multiple gunshot wounds to her upper body. She was pronounced dead at the scene by responding Chandler Fire Paramedics.
The investigation at the Murray home showed there was forced entry to the attached garage. Items were removed from the garage and left in the driveway. Evidence at the scene led investigators to believe the burglary to the garage was staged, possibly to cover up the true motive for Debra’s murder. No one has ever been arrested for the murder of Debra Sue Murray.
Debra Sue Murray left behind a loving family including her 12-year-old son Timmy. Debra’s family and the Chandler Police Department wish to resolve this case and arrest the person(s) responsible for this senseless act. A cash reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for Debra Sue Murray’s death.
1. It was assumed that the killer knew her schedule.
Theories & Questions: If s/he knew Debra's schedule, it can obviously be assumed that s/he knew Debra. Theoretically, this could include family members, acquaintances and friends... or a fellow employee. There are currently eight Jack in the Boxes in Chandler, we would need to find the one she was working at and get a list of employees who worked with Debra. An alternative theory is that this was a hired hit.
2. A fresh foot print was found in the front yard and was identified as her husband's. This evidence was deemed inconclusive.
3. Her ambush and murder were execution style.
Theories & Questions: This was an overkill with some reports stating up to 10 shots fired. Her upper body was bullet ridden. This implies a lot of passion and anger. Was Debra having an affair, and if so did her husband find out? Did the other wife find out and hire a hit? Did Debra break off the affair and anger her partner to the point of rage? Did Debra knowingly, or unwittingly, brush off a fellow employee's flirtations and anger a mentally unbalanced obsessed admirer? Was Debra a mistaken target, did the killer target the wrong house, or the wrong person?
4. The nanny, Cathy Peterson, who was inside the house with Debra's 12 year old son, heard the shots and called the police.
Theories & Questions: Could the nanny have been the killer's real target? What time did the nanny arrive at the house? Was the nanny's arrival time and Debra's departure time close enough to cause confusion for someone hired to do this?
5. The police determined that this was a deliberate and calculated hit.
What I learned through my midlife erotic discovery is that our culture lies. We’re conditioned to believe our sex appeal expires at 40, an age where many women are enjoying a sexual renaissance.
My blogging mission is to keep talking about it, in order to deep-six the cliché that women become invisible at 40. Here are five reasons why I know that’s a lie.
1. Sexual interests evolve as we age.
Whether you're married or re-entering the dating scene, you may be ready to expand your repertoire. Intrigued by bondage, role-play, kinky accouterments? Now's the time to turn those fantasies into reality.
2. Your self-worth isn't dependent on a man.
Your accomplishments — personal and professional — fuel your self-worth. Ironically, now that you're not dependent on men for validation, your intrinsic confidence is alluring to men of all ages.
3. You enjoy sex for the sake of sex.
Sex is no longer fused with the drive for a ring and a baby. You're free to experience erotic pleasure in its most distilled form.
4. You have more energy to devote to sex.
The physical demands of rearing small children — breast-feeding, sleep deprivation, a small person stuck to your leg like a barnacle — are behind you. And with kids soon to be or already out of the house, you have the psychological energy to devote to your own fulfillment, sexual and otherwise.
5. You know how to have great sex.
Great sex is collaborative; once you own your sexuality, you're able to give and receive pleasure in a way you couldn't imagine when you were 25. What I've learned about being sexy after 50 comes down to this: mainstream, youthful good looks have a short shelf life. But sexual confidence is ageless.
[Source: Erica Jagger is the pen name of a 51-year-old divorcee living in Los Angeles. Her erotic exploration has taught her that a woman who owns her sexuality, regardless of age, is a force to be reckoned with. So she started a blog to ignite a conversation about the sexual power of boomer women. Please join in and visit www.asexywomanofacertainage.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @ohgoderica. ]
I think there are a lot of men and women out there who have divorce regret. The vast majority don't admit it, to themselves or to anyone else, but I feel for people who have regret. They wish they could turn back time. They say things like, “I wish I would have tried harder” “I wish I would have appreciated him/her more” “I didn’t know how great I had it” “I was so stupid” “I thought he/she was the problem, but really it was me” and this guy, whose comment on Divorced Girl Smiling honestly made me want to cry. “I’ve Broken My Own Heart” he writes:
Hello everyone. I’m one of those sorry SOBs that cheated on his wife of 20+yrs and two kids, with her “best friend”, married the best friend the day after my divorce was final and have regretted it every single second of my life ever since. Yep, you get what you deserve in this life. I’d give anything to go back in time, knowing what I know now, and love my 1st wife like she’s never been loved, honored, appreciated, respected, or admired in her life. But, I can’t. I’ve screwed up beyond words. I had the best life anyone could have asked for. But, I was bored with it all. People kept telling me how blessed I was, but I couldn’t see it. I was blinded by selfishness. So, I threw it all away for someone that I thought was my “soul mate”. Oh, how I was wrong. So wrong. 5 years later, I still can’t ignore the overwhelming guilt and shame of what I did. Only for a couple of minutes a day does the memory of my 1st wife, kids, and family leave my mind. She was my soul mate and truly my true love. But I threw her away. I can’t put into words how I’ve broken my own heart, but I know it pales in comparison to how I broke my soul mate’s heart. I’m so sorry sweetness. If you ever read this, I’m so sorry.
What would I like to say to this guy? First, reading this broke my heart and I don’t even know you! Oh, how I want to hug this guy and tell him that after five years, he really needs to start forgiving himself and accepting what is, and stop being trapped in the frustration of not being able to change the past.
Here are some things that might be going on with him. The reason I say “might” is because I am not a therapist and I know nothing about his situation other than what he wrote. He was unhappy and “bored” in his first marriage, so he cheated and thought he found happiness with someone else, only to realize shortly after that he wasn’t happy with her either. So, why is he unhappy? Does he have childhood issues that haven’t been resolved that is causing the unhappiness? Is he unhappy with himself, his professional life, life in general? Is something missing? Because I feel like now, twice, he feels like the grass is greener. What gives? Unless the second wife is a complete nightmare, there is something deeper going on, because why else is he again wanting what he doesn’t have?
There is also a component of self-hatred here. Why is he still punishing himself after 5 years? He talks about guilt and shame. He needs to find a way to forgive himself. Maybe that means therapy, maybe it means telling his first wife and kids how genuinely sorry he is for what he did, maybe he needs marriage counseling with his second wife.
Whatever it is that he needs, he needs to take some action, so that his present life starts working for him.Otherwise, he will remain in this state of divorce regret, self-loathing, hopelessness, dissatisfaction, and unhappiness.
He should reflect on his mistakes in a productive way, not in a way in which he beats himself up.
Here is some advice for anyone with divorce regret. I feel like regret, any regret, is a huge waste of time. It is a non-productive emotion. No one can turn back time and reverse a decision, an action, something you said. So what is the point of being mad at yourself for making a bad choice? You can’t take it back. All you can do is work on yourself so that your decisions are better in the future.
Fewer revelations can cause the eyebrows of new acquaintances to shoot up faster than when you divulge that you have remained on friendly terms with your ex-spouse. From your point of view, the relationship took time to evolve, and you're proud of it. But to other people, your divorced relationship just doesn't seem normal. So now you're wondering: Is it? In general, psychologists and marriage counselors frown on talking to an ex unless the couple shares children. Here's why.
Assess Your Motives
You don't have to tell anyone else what you're thinking, but you should be honest with yourself: Why do you want to talk to your ex? In other words, what do you stand to gain by continuing to talk with someone whom you either chose to divorce or who chose to divorce you? These questions may seem harsh. But psychologists point to research, which reports that an ex-spouse relationship can interfere with your ability to begin a meaningful relationship with someone new, or, if you've already moved on, undermine the new relationship. In both cases, maintaining a dialogue with an ex-spouse is more than abnormal; it also can be unhealthy.
Children Are the Exception
The one caveat, however, to the “no talking zone” is if you and your ex-spouse have a child or children together. As psychologist Jill Weber says, “The only legitimate reason for contact not to be avoided is if you have children and must communicate about co-parenting responsibilities. Otherwise, continuing, or attempting to continue, communication with your ex will only prolong your suffering ‒ and prevent you from beginning a productive process of letting go.”
In fact, your co-parenting agreement – a legal document – may require communication about such important issues as your child's health, safety and education.
Communicate About Kids – and Only Kids – With Respect
Many divorcing couples with children are required by law to take a co-parenting class before their divorce is finalized. However, it's easy to forget some of the sensible rules these classes attempt to teach about ex-spouse contact. These include:
Speak to each other in a cordial, respectful manner. (If your ex-spouse crosses a line or you find yourself beginning to do so, end the conversation and agree to pick it up at a later time.)
Restrict your communication – phone, email or text – to parenting issues. This may sound impersonal – and it should be. You're divorced now, so even talking about your fears and concerns about your children could unwittingly open the door to a confusing emotional entanglement. Keep that door closed – and start regarding your former life partner as more of a business partner. Never involve your child (or children) in communication that should remain between the two of you. (Such an arrangement can create undue stress for everyone and risk miscommunication of important details.)
Repeat a Four-Point Mantra
If you have no children, it may help to repeat a four-point mantra if you think that talking to an ex is normal. Such communication serves only to: 1) make it more difficult to heal from the divorce; 2) divert energy from new experiences and pursuits; 3) perpetuate a fantasy – no matter how latent – that your former relationship still exists; and 4) remind you of the mistakes or missteps that led to the divorce in the first place.
A Personal Question ~ Do you have a very personal and very unique relationship situation in your life that needs to be addressed? You can ask me up to three questions with this reading. Use the following Paypal widget found at this link and be sure to include your question(s). You can do this on the Paypal form, or email me at email@example.com after making your purchase.
Mention the word "soulmate" to a group of people and you're bound to get a few eye rolls. The idea that there's one magical person for you who you'll fall in love with instantly and never disagree with is just not realistic.What does exist -- at least for many people -- is a person who you know instinctively, who you connect with on the deepest level and who allows you to grow as a person within the relationship. When that person is a romantic partner, you've come across something truly special. So how do you know when you've found The One? Below, a team of love and relationship experts identify the most telling signs.
1. You communicate without speaking.
Soulmates can read each other like an open book. "They connect fervently on every level of being," clinical psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Carmen Harra told The Huffington Post. "One may finish the other's sentences, they may pick up the phone to call each other simultaneously, or feel like they simply can't be without their partner."
Dr. Sue Johnson, a clinical psychologist and author of Love Sense, said that a soulmate also knows how to respond to your emotional signals. "They stay close when you confide, give you their full attention and move in to answer to your needs, touching your hand when you are a little unsure, beaming and hugging you when you are glad, and tenderly comforting you when you are in pain," she added.
2. You know in your gut that you've found The One.
The old adage "When you know, you know" rings true when it comes to a soulmate connection. "There really is no guessing or wondering when the real thing comes along," wedding officiant and author Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway told The Huffington Post. "There is usually a telltale sign that lets you know when true love has arrived -– a voice in your head, a sense of recognition or a gut feeling that this is someone special to you."
3. The physical chemistry is palpable...
...and the electricity that you feel doesn't just happen on a sexual level. "Holding the hand of your soulmate throws your spirit into a whirlwind, even many years into the relationship," Harra said.
4. You've been totally comfortable around each other since day one.
Soulmates connect with ease right off the bat and let their true colors show without fear of judgment. "Soulmates often feel a sense of the familiar and a sense of comfort around each other," Brockway said. "Many people say it's easier to relax into that person and allow themselves to be vulnerable."
"It is the one who opens up to you –- who lets you in, so you can see them," Johnson added. "This is the kind of person who takes risks and shares about their inner world, their emotions and their needs."
5. But the relationship isn't all rainbows and butterflies. He or she challenges you like no one else can.
The soulmate relationship, despite what people might assume, isn't always smooth sailing. "A soulmate isn't always wrapped in the perfect package, physically or in terms of life circumstances -- nor does it mean that the relationship will come without challenge," author Kailen Rosenberg of matchmaking firm The Love Architects said. "Yet, the difference is that the life circumstances and the difficult challenges are a strengthening power that becomes the glue that keeps you together through the difficult times and helps each of you become your most authentic self."
What's more, we rely on our soulmates to help us evolve as people. "You might find a soulmate relationship to be rocky, and that your partner is someone who pushes your buttons and aggravates you at first because they bring with them some of the more difficult lessons for the soul," Brockway said.
6. You may not see eye-to-eye on every little thing, but you're on the same page where it really matters.
"A soulmate relationship doesn't necessarily mean both partners always share the same views, but that their overall goals and ambitions match," Harra said. "More diminutive opinions will differ, but soulmates generally have the same virtues and values and see the world through a similar lens."
7. The relationship brings both partners a sense of inner calm.
It's obvious when you're with the wrong person; you are insecure about the relationship and worry that one false move will turn your partner off. That's not the case for soulmates.
"You feel confident that your partner is with you for the long haul," dating expert Tracey Steinberg, author of Flirt For Fun & Meet The One said. "No matter what happens in your lives, you both agree that you are teammates and in it together." She continued, "Your inner voice tells you that you are in a healthy relationship. You trust each other, feel confident and comfortable around each other and feel safe discussing challenging topics in a mature way."
8. You and your partner have separate identities, but you face the world as one.
"Soulmates recognize that they are two parts of the same whole, and no outside influence or external matter can break that bond," Harra said.
9. You may have known each other for years, but you suddenly find yourselves ready for love at the same time.
When it comes to true love, timing is everything. "I have married so many couples who met in high school or in their twenties, maybe dated, broke up, moved on, or hung out around the same circle of friends and never connected," Brockway told The Huffington Post. "Then one day, they run into each other again, sometimes in magical ways, and love blooms." Keep an open mind and an open heart so that when your soulmate comes knocking, you're ready to answer the door.