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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.
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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.
Does he steal special moments by talking about her and the past. If he sabotages good times by piping up with a story about having exactly the same, or similar, or worst, better experience with his ex? If the story becomes a rambling memoir that he cannot stop himself from telling, and at the end of the tale, he releases a wistful little sigh. He is probably still in love with her.
2. There's a Very Fine Line Between Love & Hate
Does he talk about her with too much emotion. The opposite of love is indifference, not hate. If your guy talks about his ex with sadness and sorrow, as if he misses her, or if your guy talks about his ex with anger and bitterness, as if he resents her...he's probably still in love with her.
3. Comparing You to Her
Does he compare you to her way too often? When he does, do you feel as if ex is his ideal, and he secretly worships her, and nothing you do can live up to her? These kinds of comparisons are insensitive and demonstrate his inability to move forward with a new woman. You just might wake up one morning very soon, to realize you are in a rebound relationship, and he's not there for the long term. Even if the comparisons he makes puts her in a negative light, it's still not a good sign because he's still obsessing about the past in an unhealthy way. Either way, these constant comparisons indicate he's probably still in love with her.
4. She's The First to Know
Does he rob you of celebrating the milestones of his life by telling her the good news first? If every time something wonderful happens in his life, you are the second to find out. If she knows about his promotion before you do and announces it on Facebook before he even tells you. If she is the first person he thinks of to tell of a death or birth in the family. If you feel she enjoys her position in his life, and she is taking your relationship hostage. The worst, if you feel he betrays your confidences by discussing them with her, he's probably still in love with her.
5. What Does She Think?
Does he still look for her approval before making a big decision or making a change in his life? Does it feel as if he still needs his ex's approval, and he's involving her in every life decision he makes, including the one to take your relationship to the next level, he's probably still in love with her.
6. Password Protected
Does he hide his texts from her from you citing privacy? A man who hides texts from his ex, is probably saying things to her that are inappropriate and would make you question his loyalty. He may make the argument that what goes on between them is none of your business or private, however, if openness and honesty about his communications with other people are not part of your relationship, then you might want to consider why he has such an excessive need for personal privacy in the first place, and if that's a trait you can tolerate in a long term partner. If he's secretive about his ex, he's probably still in love with her.
7. He is still in contact with her, but he doesn't want you to ask questions about her, and if you do ask questions, they go unanswered
Often, if he's keeping information about his ex to himself, he secretly believes there's a chance they'll get back together, and he doesn't want you to know too much about her, or know her. It also, in his mind, curbs suspicions you may have about her. Of course this doesn't actually work, and in fact, increases suspicion, but he doesn't know that. If he believes that not answering your questions about his ex will save you from disappointment, he's probably still in love with her.
8. In a Relationship With?
Are you still waiting for him to update his Facebook relationship status to being in a relationship with you? A man who refuses to update his Facebook relationship status with your name may still be trying to protect the feelings of an ex or even actively cheating with her. He might even tell you he doesn't want to announce his commitment to you on social media because it might upset her. If he puts his ex's feelings before yours, he is not committed or loyal and you have every right to be suspicious of his behavior. He's probably still in love with her.
9. Harmful Flirting
Is your guy flirting endlessly with his ex on Facebook or other social media. Facebook is ultimately a publicity tool and when two people decide to flirt with each other on each other's wall for the general public to see then you can safely conclude that your current boyfriend does not have much respect or consideration for you, and neither does his ex. (This applies if he's using Facebook for private flirtations as well) They deserve each other! He's not only still in love with her, but he's a real jerk!
10. Who's She With?
Does he seem jealous of his ex's new partner? This can include mild forms of depression and heart tugging angst, as well as jealous outbursts. This is a huge red flag and does not bode well for your relationship. It might be time for you to suggest he follow his heart's desire rather than string you along any longer, because he's probably still in love with her.
11. Too Touchy
Do they touch each other when they talk? Kiss and hug when they meet and greet each other? If your boyfriend and his ex are physically affectionate, then there's a chance they are both still into each other. He can claim it's "just innocent", but he's probably still in love with her, as well as being an insensitive jerk.
12. It's Not In Your Head
He gaslights you if you find evidence of infidelity. When men tell their women that their suspicions or fears are all in their heads, it's called Gas-lighting. This term comes from the 1944 thriller Gaslight, about a man who slowly manipulates his wife into thinking she is crazy, doubting her own perceptions and memories, so no one will believe her claims that her husband is trying to kill her. Whether they're aware of it or not, men who cheat, or are still seeing their ex, practice a version of this by telling their partners they are just jealous, unstable or even crazy to imagine a disloyalty or an affair. He may tell you that you are obsessed with his ex. If this is your situation, get out now. He's not only still in love with her, he's a cheat, and a manipulative creep.
13. Love The One You're With
He treats you as an option rather than a choice. When a man is in love with a woman he does not allow intrusive influences of any kind to interrupt the peace, bliss, and security of his relationship. He shows his total commitment and loyalty to that woman and she must feel like she is #1. If you feel like #2, or one of many options, then it is time to find someone who has more respect for you. He's probably still in love with her, or maybe just himself.
14. Emotional Betrayal
Does his behavior toward his ex feel like emotional infidelity? Are you caught in a situation where his attitude towards his ex puts you in a very uncomfortable position? Do they share private, or even secret, conversations, texts, or emails? Do you feel like a third wheel? Does it feel like there are three people in your relationship? This is a betrayal of loyalty and shows that she still has his heart, and he's probably still in love with her.
When you establish a new boundary with someone, the most common form of resistance one gets is anger. People who get angry at others for setting boundaries have a character problem. Self-centered, they think the world exists for them and their comfort. They see others as extensions of themselves.
When they hear the word “no,” they have the same reaction a two-year-old has when deprived of something: “Bad Mommy!” They feel as though the one who deprives them of their wishes is “bad,” and they become angry. They are not righteously angry at a real offense. Nothing has been done “to them” at all. Someone will not do something “for them.” Their wish is being frustrated, and they get angry because they have not learned to delay gratification or to respect others’ freedom.
The angry person has a character problem. If you reinforce this character problem, it will return tomorrow and the next day in other situations. It is not the situation that’s making the person angry, but the feeling that they are entitled to things from others. They want to control others and, as a result, they have no control over themselves. So, when they lose their wished-for control over someone, they “lose it.” They get angry. Here are six steps to consider when someone responds with anger:
1. Realize that the person who is angry at you for setting boundaries is the one with the problem.
If you do not realize this, you may think you have a problem. Maintaining your boundaries is good for other people; it will help them learn what their families of origin did not teach them: to respect other people.
2. View anger realistically.
Anger is only a feeling inside the other person. It cannot jump across the room and hurt you. It cannot “get inside” you unless you allow it. Staying separate from another’s anger is vitally important. Let the anger be in the other person.
3. Do not let anger be a cue for you to do something.
People without boundaries respond automatically to the anger of others. They rescue, seek approval, or get angry themselves. There is great power in inactivity. Do not let an out-of-control person be the cue for you to change your course.
4. Make sure you have your support system in place.
If you are going to set some limits with a person who has controlled you with anger, talk to the people in your support system first and make a plan.
5. Do not allow the angry person to get you angry.
6. Be prepared to use physical distance and other limits that enforce consequences.
This may mean blocking phone calls, texts, and emails. It may also involve shutting down connections on social sites if this person is looking for a crack in the door. An angry person who does not accept your right to set boundaries, or move on, can become obsessive and intrusive.
Whether you've been with the same person for 30 years or you're finding new love half a century into your life, it's always the right time to brush up on your relationship skills or learn new ones. Maybe things have gotten stagnant with your spouse, or maybe you've found that dating has changed since you last tried it.
It's never too late to learn these seven secrets to a successful relationship after fifty.
1. Open your heart fearlessly
To be successful in a relationship, you can't be afraid to be yourself and share yourself. Real love requires honesty. Honesty about who you are, what you believe, how you feel, and what you want. Total commitment to reality and honesty supports the integrity of a relationship. You must be open and willing to share, listen, and understand. A happy relationship and a full life require the intention to learn about your partner and yourself and to continue to grow.
2. Create emotional safety
Healthy relationships depend on both parties feeling safe with each other, trusting that you are there for each other. Your circle of trust gets more important as you get older and as you must cope with the changes and anxieties that aging involves. For emotional safety to exist, you need to feel that your partner truly hears you, sees you, and accepts you as you are and that he or she wants the best for you. And you must be this way for your partner, too.
3. Address conflict in a spirit of love
A successful relationship requires successful conflict. Approach every disagreement with your partner with the intention to listen fully and respond in a spirit of love. Instead of responding in a knee-jerk way when your partner says or does something that upsets you, examine your feelings and mindfully consider what the other person said. It may surprise you how big a gulf there can be between what you think you heard—what you feel you heard—and what your partner actually said. Listen as much or maybe more than you talk, focus on common threads rather than differences and look for a solution that pleases both of you.
4. Practice positive communication
The way you communicate with your partner is vital because what you say—and how you say it—affects how your significant other feels, and emotions drive behavior. Some key principles of positive communication:
Avoid negative language. When you use words like no and don’t, you invoke your partner's natural resistance to being controlled. Instead, tell your partner what you want rather than what you don’t want.
Avoid criticism. Remember: Success builds success. Instead of focusing on the things you dislike about your partner, focus first on what he or she does well and connect that to the behavior you'd like to see him or her change.
Give your undivided attention. One of the biggest mistakes I see couples make is that even when they both have the best intentions and follow all the advice they've read online about communication ("I" statements, etc.), they'll answer their cell phone or glance at a text message while talking to their partner. This seemingly small behavior has a big impact on how you make your partner feel. As a marriage and family therapist, the advice I give to all my patients is this: Give someone the focus they deserve.
Tell them what they mean to you. Sometimes you may start to think that your partner can read your heart and you don’t need words. Totally not true. Words are still necessary. Consciously choose to actively show appreciation—finding things to appreciate in your partner to enhance the good feelings between you.
5. Support your partner's independence.
No matter how close you are to your significant other, you remain individuals with your own needs and interests. Spending time alone doing your own thing, shows mutual respects, not relationship strain. Advocate for your partner's goals, and accept and support each other’s life goals.
6. Enjoy special time together.
Don’t forget to have fun together! It's important to go on new adventures and try new things. Don't have a typical "date night." Instead of dinner and a movie, take a class together or go on a day trip somewhere. As you grow older and face mortality, your relationship with your significant other provides an opportunity to explore your humanity and seek a better and deeper understanding of life.
7. Build a relationship with yourself
The relationship we have with ourselves is the key to success for all the relationships we build with others. When you are happy and fulfilled independent of others, you are most attractive to the kind of healthy, happy people you want in your life.
If you're dating for the first time in a long time, don't be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s the only way people will know what you want and what you're about. If you're celebrating your golden wedding anniversary, remember that even though it may feel you and your partner are one person, you still need to say, "I love you" and show your appreciation. Show affection. Have fun. Have sex! Love with the intensity of a teenager and the wisdom that your years on this earth have given you.
Last week a clown walked into my office, decked out in a creepy clown costume, a painted smile, and tearfully asked, "My wife and I are already divorced. Is there something I can do to get her the hell out of my life?"
Cut the Marital Cord Already!
Last week a clown walked into my office, decked out in a creepy clown costume, a painted smile, and tearfully asked, "My wife and I are already divorced. Is there something I can do to get her the hell out of my life?" The problem was simple -- his marital relationship continued because the marital cord had not been cut. The solution was also simple -- stop behaving in the role of husband.
The expression "cutting the cord" describes a necessary action to take when it's time to end a dependent relationship. It begins at birth when the mother-baby cord is cut. Eighteen years later (or 35), the parent-child cord is cut. When divorce happens, there is a spouse-dependent cord that also needs to be severed, though many people don't know how.
A legal divorce does not automatically terminate the "marital relationship." Yes, on paper it becomes official, but I'm referring to divorced people who behave in some instances like they are still married. I call these behaviors marital cords, or interdependencies, that maintain a terminated marriage beyond the point it should.
Ties are hard to cut because they have been built on years of development and nurturing. They've become a natural way of doing things and turning to other people or resources can feel foreign.
Marital cords consist of a variety of connections shared between a couple. The most common cords people struggle with in the early stages of divorce are: 1. financial, 2. emotional, and sexual.
The Financial Cord
Splitting the assets and debt in a divorce don't always end the financial connection between a couple. This is especially true when there is a continued financial obligation (spousal support, child support, shared asset).
April relied on her ex husband more than she should have. She more than willingly let this aspect of their relationship continue because it made her life easier. When she needed a co-signer, she called Mario. When she was short on cash, he'd lend her money. It wasn't until Mario's fiancé told him to cut her off. She was right. It was time to set a new boundary that would allow both of them to move on.
When you allow yourself (or your ex) to maintain a financial tie, you get in your own way of becoming financially independent. Replacing a spouse's financial role can be done. It may take some time, phone calls, and patience but in the long run it is well worth the effort.
The Emotional Cord
Most people assume that divorced partners dislike each other, therefore would never turn to their ex for emotional support. This isn't always the case. It's actually more common than people realize. When the lines of communication need to continue because of children, business or other reasons, purposeful contact can meander into personal topics.
If you notice that your communication is getting off track, you might consider a more structured way of relaying information about the children. OurFamilyWizard.com does just that. It keeps your communication focused on the kids, parenting schedules, activities, child support tracking and more. Taking other proactive measures can keep inappropriate ties where they should be... [Note: See "How to Break it Off With a Clingy Ex Who Won't Let Go"]
The Sexual Cord
It's common for nearly- or newly-divorced couples to find themselves back in the bedroom. The reasons vary from person-to-person and seem to be par for the course during the transitional period.
The problem of maintaining a sexual cord with your ex (beyond the customary "slip-up") comes when there is a negative impact on one or both of your lives. Wendy learned the hard way. She made herself available to her ex husband's late night booty calls because she wanted him back. Making matters worse, the children were aware of Daddy's visits and thought they were back together. One night she told him to come back home and was devastated to hear him tell her no. Instead, he told he was planning to propose to his girlfriend but wanted to remain sex buddies.
Although sex with your ex may provide a temporary relief from sadness (or release of sexual tension), there is a good chance it could do more harm than good. So, the next time you feel a tug at your underpants, push your ex away and remember an important lesson. If you are investing your sexual energy in a relationship that did not work out, you might not be available when a better partner comes along.
A divorce does not necessarily lead to an unhealthy relationship between spouses. Most couples eventually cut all marital cords and develop healthy ties to new relationships. The best way to avoid an interdependent connection with your ex is to stop it before it sets in. This means doing something most people don't want to do -- make a change. While it's certainly a hard thing to do, the sooner you make the change the easier it's going to be.
I didn't realize how popular these relationship posts were going to be. These issues seem to be universal and much more common than I thought. Be sure to follow the links within the post for further information and insights. Just know that these issues can be resolved and that getting there may be a process. It requires time, patience, and strength... If you believe the life path you're on is the right one, you can see this through. If you believe that the person you're with is the mate of a lifetime, you can help them work through this process as well.
We celebrate the fact that one becomes two. We celebrate the success of finding a mate. Yes, we do, even though most feminists might flinch at this. She did good, they'll say, eye-balling the future husband, holding him up to their personal measuring stick. But this is not only the celebration of a coupling, it's celebrating the creation of a new family. As the future bride opens her pretty packaged gifts, this will be evident amongst all the shiny new pots and pans, the toaster, and the coffee-maker. This woman and her fiance will be setting up house, preparing for a lifetime together to build memories, to raise children, to grow old together. In our modern world, as progressive and feminist as we'd like to think we are, we're still chasing Prince Charming and Happy-Ever-After endings.
Creating the Home = Creating Sacred Space
For most families, this is the center of the home, the hearth-fire, where the group gathers for sustenance, for company, for recreation, for connection. I don't know about everyone else, but anything that goes down in our house goes down in the kitchen. Our large kitchen table doubles as my office, the classroom, the dining table, the game board, card table, and craft table. Things are written, sculpted, painted, eaten, played, and produced-- all at The Kitchen Table.
The kitchen is the hub, and shower gifts for this room, this special space, are prolific and fun to buy and give. But there's one big difference here, we're going to look at all of these gifts from a magickal and spiritual perspective. We're going to wallow in Bridal Mania and Goddess Energy.
1. Herbs...one of the coolest gifts I've seen was a huge beautiful wooden shelf full of bottles and bottles of herbs, large glass bottles. The Green Witch in me was twitching! The wooden cubby-holed rack was dark cherry wood, and the whole frame swiveled, so you could turn it, looking at four sides full of glass bottles full of wonderful magickal plants and spices. However, as grand and glorioso as this was, this wonderful gift does not have to break our piggy bank. Herbs are expensive, and they are so uniquely necessary, both mundanely and magickally, for cooking and witchy revelry.
If everyone is counting their pennies, but you still want the New Bride to start out with a well-stocked herb cabinet, each guest can bring one designated herb. Coordinate this so that each individual knows exactly what to purchase-- Aunt Lacey is in charge of Parsley; Cousin Edie is going to be responsible for Rosemary; Grandma Betty is bringing Cardamom, etc., etc.
O' Green Witch rejoice!
2. Pots and Pans...Oh my, this sounds so dreary, bringing to mind the scullery maid chained to the kitchen peeling potatoes, wiping sweat from her brow with her brown work-worn paw...Screeeech! (The tape rewinds)
Pots and pans, think about it...drum roll...The Cauldron!
This is where all our magick brews, it is the myth of the witch, it is Shakespearean and dramatic, highly visual, slightly daunting to the uninitiated individuals, and highly gratifying to the Witches Extraordinaire.
Mundane Pots & Pans: You know, those Teflon pots are nice for a while, but it's really a drag when the Teflon gets scratched and then begins to peel and flake; and if you're like I am, having come from a humble background, you don't just toss it out when the first few worn marks and flaws show up. If you're anything like me, you use it until it is disgusting and two or three kids have attempted to throw it out and finally hidden it so deeply within the depths of the trash that you won't find it. So, if money is an issue, but not that much of an issue, my suggestion would be stainless steel. Stainless steel pots and pans will last forever.
Magickal Pots & Pans: This part is much more fun. I'm thinking...special pots for specific magickal workings. I'm thinking color-coordinated cooking pots, those pretty bright enamel (and usually Teflon lined) pots. I know, this is an irony, but this is special! It's for magickal workings, energy building and moving and shaking. It's all about getting things done.
A green pot for health and healing, for simmering teas and making infusions, all the while tossing in the energy to fix whatever is wrong with our physical, emotional, and mental selves (You have to look at it from all those perspectives, it's all wrapped up into us.). You can use this pot to mix and heat magickal oils as well, but one word of caution here. If you're going to be using these pots for teas and such that you ingest, don't use them for other magickal creations that would contain anything poisonous or dangerous.
The rest is easy. A red pot for love and lust and passion; blue for dreams and visions, psychism, and divination; yellow for creativity and communication; and if you think you might venture into deeper waters and work with darker energies, or anything that is stronger and not meant to be ingested, why don't you get a small silver or black pot for this.
3. The Stove...this is the modern version of The Hearth-fire, use your imagination for the crackling flames and the dancing shadows on the wall. I also have a wonderful gift idea for the new bride and her stove. Think of the flame (the burners) as a you would a flame in a cauldron. When you've finished your magickal workings, you generally dismiss the quarters and the elements. To put the magick to rest, you can have a set of those round metal burner covers made and decorated with the symbols for the elements-- Earth, Air, Water, Fire. The symbolism and the artistry that could go into them are endless, whether you want to keep it simple and just use the correct color symbol for that element, or really go to town...birds and flying creature on the cover for Air; the sea, sea creatures, and sea shells on the cover for Water...You get the point.
Think of gifts geared for relaxation, for reading, for communication, as this is often a lounging and gathering place for family members. Think of things to write with; board games; books; big soft pillows and pretty small blankets for the couch or easy chair; candy dishes for the end tables or coffee table; a tea set that comes with a serving tray. I can see all of these delightful things in my mind, and I can see the space that they're meant for being cozy and inviting, where you feel comfortable and relaxed.
The idea of communication and creativity come to me when I think of a living room space, which steers me towards CDs, books, DVDs (movies! Yay!)...something to watch, listen to, or read.
The living room, think serenity and peace, think communication and connection.
The element: Water
The main intent and purpose in this room: Cleansing!
Did you ever wonder why, in so many bathrooms you see, people just naturally tend to decorate with sea themes, sea and water creatures, sea shells and other things of the ocean, or water related? I really believe it's some ingrained instinct, not fashionable decorating fads, that leads them to these water based interior designs for the bathroom.
So, we got the water creatures and stuff down pat, but there's other things to think about that would make incredible and magickal shower gifts for the bathroom:
Large glass bowls or lidded containers filled with herbs aligned to the element of water-- belladonna, catnip, calamus cardamom, henbane, valerian, raspberry, rose, myrrh, passion flower, and on and on it goes (pick up Scott Cunningham's book, "Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs"). And while we're at it, what about live potted plants for the bathroom? I'd love live plants for shower gifts, and I'm betting other women would too-- roses, jasmine, gardenias, or African violets, all connected with the element of Water.
Candles, so obvious! When you fill the tub with nice hot water, topping it off with a handful of herbs and pinch of this or that with a dollop of bubbly stuff, you're going to light candles to set the mood for your bathing experience. *Ding*...that was the light-bulb going off in my head! It's saying, "Time to shop!" How fun to look for candles and candle holders for someone's bathroom; and it might be a good idea to play heavily on the personal likes and tastes of the new little bride you're buying these magickal gifts for. Candle holders will add so much to the personal aspect of it, holders in different styles, colors, and shapes (animals, leaves, and such). Have fun! Shop till you drop, then go home and run yourself a nice full tub of water and prepare to relax.
Oh my, this is the supreme sacred space, especially for the newly-wed couple; and I don't care if they've been sleeping together for years. The wedding night is going to be so magickal, this is extremely special. This space will seem somehow newly sanctified to them through a commitment ceremony. It will be sealed. It will be celebrated.
The elements? The energy?
This space is a bit conflicted on this point. There's actually two elements that will apply to this room and two very different types of energy. We'll look at both of them.
1. Fire: passion, lust, romantic love, all of which implies lots of energy; lots of physicality; lots of motion and a sharing of energies. This can be wonderful, but also exhausting.
2. Water: peace, dreams, visions, of course. This is where you sleep, where your body renews itself, where your mind relaxes, where your sub-conscious can take over and you can soar in your dreams.
What a wonderful, yet complicated, space to create. Depending upon the couple and their circumstances, you might want magickal gifts geared to fertility and sex. At the other end of the spectrum, you'll want gifts that add to the experience of relaxation and peace. I know, this room is an oxymoron, and it can get even more confusing if the energies of the two individuals who are inhabiting this space are conflicting, or even polar opposites.
For the wedding shower, offer up a bit of magickal energy and a touch of the goddess through crystals and stones; salt lamps; candles; herbs; mojo bags for protection, fertility, cleansing; statuary that inspires, inspirational CD/DVDs that will add a certain ambiance to the atmosphere.
Falling in love over 50 is really really surprising to men and women. How I know this is, I’ve gotten countless emails from readers who are getting divorced and they write that a huge fear for them is that they will never find love again.Then, the same people email me 6 months or a year or 2 years later and tell me they have fallen madly in love. I swear, I could write a book. It’s that predictable! (in a wonderful way!!)
While 50 sounds really old to someone who is in their twenties and even thirties (at least it did to me when I was young), someone who falls in love over 50 feels as young as they did when they fell in love at 16 or 22 or 30. Falling in love at any age feels giddy and heart stopping and scary and all consuming. Let’s be honest. It feels fucking great...
It usually starts out innocently enough. Your spouse has to get an important project done and needs help from a co-worker. It’s only natural that they would talk about their personal lives when they are spending so much time together. Or maybe your spouse is scrolling through social media one day and finds that a former lover sent him/her a “friend” request. So they start to talk “for old time’s sake.” That’s all it is, just talk. But you can’t stop that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach that something’s off. Then one day, it hits you. Is your spouse having an emotional affair?
What is an Emotional Affair?
In the past, most people defined an affair as a sexual relationship between two people, at least one of whom was married to someone other than their affair partner. Most sexual affairs, but not all, have an emotional component to them as well. But just having feelings for someone else was never technically classified as “an affair.”
Now, that’s changed.
In today’s world, we expect that our spouse will not only be sexually exclusive with us, but s/he will be emotionally exclusive as well. We’re no longer okay if our spouse happens to fall in love with someone else, so long as s/he doesn’t have sex with that person.
An emotional affair then is an inappropriate emotional closeness with someone other than your spouse. That emotional connection in turn affects the level of intimacy, emotional distance, and the overall dynamic of your marriage.
In short, an emotional affair involves your heart, but not necessarily any other body part. To say that an emotional affair isn’t sexual, however, is not necessarily true.
Is an Emotional Affair Really Cheating?
According to world-renowned couples therapist, Esther Perel, infidelity contains one or more of these three elements:
Interestingly, this definition of infidelity does not require two people to actually have sex. Having a secret emotional relationship constitutes infidelity just as much as “hooking up” with someone outside of your marriage.
What’s more, an emotional affair can be just as hurtful, sometimes even more hurtful, than a full blown sexual affair. More than anything else, the secrecy of the emotional affair is what makes it so devastating. It’s also what makes it a betrayal.
The fact that your spouse may not have had sex with his/her new “friend” isn’t nearly as hurtful as the fact that s/he lied to you about his/her relationship.
What’s more, just because two people aren’t having sex, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their relationship isn’t exploding with sexual tension. As Esther Perel so aptly puts it in her ground-breaking book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity.
“Clearly, affairs can be sexual without a penis entering a vagina, and in such cases it is more helpful to call a spade a spade.”
Sometimes, the lack of physical contact is exactly what makes a relationship erotic.
But We’re “Just Friends!”
Some relationships really do lack the sexual tension that characterizes a typical affair. People joke about having a “work wife” – someone they spend a lot of time with, but aren’t involved with romantically. Sometimes those relationships are truly platonic.
After all, just because you spend a lot of time working with someone doesn’t mean that you are having “A Relationship” with them.
What makes the difference between a working relationship and an affair is the lack of ANY of the three factors Esther Perel has identified as characterizing infidelity.
The spouse in the working relationship isn’t hiding any part of that relationship from his/her spouse. S/he is not sending furtive texts to their “work buddy” in the middle of the night. S/he is not sharing personal secrets and long-held dreams with their co-worker instead of with their spouse.
A truly platonic relationship also lacks the sexual tension that characterizes an affair. Neither person in the relationship is flirting with the other. Neither is making inappropriate remarks or sexually-charged suggestions to the other.
Finally, in a truly platonic relationship, the emotional connection that the people in that relationship share is typically minimal. Sure, they care about each other. But they care about you like a parent or a sibling. They don’t care like lovers care.
Why Does Emotional Cheating Hurt so Much?
At its core, an affair – any kind of affair – is a betrayal of trust. When you discover that your spouse has been calling, texting, or spending time with someone else without your knowing about it, you feel violated. You feel like someone just hacked into your body with an ice pick and pulled your heart, and your guts, out right through your skin.
It feels that bad.
What makes that feeling even worse in emotional affairs is that the offending party might not even think they did anything wrong.
“I didn’t touch him/her! Why are you so mad? We’re just friends!”
Or, worse yet, the offending party may get mad at YOU for being “controlling,” “petty,” and “insecure!”
So, on top of dealing with your own emotional devastation, you — also have to deal with your cheating spouse’s anger, denial, and defensiveness as well. That makes recovering from an emotional affair pretty much impossible.
After all, if your spouse can’t even acknowledge your pain, s/he certainly can’t help you work through it. What’s more, if your spouse cares more about staying connected with someone else than s/he does about staying connected with you, your marriage isn’t likely to last very long. (Sorry!)