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The Bonfire

Category : Divorce Ritual, Healing

I recently saw an episode of Brothers and Sisters. The mother, played by Sally Field, was trying to help the mistress of Sally Field’s deceased husband (I kid you not) get rid of all the relics of her past, so she could move on. The mistress was having a difficult time letting go of the past. She wanted to be able to let go so she could move to New York where her husband and daughter awaited her.

After Sally Field tried many ways to help her, they finally came up with a great idea to bring closure and start anew. They decided on building a huge bonfire on the beach and burn everything that wasn’t absolutely needed. As the flames engulfed everything, the past went along with it! This got me thinking, what a great way to close a chapter in your life and move on without all the baggage of your old life holding you down. And it’s not just physical items you burn, either. You can even write down things that bothered you about your ex on pieces of paper, crinkle them up and throw them into the fire. Another closure strategy!

How To Be Alone

Category : Healing

The extremely talented Tanya Davis has put together a video to her poem “How To Be Alone.” If you’re divorced and feeling lonely this is a wonderful video to watch. It’s not only cute and well done, but it really does make you feel better about being by yourself. Below are some of the words to her poem.

If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were you were not okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find its fine to be alone once you’re embracing it. We can start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library, where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books, your not suppose to talk much anyway so its safe there. There is also the gym, if your shy, you can hang out with yourself and mirrors, you can put headphones in. There’s public transportation, we all gotta go places. And there’s prayer and mediation, no one will think less if your hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation. Start simple…

To check out the entire poem and video click here.

Sometimes A Picture Is Worth No Words

Category : Letters, Moving On

I got an email from a reader that I wanted to share with you. It ‘s from a recently divorced man who had a question. Here we go…

Dear Lois,

I recently came across your blog and I want to thank you for writing it! I’ve been going through a divorce and your articles have made me laugh. I did have a question for you. I haven’t spoken to my ex wife in six months, but came across a bunch of irreplaceable childhood photographs of hers that I had in a shoebox from when I was making a video for her 40th birthday. I haven’t had any contact with her since I filed for divorce because she cheated on me. However, I think she would like these photos back. What do you suggest? If you have a moment please respond. Thanks again!

Nick

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Hi Nick,

I feel like I should call you Saint Nick because you are so kind to think of your ex after she did something like that to you. You truly are the bigger person in that relationship, so hats off to you! If you feel that it she would like the photographs back and it would make you feel better that you sent them to her, then by all means throw some postage on it. However, if you don’t want any contact with her, I would not include a note. Just send the photos and she will get the point. Sometimes a picture is worth no words.

All best,

Lois

Fly Fly Away

Category : Divorce Ritual, Healing

There’s always been something about a balloon flying through the air on a bright sunny day that spells peace to me. The way it floats and goes higher and higher into the sky with no destination is so freeing. If you’re looking for some peace after a divorce, I’d like to suggest a divorce ritual that I call “Fly Fly Away.”

The first step in this divorce ritual is to write down each issue that you had with your ex on little separate pieces of paper. For instance, you could write things like, “He cheated. He didn’t say I love you enough. He left the cap off of the toothpaste. He wasn’t responsible. He never helped around the house,” etc. Next, roll up the little pieces of paper and stick each one in a separate balloon. Blow up each balloon, tie it tight and attach a string. Lastly, walk outside take a deep breathe and let each balloon go into the sky.

When you see the balloons fly away and out of sight, imagine all of the issues that upset you going with them! Trust me, this is magical. Each balloon flying into the air is a release of each of the problems you had with your ex that you’re now letting go. They’re heading off to somewhere else…for good!

Kate and William

Category : Celebrity, Counseling

I’m in London right now and its clear that Prince William and Kate, who are soon to be married, are all the buzz. I recently read that they’re going through counseling before they say I do!

It’s reported that through counseling they will learn how to deal with their in-laws. I can’t imagine dealing with Queen Elizabeth as a mother-in-law! Wow, you definitely couldn’t say anything bad about her. And then there is Prince Philip. How would it be to get along with him? They will also spend time learning about how to deal with future children and the pitfalls of marriage.

Wouldn’t it just be easier if they made a book “Marrying Prince’s for Dummies?” Seriously, I have to say that Kate has a lot to deal with marrying William and she’s handling it very well so far. She seems like a grounded woman and going to counseling before they get married is certainly reflective of that. Will it help? It certainly couldn’t hurt.

“2011 will bring a new type of relationship to the forefront,” says relationship guru Kristen Houghton. “More couples will seek counseling before any problems occur. There will be a return to common shared interests, even while each partner still strives for individual goals. In other words, I’m seeing more maturity in the attitudes of the couples in 2011. Finally.”

If everyone went into counseling before they got married, do you think that would help cut down the divorce rate?

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Category : Books

I love love love the book “Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home” by Rhoda Janzen. A series of unfortunate events, which includes a car accident and Janzen’s husband cheating on her with another man, send her back home to live with her parents who happen to be Mennonite’s (her mother Mary is hilarious). Janzen not only chronicles her homecoming of sorts, but her divorce as well. Sure there are some very serious issues to rise above, but Janzen’s dead pan humor throughout the book is dead on and offers a lightness to the read that makes you really root for her. This book also shows that if you have to go back home after a divorce it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward.

What is a Mennonite? For almost 500 years, Mennonite’s are a community who have turned their lives over to Jesus Christ and strive together to live above materialism and a self-serving existence. When Janzen was asked what prompted her to write a memoir, her return to the Mennonite community was immediately prime fodder. “I had never thought of myself as a nonfiction writer, and I never would have started writing a memoir on my own,” she explains. “When I first returned to the Mennonite community, I started peppering my friends with astonished e-mails about my folks. I was, like, Check this out! My father reuses his toothpicks! My mother is ideologically committed to finishing a super stinky cucumber lotion that she got at a hotel! It was my friend Carla who first told me that I’d better start saving the e-mails. She said they were beginning to smell like a memoir.”

About the Book

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family’s home, where she was welcomed back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda’s good-natured mother suggested she get over her heartbreak by dating her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.)

Written with wry humor and huge personality—and tackling faith, love, family, and aging—Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir of healing, certain to touch anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead.

About the Author

Rhoda Janzen holds a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was the University of California Poet Laureate in 1994 and 1997. She is the author of Babel’s Stair, a collection of poems, and her poems have also appeared in Poetry, The Yale Review, The Gettysburg Review, and The Southern Review. She teaches English and creative writing at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

To purchase the book click here.

Divorced Served Hot!

Category : Books, Interviews

Once you’re divorced, it’s inevitable that you will have to head back into the singles scene — never an easy place to go. However, two very talented authors and all around hot chicks, Jodi Lipper & Cerina Vincent, have made the transition that much easier for women with their book series.

I first saw Jodi and Cerina on The Today Show and was quite impressed. Their interview was not only fun, but empowering. I immediately decided to check out their Hot Chick books and I was not disappointed. They let readers know that we all have a lot of hot chickness, even after a divorce! And once you realize your hotness and project that confidence to the world, things start falling into place. From their advice on the hidden joys of being single to how to send out magical Hot Chick Vibes to falling in love without freaking out to survival techniques for heart-wrenching breakups, they’ve covered all of the bases. Not to mention, I love all of their book cover designs!

I spoke with Jodi and Cerina about how any woman can unleash their inner Hot Chick after a divorce. Here’s what they had to say.

What should a Hot Chick do the day her divorce becomes final?

Fist we want to make sure that everyone knows our definition of a Hot Chick, which is a confident, empowered, passionate woman who knows what she wants in life and how to get it. In all three of our books (How to Eat Like a Hot Chick, How to Love Like a Hot Chick, and Live Like a Hot Chick) we teach women how to approach every part of their lives like the savvy, sexy Hot Chick that they are! This goes for divorce, too. On the day a Hot Chick’s divorce becomes final, it’s a good idea to have already made some fun plans that she can look forward to so that she doesn’t get tempted to throw a pity party, instead. She should do anything to avoid drinking or eating too much while watching her wedding video, A Love Story, or even The Bachelor. Celebrate the beginning of this new chapter of your life instead of mourning the ending of the last one with a night, a day, or a whole weekend of activities that sound fun and rejuvenating. Go out with some girlfriends to your favorite restaurant, or go away for a weekend to a yoga retreat. Starting off on the right foot by acting like the Hot Chick that you are will help you feel positive about the future.

How do you feel like a Hot Chick again after a divorce?

Even if you hate your husband more than most democrats hate Sarah Palin, it’s still going to be hard to move on and feel confident after a divorce. Like during any difficult time in life, you need to treat yourself tenderly. But looking on the bright side, this is the perfect time to re-evaluate and revamp your life. Make sure you are taking care of yourself physically and emotionally by exercising regularly, which gives you a great endorphin and energy boost, and by taking the time to think about what you want out of the next phase of your life. Fill out the Build a Boyfriend program in How to Love Like a Hot Chick to determine what you want in your next relationship (not that we’re rushing you into one, by the way!) or work on the Magical Master Plan in Live Like a Hot Chick, which will help you create the life of your dreams. Creating a plan for the future is a great way to start looking forward to it.

What should a divorcee do if she is feeling insecure to be single again?

Feeling insecure is normal and natural, and the best way to combat it is to look at it head on, acknowledge it, and dismiss it. It’s not real. It’s just your pretty mind playing tricks on you, and your fears creeping into your head. Know that you have NOTHING to feel insecure about. There is nothing wrong with being single, and being in a relationship will not automatically make you happier. Plus, if you want to find love again, trust that you will. You just need to be specific about what you want this time around, and when the time is right, step back out into the world with an open heart, knowing that you are a Hot Chick who absolutely deserves true love.

Physically, do you suggest a “Hot Chick makeover” of some sort?

Although being a Hot Chick is not about the physical, sometimes making little physical changes can really helps boost your confidence and help brighten your emotional state. If any Hot Chick is feeling less than absolutely beautiful inside and out, then yes, we do suggest that she take some time to make small adjustments that make her feel her best. It can be as racy as a bikini wax, as simple as buying a sexy new bra, or as drastic as chopping of all your hair and dying it bright red! You are a Hot Chick, and this is a great time to help you feel as beautiful as the rest of the world already sees you.

Does a Hot Chick stay in touch with her ex after a divorce. And, if so, why? (No, really why?!)

If there are children involved, then you have to stay in touch with your ex for your children’s sake and make sure that you are providing as stable a life as possible for your children. You should make some clear rules so that you don’t get confused about what role he’s playing in your life (and your children’s). However, if there are no kids keeping you two in each other’s lives, we do suggest cutting ties. It will be much easier to move on if you’re not brought back to the past by seeing or talking to someone who is now a part of your past, not your future. Clearly this relationship was toxic for you, or else you would not be getting divorced! By staying in contact with your ex, you are continuing to let that toxic relationship hang over your head and exist in your present life. It will prevent you from being clearheaded about what you really want in your future, and it will really hinder you in opening yourself up to finding a healthy love. It will be hard, but the best thing is to file away those divorce papers and move on!

Please give us your top five tips to how a Hot Chick can survive a divorce and grow.

1. Know you are a Hot Chick who deserves all of the goodness that life has to offer. The first step towards getting what you want in life is to know that you deserve it, so go out into the world telling yourself you are hot, confident, empowered, and passionate, and soon the rest of the world will start treating you that way.

2. Keep your girlfriends close to you! You can’t go through this alone. You need a support system, and there is no better one than your gal pals who will get drunk with you, eat ice cream sundaes with you, and stay up until 3 a.m. talking, giggling, or crying with you.

3. Keep your family in the loop. We know that not every girl has the best relationship with her mom and dad, but it’s during times like these when we need to lean on our families, who will love us unconditionally no matter how hard we fall. (Plus, you can’t cry to your girlfriends every night; they have lives, too.)

4. Do three healthy, motivating things every day that are just for YOU. This is a tough time, and it’s important to give yourself things to look forward to that will help you get out of bed every morning and face the world. They don’t have to be big, expensive, or fancy. Exercise, read a chapter from a motivating self-help book, and how about a glass of wine, a hot fudge sundae, or a hot oil treatment for your hair? Post new, fun pix to Facebook, paint your toenails, and go to a bar to watch football with a co-worker. We don’t care what they are; just pick three things that make you happy every day and find a way to fit them into your life.

5. Do a one time, full out mourning session. If you start feeling low, it might help you move on by choosing one night (just ONE) to mourn your marriage. Pour a glass of wine (just ONE) and look at those wedding pictures, re-read old love notes, and honor the relationship for what it was. Write in a journal about what you learned, what you’ll do differently next time, and what you wouldn’t change for the world. Then file away those photos and notes along with the journal, and tell yourself that you’ve mourned, it’s over, and it’s time to truly move on with love and appreciation instead of heartbreak and resentment.

To pick up their books click here.

Divorce In Italy? Fahgettaboudit!

Category : Divorce Rate, Global Divorce

I was a big Sorprano’s fan. One of the parts of the show that I enjoyed watching the most was the relationship between Tony Soprano and his wife, Carmela. During Season 5, their marriage was on the rocks and Carmela tells T0ny over dinner that she is going to move forward and file for divorce. Getting a divorce is never easy, but I couldn’t imagine getting one with a mob boss! Tony responded matter-of-factly, “Well, first of all we’re Italian, we don’t believe in divorce. We believe in the nuclear family.”

I decided to do a little research about divorce in Italy. In 1970, divorce was made legal in Italy, but has since remained one of the lowest divorce rates in the world, currently at 12%. Compared to the US at 52% and Sweden even higher at 64% (you might want to bring e divorce papers to the wedding). Maybe when Italians get married it really does mean “for better or for worse.” Historically, Italians are family-oriented and seem to work through their problems rather than just giving up and ending the marriage. Maybe the strict religious beliefs of Catholicism deter people from getting divorced as well as pressure from the family. Many newly married couples in Italy actually live with their parents or very close by. I guess in Italy they look at the bigger picture and the wife doesn’t get on the husband for leaving the toilet seat up (even though that REALLY annoys me).

Why do you think the divorce rate is so low in Italy?

Your Divorce Day Must-See Movies

Category : Movies

There’s nothing like relaxing in bed and watching movies on the weekends during winter. If you have recently gotten divorced I recommend watching a few funny divorce movies to look at things a bit lighter and brighter. Below are some of my faves (in no particular order).

THE FIRST WIVES CLUB: After years of helping their hubbies climb the ladder of success, three wives have been dumped for newer models. But the trio is determined to turn their pain into gain. They come up with a cleverly devious plan to hit their exes where it really hurts – in the wallet! My favorite line is, “Don’t get mad. Get everything.”

THE WAR OF THE ROSES: The films logline is right on point: “Once in a lifetime comes a motion picture that makes you feel like falling in love all over again. This is not that movie.” Barbara Rose (Kathleen Turner) begins to wonder what life would be like without her husband Oliver (Michael Douglas), and decides to go for a divorce. Both want to stay in the house, so they both try to force each other to leave. In the middle of all of the chaos is their divorce attorney (played by Danny DeVito), which definitely adds to the humor.

KRAMER VS. KRAMER: Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) is a career man for whom his work comes before his family. His wife Joanna cannot take this anymore, so she decides to divorce him. Ted is now faced with the tasks of housekeeping and taking care of himself and their young son Billy. When he has learned to adjust his life to these new responsibilities, Joanna resurfaces and wants Billy back. Ted however refuses to give him up, so they go to court to fight for the custody of their son

ALONG CAME POLLY: While on his honeymoon, Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller) finds his wife cheating on him with a scuba instructor. Reuben travels back home to New York City to get his life on track. During a night out, Reuben runs into an old friend, Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston). Reuben feels a connection straight away, and tries constantly to get her to like him. Sometimes opposites don’t always attract, but Reuben doesn’t give up without a fight!

MRS. DOUBTFIRE: Daniel Hilliard (Robin Williams) suddenly finds himself jobless and divorced, without custody of his kids. He learns that his ex-wife (played by Sally Field) needs a housekeeper, so he applies for the gig and gets hired to be closer to his kids.. With the perfect wig, a little makeup and a dress for all occasions, he becomes Mrs. Doubtfire, a devoted British nanny. This movie proves that divorce can be a drag!

SHIRLEY VALENTINE: Shirley’s (Pauline Collins) a middle-aged Liverpool housewife, who begins to wonder what happened to her life. As Shirley prepares dinner for her husband, she reflects on her marriage, her children and her past of what she used to be like and wonders where the years have all gone. However, when her best friend wins an all-expenses-paid vacation to Greece for two, Shirley goes on the adventure of a lifetime and quickly realizes all of the things she is missing in life. I love the movie’s log line, “Everyone woman deserves her day in the sun.”

The Dog House

Category : Pets

We all know you want to put your spouse in the dog house during a divorce. But what happens to the actual dog or any other pet, you both own when your marriage ends? Do you get visitation rights?

A friend of mine, Cindy, who lives in Los Angeles told me that they decided to share custody of their dog Oscar. But they refused to see each other. So how did they exchange their cute little pooch when their visitation time arrived? They came up with an interesting plan. In the morning, Cindy would drop Oscar off at doggie day care (yes, they actually have those in LA) and then her ex would pick up the dog at night. A few days later, when his visitation time was up, he would drop Oscar back off at day care and that night Cindy picked him up. Voila, there you have it! They succeeded in sharing custody without seeing each other.

Now, if you can’t afford the luxury of doggie day care, leave your pet with a neutral neighbor or friend. (Just don’t ever pick it up from you ex-mother-in-law’s!)