Tag Archives: after divorce

Beat Relationship D’eja’ Vu

15 Sep

Dear Broken Hearted Girl,

When you begin dating again after a break up, it’s easy to fall into the same dating rut with a new person. This could be because the individual you’re dating is a mirror image of your ex, or because you are acting out the same relationship that you had with your ex. For example, he may mirror your ex in looks, actions, personal beliefs and motivations. So if you used to date an alcoholic and your new boyfriend is an alcoholic, you may be attracted to someone you need to take care of. If you used to date a control freak and now you’re dating another one, you may be attracted to men that are overbearing and insecure about your activities when he is not around. 

Be careful Broken Hearted Girl. If things start going down a path that you’re very familiar with (the same path you went down with your ex), use your head and not your heart. Here are some things you can do to beat relationship deja vu.

Pay attention to your friends’ and family’s reactions to your new beau. If they tell you that he may not be good for you, listen to them! They were there for your last relationship – if they see red flags, pay attention. Love is blind, but you don’t have to be. Your friends and family can be a great resource as “relationship barometers.” They only want the best for you, so try to listen and keep an open mind.

Talk to him. If he’s creating issues in your relationship, tell him. For example, if he’s an alcoholic or control freak, you can try to speak with him about your feelings and see if you can work it out. Try to keep an open mind and listen to him if he does open up. If he’s having trouble opening up or addressing the issues, you may want to reconsider dating him. Communication is key in a relationship. If he can’t communicate openly and honestly, then there may be nothing but trouble in your future.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Maybe you’re the reason why your last relationship didn’t work out. What did your ex say when he dumped you? Did he say something constructive like, “You don’t pay enough attention to me?” If so, then you may want to check yourself – are you paying enough attention to your new beau? If you are not, what kind of work do you have to do in order to change your actions. If you were insecure in your last relationship, then think about it. Do you need to concentrate on yourself more? Does your entire world center around him? Do you smother him with emails and text messages? Think about how you can work through your own problems to make your relationship a better one.

Don’t make the same mistakes you made in your last relationship.

  • If you tend to date the same ‘type’ of guy, use your Breakup Workbook to figure out why you do it and take steps to change your way of thinking when it comes to relationships.
  • If you feel that he has a problem, whatever it may be – talk to him about it! Communication is key.
  • If you feel that you may be the problem, think about your relationship with your ex. Take the steps necessary to change your behavior so you don’t also sabatoge this new relationship.

Feel better!


How Long Should I Go With No Contact With My Ex?

18 Apr

People often ask me: How long should I go with No Contact with my ex? And I have thought long and hard about what this question means. It’s a loaded question and from my experience with counseling people, I have found that there are several different meanings:

  1. How long should I go with No Contact with my ex before he/she realizes he/she wants me back? In this instance, the No Contact post-breakup rule is a ploy to manipulate the ex to get him/her to fall in love with them again. I think this stems from all of those books and websites that claim that you can win your ex back. What I say to that is – good luck. I can’t tell you how to get your ex back. I don’t subscribe to manipulation or games of any kind. Either way, manipulating anyone is a bad idea. So be careful if you go this route.
  2. How long should I go with No Contact with my ex before we can be friends again? Another loaded question, but I do think that if the intention is good – meaning you’re not trying to get him in bed or get back together with him – then you should wait at LEAST six months and even then, don’t do it until you have met someone else that has sparked your interest. It doesn’t mean to wait until you have a new boyfriend/girlfriend, rather it means wait until you get to a point where you have dated at least one or more people and can at least fantasize about someone other than your ex. Know that you have a life beyond your ex and be comfortable with that before you even bother trying to become friends with your ex.
  3. How long should I go with No Contact with my ex before I get my stuff back? In my book, The Breakup Workbook, I advise that if you’re not able to take your things with you (say, if you lived with him and moved out), then wait at least 2 weeks before you even try to contact him. This gives you 2 weeks to cry, fret, and get used to being by yourself again- and it gives him 2 weeks to cool off as well. The book even offers some exercises to do while you spend this period in mourning. Then when you have completed these exercises, you can meet him to get your stuff and get some closure (the exercises show how to do that). If you don’t have any stuff to get, you can still meet him after these exercises, or call him, or email him to get the closure that you need (especially if he dumped you via text or email). But then after you get both your stuff and your closure, rules 1 and 2 apply from that point forward.

Let’s face it, the one thing that will get you over your ex is time. And if you don’t give yourself time to heal and regress constantly by talking to him – email, texting, IM, etc – then the longer it will take you to heal.

For more “No Contact” tips, get The Breakup Workbook from Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com today!


Feel better! -MJ

How to Use Post–Its to Maintain No Contact!

27 Sep

Dear broken hearted girl,

When you’re going through a break up, it can be hard to be ‘alone’ after you’ve been best friends with a special man for a certain amount of time. No matter how supportive your friends & family are, you are almost certain to have set-backs.

Don’t blame yourself. It happens to everyone. Head to http://mjac.forumco.com to read stories from other women!

One exercise I recommend is to place post-it notes in certain places to help you remember why you shouldn’t contact him. Maybe he said something pretty hateful to you? Maybe he has a habit that you can’t stand? Maybe he cheated on you? Whatever it was, remembering it can help you remain far away from him. Forgiveness is a virtue, but never forget.

Here are places you can use and keep post-its to help you retain your promise to yourself to keep away:

(1) On your computer! Of course that’s the easiest way to contact him and the least personal. Put post-its on your screen if you can (and if not then in a drawer next to your computer) as reminders of his ‘jerkiness.’

(2) On your mirror – but instead of reminders of him – put good affirmations that you can repeat to yourself, or quotes Edith Wharton. Whatever it is, it should be there when you look in the mirror first thing in the morning, to remind yourself of your inner & outer beauty…and most importantly…give you strength.

(3) Your front door. I know that may sound silly, but it works. Instead of writing down words, you can use it as a ticker. Before I went to bed every night, I would give myself a tick on the post-it for making it through the day without contacting him. Not only was it rewarding for my psyche, but it was also very satisfying when all of the ticks starting adding up. And then, when I would get weak, I’d think about having to take that post-it, rip it down and then start a new (blank) one. That helped me keep away.

Eventually, you will get over your urges to text, email and call him. Until then, do what you can to get through it! You are strong & beautiful broken hearted girl. We’ll get you healed yet!


Dating a Divorcee

26 Nov

Dear Broken Hearted Girl,

I found another defunct advice column today! I had to post this on the blog because the man refers to the divorcee as having “baggage.” I always find this phrase to have a negative connotation, because “baggage” means that you have someone weighing you down. Being divorced with children can be very uplifting if you’re happy.

Anyhow, I like the way these women answered the question. Maybe you can apply it to your dating life.

Just don’t use the word “baggage.” yech.

Feel better!


by Rosie Einhorn, L.C.S.W. and Sherry Zimmerman, Esq.

Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I’m dating a woman who’s divorced, and I’m concerned about the baggage, and particularly the reasons why her marriage failed.

When dating someone who has been divorced, at what point is it okay to ask the question, “What was the reason the marriage was terminated?”


Dear Steven,

Timing can make or break a courtship, so the question you asked is very important. Prematurely asking a date about personal information will probably make them feel uncomfortable and could put the brakes on an otherwise promising relationship. We suggest that questions about the details of a date’s prior marriage wait until you have gone out several times and have both started to talk about other personal matters.

Some of our readers may shy away from dating someone who has been divorced, because they worry that the same problems that contributed to the end of the first marriage might affect a subsequent marriage. This narrow perspective closes one off from a large population with great potential. Marriages break up for many reasons, and often it isn’t due to the “fault” of any one partner. Many divorces could have been averted if a couple had learned early on to continually nurture their relationship and develop skills in areas such as communication and conflict resolution. Many men and women learn from the mistakes of their first marriage and are able to have a much more successful relationship the second time around.

Of course, there are individuals whose emotional handicaps or other problems made their first marriage extremely difficult. Don’t expect this to come to light when your date explains why the first marriage failed. Few people can be objective about their own divorces, and you’re most likely to receive an explanation that is your date’s particular perception of the truth, peppered with some imaginative details.

However, as you get to know your date better, you can put her explanation into better perspective. After a couple has dated for many weeks, varies what they do when they are together, sees each other in the presence of each other’s friends and relatives, and observes how each other reacts when they are tired or under mild stress, they gain a more well-balanced understanding of each other’s positive and negative qualities. If a date is challenged by personality traits that may make it difficult or impossible for them to have a stable, happy marriage, these will usually (but not always) become apparent once the couple becomes very comfortable in each other’s presence.

Our best advice at this point is to give a promising courtship the time it needs for the two of you to learn a great deal about each other and develop an emotional closeness. Trust in yourself to be able to put everything in perspective as time goes on.

Dating With Children

26 Nov

Dear Broken Hearted Girl,

I ran across this website today while doing research about the issues related to dating when one has children. This is an old advice column from about.com which, sadly, is no longer functioning.

Here are some comments from women AND men that speak to how they go about dating… with children. Maybe there’s some nugget of wisdom in these comments that will help you on your journey toward dating again.

Feel better!


Single Parents:
Dating … with Children

While the jury’s still out on the effects of divorce on children, many single parents are still out…with their new dates.* (Some with their kids in tow; some with their kids…attached.) How do you balance your kids’ needs with your grownup needs? I asked, and you Do Told. Briefly, some highlights, representing both consensus and diversity of opinion and experience:

Susan: “Being a single mom offers an instant weed-out mechanism. If — and only if — a guy can deal with my hectic schedule, my erratic unavailability, and that my kids are a priority, then he may be a keeper.”

Zola: “I limit my choices to men who have at least one of the following attributes: (1) child/ren of an age similar to mine, who seem to be compatible with mine, and/or (2) he has a friend(s) with children, with whom he has bonded, and appears to like kids, and/or (3) he likes me very much, accepts me for what I am, has only constructive comments, and is open-minded about all people. Also, he has siblings who celebrate family events or, if he is an only child, he’s outgoing and has a circle of ‘adopted’ family friends.”

Sara: “I’m a full-time college student and a single mom to a sweet preschooler. My approach to dating: I don’t. It’s so hard to balance everything as it is. Until I finish my law degree it’s no dating for me. I have seen many mommies sacrifice their lives for a guy. I want to enjoy this time with my son while he’s little. Men come and go, but my boy’s only going to be this young once.”

Ellen: “Online dating was perfect — I could do it at night when my daughter was asleep. I screened heavily, and met a fantastic guy.”

Erica: “The best dating advice I could give to a single parent is: don’t sell yourself short, and don’t settle for someone who is less than you deserve because you think no one worth dating will want to date you. Yes, dating someone with a child can be difficult and comes with its own set of hurdles, but I’m living proof that you can find someone who understands those problems and will want to work with you to make the relationship a good one.”

Jennifer: “Build the relationship to a solid one first — so much the better to handle the difficulties that come with including the children.”

Terri: “I think the person you’re interested in should know up front. Some people can accept, some can’t, and it’s better to find out as soon as possible.”

Tom: “Pick a day of the week that will be a regular date day. Do not involve the kids at first — maybe don’t have the person pick you up at the door. Better yet, date on days that the kids are visiting the other parent, if possible. Don’t have sex in the house with the kids at home. Don’t have the other person have breakfast with the kids. Imagine a kid going through the separation process with eight different ‘significant others,’ one for each year of grammar school, including losing or being separated from the other parent. It may sound harsh, but remember that your first responsibility is to raise the kids.”

Virginia: “I never have a sleepover when my girls (5 and 8) are home, and I don’t introduce them too early. I am also very honest with them about what went wrong if it ends. I think I have a unique opportunity to show them ‘how to date’ and set a good example.”

Should You Give Him a 2nd Chance?

18 Nov

Dear Broken Hearted Girl,

If you’re like me, then you’re kind, sweet and forgiving. Sometimes when I am hurt in a relationship, I will give the man (or a friend or even a family member) the benefit of the doubt. I will forgive the person who hurt me and try to mend the relationship.

So that’s great and it makes me a better person and all that…but 5 times out of 10, the person will do the same thing to me again. And I wonder if I’m a sucker for letting that person back in my life.

Should I let go and move on? Or should I try yet again, knowing that this person may not change? So after living and learning a little bit, I’ve used these criteria when choosing to forgive someone yet a 3rd time:

1) How badly did the situation hurt me?
2) What actions (if any) can I take in the future to avoid this situation?
3) Ask a friend or family member for their take on the situation. (Maybe I’m blowing it out of proportion. Maybe I’m justified).
4) Would my life be easier without this person in it?

Then I take all of the answers to those questions and decide. Sometimes life is easier when you cut ties with certain toxic individuals. But remember, you can always forgive someone without continuing a relationship in the future. Being bitter is never fun. And forgiveness is divine!

Feel better!


Divorce E-support

27 Oct

Dear Broken Hearted Girl,

I know that a lot of you are going through a tough time, especially if you’re getting divorced. So I thought I would help you save time (and maybe some gas) by pointing you to some virtual outlets from where you can find information on specific divorce issues relative to your own situation.

Here is a link to some divorce E-books.


Here is a link to marriage & divorce support by state:


Here is a link to some mediation informational sites by state:


I hope some of this helps you with your intial research. Remember, that none of these links are a substitute for the opinion of a lawyer or a mediator.

Feel better!


It’s Okay to Cry

26 Oct

Dear Broken Hearted Girl,

A lot of people will compare losing a relationship with the death of a loved one. I can understand that, especially when your husband or boyfriend shared everything in your life. I found this quote on a survivor website and thought that I would share it with you:

“IT’S OKAY TO CRY: Tears release the flood of sorrow, of missing and of love. Tears relieve the brute force of hurting, enabling us to “level off” and continue our cruise along the stream of life. It’s okay to cry.”

So remember that it’s okay to cry. Letting out the emotions will help you heal.

Feel better!


Divorce: Tips For Dealing With The Anger

24 Oct

Dear BrokenHeartedGirl,

In keeping with our trend on exploring anger issues after divorce, I found this article written by Cathy Meyer at about.com. I like that it speaks to “letting go” and allowing your anger some outlet.

Hopefully these tips will help you!

Feel better!


Divorce: Tips For Dealing With The Anger
From Cathy Meyer,
Your Guide to Divorce Support.

After a divorce, most people go through a myriad of emotions. Hurt, disappointment, and grief are some of the more easily recognized emotions, but underlying all of these may be anger.

Here are five strategies that will help you deal with your anger in a positive way.

1. Don’t stuff it. Anger is a legitimate emotion and is your heart trying to tell you something is hurting. Stuffing anger to avoid dealing with it can result in depression, your anger turned inward. Allow yourself to explore the reasons for your anger and to express it in safe ways.

2. Don’t fear it. Women especially may have been brought up to think that they should be “nice and agreeable” and not get angry.
Everyone gets angry at times, and it is a healthy emotion, not something to be feared. Journal or talk to a friend to vent your angry feelings, so you can work through them.

3. Don’t worry about losing control. One fear many people have is that if they let their anger out, they won’t be able to control the rage that may be inside them. This is usually a fear with no basis in fact. Find a safe place to vent your anger. Punch a pillow, scream, or do whatever makes you feel the release you need.

4. Don’t worry about what other people will think. If you feel anger, you have a right to feel that way. Individuals may think that it’s acceptable to express grief or sadness, but anger may bring on feelings of embarrassment or shame. Allow yourself to go through your emotions, no matter which ones they are.

5. Get regular exercise. If you are having a hard time processing the reasons for your anger, it may just be resulting from your overall situation and the frustration you feel from dealing with stress. Taking a walk, doing aerobics, or even kickboxing can make a person dealing with anger feel much relief. Do an exercise that you know is safe for you, and give it your all. Check with your physician if you have any questions about whether or not exercise is appropriate for you.

Single Parents’ Dating Sites

16 Oct

Dear Broken Hearted Girl,

Looking for love?…Perhaps with someone in the same stage of life as you are?…Check out these dating sites specifically for single parents. You can also Google “single parents dating’ to find more sites.

I hope you find someone great!

- MJ








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