Food fuels your body and your brain. It has a dramatic impact on how you look, feel, and age. Who you are tomorrow, next month, or a year from now, is related to the foods you choose each day. It’s important to engage in healthy eating habits now for an active and hearty lifestyle for years to come.
Many of us grew up on fast food, processed foods, or family ‘comfort food’ meals. But, today, we know these fried foods and fatty cuts of meat and potatoes smothered with butter and gravy are not healthy for us. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and fish are best.
The core principles of healthy eating are similar to what our ancestors used, and many thrive today with this traditional style of eating, think the Mediterranean diet or Paleo like way of eating
Enjoying a healthful diet isn’t difficult, and it can be fun to try new recipes and experiment with varied spices and cuisines. It’s not a diet in the popular modern media sense, it’s a diet in the traditional sense, a lifelong way of eating.
Change slowly and give yourself time to adjust. You’re doing this for the long-term, not just a few weeks or months. Don’t worry about being perfect, just strive for 80 – 90% adherence. Your nutrition intake will balance out if your overall healthy eating pattern is good.
Food for Energy
A quality food program includes foods high in nutrient density while low in calorie density. Meaning the foods provide substantial amounts of nutrients with only the necessary amount of calories – large quantities of vital nutrients per 100 calories.
Those nutrients include:
Nutrient-dense foods include veggies, fruits, and chicken breasts, turkey breasts, and other lean protein. Foods low in nutrient density are items such as donuts, soft drinks, cookies, crackers, and ice cream.
Since you eat food, not just nutrients though, let’s look at some ways to help you incorporate healthy food in an enjoyable manner for a lifelong diet. These guidelines are intended for healthy people, so for those with medical conditions consult your doctor for additional guidance.
Make a great meal tonight using this flexible plan below. It incorporates good flavors so meals will taste great and be healthy for you too. Consider cooking meals in a slow cooker or one pot for timesaving and less mess as well.
Start With Choosing Protein, Carbs, and Healthy Fats
Select one ingredient from each of the four columns below:
||Extra Virgin Olive Oil
||Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Portion Your Ingredients
The guidelines for males are two palm-sized servings of protein, two fists sized servings of vegetables, 2 cupped hand sized servings of smart carbs, and two thumb-sized servings of healthy fats. For females use one-half of the male servings.
Adjust portions up or down according to how active you are, how frequently you eat, and your particular size and calorie needs.
Make additional servings for leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
Choose a Flavor Profile
Select a flavor profile and use at least three of the ingredients in your dish.
||Fresh Curry Leaf
Cook, plate and serve.
Mix and match the ingredients above and let your imagination flow.
Try Thai 3 Ways:
· Shrimp with coconut brown rice and bok choy
· Chicken with eggplant, spelt, and peanuts
· Steak with broccoli and spaghetti squash
Mexican 3 Ways:
· Chicken with spinach and quinoa
· Salmon with bell peppers and plantain
· Beans with carrots, brown rice, and avocado
Try A Slow Cooker Pot Roast
4 lb boneless beef shoulder pot roast, trimmed of fat
4 dashes salt & pepper
2 tsp thyme, dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
64 baby carrots (about 21 oz)
2 lbs yellow potatoes, peeled & cut
Place the pot roast in your slow cooker and sprinkle with salt, pepper, & thyme.
- Add carrots and potatoes around the roast.
- Cook on low for about 8 hours, or on high for about 5 hours. Serve & Enjoy!
Develop Your Healthy Eating Plan
Moving to a healthier eating plan may seem daunting so keep these things in mind:
- Eat vegetables at all meals. In salads, side dishes, soups, and add veggies to your sandwich or wrap.
- When craving something sweet, eat a serving of fruit to satisfy the craving.
- When eating meat, it’s best to choose organic, grass-fed, and hormone-free, to maximize nutrients without harmful antibiotics, hormones, etc.
- Stock healthy food choices that are ready to eat and go. Nuts, seeds, and fruit are great for ‘grab and go’ snacks.
- Eating healthy food on at regular intervals will help you avoid unhealthy choices so never leave the house without food when you’ll be gone for more than 2 hours.
For busy mornings this is my favorite time saver meal hack, a super smoothie:
Pick a liquid, 4-8 ounces, less for thicker shake and more for thinner shakes
- Almond Milk (unsweetened)
- Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
- Cow’s milk
- Soy milk (unsweetened)
- Hemp milk (unsweetened)
- Green iced tea (unsweetened)
Choose a protein powder; one scoop is usually sufficient
- Whey protein
- Casein protein
- Rice protein
- Hemp protein
- Pea protein
- Bone broth protein
- Other protein/protein blend
Pick a vegetable, 1-2 handfuls of raw or roasted veggies:
- Dark leafy greens like kale or spinach
- Sweet potato
- Or powdered green supplement
Pick a fruit, 1-2 handfuls of fresh or frozen fruit
Choose a healthy fat, 1-2 thumb-sized portions
- Almond butter or other nut butter
- Flax, hemp, or chia seeds
- Coconut Oil
- Add greek yogurt for additional protein and smoother texture
- Add oats for additional carbs
- Sprinkle with cinnamon or chocolate shavings for extra zip
- Add ice if using fresh, not frozen fruit
Blend all ingredients in a good blender and enjoy as an excellent meal replacement when you are short on time.
(c) Can Stock Photo / ikophotos
Divorce can be complicated and challenging, often heart-wrenching, sometimes ugly and bitter. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and extremely stressful. Yet, the most painful and taxing divorce or two should not hold you back from trying again for often the third time’s the charm, and marriage after two divorces can be a healthy and beautiful thing.
You see, marriage is not good, bad, healthy, or unhealthy in and of itself (nor is divorce for that matter). It is the emotions, feelings, and work of the two people in the marital relationship that make it good, bad, happy, or sad.
Happy marriage results when two people pull together for the benefit of their relationship as a whole. Sure, it takes effort, communication, patience, commitment, respect, understanding, and trust, but then again all great relationships do. The same goes for marriage after two divorces.
Whether you have been divorced just once, or you’re now in your second post-divorce healing process, please know you will get through this. With the right mindset and outlook, you too can find love again.
Often, that new love finds you when we aren’t looking for it. It may come from a new coworker or an old reacquainted friend. It could come on fast and furious, or it may be slow and surprising. In time, it may lead to discussions of commitment.
If and when those discussions emerge I hope you will consider marriage again and here’s how to be ready for it.
Live Life Looking Forward
It takes time to process feelings after a divorce, and you should take all the time you need. Just remember not to wallow in negative or unhealthy emotions. Instead, focus on a healthy recovery by taking care of yourself mentally as well as physically, and move past any bitterness or regret.
Look to get involved in activities you used to love but haven’t done in a while or try something new you’ve always wanted to do. Eat right, get plenty of sleep, and be sure to exercise.
Strive to embrace new experiences and develop new friendships and relationships versus trying to change the past or hold on to something or someone that is no longer available to you. Cherish your good memories but go out and create new ones too.
Live the next phase of your life looking forward, not looking back at the past except to learn and grow from it. Moving on will be the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Reach out to others for assistance if needed.
Everyone Has Baggage, Learn To Unpack It
As humans, we tend to see the flaws in others while being blind to our own issues. However, we need to take a good hard look at our less than stellar qualities and understand if we are a certain way because of something in our past that we’ve not dealt with.
“One is always in the dark about one’s own personality. One needs others to get to know oneself” – Carl Jung
Since who we are today is a sum total of our pasts, it’s likely the negative things in our pasts that we’ve not dealt with resulted in previous personality problems, emotional issues, relationship difficulties and our prior marital troubles.
Unpacking the events from our past will allow us to deal with them, take responsibility for them, and finally forgive others and ourselves to heal those old wounds.
Chances are your new partner will also have a fair amount of baggage from prior relationships as you do from yours. While you each need to deal with your own baggage individually, you also need to understand the others.
After you’ve been candidly honest with yourself, do so again with each other.
By sharing prior problems and concerns with your new partner, you can work together to help keep those old issues and fears in the past. Likewise, understanding their history will help you when old matters come up for them.
The more honest you are with each other, the stronger your relationship will be.
Handle The Heavy Stuff, Families and Finances
Any marriage after one divorce, let alone two, is bound to have some substantial matters to deal with. Children, stepchildren, ex-spouses, and a whole host of relatives, ex-relatives, and friends, plus, child-support, spousal support, debt, insurance, and other financial matters are potential issues.
While it might sound daunting right now, I assure you it’s possible to work through these topics and find a solution for all. The crucial key is communication.
“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation” – Oscar Wilde
Develop a list of foundational guidelines and non-negotiables for dealing with each other’s children, friends, families, and exes. Establishing ground rules that you can each agree to in the beginning will help to minimize and possibly avoid potential misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and resentment later.
Keep the exes out of the marriage. While they will always be parents to your children and you will indeed interact with them on occasion they have no place in your new relationship. If you or your new partner aren’t over your previous spouses slow down.
It’s okay to take more time to heal. Work through the process and then continue getting to know each other.
Get your financial house in order too by working to eliminate debt, control spending, save, and invest. When moving towards a new committed relationship, the financial health of each party must be discussed.
Together establish in advance whether your finances will be entirely separate or partial combined. Hash out such things as wills, insurance beneficiaries, and power of attorney documents.
Discuss financial obligations, joint financial goals, tax implications, career and family plans, and future retirement dreams.
Marriage After Two Divorces
My husband and I were each married twice before. He has three children from these prior relationships, and I have two from mine. My first marriage was brief, less than a year, and my second was just shy of twenty. My husband’s first lasted almost five years and his second thirteen. We will celebrate our fifth anniversary in a few months.
Separately and together we’ve faced many challenges and have come through them stronger and more resilient as a result. We’ve found greater love, trust, patience, and respect in our relationship then we previously experienced in others. For us, the third time is definitely the charm.
Marriage after prior divorces works when both parties:
- know who they are individually and are happy with themselves
- prefer to be in a committed relationship and are happy together
- learned from their previous issues and can put their pasts behind them
- are emotionally and financially secure
- know their children are okay with the decision
- understand each other’s values, obligations, and expectations
- are open and honest with themselves and each other
- put love, communication, trust, and their relationship first
Many of you having experienced divorce more than once in your life may shy away from marriage again. However, I urge you not to rule it out completely. It is good for your health, and for my husband and I, marriage after two divorces is proving to be a marvelous thing.
Marriage and Divorce
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Parenting may be one of the most difficult things one does in life. After giving birth to a child, we are not provided with an instruction manual. In fact, we are provided with minimal direction at all. When our child is one with special needs or is a child on the spectrum, additional attention and care are often required. Add in parents living in separate households due to a divorce and the efforts and considerations multiply.
Being responsible and acting in our children’s best interests, regardless of how we feel about an ex-spouse is crucial to the well-being of our children. With no perfect set of rules or step-by-step instructions it may not be easy, but by keeping in mind some general guidelines it is possible to create more positive outcomes for all.
Parenting Time With A Child On the Spectrum
- The quantity and the quality of time spent with your child matters. Developing and maintaining a quality relationship with your child requires specific and regular time. However, it is not just the amount of time and when it occurs that matters, it is perhaps even more importantly, the quality of that time.
- Our children need us to be not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Staying attuned to their needs and emotionally involved in what’s going on with them. Holding an interest in the many aspects of their lives and staying actively involved in their day-to-day routines.
- During your parenting time, look to maintain and encourage existing relationships and routines with extended family members, friends, school, and other activities. It is important for your child as it adds to their feelings of security and sense of stability.
- Do not involve your children in adult issues, nor use them as pawns or messengers in communication with your ex. Instead, stick with their normal routines and relationships, and shelter them from the problems and responsibilities of their parents.
Strive for Consistency
- Since children with Asperger’s prefer routine and structure, working with your ex-spouse to maintain as much consistency between households will greatly benefit your child. While it’s not a must to maintain exact schedules, practices, and rules between households, the fewer deviations, the better it will be, especially with younger children.
- Differing perspectives and flexibility help children learn to act and adjust, but understanding they face similar sets of routines and expectations at each home is beneficial and less confusing for them.
- A child on the spectrum typically does well with ‘rules’ and consistent ones for important things like schoolwork, hygiene, and dis-allowed activities, between households, will make it, so your kids don’t have to remember which set is for which home.
- Additionally, similar systems of rewards for good behavior and consequences for broken rules, no matter under whose roof they occurred under are helpful. If your child earned extra computer time for good behavior or lost TV privileges for poor behaviors while with your ex, continue to uphold those rewards or consequences at your home, and your ex should do the same.
- Both parents need to be involved in all major decisions. Honest, open, and straightforward communication about your child’s well-being is essential. Your ex-spouse and you will need to set aside any differences between you to ensure you are acting in your child’s best interest.
- You owe it to your child to take an active role in decisions affecting their physical and mental health, as well as their education and social learning.
- Attend medical and health-related appointments together or alternate attending meetings, keeping the other informed about all discussions that took place with doctors, dentists, and therapists.
- Let your child’s school and teachers know about your child’s living arrangements. Communicate with your ex about class schedules, homework, extracurricular activities, and friends. Attend parent-teacher conferences, IEP meetings, and school events to stay informed and involved. It’s important for you to participate in school matters and not rely on your ex to always keep you up-to-date.
- Be on the lookout for signs of stress in your child. Anxiety and depression are quite common with kids on the spectrum. Healthy communication with your ex-spouse, as well as your child’s teachers and caregivers, will allow you all to address issues more quickly and easily if and when they arise.
Work Through Disagreements
- You are divorced for a reason; thus it’s highly likely you will disagree with your ex sooner or later. To help you find resolution at these times, keep the following in mind.
- Remain respectful and considerate, especially in front of the children. It will likely be very damaging for your child to witness the conflict between you parents. Continuous conflict is shown to damage a child’s well-being. Control your emotions and respectfully discontinue any volatile discussions with your ex until there is a more opportune time to talk.
- To resolve any disagreements, continue discussions with your ex, without your child around, until you can reach an agreement. If you cannot do that alone, enlist the help of a mediator or therapist.
- Pick your battles and compromise. Key issues or rules such as medical or educational matters are a must to work through but learn to compromise on things that aren’t as important to you, so you have the energy to stand your ground on the ones that are.
Find Support and Maintain Your Own Wellbeing
- Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your child. Your child relies on you, and unless you take care of your own physical, emotional and mental health, you will not be able to care for them adequately.
- Family, friends, and support groups are crucial in helping you deal with your emotions and uncomfortable feelings, such as anger, jealousy, or profound sadness. As you transition into your parenting role rely on your support system or look to more professional sources of support should you need it. Anger management programs, parenting classes, or formal group therapy sessions exist to help you work through difficult times and learn necessary skills to manage life healthily.
- The needs of a child on the spectrum evolve. As your child grows, it is important that you continue to educate yourself about their changing needs. Talk with their health care providers, school administrators, teachers, and counselors to stay abreast of any resources available to help you meet them.
- Your needs and those of your ex will likely also change as time goes on. Schedules may need to be adjusted as your child ages or progress through certain stages of development. Be prepared to alter or tailor parenting time to meet the needs of your child or the unique circumstances of the families in your or your ex-spouse’s household.
No matter what, keep the following important factors in mind: 1) your child needs as consistent of a schedule and routine as possible; 2) your child needs both a high quantity and a high-quality relationship with each parent, and 3) your child needs to be insulated from any adult parenting issues.
Communication is vital between you and your ex. While you may not have succeeded at it as a couple, it is an absolute requirement that you do so as divorced co-parents. Find a way to do it effectively and get help if you need. Your child deserves it.
Sources and Recommended Resources:
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If you’re dating after divorce, sooner or later the time will come for introducing your child to the new woman in your life. Introducing a new woman to kids can be tough, but when your Asperger’s child is involved, it can be even more difficult.
To help the new woman in your life understand you and your Asperger’s child, keep in mind
1. She May Know Very Little About Asperger’s
Chances are she will know nothing about Asperger’s (also know as High-Functioning Autism or ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder) or perhaps even be misinformed about the syndrome. Recall what it was like for you when you first learned of your child’s diagnosis. Then take care to help her understand what you have come to know. Provide her with books or recommended websites to learn what Asperger’s is and what it is not.
The traits, symptoms, or challenges of Asperger’s vary widely from child to child, as you well may know. Helping a new significant other understand this will be beneficial for her, you and your Asperger’s child.
If you are not as well versed on the subject, as you would like to be, I highly recommend you take the time to learn more. If your child is an 8 year-old, read about traits and challenges they may encounter at the age of 10, 12, or even 15. The more you learn, the easier it will be for you down the road.
2. Practice Patience and Appreciation
Assuming this is new territory for your lady friend, you’ll need to have as much patience with her as you do with your child. She may forget that your son doesn’t like loud noises and turns up her favorite song on the car radio; or that your daughter prefers not to be touched and attempts to give her a goodnight hug. In time, she will come to know these things and may also intuitively understand and identify new challenges as they arise.
Acknowledge the efforts of both your female friend and your Asperger’s child as they discover each other and learn to communicate and interact. This will likely be a very trying time for them and you as well. Expressing your appreciation will certainly help.
3. If She Has Children, You May Need Additional and Frequent Discussions
This is for two reasons. One, it may be repeatedly difficult for her to understand the differences between her children and your Asperger’s child. Because those differences are not physically apparent, she may often need gentle reminders.
Secondly, her children may also need some information to understand certain behaviors and traits of your child. Age appropriate explanations, handled by the both of you together, will aid in alleviating misunderstandings and help remedy emotional disturbances.
A Big Picture Profile of Your Asperger’s Child
Before introducing your Asperger’s child to your girlfriend, get her up to speed about life with ASD. The more information she has up front, the smoother the experience should be for all of you.
No two children are alike. This list of traits, symptoms, and challenges, is not exhaustive nor will everything fit your Asperger’s child. This information is drawn from my own experience as a step-mom to a an Asperger’s child, solid research, and discussions with other parents.
Help the new woman in your life understand children with ASD may exhibit the following:
Personal / Behavioral
- Exceptionally high skilled or gifted in certain subjects while very low in others
- Excellent rote memory in specific areas
- Perfectionism displayed in some areas
- Significant difficulty with reading comprehension
- Abnormal fear with little to no apparent reason
- Limited interests with intense focus on one or two subjects
- Obsession with TV or movie quotes, video games, objects, ideas, or desires
- Tendency to injure self via biting, head banging, or pinching
- Lack of interest in others or intense preoccupation with own interests
- Appears distant or lacking in emotion
Social Interactions / Communication
- Difficulty making eye contact or reading facial expressions and body language
- Reluctance to answer questions, especially about themselves
- Inability to understand another’s feelings or express empathy
- Difficulty in grasping ‘rules’ of conversation, small-talk, jokes, sarcasm, or certain figures of speech
- Avoidance of groups or social gatherings including family gatherings
- Tendency to engage with those younger or older more easily than those of their age
- Preference to being alone
- Disinterest in others or what is occurring around them
- Flat or blank expressions, often seeming in their own world
- Speech or language difficulties or peculiarities
- Spontaneous commenting on topics unrelated to current subjects of conversation
- Resistance to being held or touched or conversely a strong preference for touching or hugging others
- Difficulty in understanding personal space
- Obsession with one or more topics that they talk incessantly about
- Often talks out loud or makes verbal noises while listening
- Either abnormally loud or quiet when speaking
- Brutal honesty, sometimes inappropriately
- Difficulty making friends or maintaining friendships
- Inability to perceive danger in certain situations
Emotions and Moods
- Emotions may pass very suddenly or linger for an abnormally long period
- Intense frustration and release of it in unusual ways
- Crying, throwing temper tantrums, or acting out violently for no apparent reason
- Fear of disappointing others
- Breaks down or tunes out when being reprimanded
- Feelings of overwhelm when given too much verbal direction
- Strong resistance to change
Physical Sensitivities and Eating Habits
- Strong need for comfort Items such as a blanket, a particular toy, or small object
- Strong sensitivity to lights, sounds, textures, tastes, or smells
- Very high or low pain tolerance
- Extreme intolerance to certain foods – textures, smells, colors, or their proximity to each other
Health and Physical Movement
- Food allergies and food sensitivities
- Gastric issues
- Bathroom issues
- Difficulty with fine motor activities and coordination
- Behind in both fine and gross motor skills development relative to peers
- Odd or unnatural posture and gait – walking on toes or without swinging arms
- Lack of concern for personal hygiene
Time and Regimented Routines
- Short attention span for learning or game playing with others
- Difficulty transitioning from one activity to another without repeated reminders
- Inability to sense timing – 5 minutes, 5 days, 2 months
- Difficulty waiting their turn; strong desire to be first in line
- Strong need for structure and scheduled routines
- Expresses displeasure or frustration at others who do not stick to ‘the schedule.’
- Repetitive play
- Compulsive or ritualistic behavior patterns such as rocking, spinning, arm flapping, licking, tapping, humming, rubbing, etc.
- May engage in particular activities, often mundane ones, for hours
My stepson exhibits many of the above but certainly not all. He amazes me with his memory of facts, information, and ability to quote numerous movie lines and almost complete television shows. Initially, I was uncomfortable with his rubbing of my arm or need to touch, but I learned to accept it.
I still struggle with his extreme fear of bugs, anti-social behaviors and strange to me, eating behaviors. I am not sure I will ever enjoy eating out in restaurants with him. Some things I have learned to let go. Other things I still need a reminder for, such as not taking things personally.
Thankfully, my stepson outgrew many of his anger issues. I used to fear his outbursts and couldn’t understand his violence. He still needs multiple reminders to complete tasks or prepare for events.
His dad and I worry about depression, schoolwork, and his future. Similar thoughts most parents have about any child, but for my stepson with ASD there are additional considerations. I learned early on that becoming his stepmom would be challenging. I am grateful his dad did his best to help prepare me and that he still forgives me when I get frustrated. He is grateful that someone else loves and cares about his son even during my exasperations.
Children with Asperger’s face unique challenges, as do their parents. The more aware and educated those in your family and close inner circle are about ASD the more help for your Asperger’s child and you. Prepare for successful interactions, despite the challenges and any differences, by sharing information and resources in advance. Your Asperger’s child and new woman friend will both be thankful.
Sources and Recommended Resources:
My Aspergers Child
Parents – Autism Symptoms & Diagnoses
Autism Speaks – Asperger Syndrome Resource Library
(c) Can Stock Photo / zimmytws
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It’s almost inevitable that your ex-spouse will date someone else one day. Perhaps you will know him, most likely you will not. You may be envious or delighted, maybe angry or hurt. No doubt it will stir some emotions, especially if you have children. I bet though; you won’t expect it to be a registered sex offender.
The thought of your child or children interacting with another man is not an easy one to wrap your head around. However, it is important for everyone’s sake that you try. That’s what my friend was doing. Until he learned something, he never imagined possible.
What started as a curious search on Facebook, led to an incredibly stressful time in his and his new wife’s lives. Below is a bit of that story.
The following story is true, but names have been changed to protect the children involved.
The Search and Discover
They sat at the kitchen table, her perusing Facebook on her laptop, him looking at emails on his phone. She asks the name of Ann’s (his ex-wife) new boyfriend and inquires if he’s looked him up yet. He says the name out loud (we’ll call him Bill) but admits he hasn’t searched him at all.
He met Bill very briefly a couple of weekends ago while meeting up with Ann in a parking lot to drop off his son. Frankly, he wasn’t interested in learning anything about Bill.
She first tries a search on Facebook but there are just too many with the same name, and she gives up on that attempt. Next, she turns to Google after asking him a few more questions such as do you have any idea where Bill lives or how old he is or anything about him. He responds with a couple of potential cities Bill may live in due to the proximity of where they met and his possible age.
She continues the search. Finally, she gets a return with a link that looks like a high possibility to be Bill. She clicks on the link, and her heart nearly stops. She’s looking into a smiling mug shot of an individual on her state’s sex offender registry. It takes her a bit to process the information on the screen, and she thinks this can’t be Bill. Or could it?
He notices her face has gone white and ask her if she’s found something. Since she’s not sure it is Bill, she tries to keep her voice calm and states that she may have found him. She then asks if he recalls Bill’s hair color, or if he could estimate his height or weight. He throws out some guesses but getting a bit frustrated with the questions he gets out of his seat and comes to look at her computer.
My friend instantly thinks the photo is Bill but cannot believe what he’s reading on the screen. He starts to doubt it’s him. They debate the possibility. She does some more investigating. After another hour or so they conclude it is very likely Bill. This is certainly not what she expected to find.
Who, What, Where and Why
A registered sex offender is an individual convicted of committing a sex crime, whom after serving their penal punishment must register as such.
With the passing of the Adam Walsh Protection Act (AWA) in 2007, a national baseline for sex offender registration and notification programs was set for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the principal U.S. territories, and federally recognized Indian tribes.
The national minimum standard, Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), lays out a 3-tier’d classification system. As the severity of the crime increases, or if the repeating of offenses occurs, the tier level increases. It ranges from Tier I to Tier III. The length of the sex offender’s requirement for registration also distinguishes each tier.
SORNA Tier System
Tier I: misdemeanor registration offenses, child pornography possession, and any other sex offenses that do not support a higher classification. The Tier I offenders must register for 15 years with annual in-person verification.
Tier II: felonious sexual abuse or sexual exploitation crimes involving victims who are minors, including distributing and producing child pornography. These Tier II offenders must register for 25 years with in-person verification every six months.
Tier III: forcible sexual assaults regardless of the victim’s age, sexual contact offenses against children younger than age 13, and nonparental kidnapping of minors. All Tier III offenders must register for life with in-person verification every three months.
Source: SMART Watch
The law’s goal is to inform the public and law enforcement officials more efficiently. It requires certain information about the registered sex offender to be included in the national registry. The law also stipulates the specific information that must be made available to the public, while also prohibiting certain information from being made accessible to the public.
The Statistics are Horrifying
Records on acts of sexually-oriented crimes ballooned in recent years, but unfortunately, most crimes go unreported. Studies estimate more than 900,000 children each year are victims. The statistics below were sourced in April 2017.
|Total number of registered sex offenders nationwide in the U.S.
|Total number of sex offenders under supervision of a corrections agencies
|Percent of sex offenders that will commit another sex crime after being released from jail
|| 2.7 %
|Percent of sex offenders that will commit a crime (non-sexual) after release from jail
|| 70 %
|Percent of sexually molested boys who are molested by someone they knew
|| 93 %
|Percent of sexually molested girls who are molested by someone they knew
|| 80 %
|Percent of second offenses that occur while living in a supervised community
|| 60 %
|Average re-conviction rate for a child molester
|| 20 %
|Average re-conviction rate for rapists
|Percent of children who are sexually abused that will become sexually abusive later in life
|Average annual cost to incarcerate a sex offender
|Percent of sexual assaults that occur between 6:00 pm and 12:00 am
|The average number of years a sex offender serves of an 8-year sentence
|| 3.5 years
Source: Statistics Brain
Details and Initial Decisions
My friend’s Internet searches revealed Bill as a Tier III registered sex offender. Released from prison, after serving almost five years, he recently completed his two-year probation. Details of the actual case were not available online, however.
Thoughts whirling in the minds of my friends ran the gamut. Did his ex-wife Ann know? Were his son and her in danger? If she knew, why would she date this man and allow him around their child? What was the story?
My friend called Ann, and the conversation only led to more questions. She did, in fact, know Bill was a registered sex offender but her explanation and any further information from her were vague and misleading.
After consultation with an attorney and continued investigating, my friend obtained the original court documents from Bill’s case. Due to the unsettling nature of the details, my friend attempted to communicate with his ex.
As it became more apparent that he and Ann would continue to disagree on the safety of their minor son, my friend secured the services of an attorney. Through legal proceedings, he obtained a ‘No Contact Order’ between Bill and his son. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the story.
More Time and More Decisions
Just over one year later Ann took my friend back to court, asking the Judge to lift the order so that she could marry Bill. After a court-ordered psych evaluation and numerous consults with both sides attorneys, the Judge sided with Ann this time.
Due to Bill’s prior crimes involving a young female and not a male, she did not believe my friend’s son was in any real danger. While the Judge found Ann’s choice irresponsible and ill-advised, she did not feel compelled to stand in her way of moving on with her life.
What the Judge did do however is change the custody arrangement so that my friend had more parental time with his son, thereby reducing the amount of time Bill would be near him.
While the story did not ultimately end in my friend’s favor, he was fortunate to ensure the protection of his son for over a year. He gained more custodial time with his son and became more aware of what to watch out for. He also learned how to educate his son without scaring him.
Whether you discover your ex is dating a registered sex offender or just an unsavory character you are unnerved by, there are better ways than others to handle the delicate matters. It’s of the utmost importance that you healthily manage your emotions and ask for help when needed.
What To Do If Your Ex Is Dating a Registered Sex Offender
- Speak with your ex-spouse to understand her awareness knowledge of the facts.
- Learn all that you can about the individual’s case and registration status.
- Should you have a legitimate concern for your child/children’s’ safety, communicate with your ex-spouse to address your concerns to try and protect your child/children.
- If communication with your ex-spouse spouse does not provide the outcome you desire, speak with a lawyer to understand your legal rights and pursue any necessary court actions.
- Respect and follow the law; do not put yourself into a situation that could ultimately hurt your children by you breaking any laws and undergoing resulting punishment.
- Don’t let it consume you, seek therapy or counseling for yourself as needed and practice self-care; this may be a very trying time in your life, stay healthy mentally and physically to get through it for your children and family.
- Do not involve the children in this matter under any circumstances.
- No matter the outcome, work with your ex-spouse to keep your kids as safe and secure as possible.
- Educate your children and yourself. Here are two great resources:
All sexual crimes are not the same. Individuals may be wrongly accused and convicted, for those I am sorry. However, many are thankful the national sex offender registry exists. I hope you will not hesitate to use it and legally fight to keep your children protected if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of your ex-spouse dating a registered sex offender.
Other Sources and Recommended Resources:
You can check the national registry here: National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW)
Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART)
Public Health Resources
How to Keep Your Children Safe Online
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(c) Can Stock Photo / lucidwaters
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