Keeping Your Head

Keeping Your Head

She did it again. She raged at you. Pissed you off. And you reacted. You blew a gasket. Provided you didn’t hit her or assault her in any way, you can come out of this ok. Keeping your head during a divorce is tough, really tough.

Divorce is emotional, and emotions run wild during the divorce process. But, you can control the emotions and control the process if you can keep your head and your emotions in check. Knowing you’re going to chat with the soon to be Ex and be emotionally charged, there are some things you can do to keep a steady course while navigating the rough seas ahead.

Keeping Your Head

The first rule of keeping your cool: Learn to be here, now.

Ram Dass wrote a great book in the late sixties on the subject, with a basic premise: Be Here. Now. (That’s the title of the book, too).

We tend to live a great deal of our lives out while not really being in the moment. There are many tried and true clichés on the subject, though it boils down to some simple understanding about how we build up stress. Most stress in life really has almost nothing to do with what’s actually happening in the present moment, it has to do with how we apply outdated emotions that worked in the past to a current situation that only looks like something that has happened before. We do this really quickly, too, so it takes a minute to recognize in ourselves that we are not really staying present but responding from past built in automatic responses.

If you are stressed in the moment, look around and decide if there is an actual real threat in front of you (like the house on fire) or if you are just working yourself up over something that isn’t even happening (like an imagined conversation going badly with the ex, before you even picked up the phone).

This is what I mean by “be here, now” – Keeping your head by staying present in the moment when you are feeling stress. If you are focused on a past you can’t change or a future that hasn’t materialized, then you are anywhere but here. Learn to get back quickly.

A rubber band may help.

It might sound sort of silly, but it could be the best silliest thing you do for yourself. Heck, the kids wear bracelets everywhere these days so you could even consider it a fashion statement. Go get yourself a regular rubber band and put it on your wrist. You could even get a Live Strong bracelet or a pretty multi-colored rainbow band, whatever your preference. Just make sure it is strong and that you can snap it when you fiddle with it.

I’m pretty sure you can figure this part out already, but just in case you haven’t caught on yet: When you start getting upset, give your new bracelet a little snap instead. It should sting just enough to remind you that you are alive, in this body, here and now, and help bring you back into the present. Eventually, just feeling it on your wrist, or even glancing at it will have the same effect.

Think of Pavlov’s famous dog. That’s what we’re doing; we’re tricking our minds into associating a sensation with an action. The sensation is secondary to the act of thinking about your behavior in the moment and learning to take a small moment for reflection, which will allow you to make wiser choices. Eventually the simple thought of snapping the rubber band will replace the action of actually doing it, and the effect will be the same. You will no longer be living inside your mind and taking actions based on past experiences or imagined futures, but you will begin making better decisions based upon what is really happening in the moment. Learning to divert our attention when we start to feel anger (in this case, into the rubber band) gives us a better chance to take another tactic when we are feeling emotionally distressed.

In Neurolinguistic programming this is one of the most basic “pattern interrupters” we can create. Neurolinguistic programming (or NLP) is the science of the study of how language affects the central nervous system. NLP is pretty powerful stuff and if you’re not already familiar with its concepts, I certainly recommend looking into it. The idea behind the rubber band is easy; we get influenced by circumstance and shift into auto-drive and stop responding to the actual threat, instead using a predetermined set of reactions to handle it. Simply put: we get stuck and stop paying attention. The little sting interrupts that thought process and gives us a chance to think anew on the current dilemma and respond in a better way.

Finally, let me add that a rubber band, while certainly effective, is not the only way to create this pattern interrupting behavior we are looking for. Aldous Huxley wrote once of parrots on an island trained to say “Here and now, boys”. You could set a timer every ten minutes (or two hours, or twice a day, etc) to chime and remind you to pay attention. You could pay Kato to come over and attack you whenever you return home. You can be creative in your choices on how to resolve the problem of keeping yourself present when you are feeling angry.   \

Next week, we’ll look at more ideas for keeping your cool.

Related Posts

  • 46
    How to Keep It Together When Divorce Blindsides You Off to War, Only to Return to a Dreaded Divorce Proceeding The day my life changed started out like any other. Being married and in the military, the trip I faced felt like countless trips before. The same routine played out…
  • 38
    Divorce is one of life’s most stressful events. To add to the complication and chaos, it often involves a move, downgrade in your financial situation, disruption of established routines, and changes in your relationship with your children. Taken alone, each of these changes is demanding enough. Thrown into a mix…
  • 37
    File for an Online Divorce Are eDivorces Really a Thing and Three Ways to Get One The 21st Century is all about saving time and convenience. We can get married in Las Vegas through a drive-through. We shop online for grocery deliveries, pay our bills and bank online, and do many…
The 5 Stages of Grieving a Relationship after Divorce

The 5 Stages of Grieving a Relationship after Divorce

Well, now you have it. The relationship is dead. And, trust me, it’s not easy. Surviving the death of a relationship is like surviving the death of a loved one. There’s a grieving process we go through, we all do, when something dies. This time, it just happened to be your marriage. That one-time partner for life is nevermore. And, it hurts. It’s painful. Very painful. But we must endure and move on.

But, to do so, we need to understand the 5 stages of grieving involved and what we must conquer in the process.

The 5 Stages of Grieving

  1. Denial. In this first stage you are still listening to your broken heart’s ballad played on repeat rather than your logical mind. Said mind makes it clear that the relationship is done for. But you don’t hear it over the beating, entrancing unchained melody blaring from within.

As you’re trying to adjust to your new reality, one free of the struggles of your relationship and old routines, you’ll notice a tightening in your abdomen and a brief loss of breath caused by anxiety. You’re in a constant state of disbelief. And even send out the occasional (albeit unanswered) drunk text from time to time.

Still believing you can fix the broken-ness in the marriage, you entertain a level of hope for a future with her despite evidence to the contrary.

2. Anger. Anger is sneaky and can manifest in surprising ways during the 5 stages of grieving a relationship. It may be hard at first to know exactly where to aim your rage. You’re clearly angry at your ex, but you’re also conflicted by deeply rooted feelings of love and fondness for her.

You begin to think about all the ways she did you wrong. This, of course, leads to you to more self-loathing where you question your very place in the universe, and wax poetic about the fact that you will probably die alone.

After all, everyone but you is in a relationship that will last forever. How could your

How could she do this? What about all the plans you made? Did your promises mean nothing? You begin looking for someone to blame for your poor fortune. The ex is a given, but you really need a bigger target. God? The Universe? The producers of The Bachelor? Sure! They’ll do.

Everything reminds you of her.

A song on the radio.

A billboard for a local restaurant.

You associate situations and people with your breakup, and you find that you’re angry with people who really had no bearing on your relationship at all. When people try to avoid your wrath by talking some sense into you, it’s easier to respond with pure, fist-shaking, vein-popping rage than listen to reason.

You may also feel an increasingly powerful urge to tell her off. Resist that urge. Be the bigger person.

3. Bargaining. Bargaining and denial are best friends. They go on dates where they watch home movies of your defunct relationship wearing rose-colored glasses. They eat those disgusting salads with fruit and spinach mixed together in an unholy combination.

And they’ll have you believing that right amount of begging and some clever bargaining could bring that relationship roaring back to life.

Now you’re looking for any way to make this work: threats, negotiation, a deal with the devil for your soul for eternity…

Hollow promises (about changing things about you really don’t think are a problem but you lie anyway) leave you faster than you can write them down. Counseling, a second job, fewer hours at the office–they’re all declarations declared in a vain attempt to revive what’s already laying flat in a fridge wearing a toe tag.

If that doesn’t work, opt for a side of guilt with your corpse. Throw in the kids. Tell her about all the therapy they’ll need just to function like normal adults. Blame her.

Keep it up long enough, and she’ll see she was right to leave your crazy ass.

4. Depression.

This may manifest in different ways. Symptoms include (but aren’t limited to):

  • A lack of energy
  • A desire to sleep more often than normal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of desire to do anything you had previously taken pleasure in.

Drug and alcohol abuse are common in people going through this stage. A permeating lack of hope may push you to miss days of work or duck out on pre-planned outings. Friends and family will grow noticeably concerned about your welfare, but you can’t muster the will to care.

You feel like you’re going to explode into a weeping puddle of emotion at any second. And you long for the sweet reprieve of death. Believing everyone would be better off without you around, you’re tired of burdening those around you with your problems.

If at any time you experience any of these symptoms, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline immediately at:

1-800-273-8255

24 hours a day, 7 days a week including holidays. The service is free to everyone, and your call is kept confidential.

Visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s site dedicated to suicide prevention for more information about depression and steps you can take to treat it. 

5. Acceptance. The last of the 5 stages of grieving a relationship takes the longest to reach. But once you get here, you start to feel like yourself again.

Here, in the land of “Wouldn’t trade nothing for my journey, now,” you are finally able to accept the relationship is over. You’re better off for it.

If you don’t agree you are, it’s at this stage that you are finally able to recognize that the only course of action is to move on. Let go of the past.

Your interests begin to return little by little. Friends may comment that you look better than you have in years. You find a renewed sense of purpose and may even take up new hobbies.

Final Thoughts

In the midst of the churning tide that is the five phases of this process, it may seem impossible that you will ever arrive at this sunlit place, but you will. A lingering sadness may occasionally pop up, but those days become few and far between.

In the end, you are focused on your own well-being and your bright future ahead.

Understanding how the break-up process affects us can help you overcome some of the more challenging parts of this experience by making them easier to navigate. Just remember, you can’t rush through any level of the grieving process. The best thing you can do for yourself is to allow yourself the right to pass through each stage all the while feeling your feelings. Processing them is the only way to keep the breakup from haunting you for years to come.

Related Posts

  • 49
    Preventing Divorce Four Ways to Protect Against Divorce and Achieve Emotional Intimacy Gender roles are changing. Men are as immersed in the care of hearth and home as their wives or partners. Although recent data claims divorce rates are falling, they still occur frequently. Gender equality in the home improves…
  • 45
    Relationship Death Resurrecting Yourself in the Age of Technology   I can’t see shit. Literally. The moment I take out my contacts I’m operating purely by The Force. I can’t imagine what life would be like if I’d been born in another time. Surely I’d have been a liability to…
  • 42
    How to Prevent Divorce Easy Actions You Can Take Now to Turn the Tides In Your Favor Anyone who has gone through a divorce, either the divorce of your parents or your own, wishes they had the secret to making a marriage work. If only marriage was like a math…
Real Men Do Ask For Directions

Real Men Do Ask For Directions

Well, that’s it. The divorce is on.  And now you start to wonder – Where do you go from here? Where do you ultimately live? Where is it best to reside to start anew? These and many other questions will abound as the divorce comes into clear focus. But, real men can get help. Amazingly, real men do ask for directions, and real men ask for advice. So, prepare for battle because it’s going to get bumpy ahead.

Within weeks or in the coming months, friends and acquaintances will be asking tough questions of you. How’s it going? What happened? I thought you guys were great together. What went wrong? So, ask yourself a few basic questions as you traverse this treacherous new path.

Real Men Are Prepared

Why do they want to know? It’s okay to be skeptical.  Real men get divorced, and a divorce is a very personal matter, and you have a right to privacy.  Does this person have a genuine interest in your well being, or are they only genuinely interested in gossip?

Unfortunately, you will find yourself on the receiving end of prying questions at the most inopportune moments. Rather than find yourself caught off guard, be a real man and prepare a few canned responses which will make the situation a bit less awkward.  The following are three options, commonly referred to as the Three D’s:

  • When in doubt, deflect.  It’s a gracious way to handle any situation, as you are not refusing to speak — you’re just refusing to speak at that moment.  It may sound something like this, “I would love to chat, but now is just not a good time.  Call me and we’ll have coffee.”  By putting the onus of follow up on to the person asking, you are increasing the likelihood the coffee date may never happen.  Gossips can be lazy and opportunistic.  If they have to call and schedule a gab fest, it likely won’t happen.
  • Be diplomatic, yet vague.  If you don’t want to divulge any information, yet the possibility of a future coffee date is unappealing, choose the vaguely diplomatic option.  It may sound something like this, “You know how things are. It was just time.”  Assume they know what you mean and move on.  People skilled in this method will add reinforced body language, give a knowing nod and perhaps a grief stricken arm squeeze.  Instinctively, the person asking the question will mimic your body language and find themselves nodding knowingly without understanding why.  Once it registers that they do not, in fact, know how things are you will be a safe distance away.
  • Divulge.  Have a good purge.  This person may be truly interested and now may be the best time for you to be a real man and have a good chat.   They may offer helpful insight, an understanding ear and may very well offer you a hug at just the right moment.  A helpful tip is to get a clear picture in your mind of who these people might be prior to leaving the house.

Consider the source. In any divorce, division of friends is inevitable to some degree.  But some friends are sincerely Switzerland, and can maintain respectful boundaries with both parties.  These friends will make themselves clear fairly early on.  In the event you’re not sure, trust them with small pieces of information.  You’ll sense a leak early on and will know that this person simply isn’t to be trusted with matters of the heart at this time.

Other friends will be like “Cleanup on Aisle 6”.  These friends will seem as though they are all about a compassionate shoulder when they run into you at the grocery store, however they are on their phone spilling your business to God knows who before you reach the checkout.  Be careful.  Choose your confidants carefully, and keep up a brave front when those outside your immediate circle ask for too many details.  The emotion that you’re feeling now will pass, as will your perception and understanding of what happened.  Best to work these things out in private than in the theater of public opinion and gossip.

Consider the approach. “How are you?  So I heard that…”  Sigh. Whatever people say or is being said about you is truly none of your business.  This bears repeating, so I’ll say it again:   whatever people say or is being said about you is truly none of your business.

Rather than enter a discussion either explaining your position, defending yourself or wading around in the murky waters of hearsay, simply stay dry and don’t engage.  Why?  Because you know what happened.  You know your role is the demise of your marriage and the part you played.  That isn’t anybody’s business.  You also know her role in the demise of your marriage and the part she played, and that isn’t anybody’s business either….especially people who begin a conversation with the latest gossip about you and your situation.  Rest assured whatever you contribute will continue to be conversational fodder.  True friends will approach with kindness, compassion and with a gentle look of understanding.  Maybe a hug or a warm pat on the arm.  They won’t ask you anything because they don’t need to know, they just understand what you’re going through and will respect your privacy.

Go forth and be social knowing you are prepared as a real man to handle any social situation.  Rest assured there will be blunders, you may overshare, and people may stop speaking with you if you don’t offer the juicy entrails of your split and divorce.  But, for a real man, this phase too shall pass, and you’ll come out the other side knowing your true friends, and be that much stronger for it.

Related Posts

  • 78
    There’s no shortage of advice on how to recover from life after divorce. Even with all the information available, the experts often overlook one crucial thing—divorce offers positive opportunities and aspects. As with anything, you have to take the bad with the good, but make no mistake, there is plenty…
  • 75
    It’s over. Finished. Your divorce is final. Now that it’s over, what are you going to do? Maybe you had pictured what life after divorce was going to be like, maybe you never thought about it until after the final decree was entered. Either way, now it’s time to face…
  • 69
    Just because women are typically more emotional than men doesn’t mean divorce is harder on them. In fact, it’s been found that divorce is harder on men for man y reasons.  Throw in the fact that 69 percent of women in the United States initiate divorce, compared to 31 percent of…
I’m Not Locked In Here With You

I’m Not Locked In Here With You

I’m not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with me.
— Rorschach in Watchmen, by Alan Moore

Let’s get one thing straight from the start. You’re divorced. You have kids with the Ex. The truth of the matter in dealing with your Ex is this – YOU HAVE TO. It’s a necessary evil. You’re locked in to having to deal with your Ex.  I realize you don’t want to. Neither did I. I get it. But, you’re going to have to deal with her about visitations, child support, alimony, kids activities, and any of a countless number of other things.

Locked In With the Ex

Your kids, like most kids in this nuclear world, are going to be involved in any number of outside activities, science fairs, dance, concerts, sports, plays, graduations. Most of these activities will be reason to run into the Ex, and may involve collaboration with the Ex. No matter how much you wish it NOT to be so, it’s going to happen. It’s inevitable.

Sorry to bring the stark fatalism into this article, but I’m just sayin’. You made babies with this woman, you’re gonna have endure some social functions as her Ex when the kids are involved. So, the best thing to do is swallow your pride, and make the best of what is surely a tough situation.

There are a few ways this can be achieved, of course. One of the easiest is to be on opposite sides of the space, whatever it is. If she sits stage left, sit stage right. At a basketball game, go to the other set of bleachers to cheer your daughter or son on. Just because you are in the same place, doesn’t mean you have to actively engage her. It’s probably going to happen, even if it’s just in passing. But there’s nothing that says you need to be locked in with each other as she or he delivers that Shakespearean soliloquy.

Another way is to come to an agreement beforehand – you want a few minutes to talk to him after the game (or she does, if you are the custodial parent), then you definitely should be allowed to, in peace. But don’t just walk up afterwards and usher your daughter away either without so much as a Hello. Work it out beforehand. Communication, as it turns out, does work wonders, even in the most hateful and contentious of breakups.

In fact, that is probably the best bet for most things regarding your kids – come to agreements. This will inevitably end up involving compromises, whether anyone likes it or not. Not everyone can get their own way all of the time. Not even the most virulent case of “affluenza” will achieve that goal. Sometimes, as much as you can say No, others will be telling you No as well. Learn when to say Yes.

And I know that sometimes, especially with big life-events such as graduations or weddings, it’s not going to be just your former spouse present. Chances are, your former in-laws will be there as well. If you’ve maintained great relationships with them, fantastic! If not… well, best be on your guard there, and then some. You can’t help how others will act. But you can help how you react to others’ poor behavior. Lashing out, especially at a public event centered around your children’s achievements, is always poor form, bar none.

It may be easy to say “take the high road,” but it’s a lot more difficult to actually do it. Fortunately, there’s plenty of time to get used to the idea. That’s why you’re here, right? We all could use a little leg up from time to time. I know I still do to this day.

All that said – whatever you do, don’t panic. Nobody ever died from being locked in the same room as their Ex. At least, not for that reason. Just remember one thing most important of all – the reasons you may be in the same place at the same time is for the kids. It’s their events, it’s their time to shine. Swallow your pride, and realize, ultimately, it’s them what matter during these times. Save the drama for… another time.

Related Posts

  • 65
    It’s over. Finished. Your divorce is final. Now that it’s over, what are you going to do? Maybe you had pictured what life after divorce was going to be like, maybe you never thought about it until after the final decree was entered. Either way, now it’s time to face…
  • 65
    Post-divorce dating is a mine field. There are too many things to consider. How much are you supposed to say about your divorce? When should you mention the kids? Will anyone even want to go out with you anymore? There’s no way to escape the circus but here are seven…
  • 63
    We forget that divorce is a family-affair.  It’s between you and your immediate family.  You don’t divorce your neighborhood.  So stand your ground, hold your head high and step off the porch.  You can do this. IT’S YOUR STREET TOO - LOOK THEM IN THE EYE Granted, many of the…
Perfect Strangers After Divorce

Perfect Strangers After Divorce

Kids. You love them. You hate them. But, they’re yours. And, after the divorce, they’re even more important to you than ever before. They become perfect strangers – disengaged, distressed, displaying avoidance at all cost. They’re lonely, upset, feeling left out, feeling unloved.

Time for you to move in on this dilemma. Show them some caring. Some trust. Some emotion. But, most importantly, engage with your kids. They need you more than ever.

Speaking as the rare custodial father, it really irks me to see parents that don’t seem to be involved with their children. Sadly, I’ve been dealing with that a bit myself today – my son’s been blowing up my phone with texts all day.

He’s clearly bored, and not being engaged whilst on his visitation with his mother. He even asked my partner (not me, strangely enough) to come pick him up.

Now, this is admittedly something that hasn’t happened in a good while. But it’s not the only time. And I see it with my own partner’s daughter, too, and her relationship with her own father.

Sure, parents and children shouldn’t necessarily be best of friends 24/7. And there’s always going to be some conflict of personality. It’s all part of them growing up.

But, speaking as a custodial parent, it does hurt me to see the kids feel like there’s no connection between the kids and their mother.

Therefore, here’s a few simple pieces of advice that would hopefully prevent some of the alienation that might occur between kids and their non-custodial parents. Hell, custodial parents may even get something out of these.

Perfect Strangers – Three Ways to Keep Your Kids Engaged

Talk to Them

No, seriously!

It really is as simple as that. Talk to them, regularly. About anything — that they might want to talk about, preferably  — at first. And don’t do it in a condescending way, either, even unintentionally. Children like to know that they’re being listened to. They want their opinions and thoughts validated.

“Parents just don’t understand,” remember that song?

Well, show them you do. They don’t need to be perfect strangers. They’ll start paying attention to you as well. And it doesn’t even have to end when their mother (or father) picks them up.

Heck, get them a cheap cellphone, one that doesn’t even need a plan that can be joined to WiFi (assuming they have it at their home), just so you can text with them. Trust me, they’ll appreciate that, even if you have to compete with Angry Birds for their attention.

Engage Kids in Activities

Boredom happens because, often, there’s nothing to do. They may be bored, because you’re being boring.

Now, yes, sometimes grown-ups have things to do. But, especially if you’re the non-custodial parent, your time with them is limited, and going back home reporting that “We just sat around and watched TV” isn’t going to inspire confidence. Nor is it really going to get you to connect with your children that you’ve already had a fair amount of disconnection from by virtue of the divorce.

So, sure, if they want to watch TV, why not watch it with them for a bit? You might not be totally up on Adventure Time or Regular Show, but that’s OK. You don’t have to be.

All that said, watching TV might not be the greatest activity to engage in. But, by the same token, don’t be perfect strangers either. Take them out. Head to the park and walk the trails a bit. Anything you can do together with your kids is good for the bonding experience. It’s one thing to say you’re there for them, another to put it into tangible actions.

Time is limited; make the most of it.

Stay Involved, Even When They’re Not There 

This might be the trickiest part. If your kids aren’t around, you might not be as inclined to try to keep up with the day to day activities of raising them. Out of sight, out of mind, even if you don’t mean it to be that way. Therefore, try to keep tabs on what’s going on with the activities they may not tell you about.

As non-custodial parents, you do have a right to know their teachers names and numbers, and be in contact with them to discuss their schoolwork and grades. Also, you have a right to know who their doctors are, and consult with them as well.

This is more background dealings, that the kids may not even be aware of until you say something. But it still shows you care, and try to engage them on that level. Believe me, even if they can’t consciously put it into words, they will appreciate the gestures.

In Closing

These are just a few ways that being connected, and being actively involved with your children, can be accomplished. The point here, is that just because you might be the non-custodial parent, doesn’t mean you have to be an absentee parent as well. Be involved. Talk to them. Do things with them. Just be an active part of their lives, like they really want you to be.

How do you stay connected with your kids when you’re not around? What do you do to keep your kids engaged when they’re with you? Let us know in the comments!

Related Posts

  • 38
    WOW. Now you’re divorced. And you’re pissed off because you were pissed on. You didn’t deserve this. And, you want to spout off to the world. Talking about your divorce on the internet is tempting. Your computer is the perfect weapon – it’s right there, just sitting on your desk.…
  • 35
    No divorced guy wants to spend time with his ex after divorce, but when you're dad to special needs kids, you  learn to deal with their mother, sooner or later. Here's some advice to help you get there sooner.  In 2002, my daughter was diagnosed with autism. She is doing…
  • 35
    How to Keep It Together When Divorce Blindsides You Off to War, Only to Return to a Dreaded Divorce Proceeding The day my life changed started out like any other. Being married and in the military, the trip I faced felt like countless trips before. The same routine played out…
Getting Off The Bench After Divorce

Getting Off The Bench After Divorce

Ok. Your divorce is over. Your done licking your wounds, sitting at home, and mending the battle scars of divorce. Its time to get back into the game and start dating again. GREAT. But, getting off the bench and back in the game is a bit tricky, especially if you’re out of practice. Getting back into the game is all about setting aside the pregame jitters, preparing yourself for what lies ahead, including massive amounts of rejection. But, hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your new dating life. Let’s prep you to put your best foot forward and begin the process of getting you “prepped and ready to rock and roll”.

Getting Off the Bench and Back in the Game

Step one: know yourself on the inside.  This may sound uncomfortable and, honestly, it certainly can be.   Your objective is to avoid making the same mistakes twice.  That means taking an introspective look at what went wrong in your last relationship.  Avoid the knee-jerk reaction to place blame; instead, ask yourself, what part did I play in the relationship failure?  How could I have been a better partner? Take note and be aware so as not to repeat the same habits going into your next relationship.  The unexpected bonus to this step is that the question of what went wrong in your past relationship will inevitably come up, and women find it oodles more attractive when a man accepts responsibility for the role he played.

Operative cliché:  It takes two to tango.  

Step two: know yourself on the outside.  Take a look in the mirror. For argument’s sake, let’s say you’ve been off the market for at least a year, maybe five.  You may have gotten comfortable with your significant other, while time (and fashion) marched on without you. You may be feeling uneasy about putting yourself back on the auction block, and consequently you may feel like dating is not your scene.

But the solution is elementary: the fastest way to get off the bench and increase your confidence is to treat yourself with kindness.  Take heed from your female counterparts in this department and treat yourself to a spa day.  See a barber and get the full grooming package.  Update your look and indulge yourself with a shopping trip. If you find yourself gravitating toward your old standard, find a personal shopper.  A personal shopper is a professional, not the 16 year old at the mall, who will elevate your personal style.   It will still be you, only better.  Put your best foot forward, literally.  When you’re finely groomed and feeling fresh in your new threads, that confidence will radiate.

Operative Cliché: You only have one chance to make a first impression.  

Step three: know thy audience on the outside.   It’s safe to say most men have a type.  Now that you’re single, have you considered stepping outside of your comfort zone in the looks department?  Have your tastes changed over the years?  Women are a beautiful species; have some fun and entertain the thought of what your next special someone might look like.  Used to dating short women?  Smile at someone eye level for a change.  Typically hold doors only for brunettes?  Lend a hand to a redhead and see what happens.  Getting off the bench and taking yourself out of a pigeonhole widens your prospects for happiness.

Operative Cliché:  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  

Step four: know thy audience on the inside.  Put yourself in her shoes for a moment: she’s just met you. Does she really want to spend her evening listening to you unload about your divorce? But how do you know what she wants to talk about?  Simple: you’re going to ask her.

The key here is to have at least 3 open-ended questions up your sleeve to get the conversation started.   Simple questions like “What’s the last good book you read (or movie you saw)?” or “ Where is your favorite place to go on vacation?” or the no-fail  “What do you hate the most about meeting someone on a first date?”   You will have mastered this step once you are able to listen, retain and return.  How will you know when you’ve succeeded?  When you remember what she said and you’re able to bring it back later in conversation.

Unexpected bonus: If you are at all nervous, letting her do the talking is a great way to put yourself at ease while building your confidence.

Operative Cliché:  We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, listen twice as much.  

Step five: be yourself.  It sounds incredibly cliché, but most clichés are not entirely without merit.   In order to find someone who is able to connect with you on a deeper level, they’ll have to know who you truly are.  Maybe you love UFC, but you also write poetry.  Maybe you have a book inside you that is dying to be written.  Maybe you alphabetize your canned goods.  So tell her that.

Operative Cliché:  Nobody is perfect; you just have to find the person perfect for you.   

So, there you have it. The five steps to getting off the bench and back into the game. Good Luck and Be Safe Out There.  

Related Posts

  • 50
    Dating. It seems easy enough. You’ve done it before.  You can do it again, right? Dating after divorce can't be that hard.Perhaps you’re a bit rusty and you need to get some kinks out, get some air in those tires and figure out if you can still keep your balance.…
  • 50
    When you write a book, what do they tell you? Consider your audience, no?  When you write a speech, what do you they tell you? Consider your audience, no? Well, dating is no different, friends. For conversation’s sake, let’s assume you were married for at least two years, engaged for one year…
  • 50
    With so many online dating websites and apps, trying to find a date can start to feel a little overwhelming, especially if you’re hot off a divorce. Meeting someone in real life (IRL) can be refreshing and much more meaningful. The best thing you can do is try to get…