Divorce Sucks!!! Here’s how to handle it.

Relationship Tip #31: Divorce sucks. It is usually very painful when dealing with your divorce, particularly when children are involved. All the secrets can come out, sides are taken and often very bad and inexpert advice is given. 
While you’re in your divorce take these important steps.
1. Make sure your children feel safe. Don’t enroll your children into the dispute. It disrupts their feelings of safety.
2. Seek proper legal advice. And seek out support groups if necessary.
3. Be reasonable, even if you don’t like. For example:
a) Don’t threaten to cut the other person off of necessities like money, food, insurance. 
b) Don’t empty the bank accounts and try to starve the other person out. It’s still 50/50 until the deed is done.
c) Don’t quit your high paying job to work making less money, just so that you don’t have to pay child support. In fact, don’t even utter the words.
d) Don’t stop paying bills. The mortgage, the hydro all these things must stay in place for your children and ultimately for you too.
e) Don’t take advantage of the other person or the situation.
4. If you find that you can’t contain your anger, seek counselling or go to anger management. Or call me. I can help you with that.
5. Play fair. For example:
a) Don’t threaten people with exposure of intimacies that you held. Anything that you wouldn’t have said before the break-up is still off limits. There is no time limit or expiration date.
b) Don’t blackmail the other party.
c) Don’t round up a posse or lynch mob against the other party.
6. Stay strong. Use your voice and stand up for yourself with integrity. If you’re being bullied do everything to make sure that stops. Don’t let yourself be bullied into submission or a bad deal that will leave you in horrific circumstances.
7. Surrender to the process, rather than trying to control everything. It will be a much less bumpy ride.
If I were to give you an assignment it would be to picture your life in 5 years. Picture your children happy. Picture yourself with a new partner that you mutually love. Picture your soon to be Ex happy. Picture yourself in the future with everyone (ex-inlaws, friends) getting along and sharing special occasions with laughter and camaraderie. Now, make that your goal. To get to that. And act accordingly to get to that goal. It starts now. Because either way you’re going to have a future together, it might as well be good.
The simple breakdown: Forgive. Look at the bigger picture. Forgive yourself. Get help. Forgive some more.


Keep your eye on the fox

Relationship Tip #30: Beware of red herrings in communication. This is a strategy used to distract someone from the original conversation or argument. The term “red herring” comes from an old English practice when training hounds for foxing. Red herrings would be left or thrown along the route, and the well trained dog would ignore the red herring and keep following the fox scent. Less trained dogs would go after the herring. This happens in conversation all the time. You say to someone, hey you didn’t do what you were supposed to. And they say, yeah, well you didn’t do this other thing. They distract you from the original argument. 
A good example of this occurred this weekend. My 13 year old niece wanted to buy some earrings. When my sister and I saw the earrings we said that they looked like they were ‘starter’ spacers (you know those earrings that make a big hole in a person’s ear – at 13 she’s not allowed to have them, yet she’s obsessed with them). She and her little friend assured us that the earrings were faux-spacers, yet in speaking to the sales person we discovered that they were real and that my niece (and her friend) had lied to us. Clearly being caught in a lie, my niece “threw a red herring” at us saying “but they fit in my ears”. Which is not what we’re talking about, yet she was hoping that she could still negotiate for the earrings and distract us from the lie. Often people will use a red herring that is a hot topic. I once confronted a co-worker about not getting their part of a project done and they threw back that I had been taking too much time off and that my boss wasn’t happy with me. Throwing me into turmoil about my sick time and making me feel that I was in trouble (my boss was happy with me it was just a red herring) thereby distracting me from the original conversation. 
This happens on a much broader scale. Just look at the gay marriage issue that the US is going through right now. They have quite successfully hijacked the conversation of people fighting against other issues such as GMO’s, Tar sands, and pipelines, and have thrown a red herring of a hot topic such as Gay Marriage (I’m for gay marriage, but you already knew that).
So, how do we deal with a red herring. First of all, start to recognize red herrings when they’re thrown at you. If you have children, you’ll have an daily opportunity to do that. Second, point out that the other party has thrown a red herring. Call them on it. Third, stick to the point. And keep going back to your point until it’s cleared up. Doing this will make your life and communication so much easier and will train you and peeps to go after the fox instead of the stinky fish. Be a good hound. And remember to forgive yourself and others when it does come up.