Dating After Divorce

people-2589780_1920A lot of people under estimate how difficult it can be to start dating after divorce, when you have children. You’re likely going to be dating somebody who has kids, as well, which means you’ll have to work around more then just two people’s schedules. If your children are young then you’ll also need to pay for a babysitter increasing the amount of money you’ll be spending to go on dates. Plus at the end of the day when you’ve put your kids to sleep, the last thing you probably want to do is get dolled up, go meet a stranger and hope for the best.

With all these difficulties in mind, I made a list of creative things you can do if you’re in this situation.

  1. Find a date that’s cheap. As mentioned, there’s a good chance you already need to spend cash on a babysitter so why not save money on the actual date. Do something like going for a walk instead, especially if the weather is nice. This also gives you a constant topic of conversation as you can talk about what you’re seeing as you walk. Walking also comes with less pressure than sitting in a restaurant. If you’re shy it can be nerve racking to sit across from someone you don’t know who’ll be staring at you all night. An added bonus, you’ll be getting exercise!
  2. Only meet for coffee or drinks. This is another way to save money since you won’t need to pay for a full meal. If you do find that you’re enjoying yourself you can always order an appetizer. Plus drinks or coffee is much less of a commitment if the date isn’t going well.
  3. Be adventurous. Make a bucket list of things that you personally want to do or see and plan fun dates based on your list!  This could include things like going for a hike, going to the beach, a wine tour or festivals in your area.

Overall dating after divorce is more difficult because it’s more complicated but hanging in there is key.  Also surrounding yourself with social support, specifically spending time with people who have successfully found love after divorce will keep you both hopeful and inspired!couple-1845620_1920

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Are your problems “first world” problems?

sunset-2525181_1920I ran into a friend the other day at the gym and she started telling me that her and her husband have been renovating their house and they recently bought expensive light fixtures for their kitchen. Once installed, she didn’t like the way the lights looked. She also found herself obsessing about how ugly they were and nagging her husband to take them down. It got to the point that every time she walked into her newly renovated kitchen she was fixated on these eye sores. It even led to a few arguments between them.

After days of dealing with this, her husband gently pointed out that her being bothered by the new expensive light fixtures was a “first world problem.” This was eye opening for her and after hearing that comment, it helped her to let go of the stressful reaction. Instead she switched her focus to the fact that she has the means to renovate her kitchen to begin with.

It’s easy for us to get caught up in the details of our job or how our partner hasn’t emptied out the garage or even how a friend hasn’t gotten back to us yet. We can become obsessed with the little things and allow it to ruin our day or even our week.

My intention is not to minimize what you are going through but to help you change your perspective. The truth is a lot of what we stress about are “first world problems.” What that means is we take for granted how easy our lives actually are. We have clean water, a cold fridge (probably with food in it), access to free healthcare and likely live in safe neighbourhood. Things could be so much worse. Lets remind ourselves of what we do have instead of focusing on what we don’t. Notice how your mood changes, almost instantaneously when you change your focus.father-1633655_1920

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How to be a good friend

girls-462072_1920Believe it or not, it actually takes certain skills to be a good friend. By “good friends” I mean people who are supportive, empathetic and may even help you reflect on your life. For example I have clients who tell me that when they reach out to a friend for support they often hear comments like “ I went through the same thing but worse, so I’d rather have what you’re going through now.” This statement minimizes the other person’s feelings and they are less likely to reach out for support, as they may even feel more alone after this conversation.

If you struggle with how to respond to a friend calling you when they’re upset, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t change the topic to yourself. A lot of people think that it will help their friend to hear that you relate to their struggle but the truth is if you bring this up right away it can come across as self-centered. Instead, try asking open-ended questions, like “How are you feeling about all this?” When someone is calling you about something that happened they probably want to talk about how it makes them feel so make sure to give them the chance.
  1. Empathize. Say things like “Oh my God, that must be so hard”, or “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.” If the person is angry, get angry with them! Feel their emotions with them and express those emotions back. It can help this person feel better to have that comradely because they want to feel justified.
  1. Validate them. Think about your friend’s history and relate it to how they are feeling, saying things like “It totally makes sense that you would feel this way since the same thing happened to you last time, you must feel so hurt.” At this point you could also mention that you went through something similar and you remember how it made you feel.

As with any skill, being a good friend can be learned. Try practicing these tips the next time a friend, or someone who could become a friend, comes to you with a problem. You may find your friend circle expanding!pinky-swear-329329_1920

 

 

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How to have a happy marriage with twin babies

baby-22194_1920Research shows that 67% of couples report lower marital satisfaction after kids. Generally marital satisfaction will stay at the same reduced level until the children turn 4 years-old. As a Psychologist and new mom of twin boys, here is what I have learned so far on how to stay happy and in love.

  1. Have a scheduled date night. Keep things interesting by taking turns choosing the date. Some of my favourite date ideas include: Trying a new restaurant, a double date with friends, comedy show, cooking class and wine tasting. It takes extra effort to plan since raising new babies is exhausting however it’s quality time to look forward to in the midst of the chaos.
  2. Invest in your relationship. Don’t get caught up in over-thinking the expenses of a date night or hiring a babysitter. It will be worth the investment. You can also find cheaper alternatives such as ice-skating and hikes. If you’re investing all your time into your baby and expecting your relationship to be fine it’s highly likely you will be disappointed.
  3. Be affectionate. When we touch our partner we release the biochemicals endorphins and oxytocin. These are feel-good chemicals that can help us feel close and attached to our partner. I have even had client’s tell me that if they cuddle before bed they find that they sleep better. I commonly hear from new moms that they cuddle so much with their new baby that they find they cuddle less with their xanax brand generic partner. Knowing this, try your best to be affectionate with your partner, even during the busy day. It can be simple things, like greeting them at the door with a quick hug, a hug and kiss before bed and in the morning. These small things will sustain the relationship.
  4. Cherish these moments as a family. Enjoy this precious time. With your growing baby. Try your best to be present to this little miracle and how they develop and learn everyday. Watch them with wonderment. It is truly a beautiful time to be present to their little personalities unfolding. Do this with your partner, you are creating life long memories.
  5. See a Therapist.. Having a baby is such a life-changing event and can be a difficult transition for both your life and your relationship. Seeing a therapist, even when your relationship is good, can help you sustain what good you have and learn tools to make it even better. Often couples come into my office when their relationship is already in crisis. Instead try to see a therapist early and be preventative.

Life can be hectic and when you add a baby or two to the mix it can feel overwhelming. To avoid reaching the point of a relationship breakdown be sure you are scheduling time out with your partner and reconnecting everyday as often as you can. Most importantly, cherish the time with your baby together since before you know it they’ll be all grown up!baby-165067_1280

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Mental Illness Awareness Week

girl-1098612_1920A recent study by the University of Toronto revealed that 2 in 5 (almost 40%) formerly depressed adults are happy and achieve complete mental health. This research provides a hopeful message on Mental Illness Awareness Week. These adults reported that they are happy almost everyday and report good life satisfaction. The study found that the following 3 factors were common in those who overcame depression.

  1. The importance of sleep. How much sleep are you getting? It’s worth talking to your doctor if you feel you aren’t getting enough or aren’t waking up rested. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep study to rule out a sleep disorder. The good news is sleep disorders can be treated. You can also try smaller changes like going to bed at the same time every night and having a calming bedtime routine. Click here for more sleep tips.
  2. Social support. Having even one good friend to talk to can make a big difference in overcoming depression. If you’ve been feeling down for some time, ask yourself when the last time was that you spoke to your good friend. If you don’t have any good friends at this purchase xanax tablets time you might want to try reaching out to a coworker or even use social media to catch up with an old friend. Feeling depressed makes it really hard to get motivated, especially as we approach the winter months. Just feeling supported by one person can help you feel less alone. There are also depression support groups you can join to meet new people.
  3. Good Physical health. People with good physical health are more likely to overcome depression. This means going to the doctor when you notice aches and pains or even going to the dentist when you need to. Use your work benefits as much as you can. Exercise and diet is another key factor in good physical health. It can be hard to change these habits overnight but start with something small like going from a large to a small can make a big difference in how you feel. 

It’s important to remember that these are all things that are within your control. When depression hits it can be easy to fall into feeling hopeless and helpless. Try to remember that 40% of formerly depressed people get better.runner-888016_1280

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Things To Keep In Mind When You Move In Together

widow-1148929_1920Moving in together is a significant step in your relationship. It is definitely an exciting time for you both. You will learn a lot more about each other, some good and some bad. Here are things to keep in mind when moving in together.

  1. Make quality time for each other. When you move in it’s possible that your routines may clash leaving little time together. It’s important to make your partner a priority. This may look like waiting an hour longer before eating so you can eat together or one partner going to the gym before work instead of afterwards. The important difference here is you’re making quality time together as opposed to just passing each other in between your routines.
  2. Take time to be alone. This is just as important as making quality time together. Taking time for yourself is very important as a way to reboot your system. It allows you time to think through things and clear your mind. Different people need a different amount of alone time so be sure to check in with yourself and communicate this to your partner.
  3. Communication is key. Communication is always a really important part of any relationship. Once you move in together it’s more important than ever to communicate your needs and frustrations. This includes how clean you like to keep things, how late it’s okay to be making loud noise and what eating and sleeping habits you keep. If you aren’t communicating these things but just expect your partner to do them you are setting yourself up for future resentment.
  4. Have realistic expectations. Moving in and sharing your space can be a difficult transition. In the beginning it will take some time to adjust. This is normal. It’s likely you will find yourself arguing over little things. During these moments be sure to keep this in mind. It takes time but soon you will both find your rhythm. Also remember that arguing in a relationship is perfectly normal, what matters is how you argue.

Moving in together is a big step for any relationship. It’s an exciting time where you get to know even more about this person you love so much. There will be some frustrating parts in learning each others preferences and routine but with good communication this can be the start of a great adventure!holding-hands-1149411_1920

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Opposites Attract… Sometimes

I had a client ask me recently about the old adage “opposites attract.” She told me that she is in a relationship and it’s so much work because they are both so different. She expressed that she thought the relationship should be able to work because everyone always says that opposites attract. The truth is that opposites do attract… sometimes. In order for opposites to attract and successfully work it’s important that the opposites in question be complimentary.

As an example of opposites attracting but not being complimentary think of vacation destinations. If you’re adventurous but your buy alprazolam 2mg online partner is more laidback, you may want to backpack through Europe while your partner wants to go to an all-inclusive resort in Turks and Caicos. Another example is if you prefer to budget your money and save up for bigger expenses but your partner wants to splurge on things whenever they can: This can lead to fights. It could also be as simple as you like to go out several nights a week and try new restaurants but your partner likes to stay in and make dinner. These opposites will all result in some clashing in your relationship.

However there are opposites that do attract and do so successfully. For example if you tend to be a more serious person and you meet someone who is more of a jokester who brings out your playful, goofy side that would be good thing! Or if you’re super organized and your partner is more go with the flow then you can be the who pays the bills but you don’t mind because you know you’re better at it and you may even like doing these detailed tasks. It could even be as simple as you hate to cook but your partner loves being in the kitchen.

So next time you are on a date and you find this person in front of you who is so different from who you, ask yourself if this person’s opposite is complimentary to you and your lifestyle or if your differences will likely lead to stress.

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How To Get Her Back

roses-690085_1280This week’s blog is targeted specifically towards men going through a break up. Whether it’s the dissolution of a relationship or a marriage it’s always tough. Most women in these situations are heartbroken but may still hold a glimmer of hope in their heart for you. In these cases, women still want to be fought for. To show her she is worth the fight, follow these steps.

  1. Tell her you’re sorry and tell her that you’ll do whatever it takes to get her back. Give her a specific list of all the things you are willing to do such as going to individual or couples counselling or reading self-help books. This will show her that you have put some thought into your plan. She will feel special as a result.
  2. Share with her what you have learned from this break up and why you think the break up happened. Then reflect on and tell her how it will be different when you get back together. From her perspective she may be afraid to get back in a relationship with you because she thinks that the exact same thing will happen again. You have to show her that you are willing to change and not repeat the same behaviour.
  3. Show empathy. Tell her that you understand that she must have felt so betrayed, hurt or lonely in the relationship. Tell her that you understand she doesn’t trust that you will actually change. Explain to her that you will be taking baby steps in the right direction and ask her to trust the possibility that you will change and that trust will grow.
  4. Give her the time that she needs to heal. If she tells you that she needs space to heal, it’s very important to give it to her. By continuing to call her and text her you are making it about yourself and your anxiety. She expressed her need for space and by reaching out to her you are actually disrespecting this expressed need and her stated boundaries. No matter how sweet the gesture is – if it’s a love letter or flowers – it’s still showing her that you are putting your own needs above hers.

The most important thing is the follow through. If you are saying all of these things, make sure you mean it and are committed to taking action. While she takes the time to heal be sure you are working on yourself in the meantime and working on growing and making positive changes in your life.couple-1502624_1920

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Stop Putting Off Happiness

balance-1107484_1920While I was pregnant with twins I noticed that I had started clenching my jaw a lot and especially at night. I would go throughout my day and feel happy leading my busy life but when I went to bed my stress seemed to come out and that’s when I would catch myself clenching and grinding my teeth.

The truth is that I knew what I needed to do in order to not clench my jaw at night. Drinking hot tea, taking magnesium before bed, meditating and doing yoga daily and even taking a warm bath are all ways that could help me relax and unwind. This got me thinking and I realized that really everyone knows what helps them unwind and relax, but often are not applying all of these things in their lives.

Take a moment now to list a few things that you love to do, that make you happy. Why aren’t you doing more of these? What stops xanax no prescription cheapest you? Do you tell yourself that you are too busy? Too tired? When it comes to making larger change in our lives, such as leaving that dead-end job to start a business, or ending that toxic relationship, it is usually fear that stops us. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? How would your life be different if you trusted that everything would work out for you? Would your choices be different?

Starting with small change first can help you build confidence. Starting in the morning, do that thing that you love. Take time to go for a walk, play your favourite music. Slow down enough to take some deep breaths before the whirlwind of the day starts.

Fuel your soul first. Make your happiness a priority first. It’s not selfish but self-care to take time for you. You will actually be a better parent, employee and friend if you start putting your happiness at the top of your list.coffee-690349_1280

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A note to new moms: It’s gonna be hard, but you can do hard

woman-356141_1280Being pregnant with twins (and having a c-section in 4 days!) there are a lot of thoughts running through my mind. I keep having conversations with friends and family about how much more work two babies are compared to just one. I am mentally preparing for it to be hard, especially at the beginning. With two babies my husband and I will be an equal number of parents and children right away and we will be unable to “trade them off” to one another so one of us can get a break, clean up, or even prepare a sandwich. In addition, the sleep deprivation and our needs not mattering as much anymore as we attend to two little people, will all be a big adjustment.

Thinking about this also got me reflecting on my past and everything “hard” I had gone through. I reminded myself that I’ve overcome a lot and gotten through some really tough times. I thought to myself “If I persevered through hard times before, won’t I be able to do this? This is gonna be hard…but I’ve done hard, and came out the other side.” This thought was followed by a sense of confidence and trust that everything always works out. There was now room to enjoy this big life transition called new mom… of two.

I noticed that when I’m feeling nervous I start to see myself as small. The reality is that I’m not small and in fact I’ve proven my strength on many occasions in the past. Here is what I want you to do the next time you start to feel the same. As soon as you start to feel anxious think of all the things you have overcome in the past. Look for your strengths. You will begin to realize how strong you actually are. Sometimes it just takes slowing down for a minute to remember.

I also want you to make a list of the resources available to you, as a new mom. This could be a list of friends, family, community services, or books you want to read. Be specific and write them down. Then write down a list of your own strengths such as hardworking, resilient, resourceful or positive.

Keep in mind that it’s normal to be nervous since this is new territory for you. Keep the list on your phone or somewhere easy for you to access when you need it. This way any time you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious you can review the list and remember all that you’ve done and all that you have available to you.beautiful-young-1434863_1920

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