In an effort to provide readers with a fuller list of tips in their post-divorce single life, Sari Cooper, relationship and sex therapist, adds some tips to the article Surviving Divorce: 20 Dos and Don'ts first published by The Survivors Club on Huffington Post with which they may be struggling.
1. Decide if Forgiveness is Possible.
Although people say that the only way to get over a divorce is by forgiving your ex and yourself, sometimes there are lines or boundaries that have been crossed that may be unforgiveable to you. Janis Abrahms Spring wrote about this dilemma in her book How Can I Forgive You. If this is the case for you, then the best solution for you is to learn techniques to let go of the anger and bitterness which zaps the very life-affirming vitality needed to transition to a single life. Calming techniques like meditation or yoga can bring a new awareness of how to calm your body/mind/emotional system down.
2. Avoid People who are Negative:
It is tempting to fall back on familiar patterns as the first holidays and milestones of your new year of "singledom" come up. However if spending Christmas with your family of big drinkers has always left you feeling terrible, decide to start a new tradition with friends you regard as supportive and positive. Keep people who have not resolved their own toxic relationship patterns at arm's length as you build up your psychological tank with love and positive energy.
3. Create a Divorce Club for Yourself:
Send out e-mails to as many people as you know and let them know you're starting a divorce club that will meet monthly. Few friends understand the experience of divorce unless they have gone through it themselves so to have new pals who've been through it all and can have your back is priceless.
4. Learn How to Date Again:
Although many experts say not to go out with someone too soon after a break up, I think some newly single folks use this advice as an avoidance tool for romantic relationships entirely. For some people who have mourned the loss of the relationship for months or even years before the actual split, they are sometimes quite emotionally ready to date a new person or people on a more casual basis.
Dating is a skill that gets better with practice. If you set down rules for yourself and let your date know them as well, you can actually go out casually and get to work on skills like making small talk, how to meet people who have something in common with you, flirting without making any commitments and learning about new people.
5. Set Sexual Standards!
When individuals become newly single their knowledge of sexual practices and/or safer sex guidelines may be outdated. Research is showing that the over 50 year old demographic is showing increased rates of STD infection. Why is that? Well, for the heterosexual boomers who came of age before HIV and AIDS hit their communities they may not be in the habit of using condoms. As well, they may only think of birth control in terms of pregnancy prevention and since they may be dating women beyond child-bearing years they are not thinking outside this concept. If you think you want to get more sexually intimate with someone new, educate yourself on the safer sex guidelines and have a talk with a partner about your boundaries before you go back to someone's place. Don't drink so much that you are not in control of keeping the decision made before the date. Buy yourself some condoms and bring them along!
6. Keep Children-free Time Sacred
As you are adjusting to this new world of divorce as are your children. They have their new schedule balancing time spent with you, their friends and your ex. Make sure when the kids are scheduled to be with your ex that you have made plans to do things that you enjoy doing whether it's catching up with friends, reading a great book or going to the gym. It's your job to maintain the new schedule and not give way due to your own guilt about having gone through a divorce or due to your own loneliness.
7. Sexual Consent
You must ask a woman if she is okay with each sexual behavior whether she or you initiates or leads the sexual activity. "Are you okay with this?" "Can I do ________?" "Can we_________?" are all examples of consent questions as you begin a sexual relationship with someone new. If you didn't grow up with asking these questions before your marriage, you will have to practice saying them along the way so there are no misunderstandings. For women, you must think about what you might want to do ahead of time and decide a time to discuss it with him/her before you hit the couch, bedroom, etc.
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