A Dream Talk with Your Ex

What if you could have a talk with your ex(es) that was free of agenda, baggage, posturing, fear or positioning? Imagine what that talk would be like? What would you want to talk about? What questions would they answer for or about you?

What if it were a talk of absolute truth ... would you be prepared to hear it? And if it were perfectly accurate, could you make the changes within yourself that such a talk might reveal?

Since we all know that talk is unlikely to happen, what's a good alternative? How about having the conversation with yourself first and then work with a coach or counselor? The introspective talk is a good start, but having someone that is trained in helping you through the process can make the difference between "real healing" and "repeating." Think of it this way... would you rebuild your home with your own two hands after a fire or would you have a contractor do it; especially if the fire was at least partly your fault?

The point here is: we're all going to make mistakes and decisions don't always work out. But making the changes to avoid repeating them gets us another step closer to being the person we are meant to be.

A big thanks for my anonymous single dad guest blogger!

Stay in Your Kids Lives, No Matter What

I can't imagine how hard it must be to live life after divorce as a dad. If you don't have 50/50 custody, you may only see your kids every other weekend, some weeknights, and for a couple of weeks during the summer ... if that.

As a mom, I sure do enjoy the times when my kid is with her dad, or like right now, when she's vacationing with her grandparents. I've passed the point where I grieve her absence because we spend so much quality time together.

But if the shoe was on the other foot, and I was only going to see her 5-10% of the time, my heart would literally break into a million pieces.

If you see your kids much, much less than you'd like, there are a few things you should know, and a couple I hope you'll do:

  • Know that if your absence affects you, if affects your kids.
  • Know that the mom, even if she doesn't like you very much these days, knows your kids love you and wants you to love them back.
  • Know that you own your relationship with your kids and you, and only you, 
  • Your kids need their dad!
So ...
  • Call them. Email them. Send them cards. Go to their school events. Show up and keep showing up.
  • When you have time with your kids, put down your smartphone, close that laptop, put away your work, and make the most of each moment. You can always work longer and harder when they aren't with you.
  • Remember, it's not about the money, it's about the time. I always ask my daughter, "If we could do anything together, what would it be?" Most of the time, she wants to pop popcorn and snuggle up while we watch a movie. Cost: $5. Value: Priceless.
I don't remember a lot of things from when I was a kid about our day-to-day life, but I remember special events and times when my parents made me a priority. We went to King's Island, Cosi, and to Williamsburg, and I still remember those trips like they were yesterday. Your kids will remember the special times you have together, too, for the rest of their lives.

You can only do what you can do, but you can do that ... Do it for yourself and your kids. They'll be glad you made the effort and so will you!

3 Ways to Know You're Ready to Date After Divorce

I was encouraged to immediately start dating after my separation. After all, if you’ve tolerated a bad relationship that finally ends, why wouldn’t it make sense to immediately start looking for something great with someone fantastic? A-hem. Seriously, what could possibly go wrong?

My friends rallied around me, told me “I still had it” and began introducing me to eligible bachelors, whether they were a potential fit or not. I dated a few nice people, but for sure my heart was not in it. I had yet to get my bearings, had not even begun to heal, and was certainly more than a little shell-shocked. At the time, even though I didn’t know it, a finalized divorce was still more than a year out. 

My therapist mentioned I needed two years of self-reflection and healing time between significant relationships, and was kind enough to inform me that the clock actually doesn’t start ticking until I had a Divorce Decree in hand. As it turns out, the experts seem to agree.

You might be hearing from friends and well-meaning folks, “You need to get out there.” But what you’re probably feeling is either, “I don’t think I’m ready,” or “I don’t even know where or how to start.” Since I’ve lived through it, I’m a big believer in the two-year rule. Give yourself some time to get used to your new life, discover things about yourself didn’t know, and settle into life as you now know it. 

Then, when you’re past the point of licking some serious post-divorce wounds and you’ve found some inner peace, you might be ready to get out there. 

Here are 3 ways to know for sure it's time to start dating:

1. You’ve thought about what you want, what you don’t want, and identified the deal-breakers. You’ll probably want to attract a new relationship with someone who has at least a few characteristics that are the opposite of your ex. You may want to find someone with some of the same qualities, I mean, he wasn’t all bad, was he? In addition, you want to identify some deal-breakers. I had a few: all activities had to be completely legal, and he had to be completely single and available. Make a list, and be sure to make the process fun.

2. You’re neutral about your ex. You may still have some good feelings of love and fondness, but you’re not in love. On the flip side, you’ve let go of any anger and homicidal feelings. You can think of your ex with no spike in emotions, no pit in your stomach, and maybe even with some thoughts of well wishes.

3. You are actually at least a little excited at the prospect of meeting new people. This is a whole separate post, but if you can think of dating as a big fun adventure where you get to meet fun and exciting new people, you’re good to go. So go!

Unfortunately there’s a necessary time for healing and transition between the end of your marriage and the beginning of something significant that is also healthy and has long-term potential. The good news is, when you do the work you need to do to make it successfully through that transition time, you’re gonna love what’s – and who – is on the other side! 

What Your Ex Isn't Telling You About Your Teenage Daughter

There's a special place in Heaven for parents of teenage ... daughters. I wouldn't be a teenage girl again for any amount of money. Any. It would be even more expensive to make me a single-dad-divorced-parent of a teenage daughter. Specifically of one who is hormonal.

With all of the emotional ups and downs, one minute I observe my daughter feeling terrific, the next moody and a little crazy pants. Add to that a divorced-family situation, and all bets are off.

I spoke with a single dad recently who told me his ex refused to speak with him about his daughter's period. No information about when to expect it, what to have on hand to deal with it, and how to help her deal with the {literal} pain. Yikes.

If the communication between you and your ex is sad at best, here are a few things she's probably not telling you about your daughter and her period, that you definitely need to know:

  1. She will try to play both parents against each other, be on the lookout and don't let this happen. The best antidote for arguments started by what your kid is saying is to have open communication between the parents. Keep your side of the street clean {no bad-mouthing your ex}, assume mom is doing the same, and ignore any information to the contrary. This is regardless of her hormonal status, by the way.
  2. You need period supplies. At between 12-14, your daughter will start her period. This will make her cranky and moody. Remember this, no matter what: her crankiness and emotional-ness is not about you. Don't take it personally and for God's sake, don't engage in the crazy.
  3. If she comes with supplies, go buy duplicates. If she doesn't, take your daughter to Walgreens and ask her to get what she's been using. If she doesn't know, visit Drugstore.com and get a box of pads, tampons, and some Teen Formula Pamprin or Midol.
  4. Her period is not an excuse to be disrespectful or rude. Don't take any shit, just remember to see the situation for what it is and what it isn't.
  5. Put a Period Tracker on your smartphone. You can track when she's going to have her period, which will serve as an early-warning system for you. {Get one if you have a girlfriend, too.} She will be sweet as pie during one visit, and the next she could be feeling emotional and vulnerable, and you may for the first time be able to understand what that's all about.
  6. Know that women cycle together, so chances are your ex is going to be on her broomstick at about the same time as your daughter. Just check into the nearest Four Seasons or head out of town on a business trip. You're welcome. 
  7. Invest in some chocolate for your daughter, and some fine wine for you. All will be well.
You've got this, dad. Hang in there, and post any questions in the comments.

Single Mom and Single Dad Transformation Program Facilitator Certification

The Single Mom Transformation Program (SMTP) was developed for single moms, and was based upon my STMA (Short-Term Massive Active) executive coaching program, so Honorée Corder could write The Successful Single Mom book. She worked with seven single moms over the course of 100-days to perfect the Program and write the book. 

Then, in August 2012, due to high demand, she published The Successful Single Dad and created the Single Dad Transformation Program, too.

From September 10th through December 17th, Honorée will be conducting the Single Mom & Single Dad Transformation Program Facilitator Training. The training is virtual and takes place in 8 sessions over 100 days.

The Single Mom and Single Dad Transformation Program Facilitator Certification is for professionals who want to facilitate Honorée Corder's work with single moms and single dads. We are a community of compassionate and fiercely positive folks who believe being a single parent by choice or by chance is the beginning, and anyone has within them the power to transform their lives into anything and everything their hearts desire.

We're looking for heart-centered people with amazingly positive attitudes, a heart for single moms and dads, and a desire to help others. If you have been through a divorce, or see a lot of divorce in your life and business, and want to help single parents find hope and create a new life, one that they truly love, this certification just might be for you. Our facilitators and facilitator-candidates so far are financial advisors, network marketers, realtors, and the founder of a non-profit.

Others who might be a perfect fit are: psychologists, counselors, therapists, divorce attorneys, clergy and divorce coaches. 

If you are interested in becoming a facilitator, contact Honorée Enterprises COO Joan Richardson at 214-422-3965 or email Joan {at} CoachHonoree {dot} com to receive an application. September Certification will be limited to 10 facilitator-candidates.

Due to an overwhelming response, we will be doing our next Single Mom & Single Dad Transformation Program Certification starting January 14th, 2014. 

This Single Dad Survived His First Love, and Heartbreak, After Divorce. You Can, Too!

Recently, I experienced my first official breakup since the divorce: I got dumped

I saw it coming ... and one of us would have pulled the trigger eventually. She was the first woman I've dated that I've really liked to this point. 

Aside from the divorce, it's been a long time since I've had this happen and I've come to realize how different romantic relationships are at this stage in my life. 

First, for me, is the importance of friendship. She and I are trying to keep our friendship alive, and I am more sad at the prospect that it may not work out than at the loss of a romantic partner. 

It's interesting how different my relationship goals are now compared to when I was a kid. Through the divorce, I kept hearing stories of people cutting loose and experiencing a period of wild sexual freedom. I'm not sure what it says about me but that's not something I want. While I'm not seeking to get married anytime soon, I do want meaningful relationships; friendship first, then intimacy. 

The next realization is that I definitely know what I want. I totally get that everyone I meet at this stage has lived and shaped their lives, so there is no delusion of perfection like when I was a kid. For me though, I'm seeking to be in a relationship with a woman where the "what I do want" side of my list outweighs the "what I don't want". 

Thanks to a lot of soul searching, I know that my "do" list includes some must-haves: 
  • speaks directly and is forthright, 
  • does what they say they'll do, 
  • is able to express needs and make decisions based on those, 
  • has 1 or more children, 
  • a career of any kind, and
  • is available

You might think that last one is obvious, but it's been a bit trickier for me than I expected; in part because, until recently, I haven't actually been emotionally available myself. Similarly, some of the women I have met have not been available for a variety of reasons. 

In this recent relationship, we both believed she was initially available but as we progressed and she reflected upon herself and us, she discovered otherwise. I suppose it's a good thing that this was discovered before we went much further, and that it is enabling her to address and heal underlying issues, but still, it hurts. 

And that last point is what I think is the most positive aspect for me; that I was not only open to being hurt again, but that I have made it through. It'll happen again; I'll open myself to love and maybe I'll even get hurt. But now I know I want this again and that I can DO this again!

Happy Single Dad Day & a Giveaway

When I first wrote The Successful Single Mom someone asked if I was going to write The Successful Single Dad, and my response was, "No, I've never been a single dad." But in 2011, it became apparent that dads needed a book, too, because I heard a lot of, "I'm a single dad. I read your book and just replaced "mom" with "dad" and pretended the book was for me."

Last year in August, I published The Successful Single Dad. 

Both books are similar, but I replaced the "mom" stories with "dad" stories by interviewing some amazing single dads ... it turned out that when I started looking around, there are single dads e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e! 

More and more men are getting full or 50% custody of their children, and staying actively involved in their lives ... even turning down career opportunities or starting new businesses just so they can see their kids at every opportunity. *Applause!*

Cheers to the single dads and Happy Single Dad Day!

If you're a single dad, you haven't read the book and you'd like to, I'd be happy to send you one. The first 5 single dads to leave their answer to this question in the comments will receive a complimentary book, "What's the best thing about being a single dad?"

Embracing Happiness as a Single Parent

When you're a single parent, how often do you think of pursuing your own personal happiness? Honoree Corder, author and creator of The Successful Single Mom, recognizes the tendency of the single parent to always put their kids' happiness first and foremost, but she stresses that by prioritizing your own happiness once in a while can lead all single parents to "have extraordinary lives." She revealed to Care.com who she leaned on as a single mother to her daughter, how she's learned to re-prioritize her life, and how finding love has created a win-win situation for her family.

Single parenting can be especially tough because as a parent, you get stretched so thin. How are you making it work for yourself and for your kid(s)?

I was ruthless with my time: I worked for myself, so I worked only when my daughter was at school.

Read the entire article here at Care.com.