Detoxify

Dear friends,

When you are on your healing journey, you will find a need to detoxify. You’ll feel like you need to detox in the physical aspect of your life as well as emotional. You’ll find the need to build boundaries with certain people in your life because they no longer fit with the new you. 

This post is not about walking away from a romantic relationship. It’s about walking away from a so-called friendship. So I guess it might also apply to romantic relationships. 

I’d been thinking hard about writing this post. Because I had promised a friend – or soon-to-be ex friend not to say anything. So I need to be careful.

As part of my recovery from being cheated on, I’ve been learning to build boundaries and listening to my gut instincts. This includes investing less in friends and people who do not care about investing as much or who do not seem to share the same values. In other words, disengage and detach from any relationship or friendship which is not reciprocal. 

Recently I spent time with a close friend who I’ve known for more than a decade. She confided in me that she’s cheating on her husband with a married man. 

I felt so betrayed. I feel a lot more strongly about this because I was on the other side – the side that got cheated on. But more than that I felt angry and disappointed at failing to see this person for who she really is. And I’m scared that once again I’m a bad judge of character. 

I remember when I first met my friend I was really charmed by her. I thought she was this really cool girl. She always dresses well and looks good even though she is not conventionally pretty. And she always has a way of convincing everyone that whatever she uses is the best and her way is the best way. She was involved with a married man when I first met her but she made me see their relationship with rose colored lenses and convinced me that he was in a loveless marriage and that she was really the one for him. Needless to say, he never divorced his wife and she left him after about two years. 

Slowly I began to peel back the layers of her personality. She has the all the trademarks of a textbook narcissist. In her eyes, I’m convinced she really thinks she is the best. She is excellent at setting boundaries in an almost selfish way. It’s like you always know your relationship with her will never be reciprocated and she will never go out of her way to make any effort for you. She will make a show out of making an effort but you know it’s a shallow attempt. But somehow you will still be so charmed that you will never want to displease this person. 

It was interesting listening to her talk about the affair from the perspective of the Other Woman / Cheater. It’s the same old bs of how she hasn’t been happy in her marriage and how this other guy really gets her. But at the same time, she doesn’t want to divorce her husband because she needs him to continue supporting her financially. 

I won’t tell on her to her husband. I pray that he will not be taken advantaged of by her and that her conscience will kick in and she’ll do the right thing. But in the meantime, I will detach and set my boundary with her. 

Maybe it is great that I am finally beginning to see the real person that she is. Maybe it is a sign that my recovery process is working and that I really am starting to heal and love myself. Because I’m starting to respect and have confidence in my own values and am ready to walk away from others who don’t share my values or who will destroy my peace. 

So friends – as you begin your healing process, it may be time for some housekeeping. Set your boundaries and walk away from people and situations which disrupt your peace. Detox and find your peace.

You Got Game

Dear friends,

Do you have game? Do you even know what the game is?

To succeed in life, to recover from a bad situation, to thrive, you need to have game. Game gives you confidence. Game allows you to walk with that little swagger. Game tells others that you are a player and that they better have their game on too if they want to mess with you. 

You need game to climb up that ladder in your career. You need game to navigate the complexities of your personal life. You need game in your dating life. The list goes on…

So what is game and how do you play?

  • Understand the lay of the land 

In order to develop your game, you need to first understand what you’re dealing with. For example, if it’s a promotion you’re gunning after at work, you need to know what’s needed. Is it a special skill set? Do you need more visibility to senior management? Is it exposure within the industry that you need?

  • Identify the players

Next you need to know who you’re dealing with. Are they friends or opponents? Will they help you or are they in the way? Observe their game and see if you can identify any flaws or loopholes in their behavior. What can you do to turn enemies into friends? Who can help you achieve your goals?

  • Experiment

Soft approach or hard approach? Is it beneficial for you to come on strong or to be subtle? Experiment with your behavior until you find the one that feels most natural to you and that others respond positively to.

  • Broadcast

Now is the time for you to walk with that swagger. Name drop. Be seen. Let others know you are also a player. 

So… wanna play?

Making Happiness Happen

Dear friends,

I hope you had a good weekend. I certainly did.

On Saturday evening, I organized my first Meetup dinner with complete strangers. The premise of my Meetup group is basically a social mixer for divorced singles who don’t have plans on weekends and would like to do something fun. 

At dinner, one of the ladies who’s been divorced 15 years commented on how it’s been difficult and lonely and how she’s dated here and there but never found anyone. After dinner, she pulled me aside and told me to organize a night out. 

” Divorced people need to go out as well you know,” she said. 

I am a firm believer that you are responsible for your own happiness. You can’t control if bad stuff will happen to you. You can’t foresee when bad stuff is going to happen to you. The only thing you can control is your reaction to it. And only you can choose whether you want to reclaim your life and be happy after the grieving period. Or if you want to stay victimized and depressed forever. 

To create your own happiness, you have to be deliberate about it. You can’t rely on another person to make you happy. In the above example of the lady who’s been finding it difficult post divorce for  15 years, she should have found ways to make herself feel happy and feel good about herself. 

  • Identify what you need. For example if getting compliments on your looks makes you happy, see if there are any changes you can make to your lifestyle – perhaps healthy eating or buying a few new pieces for your wardrobe that will help make you feel happy. 

If you are scared of feeling lonely, spend some time with your friends. If your friends have no time for you, research your community to see if there are any social gatherings. Get out there and meet new people. 

  • Fill your time with meaningful activities. For example on Sunday, I had an ice skating lesson and a pole dancing lesson. In between those two lessons, I walked 2 miles along the Hudson River to enjoy the beautiful weather and sights and I just felt so happy. 

You really don’t need much to be happy. It’s really the little things that count. But you have to be deliberate and make happiness happen for yourself.

And yes – I am definitely organizing a ‘going out’ Meetup soon. 

The Best Laid Plans

Dear friends,

The best laid plans often go awry.

 I had the worst Valentine’s Day ever. For weeks I had plans to have dinner with my daughter on Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day eve however, my ex mother in law called and insisted on having Valentine’s Day dinner together. I couldn’t shake her off so I got stuck having dinner with my ex in laws sans my ex husband on Valentine’s Day. My ex husband had been on a ‘business trip’ the past three weeks and during dinner, he called to say his flight got cancelled and that he would be back after Valentine’s Day. How very convenient.

At dinner, my daughter was crying and kept pointing to her right ear – a sign that she was coming down with an ear infection. I had an important meeting at work the next day and couldn’t work from home. So I told my ex in laws to take her home with them so they could take her to the doctor the next day. I was awashed with mommy guilt but I had (and am still having) a well deserved break. I had been with my daughter for three weeks straight which included a bout of fever, cold and a snow day. We’ve spiced up our time together with plenty of play dates with our neighbors but it does get exhausting. 

We have a long weekend this weekend on my side of the world. I’ll be alone since I am relationship-less at the moment and my daughter will be with her dad. But I’ve filled my weekend with activities so I don’t feel bored. 

I’ve been divorced for almost 10 months and living apart from my ex husband for more than 2 years now – I’ve forgotten how it was like to be married. Today I was trying to imagine how it would be like on a long weekend when I was married. I would have someone to spend time with. We would probably have no plans. We would probably drive to one of the same old restaurants to have the same old dinner. And then maybe we’d watch a movie at home when our daughter was asleep. I can’t remember if in the later years of our marriage we would be spooning each other on our sectional couch or if we would just be sitting beside each other, each distracted with our own phones while watching the movie. And it would be another sexless weekend or we would go through the ordeal of a planned sex session. But most of all, I remember how we would try so hard to make it a fun weekend but it was in actuality – wait for it – boring. 

Last night I went for a friend’s birthday drinks. Tonight I’ve organized dinner with a bunch of divorced strangers on the Meetup app. On Sunday I just booked myself for an ice skating lesson and a pole dancing lesson. On Monday I will be getting a facial and a wax. I am relationship-less on a long weekend but guess what – it will not be a boring weekend after all. 

So friends – the best laid plans may not happen in life. But sometimes that’s the best thing to ever happen in your life. 

The Haves And The Have Nots

Dear friends,

For the past couple days, I have been struggling internally. You see my ex husband has been on this business trip and has not shown up nor called our daughter for the past three weeks. And I have been stalking our joint bank account.

I know, I know. I haven’t stalked in a while and I really shouldn’t care what he’s up to now that we are divorced. But it’s hard whenever he does something that triggers bad feelings in me – like going on ‘business trips’ and ghosting. Believe me – I do not ever want to get back together with him because cheating on me is the last straw. In fact his affair partner or whoever he’s with right now could have him for all I care since I know this is a man who comes with issues. But what bothers me most is that even though he was the one who caused our breakup, he hasn’t suffered any consequences. I’m the one bearing the brunt of the day-to-day child rearing – and even though I wouldn’t have it any other way, it does get exhausting and it doesn’t leave me much time for myself.

And of course tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, my Facebook is starting to explode with declarations of love from people to their significant other. And here I am, pushing 37 and wondering if I’m attractive enough, if I’ve gained too much weight lately, if I’ll ever find a good guy, if I’ll ever find love again…What if – and it’s a high possibility – my ex husband remarries and I have to deal with his new wife for the rest of my custody duration?!? 

Then today as I was walking my daughter to school on this cold and windy but sunny Monday morning, I looked around at the craziness that is New York City and I said to myself – you know what – right now I have everything that I’ve ever wished for. I’m living in the city that I love, I have a beautiful and healthy child and I have a great career that affords my child a good lifestyle. And when I focused on what I have and not what I don’t have – I started to feel happier. 

I may not be in a relationship again. I may not find love again. My ex may remarry again. These are things in my future that are beyond my control. And if I worry about these things now, I fail to appreciate the good stuff that’s already happened in my life.

So friends, for a lot of you in bad relationships or who are going through break ups, Valentine’s Day tomorrow may suck. But focus on what you have, appreciate the good things you have going in your life right now. And trust that the law of attraction will bring the good stuff back in your life. 

Talking To Others 

Dear friends,

It’s finally happened today. The moment that I’ve thought about and rehearsed in my head happened today. 

Because of the snow storm, the schools were closed and we had a snow day today. I worked from home and my daughter was with me. The fantastic thing about our building is that there are many kids in our building who all go to the same school so my daughter has more of a social life than I do. Me, a friend and my next door neighbor ‘hosted’ a play date – meaning we had a joint open door policy allowing the kids to run between three apartments. 

My apartment is the smallest since I’m a single mom and I only have one kid. Kids being kids – I always get very honest comments from kids like “Wow your apartment is even smaller than mine!” Or “This place is really small.”

And I always acknowledge and say “Yes it is small because we don’t have a lot of people living here.” 

Today it finally happened. 

A first grader asked “Does G have a dad?”

Our next door neighbor who is kindergartner chimed in “I’ve never seen G’s dad. It’s always just two people.”

The first grader gasped “Are you divorced?”

Now I’m proud of my single mom status. To be a single mom and to be able to give my child a comparable lifestyle (and more) to dual parent families, in my opinion, is really brave and is an achievement. But I’ve always been nervous about explaining our single family status to my daughter’s peers – like how do I talk Divorce to kids? I know divorced families are common these days but it’s not like people really talk about it and in the face of ‘happy’ and ‘complete’ families in school, I really don’t want the other kids to treat my daughter like a freak. 

So I answered “Yes I am divorced. G’s dad doesn’t live with us. He lives in another state but G sees him every week.” 

The great thing about today is that there are so many different types of family structures. There are divorced families, single parent families, blended families, gay families… Just the other day, one of the dads in my daughter’s class presented to the class about their family and read them a book about having two dads. I’m a firm believer in exposure and that acceptance and respect of others’ different beliefs, lifestyles and cultures begins at a young age. 

So if you find yourself stuck in a bad situation because you are afraid or embarrassed about how others may perceive you or your loved ones – don’t. There is nothing wrong with being different. At the end of the day, it’s better to tell the story of a warrior than that of someone who was afraid to give a new life a chance. 

The Victim vs. The Fighter

Dear friends,

When something bad happens to you, you usually feel like a victim. In fact, it is ok to feel like a victim – because you are a victim of a bad situation! But after a while, dry your tears, dust off your fears and use the injustice to fuel you to be a fighter! 

I believe that everyone has choices. You could either choose the negative (victim) or positive (fighter). Being a victim leaves you in a powerless situation. It means you are helpless and won’t stop blaming yourself and others for your misfortune. It means you’ve given up hope of this situation ever getting better. And it leaves you bitter.

Being a fighter helps you to take back your power. It puts you in the driver seat. You are given a second chance to steer. It allows you to gain back control of your situation. And most importantly – it gives you hope. 

When I found out I was cheated on, I could’ve chosen to stay victim forever. I could’ve continued blaming my ex husband. I could’ve turned bitter toward his affair partner. I could’ve stayed stuck in a marriage where I have been disrespected because I feared being a single mom. But I accepted the situation. It happened. It was an eye opener. I will learn life lessons out of it.

 And I’m choosing to fight for a better life.

So dear friends, don’t give up. Fight. The battle is hard. You fear you may not win. But fight hard. And take the power back in your hands.