WILL I STAY OR WILL I GO?

According to ‘statistics’ about 1/5th of all people in relationships can’t decide whether to stay or leave.  That’s 2 people in every 10 in a relationship are not sure whether they want to stay with their partner.  Now every relationship has it’s moments when things are pretty rocky, life, work, kids and unexpected events deal some challenging blows from time to time and many couples manage to work through these times together.  However, living every day with the internal struggle going on is not a great place to be and many people, (myself included) spend a few years sorting the why’s, the what if’s, the if only’s as well as the conflict of violating their values around family.

Let’s explore this ‘will I stay or will I leave’ dilemma in more detail.

For me it really was a case of weighing up the pros and cons at the time and attempting to make the decision based on how these balanced out for me – using logic clearly was not the right approach and never one that I would recommend anyone to use, the scales will tip from one to the other on any given day and living in a constant state of ambivalence is mentally and emotionally draining.

Ambivalence in your heart is another matter entirely and goes hand and hand with the distance you will be feeling in your relationship. From my personal experience when you get to this point you no longer want to spend much time with your partner, you talk less and less about important things, both parties end up emotionally detached and the distance between you gets wider and wider.

Here’s the thing!

Your relationship is either too good to leave or too bad to stay, it can never be both and the problem for most people in this situation is not knowing how to really figure out what to do.

Here are some questions to help you get to the heart of the matter, questions for you to ponder that may help you get more clarity and in turn help you reach a decision one way or the other. I would suggest that you write down your answers to each question and come back to them a few days later and see if there is anything you would change or add to your responses.

    1. Take yourself back to when things were at there best between you. Would you now say that things were really, really good?
    2. Has there been more than one incidence of physical violence in your relationship?
    3. Have you already thought about what a course of action that excludes your partner? (In other words have you been mentally preparing to leave?)
    4. If God or some omniscient being said it was okay to leave, would you feel tremendously relieved and have a strong sense that finally you would end your relationship?
    5. In spite of your problems do you and your partner have at least one pleasurable activity or interest (besides children) you currently share and look forward to sharing in the future, that you both like and gives a feeling of closeness?
    6. Are you in a relationship with a power person? If so, then any and all of your needs are a threat to his power. If ever you do get what you want is it such an ordeal that you don’t even feel it was worth all the effort?
    7. Do you have a basic, recurring feeling of humiliation or invisibility in your relationship?
    8. Have you gotten to the point when your partner says something that you usually feel it’s more likely that he’s lying than that he’s telling the truth?
    9. Do you feel willing to give your partner more than you’re giving already, and are you willing to do this the way things are between you now without any expectation of being paid back?
    10. Do both you and your partner want to touch each other and look forward to touching each other? Things like kissing, hugging, holding hands, cuddling. Taking into consideration that some people are just not the touchy feelie type have you or your partner moved to the point where there is no physical affection?

Ideally for couples going through a difficult time in their relationship couple therapy can be very helpful, however this will only ever be productive if both parties are fully committed to the process and in many cases one of the people involved has already made the decision internally and hasn’t been clearly articulated verbally.  Any signs of resistance to this process or other suggestions to work through problems together I would see as red flags.

If you have been struggling to come to terms with an inner discontent for some time and you have reached the threshold and ready now to step over it, if you know there is no going back, then you have reached the tipping point, when you know you are done.

Connect with me by clicking the link below to find out the next steps you need to take before you speak to a lawyer.

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Jenny is an advocate and champion for women rediscovering themselves through the process of divorce.

HOW DOES YOUR LANGUAGE INFLUENCE HOW YOU FEEL?

I’m always interested in the metaphors people use to describe what is going on in their lives little realising that the language we use whether that is the way we talk to ourselves, about ourselves or about what is going on in our lives actually shape our experience and perceptions and hold such power over how we manage some of life’s challenges.

On a Soul.TV episode I had a viewer write in with the following, “I have experienced a run of incidents that impacted me negatively and turned my life upside down. I want to know whether these events were all ‘part of the plan,’ because I am struggling to cope with my life.

As a coach my job is to dig deeper to get to the heart of what is really going on for my clients. In this particular example we don’t know what those run of incidents were, exactly how they impacted her negatively and what her life being turned upside down looks like. There is also a whole lot of very important information missing from the question she asked and there would be a whole lot of questions I would be asking to help her gain more insight, investigate further the mysterious ‘plan’ and in the process she may realise that she has inadvertently given responsibility for taking control of her life over to some nebulous ‘plan.’

We don’t always like or want the things that happen in our lives, our partner decides to leave us, we are made redundant in our job, we are impacted by financial circumstances, someone we love dearly gets ill, all of these things are part of the human experiences and out of our control.

I do believe however that the biggest difference in people are those who take personal responsibility for their life, their decisions, good and bad, and question themselves and their actions.  ‘What is the lesson here for me?,’ “What could I have done differently?” Using language that is empowering will help find solutions to  problems and discover the steps to take to change the things that are simply not working well.

Over the next week or two take particular notice of the language you use on a daily basis. If you find yourself using metaphors to describe something, write them down and think about what they mean to you and also pay particular attention to the way your language affects the way you feel and what events and circumstances show up during the day.

Jenny xx

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A DIVORCE COACH’S GUIDE TO EASING THE PAIN

  • Divorce is a tough time for everyone, but pain can be mitigated by avoiding these pitfalls 
Divorce is devastating for everyone involved, but lessening that pain may be possible if we avoid the most common pitfalls along the way.  By Jo Hartley
Divorce is one of the most stressful things anyone can go through, and it’s not hard to see why. With assets to split, child custody arrangements to be made if you have kids and an emotional rollercoaster to ride, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Yet, divorce in society is unlikely to change anytime soon.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2015 there were 48,517 divorces granted in Australia, marking an increase of 2,019 (4.3 per cent) from the 46,498 divorces granted in 2014.

Similarly, divorces involving children represented 47.5 per cent of all divorces granted compared with 47 per cent  in 2014.

Regardless of this increase in numbers, one thing remains the same: the mistakes that people make when it comes to working through their divorce.

It’s something that Jenny Smith is all too familiar with.

As a separation and divorce coach, Smith helps guide people through their divorce, equipping them with tools and strategies to navigate through even the worst of days.

Smith offers her clients coaching throughout their journey, as well as access to skilled professionals such as financial advisors, legal experts and meditation staff.

Through her service she aims to mitigate the mistakes that divorcing couples most commonly make.

Using kids as ammunition 

Unfortunately, when children are powerless victims, it’s common for parents to use them as tools to manipulate and control situations,” says Smith.  “It causes the most heartfelt grief and pain, not just to the children, but also to the other parent.”

Smith advises that parents need to remember that the consequences of their choices will have a direct influence on their children when it comes to issues of trust, life choices and beliefs about relationships and marriage.

Unfortunately, when children are powerless victims, it’s common for parents to use them as tools to manipulate and control situations”

“Children are not equipped to handle these sorts of confrontations and many will feel they are to blame,” she says.

Smith acknowledges that it takes a certain level of maturity and personal responsibility for couples to put their own issues and pain to one side, but notes that it’s important to work together.

“Keep in mind that children will have a long list of milestones coming up that you’ll both want to be part of,” she says. “Also, thinking longer term, there’ll likely be engagements, weddings and their own children one day.”

Poor communication

While there are many couples that manage to communicate well through divorce, Smith notes that it’s not the norm.

“When communication blocks are put up, it’s a no-win situation for everyone.  Most people have no idea of the long-term implications and, subsequently, the risk of emotional and financial costs spiralling.”

In any communicative situation, Smith recommends asking yourself ‘what is the outcome I want from this?’, or ‘what is it that triggers my emotions in our communications’?

“Being self-aware is critical,” says Smith.  “I call it taking a helicopter view so you can observe yourself in the situation and learn from it.

“Creating change always has to start with us and, even though we can’t control others, we can control ourselves and who we choose to be in any relationship.”

The end of a relationship is the perfect time to assess what you really want next time around from both a personal and partner perspective

Rushing into a rebound relationship

There are many reasons why people may rush into a rebound relationship during divorce. The most common reasons relate to a sense of self-worth or loneliness.

While it’s normal to want to feel loved or needed, Smith says it’s important to remember that it’s unlikely you’ve met the love of your life.

“The end of a relationship is the perfect time to assess what you really want next time around from both a personal and partner perspective,” she says.

Before leaping into a relationship, Smith suggests really getting to know yourself, as well as recognising and acknowledging your own contribution to the failure of your prior relationship.

Consider if you failed to express your needs, enforce your boundaries, or put your own dreams and goals on the back burner to support your partner.

“We have to know ourselves really well and divorce provides plenty of opportunities to see ourselves in a whole different light and not always in a good way.”

Seeking the right kind of professional advice 

Education and information is key in helping you make decisions about your divorce, however, seeking the advice of a lawyer immediately is not always recommended.

“We have to know ourselves really well and divorce provides plenty of opportunities to see ourselves in a whole different light and not always in a good way.”

“Once couples start the separation journey at this point there’s a higher risk of ongoing litigation and conflict, along with higher legal fees that may escalate,” explains Smith.  “Children in the relationship can become a negotiation tool, too.”

Smith says it’s essential to have a great team of professionals on your side who can help you to take steps prior to you seeing a lawyer. Subsequently, this will also prepare you more for the journey ahead.

“You need people who are experts in their field, not your mum and dad, sister, brother or your mate or girlfriend who has been through divorce. No divorce journey is the same and the experience is different for everyone.”

http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/relationships/article/2017/04/20/divorce-coachs-guide-easing-pain

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FINDING STRENGTH AFTER A SUDDEN BREAKUP

If you have just had one of those life-changing shitballs come completely out of the blue and totally rock your world and how you see yourself then I have a few things to share with you!

One minute everything seems great with your relationship, sharing intimate moments, making plans for the future, enjoying being together, had great sex that morning and wham! Your partner arrives home and says, ‘I need to talk to you about something!’

The actual words they are saying are not registering as you struggle to hold everything together in an attempt to comprehend what the hell is going on. Then the words ‘someone else’ start to register as they tell you they have met someone else, they are leaving oh! and adding pathetic words like, “I really do care for you!”

How women react in a situation like this will very much depend on the person involved. From erupting like a volcano and spewing forth all manner of profanities, to falling into a hopeless heap on the fall begging for this not to happen and everything in between.

It’s interesting after the fact to observe yourself in this situation, (well I thought it was!). Once the words actually registered with me I erupted like Mount Vesuvius and I let fly with a string of profanities that even shocked me. When he left, because that was the ‘thing’ to do, I went into a frenzy of collecting everything he owned and all the things he had given me that I could lay my hands on, piling it up in a big heap on the floor. Then I messaged him and said he had an hour to come and collect it all or I would trash the whole lot. The saying ‘hell hath no fury like a women scorned,’ that was me. If they were making a movie and needed someone to play this part I would have nailed it!

And, yes I then took the really mature approach of having a few glasses of wine that night which ignited a tirade of slandering text messages. Seriously this is one approach that I would not recommend, ever!

I’m the cut and run, ‘fuck you’ kind of girl as a response in some situations, not always useful when the reality is that we have to maintain some sort of communication on a fairly regular basis just to sort through all the practical issues that have to be addressed and the decisions to make on ‘how to separate’ (with our dignity intact :))

Here are some practical tips to help put you in control of a situation that could potentially have you operating ‘out of control much of the time.

    1. You will need those special people in your life now more than ever. Make sure you keep talking, ‘a lot,’ and have them close by to listen, to help you think more clearly and see possible alternative approaches to important decisions you will be required to make
    2. Look at your situation from a practical point of view to determine how you want to move forward. Your self interests come first!
    3. Write down a list of what needs to happen, what you are prepared to do and what you are not prepared to do
    4. Get sound legal and financial advice on exactly where you stand
    5. If you need to see a coach or a counsellor do so! They will be able to give you some tools to help you manage your emotions, practical tips and an impartial ear to really listen to you
    6. Accept that this is real and that the only way out to the other side is by moving through it and the sooner the better
    7. If you prefer not to have any communication other than through an intermediary then do this
    8. Many people are just too upset to eat anything because they are feeling so nauseous. If you are like this force yourself to have a nutritious smoothie with all the goodness you need and sip it over a period of time during the day
    9. Every single day do something for yourself that will help you manage the emotional overwhelm that you will be experiencing
    10. Going to the gym, getting out for a walk, spending time with people who make you laugh, having a massage, begin to feel OK about spending more time by yourself when even the mundane chores can be helpful.
    11. Recognising and acknowledging your feelings! There will be many and they will engulf you from time to time. Allow yourself to really feel them.
    12. Their leaving will rarely be about you!  Working in this field for several years now I have began to recognise a pattern in many people. There is something missing in their lives and instead of doing the inner work they look for a new partner, or a new ‘something’ external things in the hope they these will make them ‘feel better’.

Within a few months, things will begin to settle down and although you have a little way to go to really get back on your feet again implementing some of these tips will make a big difference.

In time we all find our way through it, some of us left feeling a little battered and bruised from the experience, life lessons that we can take on board to ensure we move into the next relationship more discerning in who we chose to share our life with, an inner strength to support us as we shape our new lives and the gift of wisdom that comes from any life changing experience.

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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FIRST THINGS FIRST!

A break up can become a real crisis for most people, the pain is very intense and when I think about myself at that time I knew I was ‘out of control.’

I have heard it described as a death and I think that can be how it feels for many of us, whether you had the rug pulled out from under you or you were the one who decided you wanted out, it is the end of life as you once knew it.

Everyone has different coping strategies, some useful ones and some bordering on self-destruction, depending on how you feel about yourself. The tough part of this phase is that there are so many things being forced upon us. Decisions that have to be made – some really big decisions that have a very strong emotional charge and we are often not in the best state to be making these decisions.

Things like selling the family home, trying to put on a brave face for our kids and immediate families who are feeling their own sense of loss, realizing that from here on in we are financially on our own, and often seeing your partner moving on happily to create a new life with ‘someone’ else.

It is very important to spend time with people who will support you and be there for you.  If you feel like having a good cry, let it come, this is all part of the grieving process and the sooner you accept your feelings, the anger, the hatred, the fear, the regret, the sadness, the guilt and the loss, the sooner you go through this,the faster you will be able to move on.

  • Find help from a professional, a divorce coach is a very good place to start, someone you feel totally at ease with and comfortable to talk to about everything that is going on for you.
  • This is your journey – there will be lots of people giving you ‘good’ advice on what you SHOULD do.  From your mother and girlfriends to everyone else you come into contact with – they may mean well but they are not you, they are not feeling what you are feeling or thinking what you are thinking.  Trust yourself to do what is right for you.
  • Conversely, spend as much time as possible with the people you like to hang out with, positive confident people who will encourage you to try new activities, take good care of yourself, getting out walking or running, going to yoga or whatever feels right for you.  Moving the body is one of the best things you can do to clear your thinking and reduce the stress levels.
  • Be mindful of your internal dialogue – the gremlin that can take over our thoughts, send us into a spin and lead us down the rabbit hole – as soon as you notice it taking control of you and your thinking, put the tip of your tongue behind the back of the top of your teeth and this will instantly quieten everything down for you.

Over time you will notice that the end of your relationship has opened up the opportunity to learn so much about yourself, you will be stronger and more resourceful.  You will have the opportunity to really think about your future, what you want to create and get back in touch with who you are, and remember those dreams you once had about how you wanted your life to be.  You will also discover just how strong you really are, and with the right mindset you really can be, do and have whatever you want.

For now, take one day at a time.  Each day may bring up new and different emotions, questions and decisions, just taking one step forward at a time doing the best you can.

For every tough experience, life sends our way there are always good times to follow.  I will always remember this little phrase that I used, sometimes every single day, whenever life was really testing me.  “This too will pass,” and it always did.

When the dust has settled, life will return to some sort of ‘new normal’ and you may find yourself starting to think about your new life. Wondering what it will be like and perhaps, ready to do things you have only ever dreamed about in your previous life.

With love,

Jenny xx

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