The Lighter SideWomen's Issues

Collecting Memories, Not Things

October 10th, 2016 → 9:55 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

I just returned from a wonderful weekend away. My good friend K’s mom passed away recently after a hard-fought battle against cancer. Another friend, A, and I flew down to Florida to help K clean out her mom’s house and prepare for it to be sold. Now you are likely re-reading my first sentence and wondering what was so “wonderful” about that weekend.

It’s emotional to “clean out” someone’s life and decide what is worth keeping, or not. It’s heart-wrenching to realize that boxes of photos that were someone else’s memories don’t necessarily mean as much to those left behind. It’s difficult to make a determination in a matter of minutes about whether an item is worth donating to the thrift shop when you know the decision to purchase that item was well-thought out back in it’s day.

Thankfully, K’s mom was neat and organized and her house reflected that same semblance of order. There was no clutter. There weren’t stacks of things everywhere, but nonetheless, there was still a tremendous amount of stuff to go through. Every item in each bedroom closet, bathroom cabinet, linen closet, curio cabinet, dining room hutch, and kitchen drawer sat waiting to be reviewed … waiting for it’s future to be decided. Keep. Donate. Toss.

Our friend K handled this like the champ she is. I learned so much from watching her go through this. I am undoubtedly more prepared for the day when I inevitably find myself having to do the same thing after my mom passes away. K showed emotion, and love, and connection and laughter. Lots of laughter! And her mom would have loved that.

I left with several realizations that I wanted to share with you.

Collections: So many of us love to collect things, and it’s fun as you seek, find, and gather, but remember, what you collect is likely only a turn-on to you (unless it’s a collection of very valuable things, like old gold coins, which can ultimately be sold). Collecting chocolate molds was fun and games for years until someone had to figure out what to do with 92 of them. I realized that my collection of elephants serves no meaning. I’ve had fun buying them on various trips, but it’s really the trips that have been so memorable – not having another wood-carved elephant sitting on a display shelf. It’s time to review which ones are meaningful and which ones are simply taking up space.

Obsessions: Different than collections, obsessions are things that we end up having more than an average amount of for some unknown reason. For K’s mom, there appeared to have been an obsession with placemats. I think we stopped counting when we got to 32 sets (a set being 4-8 placemats each). We had a great time laughing and pondering what our kids will name as our obsessions. In full disclosure, I realized that if my kids were to clean out my bedroom right now, they would find about 19 pairs of flannel and fleece pajama bottoms. I’m going to do something about that this weekend. I promise to pare it down to no more than 7 (at least, I will try to).

Valuables: There are items that have a real financial value, and items that have an emotional value. Sometimes, it can be tough to determine what falls into each category. No wonder so many shows on HGTV feature people discovering great finds at thrift shops that are worth lots of money. The man at the thrift shop literally started rolling his eyes at us when we pulled up with yet another truckload of items to be donated, and the odds are in some treasure-seeker’s favor that we donated at least one valuable piece of blue and white willow pottery, depression-era glass or sterling silver. It’s sitting in that thrift shop just waiting to be found. I realized that the things I own that may not look like much, but that do carry some financial value, need to be itemized and noted for those who eventually clean out my house. It will make things so much easier for them.

Friendships: The most important take-away from the weekend was that friendship ranks at the top of the “value” list. True friendships are absolutely priceless. Life is tough. We all endure our fair share of trials and tribulations. Having deep relationships and people by your side to cry with you and celebrate with you (and even to clean out with you and move on with you) is really what is most valuable in life. K’s mom was a role model for how to be a good friend to others as was evident by how many people we ran into who spoke so lovingly about her (neighbors, the postal carrier, people at the grocery store…). I realized, yet again, the importance of making time for and truly investing in friendships.

So, you see, it really was a wonderful weekend. We laughed and cried together. We supported each other. We contemplated our own mortality. We talked about our moms, and we talked about what we are like as moms ourselves. I think K’s mom was there with us in spirit and we hope she was laughing and smiling with us, even when we were making fun of some of her stuff (seriously, who needs 53 cloth napkins, 24 sets of sheets, and 8 sets of measuring cups?). The three of us friends made more memories together, and, in the end, collecting memories means so much more than collecting things.

Things go away. Memories last forever.

The Lighter Side &Women's Issues

October 10th, 2016 → 8:36 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest for eHarmony:

Sometimes You Have to Say No to Say Yes!

say no and say yes

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, or is it?”

Have you ever had to say no to something in order to open the door to saying yes to something else? What happened?

I had a great conversation with a colleague over lunch last week. She’s been dating a guy for the last two years. She seems to describe her relationship with him as somewhere between “things are OK” and “it’s pretty good” whenever we get together and catch up.  I’m not sure we’ve ever connected where she hasn’t shared some level of angst or tension with where things were at with this guy. There certainly has never been an instance of total love, passion, respect, joy, and fulfillment.  The fact is that her boyfriend is a nice guy and she enjoys being with him (most of the time), but their relationship always strikes me as hard and difficult.

After I got divorced and started dating the man I am now married to, the word that kept popping into my head was “easy!” No, I wasn’t easy! Our relationship was easy! That’s about as complex a word as I could use to describe how we got along from day 1, and in fact, how it continues to be 8 years later. It wasn’t complex; it wasn’t challenging. There weren’t more days of strife than days of joy. There wasn’t more anger and angst than there was love and laughter. Simply put, it was easy. That’s not to say we didn’t face obstacles. We did. Any relationship does, especially relationships later in life that have to take into account things like ex-spouses and children, histories and hurts. We called these obstacles our “hurdles” and made sure we talked about them and dealt with them, and we did, and still things were “easy.”

Which means that I’m puzzled by how “hard” my colleague’s relationship seems to be for both of them. I asked her if it’s always been this difficult. It has. I asked her if it was worth it. She didn’t know. I asked her if this relationship was giving her everything she wanted. It isn’t. But still, for two years, she has stayed put.

I wasn’t sure how direct to be with my friend. Yes, she’s a colleague, but she’s also a friend. I asked her to describe what she wanted from her relationship. She wants more than she is getting. She’s getting “OK” or “good,” and she wants “great.” Frankly, there’s nothing wrong at all with any one of us wanting, expecting, or waiting for “great.”

I asked her why she is sticking around. I asked her why she didn’t just cut her losses and move on. If this man isn’t capable of giving her what she really wants, what good is it going to do either of them if she sticks around. He feels the angst too. She isn’t giving him what he truly and deeply wants either. Both are “fine,” but neither is “fantastic.” They are sort of stuck in this icky and complacent place where neither is terribly happy, but their fleeting bright moments make up for the cloudiness that surrounds so much of their relationship.  The truth is that they want very different things for their future. We’re talking some pretty major differences in expectations. Marriage/no marriage.  Kids/no kids. Pretty major stuff, right?

She didn’t really have a clear answer for why she might want to think about moving on until I pointed out what I thought was pretty obvious. Sometimes you have to say no to something, in order to say yes to something else!

Perhaps it was time to say no to this relationship, so that she could say yes to the opportunity of a new relationship. She wasn’t going to build an online dating profile while still in a relationship with this guy. She isn’t going to put herself out there as available when she is in a relationship. She’s too honest for that. As a result, she’s stuck. She’s not saying no to her current situation, which means she isn’t putting herself in any situations to say yes to something better.

I get it. I really do. It is scary and there is a real risk. The risk is that she says no to this relationship and then nothing comes along for which she can say yes. What happens then? Not only has she said no to mediocre, but now she doesn’t even have a relationship at all. We talked about that. Emotionally and intellectually it’s easy to arrive at different answers. The heart and the head can lead us down divergent paths.

You know that old saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”? That essentially means that it’s better to have a lesser, but certain advantage, than the possibility of a greater one that may come to nothing (by the way, little history lesson, this statement likely refers back to medieval falconry where a bird in the hand (the falcon) was a valuable asset and certainly worth more than two in the field).

I really like my friend. She has an amazing spirit about her. She’s smart, funny, athletic, gorgeous … truly the whole package. I want to see her truly fulfilled and happy. I don’t want to see her settle.

What do you think? What would you tell my friend? Should she say no in order to have the opportunity to say yes? Have you said no in order to say yes?


Dating, Romance, Sex

DATE: What I Learned from an Adorable Couple Who Met Online

July 22nd, 2016 → 9:26 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest for eHarmony: DATE

Couple Holding Hands

I was traveling recently, and met a couple who were clearly dating and seemed very much “in like” and heading towards “in love.” As I so often do, I started asking them all sorts of questions about how they met, and because of what I do, my interest was immediately piqued when they said they met through an online dating site!

My questions began in full force! How long have you been online? How many dates have you had? What’s your strategy for success? How did you know this person was worth a second date? A third date?

It was very interesting as they both had a very different approach and perspective.

He: I’ve been using online dating services for three years. I’ve been on 88 first dates (yes, he said, he’s been counting them).  I’ve been on 24 second dates, and a few third dates. One relationship lasted about 3 months before I realized I didn’t see it going anywhere. I really want someone who shares my interests, and who loves the outdoors.

His approach has been to play the odds. He knows that the more first dates he goes on, the better chance he has to meet the right person. He is also very decisive. He says he doesn’t want to waste his time, or her time, if he knows from the beginning that his date is not going to be the right person for him. He’s respectful and kind, and he doesn’t lead anyone on.

She: “I was online a few years ago for a couple of weeks, but kind of freaked out at some of the responses I was getting, so quickly took down my profile. I’m a really private person (she later told me she doesn’t use any social media tools – no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram). At the urging of some of my friends, I put up a new profile several months ago. I kept it really simple. All I did was write a blurb about what I like to do. I did not include a photo. Too personal!

Her approach was not to play the odds, but rather to be very selective in her approach. She didn’t want to go on a bunch of random dates with strangers. She’s far too private and introverted to find anything fun about that!

He saw her profile. They shared similar interests. She too, loves the outdoors. He reached out to her. They shared a few brief notes back and forth and decided they should meet for coffee. He didn’t ask, but she offered to send a photo.

She: I don’t want to have a long online communication history before meeting for a first date. I’m not interested in pages of emails and hours of phone calls before we meet. I would rather cut to the chase and have a real interaction. People can hide who they are via email and phone much more than they can face-to-face.

He: I agree! I would rather meet sooner rather than later and have a face-to-face conversation. We agreed that meeting for coffee would be an easy and safe way to meet for the first time. It wasn’t the “commitment” of meeting for dinner.

They met for coffee, and within a few minutes of getting their orders and sitting down, she suggested that they take their coffee and head outside to walk through a local park while talking! Perfect! They both love being outside and active. They walked and talked, and walked and talked, until it was time for her to get back to work.  They returned to the coffee house and said their goodbyes.

He: I don’t play games. I couldn’t get her out of my mind and I knew I wanted to learn more! (This is from a guy who hadn’t moved past this first date with 88 other women!). The next morning, I called and asked her out for a second date. We decided to meet up after work the next day and go for another walk. I remembered her special order from when we met for coffee, and I stopped and grabbed coffee for us before we met to walk.

She: He remembered my order. That was a special touch. He paid enough attention to what I ordered, and he remembered. It’s the little things. Our second walk lasted well past dark. There’s something about walking and talking that just feels open and honest. Maybe it’s because you aren’t sitting staring at each other. It feels less vulnerable, or perhaps it allows you to be more vulnerable. I’m not sure which it is, but it works.

This couple was adorable. They clearly cared about each other, shared genuine interests, and seemed committed to trying to figure out how to make things work amidst the normal chaos of life. The reality is that both are divorced, both have children, both work full-time, and both live on opposite sides of a large city. All of this adds complexity to a new and budding relationship, but they were enthusiastic about doing all they can to make it work. I truly wish them the best of luck!

I summarized the key points I learned from this couple into 4 points that I put into a memorable word: DATE.

D: Be Decisive – Do what feels comfortable to you. Know what you want, and what you don’t. There is nothing wrong with being decisive about how you approach online dating.  (e.g., he knew when it wouldn’t go further than a first date; she knew that she didn’t want a photo on her profile).

A: Be Attentive – Pay attention to what the other person is sharing with you, not just via their words, but also via their behaviors. It says a lot, and is a great way to show you are “listening” (e.g., he remembered her special coffee order).

T: Be Talkative – This couple believed that “talking” (actual talking!) is critical, and means so much more than communicating via email, text or telephone. Technology is great (we wouldn’t have online dating without it!), but there is a real need for real conversation if you are truly going to get to know someone.

E: Be Enthusiastic – Recognize that dating and growing a new relationship isn’t always easy, especially as adults with a full plate of life already served up in front of them. A good dose of enthusiasm is necessary to navigate over the inevitable obstacles and challenges that will rise up!

Blogtalk &Dating, Romance, Sex

Danger Zone!


May 11th, 2016 → 10:30 pm @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest for eHarmony … Appreciation!



I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

There are an overwhelming number of women who feel unappreciated by their husbands. I often hear the following: “I just want to feel appreciated. For years I have been the cook, the cleaner, the chauffeur… I don’t feel like we are a partnership… I’ve asked, demanded, and pleaded that we go to counseling… I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to live the second half of my life feeling like this. I’m done.”

I know this is nothing new. I am sure my mother felt unappreciated by my dad at times during their marriage. I think that’s probably natural in the cycle of marriage and relationships. Life gets busy. We forget to thank those closest to us. But times are changing. I have spoken with more women than I can count over the past couple of years who aren’t just complaining about feeling unappreciated by their husbands. Instead, they are doing something about it.

These women, most of whom are in their mid-40’s, have decided they want out of their marriages. Sure, they are scared for what this means for them. Sure, they are nervous about the new unknowns divorce will bring. Sure, they recognize the impact this will have on their lives. For most of the women I spoke with, leaving their husbands means having to secure full-time employment for the first time in years. It mean moving out of the big brick colonial in the suburbs and moving into something more affordable. It means being alone. And you know what each and every woman I spoke with said? “I am absolutely OK with this.” I heard, “I’m OK being alone and starting over on my own… I feel as if I have been alone for years anyway. I don’t need my big house or my fancy car. I don’t mind having to work. I just know that I don’t want to spend the next half of my life living this way. Why should I?”

Wow! To give it all up and start over at 45? It’s surprising, particularly because to the outside world, these women appear to have it all. Their husbands aren’t “bad” people. We aren’t talking about men who are abusive or alcoholics. We aren’t talking about men who are dragging the family into bankruptcy. We aren’t talking about men who have lived a double life full of affairs.

What these women are expressing is a deep personal sadness at feeling disconnected and unappreciated by their husbands. They tell me they have fought for years to feel more connected and appreciated. This isn’t a whim, they assure me. They have thought long and hard about their decision to get divorced. They aren’t simply giving up. They have tried and fought a long battle. But the thing they each have in common is that they have reached their breaking point. They say, “I’m tired of not feeling appreciated, not feeling like I am part of a partnership. I feel like I am the roommate … not someone who is valued. I’m tired of asking to be appreciated — begging to be valued — pleading to feel as if I am important and not constantly playing second-fiddle to everything else going on in his life. I’m done.”

Divorce has become commonplace. Many women thrive after divorce. They live independent, happy lives. Any taboo or stigma that may have existed during my mother’s generation doesn’t exist any more. I think this gives many women the courage to say, “I can do this.” And, they are.

What do we do about this? Many husbands are left with their jaws hanging open in disbelief when their wives file for divorce. “Why didn’t we talk about this? Why didn’t we go to counseling? Why didn’t you tell me you were feeling this way?” The wives smile sadly and say, “We have, we did, I have… and it’s too late now… I’m done.”

I don’t like these conversations. I believe in the institution of marriage. I don’t like to see people quit. What can we do? I know the following advice is oversimplifying the issue — I really do — but it’s a start:

Men, please take the time to appreciate your wife regularly. Thank her for what she does for you and your family. Validate her. Cover her with words of affirmation. Wrap your appreciation of her deep within her heart. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The women I spoke with are not giving up because they weren’t thanked for emptying the dishwasher once. It’s the net result of decades of feeling taken for granted. When I suggest that perhaps having an open dialogue with their husbands alerting them to just how serious this really is and perhaps giving a final chance to make some changes, they tell me it would be too little, too late. “I’m done,” they say.

Clearly, women, this isn’t a one-way street. Appreciation goes both ways. Are you checking to see just how much appreciation you are showing to your husband as well? Do you thank him for all he does, or do you take him for granted? Really think about it. Perhaps you perceive that you are being more appreciative than you really are. What would he say?

I’m not saying that showing more appreciation will lower the divorce rate in our country, but I do believe that showing more appreciation will improve marital relationships.

Philosopher William James (1842-1910), said, “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”

The women I speak with are craving appreciation.

What do you think?

Danger Zone!

Dating, Romance, SexTaking Care of Yourself

What is Your “So What Now?”

April 22nd, 2016 → 7:56 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest for eHarmony: What is Your “So What Now?”


Woman by a mirror

“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.”

~ John Baptiste Moliere

I saw a cartoon the other day that said, “Divorce is like algebra. You look at your X and ask Y.”

When I ask people going through a divorce what they might do differently next time, the first response I normally get is, “Not marry him (or her) in the first place!” Humor is good. Divorce is frequently such a stressful, sad time, that a little laughter goes a long way and is so good for the soul! It reduces anxiety and stress! But, underlying that question is a serious request for which I am seeking an honest answer.

I am a fan of some of the great things that Mahatma Gandhi had to say. For example; he said, ““It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” So often we hear the term “accountable” when it comes to the “other person” in our divorce. We hear, “He must be held accountable for his affair,” or “She needs to be held accountable for drinking too much.” What about our own personal accountability?

It is much easier to place blame on others, and say that all of the accountability lies with them. I get that! Trust me, I do! But, we also owe it to ourselves to turn that mirror around and find out what piece of personal accountability we each own.

I have often said that if you go through a divorce, even if you didn’t “do anything wrong” (that’s loosely defined), you still owe it to yourself to become introspective and ask what you might have done differently. If we don’t ask this question of ourselves, how are we going to become even better as individuals, even better in other personal relationships, and even better in any potential future romantic relationships, marriages or partnerships? What can we learn about what we went through that will make us a better person as we move on in life?

For some people, that introspection will result in a realization that they didn’t give priority to their spouse. It might be a realization that everyone else came first (work, the kids, the parents, the friends, the hobbies … always expecting that the spouse would wait patiently). It might be an awareness that you stopped letting little things that were “cute” when you were first married remain little things, and instead allowed that to become big items which led to rolling of the eyes, incessant nagging, and fights.  It might be an understanding that you grew tired of being the one who was “always trying” and that you ultimately just gave up and stopped expending the energy and the oxygen that your marriage needed to survive.  It could be that you quit taking care of yourself, that you quit trying to be healthy, that you quit trying to impress your spouse like you did when you were first dating or first married, and just expected them to understand.

My request today is to challenge each of us to question our own actions and find out what we are responsible for and what we can hold ourselves personally accountable for! You don’t have to share this with others; just be sure to be honest with yourself about what you might have done differently or what you will be sure to do differently on a go-forward basis.

I’m not saying this is easy to do. In fact it can be quite difficult to do, especially if you don’t feel you had any “blame” in your divorce. I hear people say, “I wasn’t the one who cheated. I wasn’t the one who squandered all of our money. I wasn’t the one who decided I didn’t want kids. I wasn’t the one who changed.” Then they say … “So I’m not accountable in any way, shape or form for my divorce.” Maybe … and maybe not.

I argue we can all learn a thing or two about who we are, what makes us tick, and what role we might have played in being part of a failing marriage. Accountability isn’t about personal blame and about tearing ourselves apart. It is about taking a life experience and learning from it. If you don’t learn from your own mistakes, you will keep making them.  Turning that mirror around and discovering your own personal accountability is only part of it.  It answers the who and the what. You still need to ask yourself, “so what?”  So what now? So what will I do differently? So what have I learned about myself?

Personal growth comes from turning that mirror around, taking a deep look at yourself, accepting what you see at face value, and then doing something differently with that learning.

“Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You, and only you, are responsible for every decision and choice you make. Period.”

What do you think? What might you do differently next time? What is your “so what?

Dating, Romance, Sex &Taking Care of Yourself

The Lighter Side

Having Fun with My EX-

April 11th, 2016 → 6:06 pm @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

Huffington Post … Fun with my EX-



I recall speaking to a divorce support group a few years ago. Whenever someone referenced their EX- (e.g., EX-husband or EX-wife), each person was careful to use the phrase, “my former husband” or “my former wife.” This wasn’t just something that one person used, but rather everyone who spoke used this convention. I thought it was interesting. After all, using the term, “EX-husband” seems pretty common. When I asked what this was all about, I was informed that they believed that “EX-“ implied a negative connotation and they preferred to approach the word a bit more positively. OK! To each his and her own!

But, I would like to stand up for “EX-“ words and suggest that there are a number of EX-traordinary “EX-“ words that should be fully embraced post-divorce. One can wallow in EX-cuses, and get stuck in the EX-crement of what they just went through, or one can focus EX-clusively on moving forward and to the EX-citement and EX-cesses that this new life will bring!

Whether your divorce was your idea, or not, it is now a part of your story, and part of the journey that defines your life. Someone made an EX-it which EX-empted you from EX-tending your commitment to your marriage. I speak with countless people who are stuck in the EX-istence of “what was,” as opposed to eagerly anticipating the EX-pectation “what will be.” One of my favorite quotes that got me through my divorce was, “I can’t control what happens to me, I can only control how I react to it.” I love it when I encounter others who hold a similar attitude. No one is EX-empt from divorce. To those who say, “It will never happen to me” (like I did) you may find yourself in shock one day. Divorce EX-tends to all corners of our society and EX-cludes no one.

To those people who are stuck EX-amining their unplanned lives collapse around them, I say this: No EX-cuses! Inhale, then EX-hale. Now, pick up the pieces and become an EX-ample of how to move forward successfully after hitting a bump in the road. No one can do this EX-cept for you. Let the world EX-plode around you with new opportunities. EX-press your emotions. Don’t let your ability to love or to be loved go EX-tinct.

Having a failed marriage and becoming a divorcee at age 40 was not part of my EX-pectation for my life. That being said, it did become my EX-istence and part of my story. I was one of those people who opted for life to go on positively. I met an EX-traordinary man. I am EX-tremely grateful that he came in to my life and the lives of my kids. It’s nice to be confident in the EX-clusivity of our marriage. We have a common passion and bond around our EX-tra-curricular activities and have EX-plored the world together. We have EX-panded each others horizons. I feel EX-alted and respected by him, and in EX-change try to honor him in the same way. The bottom line is that this relationship and marriage EX-ceeds anything I ever imagined before.

Mae West said, “All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.” EX-actly!! My point is this: whether you call someone your EX- or your former -, make peace with that part of your story and move forward. Take advantage of your second chance, and make it EX-traordinary! I think I’ve EX-acerbated my point! There are some fabulous EX- words. Use them! Live them! Celebrate them. Just think: what a great way to celebrate getting rid of one EX- by introducing several new and more powerful ones!

By the way, I also met a woman once who didn’t use the term “EX-husband” or “former husband.” Instead, she had me laughing when she started taking about her “Wasband.” I thought I misunderstood. Then she clarified. She EX-claimed, “The man who was my husband is now lovingly referred to as my “Wasband.’” Love it! I thought that was EX-tremely clever.

Blogtalk &The Lighter Side

Taking Care of YourselfWomen's Issues

I Didn’t Marry My Best Friend!

April 2nd, 2016 → 11:16 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

Best Friend! – my latest for HuffPost!


“Reminder: your girlfriends will probably outlive your husband. So find good ones.”

My sides still hurt from laughing so hard! I just returned from spending a long weekend with five friends I have known since elementary and middle school. The six of us met between fourth and seventh grades. We’ve known each other over 30 years. It’s been four years since we have all been together. That’s an entire college experience. In spite of it being nearly 1,500 days since we had last seen each other, we picked up right where we left off.

Between us, we have shared marriages and divorces, births and deaths, laughter and grief, celebrations and failures. If we go way back, we’ve shared electric blue eyeliner, curling irons, Sassoon jeans, and lilac taffeta prom dresses. We know each other. We accept each other. We love each other.

Even though we don’t experience the day-to-day with each other, like we do with our friends who are in proximity to us, we seem to have a stronger bond. I sometimes wonder if many friendships aren’t born, and sustained, out of proximity and ease. Those are the friendships that don’t survive change. One person may move away, or the kids no longer play on the same sports teams, or the person switches jobs, and suddenly those people who were our closest friends, the ones we saw weekly, if not daily, who knew what we did day-in and day-out, are no longer a part of our lives. Real friendships endure all of those changes, and more!

The six of us weren’t always BFFs. Back in elementary school, middle school, high school and college, we drifted in and out of each other’s lives, but we were always there for each other. In fact, even today, we don’t all talk regularly. Life gets busy. We are wives. We are mothers. We work. Life happens. We don’t know the daily inner workings of what is going on with each of us, but rather we get together every three or four years, and suddenly time and distance disappear in a nanosecond. We don’t need to know what happens in the day-to-day to understand where the others are coming from in their lives, and that is what truly matters.

Last Saturday night, the firepot was lit, the wine was poured, and as we sat on the back porch talking into the wee hours of the morning, we realized that five of the six of us have already lost our fathers, yet all of our mothers are still alive. The experience we have had with our parents supports the claim that women tend to outlive men. It was a sobering thought.

At this point, we have all known each other longer than we have known our husbands. Heck, these girlfriends outlasted my first husband, saw me through my divorce, were there as I started dating and married my second husband, and are still by my side. There is a good chance that we may outlive our husbands (as our moms have outlived our dads).

My point is this: Our boyfriends and our husbands are important, but so are our girlfriends! They both play a different role (in spite of so many people who say they are married to their “best friend” — I get that, but it’s different! You know it is!). Yes, date, search for the perfect person to partner with in your life, perhaps even find a “best friend” to marry, but don’t lose sight of the importance of your girlfriends in all of this. And men, you want your girlfriend or wife to have a good support team of girlfriends. Trust me! It’s an outlet you want to encourage!

I brought a photo to show the girls last weekend. It was of the six of us sitting on the back porch at my parents’ house. The year was 1984. Yes! 1984! We took another photo last weekend of the six of us sitting on my back porch. Thirty years have passed between when those two photos were taken. Sure, we look a little different… a bit more mature (who knows when those little lines crept onto our faces?) — but we’re still smiling and laughing! And, I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if 30 years from now, in 2046, we are taking yet another photo sitting on someone’s back porch. Who knows? Give us a few more years and maybe the photo will capture us sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch of a retirement home! I do know this: I love these girls, and I’m thankful to have them in my life. We all need our girlfriends. We need to make the time to maintain and cultivate these relationships in our busy, hectic lives.

What do you think? Life is busy! How do you cultivate and maintain friendships with your girlfriends?

Blogtalk &Taking Care of Yourself &Women's Issues

Dating, Romance, Sex

Hook, Line and Sinker!

April 2nd, 2016 → 11:14 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

Hook, Line and Sinker – my latest for HuffPost!


“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” ~ John Buchan

Back in February, I spoke with a friend who told me that she was struggling with the dating scene. She felt as if she was hanging around the same people over and over again. She wanted to meet someone new. I didn’t have a whole lot of sympathy for her situation, and merely suggested, “If you are always fishing in the same pond, you are always going to be catching the same fish.” Period. End of story.

She chuckled as she clearly knew what I meant, but I wasn’t sure that she was inspired to go find any new ponds in which to fish. She was very comfortable in her current pond. She knew what to expect out of her current pond. It was predictable and safe. Going to find new ponds would take her outside of her comfort zone. It might induce a bit of anxiety to visit a new pond. For many people, it’s human nature to avoid making ourselves uncomfortable and pushing outside of our comfort zones.

I told this friend that no one said fishing in new ponds was going to be easy. Some ponds may not be stocked with the kind of fish she wants. Others will be full of great fish! The challenge is that she will never know which situation she will encounter if she doesn’t at least try fishing in a new pond. The old adage, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” makes all the sense in the world.

I was out with a different set of friends a few weeks ago when talk turned to dates – the good, the bad and the ugly, and as the conversation went around it turns out that two of the women had gone out with the same guy. Kind of awkward! Talk about the need to find some new ponds! Nobody wants to catch someone else’s “catch and release!” These friends told me that there weren’t enough ponds in our area. They tell me that I have access to lots of different ponds because I work outside the home, I travel for business, and I am involved in several community associations. They tell me that since they are stay-at-home moms or since they have “jobs” and not “careers” that they don’t have access to the same number of ponds. I call bull on that! We all have multiple ponds within our own little bubbles. We just have to think about it, let go of what’s comfortable, grab our rod and reel, and head out!

Instead of always fishing in the “work” pond, or the “Friday-night bar-scene” pond, switch it up and also fish in the “volunteer at the animal shelter” pond or the “local community college digital photography course” pond every now and then. Ask others what has worked for them. Step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. You have heard this before, but have you done anything about it? Have you really tried it and given it your best effort? Or, did you try one “different” pond outside of your usual routine, have a really bad time, and then decide never to do that again? Intellectually, we all know this makes sense, but putting it into action can often be tougher. Great dates aren’t just going to show up on your front porch. You have to be visible to let people know you are available. You have to be out there meeting people – and meeting new people – to stand a chance of catching new fish.

I also think it helps if you go in with the attitude that you are just fishing for fun, and not with expectations that you are going to catch the biggest fish ever and win the whole fishing tournament! Too much pressure! I think the fish can pick up on that vibe from a mile away. It’s like one of those sparkly, spinning lures that are supposed to attract fish, when really the fish are smart enough to realize what it is! Those fish wait for the natural bait to come along, and then they get hooked!

While I’m using this fishing analogy, here is one other thought: you also have to know when to cut bait and move on! I talk with too many women who continue to date someone even though they know “he isn’t the one” and ‘’there is no future.” How are you going to catch new fish if your line is already in use? Cut bait, rehook your line, and head back to the pond again!

By the way, my friend did visit a new pond. She didn’t jump in the boat and row right into the middle of her pond to drop her line in the water. She merely approached the pond, stood off to the side, and looked around the pond. She didn’t even come prepared with her fishing rod. You know what? She caught a keeper … and that’s no fish-tale!

What’s your fish-tale? Did you have success in a new pond?

Blogtalk &Dating, Romance, Sex

Danger Zone!Dating, Romance, Sex

The Important Role of Doubt

April 2nd, 2016 → 11:03 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest for eHarmony … Doubt!


thoughtful or asking us to shut up and make some silence this blonde woman has big beautiful eyes and an intense look

“Doubt is the pinprick in the life raft.”

Library of Souls, Ransom Riggs

When doubt enters into a relationship, it’s like the pinprick in the life raft, and if left unattended, it slowly sucks the air out completely leaving nothing but a saggy, soggy remnant of what once was.

Doubt! I’ve spoken with many people lately who have let doubt creep into their relationships. It’s like smoke. You don’t really see it. You get a sense that it’s there, but it’s hard to capture or define, and then voila, before you know it, it seeps into everything. I had a minor fire in an apartment I lived in while in grad school. Thankfully there wasn’t any significant burn damage, but there was tremendous smoke damage. Everything in my closet, and all of my bedding, had to be repeatedly dry-cleaned or replaced because of the lingering smell from the smoke that had crept in. The damage was done. So it is with doubt.

Recently, I’ve spoken with a woman who is doubting whether her fiancé truly is the man for her, and with a man who has doubts about a new job he just accepted. Two different scenarios to be sure, but in both, that doubt creates little lingering questions that don’t go away. Doubt creates questions that require answers which are hard to find. That doubt creates a nagging sensation that propels you to ‘keep looking’ as opposed to being completely satisfied and fully invested with what you have and where you are. The sad thing is that I know several people who have been married for decades who are, to this day, doubting whether they married the right person. That kind of doubt is dangerous.

Angie, who is doubting her choice in a fiancé, should be celebrating her engagement and planning her future with her husband-to-be. Instead, she is second-guessing herself. Joe, who is doubting whether his new job is the right one for him, should be immersing himself in getting to know his team, and learning the new organization. Instead, he is second-guessing the jobs he turned down and wondering whether he made the right choice. Neither is 100% invested in the decisions they made.

Doubt, like smoke, plays an important role. Often times we don’t see the fire, but we do smell the smoke (or hear the smoke alarms go off) to alert us to a fire, and that propels us to take action. Perhaps the doubt that Angie is feeling is warranted and she should take a second look at whether marriage to her fiancé is the right decision for her right now. Better to realize now that it’s not her best choice rather than after a large wedding celebration, several years of marriage and/or the arrival of kids. Perhaps Joe should take heed of the doubt that he is feeling. Perhaps he is seeing early signs that this new company really is not a culture fit with his style and that he is better off cutting his losses sooner rather than later.

I argue that doubt does play an important role when it enters our thoughts and stimulates us to check, learn, and reaffirm. When doubt enters, it can cause us to question or validate what we believe. It’s like searching for and finding that pinprick in the life raft. We have choices. We can find the pinprick, seal it, and stop the slow-escape of air, or we can decide it’s not worth it and scrap the $.99 life raft! We are able to be decisive and take action.

However, it’s when doubt lingers that it becomes a problem. By the time Angie walks down the aisle in her wedding dress, all doubt should be gone and she should be fully committed to the man she is going to marry. It’s only fair to him and to her. By the time Joe has been in his role for a few weeks (maybe months), all doubt should be over and he should be committed to building, leading, and developing his new team.  It’s only fair to him and to his employer.

The bottom line is that doubt can play a very important role in getting us to think realistically about certain situations. Doubt is that inner voice that frequently guides us so well. There is a role for doubt that causes us to reaffirm (or realign) our choices. Ongoing doubt, however, that cannot be extinguished can be dangerous as it creates a sense of unease and dissatisfaction with the choices we have made.

What are you doubting? Are you using your doubt to find, and potentially seal, the leak? Or, is your doubt acting as the pinprick that is slowly sucking the air out of your relationship?

Danger Zone! &Dating, Romance, Sex

Taking Care of Yourself

Change: An Opportunity for Renewal!

March 29th, 2016 → 7:42 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest for eHarmony! Change!


changes in life


“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on

fighting the old, but on building the new.” ~ Socrates

Your life has changed. You are now divorced. Perhaps you wanted this change. Perhaps you didn’t sign up for this change. Perhaps you were blindsided by this change. Regardless, change is happening and it cannot be stopped.

I have a coffee cup in my kitchen cupboard that is imprinted with this saying: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi made this statement, and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about the importance of change as it relates to divorce!  But, let’s pretend for a moment that he was. What change would you want to see in your world? What would you do differently? If you could have a “do-over,” what would it look like? This is an opportunity for you to define what would be different in your world. How cool is that?

I’ve always been an optimist, and this is obviously an optimistic perspective. If you are naturally a pessimist, (as in the type of person who would look at my “change” coffee cup and pronounce it half-full at all times!), I ask you to humor me and follow this train of thought.

Say you didn’t sign up for the divorce. You thought you had signed up for “until death do us part.” This “change” isn’t a part of the vision you had created for yourself. This wasn’t supposed to be a part of your story.

Say you don’t like change and don’t want change. You like being married. You like where you live. You like the comfort in your life. You like your routine. You like your children living under the same roof as both of their parents – every day. You like spending every Christmas with your kids (and the thought of “every other” is horrifying). You essentially “like” your life.

But, now it’s changing. Someone or something has caused a change. You can’t control it. You can’t stop it. Perhaps you have tried. Perhaps you have valiantly fought to stop the change, but like the sun setting and the sun rising each day, the change still happened, regardless of what you have tried to do.

Now what?

I speak with many people who refuse to accept the change that their divorce brings, even though it’s inevitable or even though it has already happened. These people appear stuck. They aren’t moving forward. What happens when you refuse to accept change? It happens anyway, doesn’t it? Then what? We are left watching the world go by, leaving us hoping for how things used to be, but that’s a naïve thought.

Other people I speak with, while unhappy with the prospect of change (and unhappy at the prospect of being divorced), understand the need to ultimately embrace the change. These same people deal with their anger, their grief, and their sadness, and then ultimately say, “OK. This is my new life. Deal with it!” And then, they frequently find that this initial unwanted “change” brings new, unexpected, and even better changes into their lives! New opportunities! New jobs! New friends! New homes! New relationships!

And then, the best part is when they say, “I would never wish what I went through (my divorce) on my worst enemy, but I am soooo much happier now than I ever was before. In retrospect, this has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.”  Trust me when I tell you that I have heard this on many, many occasions.

“One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage

to let go of what you can’t change.”

Don’t fear change. It’s going to happen anyway. Ride the wave of change. You may discover something greater than you ever anticipated!

What about you? How did you successfully navigate through change? What did you do with your “do-over?”

Taking Care of Yourself