Here is my latest blog from The Huffington Post (March 4, 2012) … I Need More Chore-Play!
I was talking with one of my best friends this week about the overwhelming response to my last series of HuffPost blogs on the topic of physical touch (or the lack thereof) within marriage today (“Good Touch. Bad Touch. No Touch?” and “Speaking of Touch“).
She laughed and said, “Honestly, I really just need more chore-play!”
What?! At first I thought I had misunderstood her. Then, I realized that she didn’t say she needed more “foreplay.” What she did say was that she needed more “chore-play.” What a concept!
I thought about how many women I speak to who are in marriages that are struggling, or marriages that have fallen apart, who tell me that they just wish their husbands were more appreciative of them and helped out more around the house. “He never really appreciates me!” they tell me. Or, “I have to do it all!” Or, “I work too, yet the majority of responsibility for the kids and running our household still falls on me.”
This is a classic case of “love languages” lost in translation. Surely most of you are familiar with Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages,” which essentially says that we all have one or two primary love languages that we need to have met in order to feel loved and truly appreciated. And, oftentimes, we assume our love language is the same love language as our partner. Yet we disconnect when we show love in a language that isn’t getting through. It’s like speaking two completely different languages — and expecting the other person to understand. I’m not going to go into all the details here, but if you have not read the book, you should check it out.
For my friend, “Acts of Service” is her love language. She wasn’t kidding when she said chore-play is the road to physical touch in her marriage! Her love language is to have her husband voluntarily and willingly help out around the house. Empty the dishwasher?! (Watch out!) Fold the laundry? (Hold on tight!) Make a surprise dinner?! (Off to the races!). And her husband, whose primary love language is “Physical Touch,” may find his “Acts of Service” return an enjoyable evening of “Physical Touch!”
When her “love” tank is filled, she is more likely to be willing, open, and happy to return love. And the converse is true, of course. When she fills her husband’s “love” tank through “Physical Touch” (his primary love language), he is more likely to want to fill her love tank with “Acts of Service.” It can be a vicious and challenging love cycle. And imagine the possibilities in a relationship where you understand your partner’s love language … ahh!
Don’t get all fired up and comment about the fact that I’m suggesting that if you had just emptied the dishwasher one or two more times that your marriage would have been saved — I’m not! Don’t comment that you could have scrubbed the floors on your hands and knees and your wife still wouldn’t have responded to you. I totally get the fact that there are a whole lot of extenuating circumstances to this whole “love language” thing.
I am merely trying to convey that we all tend to think in terms of what we need or want in order to feel fulfilled, when in fact our spouses may respond in a completely different manner (or put another way, may speak a totally different love language). Good intentions become lost in translation. Have you ever thought about what your partner’s love language might be? Dr. Chapman will tell you that most people are attracted to people with a different love language than their own. Sounds confusing! And, gives credence to the saying that opposites attract. Like I said, you should read the book, but to give a preview, the five primary love languages are (1) Acts of Service, (2) Physical Touch, (3) Quality Time, (4) Gifts, and (5) Words of Affirmation!
I’m not sure what the statistics and studies might show, but anecdotally, based on the women I speak with, I’m willing to bet that the primary love language of many women is indeed “Acts of Service.” How about it guys? How about trying to engage in a little more CHORE-PLAY and seeing what happens?! Your acts of service may generate powerful physical touch, words of affirmation, intense quality time and even gifts!
It’s chore-play or no-play. Have it your way!
Here’s my latest post from The Huffington Post … I sparked a reaction to my prior post on physical touch, or lack there of, in many relationships!
I clearly touched a nerve! My recent Huffington Post blog, “Good Touch. Bad Touch. No Touch?” obviously connected with many of you. Nearly 400 of you responded with comments about the importance of physical touch in your relationship… or lack thereof.
Why the commotion?
What I am hearing anecdotally from the people I speak with is being played out over and over again in homes across the globe — that marriages exist with absolutely no physical touch.
By physical touch, I don’t just mean sexual intercourse or making love, I mean physical touch 101 — the simple things like holding hands, getting a back rub, or kissing.
Within my own first marriage, I was often reminded of the scene from the movie Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere where even as a prostitute, Julia’s character wouldn’t allow kissing on the lips because it was too intimate. Sex was fine. Kissing was not. How sad is that?
Yet, I hear that same refrain from so many married couples today. Kissing has disappeared. Even simple acts of physical touch like holding hands or touching feet while lying on the couch watching a movie have disappeared. And, in many, many cases, sex has disappeared altogether. If sex isn’t happening, then certainly the core concept of “making love” isn’t happening either. Couples are losing the opportunity at all levels of physical touch to connect with their partner.
What in the world can be done about this?
First, filling that void of physical touch outside of the marriage is not the answer. For many people, this means having a sexual affair. As I said before, it’s a sad state when it’s easier and more comfortable to have sex with a total stranger than with someone with whom you have been intimate in the past.
For others I speak with, fulfilling their need for physical touch means getting regular massages (the normal kind!) or becoming known as a “great hugger” in an attempt to feel physical touch in some way, shape or fashion. While these are socially acceptable ways to increase physical touch in your life, it’s clearly a temporary “fix” and not a solution to the underlying problem.
I see too many strained marriages due to a lack of physical touch. I talk with too many couples who have drifted so far apart that they now feel it would be “awkward” to re-introduce physical touch into their relationships. It’s sad, but true; they would rather live as roommates than experience that awkward first kiss again. And then, there are those people who want no physical touch with their spouse. These folks tell me they are “over it” and the idea of physical touch is actually repulsive.
I know we all have different love languages. For some, physical touch is a must-have. For others, it isn’t a priority. I can’t imagine existing in a marriage where even the most simple elements of physical touch — brushing hands with each other while walking side-by-side, a quick kiss on the lips to say goodbye, or a caress on the shoulder as you pass in the hallway –aren’t happening regularly. I used to think physical touch was a nice-to-have. I now consider it a must-have!
What about you? Is physical touch in your relationship slowly disappearing? If so, what can you do about it today? What would your spouse or significant other say if you reached for his or her hand next time you are walking side by side? Or what if you sat down on the couch next to him or her tonight and snuggled up, instead of sitting across the room in your own recliner? Think about it. I challenge you to try something. Start small. Be intentional. Invest in your significant other physically!
Here is my latest blog post from The Huffington Post, dated January 23, 2012! Enjoy!
One of my favorite sounds in the world is the sound of a small child belly-laughing out loud. You can tell that sound is not fake, it’s not rehearsed, it’s not for show. Rather, it’s the pure of heart, “I can’t help but laugh out loud and squeal with delight” sound of someone who is having so much fun they can’t stand it.
You don’t hear adults let loose like that as much as kids do.
Dr. Stathas, a marriage and family therapist near Lake Oconee, Georgia, and founder of the Stathas Life Development Center, recently wrote a column about studies of contentment within marriage. He says that one of the “key factors that showed up for couples who still had a special relationship after many years was that the couple ‘played’ together well.” He continues, “these couples made sure that fun was a part of their life on a regular basis.”
Dr. Howard Markman, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, has said, “The more you invest in fun and friendship and being there for your partner, the happier the relationship will get over time… the correlation between fun and marital happiness is high and significant.”
Think about that: “the correlation between fun and marital happiness is high and significant.”
Are you having fun? Are you part of a couple who has aged too fast and no longer allows yourself to have fun? Are you able to spontaneously do those things that can keep the romance and intimacy alive in your marriage? Can you come up with an idea of something fun to do within the context of your marriage or relationship this week?
I think one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to make sure that I continue to ensure that fun exists within my marriage. Fun certainly ceased to exist within my first marriage. Is that one of the contributing reasons to my first marriage failing?
I laugh more now than I did before and I’m focused on making sure we continue to laugh and have fun together. We make time for things we both enjoy. We make it a priority to spend time or money on those things which we both enjoy and which we both consider fun.
Think of it this way: you can spend money on marriage counseling to try and heal the wounds that have crept in, or you can spend money on lift tickets and skis, or season tickets for your favorite sports team or theater, or plane tickets and tours in your favorite international city, or bowling lessons… whatever it is that you and your partner deem to be FUN! Just do it!
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Have you examined your life lately? What are you doing to keep the fun alive? What are you doing to stay young? Are you going through the same old daily grind or are you doing thing which you enjoy?
Here’s my latest blog post from The Huffington Post – January 12, 2012 – No Touch?
Several years ago, my kids participated in a program in their elementary school entitled, “Good Touch/Bad Touch.” As you can tell from the title, it dealt with knowing the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch. It was a great program, and I wish more school systems had the resources to educate their students through programs such as this.
While the content was great, the title “good touch/bad touch” has become a joke in our house, and whenever we are tickling and laughing and wrestling and my son is “losing” he will suddenly yell out, “bad touch!” and we’ll all start laughing.
Less funny is that idea that neither good touch, nor bad touch, but absolutely “no touch” is happening in so many marriages today. Dr. Stathas, a marriage and family therapist near Lake Oconee, Georgia, and founder of the Stathas Life Development Center, writes that so many of the couples he counsels mention that being touched by their spouse is what is missing in their relationships.
I can relate. So many people I’ve spoken to also talk about having no touch in their marriage. In fact, I frequently hear, “I feel as if I am married to my best friend,” but I disagree. I know many best friends who still hug and kiss whenever they see each other. The people I talk to are saying that absolutely no touch is occurring within their marriages.
In this case, these couples mean that they have absolutely no physical touch left in their relationships. According to Dr. Stathas, “to be touched is to put your arm around him or her, hold hands, give a gentle caress or pat on the fanny, give a massage, give a gentle or passionate kiss, or make love.” He continues to say, “these are basic human needs — all part of a special connection you have with your partner. Giving this type of attention serves to enrich and deepen the relationship.”
If this basic need isn’t being met, then the impoverished spouse may enter into some type of self-defense mode and either dry up and withdraw, become angry and hurtful via words or actions, or go elsewhere to have those basic needs met.
How sad that so many couples lose that aspect of physical touch in their relationships. I know I did. And now that I have found it again, I can’t imagine how I survived without it. “Good touch” is amazing. It connects couples. You can’t start to build grudges or be angry or drift apart when you have incredible physical touch drawing you back together. It brings people together. It creates a chemistry. It builds bonds.
I hate to think that so many couples who need or want that physical touch within their own marriage are afraid to reintroduce it. They feel it would be awkward or difficult, and rather than face those challenges together as a couple who once knew what it felt like to have great touch with one another, one spouse instead chooses to have his or her physical touch needs satisfied by someone outside of marriage. Don’t we see this repeatedly within our social groups, the media, and our sports heroes?
I’m not sure what the solution is. Perhaps it’s not ever letting that physical touch disappear to begin with. Perhaps it’s making more of a concerted effort to regain that physical touch within marriage before straying outside of marriage.
What do you think? Does this apply to you and your relationship? What can you do today … right now … to rebuild some of that “good touch” into your marriage or current relationship?
I am absolutely thrilled to have a guest post this week from my new friend Laura Campbell. Laura and I “met” a few months ago when we discovered we both have a passion for helping women survive, and thrive, after divorce. Laura is the founder of a really cool organization called ‘the d spot, llc’ where she consults as a divorce and life reinvention expert with a tagline of “helping women regroup, renew and reinvent themselves before, during and after divorce.” How cool is that? Check out Laura’s website at www.discoverthedspot.com and her blog at www.discoverthedspot.com/blog. Like me, Laura is also a contributor for The Huffington Post, and the author of “The Ultimate Divorce Organizer: The Complete, Interactive Guide to Achieving the Best Legal, Financial, and Personal Divorce.”
Love this post that Laura wrote for High Road Less Traffic!
Bringing Sexy Back After Divorce
Do you know where your D Spot is? Better yet, do you even know what the D Spot is?
When I first began my business, I defined the D Spot as the point at which your divorce ends and your destiny begins.
Awesome, right? I love this definition and all of the principles I speak, teach and write about as well as coach clients with are built on its foundation.
However, I have recently begun to add-on to this definition as I don’t feel that it speaks strongly enough to the beauty, excitement and seduction of the journey during and after divorce.
As I move along my own journey through and after divorce, I am reminded all the time that the D Spot is far more than that. The D Spot is really about creating a sexy, juicy life as you move forward after divorce.
It is the spot within you that may have lay dormant during your marriage and even immediately following, and is now ready to reclaim its position in your life.
The D Spot is the place within you that you sometimes pretend isn’t there. That piece of you that wants to do, be and experience things that you tell yourself you don’t deserve, and can’t have. It is also the piece of you that knows what you really want…and that you CAN have it all.
As you move through and after divorce, you will find yourself on a journey to discover your D Spot. The authenticity of who you are…the reality of what you want. This is at the core of what your new life will look like and will become the foundation on which it is built. It is the force within you that wants to play, touch, feel and experience uninhibited joy, desire and fulfillment.
It is possible that along this journey you will feel the greatest discomfort. However, with this discomfort will come your greatest growth.
The key is to focus your attention and energy on what will be instead of what was. Take a few minutes to reflect on who you really are at your core…who you know you are meant to be! To all of the things that make you feel good, that make you giggle, that make you feel sexy, silly and strong.
You are meant to and CAN live a happy, healthy, juicy, sexy, vibrant, exciting, passionate, meaningful, curious and colorful life!
So, let me ask again…do you know where your D Spot is? What would it mean if you found it?!
Laura Campbell, CEO and founder of The D Spot, LLC, www.discoverthedspot.com, is dedicated to helping women regroup, renew and reinvent themselves before, during and after divorce. She is a Divorce Expert and Life Reinvention Consultant, and the author of The Ultimate Divorce Organizer: The Complete, Interactive Guide to Achieving the Best Legal, Financial, and Personal Divorce. Laura helps women in transition manage their emotions, face their financial situation, and create balance in their life to maintain a healthy mind, body and soul. Through her support and guidance, women maintain the highest level of performance in both their personal and professional lives. Laura believes every woman deserves to be the champion of her own destiny and live an extraordinary life.
Here’s my latest blog post from The Huffington Post – September 9, 2011. Enjoy! Get Married. Stay Married.
I was driving home this past weekend after enjoying a little Labor Day escape when I came across the following message highlighted on a huge billboard on Interstate 20: “Children do better when they have both parents. Get married. Stay married.”
I quickly snuck a glance at the backseat to see if my kids had noticed. They hadn’t!
I completely understand the intent of the message, and my kids and I have had conversations about marriage being a commitment that takes a lot of work, and conversations about divorce and what it means.
I would prefer to not have my kids feel badly when reading a billboard on the side of the road. Inherent in that message is an accusation that families without mom and dad together are bad, wrong, or less desirable. Highlighting it on a billboard is like rubbing salt in a wound — it calls attention to it — it points out the obvious — it frowns on the “inevitable disaster” of being in a family where mom and dad aren’t together. Didn’t we learn about that in high school psychology? That whole idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy? If you tell a child something often enough, he will choose to believe it.
I hear the message about the importance of marriage — about getting married and staying married. I would love to see the number of children born out of wedlock decline. I would love to see the number of divorces decline. Why should we have statistics that show that roughly 50% of first marriages will end in divorce, or that roughly 78% of second marriages will end in divorce.
Any search on “impact of divorce on children” turns up article after article on the terrible effect of single parenting and divorce on kids. Got it. If we believe these studies, then children of divorce already have life a little stacked against them. Must we point that out on a billboard? (And, while all these studies and parenting magazine articles each present a different slant or a different idea, there does seem to be some consensus that the issue really boils down to the divorce itself. Is it peaceful or contentious? Did both parties take the high road, or the low road? Excluding all sorts of other factors like how custody, visitation, financial support are determined, a peaceful divorce will obviously have less of an impact on the kids!)
I guess at the end of day, I’m all for looking out for the best interests of the kids. I’m all about freedom of speech and freedom of press, and I value that about our country. But perhaps the well-intentioned groups creating these billboards might look through a different lens to consider the impact to the kids reading the message. Does it invoke a feeling of ‘less than’ or ‘different than?’
Perhaps some messages are better communicated in other ways. Are billboards even effective for this kind of message? I was pleased to see the billboard indicating at what exit I could find the next Chick-Fil-A! But a billboard encouraging people to get married and stay married? How successful is that? I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who saw one of these billboards and as a result chose to get married to the parent of their child or chose to stay married. Do you really think a billboard would be enough to sway someone’s behavior?
Ironically, not even one mile down the expressway we passed another billboard. This one had 4 words on it: “Uncontested Divorce – $499. Call ###.” That, of course, opens another can of worms! Perhaps my next post will deal with whether it is too easy to get divorced these days!
Regardless, I had to wonder: was it coincidence that this billboard so closely followed the other, or an intentional placement?
I wrote this post for the Huffington Post recently. Enjoy!
Oh the irony! I was working out yesterday morning, sweating profusely over the elliptical machine, and counting down until I could say I conquered 30 minutes, when CNN reported on a new story about love, marriage, divorce and your waistline.
Apparently, this “latest” research study looked at the impact that getting married, and getting divorced, had on your weight. Do we really need an in-depth research study to determine what makes someone fat or skinny? It seems to me there are so many other really important things we could be researching and studying…but that’s not for this post. And yet, researchers at the Ohio State University analyzed data on more than 10,000 people surveyed over a 22-year period. (Actually, as a true blue University of Michigan fan, there is a smart a** joke just waiting to be told in here about the academic research that Ohio State is pursuing).
We know as a nation we are obsessed with our weight–we are too fat, we are too skinny, we are trying to exercise, trying to diet, trying a new fad diet, and then another, sitting on the couch eating potato chips and watching “The Biggest Loser” or “Extreme Makeover – Weight Loss Edition,” reading People magazine to see who is battling yet another eating disorder. It’s really all-consuming!
Not surprisingly, researchers found women put on the most weight immediately after their wedding. Anecdotally, this makes sense. We’re happy. We’re in love. We’re cooking meals instead of eating salads and noshing. I agree with this. Both times that I have married, I have put on weight right after the wedding as I have gone from snacking all day to actually preparing a “real” meal…and eating later at night doesn’t seem to help either!
When it comes to divorce, the study found that both both men and women gained weight in the two years following divorce (watch out men, you tended to gain more with an average gain of 20 whopping pounds post-divorce). My experience has actually been the opposite, but perhaps the distinction is that the study focused on two years post-divorce. In my experience–both personally and from watching so many friends go through divorce–there is a period of extreme weight-loss, not gain. In fact, I’ve been known to go up to an acquaintance who appears to be shrinking before my eyes, and ask if her marriage is okay, only to hear that there are some major problems going on. I lost ten pounds when going through my divorce. The stress and anxiety of it all just made my appetite disappear completely. Not a healthy way to lose weight at all–physically or mentally.
Apparently, these research findings were presented to the American Sociological Association because of potential implications for private medical insurance, as overweight people are more likely to develop a number of chronic illnesses than their healthier counterparts. Hmm…this may be great research after all! Insurance companies and employers can now encourage people to either not get married, or–if married–to not get divorced! That sounds far too complicated, and frankly like an invasion of privacy.
The net/net of the research is that both marriage and divorce can lead people to gain weight. I completely understand the causal relationship between getting married or getting divorced and gaining weight, but at the end of the day, it’s not saying “I do” or “It’s over” that leads to weight gain. I didn’t gain ten pounds because I got married. I gained ten pounds because I started eating a whole lot more calories than I was burning. Doesn’t that old adage about “calories in/calories out” work as a rudimentary weight management program–regardless of marital status? I don’t know…perhaps that is simplifying things too much.
I wrote this blog for The Huffington Post, August 10, 2011 … NOT on the High Road
Did you see this on “The Today Show” on NBC Tuesday? I was shocked to watch a segment highlighting a bitter and angry ex-husband who writes a blog called “ThePsychoExWife.com” in which he takes no pains to refrain from absolutely blasting his ex-wife. He describes his blog as “”the true account of a marriage, divorce, and subsequent (child) custody fight between a loving man, his terroristic ex-wife who we suspect suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder …” He goes on to describe his ex-wife as,
“… on the precipice of 40 and probably looks all 50-years of it. Imagine if you will, Jabba The Hut, with less personality. She spends her time … drinking her days away bemoaning her victim status, when she isn’t stuffing the children with fast food, buying them toys, or pushing them towards the TV or computer.”
Forget all the legal rambling about whether this guy has a ‘right’ to write and publish online any of this information. We live in the US and one of our inalienable rights is the right to free speech.
But (and that’s a huge but!), c’mon … is this really in the best interests of his two children who are the tender ages of ten and twelve? How can a father live by a moral compass that must be so far askew for him to think it is OK to write things like this about the mother of his children?
As Americans, we seem to think it’s permissible to just speak our mind whenever we choose to, and legally that is one of the things we pride ourselves on, but doesn’t it seem like this legal answer needs to be over-ruled by a more pressing moral response? Doesn’t it seem that we should allow our moral compass to drive our behavior even though that may squelch our immediate desire to do what feels right in the moment? In this case, shouldn’t the value that this father places on having his two boys successfully survive, and thrive, after their parents divorce outweigh this father’s need to blow off his anger, bitterness and hatred by writing his blog?
There are so many things wrong with this blog and thinking this behavior is appropriate!
This father is creating a difficult environment for his kids, at a stage where these poor children probably want to pretend the divorce isn’t happening, or want it to just be over already! The ongoing battle will take its toll. Add to that the fact that by virtue of what he is writing, the kids are bound to feel some level of guilt as a result of feeling pulled between both parents. And, is this father showing his kids that his is how they should deal with any level of conflict that they will face in their lives? Seriously? These are the life skills we want to emulate for our children?
I’m giving a big thumbs-up to the family court judge who ordered the blog to be shut down saying, “Your children are being hurt because you are bad mouthing the woman they love in public.” I’m not confident that on appeal this argument will be sustained, but rather presume that the father will win his argument that his first amendment rights are being violated. He is obviously onto something as the blog drew more than 200,000 visitors, and he was even able to start selling advertising on it.
Regardless of whether he ‘wins’ his legal case or not, the kids lose. It’s the kids who will suffer as a result of seeing their parents go through yet another vicious, hurtful battle. It seems like the most common sense, intuitive thing in the world to want to protect your children from harm, but then we see things like this in the media, and it goes again the grain of natural order! The fall-out for children who are products of divorce can be devastating even in the most ‘friendly’ of divorces, but we know that studies show one of the biggest indicators of ‘successful’ divorces in the eyes of children is how well their parents are able to co-parent them together. Period. There is no negotiating this point. It’s been researched and documented. Kids don’t want to feel pulled, don’t want to feel guilt, and don’t want to have to ‘take sides’ in their parents divorce.
Clearly, not the high road … not even close to high road behavior. I wish more people would quit trying to win on technicalities and rationalizations, and instead focus on listening to that inner voice, that moral compass, and that self-less indicator that highlights when we should do right for others, instead of selfishly giving in to our own desires or urges. Now there is some high road behavior we can model for our kids. What do you think?
The Huffington Post – I recently wrote this blog for The Huffington Post! Enjoy!
I have been doing a fair bit of travel recently, and it’s always interesting to me how much people open up on airplanes and share intimate details that they probably wouldn’t otherwise share with a stranger.
I recently sat next to a woman. We shared the normal pleasantries … “where is home for you? … is this a business or pleasure trip” … what do you do for a living?” When I shared that I recently wrote a book based on my own experience with divorce called, “The High Road Has Less Traffic: Honest Advice on the Path Through Love and Divorce” she immediately began to share her own story with divorce. That’s not unusual. In fact, I know a lot about a lot of different divorces and there are a lot out there! I think it’s kind of like when women meet someone who is pregnant and suddenly they find themselves sharing every detail of their own pregnancy.
This woman proceeded to tell me that she loved the title of my book, and told me that she too had chosen to take the high road in her own divorce. She shared with me how she discovered that her husband had been having an affair with one of her good friends, how it had devastated her and her children, and how she has resolved that she would handle things positively in spite of the bitterness that she felt.
I was with her! It all sounded great! I was proud of this woman.
Then she told me that she had recently begun dating again and found herself “totally falling in love” with this new guy. I was excited for her, and as is normal for strangers on an airplane, I started asking all sorts of details. How did they meet? How long had they been dating? Was he divorced too?
Imagine my utter shock and dismay when I found out that he was still married! Yes, married! She said he told her that he really wanted to divorce his wife. He told her their marriage was really over. He told her he loved her. I continued being the nosy passenger in the seat next to her and discovered that not only was he still married, he hadn’t even been to see a divorce attorney yet. As far as his wife knew, they were still 100 percent married, and when I asked if she had any idea that he had a lover, the answer, of course, was no. They were ‘sneaking’ around spending weekends away and making clandestine phone calls when they could.
What was I to do now?! The pilot announced that we were preparing to land. There is a fine line between lecturing so that people immediately shut down, and providing some advice and counsel such that you provide some food for thought that the person may initially be opposed to, but that will continue to pop back into their minds and be considered even after the conversation has ended. (The difference between those two things is a fine art I am working to perfect as the mother to a teen daughter!)
I responded with what I hope was the right blend of a slap in the face (What in the world are you thinking? Your ex-husband cheated on you, and now you are the ‘other woman’) with a dose of reality (Do you know how many women around the world are waiting and waiting for their lovers to finally divorce their wives and wake up years later still waiting and waiting?) and a splash of guilt (You just told me you took the high road in your own divorce, and now you are doing the same thing and contributing to the demise of another marriage? This is what you are role modeling for your own kids?).
I’ll never know if my ‘blend’ was the right one and if my message impacted the women in seat 22B in any way. I hope that she found the courage to get out of that situation, to step away from being the ‘other woman,’ and to move on with her new life in a way that would do her proud and allow her to look in the mirror every day with her head held high.
It’s amazing what you learn on airplanes!
If you haven’t checked out The D Spot, you need to! Created by Laura Campbell, this site is fabulous and is dedicated to helping women regroup, renew, and reinvent themselves before, during and after divorce. That says it all!
Laura also wrote The Ultimate Divorce Organizer: The Complete Interactive Guide to Achieving the Best Financial and Personal Divorce, released in February, 2011, to offer a roadmap for navigating the choppy waters of divorce and provide a guide to living a life of clarity, confidence and control! Through The D Spot and her coaching practice, she is able to help women manage their emotions, face their finances and create balance in their life so that they maintain a healthy mind, body and soul.
Laura recently invited me to be a guest blogger on The D Spot, and introduced my post as follows:
I have a new friend. Her name is Monique Honaman and we are absolutely “soul sisters”! I came upon Monique while I was doing research for my second book which I am having a fantastic time writing! (Stay tuned for more information!!). After connecting with her on the phone and yet again, feeling like we could talk for hours, she graciously sent me a copy of her new book, “The High Road Has Less Traffic: honest advice on the path through love and divorce” . It is fantastic!
I asked Monique if she would be willing to share a little about herself with us and so today I am excited to introduce her to you through this wonderful post about her journey through divorce. I highly recommend her book as yet another tool in your toolbox of divorce support!!
I’m currently attending a conference in Las Vegas with over 3000 other women. The conference has absolutely nothing to do with divorce, or marriage, or relationships. It has everything to do with women business owners … smart, motivated, capable, gutsy, risk-taking women who at some point in their lives took an idea and ran with it … and today are women presidents in charge of their own destiny! It’s ‘girl power’ at its most basic element!
Like any great women in business conference, there is a ton of time devoted to networking … and like a great group of women go-getters who have never met a stranger … the conversations quickly turn from summarizing our professional lives, and turn to sharing our personal stories.
As soon as I mention that I love to write and recently published a book, “The High Road Has Less Traffic: honest advice on the path through love and divorce” I immediately find myself in conversations that I shouldn’t be surprised by anymore. As soon as I mention that my book is based on life lessons learned during my own divorce, I hear all about their divorces as well. It shouldn’t surprise me that many of the women I am meeting are in second marriages. I shouldn’t surprise me that many women joke about having had a ‘starter husband’ as divorce has become so commonplace in our society. It shouldn’t surprise me that these women are full of joy, confidence and happiness having survived, and thrived, through one of life’s toughest emotional battles!
The common theme I am hearing is one which I have been known to say in reflecting back on my own divorce: “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, but in hindsight, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” Divorce is ugly; it’s hateful; it’s painful; it’s rejection at it’s most basic form; it breaks families apart; it takes marriage vows and tears them to shreds; it reduces essentially good people to become people with low moral standards and values. So how can this horrible thing become something which so many of these wonderful women reflect back on as ‘the best thing that ever happened’ to them?
The common theme I saw was that these women ‘took the high road’ and as painful and hurtful as their divorces were, they were determined to not get stuck in a pity party, looking backwards saying ‘what if’ and ‘if only,’ and instead chose to march forward to determine what adventures lay on the horizon. These women all chose to let go of all the anger and bitterness which divorce naturally creates, and instead chose to take on a positive attitude. They chose to cast aside blame and hate, find forgiveness, even find some humor in the situation, and decide that forward momentum was the only way to go. All of this behavior characterizes ‘taking the high road’ and I’ve determined this factor alone is the deciding factor in women who survive divorce versus those who thrive after divorce and move on.
I love that feeling, that energy and that edge when you get a group of powerful women together. There’s a sense that we are invincible and while we will encounter obstacles (life happens, right?), that we will be able to overcome, persevere, and turn lemons into lemonade. It’s funny the conversations you get into at a women’s business conference. I love that we are open enough to share our personal stories with strangers at a professional venue. We aren’t alone in handling the bumps of life. Many others have been through this before us and sharing our stories, helping others to move forward, is what girl power is all about!
Monique Honaman is the author of “The High Road Has Less Traffic: honest advice on the path through love and divorce” available on Amazon.com or at www.HighRoadLessTraffic.com. Monique has survived and thrived and has made it her purpose to encourage others to take the high road where there is always less traffic! She can be reached at Monique@HighRoadLessTraffic.com; Twitter: @highroadthebook; Facebook: www.Facebook.com/highroadlesstraffic.