How to Avoid Divorce the 2nd Time Around
Yesterday’s radio show was filled with invaluable advice for anyone dating after divorce. I interviewed Elaine Silver, a collaborative divorce lawyer and mediator who helps people heal. Elaine is a thought leader in peaceful divorce. She lectures about healthy ways to divorce, including at the ABA National Solo and Small Firm Conference. She contributed a chapter to the 2012 book Strategies for Family Law in Florida. She is on the Board of the Florida Collaborative Family Law Council. She has represented people at every end of the economic spectrum–including Carl Icahn’s first wife. Elaine practices yoga, gardens, cooks, and laughs to stay centered and married for 36 years. I’ve outlined highlights of the show. To listen to the full episode, click here.
1. No dating for a year: This is a rule more broken than followed. Take time to heal, to make yourself your own best friend first. Get comfortable with being single, even if it takes 10 years. Women are usually much better at life survival skills. They can usually cook, clean and function day to day. It’s important for women and men to be comfortably being single before dating. In a couple, you split the tasks of running a home. You share who does the bills/shopping/cooking/working/childcare. The time when you’re single teaches you to do all the jobs that it takes to function in the world.
2. Pay attention to the deep dark secrets from the past: If he is cheating on his spouse with you, stay away—you are next. If the first marriage fell apart because the old spouse was a witch/the devil—stay away. If he seems too much like your first spouse—you haven’t learned much yet. Do the work!
3. What about the kids? No introducing to kids until you know you’re serious –and then wait some more; because the new beau makes you happy, the same is NOT true for your kid or his kids.
4. MONEY! Everyone is afraid to talk about money. People will get physically naked with each other, but won’t bare their financial condition. Run that free credit report and go over it together. What about the debts? If he won’t give you his social security number; or if you get that uh-oh feeling about giving him your social security number, maybe he’s not the right guy. What you have/what you owe/ how much he does he pay in child support/alimony. Don’t be the 2nd wife who becomes in charge of all that. What you do with what you have: are you a spender/saver? What values are entwined with those beliefs about money? What’s his/hers/ours? Is 50 -50 necessarily fair? What kind of car does he drive? Is it paid for? How important are those toys? His house/her house/our house—make it our house and a small one. Who works/who cares for the kids/who does everything else? Who pays for the kids’ college? Expectations for retirement ? Discuss it all before getting married!!
5. Age differences/cross-cultural relationships: Cross-religion/race add to the complexities of a relationship. If you factor in a big age difference, it adds a whole other level of complexity, especially in later years, when one partner may become the caretaker of the other.
The bottom line is that sex/money/power are tightly linked together. You have to get all three right to have a healthy relationship. Go in with your eyes wide open. To hear the whole episode, click here.
Tune in next Tuesday, September 10th, when my guest will be Jane Pollak. Jane is a business coach for women business owners. She will be speaking about how she manifested her boyfriend after divorce (and over the age of 60!) by creating a vision for love.
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