Dealing with Stress and Anxiety: What to Look for and How to Cope

Dealing with stress and anxiety is something that we all go through. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the signs, and learn some useful coping strategies.

Identifying the Signs:

In our unique industry, stress and anxiety can manifest in various ways. Just like any other artists, content creators have emotional, behavioral, and physical signs that shouldn’t be ignored. Let’s take a closer look at the signals that might resonate with those in the adult content creation realm.

Emotional Signs:

– Feeling irritable
– Overwhelmed
– Anxious, nervous, or worried
– Racing thoughts and difficulty switching off
– Disinterest in usually pleasurable activities
– Feeling lonely and isolated

Behavioral Signs:

– Difficulty in decision-making
– Avoidance behavior
– Nail-biting or skin picking
– Changes in appetite
– Self-medicating with substances
– Restlessness, difficulty concentrating
– Frequent tearfulness

Physical Signs:

– Unusual breathing or hyperventilating
– Panic or anxiety attacks
– Blurred vision, sore eyes
– Changes in libido
– Fatigue or lethargy
– Teeth grinding or jaw clenching
– Headaches or migraines
– Feeling sick, dizzy, or lightheaded

 

Coping Strategies for everyday life:

Now that we’ve identified the signs of stress and anxiety, let’s talk about some tailored coping strategies for adult content creators. These are your reliable allies, always ready to support you whenever life gets challenging.

1. Self-Care:

Start with self-care basics. A nutritious diet, ample sleep, and minimizing substances like smoking and alcohol can be transformative. Incorporate exercise into your routine – it’s not just beneficial for your physical health but also a great stress-reliever. Even a simple walk can clear the mind and boost those feel-good endorphins.

2. Unapologetic Self-Care:

Yes, so important we’ve listed it twice! Take unapologetic breaks for yourself. Whether it’s a long soak in the bath or a cozy duvet day with your favorite shows, prioritize self-indulgence when stress knocks at your door. Even the simplest things can feel therapeutic.

3. Connect with Your Community:

Your support network within the industry is priceless. Whether it’s fellow creators, industry friends, or mentors, don’t hesitate to share your concerns. Connecting with those who understand the unique challenges of the industry can be immensely comforting. Talking about your experiences can make you feel lighter.

4. Creative Expression Release:

Sometimes, you just need a good release. Express your stress through your work or channel it into physical activities like dancing, yoga, or even a fitness class. Use your creativity as a tool for mental liberation.

5. Mindful Breaks:

Pause and breathe. Incorporate mindfulness into your routine to focus on your internal experience rather than external distractions. Being non-judgmental about your feelings can help make sense of challenges.

6. Understanding What’s in Your Control:

Acknowledge what you can and cannot control in your creative journey. Understand your power and the realistic impact you can have on your circumstances. Organize your projects, make lists, and break down hurdles into manageable tasks.

You are one of a kind and your experiences with stress and anxiety are just as unique

In the world of adult content creation, stress and anxiety can be part of the creative process. Use this checklist to regularly assess your mental well-being. Regular self-assessment is the key to maintaining a healthy mental balance. Here’s to identifying, acknowledging, and conquering stress with creativity and resilience!

If you feel like you need support, you can apply for subsidized therapy with Pineapple Support here.

 

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

How to Have the Best Relationship with Yourself

It’s never too late to build a solid relationship with the most important person in your life – YOU. Whether you’re a content creator or just someone seeking self-discovery, understanding and nurturing your connection with yourself is the ultimate game-changer.

 

Unlocking the Power of Self-Connection:

Amongst all the competing demands of life, our relationship with ourselves sets the stage for everything else. It’s not about being the “best friend” to yourself, but rather becoming a reliable companion and ally. Think of it as building the foundations of a strong, supportive friendship within.

Practical Steps to Strengthen Your Self-Relationship:

Crafting the best relationship with yourself is a journey filled with self-discovery, kindness, and growth. Here are some practical steps you can take to a fulfilling connection with yourself.

Set Intentions and Stay Aware:
Begin by setting a thoughtful intention to cultivate a positive relationship with yourself. Recognize that this is an ongoing journey, and your goals will evolve over time. Keep your eyes on the long-term, knowing that the path may meander but always leads to growth. Stay aware of your thoughts, feelings, and needs, adapting your approach as you grow.

Plan for Now, Soon, and Later:
Break down your self-relationship goals into manageable steps. Establish short-term habits that bring immediate joy, plan for middle-term milestones, and envision the person you want to become in the long term.  Balancing immediate gratification with long-term satisfaction is key. It’s not about perfection; it’s about progress. A well-thought-out plan is your roadmap to success.

Embrace Change with Curiosity and Acceptance:
Change is inevitable, and that’s a good thing. Approach your self-relationship with curiosity. Embrace changes with open arms, understanding that growth is a beautiful, ever-evolving process. Accept yourself in each phase of this journey, appreciating the uniqueness that defines you.

Prioritize Basic Self-Care:
Your body and mind are the canvas of your self-relationship. Start with the basics – quality sleep, nutritious food, regular activity, and mental well-being. Nurturing your body and mind will lay the foundation for a resilient and sustainable self-relationship. Caring for your physical needs builds trust and affection toward yourself and your ability to prioritize your well-being.

Be Kind to You:
Work toward appraising yourself with kindness, avoiding destructive criticism. Act as your own cheerleader and appreciate your efforts and progress. Self-reflection doesn’t mean self-blame. Be honest and take responsibility, but do it with a gentle touch. You’re a work in progress, not a finished masterpiece. Self-kindness is the fuel that propels you forward, fostering a sense of pride and self-worth.

Surround Yourself with Supportive Souls:
Connect with people who align with your self-relationship goals. Positive relationships serve as models and support systems. Cultivate connections that uplift and inspire, forging connections with those who share similar self-growth goals. A supportive community provides understanding, encouragement, and a sense of belonging.

Blend Realistic Optimism with Action:
Perfectionism is the nemesis of sustainable change. Embrace a mindset of realistic optimism by setting achievable goals and building on them. Be patient and celebrate small victories – they pave the way for lasting transformation. Optimism becomes a powerful ally in sustaining positive change.

Create a Personal Crisis Plan:
Life brings challenges, of that we can be certain. Having a crisis plan is your anchor during stormy times. Anticipate challenges by having trusted individuals ready to provide perspective. Write down your thoughts, and remind yourself of your long-term goals during difficult moments.

Infuse Meaning into Activities:
Seek meaning in work, hobbies, relationships, and personal connections. Meaningful activities provide satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Your passions contribute to a fulfilling existence – explore them with genuine curiosity and entertainment, enhancing the quality of your relationship with yourself.

Establish Positive Daily Habits:
Start each day with positive intentions. Remind yourself of your long-term goals, review key practices, and navigate your day with purpose. Although spontaneity is crucial, keeping your goals in mind ensures actions that support your self-relationship journey.

Speak Love to Yourself:
Be mindful of your inner dialogue. Notice when you’re being overly critical, slow down, and replace it with gentle, kind and supportive words. Conversations with yourself can be empowering – choose words that uplift and nurture. Transformative self-talk is a powerful tool for cultivating self-compassion.

Escape the “Selfish Trap”:
Challenge the notion that self-care is selfish. There is a difference between healthy self-focus and self-centeredness. Reject the idea that taking care of your needs is indulgent, and recognize that prioritizing your needs is a necessity for a thriving self-relationship. Overcome guilt associated with self-care. It’s not selfish – it’s necessary!

 

A Transformative Journey

Cultivating the best relationship with yourself is a transformative journey. Be patient, stay kind, and revel in the joy of self-discovery. As you nurture this connection, may you find profound happiness, resilience, and an unwavering love for the incredible person you are becoming. Embrace the adventure, celebrate progress, and enjoy the evolving connection with the extraordinary person you are!

If you need support, you can apply for subsidized therapy with Pineapple Support here.

 

Photo by De’Andre Bush on Unsplash

3 things you should do before telling your partner it’s over

Zelena van der Leeden, MC, CDC® and Jake W. Purdy, PMP, CDC® are the Co-founders of Divorce Management, the first multi-lingual divorce coaching firm in North America. Divorce Management operates on a “pay what you can” model offering certified Divorce Coaching and Divorce Transition and Recovery Coaching. Further details can be found on their website.

 

Staying in an unhappy relationship is quite common when there is abuse or when children are involved. Guilt and shame are tough feelings to shake-off when you feel like you are breaking up your family. Overcoming the fear of leaving your partner is a process that can take years. Many couples try to work things out, while others choose to end the relationship as quickly as possible.

If you made the decision to leave your partner, you should educate and prepare yourself for the journey ahead. These tips might help you start your separation journey in peace:

1. Get organized

Understanding your options when it comes to an official separation or divorce can save you a lot of time and money. Divorce proceedings can be extremely time consuming (and ridiculously expensive), so doing a bit of research ahead of time, will help you choose the right option. As much as you will need a lawyer at some point, meeting with a certified divorce and separation coach first is advisable. Divorce coaching is an alternative dispute resolution method recognized by the American Bar Association. It is a goal-oriented process that focuses on your needs and wants while promoting drama-free separations.

A coach can help you choose the right approach according to your priorities and budget. They can offer resources and connect you with the right professionals: lawyer, mediator, financial advisor, therapist, broker etc. You will need to gather personal and financial information and choose a path between collaboration/mediation and litigation.

 

2. Choose the right time

Timing is very important when it comes to setting the tone of your separation process. Unless you need to escape an abusive relationship, finding the right moment to talk to your partner about the relationship might help bring closure to that chapter of your lives. Couples therapy can help your partner understand where you are coming from and offer a new perspective. Some relationships thrive after counseling, others realize that it is time to part ways.

If you are certain about ending your relationship, and if you feel safe doing so, try talking to your partner when you are both calm and alone. If you can express yourself better in writing, a letter might be a good idea (not a text!). Many people wait until the new year because they feel bad “ruining the holidays”; some wait until the end of the school year; others do one last family vacation. It is never easy to tell someone you want out, so try to find the time that suits you and your family best.

 

3. Practice Compassion

The transition process that takes us from “happily together” to “happily apart” can last up to 3 years for some people. Usually, the initiator has been thinking about separation for some time before pulling the plug on the relationship. The one dropping the initiating the break-up has likely thought about their exit strategy and has probably already talked to a friend, relative, therapist or lawyer about their separation. The initiator is usually more mentally-prepared for the road ahead.

If you want out of your relationship and your partner has no clue, work on your emotional intelligence and communication skills (coaches are great for this too). Understand your partner might do things to “get back at you” because they are in pain. You can’t control how others react, but you can help ease the blow by being gentle in the way you deliver this message. You might not feel the same as the other person, but you have probably experienced sadness and anger before. Being compassionate will go a long way when it’s time to sit down and negotiate parenting schedules, living arrangements and financial support. Even if you are leaving because you were hurt or betrayed by your partner, you might seek comfort in knowing that they have been hurting for a long time and they have not learned how to heal old wounds and childhood traumas.

As much as your safety and happiness must come first, being kind and working on your emotional intelligence will make the process a little bit less painful for everyone involved.

 

Written by: Zelena van der Leeden, co-founder of Divorce Management

© Divorce Management 2024

 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Love and Mental Well-Being: Tips for Improving Your Relationships

In life, relationships and feeling good go hand in hand, influencing each other in meaningful ways. As social beings, we naturally crave connection, sparking the question: do good feelings cultivate strong relationships, or do healthy relationships ensure well-being? The answer is a little bit of both.

 

Relationships and Mental Health

A study from Harvard University found that having people who care about us can make our physical, emotional, and mental health more stable. So, being happy and healthy is linked to the relationships we have. Taking care of these connections is as crucial as looking after our physical health.

In a supportive environment, we feel less alone, less anxious, and less scared. Having friends and family we can count on helps us ask for help before things get too hard, making us stronger when facing challenges.

But having lots of relationships isn’t the key – it’s about having good ones. It’s normal to have some problems with friends, family, or partners now and then, but they don’t have to be perfect. What matters most is knowing we can rely on our loved ones when times get tough.

Relationship Changes

In romantic relationships, a rough patch is common, but it’s the assurance that your partner will stand by you that matters most. If things turn bad or stay difficult for a long time, even being around people might not stop feelings of loneliness and sadness.

Breakups and relationship changes can be tough on our mental health. Feeling lonely and isolated can be significant problems. This also happens when we lose a job, retire, experience grief or go through periods without daily positive connections.

Experiencing conflict in the household doesn’t only stress the grown-ups; it can also detrimentally impact the well-being and development of children. In situations where one person uses fear to control another, it can make it hard for the adults and children involved to make and keep good relationships in the future.

Equally, when we’re not feeling good mentally, it can also affect our relationships. When dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, it can be hard to be interested in our loved ones and invest time or energy into creating  connection. People experiencing poor mental health might feel embarrassed and blame themselves, making it tough to feel close to others and disrupting the balance of mutual support.

 

Ways that you can improve your relationships:

  • To start, think about the relationships you currently have, and the sorts of relationships you would like to have. For example, you might want to make new friends, or strengthen your existing relationships.
  • If you want to strengthen existing relationships, reach out to people you already know, such as co-workers, family, friends-of-friends or neighbours. Suggest that you would like to be in touch more often, and organise to have a coffee, go for a walk, or do another activity you both enjoy.
  • If you are experiencing a period where you are not having daily interactions with other people, and are feeling lonely as a result, you may need to be more intentional in fostering existing relationships or making new connections.
  • If you want to make new friends or social connections, joining a club or group is a great idea. Check out your local community centre to see if there are any groups you might be interested in. Another option is using an app or a forum that brings together people based on common interests.

Good relationships take time and energy. Ultimately, every one of us needs good, supportive relationships to maintain our mental health, and good mental health to sustain our relationships. Remember that building new connections and working on existing relationships often takes time, but it’s always worth it. Be patient and congratulate yourself for doing something that’s been proven to have a positive impact on your emotional and physical wellbeing.

Get support when you need it

If you are experiencing mental health issues, it might feel impossible to put time and energy into our relationships, even if it’s with a close friend or family member, and even when we know it’ll help us in the long run.
It’s okay to ask for help and it’s also okay to take a break from relationships to focus on feeling better mentally when needed. Balancing both is tricky, and getting help ensures you take care of everything.

If you need support, you can apply for subsidized therapy with Pineapple Support here.

A Millennial Divorce Story: it’s ok to put yourself first!

Zelena van der Leeden, MC, CDC® and Jake W. Purdy, PMP, CDC® are the Co-founders of Divorce Management, the first multi-lingual divorce coaching firm in North America. Divorce Management operates on a “pay what you can” model offering certified Divorce Coaching and Divorce Transition and Recovery Coaching. Further details can be found on their website.

 

My divorce journey was a roller-coaster of emotions to say the least: I had my ups and my downs, my moments of absolute bliss and also of terrible despair. Luckily, I was surrounded by an incredible support network: friends, family, therapist, doctors and my yoga community.

I got married because I grew up in a time and in a culture where marriage and having children was seen as the highlight of a woman’s life. I had looked forward to my wedding day since I was 15 years old. When I was 21, my teen dream came true and I left Venezuela to live my happily ever after in Canada.

After the birth of my second baby, I started to feel off. I was 29 years old and I had two kids under the age of two. I thought I had the baby blues because I was sleep deprived, but looking back, I was going through a major existential crisis. It turns out, I had grown to become a very independent woman who wanted to explore and travel the world. Marriage and two babies did not fit my new found dream.

I struggled with guilt for close to two years. I did not want to hurt my husband and I did not want my children to grow up in a “broken” family. We tried couple’s therapy. I wanted to make it work for everyone’s sake, but I decided that I wanted my children to grow up with a happy mom so their dad and I decided to part ways.

What happened in the coming years is something that I do not feel comfortable sharing. I went from being a social butterfly (loud latina), to a very private person (mindful yogi). Mistakes and assumptions were made that ended up affecting my co-parenting relationship with my ex-husband, but I traveled the world and my young adult dream came true.

I spent a lot of time by myself and it was very hard at first. I started “masturdating”: I took myself on fun outings and had amazing experiences. I quickly embraced my solitude as an opportunity to get to know myself and grow. I became a registered yoga teacher, a certified divorce coach, a stepmom and an entrepreneur.

I learned a lot about myself: values, likes, pet peeves, kinks and priorities. I accepted myself with kindness and compassion and despite feeling selfish at times, I put myself first. I took care of my mind, body and spirit. I spoiled myself when I could and for the first time as I was present and seizing the day.

Funny enough, this “selfish” act made me a better parent, a better partner and a better friend. By acknowledging loving my true self, I became less judgmental about others. I volunteered more, gave more, created more and laughed more. I learned about having perspective and my emotional intelligence increased a point or two.

Whenever I meet new people, I find myself saying: I am a divorce coach and I hope you never need my services. Even though divorce helped me fall in love with myself, I am not pro-divorce. Relationships require hard work, love, trust, patience and good communication.

Many clients come to us because they are thinking about divorce, but it is not always the magical solution to life’s problems. If you end a long-term relationship and move on to the next one without understanding what went wrong and healing, chances are the relationship will fail again.

My advice is: if you are going through a separation, take the time to fall in love with yourself and to pursue your dreams. Believe me: when my marriage ended and I said I was going to travel, people said I would never be able to pull it off as a single mom and a full-time job. You are the only one with the power to change your life (if there is anything you want to change, that is).

Get in touch with your essence and take care of yourself. If money is tight, take an evening or afternoon off, ask a family member or a friend to watch the kids and go do something that brings you joy. Connect with others and stay true to yourself… You’ve got this! You are stronger than you think.

 

Written by: Zelena van der Leeden, co-founder of Divorce Management

© Divorce Management 2024

A Guide to Deepening Intimacy in Your Relationship

If you’re a content creator in the adult industry, you know that authenticity and connection are key to making content that truly resonates. So, let’s explore 10 tips to enhance your personal life and infuse that magic into your intimate relationships.

Understanding Intimacy

Let’s take a moment to define what we mean by ‘intimacy.’ It’s more than just the steamy sex – it’s about building deep emotional connections, embracing vulnerability, and establishing trust. It involves sharing thoughts, feelings, and experiences openly, creating a space for authenticity, and fostering a sense of belonging. And the beauty of it? The benefits are incredible – reduced stress, increased happiness, and a more pleasurable connection.

 

  1. Prioritize Daily Emotional Intimacy:
    In the hustle of life, we often forget the power of emotional connection. Setting aside quality time without distractions, having regular date nights, and engaging in relationship check-ins can work wonders. These moments of connection not only strengthen the bond of your personal relationship, it can also fuel the flames of on-screen desire.
  2. Be Vulnerable and Radically Honest:
    Intimacy thrives on openness, and this holds true for both your personal and professional life. Sharing your thoughts, dreams, and struggles – a practice known as personal disclosure – is crucial for building emotional connection.. Creating a two-way street for vulnerability establishes an environment of trust and emotional safety, enhancing connections on and off the screen.
  3. Improve Intimate Communication:
    Talking about sex can actually improve sexual satisfaction. Research has found that couples who openly discuss their desires report higher levels of satisfaction overall. So, start the conversation about what you like, dislike, and what turns you on. It’s a pathway to deeper connection.
  4. Reminisce & Retell Your ‘Love Story’:
    Take a trip down memory lane. Reminisce about how you first met, your favorite adventures, and those funny moments that define your journey. Research shows that couples who positively recollect their relationship stories have stronger and more intimate relationships overall.
  5. Scheduled Sex:
    Scheduling sex might sound unromantic, but think of it as making the important things a priority. By putting it in your calendar, you’re making a commitment to each other. Understanding what activities turn on the sexual spark for both of you can add excitement to scheduled encounters.
  6. Get Better at Conflict Resolution:
    Intimacy isn’t just about the good stuff; it’s also about navigating conflicts in a healthy way. Active listening, emotional intelligence, grounded communication, and knowing when to call an effective ‘timeout’ are essential skills for building trust and safety. The result is scenes, and personal relationships, that captivate and endure.
  7. Exercise or Try Something New:
    Boosting adrenaline through exciting activities can trick your brain into associating the excitement with sexual arousal. So, whether it’s trying a new activity together or hitting the gym, infusing a bit of adventure can spice up your connection.
  8. Share Appreciation:
    Expressing gratitude for the little things your partner does can have a profound impact on your relationship. Research indicates that couples who make a habit of expressing gratitude spend more time together, increasing intimacy and strengthening connection.
  9. Celebrate Each Other’s Success:
    How you respond to your partner’s achievements matters. An active-constructive response, where you show enthusiasm and interest, is associated with greater relationship satisfaction and positive feelings. Celebrate each other’s personal and professional successes, and you might find your intimacy levels soaring.
  10. Increase Physical Touch – Without Expectation:
    Physical touch is a vital aspect of intimacy. Small, no-pressure touches like hugs, kisses, and holding hands in everyday situations release oxytocin, strengthening your relationship and creating an instant connection.

Let’s embark on this journey of deepening intimacy together. Whether it’s for your personal life or your content creation, these tips are your secret to a connection that lasts!

 

We acknowledge that the adult industry and personal relationships can present unique challenges. Past trauma, serious mental health concerns, addiction or substance abuse, or dangerous levels of relationship conflict might require the expertise of a therapist as a first step. Apply for subsidized therapy with Pineapple Support here.

Dating after divorce: are you ready for it?

Zelena van der Leeden, MC, CDC® and Jake W. Purdy, PMP, CDC® are the Co-founders of Divorce Management, the first multi-lingual divorce coaching firm in North America. Divorce Management operates on a “pay what you can” model offering certified Divorce Coaching and Divorce Transition and Recovery Coaching. Further details can be found on their website.

 

As I sit here today, the father of four in a perfectly imperfect blended family, I am grateful things turned out how they did. Mistakes were made along the way, but we also did things that enabled us to create a happy space for our new family.

After a marriage you might be itching to get back out there, find someone that gets your juices going and latch on for the ride. Years of self-neglect, needs not being met and a loveless relationship make jumping into something new tempting, but there are risks with that. Starting a relationship might even turn a respectful/amicable separation into a high-conflict nightmare. If you are exploring relationships or already in one, this article might help you avoid some of the pain we experienced and stories we hear from clients.

Illustration by Alisa Zahoruiko via iStock

Many of our clients start relationships soon after separation. Feeling lonely is completely natural, but being alone will allow you to start a self-discovery journey that will help you heal old wounds, learn from your mistakes, grow stronger and become wiser. Before trying to find a new partner, try to get to know yourself better: what makes you happy? What triggers you? What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

A new partner should lighten up your world, but if you don’t know who you are or what you want out of this life, you might end up choosing the wrong partner again. New lovers should not fill voids, nor should they be used to get back at your ex. People who jump from relationship to relationship tend to make the same mistakes and usually wonder why they cannot be with anyone long-term (no wonder why divorce rates skyrocket after the second marriage). There is no timeline for being ready to move on, but we recommend taking six months to yourself: heal and learn to love yourself before giving your heart away again.

Self-care is the path to self-love: take yourself out on dates, exercise, learn something new, volunteer… maybe you have been thinking about taking a course, joining a team or a club. If you struggle with anxiety or depression, you should consider talking to a therapist or having an appointment with your medical doctor (trust the experts!).

Understanding where romance falls in your list of priorities is very important. Remember that a day has 24 hours, so take some time to think how much time you want to spend on self-care, on your career, on your family, etc.

Do you have the time and energy to add someone new to the mix? And if you do, what kind of person do you want by your side? How do they make you feel? What do you do together? How do they talk to you? How do they support you? How often do you see them? Visualizing your ideal partner is not just about looks, job titles and income.

If you find someone that checks all the marks, take some time to really get to know them. The honeymoon phase can last anywhere between 6 months to 2 years, so slowing down might let you see your new partner’s true colors before you make any life-changing decisions. You might want to talk to a lawyer before moving in with someone else or consider having a cohabitation agreement that will protect you if things don’t work out.

Do not introduce your new partner to your children until you are sure that this new person fits into your life’s plan. Some kids fantasize about their parents getting back together, so introducing a new partner too soon might backfire. They might think the new partner is to blame for the divorce or for their parents inability to reconcile. The last thing you want is for your kids to resent you or your new partner during these confusing times. You might eventually want to blend your family, but giving the children time to adapt is in their best interest. A child psychologist can give you tools for discussing your love life with the children: how and when to introduce a new partner, what sort of activities to do together and how to ensure you still have quality time with your children without the new partner present.

Another person to consider when you start dating again is your former spouse. Sounds a little strange, doesn’t it?

Now that you are no longer in your relationship, you can do what you want! You have freedom!

 

Not so fast…

Whether you like it or not, your former spouse holds a lot of power in the separation process and if you trigger them at the wrong time, look out. Emotional intelligence is key when dealing with matters of the heart. Certified divorce coaches can help you communicate delicate matters with compassion and set boundaries to protect your privacy and avoid future problems. When people are hurt they tend to act irrationally and they might try to get back at you by taking you to court, withholding the children or even suing you (we have seen and heard it all!).

This doesn’t mean that you have to live in fear or hide things from your former partner, but if you want a peaceful separation, make sure you are doing everything in your power to maintain the peace and give everyone time to transition into the new family dynamic. Putting yourself in your ex’s shoes might help you understand how your action might play out in future discussions around parenting time, decision making, property division and support payments.

Everyone deserves love and you have been deprived of it for a long time, you might want to jump back into the dating world right away. This is normal, but take a deep breath and start by loving the only constant in your life: yourself. If you focus on nourishing your mind, body and spirit, you will be wiser, kinder and stronger. Confidence and independence are attractive. Empower yourself and the right person will come your way when you are ready. Put yourself out there, but not because you want to meet someone; do it because you want to grow and become the best version of yourself.

Surround yourself with people that energize you and not with those who drain you. Believe that you deserve to be cherished and respected and the right person will come. If they are not right for you, be grateful for the good times you had together and for what you learned from the experience. As cliché as it sounds, there are plenty of fish in the sea and as long as you continue to love yourself, others will want to join in the fun.

 

Written by: Jake Purdy, co-founder of Divorce Management

© Divorce Management 2024

 

Apply for subsidized therapy with Pineapple Support here.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

5 Ways to Support a Friend Going through Divorce

Zelena van der Leeden, MC, CDC® and Jake W. Purdy, PMP, CDC® are the Co-founders of Divorce Management, the first multi-lingual divorce coaching firm in North America. Divorce Management operates on a “pay what you can” model offering certified Divorce Coaching and Divorce Transition and Recovery Coaching. Further details can be found on their website.

 

Where I come from, they say that you can count your true friends with your fingers. People have different concepts of the word friendship, but one thing we can all agree on is that a real friend has earned your trust and that you have earned theirs.

Having someone’s support when we are going through difficult times can make the journey less painful and less lonely. Friends usually have the power to make us feel better, but sometimes they feel lost and unable to help.

When someone is going through a divorce, people start sharing their Kramer Vs Kramer stories. They tell you what they or others did to keep the house, or the kids and they try to connect you with the best shark in town! Divorce can be a traumatic experience, so when you meet someone who has gone through a difficult separation, you tend to bond and want to help.

If marital breakdown is affecting someone you love, here are some ways in which you can support them:

  1. Ask how you can help

    This might seem obvious, but if you have a friend who is clearly struggling, you might offer opti/ons and solutions that are unwanted. Some people like company and distraction: they want to relax and think about something other than divorce. Others need space: alone time, or less crowded events. They might want to vent and just have you sit there and nod and say: your ex is evil! Or, they might want to avoid the topic all together. They might need money, food or just someone to help with the kids and chores while they deal with the legal mess while trying to keep some sanity. Before you offer help, ask them what they need and then see what you can do to support them.

  2. Respect boundaries

    Even if you mean well, breaking boundaries can slow down your friend’s healing process. Unless you are worried about their wellbeing, if someone wants to be alone you must respect that. If someone says that they don’t want to talk about the divorce, then you shouldn’t ask about it. Let the person lead, but be inquisitive and attentive. Let them know you are around without being too intrusive. Let them share what they feel comfortable with and show interest without falling under the gossip trap. If there are children involved, remember that the high-conflict separations can end up in custody battles, so make sure not share any details about their case with anyone.
    Sometimes a hug can go a long way.

  3. Expect bad days

    We’ve all experienced the blues. Being sad is not a bad thing, but being sad all the time is a sign of depression. If your friend is having ups and downs, that is completely understandable. You’ll know how to help because you have asked and you’ll make sure to respect their boundaries. If you are worried that they might be struggling with mental health issues, you might want to suggest that they talk to their doctor or to a therapist. Some cope with drugs and alcohol and if you think it is getting out of hand, consider saying something. Know that you are not a psychologist and that it is not your job to fix your friend; but a good friend will try to help by offering resources and connecting them with experts.

  1. Offer a different perspective

    Sometimes we try to be supportive by agreeing with our friends. While every single emotion is valid, sometimes people get stuck on an issue that prevents them from moving forward. This is normal because divorce can be stressful and scary and when people are scared they go into fight or flight mode. You can validate every single feeling they have while offering a different point of view. You might help them see alternatives or at least to consider options. Asking questions usually works: What scares you about that idea? Why do you think that? What would happen if…? If you have been through a divorce or know people who have, it’s easy to generalize and compare cases. Understand that every family dynamic is different and that everyone needs to find their own way. If you are encouraging behaviors that will worsen the situation, you are not helping your friend. Try to stay objective.

  2. Cheer for them

    Adapting to life after divorce is a process that takes approximately 3 years for most families with children. Your friend will go through a lot of battles: emotional, legal, social, financial… they will win some and lose some. They will have to negotiate and figure out their priorities and start a new chapter of their lives. They will feel lost and hopeless at times, so it is important that you help them celebrate the small victories: reaching an agreement, moving into a new home, getting a new job, putting themselves out there. If you notice a positive change in your friend’s attitude, make sure you point it out!

 

If you are worried about a friend and don’t feel comfortable having these types of conversations, you can refer them to a divorce coach. Shame and guilt stops people from opening up to friends. Don’t take it personally, just remind them that you are on their side and that you will be supportive while staying true to yourself.

 

 

Written by: Zelena van der Leeden, co-founder of Divorce Management

© Divorce Management 2024

 

You can apply for subsidized therapy with Pineapple Support here.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash