Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Glue That Binds

Is there a special "glue" that holds a relationship together? And, if there is, where can we buy it!?

Scientifically speaking, one type of glue is known as chemical curing which involves creating a chemical reaction and sometimes includes an additional ingredient such as a hardener. There are also different types of glue for various substances; for example, there is a glue that works best on wood, on plastic, on fabric, etc.

So, when two people meet and they feel that special chemistry with each other, does this reaction instantly glue them together forever? What happens if it is the wrong type of glue? It might stick for a while, but it will eventually lose its stickiness and the "pieces" will fall away from each other. There could also be a bad chemical reaction, and sparks may fly because of friction or being rubbed the wrong way.

In truth, the special ingredient to make "glue" especially sticky is to be nice to one another. It might seem benign, but 'nice' covers a big territory: respect, courtesy, caring, putting another's feelings ahead of one's own, honesty and honor ... to name just a few. 

Of course, physical attraction comes into play, but as you get to know and love your partner more, he/she becomes more beautiful in your eyes. That's one reason why it is said that love is blind! If physical attraction (or lustful chemistry) is the only 'glue' used to hold a relationship together, there is a good chance that it will tarnish and separate over time. 

Over time, all relationships experience ups and downs and may get bruised and battered in the process. To keep a relationship healthy and vibrant it needs constant attention, and additional 'glue' must be added to patch up both minor and major mishaps.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Are You Ready To Stop Being a Victim?

Today, I have a question for you ...
If you knew your husband or wife were going to die young and leave you with your children to raise by yourself, would you have chosen to still marry him/her? (I'll ask a similar question to those of you who are divorced further into the article).

If you would still have opted to marry your spouse, for the happiness and love you have experienced up to the death far outweigh the sorrow of your loss, but you have been feeling victimized by the circumstances of your life -- are you willing to consider that it may be time for an attitude adjustment?  Please keep in mind that this adjustment does not negate the depth of your loss; however, your power lies in your response to it.

Ask yourself ...
How can I be a victim when I would make a conscious decision to have the life I am leading?

Yes, life is tough when your spouse has passed away and you are left to raise your children on your own. However, as with everything in life, there are always different ways to look at a situation. Let us take a small glimpse on the "bright side."

Now, when you make a decision about your children, you are always right!! Doesn't that feel good? Your children are also precluded from playing their parents one against the other to manipulate a situation so they can get what they want.

Not having to worry about setting aside spousal time, your available leisure time can be spent focused on your children. This special time, when it is just you and your children, will increase their feelings of security. When children feel totally secure and know that they are number one in a parent's heart, an easier transition can be made if the time comes when you want to welcome new love into your life.

As an aside, for the first two years after my late husband died, I spent so much time with my sons that they finally told me -- "Okay, we're ready for you to go out and play with your own friends and have some fun (without us)!!

Being single also allows you to concentrate on yourself without feeling guilty or selfish. For example, you can go to that party with friends and dance the night away and not worry that you've left your spouse at the table cooling his/her heels because he/she doesn't like to dance.

Another positive to keep in mind is that because children take their cues from the adults around them and mimic their responses to situations, you have been given a great opportunity to illustrate to your children how to move through adversity with grace.

And for the divorced ... 
These same issues are present, and so I ask the same question of the divorced. Despite a messy divorce, if you are the parent of beloved children, can you say that you would not have chosen to marry your ex-spouse if that meant your children would not have been born? 

Single parenthood, no matter how it comes about, is not an easy road to travel. And for the divorced, it can be further complicated by continuous battles over child custodial issues.

Now, some of my examples may seem trite, but they were merely to demonstrate that in every situation you CAN find a bright spot. The trick is that you have to want to find it! Letting go of feeling like a victim will free up room, time and energy in your life to welcome positive thoughts and opportunities.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Writing the rest of your story ... what does that involve and how do you start?

Let's imagine that your life up to now has been a movie, aptly named "The Story of My Life, Part I." You held the starring role, surrounded yourself with a wonderful and loving cast of supporting actors, and, to top it off, you and your co-star were deeply in love. When this movie was over and "The End" scrawled across the screen, naturally, you were very sad, disappointed and unsatisfied. Perhaps you wanted to stand up and shout, "This is NOT the way it was supposed to end. I signed on for a role in happily ever after, and I got stuck playing a role I didn't and still don't want. 

Well, the "movie studio" does not have the power to remake this film. However, there are always sequels in which wrongs can be righted and happy endings may be found. You decide to audition for "The Story of My Life, Part II." And to make sure things go your way this time, you decide to be a triple threat. You will be the star, the director and the producer! This movie will begin at your current age and status and, perhaps, have a quick flashback so that the audience can see how you arrived in this place. 

The producer may be the "money-man" behind the scenes, but as the director, you are in charge of how the movie unfolds. This means you have the power to cut away the obstacles that may hamper your success. You must also have a clear vision of how the movie will end ... or at least how Part II will end. After all, you wish to star in sequel after sequel!  

By imagining the endpoint before you start filming, you are the shaping the big picture vision of your life. With clear cut goals, you can then begin to turn your imaginings or fantasies into reality.

Before you start filming, here are just a few questions to ponder.

~What is the name of your movie (other than Part II)?
~What is the overarching theme of the movie?
~Will the viewer learn any lessons from this movie?
~Are there scenes in this movie that you expect will be hard to play? If so, how can you prepare for them?
~Who will be your leading co-star?
~Who will comprise the supporting cast?
~How do you want the viewer to feel as he/she watches this movie?
~How does the movie (or this sequel) end?

All movies require lots of preparatory work, which can include scouting locations and developing the wardrobe, for example. The initial filming is usually spliced into a rough cut with some scenes eliminated and others redone. Lastly, it is edited into the final product. 

Similarly, in your "real" life, you must prepare yourself emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually to move into a new phase of your life. Just like a movie director, you can try out different ideas and locations and discard (or cut out) what doesn't work. The further along you are in your process, the more you refine what the final "product" (or your new life) will look like.

Who's ready to say -- Lights, Camera, ACTION?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Finding Love After Loss: Do You Need Help Finding Love?

Here's a short 6 question quiz.
1. Are you active on Internet dating sites but never seem to be able to get past the initial introductory e-mail?
2. Are you participating in activities and events aimed at singles?
3. For women, do you have a lot of first dates but they never seem to go anywhere? For men, do you often get rejected when asking for a second date?
4. Do your dates say, "You're such a nice person, but I don't see this going anywhere but being friends."
5. Yes or No? You are attractive and successful in your professional life, but you can't seem to find anyone who you would be interested in dating.
6. Do you retreat from a relationship once it gets past the "get to know you phase" and settles into a routine?

If the aforementioned describes your experience, you are not alone! Many people simply jump into dating without a plan and then they are disappointed when things don't go as well as they would like.

One of the best steps you can take to encounter more success is to formulate an Action Plan. Just think ... when you complete a project for work, don't you usually have a defined goal? And don't you lay out the steps to take in order to reach that goal successfully? Oftentimes, jumping in without a plan can lead to delays, a need to backtrack and rethink and redo, disappointment and frustration. Successful dating in no different. You need a plan!

Consider the following in constructing your ACTION PLAN.

1. Have you taken the time to get to know who you are at this moment in time and what type of partner would really fit into your life (and lifestyle)?
2. How serious are you about finding a new life partner? Are you willing to put in the hard work to find someone with whom you can connect?
3. Have you defined your ultimate goal? Is it dating, marriage, cohabitation, a platonic partner?
4. Have you examined your life to ascertain whether you have time (or are willing to make the time) to have a meaningful relationship?
5. Do roadblocks exist that would need to be conquered before you would be able to enter a meaningful, committed relationship?
6. If you are dating via the Internet, is your profile an accurate representation of who you are? Is it attracting the right prospective partners but you are still not able to "close the deal"?
7. Have you brushed up on your communication skills? After being in a long term relationship, people often get used to non-verbal clues. New relationships need verbal clues.
8. Are you attending the right types of events to meet the type of person you want to meet?
9. Are you willing to make yourself vulnerable and accept rejection as part of the process?

Wishing and wanting to find a new romantic partner sometimes does not provide enough focus for that desire to come to fruition. If you want to find love, you must make it a priority in your life and then take the necessary steps to make it happen.

And if you've tried and can't "make it happen" on your own, utilizing a relationship coach for professional guidance can help you hone your focus and provide a fresh perspective for you to look at dating in a different light.