Post-Divorce: Reinvent Yourself
Divorce can be one of the most stressful and emotional situations we as human face, Losing the person you fell in love with can do a real number on our self confidence and put people’s ability to deal with stress to the test. What we need to understand is that divorce offers us an opportunity to better ourselves through a learning experience. So put on a smile and bounce back like never before by using these helpful tips.
This morning as I was walking from the subway, a fabulously dressed woman in her early 30s paused briefly and said to me, “I love your style! You look so confident; it all works together. The earrings, the scarf, the boots. I love it.”
She didn’t know that I had tossed and turned all night after my 3 a.m. “anxiety gremlins.” That I’d crawled out of bed that morning later than usual. That I had thrown on the first “professional outfit” I could grab. That I barely made it to the subway on time – with no breakfast or coffee to boot!
Nonetheless, her praise made me smile and stand a little taller. It’s lovely when a stranger flatters you. And it’s a real boost when friends, therapists, and family tell us that we’re doing “so well.”
Ultimately, however, the belief that we’re doing well has to come from the inside. For many of us recovering from divorce, the dependence we had on our former spouse’s opinion caused significant pain. So we should tell ourselves exactly what that adorable younger woman declared to me in the subway.
Moving forward, it’s essential that we believe in our own strengths.
Here’s what to do. I call it “talk to the mirror.” It’s part of my prep every morning — including today! It may have made all the difference in the way I presented myself to the world, even though I was feeling rushed and frazzled.
Talk to the Mirror: Four Steps to Believe in You
- Stand or sit up straight in front of your mirror and take a good, long look. That person you see is your biggest cheerleader, your best friend, your confidante, your secret to success and your guide to new adventures.
- At first, you’ll be tempted to focus on everything you don’t like. Stand up against self-doubt and decide that you like what you see.
- Look yourself in the eye and say the speech below with as much animation and conviction as you can. Wave your arms or point lovingly at yourself, if you like. You can even compose your own message as long as you tell yourself that you’re wonderful. Remember, this is you to you. No one else will hear or see this.
- Here’s your mirror speech. Say out loud:
“I am so proud of you! Look at you! Look what you’ve accomplished. You’ve been through some major rough times, and you’ve come through it like a champ. You did it! No one else. Congratulations!
You are doing so well! This little thing that kept you awake last night? You can handle this just fine! Think about all that you’ve been through. You are NOT going to let this one get you down!
By the way, I need to tell you this: I love you! You’re an amazing woman! Beautiful, strong, focused, in charge!
Now, step into your day knowing you can do whatever you need to do. Nothing’s going to hold you back: not anyone or anything.
Watch out world, here you come! Go get ‘em Tiger!”
If it means doing this every day until you feel your self-confidence returning in spades, do it! You’ll find it’ll make a significant difference in your self-assurance throughout the day.
Kat goes international! Her book, Exhale Midlife Body Blues, was featured in the Irish Examiner.
Earlier on Huff/Post50:
- Error! Filename not specified.“Medications that are prescribed for stroke issues and heart issues can have devastating effects on sexual functioning,” explains Dr. Janice Epp of the Institute of Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. In addition, researchers have found that a family of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) can take the winds right out of your sails. These drugs include brand names such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil.
- Error! Filename not specified.Don’t be shy — talk to your doctor about how your prescriptions are affecting your sex drive. “There are a whole lot of new drugs that don’t necessarily have those side effects, but it takes a lot of experimenting,” says Dr. Epp. “Sometimes it takes three to four different tries to find the one that’s best for you.”
- Error! Filename not specified.“People of both sexes can develop pain disorders as they get older, and that can have a big effect on sexuality,” notes Patty Brisben,
founder and chairwoman of Pure Romance, a company that specializes in selling sex toys and providing information on women’s sexual health issues.
- Error! Filename not specified.Brisben suggests re-evaluating your definition of sex. “Being intimate does not necessarily mean having sex in the traditional sense,” she says. Some solutions sensual touching and massages and mutual masturbation.Dr. Epp suggests looking into new positions. “Sit on a chair, try being in different positions,” she says. “Side by side actually puts the least amount of stress on your joints.”
- Error! Filename not specified.The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting seven to eight hours of shut eye a night. But with the stress of work, kids, bills and, oh yeah, your marriage, who can think about fitting in time to have sex, much less sleep?
- Error! Filename not specified.For some couples the days of random romps may be behind them, and that’s alright, says Dr. Epp. “Plan some sex dates around times that you know you feel more energetic — it lets you look forward to it,” she says.”Some people say, ‘Sex should be spontaneous!’ to which I say bullsh*t,” she says, laughing. “You plan other things in your life and you don’t complain about it. You can do the same with sex.”
- Error! Filename not specified.Waning libido and vaginal dryness are two unpleasant side effects of menopause. With increased longevity, “women can now expect to spend a third of their lives in post-menopausal years,” Brisben said. “So understanding how you’re being affected by those changing hormones is essential.”
- Error! Filename not specified.A dip in estrogen may lead to thinning vaginal walls and itchiness in the area. According to the Mayo Clinic, treatments can include vaginal estrogen creams such as Estrace and Premarin; a flexible estrogen ring that is inserted; or estrogen pills, patches or gels.
- Error! Filename not specified.“I think if you’re just now embracing this subject at or around age 50, you’ve got some catching up to do!” Brisben tells Huff/Post50. But it’s never too late to start having a frank and honest conversation with your partner about what you want in bed.
- Error! Filename not specified.“I recommend having these conversations out of the bedroom and when you have some alone time,” Brisben says. “Be open, be receptive and be ready to listen.”Don’t be afraid to bring some playfulness to the discussion. “Shop online for intimacy products together,” Brisben suggests. Or write your partner a letter: “Tell them what you’d like to introduce into your intimate relationship.” Another tact: Read sexy books together and share what interests you and what doesn’t. “If you find these conversations are still hard to have … a sex therapist or counselor is trained to help,” Brisben adds.
- Error! Filename not specified.It’s the one part of aging and sexuality that gets the most attention: erectile dysfunction, which is often rooted in some larger physical problem, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, according to the Mayo Clinic. Medications and drug and alcohol use can also play a role.
- Error! Filename not specified.Ubiquitous ads promote the popular little blue pill to cure impotence, but there are other treatments as well, including vacuum pumps, implants and surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Error! Filename not specified.According to the movies or steamy prime time television shows, passion goes from 0 to 69 with a mere glance, a bitten lip or a bad pun. But “as we age, our bodies slow down and we have less energy,” Dr. Epp tells Huff/Post50. “That’s naturally occurring, but it can have an affect on our sexuality.”
- Error! Filename not specified.Rethink the connection between arousal and desire. Tell your partner if you need more than the average 20 minutes spent on foreplay.