Befriending After Divorce Archive

Tolstoy Quote Happy Families

By Judith Ruskay Rabinor | Filed in Befriending After Divorce

The first sentence from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is one of the most quoted when family relationships are being discussed:Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Tolstoy, a Russian mystic and novelist (1828-1910), went on to write almost 900 pages describing three generations of unhappy family members who tormented and tortured each other and themselves. Although he never used the term, this famous novelist demonstrated what therapists today call the “intergenerational transmission of trauma,” something an ugly divorce is certain to leave in its wake..

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

By Judith Ruskay Rabinor | Filed in Befriending After Divorce

If you want to change your life, go see “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”   The film follows a group of British retirees who decide to “outsource” their retirement to a less expensive locale, and choose seemingly exotic India as their destination. Enticed by advertisements for the newly-restored Marigold Hotel and beguiled with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self.  As they cope with the unexpected, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Recently Rhonda, (a pseudonym) came into my office in a state of despair. She’d been separated from her ex for three years and they had worked hard at creating what seemed to be an amicable custody arrangement. Now, for seemingly no discernable reason, her 12 year old son Marty was lashing out, blaming her for divorcing his Dad and wrecking his life. Read the remainder of this entry »

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In Praise of Exes

By Judith Ruskay Rabinor | Filed in Befriending After Divorce

I recently had dinner with three college friends I hadn’t seen in decades, all of us now divorced. Before we knew it, we were talking about our exes. First, Ruth casually mentioned that she was looking forward to having lunch with her ex-husband; they speak frequently, not only about their two children who are now grown, but about old friends and family members. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Once Attached, Always Attached

By Judith Ruskay Rabinor | Filed in Befriending After Divorce

Like many women who divorce, I took my time finding a second husband. For much of the 13 years between marriages, I doubted I would ever remarry. It wasn’t the falling-in-love part that scared me–it was the staying-in-love part that seemed daunting. But life has a way of surprising us, and after a series of long-term, short-term, heavenly and toxic relationships–I met Larry. Read the remainder of this entry »

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When Divorce Expands a Family

By Judith Ruskay Rabinor | Filed in Befriending After Divorce

Divorced families are often described as disconnected, diminished and cut off, but last week I met with an old friend, Brandy, who reminded me that this stereotype is often unfair and inaccurate. Brandy’s story offers the opposite lesson: that while divorce brings with it many problems, it can expand and enrich a family, sometimes in incredibly unexpected ways. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Ending a marriage takes an enormous toll on your emotional life.  Many people don’t expect divorce to be as painful as it is, even if you were the initiator.  And if you were not the initiator, feeling traumatized and stressed-out are the norm. One of the first stresses you as a divorced parent faced is creating a healthy relationship with your ex spouse or soon-to-be ex spouse. My new book, Befriending Your Ex After Divorce: Making Life Better for You, Your  Kids and Yes, Your Ex  (New Harbinger Publications, January 2013) spells out why befriending your ex is a challenge worth taking and how to do it on a practical and emotional level.  Read the remainder of this entry »

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When a marriage comes to an end, especially when there are children, guilt is a common response. Guilt arises as a result of inflicting pain on another. Parents have an understandable sense of responsibility for bringing hardship into their children’s lives. A parent whose marriage fails is likely to feel, “I made a mistake.” Guilt for bringing discomfort to one’s children is a normal response to divorce. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Why Befriend Your Ex? 6 Good Reasons

By Judith Ruskay Rabinor | Filed in Befriending After Divorce

 

While your ex may have given you grief in the past, befriending your ex is about giving both of you another chance—not for your marriage but for a new, healthy post divorce relationship. Here are six reasons why you might want to consider befriending your ex:

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You may be divorced for years and still feel angry and bitter…
Your ex may have left you in a financial mess?
Your ex may have cheated on you with your best friend?
What if your ex abandoned your children? Read the remainder of this entry »

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