10 Secrets To Befriending Your Ex

Much to my chagrin, just six months ago my ex-husband, Arnold Rabinor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was in the process of completing my book, Befriending Your Ex After Divorce: Making Life Better for You, Your Kids and Yes, Your Ex and Arnie and I had frequently joked about going on a book tour together with our current spouses! When he called to share the news of his diagnosis, he ended our conversation on a light note and said, “I guess we’ll have to put off the book tour for now.” Both of us knew that pancreatic cancer was deadly. Neither of us knew that within 10 weeks he would be gone.

My book had not yet gone to print, so I had the opportunity to dedicate it to him. Here is an excerpt I would like to share with you…Click Here for full article.

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Ex Spouses Get a Bad Rap

Debunking the stereotypes of the deadbeat ex-husband and the money-grubbing, vindictive ex-wife.

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 ex-husbands. Ruth casually mentioned she was looking forward to having lunch with her ex-husband. They speak frequently, not only about their two children, now grown, but about old friends and family. Laughingly, she told us they still argue over current events.

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Hump Days: Befriending Your Ex Book Review by Patti Cakes

A few years ago when I was going through an amicable, uncontested divorce, my friends asked me why it was taking so long. Since we didn’t have children and weren’t using attorneys, they thought the process should be a snap. Well it wasn’t. If you’ve had two plants growing in the same pot for many years the roots as well as the vines will become intertwined. You have two choices: you can dump out the plants and yank them apart, or gently disentangle them so that they will each thrive once they are transplanted in new soil. Separating a couple is no different. When you’ve intertwined your lives for a number of years, let alone a couple of decades, ending it as painlessly as possible is no easy task. Moving a step beyond pain avoidance, it can take some effort to remain friends, but it is well worth it in the long run. You may be asking yourself “If we couldn’t stay married, why in the world would I put any effort into being friends?” There is a new book out by Dr. Judith Ruskay Rabinor that explains why. The book is called Befriending Your Ex after Divorce: Making Life Better for You, Your Kids, and Yes, Your Ex, and I, for one, am thrilled that she’s published it. I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Rabinor regarding her new book which was published earlier this month…. Click here for full article

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The Biggest Investment of Your Life: Coparenting After Divorce

I applaud Bryan Borzykowski’s recent (12/6/12) New York Times article, “When Couples Divorce But Still Run a Business Together.” The lessons learned by his co-partners made me reflect on one of the most important investments divorced people face: the business of co-parenting their children after divorce.

Borzykowski interviewed divorced couples who own and successfully run a law practice, an accounting firm, and a $45 million snack company. For many of these couples, learning how to co-partner in a business venture has yielded enormous financial rewards. The ex-spouses agreed that running a business together requires a commitment to compassion, mutual respect, getting professional help when emotional conflicts become too sticky to handle, and creating and sticking to agreements and ground rules

While running a professional business together after divorce isn’t easy, it’s probably no more difficult than running the business of family. Those newly divorced who back away from co-parenting, fearful that cooperative co-parenting with an ex may be too emotionally fraught might find it easier to think of themselves as business partners. Managing schedules, finances and keeping one’s eye on the big picture are features that are at the heart of both endeavors. Co-parenting after divorce shares many of the same challenges as running a small business; what’s more, the emotionally lucrative rewards surpass the financial rewards of a Fortune 500 company.

Like parents with children, the divorced business partners had all begun their professional businesses together while married and managed to continue their commitments after the divorce. They advised sitting down together to tell their employees about an impending divorce and to reassure that jobs will remain secure.

Children, too, need to know about a divorce ahead of time and to be reassured that they remain secure in their parents’ love.

Funny, that is precisely what I advise my divorcing or divorced clients to do if they wish to co-parent successfully.

The divorced co-owners in Borzykowski’s article say it takes two years before the new relationship becomes easier. That’s also my experience in counseling families in the art of co-parenting. And when you think about it, two years isn’t such a long time for a high quality investment.

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Tolstoy Quote Happy Families

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

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. Continue reading →

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A Meditation on Life, Love and Being a Therapist

Volumes have been written speculating how therapy expands the lives of clients. Far less is understood about the impact of doing clinical work on the therapist’s own life. In the process of the therapeutic journey, clients are not the only ones in the room who contact buried grief.  Therapists too, inevitably revisit their own buried darkness, which offers ongoing opportunities for growth and renewal.  I realized this when I said to one of my clients: “Ella, we have a lot of work to do this year so you don’t make the biggest mistake of your life.” Continue reading →

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Listening to the Inner Voice: The Healing Power of Writing

What is the source of our first suffering?
It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak.
It was born in the moment
When we accumulated silent things within us.
– Gaston Bachelard

Writing is an axe to break the frozen sea within.
– Franz Kafka

People with eating disorders come to therapy talking endlessly about food, fat, dieting and losing weight, a focus that distracts them from deep wells of pain. Disconnected from their inner hunger, they are isolated from themselves and others. A major goal of therapy is helping them develop connections; to their therapists, to other people, to their inner psychic worlds and eventually, to the larger world – of spirituality, nature and community. Continue reading →

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Honoring Our Hungers

Every person alive has demons; inner demons that gnaw at the soul in the dark hours of the night. People come to therapy when this darkness becomes too black, too bleak to bear. Women with eating disorders come to therapy hoping to escape their inner darkness, with little awareness of deep layers of psychic pain masked, contained and expressed in their bodies and in the three simple words, “I feel fat.” Continue reading →

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Sacred Nourishment

We all have priceless things in our lives. Have you ever stopped to consider what is the most precious thing you have in the world. What is the one thing you have that if it were taken away, you would never be the same again? Think about it. Take a minute.

You may find that a particular relationship you have is the most precious thing in the world. Perhaps it is your health and the health of those around you that is most precious. Perhaps you have a different answer, though when you consider this question very carefully, is there not something that takes priority over it all? Continue reading →

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