If you are in the early phases of separation there will be some people you want to keep close by your side and there will be others that will no longer be a part of your life. Everyone will have an opinion on what you should do, what they really thought of your partner and be particularly cautious of the ones who love to feed on gossip.
The fact is that any separation, no matter who decides to end the relationship, is a traumatic and confronting experience. Time really does heal old wounds and life goes on, we manage to pull ourselves together, we learn more about who we are and just how strong and resilient we have become, we learn to ask for help when we need it, we learn to swallow our pride and seek financial assistance when we need it, we become experts at managing our budgets, we discover just how wonderful and supportive a select group of special people in our lives are and eventually we regroup, we begin to think about what we want to do with our lives, our work or careers or adding value to others in some way. There are so many parts of who we are and for many women it’s not until we are no longer someones wife or partner that we have the opportunity to make these discoveries, our self-awareness becomes deeper, we begin to question our beliefs about relationships and other things we thought to be true, many begin a deeper spiritual practice, question why they are here, they realise the benefits of maintaining their health and fitness, giving back to their families and communities and begin to explore experiences that are new, challenging, fun and allowing the growth and expansion of themselves and their lives. Click below to find out all about Our Members Lounge where you will discover another level of support unavailable anywhere else.
Older children have a longer history in the former family unit, regardless of how healthy or toxic it has been. With this in mind, how can parents bridge this communication and credibility gap with their older children? Before I start talking about embracing sex and sexiness in your life, these are two quite distinct words with very different meanings.
As I did a little bit of research on what the word sexiness means it became apparent that sexiness is in the eye of the beholder and by that I mean it depends on people’s different views of what ‘sexiness’ means to them, what it looks like and how people exude ‘sexiness’. For me it is more about the qualities and traits of a person and how they care for themselves.
For women of all ages who have felt rejected by a partner and particularly if that rejection involves another women it will feel like a death of a thousand cuts.
Separation and divorce shatters many women’s beliefs about themselves particularly around their ability to attract another partner. If you agree with my definition of sexiness being a particular inner and outer strength and a quiet confidence how do women rekindle the flame within themselves that may have waned over time, or been completed snuffed out in a previous relationship.
We all have different coping strategies under difficult circumstances and underlying these coping strategies people who have been hurt will be asking themselves ‘what can I do to feel better about myself?’ or ‘how can I withdraw from the world because I am not enough?’ Whichever path they choose will of course produce very different outcomes.
Gone through their underwear drawers and thrown out every bra, every pair of knickers and personal items and hit the shops to buy all new very sexy items to replace the old with the new. Joined a gym, a walking group, a pilates class or yoga any physical activities that gets the body pumping and provides so many amazing feel good benefits. I’m sure that most women have experienced both the power and the pain of women in different groups they belong to, whether that’s a social or a business networking group. This group definitely falls in the ‘power of a group’ category and like many other powerful groups it is the bond that women create with each other to both seek and provide help, support and advice though the sharing of similar experiences that contributes to making it such a powerful resource. Cultural backgrounds, religious or spiritual beliefs, financial situation, age, country, children or no children, all totally irrelevant as the single most powerful reason this group functions so beautifully is because of the women who give so freely of their time to share their advice, wisdom and unconditional support for each other. Within this group as with many other groups women fall into different personality profiles. Over the past three, nearly four years I have only had cause to remove two women, one who didn’t agree with one ladies sexual preferences and another who was bullying, not a bad record for a group that consistently has 200+ women as members from around the world.
There are so many fantastic interest groups, networking groups and business groups for women and as many groups as there are not all of them will work for everyone.
It can be as simple as not warming to the person who leads the group, the size of the group, the way the group is run, something about the energy of the group that doesn’t seem right for us or in some groups it can be as simple as them not giving you what you were looking for from the group. Sometimes it’s hard to fit in particularly with a group of women who are so tight that it feels like there is no way you are going to be allowed into the inner sanctum. I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself with the people who will lift and inspire you, are genuinely interested in getting to know more about you.
With the divorce rate rising at a rapid rate, families and relationships struggling and so many people hurting and finding it so difficult to get over what has happened and move on with their lives it always triggers these questions in my mind. What preparations need to happen and what deeper understanding of what marriage or any committed relationship actually is, what it means and what has to be there for couples to create a conscious relationship. I remember a time when I would walk past a young couple on their wedding day and see how happy they were, how beautiful everyone looked, I felt the love and excitement in the air and quietly wished them a long and happy life together. My work of course brings me in daily contact with women who were just like the young couples I mentioned, once upon a time. I recently shared a post on my Divorced Women’s Club Facebook Page about Conscious Relationships. The conscious couple values growth more than anything else because they know this is the secret to keeping the relationship alive. Conscious couples know that we all have wounds from the past, and they understand that these wounds will inevitably be triggered, especially in a relationship. It’s rare to be completely honest about who you are, and to stretch yourself to let your partner do the same.
I’m absolutely in agreement that our current paradigm is not working and something needs to change, I also believe our younger generations coming through, perhaps children of divorce, will be looking for better ways to relate with each other in all of their relationships. The example I have used of what Conscious Relationships are is perhaps a somewhat extreme example, in which case I’d like to spend more time sourcing information and get some real world feedback of how this works in the real world for couples.
I deal with the reality of many relationships everyday, perhaps that is clouding my view, I do know though that I’m not quite ready to jump onto the conscious relationship bandwagon just yet. When someone asks a question like this, or makes a statement along the lines of “I can’t because” there are a whole lot of beliefs about what they must do, what they should do, how they supposed to act and how much or how little they value themselves.
It becomes a very real problem when other people expect us to always be there for them, to jump when they say jump or allow them to speak to us in ways that are unacceptable. We teach people how to treat to us and if we want things to be different we have to retrain ourselves first. For those of you reading this who think you might be a people pleaser check in and ask yourself how many times you do something out of a sense of ‘duty’ or because of what someone might think about you and then notice how that makes you feel. Now ask yourself how you feel when you decide that you really want to do something for someone, regardless of the inconvenience and take particular notice of how that makes you feel. Deciding to do something for someone when it is coming from a place of giving is a very different experience from those times when we agree to do something that we really don’t want to do, or we alter our plans to do something to fit in with someone else and there is resentment, anger or we experience a general feeling of being pissed off. There is nothing wrong with putting ourselves first, in fact if we don’t know how to say NO then we are giving people the green light to walk all over us. I remember when I first started work after being at home raising my kids for many years and one of the managers asked me to prepare a report.


About 4 or 5 days later I was in his office and I noticed the report still on his desk where I had left it. I would like to share something I read many years ago from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey that had an impact on me at the time and still resonates deeply with me.
Many of us, me included, allow other people and circumstances to have an influence on our day to day lives that takes us away from doing the things that are most important to us. Many people give too much and love too much and then wonder why they are left feeling unappreciated, unloved and dissatisfied with life.
If you identify as someone who gives too much and you are frustrated that your goals and dreams are sitting out in some far distant future this is the perfect time to write your personal mission statement and enforce boundaries around how you use your time and your energy.
As I began to think about writing this blog I went to my bookshelves and was astounded at how many books I have that are related in some way to ‘leadership’.   Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In – Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Stephen Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Ken Robinson The Element, Malcolm Gladwell Outliers to name a few and I’ll throw in The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz slightly off topic and yet fits beautifully and is one of my favourites. Andrew Bryant in his book Self Leadership defines it as having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do and where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviour on the way to getting there.   All of this can be summed up as self-awareness and the maturity to take responsibility for your personal development, goals and outcomes. There is no way I could address all the different situations and circumstances that women come from and through because of the end of a relationship.
What role does self-leadership play in the lives of women going through divorce and conversely for those who are ready to step into a new relationship?
What’s the difference between the women who are able to get their lives back on track more quickly and those who stay stuck for years hanging onto their story?
In very simple terms the difference is this: the women who get on with their lives choose to create a different story. Here are the three important components of effective self-leadership inspired by some brilliant writers and thinkers.
Women who move on with their lives more quickly after separation and divorce have a clear perception of their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. They are willing to let go of the things they cannot control, how other people act is always a trigger in separation and divorce situations. Listening to our internal dialogue and recognising when we are making judgements about other people, circumstances or situations based on the story we are telling ourselves, essentially making up shit!
It’s about knowing what questions to ask yourself to gain insight into the what, the why and the how of a situation. It’s about being in control of your own mind, where you focus your attention, your emotions, your responses to situations and ultimately your behaviour. When it comes to creating change in your life being in control of your thoughts comes first, the emotions, the language you use to describe a situation and the actions you take all follow on from your thoughts and will have a massive influence on how you view the world around you. When it comes to facing those curved balls that life tends to throw our way from time to time self awareness is critical when it comes to managing yourself and your situation. When it comes to wanting your life to be better or different in some way, knowing what it is you want and being absolutely clear about why you want it is essential for moving forward. Being fit and healthy is both a value and a priority and it will be evident in the choices you make about what you eat and as a priority it will influence how you plan your day. You can substitute any other quality or trait for the word relationship, wealth, freedom, contribution, independence, creativity, community, honesty, self-expression and so on. We all have the ability to continually improve ourselves, our lives and in turn the lives of others. Accept that there will be times when we fail, we fall in a heap, we struggle to continue, and yet we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue on the journey knowing that we have just taken one giant leap forward.
There is no taking away the heartache and pain we experience when it comes because of the challenges we face with separation and divorce, that’s a fact.
My clients know that once they have moved through the worst of the situation and out the other side, there is a whole world of new possibilities and opportunities waiting for them to discover. It changes who you are, it changes many aspects of your life that you held dear, it causes you to question everything about yourself, your decisions, and it completely wipes out the timeline you had in your imagination of how and when all the things you had planned together would come to life.
Perhaps they remember better times when Mom and Dad interacted with them and each other with more joy and harmony. For teenagers that resistance is compounded by a tendency to test boundaries and rock the status quo. Consequently they are less likely to blame themselves for the divorce (as younger kids frequently do) and more apt to take sides and blame one of their parents. If they are not given the opportunity to vent, express their feelings and be heard, this anger often manifests as physical rebellion, drug or alcohol abuse or other inappropriate behaviors.
Whenever possible, both Mom and Dad should talk to the teen together, discussing issues as honestly as is appropriate.
Sexual activity, sexual intercourse, lovemaking, bonking, nooky, quickie, screwing, and I’m only scratching the surface here. A particular inner and outer strength, how they carry and present themselves, their smile, a twinkle in the eye, and all summed up as a quiet confidence which is a natural expression of ability and self-respect. Women have a tendency to compare themselves with this other woman and their self-worth and self-esteem takes a nosedive. I have used the word attract because I want to come back to my definition of sexiness and ask the question, ‘what can women do to redefine sexiness’ after betrayal and loss?
The pain and the hurt is no different, the grieving and sense of loss is no different, the struggle to build a new life is no different, whether they have financial resources or not is irrelevant, the only difference is that who they are is not defined by someone else or by what ‘happened to them’. Some are much more outgoing and ready to put their hand up and ask for help, or share the intimate details of their ‘divorce’ experience and there are many more private ladies who sit quietly behind the scenes and yet still are receiving the support they need and contributing in their own way.
If you are not feeling this from the groups you are involved with, move on until you find your tribe because when you do it will feel easy and you will make some wonderful new friends. The huge costs incurred, broken families, strained and dysfunctional relationships, physical and emotional damage and the ripple effect that flows out into our communities and society is overwhelming. Now I look and wonder how well prepared they are for the reality of marriage and committed relationships. Now they are struggling to come to terms with a life that is falling apart all around them, they no longer recognise the person they married or aspects of themselves as their daily reality is spent dealing with access to money being cut off, meetings with lawyers, working out custody arrangements, selling the family home, finding somewhere to live, getting emotional and practical support and guidance from professionals like me, kids off to counsellors and in many cases finding out that there is already another woman waiting in the wings ready to step into their shoes. A new concept with the presupposition that if what we are currently doing isn’t working it’s time to do something differently.  This is the edited version of what a conscious relationship is, to read the full post click this link.
The conscious couple is not attached to the outcome of the relationship – growth comes first. Even though growth is scary (because it takes us into the unknown), the couple is willing to strive towards expansion, even at the risk of out-growing the relationship.


In other words, they expect to feel abandoned, trapped, rejected, overlooked and any other shitty feeling that arises when we bond closely with another person.
We want that peak feeling all the time, and when it’s not there, we’re not satisfied with what the relationship has become. And through their devotion and practice, love shows up in their lives and relationship in ways they would’ve never imagined before.
If we don’t value ourselves, our time, our goals and our dreams how can we ever expect other people to value us? When we change it creates a ripple effect on the dynamics of our relationships with our loved ones, our friends and in the workplace. We have let them know that their life, their goals, their wants and their desires are far more important than our own. When I asked about the deadline he had put on having it finished he said ‘the meeting isn’t until next week, I just wanted to get it done straight away.’ A big lesson for me, it never happened again simply because I asked better questions about deadlines and timeframes. Friendships and relationships are the perfect training ground for us to learn how and when to draw a line in the sand and when it’s OK to go along with what other’s want even if we aren’t all that keen. Writing this blog has been a wonderful reminder for me to go back and reassess where I find myself in relation to my personal mission statement.
The end of a relationship is a highly emotive time and there is not a great deal of difference in the emotional and physical responses from the stay at home mum with children, the women who have been married for 20+ years and professional women in those first 3 to 6 months.
Relationships do not fall into a common category simply because no two people involved in a relationship have the same personalities, beliefs, values or lifestyle choices as any other couple on the planet. By that I mean they use the tools and resources I teach them to take control of their emotional state on a daily basis.
They are willing to accept that they have no control over what the other party might do or say knowing that they do have total control over themselves and how they respond.
If creating amazing relationships is something we desire then we spend time finding out more about how we can do this, speaking to people, researching and getting very clear on what an amazing relationship looks like and feels like for us. It is a journey and once to take that first step you soon discover that there is no end to this journey. Now all you see in front of you is a blank wall with no idea of how to get over it, around it, or through it. In most cases, the older the children, the more complex the reaction and more difficult the adaptation.
Divorce or separation naturally makes all children feel powerless over their circumstances. Many therapists see teens side with the parent who is more permissive, taking advantage of the weakened parental structure to try to get away with more rebellious behaviors. To complicate matters, communication is often more difficult with teens who are acting out because they are usually less talkative, more likely to keep their feelings held in and more moody than their younger siblings. For many it can become an obsession, at least initially, to find out who she is, what she looks likes, what she does and she becomes the enemy, someone they can blame for the pain they are experiencing and direct their anger towards. I question whether they have talked at length about what plans they have in place to cope with babies, or not cope with babies, money and finances, different sexual drives and desires, periods of ‘not coping with life,’ feeling resentful and unfulfilled in their work, work and life commitments that demand so much time that there is little left for anything else.
Not being attached to the outcome of the relationship does not mean you don’t care what happens! Because of this, the relationship maintains a natural feeling of aliveness, and love between the couple does, too. We end up becoming people pleasers and as a result lose our sense of who we are and our self-respect. To do this I had to stay back later after work and arrange for the kids to stay with a neighbour for a few hours until I got home. It’s about finding that balance between what’s important and what isn’t and when it comes to friendships and relationships it’s about being willing to walk away from the ones that are no longer aligned with who we are.
Divorce wipes people out, they can’t think straight, and many lose every inch of their self worth and confidence. They want someone who will be honest with them and allow them to uncover their own answers to questions and solutions to their problems. As we grow into being more of who we really are without all the bullshit beliefs and lies that we have told ourselves, our dreams, goals and desires also expand. For teens, who are feeling their oats and less likely to listen to parental authority, this is especially hard to accept. At the same time, be patient, tolerant and understanding with yourself and everyone else within your family. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have fantasies about how the relationship will turn out. A practice of acceptance, being present, forgiveness, and stretching your heart into vulnerable territories. You have the power of a written constitution based on correct principles, against which every decision concerning the most effective use of your time, your talents and your energies can be effectively measured. Their lives have been turned upside down and they struggle to come to terms with the reality of a situation they never signed up for. At the same time, she warns against being too permissive which inevitably leads to exploitation from teens who are always testing their boundaries. Mom and Dad talking to the kids together, on the same page regarding family rules and values, is your best insurance for keeping older children as allies. When both parents share basic guidelines and agreements within the family structure, regardless of which house the children are in, they will feel safer and more secure.
Your children will also feel more cared about and loved which is vitally important as the family moves into unknown changes and transitions.
When that is not possible, keeping both parents in their parental roles goes a long way toward maintaining stability within a transforming family structure.



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