Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Am Single and Lonely

By Eden Julia Gibsons 
If you feel you are 'single and lonely' these steps will get you out of this rut. A lot of people write this to me ... 

First of all, yes, in an ideal world we would all be in a fantastic relationship, surrounded by a few true friends and completely fulfilled in our own professional life (whatever form that may take). The reality is very different; believe it or not, in my experience I have noticed that very few people are truly fulfilled and, if they are, such fulfillment comes from within: some of the happiest people I have found had nothing, no close family even, but essentially were completely at peace with who they were and their path in life.
OK, let's clarify this. In order to be successful in your personal life and achieve happiness, and also in order to get out of the 'single and lonely' emotional trap, it's essential to do the following:
Being single does not mean you need to feel lonely, and being in a relationship does not necessarily rule out loneliness. Let's explore why and see how we can find a solution to this emotional pain.

1 - Find out who you are. Think of the person you want to be and what you would be if you had the choice to be anything. Would you be working with animals? Would you be a world traveler? Would you work 9 to 5 or be self-employed? What is your strongest passion in life (food, travel, music, the arts, movies, books, writing, the Internet, animals, nature, swimming, night clubs... etc?). Find out what really gives you happiness and, if you're too much in pain to talk about 'happiness', which activity or interest makes you feel at least 'OK'? This is for 2 reasons: a) because it helps you in your own inner peace, an essential quality for anybody who is serious about finding true love and b) it establishes your true identity, essential to find others who are also 'true' about themselves and their love.

2 - Stop lying to yourself and others. Don't fake your age, don't fake your dreams and your expectations; don't fake your successes. Just be whoever you are and learn to be happy with that. You'll be surprised to find that people prefer honesty one thousand times over anything else; if you are true to yourself in a way that conveys a healthy dose of self-esteem you will end up attracting equally emotionally healthy individuals. It's the only way to make sure you don't continue to suffer in love. You may scare off some 'gold-diggers' or some 'superficial, light-heads', but who wants to share one's life with people like that anyway?

3 - Stop trying to follow 'societal' parameters. So what if everybody seems to have a family, 2 kids and one dog? You are unique and you need to find what will be that makes you really happy. I need you to understand an essential point, which may be hard to accept but is so important to grasp: if you don't have that 'square' life, it probably means that, somewhere inside of you, you don't really want it, for whatever reasons. Don't feel bad about it! If more people followed their own individual dreams, there would be far fewer people who on anti-depressants! So, you need to find out why and find out who you really are and what you really want from life (which takes us back to point 1).

4 - Learn to be happy with yourself. This may sound like a cliché but, in brief, if you don't like your own company, how do you seriously expect others to like it? Only those who appreciate themselves can truly attract others who will also appreciate them.

5 - Take care of yourself. Don't treat yourself badly, don't always go for the cheapest, most horrid food just to save a dollar, don't buy the worst rag in the market all the time... Treat yourself once in a while, be your own best friend. I had to learn this myself: I started by buying good quality organic food (after all, I need to take care of my body, right?), then I started walking in the sun (I live in a cold-climate city) and, whenever possible, walking on the beach not to 'look for' potential mates but to soak up the ocean, look up the beautiful sky, breath better air. Then occasionally I would 'take myself out' to a fancy place or anywhere I really wanted to be, rather than waiting to go with my 'soul mate'. Soon I was beginning to enjoy life and that began to show in my body and in my overall 'attitude', which, in turn, turned me into a much more attractive person to any potential mate.

TIME For Love

THE PURPOSE OF LIFE is to learn how to love, and life is the learning ground toward that end. Time is the biggest barrier to love. Somehow we must reinvent our perception of time in order that we would endear ourselves to love.

We need T.I.M.E. for love.

TENDERNESS is the ideal input to love, whether it's romantic, compassionate, friendly, or passionate love. It melts empty love, breaking the ice, enabling the early vestiges of intimacy. Another name for tenderness is gentleness or meekness, and certainly patience - these all abide blissfully in time.
People who pose no threat to the other person find there is no barrier to trust.

INTIMACY is a transaction between two, and trust is the product. Little do we realise, tenderness finds us there. The wonderful thing about intimacy is the comfort we enjoy as we share time with another person, in mateship. There are no truly awkward silences, no fear of eye contact; no secrets.
God made us for these experiences. In all our relationships we should aim for intimacy, which is a bilateral honest transparency without the semblance of fear for being ourselves.

MOMENTUM is created and forward the journey continues toward varieties of consummate love, which can be enjoyed in any relationship.

If the goal of our lives is to learn how to love, surely we want to take our intimacy with the other person onto the track of momentum where rapport will become a sustaining event. (Because life is ever-changing, we are advantaged in viewing life as an elongated series of events.)

Maintaining momentum is not always an easy thing to do. Circumstances and a lack of reciprocation have a lot to say. But as we invest time, strangely the circumstances move more in our favour.

Time is the currency of relational commitment sustaining our momentum.

ETERNITY is where love is destined. The Bible tells us that faith, hope, and love will endure forever, and that the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

The raw truth is, as we stroke the momentum in our relationships we're creating a raft of blessing that we'll later redeem in eternity. God loves a lover and their practice of love will continue on and on.


Time is the secret. Many wives and children may complain, within themselves and possibly with each other, that their husbands and fathers don't spend enough time with them. Relationships cannot be nurtured on the T.I.M.E. process unless the motive is right, and when the motive is right, time is no longer the issue.


With tenderness we love, and intimacy is therefore nurtured. This creates momentum, and that forward motion, whilst love is present, is taking our love all the way to eternity.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Dating violence common among teens in the ER

"The violence that is perpetrated on girls is much more severe," agreed Dr. Brian Wagers, an emergency medicine doctor who studies dating violence at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "The injuries sustained on girls are much more severe, much more frequent."

Read more:

More than half of teens and young adults treated at an inner-city emergency room said they had experienced dating violence, either as a victim or a perpetrator, in a new study.
The abuse includes both physical and sexual violence, from hitting and kicking to forced sex.
Both girls and boys reported high rates of partner violence, but girls were much more likely to fear getting seriously injured, researchers reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
"We all know this exists, now what do you do about it?" said study author Dr. Bronwen Carroll, from Boston Medical Center, where the study was conducted.
She noted that many of the adolescents didn't think they needed help, and only a few followed up on resources for victims of violence provided by the researchers.
The findings point to a need for programs specifically designed to help teen violence victims and perpetrators, Carroll said, as well as for all adults -- teachers, parents and doctors -- to do more to recognize and prevent dating violence.
Carroll and her colleagues conducted their study at an ER that sees mostly poor, African American kids and teens with government-funded insurance. They knew that many adolescents came in because of substance abusemental health problems or unplanned pregnancy -- all of which may be linked to partner violence.
So the researchers surveyed 327 adolescents between age 13 and 21, all of whom were or had been in a romantic or sexual relationship, about violence, aggression or coercion that had happened in those relationships.
About 55 per cent of the adolescents said they had been the victim of physical or sexual violence, and 59 per cent said they had perpetrated some kind of violence against a partner. Those rates were similar in boys and girls, though girls were more likely to report being physically violent toward a partner.
The researchers said the findings wouldn't necessarily apply to other groups of adolescents, and the rates of violence reported are higher than what other studies have shown in surveys of high school students, for example.
Donna Howard, who studies adolescent risk behavior at the University of Maryland in College Park but wasn't part of the current research team, pointed out that all adolescents in the study had a history of dating, and that this hospital sees vulnerable, at-risk patients with a high proportion of violent injuries. The average age of these adolescents -- almost 19 -- also means more are likely to report a history of dating violence at some point, she told Reuters Health in an email.
Despite more girls reporting being physically violent themselves, 16 per cent of all girls said they were scared of sustaining a serious injury as a result of dating violence, compared to just three per cent of boys surveyed.
"Both boys and girls perpetrate violence and sometimes girls perpetrate more violence," Carroll said. But, she added, "It is an enormous mistake to fall into the trap of equating those types of violence."
"The violence that is perpetrated on girls is much more severe," agreed Dr. Brian Wagers, an emergency medicine doctor who studies dating violence at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "The injuries sustained on girls are much more severe, much more frequent."
Still, that doesn't mean violence against boys should be ignored, said Wagers, who wasn't involved in the new study. Healthcare workers need to be aware that boys may be victims too, and encourage them to seek help, he told Reuters Health.
"When boys experience it, they need to realize that this is not something that's right."
Howard echoed that sentiment.
"The toll dating violence takes on male victims, both emotionally and physically, and the extent to which victimization experiences affect subsequent dating behavior, including dating violence perpetration during adolescence and into adulthood, needs more research attention," she said. "We can't just focus on girls as victims."
Carroll's team gave all victims of violence a list of local dating-violence services where they could get help. But a month after their ER visit, only four out of 127 who were contacted again said they'd reached out to any of those resources. And two-thirds of those who didn't told interviewers they didn't think they needed any help.
"What they said was that they didn't perceive themselves as having problems that need help, and that's really concerning. (That) speaks to how common this is, and I fear that there may be some degree of normalization and they may not realize what a healthy relationship looks like," Carroll told Reuters Health.
"This is quite alarming," Howard agreed.
Carroll said that many at-risk adolescents may look around and see adults and their peers involved in relationships where physical or sexual violence or coercion also occurs.
Because of that, it's even more important for not just pediatricians, but parents and teachers as well, to talk with teens about dating violence whenever it might be a concern.
"We need to be aware about this, we need to ask. My guess is that just a meaningful discussion for an adolescent with an adult that he or she trusts about, 'What does a healthy relationship look like?' can go a long way," Carroll said.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Before Your Divorce is Final

Whether you should refrain from dating before your divorce is final is both a strategic and moral question. The answer depends on how your state views fault in divorce, on how long you and your spouse have been separated, on what your lawyer thinks about dating during divorce, and finally on how you feel about dating while you're still married.
Even if your state pays attention to fault in divorce, the longer you've been separated from your spouse, the less likely that your having a relationship with someone else is going to have a big impact on the issues of your divorce. Judges typically are concerned about affairs that they think caused the divorce. It's just hard to attach too much blame to an affair that began several months after separation.
Peter was getting impatient. At my suggestion he was going slow on his divorce, because neither he nor his wife was spending much money on lawyers, and his wife needed some time to adjust to the reality of divorce. "How long do I have to wait?" Peter asked. We talked it over. Peter and his wife had been separated for seven months. Although Peter and his wife lived in one of those states that pays attention to fault in divorce, Peter decided it was more important for him to be unhurried about divorce than to have a pristine record of no romantic involvement. Peter started dating again - nothing serious, but it took the pressure off. Shortly after he made his decision, Peter and his wife reached agreement and settled their divorce.

After You're Single

If you're divorce is final, you're no longer concerned about the impact on your court case, except to the extent it might be used against you in a custody fight. You can now focus on whether it's right for you. At this point, I will be simplistic. You should begin to date when you decide it's time to date. Don't let other people rush you. Don't let other people slow you down. You do it when it feels right for you.
And do it with the person who feels right for you. Resist the temptation to find somebody who's totally different from your exspouse. Remember, there were a lot of things about your exspouse that were appealing at one time. If you're attracted to people who are different, that's fine; just don't feel that you can't date someone who has anything in common with the person you once loved.

Your First Relationship

There's a special role your first love plays after divorce. It can be a time of delightful discovery, a chance for you to rediscover your playful side, to have some fun. Goodness knows, you deserve it. Your first relationship, though will almost never be a stable long-term relationship. I don't know why. It just is. The first serious relationship you have after divorce will be wonderful, and hopefully you'll look back on it with pleasure and gratitude. Just don't expect it to be the basis of your nextmarriage. This is a common issue after divorce, so there's a separate page on Rebound Relationships After Divorce.
Tom sat across the lunch table from me, glowing with excitement for his new love. He couldn't stop talking about her. It was obvious that she had touched him and that he was convinced that this was the "real thing." I quizzed him for details. He was less than two months away from a painful divorce, and she was still embroiled in hers. Both were the left.
I had to give Tom some painful news. I told him that odds were not in favor of their love surviving, because neither of them had taken the time to reestablish their own personal identity. And the really painful news was that if he backed off, the odds were that his new love would find another man, simply because she needs a relationship, any relationship. Is it any wonder that I say with such conviction that Divorce Stinks?
Enjoy your first relationships after divorce. They're part of the healing process. Just resist the temptation to jump in irrevocably. You're probably less ready than you think.

Dealing With Your Children

Remember, your children have gone (or are going) through the same grieving process you did, and they may be at any number of points in the process. Just like you did (and maybe still do), they may jump wildly to different points. That's their job.
What that means, of course, is that there may come a time when they want to be supportive of your moving on with your life, but they simply can't bring themselves to support it. Quite unintentionally (or maybe intentionally), they will sabotage your dating plans. They will whine when you're on the phone, misbehave when your date arrives, fail to give you messages, and otherwise throw a wrench into your best-laid plans. Understand that this is neither malicious nor uncaring on their part; they are dealing as effectively as they can with their grief over your separation and divorce.
So what can you do? Mainly, be patient. Make it ever so clear that your dating is an adult issue, that your date would never and could never replace their other parent. It will take far longer than you would like, and there will be promising improvements followed by disappointing setbacks. Eventually, your children will come around.

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 By Sarah Bruning

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