Victims – Beware of Repeat Offenders

Victims - Beware of Repeat Offenders

Narcissism Relationships/Breakups: Part 3 

Narcissists are serial offenders. They need continual replenishment to fill their emptiness. They frequently revisit the wells that previously quenched their thirst. Their prior victims are often eager to oblige.

As Narcissist victims, knowing that we are not alone is no solace.

We are dealing with and living through the aftermath of those revisits in very personal and real pain. It is as though we seek to torture ourselves when we allow the repeat ‘hoovering’ of what Narcs seek that is within us. The love, heart and soul that they lack.

Have you been here?

Anyone in a relationship with a full-blown Narcissist knows what I am talking about. Such a relationship is not characterized by the normal ups and downs of most relationships but by dramatic and relentless upheavals. Many Narcs are addicted to the chaos they create in their lives and the lives of others.

Throughout our ordeal the initial overflowing feelings of being ever so special were tested again and again by the ideal Renaissance Love … the wo/man who pursued us with fervor and rising lust. We were no longer the luckiest person in the world to be so perfect for our Mr/s. Perfects.  Increasingly they made sure we were aware of their displeasure’s with their criticisms and outbursts of anger.

Like a roller coaster, the breathtaking descent began

Abruptly at the very height we had been manipulated to believe would soon arrive. So abruptly were we jolted that we could not accept what was actually happening. How did this special journey we thought we were sharing reverse 180 degrees … and why? When we reached bottom, thankful for reprieve and a chance at redemption, with our Narc at the controls we found ourselves reversed again for no known reason, plunked into the roller coaster seat and buckled in once more.

Totally confused and spent by the devaluation phase of a typical Narc pattern, we allowed them to continue to suck out of us every ounce of what we had to give them. Eventually, with our special fuel depleted, nothing more could be had from us. Time for the giver and destroyer of happiness and trust to move on yet again.

How do we get off such a volatile and frightening roller coaster?

The answer: not easily. Narcissists keep us on the track as long as they can control us and we can be of use to them. As we try to jump off to save our emotional lives and physical well-being (yes, physical ailments start to surface) we are sucked back in by apologies and promises offering glimmers of hope. Narcissists are confident we still love them after all. Just one more ascent we think … this time we will have a gentle happy ending. Or so we naively believe!

The dizzying and dark pattern of a relationship with true Narcissists is idealize, devalue, discard. Their even more devastating returns and repetitions of the cycle with the same ever-hopeful individual while grooming others to be their future victims are inexplicable to patient friends. They wonder how could you let this happen … and more than once.

The answer is quite simple.

If such an experience is the first one for us, we don’t see the individual for who s/he really is until it is too late. Until we are caught in the web of lies and the uncanny ability to manipulate and control us. We want to believe the lies because we love them and the seductive magic they create.

If we are reluctant to share our experiences with our most trusted acquaintances, if we feel ashamed of accepting our Narc back time and time again in spite of some level of hopeful happiness, if our self-esteem suffers, if we are in more emotional pain than pleasure, if we give more than we get, then we must ask ourselves if the relationship is healthy, mutually supportive, and open in every way. If it is not, we then know what to do.

Narcs can sparkle and shine.

Those of us who seek a fulfilling relationship must be vigilant to not establish a self-destructive pattern as the result of attraction to a Narcissist. That attraction can be triggered by our own dysfunctional past. It can be our pattern to resist and conquer.

Do not allow a Narcissist to shadow our positive space. Multiple involvements with Narcs could become a deadly habit. Stress and remorse and shame can affect the body’s systems enough to bring us close to death. Stress comes arm-in-arm with a Narcissist. And stress can kill. Beware.

Joan Barrett
Seasoned Single Joan Barrett navigates the tricky, exciting and challenging Singles lifestyle. Her passion for SINS (her playful term for Singles INternet Dating Services) inspired her to create her category best-selling book Candyland S.I.N.S. to encourage other like-minded Singles who are not about to roll over alone and sit out their remaining years. Life loves people who live it with passion. As an active participant Joan enjoys a deep and broad enough engagement to know the game, how the game is best played and … how not to be played! Yes, ‘online dating’ is the only real game in town.

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Who Are the Narcissists that Lurk About Us?

Man-behind-the-mask

Narcissism and Relationships/Breakups: Part 2 of a series

Narcissists are difficult to spot because they wear numerous differing masks throughout their lives as they draw in the various people they groom for varying purposes. They must hide the empty spaces inside themselves, those vacuums normally occupied by a heart and soul. They passionately cover their self-loathing which they eventually project onto us, their victims. (Either they were born that way or life experiences in their younger years tragically shaped them. They are somehow victims themselves.) The emptiness they hold within compels the constant replenishment of nourishment via the emotional energies of others. That same emptiness that does not allow them to truly love.

Narcissists are expert at hiding their true identity while they groom their new victims.

Clever, Narcs exhibit characteristic charming personalities when in pursuit, operating behind near perfect projections that many of their targets find difficult to resist.

Narcs veraciously consume all the love and adoration they can extract from others, leaving the victims drained and devastated. A Narcissist’s need in this regard is insatiable.  A Narc can never sincerely reciprocate in kind with the precious emotional commodities they determinedly seek.

Once victims’ precious fuel is successfully depleted.

The Narc unceremoniously discards them and attention moves to the next victim … a new treasure chest of nourishment for the Narcissist to ‘hoover’ in order to fill the emptiness. Be sure, a Narc always has one or more potential victims being groomed in the wings, being cultivated to fall for counterfeit charms. The Narc will move on, neither holding us gently in their thoughts nor harboring regrets, continuing to use the energy sources that others supply. Amazingly, a Narc often will attempt to return to the dismissed victim for yet another cycle when other fuel sources are low.

Very few things in human emotional life are more exhilarating than being pursued by a Narcissist. Not many experiences in life are more devastating than being devalued and discarded by one who we thought truly loved us. A rollercoaster ride with a Narcissist leaves us emotionally gasping for life … having had our sacred inner and outer selves sucked away. Our self-esteem? Crushed.

Other metaphors can be applied to such an experience.

One is the vampire who preys ruthlessly on others. Like the emotionally drained victim of a vampire, we may be so vulnerable and wounded ourselves that we want and even consciously allow the Narc to return to repeat the ravaging cycle.

As we draw closer to someone we hope for love, truth, honesty and respect in the developing relationship. With a Narcissist, though, there should come a time when we must nudge ourselves to think and think again. As we fall more and more under control, we must wrestle with ourselves and walk away once the signaling behaviours morph into a cohesive set of red flags. Learn to recognize Narcissists:

  • They show little regard for the feelings of others
  • They are arrogant, aggressive and controlling at times
  • They are grandiose
  • They have a self-perception of being unique
  • They have a sense of entitlement to special treatment
  • They need admiration
  • They are withdrawn and mysteriously unavailable at times
  • They are critical of us
  • They insult us
  • They become angry when they are questioned about their actions
  • They have a fragile ego
  • They tell lies and manipulate us
  • They lack empathy
  • They must always be right
  • They blame others
  • They are unaware of their hurtful behavior
  • They cannot apologize sincerely, if at all

When we consider such signs we cannot imagine loving someone who exhibits them.

But somehow many of us have managed to. The narcissistic mask had been cunningly crafted to draw us in. We now must determinedly walk away, push through the pain and heal. For most of us the time will again come to seek a new relationship.

Perhaps a valuable lesson has been learned: No relationship is worth repeated, emotional, and often physically attendant pain. Unfortunately, considerable wounding may occur before the Narcissistic mask slips. Truly, ‘no relationship’ is better than one with a Narcissist.

Joan Barrett
Seasoned Single Joan Barrett navigates the tricky, exciting and challenging Singles lifestyle. Her passion for SINS (her playful term for Singles INternet Dating Services) inspired her to create her category best-selling book Candyland S.I.N.S. to encourage other like-minded Singles who are not about to roll over alone and sit out their remaining years. Life loves people who live it with passion. As an active participant Joan enjoys a deep and broad enough engagement to know the game, how the game is best played and … how not to be played! Yes, ‘online dating’ is the only real game in town.

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A Rollercoaster Ride with a Narcissist

A Rollercoaster Ride with a Narcissist

Narcissism and Relationships/Breakups: Part 1

Narcissistic … a word bandied about very loosely these days …  aptly applies to someone who creates ‘crash landing’ breakups.

The painful relationship reality some of us must deal with is that we are involved with partners who live their lives within the framework of Narcissistic Personality Disorder … NPD. Studies reveal that this operative disorder affects approximately 1% [1] of the entire population and affects more males than females[2].

[1] Wikipedia; Narcissistic Personality Disorder

[1] Ibid

NPD is the base of many problematic relationships.

Its patterns are the answers to many of our questions about difficult relationships and their ensuing breakups.  ‘Narcissistic’ is more than a descriptive adjective. The word also is the handle for a very real medically classified psychological disorder too deep and complex for the majority of us to successfully manage in a relationship. It is wise to be vigilante of what we may be dealing with when confronting disturbing behaviours.

When we find ourselves moving toward the conclusion of a repeatedly pain-filled relationship with such a partner we likely don’t know how it came about. What happened to the exceptional love we thought we had shared with another? In addition, we are shocked at how a connection we felt so deeply could be so abruptly severed. Such puzzlement’s are characteristic of a Narcissist-involved breakup.

In our particular version of a roller coaster ride with a Narcissist (our Narc)

We held on tightly for dear life, not knowing whether or not we would be hurled out of our seats at any moment … our emotional and physical structures dashed to the ground. Our vulnerable cores smashed into nearly unrecognizable pieces as our Narc kept us on the edge of our seats while s/he was at the controls of the scenes, the thrills and the chills.

Initially our emotions were ecstatically driven upward, driven up to the peaks of orgasmic rushes. In anticipation of reaching mutual joy and commitment, we reveled in being pursued. And very much looked forward to consummation in the relationship we had always dreamed of. However, those exhilarating occasions became less frequent as our Narc entered into the customary devaluation stage of the relationship… pretend to idealize, then devalue and then discard. Repeat, repeat, repeat. The Narcissist pattern.

Up to that point, thrilled and mesmerized by the seemingly endless and, oh, so thrilling steep inclines we never looked too far beyond our seats … maybe secretly fearing that what we might experience ahead would cause us to plummet to the ground.  What we endured because we could not anticipate! Were we right to make excuses for the narcissistic bad behaviours which made us (and others) targets for lash out and deception; for manipulation during and after the frightening, sudden, and disturbing steep declines? We labored more to please and to earn approval which was, in tandem, increasingly withheld. Our Narc had us totally entangled in the classic exhilarating web of rising to the heights followed by cycles of release and fall, followed by still other rises. Each time our hopes soaringly renewed and painfully dashed.

Ultimately, we did plunge to the ground …

The inevitable outcome of the narcissistic game Narcs inflict upon their victims. Anyone who has lived a relationship with a Narc knows well this roller coaster ride. It is a pattern repeated with a series of victims. The joys, confusion and suffering of the latter are a Narcissist’s fuel-source.

The time comes when we must pull away for our very survival.

Escape from our roller coaster ride in some semblance of one piece, emotional and physical selves at a tipping point. Because Narcissists definitively emotionally abuse their victims and can be physically abusive as well, most often we are left with our self-esteem in shreds. We are totally confused as to what happened, what we must have done wrong, and why our hearts and guts felt so mutilated. Much, much time would be needed to recover, to put our pieces back together again, before we attempt another relationship.

The new danger here is that we might seek a relationship too soon in the aftermath of our devastation. With hope for personal re-affirmation, let us not seek or fall victim to the appeal of dramatic enchantment, of ascension to dizzying heights and the multiple successive thrills of another roller coaster ride with a yet another Narcissist. Better to look for a partner who will ride with us in stable and mutual commitment.

Joan Barrett
Seasoned Single Joan Barrett navigates the tricky, exciting and challenging Singles lifestyle. Her passion for SINS (her playful term for Singles INternet Dating Services) inspired her to create her category best-selling book Candyland S.I.N.S. to encourage other like-minded Singles who are not about to roll over alone and sit out their remaining years. Life loves people who live it with passion. As an active participant Joan enjoys a deep and broad enough engagement to know the game, how the game is best played and … how not to be played! Yes, ‘online dating’ is the only real game in town.

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How to Get Over Rejection. Again.

How to get over rejection again
Many of us who have experience with online dating also have experience with rejection. They tend to go hand in hand. Not everyone you are matched with is going to be a good fit (obviously), so that means one or both of you have to end it.

So what happens when you are really attracted to someone who just – wasn’t that into you? How do you move past the sting of that rejection and open your heart to someone else just as freely as you did before the rejection?

There’s no doubt about it – dating really builds up resistance in your heart. The more rejection and hurt we experience, the more we want to build walls around our hearts to protect them. Pretty soon, we start to convince ourselves that this is okay, this fortress we’ve built. We are protecting ourselves from pain – we really don’t feel anything. But the truth is we do, or at least we want to feel something, otherwise we wouldn’t be pulling out our phones and scrolling through profiles, hoping to meet someone special (despite our efforts not to).

The key to getting over rejection (again and again) is to understand that it is part of the dating experience. Everyone gets rejected at some point. Really.

Following are some tips to help you through the rough patch:

It’s really not personal. Most people are wrapped up in their own experiences, viewpoints, and moods, and act out from that. If they aren’t over someone else, they might not want to pursue anything further with you. Or maybe they are thinking of taking a new job in another city, and don’t want to pursue anything serious. Or if they just don’t feel strong chemistry that isn’t a personal attack on you – it’s just how they feel, and it’s valid. The best thing to do is to remind yourself that you wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you.

Not everyone is a good match. Sure, your date might look good in her profile, but that is only a small part of her story. How do you communicate? Is she respectful? Do you have the same values? These are all important questions too – and just because you find her attractive doesn’t mean that all the other important qualities don’t matter.

There is always someone new to meet. The great thing about online dating is that you always have access to meet new people. If you want a quick boost of confidence, you can go online and start swiping or messaging some new potential dates. Put yourself out there again – it is worth it.

Do something you enjoy. There’s nothing like healthy distraction to get you over rejection. If you enjoy surfing, or hiking, or some other physical activity even better – it will help boost the endorphins, too. If you are into spa days, take one for yourself, or plan dinner or drinks with a friend. Actively try to pull yourself out of your funk – it works better than you’d think.

Digitally disconnect. When you are constantly checking your phone for texts or spending hours on social media to see what photos your friends are posting (especially those in happy relationships), you aren’t doing yourself any favors. This type of digital comparison is like kicking yourself in the gut. Resist social media. Resist your phone. Disconnect for an afternoon and see what happens – it might surprise you.

Rejection isn’t easy, but we all go through it. Rejection helps you get to the relationship that is right for you.

Kelly Seal
Kelly is a writer and former speed-dating host, and author of the new book Date Expectations: A Guide to Changing Your Dating Life and Finding Real Love at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JEM2TEU. Her contributions have appeared in The Huffington Post, Slate, Examiner, MSN, Yahoo! Living, YourTango, Digital Romance, The Frisky, and Divine Caroline among others. You can visit her blog “Notes from the Dating Trenches” on her Website, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

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Getting Adeled… When Your Ex Says “Hello…”

Getting Adeled When Your Ex Says Hello

 

You can’t turn on a radio without hearing Adele.  “Hello… it’s me….” rings through my head and on my car radio every 15 minutes.  I fully admit to liking the song (it’s Adele- how can you not?) and the lyrics are well written.  You feel for her because her Ex is never there when she calls.  You feel sad that she feels bad because she made mistakes in her last relationship and now wants to own them.  And then you can’t help but wonder about her Ex.  Maybe the break-up doesn’t tear him up anymore.  Maybe he’s never home because he’s living a fantastic post break-up life.  Maybe he just doesn’t want to engage.

 

But what if the Ex was YOU, and you received a call from the other side?  If you have, then congratulations!  You’ve just been Adeled!

 

I was Adeled last week by a man I dated for three months at the beginning of summer.  The email started very similar to her lyrics… “Hello.  How are you?”.  And then the pontifications of regret poured faster than an alcoholic beverage on the set of the fourth hour of Today.  After the last drop of “I miss you… you were so good to me… what was I thinking?” poured, the request for a coffee date followed.

What was I to do with this?  What’s the proper response to being Adeled?

There are a few ways to handle being Adeled- here are some options that you may find helpful in responding to your call from the outside:

  1. If you feel you need some closure, continue the conversation.

    Sometimes when relationships end, the final sentence may not include an ending punctuation.  Do you have unanswered questions?  Do you have a few things remaining to say?  If closure is something you desire and getting it is safe for you, then by all means get the resolution you need.  Time and space may provide the necessary perspective to enter the conversation in a proactive manner, resulting in the closure you truly need.

 

  1. If you want to reinvestigate a relationship with this person, continue the conversation.

    Couples break-up for a myriad of reasons, and to make a blanket assumption that all Exs are evil and never to be dealt with again isn’t a fair assumption to make.  Every relationship scenario is different, including wrong place, wrong time, and miscommunication.  If you feel that the atmospheric conditions favor investigating a potential reconciliation, then by all means try because your Ex just did.

 

  1. If you’ve worked through the breakup and need nothing from this person to further you on your path, then decline the conversation.

    If you’ve successfully moved on from this relationship and have done so with the necessary closure, then there’s no need to open the Pandora’s box placed before you.  You already have hope; no need to find it remaining when you unleash the past by opening the box.  Simply don’t respond and continue on your path.  There’s no need to berate them for reaching out, as they were brave in doing so.  In your situation, perhaps the bravery exhibited by your Ex is materializing too late.

 

Obviously you’re in the driver’s seat if you find yourself being Adeled.  How you respond to that call from the outside is a choice you’ll make based on where you are emotionally when the Adeleing happens.  And if you’re thinking of Adeleing your Ex, really think about it before you send that email or pick up that phone.  You may get the desired response, or you might find yourself singing the blues.

Craig Rogers started his career as a Dating and Relationship Expert with a web-based community designed to help those experiencing the aftermath of a break-up. He has written countless articles taking from his own personal break-up and dating experiences, sharing humorous stories of hope and recovery. A 2013 Emmy nominated producer, Craig has also enjoyed hosting and producing cooking segments on QVC and Home Shopping Network. Craig lives with his two dachshunds and is currently writing his first book on relationships. For more information on Craig Rogers, please visit www.CraigRogers.nyc and follow him on Twitter @CraigRogersNYC

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Important Things to Think about During a Divorce or Relationship Breakup

IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER DURING A DIVORCE OR BREAK UP

 

Dealing with a breakup of a marriage or long term relationship will always be a very hurtful time but it doesn’t mean you are a failure or your life is over. There are thousands of people in the same situation but the good news is; there is someone special out there for you when you are ready to receive them. The most important thing to remember is we all deserve real love in our lives but we have to allow it into our lives! Life is definitely complicated and we are all here on this continual learning curve about who we are and what really makes us happy.

 

What makes so many of us choose the wrong person?

Sometimes this happens when we are young and naive; or we settle for someone we don’t really love. We may talk ourselves into a relationship due our ticking biological clocks and having children, the pressure from our family and friends or we just get caught up in the romantic or sexual nature of it all without making sure the relationship is a really good fit. A “forever” partnership is not an easy thing to maintain for the average couple as we are all evolving at different stages in our lives. Unless we grow in similar directions, this will be a big problem for many people.

 

5 tell tale indicators that your marriage/relationship is over:

  • You’ve lost that loving feeling ~ you no longer look forward to coming home and find reasons not to.
  • You feel constant anxiety in their presence ~ whether it be from fear/abusive situations, extreme boredom or loss of respect for them.
  • There is no sexual attraction at all & in some cases you may even feel repulsed by the thought of it.
  • You both have absolutely nothing in common ~ you have grown in completely different directions.
  • You’ve tried counselling and even they give you a business card for a divorce lawyer!

 

So now what do you do? What will everyone say and how do you deal with the aftermath?

People talk and love a good story so don’t give them one. It is sad but true how others get enjoyment out of someone else’s misery! Be careful not to allow those people to get too close to you at this vulnerable time. You are fragile enough without having to deal with all the gossip and judgmental comments from them as well. This is your life and no one should be talking about your business but you & your Ex; especially if there are children involved. It is easy to vent to anyone who will listen but it really is in your best interest to only divulge things to a trusted friend or family member. You don’t need the added drama.

 

Isn’t it easier just to stay in this relationship rather to have to fight to get out of it?

Nothing is easier when it is unhealthy. Everyone deserves to be happy and have a loving partnership. Many people stay in relationships due to the kids but don’t fool yourself into thinking this is always the best scenario. Children are sponges and pick up on a lot more than you may realize. If they see a loveless marriage for most of their lives it can cause problems in their own relationships down the road. Money is another big reason for many couples to stay together but you have to ask yourself if it is really worth it in the long run to be tied to someone for only that reason. You are holding on to one aspect and giving up so many other qualities of life. It’s not all about the big house or fancy car; reciprocated love and great sex is worth way more than any material item.

 

10 steps that can help you to get over a divorce or long term relationship breakup:

  1. Take some time away from communicating with your Ex to really understand what went wrong, what you learned & how to improve upon yourself. There are ALWAYS two sides to a breakup. Knowing that you also played a part in it will bring you “closure” faster. Talking to them or constantly seeing them in person just makes it that much harder to get over them.
  2. Do not jump into another relationship right away! You have to heal your heart before you can give it to someone else. (It is also very hurtful for the rebound partner because you still have too much emotional baggage to involve someone else into the mix!)
  3. Concentrate on doing things you wanted to do but couldn’t do when you were in your relationship.
  4. Join clubs, take courses and go on a vacation or weekend trek somewhere. Get your thoughts in a positive space and not in front of the TV watching chick/dick flicks & binging on junk food. (Or even worse; watching your wedding video over & over!)
  5. Don’t drown or eat your sorrows away: Put the haegandaz back in the fridge ladies & get active. Guys; watch the beer/liquor consumption or bar visits! (Women tend to cry at home while men get out right away with their buddies.)
  6. Relieve your sexual tension ~ alone! (Unless you have a “friends with benefits partner” that you have a mutual non-committal agreement with.) Sex with someone too soon can mess you up even more! The phrase “To get over one, get under another!” is not always a great idea as it can make you miss your ex even more!
  7. Put your energy into “you” (& the kids if you are a parent) not into finding another partner immediately. Being healthy and looking & feeling good is the best way to move forward. You will be surprised at how much better your mindset is when venturing out for a walk in the sunshine, hitting a yoga class or hiking in the wilderness. Nature is a beautiful way too to help erase the sadness in your heart.
  8. Get rid of romantic pictures of the once happy couple and memories that cause pain and any social media connections you have with your ex. Do not start “creeping them out” on Facebook or Instagram to see what they are up to and how much fun they are having without you. It will only make it harder to get over them & some of those photos are just an act anyway!
  9. Remember that they loved you once so don’t think the breakup is easy for them either ~ they just might be better at faking it than you are.
  10. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t do new things to alter this new phase in your life. The more diverse you are, the less time you will have to be angry, sad or resentful.

Tips to help you to get back out socializing after a divorce/breakup:

  • Wait at least 6 months to 1 year before you take dating in a more serious mode & do not make any major living arrangements with a new person for at least a year.
  • Get off your couch! Prospective dates aren’t going to knock on your front door! Buy a dog or borrow one if you need a push to get out in public. (Walking a Great Dane or a puppy of any variety would certainly get you noticed!)
  • If your friends have left you with the divorce you will need to find some new people to enjoy outings with. Join groups that interest you and I can’t stress it enough to put yourself out into mingle situations constantly! It cuts the breakup blues in half!
  • I do suggest you try online dating when you are ready to get out there again but ask someone to help you with your profile & the “initial weeding out” of unsuitable prospects so you have a better understanding of what to look for. Many things change when you have been out of the singles market for 5+ years!
  • Try not to continually cry to your friends about your breakup but be receptive to their advice and help. Don’t be fearful of altering some things about yourself. Diversity and change is the key to leading an exciting life!
  • Loosen up! Especially, if you are a control freak or a stickler for a repetitive routine. (It is much nicer to be around people who are flexible.)
  • Have a makeover ~ you may be stuck in an outdated or boring style. Does your hair or mustache scream 1980 porn star or does your wardrobe consist of sweatpants from Costco? Change it up!
  • Take time away from your career or your kids for just “you” by doing something that you love. Burying yourself in tedious tasks to pretend that you’re not in pain is prolonging the breakup aftermath.
  • Hire a dating coach if you feel lost on what to do. Even just a few sessions will help you regain your confidence in being newly single.
  • Remember you are not alone. Breakups happen every day and there are plenty of online resources to help you deal with the ache in your heart. Help is always available; don’t be afraid to ask for it.

 

Take the good things from your past marriage/relationship breakup & bring them into your future partnership down the road. Remember; sometimes you have to kiss a lot of toads before you meet that wonderful person you want to share your life with. Each lesson we learn is a stepping stone that teaches us many things about ourselves & every one of them has its purpose. Acknowledging them and how they helped us grow as a person will lead us closer to a long lasting love and knowing who we truly are.

Relationship breakups don’t define who you are and can be a really good thing because it forces you to look deeper into what you may not have been aware of about yourself.

Love is the most valuable gift that we all are blessed to have at our fingertips and is available whenever we are ready. Once you understand that you are the one in charge of bringing the love you desire into your world; the sooner you will realize that every step you took on that road to get there, was worth the bumpy ride.
Believe you deserve love because you do! <3

Susan McCord is a Dating/Relationship/Lifestyle Blogger/Talk Show Host, Published Author, Advice Columnist, Interviewer & Certified Life Coach. She attended BCIT in Burnaby, B.C. for studies in Broadcasting. Susan is an Advice Columnist @ Dear Sybersue which is also the title of her book available at Amazon, Itunes, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and many other book platforms. Susan was recently named a VIP member of Worldwide Branding. This special distinction honors individuals who have shown exceptional commitment to achieving personal and professional success. Susan has devoted her career to helping others find happiness. Over the past decade she has established a stellar reputation as a sought-after dating & relationship expert, advice columnist, blogger & interviewer. She is best known for hosting a lifestyle talk show for an International audience on YouTube and has garnered more than 1.3 million views which consists of interviews, dating/relationship/lifestyle advice & comical skits. She is also an EXPERT Writer & Dating Adviser at examiner.com. She makes you think!

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5 Steps To Become Best Friends With Your Ex

5 steps to become best friends with your ex

So you find yourself missing your ex. That’s right. MISSING HER. But the thing is, you’re not missing her in an “I want to get back together” kind of way. It’s more of a platonic way. You are missing the friendship, the fun things you did, the laughs, the conversation.

If you’re wondering if it’s possible to re-connect with your ex and have a platonic relationship, the answer is most certainly yes! The questions are, are you both ready? How do you find that out?

It starts with a thorough examination of yourself. Take a deep look inside. Examine your feelings, your motives. Be honest with yourself in what you want. If you find that in good faith, you want to have a platonic relationship with your ex there are a few things that need to happen first and there are some steps to follow that will bring you two together on a platonic level.

1. Take Some Time Off After The Breakup

I think this is something we all do (or hope to achieve) by default when we breakup with someone. The key is no contact and no poking around looking for news about her. It’s total cut off. There are great benefits to being single or you may wind up in another relationship.

2. Contact Her When You Know The Time Is Right

How much time do you take off? The answer is that it is one of those things you will “just know when it’s right”. You will feel comfortable with the idea of reaching out to her.

3. Tell Her What You Want.

This is critical. You must communicate your intentions. Be direct. Tell her, “I’m contacting you because I’m wondering if you were interested in being friends. You know, ‘just friends’”. Do this in no uncertain terms.

4. Accept Her Response

You may not get what you want to hear. She may not be ready. She may be in a new relationship and having you as a friend could have an effect on that relationship. On the other hand she could be open to it (and most likely will if you ended on good terms).

5. Meet And Greet

So if you both decided that you want to have a go at it, get together. This where you will really find out if it’s possible to be “just friends”. This is when you have to be extremely self aware. Are you having any romantic feelings whatsoever? Is there any sexual spark? Does the dialogue make you feel like you are in the relationship again? Is it comfortable?

So discussion becomes the most important part after you two have agreed to meet up. If you can clearly feel pure motive in yourself and if she is communicating that it is okay for her, then you may be on to something. Breakups are hard. They crush us. It feels like we are robbed of someone who became a part of ourselves. That doesn’t have to be permanent. They say pick someone who you could see yourself being best friends with. If you’ve followed that advice, that friendship will last forever.

CJ Westyn
CJ Westyn is a relationship expert and strategist residing in Princeton, New Jersey and Denver, CO. He is a Date Camp™ Coach and former co-host of dating and relationship talk radio show, Intuidate Radio®.

CJ holds an M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling and has spent over 10 years working with couples and individuals on a broad variety of relationship issues.

CJ’s mission is to use his writing and untamed sense of humor to add value to the dating advice world by delivering helpful digital content. He strives to move people forward as he guides them through overcoming the uncomfortable yet inherent challenges we are dealt by the human condition (You know, when “life gets in the way”).

CJ’s aim is to also raise awareness surrounding cultural mores and standards that are congruent with human biology yet have earned negative value judgment due to sociocultural human constructs such as religion, ethics and tradition.

In addition to dating advice, CJ spends significant time writing comedy and performing elaborate practical jokes. In his spare time, he watches plenty of Andy Kaufman videos (for inspiration) and audits classes at Princeton University.

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The Reason Why Getting Over A Break-Up Is So Difficult And 4 Tips That Can Help You Right Now

the reason why getting over a break up is so difficult and 4 tips to help right now

A friend, who is going through a rough break-up asked me how to recover and move on. I wish I had a magic answer. A one size fits all, step by step guide that could relieve the pain, stop the obsessing and mend a broken heart. Although, I don’t have a magic cure, I do have some tips that will help speed up your recovery.

But first, let me explain the chemistry behind why break-ups are so difficult to “just get over”and feel a lot like withdrawing from a drug.

The Chemistry of Love

The beginning stage of the most relationships are so powerful. The impact of falling in love is intoxicating. Our emotions were so overwhelming and incredibly addictive.

Our brain literally became drenched in a potent cocktail of “love” and pleasure-inducing chemicals like: Adrenaline, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Dopamine. Adrenaline was responsible that exuberating flood of energy during the initial phase and is also the reason of why many new lovers require less sleep and often lose their appetites.

Then add in the drop of Serotonin levels that accompany falling in love. This drop in Serotonin basically drives you to obsess about your lover. Not surprisingly, lower Serotonin levels are also found in people who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Next pour in a little Oxytocin, commonly referred to as the “bonding hormone”, which produces and solidifies the attachment between partners. This hormone is the same hormone that is released in the brains of mothers who give birth and is linked to the bonding that occurs between mother and her newborn.

Top that off with the all-pervading chemical, Dopamine, which arouses feelings of pleasure within the body and coincidently happens to be the same addictive chemical that is released when people eat chocolate or take a hit of cocaine. So, it’s not really not all that shocking that a break-up can feel as challenging as quitting a serious drug habit.

Go No Contact

The No Contact method is a form of going “cold turkey” and detoxing from your ex. The method prohibits contact of any kind for at least 90 days to give your mind time to withdraw from your ex and level out chemically. It also allows your heart time to heal without distractions that potentially can set you back.

No Contact doesn’t only mean that you don’t contact your ex, it also means that you don’t respond to your ex should they try to contact you. Full abstinence is the goal. No texting, no phone calls, no emails, no Social Media, no drive-bys, no cyber-peaking and no smoke signals. Your brain requires time to withdraw from the potent “love cocktail” much like an addict withdraws from drugs.

Check Your Ego

If the break-up wasn’t your decision, your ego may have a difficult time accepting the feeling of rejection. Your ego will try to trick you into hanging on and hoping for reconciliation. Your ego will keep you waiting for the “I miss you’s” or the “I wanna see you’s” or waiting for your ex to come crawling back on their hands and knees or maybe even wanting some vindication.

Your ego may even drive you to do some dumb things. Your ego isn’t trying to be malicious. It’s the ego’s dysfunctional way of only trying to prevent you from feeling pain. So check your ego and let it go and feel your feelings.

With your ego out of the way, you can cut your losses. Once your ego is totally flattened, there is hope, because now you have real ground to stand on and move forward from. Your self-esteem and self-respect will be gained by walking away with your dignity intact.

Get Out of The House

There is so much advice out there and it’s all so conflicting. Some people say start dating right away, others say, wait a while. I just say, “get out of the house”. Start doing what you love. Or, find new things to love. Take up a sport. Enroll in a class. Go out with friends. Make new friends. Go to the gym. Try new things. But, just get out there. Hey, if you meet someone you like, date them. Don’t be bound by too many rules. This is your time to be free to do as you choose.

Focus On What You Want

So often, people will advise you to write down all the cons about your ex on paper to remind you of all their negative qualities and quirks that irritated you. If this helps you, great. I personally don’t feel this strategy is all that beneficial because guess who you are focused on? That’s right…your drug! Now is the time to focus on yourself. Also, remind yourself of the popular wisdom in the statement “what you focus on e x p a n d s”. This is why I suggest writing down all the qualities in a partner that you WANT. Be specific and detailed and don’t leave anything out. This will bring the focus back on you and your wants and “when you want something, the universe conspires in helping you achieve it”. ~ Paul Coelho

Bree Bonchay
Bree Bonchay is a Los Angeles based Licensed Psychotherapist (LCSW) who believes “relationships are the currency of life”. She’s a relationship expert dedicated to helping people heal from break-ups, recover from toxic relationships with narcissists and sociopaths and to never settle for a life less than the one they dreamed of. She is a Blogger, Advocate, Facebook Toxic Relationship Recovery Forum Administrator, Radio Guest Expert, believer in miracles and is the Author/Editor of her upcoming book, “I Am Free”.

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5 Steps To A Permanent Breakup

5 steps to a permanent breakup

Are you sick of having tons of breakups in one breakup? You know what I mean. You want to break up with him. You have a talk. You tell him you are breaking up with him, then five days later you find yourself in the sac with him again. And this cycle usually repeats itself an unreasonable amount of times.

All you ever wanted was to break up! But you didn’t do it the right way. Here are 5 essential guidelines to a successful breakup:

1. Be Clear.

Be sure to schedule the breakup conversation. Make it clear to him that the conversation you want to have is serious. When you tell him, say it NO UNCERTAIN TERMS. Leave no room for questions or hope for the future. Put your reluctance to hurt him aside and do this for yourself. Tell him, “I am breaking up with you for good.” Ask him, “do you understand?” If he says he doesn’t, help him to understand: “I don’t want to be with you anymore and I will not be talking to you for an indefinite period of time.”

2. Don’t Communicate.

He will try to plead with you. He will text you and he will call. Don’t read his texts no matter what. Ignore the calls. Block him if you know it will be too hard. You must send him the message that you are serious. The more you don’t reciprocate, the quicker he will get used to it. And his attempts will become further and fewer between.

3. Don’t Look For Intel in Your Local Gossip Network.

Avoid conversations about him. If you live in a small town or he is part of your network of friends, don’t try to find out what he’s been up to. You don’t need to know. You shouldn’t know. It’s none of your business and it will only hurt you. It could lead to getting back together and then yet another breakup!

4. Stay Away From His Social Media Profiles.

Block him if you can’t control yourself. Don’t look at any of his posts. This will only keep you close to him. It will serve as a constant reminder and make it a lot easier for you to respond to his pleas. You need him out of sight out of mind!

5. Don’t Bend.

This is the hardest and most important one. Stick to your guns. You laid down the law now follow it. There are no exceptions to the decision you have made and the rules you have established. You are the one who has the power of choice. Breaking up with him may have been the most difficult thing you’ve had to do in a long time. Choose to make it permeant. Choose to stick with what is best for yourself.

We break up with people for reasons. Usually for our own good. Why sabotage that? Sure it’s difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Pat yourself on the back for making a good decision. Follow through with that decision for your own well being. Put yourself first and make a breakup a breakup once and for all.

CJ Westyn
CJ Westyn is a relationship expert and strategist residing in Princeton, New Jersey and Denver, CO. He is a Date Camp™ Coach and former co-host of dating and relationship talk radio show, Intuidate Radio®.

CJ holds an M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling and has spent over 10 years working with couples and individuals on a broad variety of relationship issues.

CJ’s mission is to use his writing and untamed sense of humor to add value to the dating advice world by delivering helpful digital content. He strives to move people forward as he guides them through overcoming the uncomfortable yet inherent challenges we are dealt by the human condition (You know, when “life gets in the way”).

CJ’s aim is to also raise awareness surrounding cultural mores and standards that are congruent with human biology yet have earned negative value judgment due to sociocultural human constructs such as religion, ethics and tradition.

In addition to dating advice, CJ spends significant time writing comedy and performing elaborate practical jokes. In his spare time, he watches plenty of Andy Kaufman videos (for inspiration) and audits classes at Princeton University.

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Break-up to Bombshell- Is It Really Revenge?

BREAK UP TO BOMBSHELL IS IT REALLY REVENGE

Everyone enjoys a good before and after picture. Be it the positivity that comes with an Ambush Makeover on the fourth hour of Today or the tragedy of a Parent Trap Lindsay Lohan compared to what she became. Some of our favorite pictures to see are the ones of someone a few months after a break-up.

Kourtney Kardashian’s picture is one of the latest. Many have preceded her, and we know many that many more will follow. The similarity between each is that these people tend to look amazing post break-up, and the writers of the caption seem to point the finger at revenge.

When someone looks fabulous after a break-up, why do we automatically assume it’s all about revenge against their Ex?

When we see these post break-up pictures, we read copy like “revenge diet that works” or “rocking that revenge body on the red carpet”. Granted, these people look great, but I question whether or not their weight loss or their makeover is really about their Ex. Perhaps their new look, new fitness regimen, and new smile are really about something else.

I’ve had three major break-ups in my life, and within months after each I looked better than I did when I met the Ex. Each time, the Ex played no part in it because the change in my look was all about me. Here’s why…

After a break-up, we sometimes feel like we’ve lost control of our direction. We can control our diet and exercise.

When a relationship ends, especially if you’re on the receiving end of a break-up, we can lose our sense of direction because the road we envisioned was built for two and not one. When your direction changes unexpectedly, it’s human nature to find a road that we can navigate without the aid of a co-pilot. How we eat and when we work out are two very simple roads that we can navigate as a solo act.

Sometimes we need to get out of our head, and a good workout will clear those thoughts of your Ex.

After each of my break-up experiences, my head would race with the gamut of “what ifs” and “what nows”. Nothing gets you out of your head better than a cycling class. Over time, the thoughts of your Ex subside; replaced by thoughts of your new life and the new places your life will take you.

Elle Woods said it best about those endorphins!

Thanks to Reese Witherspoon’s character, we were reminded, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” A good exercise program not only gives you that boost of happy, but also leaves you with a tighter body. The tighter body brings compliments that improve your self-esteem, giving you even more reasons to be happy. I honestly never thought I would be happy again after my last break-
up, and that couldn’t have been further from the truth. The gym helped to pave the way.

Shaking up our look before joining the dating scene also boosts up our confidence.

The hardest date you’ll ever have is that first date after your last relationship. Going into that first date with your arsenal of confidence fully loaded is the only way to have fun on that date. Confidence in your external appearance will enhance your assurance in conveying your internal feelings and words to your date. Confident daters put their best foot forward on a date, with their charm, wit and smarts operating on all cylinders.

When you see a friend that’s recently gone from break-up to bombshell, be sure to compliment their appearance, but also acknowledge the work it took for them to get to that point. The incredible look is just the result of how your friend got his or her head back on straight after a failed relationship. And if you’re like me and you’re sporting a post-relationship body that stops traffic, I say congratulations- you’re on the right road to your new incredible life!

Craig Rogers started his career as a Dating and Relationship Expert with a web-based community designed to help those experiencing the aftermath of a break-up. He has written countless articles taking from his own personal break-up and dating experiences, sharing humorous stories of hope and recovery. A 2013 Emmy nominated producer, Craig has also enjoyed hosting and producing cooking segments on QVC and Home Shopping Network. Craig lives with his two dachshunds and is currently writing his first book on relationships. For more information on Craig Rogers, please visit www.CraigRogers.nyc and follow him on Twitter @CraigRogersNYC

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