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Divorced dads take on choosing a life partner

Have you ever wondered if you have chosen the right partner? There are some telltale signs that can be quite subtle and will become more evident as time goes on.

Im not a relationship expert, but from relationship breakdown experience I can tell you what to look out for so you can get the out with little consequence. I should have also listened to my gut feelings earlier. We all need someone with similar interests, things to do together. You know, long walks, game of squash, swim at the beach, book reading, online business project, hiking, movies, going to the gym, sex, similar social expectations, save money, doing nothing, sitting on the couch for a whole day watching Netflix episodes, picnic in the park or whatever other things you like to do together, and there needs to be many. Its these things and more that you need to be on the same page with. But there is more…

The passion you have for your career and what you are responsible for at work?


Like, do you need to be contactable on the weekend or after hours? If so, surely you don’t want grief from your partner if you have to take a call on the weekend to sort out a crisis at work? If they don’t get that, you’re in trouble already.

Just little things like that can dissolve a marriage. Much of your happiness together is based around an easy go lucky nature towards each other and very little complaining from both of you. Aligning to similar values and the things you would like in life. Have you discussed children? Do you both want children? That can be a biggie. Don’t forget when children arrive, most people need to put their relationship on hold for 10 years and be supportive friends. You need to allow each other space and to be free from criticism. If you are both trustworthy and put each others best interest top of mind, there isn’t any reason things should go bad so long as you remember the bigger plan.

You’ve heard the saying, “It is a two way street” (It really is) and both parties need to be kind and flexible with each other, if you are judgemental, grumpy or demanding, how do you want your partner to respond to that behaviour? Any partner with self preservation will not appreciate being treated like that, cracks will appear and you’ll have a relationship breakdown in the making.

There are some people that bring out the worst in us, probably because you are fighting for survival or you have an imbalance in your relationship i.e. someone feels they have the raw end of the stick or have the short straw?

At the end of the day, you need to choose a life partner carefully and listen to your gut and intuition and take your time. Things are all wonderful in the early days, so give it a lot of time, it will be worth the wait.

We would like to hear your thoughts and what has worked for you, write them in the comments below for other to read and learn.

The Do’s and Don’ts of managing the time your child has with you.

Not living with your child everyday can make some Dads very protective, even jealous of time with your children. While many people would think this is a normal emotion it also highlights a need to look at things differently so that your protectiveness does not effect your children or your relationship with them.

It’s not about the time you have with your child. Rather, it’s the time your child has with you.

As children get older, they take on more and more external activities such as sport, friends and school activities etc and these activities can start to get in the way of your time. The feelings your experiencing are normal. But remember they are normal growing and developments pains. Understanding this and being accepting and flexible will only benefit you and your child’s growth and development.

If you are selfishly protective of your time with your children, if you believe that they would prefer to spend time on their own personal activities or with their friends rather than you, or if you complain and whinge, and think that their mother promotes this over spending time with you then you are gravely mistaken. Making your kids feel guilty about not spending their “allocated” time with you will only distance yourself from them and never achieve a normal relationship with your kids.

The best thing you can do is to show everyone including your children that their best interests are your top priority by displaying flexibility, understanding and maturity. You will gain major points with your kids if you approach it in this way.

DO’s

  • Support and encourage your child’s healthy activities.
  • Provide financial, emotional and moral support.
  • Always offer transportation and logistical support even if its not on your time or if its not the activity you would have chosen.
  • Promote practise time of all activities when they are with you.
  • Let your child go to sleep-overs or visit their friends even when its on your time.
  • Promote your child to have friends sleep-over at your place, this will help keep the normalicy around your home.
  • Get involved if possible with their sport and be a volunteer at the club.

Don’ts

  • Deny your child good things to get involved in such as healthy activities, promote these activities always.
  • Be upset that these activities get in the way of your time with them. Instead where possible get involved in their activities (in a non intrusive manner).
  • Ask your ex for “make-up” time for the time you have missed because of these other activities. Being a Dad and sacrificing time is normal and it is a growing experience for you as well as them.
  • Make your child feel guilty or sad “EVER” for the time that they miss with you. Your child’s healthy active activity is far better than being forced to stay at home.

If you do this right, I can’t stress how much this will benefit you. It will assist in your Children’s adjustment and development, they’ll have a positive attitude towards you, request more time with you, and your relationship with them will be more normal.

Share your experiences as a separated parent and be part of the conversation, it can benefit many dads going through separation.

Note: Some phrases and points I have used from a good read called: Wednesday Evenings and Every other Weekend.

Winners in separation?

Winners in separation? Dads Online speak with family lawyer, Daniel Dalli of Aston Legal Group about whether there are any winners when it comes to separation. These series of podcasts focusing on separation and divorce can equip you, in making better decisions about your family matters.

Remember if are feeling overwhelmed with sadness or grief, or need someone to talk to, there are organisations that can help. Call Mensline (www.mensline.org.au) on 1300 789 978 or Lifeline (www.lifeline.org.au) on 13 11 14. If you need family law assistance from a lawyer, feel free to contact Daniel Dalli, Partner of Aston Legal Group (www.astonlegalgroup.com.au) on either 0423 729 686 or email at daniel@astonlegalgroup.com.au.

What do daughters want from their dads?

Have you (dad) ever thought you’d like to change the ways things are? You know it’s never too late! We can go through life knowing that things could be different but for some reason we don’t say “yes” to change.

Maybe its because saying yes can cause embarrassment, awkwardness or highlight the fact that you were wrong?
If you haven’t been spending time with your daughter because life has got busy or they’ve become teenagers and are more independent, or they have grown into a women and your feel you cant hug, cuddle and wrestle with them like you used too, or even you feel they’re getting older now and you’ve become less important in their life? You are so wrong!

Dads, nothing has changed, they still and always will want your Attention, Affection and Affirmation.

Its super important that you always stay connected or reconnect for both of you. Your daughter wants you to acknowledge they’re maturing and growing up. If your daughter is going through her teenage years, she wants you around to help her navigate those important years whilst your continuing to build on the connection you have always had.

Its been very well documents over the years from researchers, physiologists and experts that fathers play a key role in their daughter development. Some of those things that dads provide daughters are:

– Build their confidence
– Convincing them they can do anything
– Have a voice and be counted (on any topic)
– Encouraging improvement through learning
– Role model on equality
– Make them feel secure
– A male perspective on things
– Strength and gentleness at the same time

Daughters WANT their dads to be a part of their lives even if sometimes they don’t show it. There was a study done where daughters were asked what could dads do to improve their relationship and how their dad could help them. They said…

– Be there more
– Put the phone away and don’t just focus on the solution
– When you’re home be mentally present
– Focus on me when I’m talking to you and be genuinely interested
– Spend more time with me
– More time talking together
– Eat dinner with us more often
– Spend more time with us and less time working
– Hangout with me
– Play with me
– Go camping with me
– Do activities with me
– Support me more by doing more things with me
– Go for a walk with me
– Be available on weekend s to play cards or puzzles or board games
– Take me places we would both like
– Maybe we could do the Kokoda trail together
– Go away somewhere special for the weekend just the two of us

Everything the daughters requested boiled down to dads spending more time with them. Your girls may not ask you for more time, with the fear that you might say no, or they feel your too busy? So be proactive and nurture your relationship with your daughter, create memories that build the bonds that can last a lifetime.

Some ideas and narrative have come from Madonna King, Author of the book – Fathers and Daughters. I would also like to acknowledge Darren Lewis from Fathering Adventures for his inspiration, education and knowledge on how to thrive in your relationships and not just survive with your children.

Doing nothing does harm

How many of us would have the courage to take action if we saw violence towards females (verbal or physical), gender discrimination, sexual harassment or disrespectful comments?

My wish is that everyone would be brave enough to do something. The whole notion of helping someone that is being abused does not mean that you need to put yourself in harms way. You can use “secondary prevention” i.e. you can be someone who challenges that behaviour by offering assistance in the following ways:

1. Defusing the situation by: a disapproving look (non-verbal) or a light hearted comment to the perpetrator
2. Talking to the victim: when you get a chance ask them are they ok? What do they need? Do they want to make a complaint?
3. Calling out the behaviour: if your personal safety is not at risk you could call it out i.e. ” Hey, its inappropriate to be speaking to her in that tone” or “its never ok to tell jokes like that, they are disrespectful and degrading”.
4. Report it: you can call police 000, notify HR or tell a supervisor.

Dads, it’s never ok to standby and watch abuse in any form, whether it be to males or females. The term that some professional groups are using is – Be an active bystander. We can play a lead role in setting a standard of behaviour both as a role model to our growing children and also to not settle or condone bad behaviour to women or anyone.

Dads we are very likely to listen to other dads, so next time you’re talking to another dad, discuss how you would respond if you were a bystander to any bad behaviour and make a pledge…

“When X happens, I will do Y. (one of the 4 steps mentioned above)


Simple ways to save money on your financial separation

Any relationship breakdown is hard. With kids it is harder still. Emotions run high with sense and reason sometimes taking a back seat. The main focus is on protecting your children and rebuilding your future throughout this difficult time. You will make some of the biggest decisions of your life whilst trying to stay sane in the day-to-day. Then there’s the financial side …

Ex-couples can make huge mistakes during the separation process, and these mistakes can cost them big time. In fact, by not understanding the full ramifications of a financial separation, or by understanding but ignoring them, the amount of money wasted could affect the rest of your life, and in-turn the lives of your children.

Now is time to get your head around the best practice when it comes to splitting your assets. The choices you make will have a big impact on your present and your future. Get educated. Get confident. And get ready to move on with the rest of your life.

Here is our advice to keep costs down and get the best possible outcome when you separate from your partner.

Communication is crucial

Ironically, at a time when communication with your ex-partner may have broken-down, is the time it matters most. Learning to communicate calmly and respectfully with each other will save money, stress and time. Step-back and consider what form of communication is most effective between you and your ex-partner. In many cases, email is good as time can be taken to deliver clear and respectful wording, and eliminates the erratic emotion that can interject a phone call or texts or an in-person chat. It also allows the recipient to respond when they are calm and clear-headed. If you are aware of words, actions or even body language that may trigger your ex-partner, avoid them. It only takes one person to pave the way for better communication. Be that person. It will allow you to work through your financial separation logically and quickly without costly lawyers or courts making decisions which are out of your hands and you may not agree with.

Focus on the kids

In nearly all family breakdowns, each parent has one priority: Their children. Remember this is your common ground. Ultimately you both want the best for your children. Focusing on this one fact will get you a faster, less-costly, better outcome from your financial separation. Put aside your differences from the past and concentrate on the bigger picture and the future. No-one is more significant in this than your children. You may find that your mutual need to support them is what guides you through to a solution.

Educate yourself

When it comes to your financial separation, knowledge is not only power, but is also a huge money saver. The best bit is, there is plenty of free stuff available. This video from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia explains how to apply for a divorce and you can read-up on financial separation on the Divide website here. Warning: Make sure you arm yourself with the ‘correct’ knowledge. Advice from friends and family is well-meaning, but every financial separation is different so stick to the actuality and how it will influence your personal situation. Mistakes are costly and can be avoided by getting the facts early on.

DIY it

Like everything in life, the more you do yourself, the more money you will save. If you need professional support, either with a financial separation specialist or a lawyer, get as much information prepared before your first appointment with them. This includes, but is not limited to, your separation date, bank statements, mortgage statements, tax returns and superannuation details. Dig out the paperwork, make the necessary phone calls and compile a folder. Encourage your ex-partner to do the same. It may seem tiresome, possibly overwhelming, but the money you save by doing your own admin and anything else you are capable of, can be used to rebuild a better future for you and your children.

Be transparent

The key to a cost-effective and fast financial separation is transparency. Put it this way, it will all come out in the end. Be honest and open about your financials as well as your feelings. If you lead by example, your ex-partner is more likely to do the same. Half-truths and embellishments, for any reason, will slow down and complicate the process. They can even break-down an amicable process. If this happens lawyers may need to get involved, which means extra costs for both parties and will likely create more aggressive ‘via lawyer’ communication which will have consequences now and in the future.

Not in it to win it

Financial separation is not a battle field. There are no winners or losers. When you and your partner are both in this mindset it will be easier to move forward. By removing this competitive edge from the negotiations will allow you to make non-emotional, cost benefit-based decisions. Adopt a give and take attitude and you may find that your ex-partner follows your lead. Be flexible and open to her ideas and suggestions, and you may notice she is more open to yours. Remember, the aim here is to find middle ground that will allow you both to move on with your lives and be the best co-parents you can be.

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Chris Staples is a Director at Divide – Simple Financial Separation. He has seen how wealth is eroded through a divorce done badly and believes there is a cleaner way to make the break financially. He now helps couples with their financial separations in a cost-effective, peaceful manner, without using lawyers.

Have you and your partner discussed what having kids really means

Relationships start out exactly how we like them, we’re smitten and crazy about each other. It very sensual and physical. Its fun and exciting, everything is new and you feel like your connection is cohesive enough to be able to handle anything that the world throws at you.

Planned or unplanned, having kids can dissolve that cohesive glue you both thought was impenetrable, why? Because you went into having children unprepared or failed to discuss the things that can trip you up. It’s challenging, demanding, thankless, tiring and lasts for the first 10-12 years before you get reprieve.

I recently spoke to a man who was expecting his first baby with his partner. I asked him have you discussed how you will help each other and handle the tough times when they come? He said, Nah! its not something we discuss, things are ok and we will just deal with what ever happens…eeeek! I think this is common, sadly.

The things that can be important to know & talk through (but not limited too, if you can think of more, discuss)

  • Pregnancy is a long time and can be messy
  • You may not automatically love your child day 1
  • A diminished social life can make life feel boring
  • Loss of freedom and also loss of time together can feel like a disconnect
  • When sleep becomes more important than sex, is the norm
  • Disagreeing on  how to raise your child, remember there is more than one way
  • Weekend sleep-ins was your previous life
  • Work is relatively easy compared to raising a baby, how can you lighten your partners load
  • Life changes and so do you and your partner
  • Hobbies and sports need to take a back seat for quiet a while
  • You are no longer “Joe” the carefree guy, you are “Joe” with responsibilities
  • Your own routine now becomes your babies routine
  • Expect both you and your partner to have ups and down feelings of happiness
  • You baby/child needs things NOW, there is no more of …”I’ll do it later”
  • Your stress levels increase and you feel edgy often
  • Your money is now all accounted for and you need to save for emergencies
  • Your friends look at your differently now, you have 1 or 2 beers not 10 anymore
  • If baby is crying all night, it might be easier to have the baby sleep in your bed so you all can sleep
  • Babies poo is smelling and messy and someone has to change it often
  • Sometimes babies cry for long periods for know reason
  • There are some mothers who refuse to even leave their baby with a safe family member so you can go out and have a break, how would you cope with that
  • Learn to cook and make lots of meals to freeze, sometimes it is just easier
  • Facebook life is BS, raising kids is hard work and you both need to work as a team
  • Keep an eye out if either of you need help, don’t be afraid to ask
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps, you need it
  • It’s exhausting, make sure you both get time to rest
  • Eating together becomes a thing of the past
  • This is a 12 year commitment to work as a team, after that it becomes easier and you should have mutual respect for the road traveled together
  • What if you feel like nothing you do is good enough

With all the ups and downs its an incredible feeling to raise a child. It has enormous amounts of joy and satisfaction but its extremely important you go into it with eyes wide open. You need to look after your partner and carry equal amounts of the workload and sometimes more when she needs it. Talk about when times get tough and how you will get through those times together. Its important, it could be the difference between ending up a single Dad or at home with your family. Go the later!!

Whats been your experience? any tips?

What are you prepared to give up

Having kids should not be taken lightly. It would be the biggest most important decision anyone can make in their lifetime.

Bringing a child into the world requires a lifetime of intentional commitment, from the day they are born to when they reach adulthood and even then it does not guarantee they will be off your hands completely.  I felt a strong commitment to ensure that my child had all that they need to ensure a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically.

Putting your child first is a good plan (it’s the only plan), it ensures that they go without little and decisions you make around housing and career have them top of mind. There were times when I could have accepted promotions which would have either caused me to work interstate or travel extensively. I didn’t have a partner that would have supported this so I could not have accepted the roles. I then found myself divorced and it made it even harder to travel because I needed to be available for my child on the days that were my days. I made sure that nothing got in the way of those days.

Taking that commitment to always be there and be available definitely hindered my career and social life.

I’d be invited away for a weekend that would be across the time I had my child over so I’d say no, I wouldn’t go out on a Friday night because I wanted to be fit and healthy for her on the Saturday morning when she would arrive. There were so many times I said no, looking back it cost me friendships and a healthy social life, but to me it was the price of putting my child first.

Thinking back, I could of had a more balanced life with social life and home life. So long as your children feel loved and cared for, you really can go and have some fun, and you should.

Don’t look, it can ruin everything

If you like eating sausages, there is a saying that goes…Don’t look how the sausage is made, it will ruin everything.

We grow up learning about childbirth and never really connect the dots that when it happens to our partner, it’s a very full on confronting experience and not for the lighthearted.

Childbirth for Men can have the same effect as its a little hard to look at the vagina the same way anymore! Something that we once worshiped has been torn apart and beaten up, lets face it and be honest, it is not a pretty sight and very unsexy. It can take a while to get those images out of our mind, if ever at all? There are some women who would worry about what their man thought of them sexually after seeing childbirth.

We have complete admiration for the resilience and strength that women have which allows them to go through childbirth, but if all we can do is hold there hand and not add much more value than that, then I vote we wait in the waiting room and let their mum’s, sisters, aunties, cousins do the hand holding.

Some experts have said that childbirth is actually more difficult for the women when the man is present? The birth tends to take longer and is more painful if we are in the room.

Can it effect our sex life? Let’s face it, there are so many things that we do in order to make sex enjoyable. Many men and women are slightly shy and ease into sex through foreplay both physically and mentally. Seeing childbirth should be one of those things that we keep private to preserve the intimacy, imagery and fantasy of sex.

My Dad told me that in his day, men were not allowed to be in the birthing room. When the baby was born, the mother and baby rested for a bit and the dad entered the room a little later. I don’t see anything wrong with that..at all!

Some women will say that you are missing out on the greatest event of humankind, yes ok but OMG!  If you both agree that it could be better to wait outside, then there is nothing wrong with that strategy at all. If you are needed and wanted in the birthing room, stay up the right end…I warn you!

I would think that many men & women would agree with this, do you?

Once bitten twice shy

The dictionary explains it this way “If someone is said to be once bitten, twice shy, it means that once someone was hurt by something or someone, they will be afraid to try it again”

Often referred to in love terms, hurt holds us back from exploring, letting someone in, going past a first date or even dating at all.

When we get hurt and that can be emotionally, financially or physically it cuts so deep that there is no wonder we approach new relationships with caution!

It’s normal to take things slow after a traumatic experience or even to have some good time finding yourself again. Finding the things you like to do, the happiness after a breakup needs to be come back otherwise you are not the real you. Who wants to hear about your sad stories on the first few dates? Make sure you have discovered enjoyable things to do, concentrated on your health and feel emotionally strong.

So time is critical but make sure you don’t hang out there forever, because finding the right one for you can be life changing in the best way. If it is going on for years, seek some professional support. When you have some time under your belt and you’re feeling like dating again, choose well and take it slow.

Don’t think to far ahead, take each day at a time. If you ask someone out on a date, just think about that 1 date or that 1 coffee or 1 meal. Focus only on that one day then if you want to see them again, just focus again on just that next one meeting.

Trust people for the day, its was probably a trust issue that caused your pain in the first place. Remind yourself that that one person who betrayed you or who treated you badly was by their actions. They cheated. They lied. They alienated the kids from you. You don’t know what these other women have done or capable of doing…yet. They might be an amazing beautiful person, so give them one (1) chance.

Wait until you see signs that they’re less than sincere. Then you could question them. But until then? Just trust them today. That way if they do disappoint you, you didn’t invest to much time into them.

A must watch: Simon Sinek – Millennials in the work place

We live in a world that is consumed by technology and social media. Relationships suffer, work and our ability to cope with everyday stresses are tough for our children. Children born post 1982 have been brought up in a new and potentially damaging era, a time never seen by their parents. Mr Simon Sinek talks about how we have become this addicted society to social media, why it is so damaging and how we can change it and make life more personal, enjoyable, develop meaningful relationships and be more satisfied at work. Something our children must learn and its starts with us! A very interesting and en-lighting video discussion on what we can do.  It will be the best 18 minutes you spend this year 🙂 Oh, and put your phone AWAY when you watch it – unless of course your watching from your phone LOL

 

It’s expensive to break up

its-expensive-to-break-upI don’t think the expense of breaking up is ever considered when we are thinking about breaking up? If we did, we might try a little harder to stay together because it can put an enormous amount of strain on the hip pocket!

When we know it’s over or when we know this person we are currently calling a partner is not going to be a “life” partner, all we can think about is moving out and on and trust everything will be ok. It’s important to make sure that both people involved are ok and living arrangements and money have been considered fairly so no one is doing it unreasonably tough.

Over time things slowly return to normal (or a new normal)  but the initial expense can be a real shock and i don’t think any of us expected or worked on a “break up budget” when we made our mind up to break up.

Who would have thought we need to have two of everything 🙂 Some people instigating the break up, tend to be quite generous and it would be normal to just leave with our clothes in a suitcase. If it is more of a fair divide? then half of all the living items needs to be repurchased. If you have kids, it is more beds,towels, crockery, table & chairs and clothes, toys, books and sporting equipment etc too.

Don’t forget the bond & rent of your new home becomes fully paid for by one (1) person, gas, electricity, food, insurances, foxtel etc etc all is now paid for solely by you.

There are ways to minimize the financial pain

If you know its coming and you have months to plan, start putting money aside and build an emergency fund, we all should have one anyway, even if you are completely happy and in love with you partner. You never know what can blind side you at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon, trust me it can happen.

Once you have worked out the divide, write a gap list and and let your friends and family know what you need, your friends and family can bring you some of the essentials you will need to start again, this can help with your personal support by having supportive friends & family visiting you. Myer have a gift registry where they will list all the things you need,  like, towels, bedding, glasses, kitchen appliances, cups, cutlery etc and as they get purchased, Myer will cross them off your list so no one doubles up on break up gifts.

You can also create a new bank account for the “start again fund” and send the account details to all your friends, family and Facebook contacts and ask them to contribute anything they can – the smallest amounts all add up. Don’t forget to personally thank every contributor!

I hope you never have to experience a break up, sometimes it is inevitable, this might give you some ideas to think about before you make that decision. Try hard to resolve your issues as it is much cheaper and financially better in the long term to stay together and work things out.