Because of her passion, Jodi Seidler has been profiled on hundreds of Web sites and dozens of publications, including: Single Parents Magazine, Child Magazine, USA Today, The LA Times and The Milwaukee Journal; She’s carried the Making Lemonade message to her own radio show, as well as national radio and TV talk shows, such as: “Inside Edition”, “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus”, “Berman and Berman: For Women Only”, UPN, Channel 13 News, “The Other Half”, “From Inspiration to Realization”, CBS Evening News, KCAL News, and The New York Times. Jodi Seidler knows how to help the newly single get beyond divorce and date as a single parent.
What are some tips for dating after divorce?
When it comes to dating after divorce, it’s really important that you have gone through your anger, resentment, and all your wounds before you date, because otherwise you’re going to end up on dates where you find yourself talking about your ex, and custody. It’s the most major dating no-no. It’s really important to give yourself some time to heal before you dip your toe in the dating water.
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I’m not being romantic…I’m kissing you good-bye!
As a single mother or father, the most comical and challenging part of dating is actually finding the time to date…between custody schedules, self-care, juggling work, homework and self-work – where do we begin in finding a date — or soul mate? I say we begin with the end in mind…what do we want in a date/mate and how do we go about manifesting it in the real world? And how long do we give a relationship once we see the writing on the wall? Hey and what about if our kids are dating, and we’re not? Now, that’s a real single parenting issue – when our children have a stronger social life than we do. I’ve been there, I’ve seen my son talking on the phone while IM-ing his entourage of male and ‘female friends’.
I think we’ve gotten lost along the way within the maze of the new dating paradigm; especially for ex-husbands and men who have been out of the dating market for a while. Sometimes you guys are the most romantic daters – old fashioned and sweet…just looking for a recipient who can appreciate and acknowledge your uniqueness. But alas, in a perfect world that would be so and I wish we could get back to the times when daters courted more frequently. Please don’t ever tell me that is a lost or forsaken art form that our children will one day read about in history books. These are the things I want to pass down to my son – how to court and be creative in his romanticism. (But that is another subject for another time.)
Before we dip our toe in the relationship waters, I believe that first we need to do our homework – and that is to evaluate our must haves in another person, I call them our 5 essentials. I need a strong sense of humor, generosity of spirit and self, good family values, playfulness and adoration for moi. (I desire to feel appreciated). After years of being known as “Mommy Slave” in my own house, I feel I have earned the honor of being respected and even being adored. And don’t we all know by experience (from our own youth and now from our kids) that respect and adoration is not something we can expect our kids or teenagers to give us (although earned, one hopes for respect). My son affectionately refers to himself at times as “my karma”, now that he is in his teen years.
When it comes to beginning a new relationship, I feel it’s important to look at why past relationships didn’t work out and what the lessons are, so we don’t repeat them. (I call it the the EX factor.) A girlfriend of mine names her relationship lessons and says after a breakup “The name of that lesson was________”. Whether it’s jealousy, lack of trust, insecurity – she calls it as she sees it and works on the issues before engaging in the next relationship or dating experience. That way, for her it’s not a never-ending Greek tragedy or just-out-of-reach-myth when the next hopeful comes around. And how many of us have learned that rebounding should only be done on a trampoline? I have a rule that I don’t date anyone just out of a relationship or out of a marriage for under a year. I’ve been on both ends, and most times it doesn’t end up being a very pretty sight or worthy of our memorable dating scrapbook.
I am a big believer in writing things down on paper; somehow I have come to understand that making a list or writing things down brings the things we want into our lives easier and faster. Until we define what it is we want, we cannot bring it in. When we state what is so for us – we can call it in, not unlike placing an order in a restaurant and waiting for the waitress to bring it to us. We have to be sure we don’t change our order after we have placed it – otherwise it gets confusing and we may not get what we ordered. I would hate to get pizza when I’ve ordered salmon!
If we don’t do the work on ourselves, the past gets in the way and we bring in what already has shown up as not working for us; and we repeat old patterns with the same old personality types (the names are changed to protect the ignorant – US). We can see it happening to others, but we can’t necessarily see it when it shows up in our own lives (that’s what friends are for). It occurs famously when we do not do the work to transcend the past’s broken dreams and aching disappointments. We really need to recreate, and not create the ‘same old relationship’ again, we need to break our patterns (even when they have become endearing or familiar to us) and get ready to attract a new kind of relationship to support our new growth.
In Los Angeles, land of the BBD (bigger, better deal), some of us choose to be a little more cautious and move a little more slowly after a series of stop-and-go-and go-then-stop ‘relationships. And when we want a certain relationship to walk in the door and it doesn’t, or someone we are dating decides to be “just friends”, I have learned a little motto that I carry with me in just those times of sadness or defeat. It applies to all areas in life when we don’t get or have what we want. “Rejection is God’s protection” is one of my favorites. And, I have a million of them!
Now, let’s take a look at the differences between men and women when it comes to sex and relationships….
The differences between the sexes!
What about that Cinderella Story??
How did I get to be an ‘old person’, and why can’t I shop in the juvenile department (hey, I’m petite); I still think like a teen hottie at times. The trick is not to let our children see or overhear that little teenager in us; keep it sacred or only share it with our ‘bestest’ friends when we go out for a glass of merlot or a Chopin martini with olives.
As scary as it may be, we are our children’s role models for healthy relationships. If we have been divorced, it makes it a little more challenging to be that strong and healthy role model – so we may need mentors or role models ourselves to support bringing in the right date or mate.
So you find yourself starting to date again, even if you’ve sworn off the opposite sex one more time. You tell yourself all the “This time…I will [fill in the blanks].” But when loneliness kicks in, combined with the need to share one’s life – we opt to try one more time to give romance another try.
1. Have a clear picture of what you want and don’t want in a relationship, and keep that picture in mind.
Don’t settle. Sometimes it helps to make a list (not necessarily a three page list, perhaps bullet points will do). A list helps us become clearer about what we want, need and also what our deal breakers might be. No need to be overly critical – remember that no one is perfect, especially in relationships!
2. Listen for key words like, “I hated my father”, “My ex is impossible”, “No one ever understood me”.
Get ready to run if your “future relationship-material” begins to hate everyone they were ever involved with.
3. Have an exit plan.
Don’t put all your love in one basket in the beginning when people are yet to reveal themselves…the dark and the light. Take a gander at “what if”, and come up with a plan should your relationship show signs of heading south or becoming dysfunctional beyond your standards.
4. Don’t hold on to a fantasy when reality is staring you in the face.
Those haunting words like “I can change him”, “She will get over her hurt if I love her enough”, “I’m sure with therapy, we can work it out”, “I know he won’t lie to me again”.
5. Remember there are always three sides to a relationship issue…his side, her side and the TRUTH!
It’s good to check in with yourself to discover if you’d rather be right or be happy. Sometimes we just have to slow down and wear the other person’s shoes. What is triggering them to act a certain way? In what ways are we pushing their button? If the other person doesn’t want to look at their part in a relationship issue – chances are staying in the relationship will just continue that theme; before you know it you’re accepting all the blame for the wounds of your partner.
There is nothing more profound of magical about finding our true love. It’s a gamble and sometimes it’s more than worth putting ourselves out there. Once or twice divorced, take inventory to see if you can weather the possibility of making it through another break-up. Get strong; build your confidence and strength to get back on that dating saddle. Who knows, perhaps you will be riding double into the sunset!