Tuesday, May 29, 2012

For All Those Babies Born Out of Wedlock

Those who know me understand that I often joke about my greatest sources of pain-- it's a coping mechanism that I've used for quite some time. So while it is cool now to joke about the fact that I was essentially a baby from the Love Boat, let me be very clear about the fact that this was no joking matter back in the '70s.

Today, over 40% of children are being born out of wedlock, and so I am deeply concerned about the love stories-- or lack thereof-- that their parents will share with these children. Many of these children will be raised in single parent homes, be at high risk, and will live in poverty. Their chances of surviving and overcoming all these challenges is greatly impacted by their parents ability to keep it together for them. It will not be easy for these kids, and this is where I believe it is my mission to be their voice and provide a glimmer of hope.

Despite great odds, it is possible to break free from the sins of our ancestors and forge our own path. My colleague, Mark Baer, in California sent me an article this weekend that led me to realize my story of having parents that were never in a significant relationship is now something that I can share with 306,000 birth each year in the U.S. His article went on to emphasize how important it is for these children to be shielded from the anomosity their parents might feel towards each other. No one should ever have to grow up wondering about their lineage. No child should ever have to question whether s/he was a mistake. Children are the greatest gifts in life, and I hope for the sake of future generations that parents will filter their own emotions, and promote as much family contact as possible for these children.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gathering Love Stories

Anyone who knows me is aware of my obsession with love stories-- I love learning how people met, when they first had their "ah-ha" moment, and how they got engaged. I've spent the last 14 years gathering love stories- if they come to me for a prenup consult it is a story with a beautiful ending; if it is for a divorce consult, it is a story with a sad middle part, but the way I see it the end has yet to be determined. Many, in fact most, are able to part ways amicably, and within 2-5 years they rebuild a new life with someone else. So the way I see it, my job is simply to guide people along their love journeys, and I am eternally grateful for the insight everyone has given me into the joys and challenges of a love story.

So, what is it with my obsession about love stories? Well, perhaps it stems from the fact that I was not the product of a great love story-- in fact I was never even told the story for almost half my life. For the first 19 years I was told my father was dead, and let's just say no one painted him out to be a war hero. Putting aside all reasons for this deceipt, whether well intentioned or not, the point I am making today is that perhaps because my own parents failed to provide me with a love story that I have gone out of my way the last 14 years as a divorce lawyer to gather all the stories possible from those around me. By sharing your stories, you have filled me with hope and inspired me to go on my own journey to find love.

This week, while surrounded by friends that were remarking at my commitment to helping couples and families, a stranger asked me why I bailed at my own marriage. He went further and asked me why I would choose to be a single mother with an infant 7 years ago. Excellent questions, and so here is my answer: You can marry the love of your life and have it not work out. To raise a child in a loveless marriage is not something I was willing to do. My primary job as a parent (aside from providing basic necessities) is to raise a well-adjusted, happy child that believes in love. How can you do that when you are modeling a dysfunctional relationship? Given the choice of raising a child in a comfortable economic environment where I was miserable, or as a single parent where I was at least happy and stood a chance of finding love again, I picked the latter.

Everyone around me thinks I'm so brave-- but it is not about being courageous, to me it is about doing the right thing. We have to teach our children about love and prepare them for their own journey in search of a life partner. To give them every possible chance at success, single parents especially have a duty to teach kids that sometimes you may have to spend years alone, until you find the right one-- but you never lose hope of finding that one. Until then, you are all just gathering love stories. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Making Glue in Our Relationships

During the day, I get paid to be pragmatic-- to give people advice in their prenups or divorces that is completely stripped of any emotion. This is how we are trained in law school-- to focus on the facts, and detach from our client's emotions. Those who choose to go to law school probably already have strongly exhibited this ability to compartmentalize-- a real strength in business, but a real weakness in personal relationships.

Our personal relationships are based on love, trust, and hopefully mutual admiration. It's all about opening up your emotions, breaking down barriers, and letting someone into your world. To build a healthy relationship with someone (after you've gone through the initial 20 questions phase) you need to work on what I call making glue-- enjoying experiences together and sharing fun activities that will provide awesome memories so when you hit a rough patch (and we all do at some point) the glue is what keeps you together.

Making glue doesn't have to be expensive-- it could be a hike, impromptu picnic, or even just washing a car together. Hosting a BBQ as a couple, enjoying a kayak trip, or doing a family outing with kids is all part of an important process, where you spend quality time and show one another that you are making the other a priority in your life. True friends will not only understand the importance of this, they will support you in this endeavor.

Remember, the point of the game is to find the best match and get out. But to make your love last, you should never stop working on making glue.  This is where I think a lot of people fail-- they have this great romance in the beginning, and then they fall into a complacent pattern that is comfortable.  Well, for some of us that is just way too boring, and those of us that need a little spice in our life, need to have an ongoing effort made to demonstrate we rank in someone's world.

Love and happiness are not permanent accomplishments, but rather intense sentiments that you have to work at maintaining alive.  They are the glue that binds you to another, and it does require constant effort, but the endeavor is totally worth it!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ignoring Some Traditions May Actually Save Your Marriage & Bank Account

I have to say, I was overwhelmed with joy when I read about the low key affair that Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan put together this weekend. Everyone knows I love weddings and celebrating happy occasions, but some of the costs for these things have totally gone out of control! Back in 1997, when I was planning my wedding, I have to say it was a very tense time. All I wanted to do was elope-- go somewhere fun, exchange my vows with my husband-- simple no fuss, no frills. Unfortunately, the groom did not share in this vision-- he, being an only child, did not want to rob his family of the wedding celebration.

Arguments over such minor things like the price of flowers, transportation for guests, menu choices, etc. ensued, and it is a miracle that we survived that year. Seven years later when we split, we had nothing to show from the actual party, and I couldn't care less about the wedding gifts. What did I care about the most? My son, and the pictures from our trips, including our honeymoon in Hawaii. I think that says it all. After recovering from my 7-year divorce hangover, I am happy to say I have a new status. I consider myself "in-between husbands," and whoever that lucky guy may be is still unclear, but there is one thing I know for sure-- there is no way I am going to spend anywhere close to $27,000 (the average cost of a wedding in the U.S.). That same amount of money could buy a decent car, be a down-payment to a house, maybe even a year's tuition for a child at a state school.

 Whenever (if ever) I tie the knot again, I am opting out of all the pomp and circumstance that goes along with a traditional wedding. Hopefully, Mr. Right will understand and agree that a huge party is unnecessary to honor your commitment to become life-long partners, what really matters is actually putting in the day-to-day effort required to keep it all together. While one can never predict what will make a marriage work or not, I've got to admit that lots of my clients fight over money and have fundamentally different views on savings versus spending. Maintaining a marriage is expensive- homes, cars, trips, kids, it all adds up. Save your money for that, not some party that few will ever remember.

Hopefully, Mark and Priscilla will set off a new trend, so people with far less fortunes will think twice before spending money frivilously. I truly wish the newly weds all the best, and I admire their remarkable courage in bucking tradition, standing firm as a couple and not caving into external pressures or expectations. External threats to a marriage are always there-- it is those that maintain a united front (and are careful with money) that succeed.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Let's Have a Candid Talk About Sex

A recent study says that the average couple spends 42 minutes having sex, and the normal frequency is 1-3 times a week.  That may seem low, but keep in mind that people at various ages have different energy levels, and there is a wide range among individuals with respect to their sex drives and stamina.  Now, I'm not about to tell what category I fall into, but I am going to tell you this: one of the clearest signs that your relationship is in trouble is when you are not at least meeting the minimum average of making love once a week.

We all get tired from work, dealing with our kids, etc. but if you cannot even find 42 minutes a week to have an intimate moment with your partner, what does that really say about your priorities? We all need to feel loved and wanted. There is no greater crush to someone's ego than feeling rejected by your own partner. I believe the opposite also holds true-- there is no greater boost to your ego than knowing that there is this amazing person that has chosen to give up all other options out there to be with you, just you. To touch someone in a way that no one else can-- know exactly what they like, how they like it, and provide them with overwhelming joy and satisfaction-- even if only for 42 minutes in a week-- it is an amazing gift.

Play into each other's fantasies, be open about what you want and need. Be creative, come up with story lines, dress up (or down) and change it up a bit-- the point is have fun and let go of your inhibitions.  Who cares what you do in your own bedroom? Sex is a HUGE part of a healthy marriage-- so if you see an issue developing in this department, don't try to minimize this or ignore the problem. You need to have candid talks about sex with your partner, not strangers online, and tap into that creative side of your brains to find new ways to keep each other happy.

The importance of sex in an intimate relationship can not be overstated.  It is normal and healthy to want to feel a deep connection with the one you love, and when you can make someone feel like they are on fire, you will both share in an out of this world experience that truly helps put everything else in perspective.  All your troubles should melt away when you have nothing but pure joy in your heart, and there is simply no replacement for that natural high that you should both experience together.

If you cannot relate to what I've just said, I really don't even know what to say.  But for those of you that get it, please don't let life's burdens creep into your bedroom.  Keep that as your sanctuary and don't let that passionate flame burnout.  Do whatever you need to do to keep that fire alive-- it's actually a key component to making it all last.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Facebook and Its Impact on Marriages

Last night on ABC news, I got to weigh in on the impact of Facebook on marriages. Sadly, time is always limited on the air, so there is a lot that I did not get to cover-- but thankfully there is always this blog for me to finish up all my thoughts that don't get to make it on the air each week! Anyway, this has been my observation over the last 14 years of handling divorces in the DC Area-- it used to be that only the rich and famous were surrounded by temptation on a daily basis, now thanks to the social media, we all are-- and that means no one is safe from the threat of an outsider looking to explore his/her options with you or your partner. So how can you protect your marriage from these outside threats? Simple-- by not ignoring the problems in your marriage or trying to avoid conflict. Let's be real-- marriage is hard work, and it is a constant work in progress. Many seem to forget this fact-- at least the 50% that I see needing my services. When you take each other for granted and ignore issues, you are setting the stage for disaster to strike. What seems to be happening much more these days is that a seemingly innoncent reconnection with an old friend on Facebook slowly, yet surely develops into much more-- an intense emotional connection that eventually blows up into a full blown affair. Why? Because people start to fantasize about what could have been, or what could be, and this fantasy soon becomes irresistable. Before you know it, I've got a major mess to clean up. There are now over 900 million active users on Facebook, which is an amazing tool for those of us that want to try to stay connected with friends while struggling to balance work and family life in our 30's and 40's. Whether it is Facebook, or some other social network, I think it is safe to say that this way of connecting with others is only going to increase, and with that reality in mind, I sincerely hope that those in committed relationships will proceed with caution-- temptation now surrounds us all on a daily basis. Make sure you take the time to nurture those relationships that matter most to you and work through issues as soon as they arise.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How Do You Stop the Hemmoraging in a Divorce?

Emotions are so raw in a divorce-- every day I see people face their greatest fears. It's been my job for over a decade, to guide them through a very painful, personal journey. When I went through my own divorce, and started sharing custody of my son, it definitely changed my approach with my clients-- how could it not? My goal became to stop the pain as quickly as possible-- to stop the hemmoraging of cash in order to preserve as much wealth for the family. Finding legal strategies that can act as immediate tourniquets has become my mission, and I am eternally grateful to have found something I love to do while helping those in need. But here is my one word of caution for those about to embark on their own divorce journey-- the recovery process can take years. It seems the same technique I use with my clients (applying tourniquets) I applied in my personal, emotional life. To stop the pain, I tried to just shut out the emotions. Funny thing is that it doesn't seem to work so well when you are trying to move forward with rebuilding your life. To get to a better place and be emotionally available for another, you actually have to work through the pain-- all the loss, all the sadness and disappointment. Opening up old wounds, deep-seeded fears, realizing our own faults and weaknesses is no easy task, but if we do not want to repeat old patterns and make the same mistakes, we have to put in the work and choose to become a better person for our next spouse. I regret that I was not my best when I was married, and it is so sad that my marriage did not work out, but from my greatest failure came some of my best lessons in life. I had no idea how strong I was, and being on my own the last 7 years had taught me a great deal about myself. I have enjoyed being single, but I loved being in a committed partnership much more than words could ever express. So it is ironic that from a legal perspective, it remains my goal to stop the hemmoraging as quickly as possible, but from an emotional perspective I would encourage people not to shut down the pain, but rather work through it. Without pain, there is no gain.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Title IX Moms

Title IX, which was a key part to gaining equality for men and women, was enacted in 1972, the year I was born. As a result, I grew up always thinking of myself as equal to my male peers, and this continued even through law school. My rude awakening that we are not treated as equals did not occur until I became a mother. I've since learned that I am not alone. Today, men and women are graduating at the same rates from graduate schools and we all can go for any job we want, so who would ever think that anyone would view us differently? Well, as long as you are willing to continue to give 100% of yourself to work after motherhood, you too are in for a stark realization of how things will work in the real world after you become a mother. For the last 8 years, ever since I returned to work from my maternity leave (half of which was unpaid leave), it has been an ongoing struggle to maintain a work-life balance. It has been an incredible challenge, but it has also brought me the greatest rewards. I love being a mom, and I love being a lawyer. In this case, I want to have my cake and eat it too, and it is thanks to all the amazing women that came before me that I've been able to even attempt to maintain this delicate balancing act. Furthermore, were it not for my incredible female peers that share in this struggle, I might have lost hope that it would be possible to pursue an intense career while being a good mother. So, today on Mother's Day, I just want to thank all those that have shared their stories about being able to pursue their passions in the workforce while enjoying all the benefits that motherhood has to offer. We are Title IX babies now dealing with our own babies, proving that we can do it all. Keep up the good job ladies!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Learning to Give Out Compliments

In my former life as a dancer and gymnast, my coaches constantly critiqued me, and I knew that this was their way of helping me become a better athlete. No one is ever perfect, and so I quickly became accustomed to constructive criticism, and I learned to hold out for that ever so rare moment of praise. That one phrase, "nicely done" is like gold to me-- even now. Unfortunately, those of us that think of praise as gold tend to rarely handed it out. Some people hand it out like candy, and to me that just makes it meaningless. But perhaps there is a happy medium we can all shoot for-- especially with those that we love. I don't do cartwheels (even though I literally still can) over minor things, but I have learned over time the importance of positive praise. I originally went to numerous executive trainings about this concept to promote a better work environment; then I had to transfer this skill to my home life in order to attempt to raise a well-adjusted child. Along the way, I started applying this technique more and more to friends and significant others, and honestly in addition to seeing how happy it makes others, I have to admit over the last few years it personally has brought me great joy to acknowledge the effort people around me are making-- especially in today's crazy, unpredictable world. In a life where there are very few guarantees anymore- except for death and taxes, the fact that people go out every day and find the courage to love, look for meaning in their lives, and face constant threats to their physical, emotional or financial well-being, is not a small feat. To face all these fears without crumbling is what keeps us as a human race moving forward, and every day I am blessed with meeting courageous people willing to share a piece of themselves with me. In the spirit of handing out more compliments, today I just want to applaud all my friends out there-- and especially those who are now mothers and struggling with work-life balance, on Mother's Day weekend, my heart goes out to you all, because you rock!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Keep an Open Mind- Things Will Change Over Time

It's funny how some things that may have seemed so important years ago, no longer matter now. Before, when I was still open to the idea of having more kids, it mattered whether a potential partner shared this desire, and as a result, it was also important to me whether we had similar religious views. As the years have gone by, my views on these subjects have drastically changed, and now it matters far less whether someone else shares my religious or political views; meanwhile, if I were to meet someone who wants to have kids of his own, that has become an instant dealbreaker for me.

As the notion of finding a partner to share time with me has taken more of a priority, it matters less whether we are part of the same world. I have come to accept that my ultimate partner may not share the same interests, friends, or musical tastes, and instead I care more about whether I just enjoy his company when we are together. I think that the notion of merging two lives and having one perfectly blended family situation is unrealistic for a lot of people contemplating a new relationship later in life.

Some of the expectations people have for their partners as step-parents is just out of this world, in my humble opinion. I have heard people say that they want their new partner to love their step children as if they were his/her own. How is that possible? I only have one son that I created by choice-- he shares my DNA, and I would die for that child because he is my own flesh and blood. I will never feel that for anyone else, it truly is that simple. I also would never expect anyone to help financially with his care, and I would not imagine that anyone should expect that from me. Now FAFSA might require step parents to disclose their financial information when taking into account a child's application for financial aid, but thanks to clearly worded prenups, we can make it very clear that they should not.

We all have different criteria for what we need from our partners, and I don't think anyone else can really judge the things we choose to make priorities. Ultimately, I just want to throw out there that dating later in life will be much harder already because we all come into these new relationships with baggage. To maximize your chances of finding someone with compatible baggage, it helps to have an open mind and realize that over time some of those "must haves" might morph into "would be nice" or "a bonus, but not necessary."

When you get older, it is less about creating a life together, and more just about just enjoying life together. Once you have established your career and know who you are, you have your own kids and don't want more, it is actually quite liberating-- you are not looking for somebody to complete you, you are just looking for someone to love you. Having an open mind will maximize your chances of finding that person that much sooner.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Don't Lose Track of the Return on Your Investment

Today online, there was a discussion among lawyers about how you define success, and after listening into a webinar about tracking your time to determine the return on your investment, I could not resist posting my opinion, which is this: we each need to define success for ourselves, but try not to lose sight of the fact that the best return on your investment of time is those personal relationships you make in life-- that is your legacy in the end, not how much money you made for your company. In the last eight years, I have to make some very difficult decisions with significant financial consequences. For over 6 years, I have run my own firm so that I can have more of a work-life balance; last year, I made huge sacrifices in time and my personal spending in order to pursue my family reunification; this year, I have made it a priority to develop a meaningful relationship with a significant other, and with all of these choices came great personal rewards that could never be measured from a financial perspective. The time you spend with your family, volunteering for causes you believe in, and even on yourself-- just going to the gym, spa, or pursuing an individual interest is a key piece to maintaining inner peace and being happy. Don't let external demands overwhelm you to a point that you lose sight of what matters most in life. To most companies, you are only as good as yesterday's sale-- to your loved ones, you will always be a rockstar-- just don't take them for granted. :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Love and Modern Technology

Tomorrow I get to talk about how modern technology is being used in divorce cases-- GPS tracking devices, spyware, and all other sorts of ridiculous things are being used to uncover a spouse's infidelity these days-- and NOT all of that stuff is legal. So guess what-- someone can spend hundreds of dollars on all this crap, and it may never be used in a courtroom if information was illegally obtained.

Post-divorce, people will spend thousands more on technology-- signing up for dating sites or going through extreme "divorce makeovers" getting facelifts, tummy tucks, liposuction, breast implants, etc. all in order to re-enter the dating scene while feeling and looking their best. While I totally support someone's desire to embrace all that modern medicine and the internet can offer us to help find a new love, I do wonder if it precisely this obsession with modern technology that is driving couples apart in the first place?

As a GenXer that loves to blog, tweet, text, use Facebook and LinkedIn on almost a daily basis to stay connected with so many, it may surprise you guys to hear that it is old school ways of showing affection that actually make me melt. Emails sometimes wind up in spam; texts can get sent to the wrong numbers; FB posts or likes may get missed, and if you think I'm not serious, I promise you that I have experienced all of these major technological gliches in the past few months. So how is it that a relationship can survive all these disasters in a concentrated period of time? Simple-- never forget the old fashioned way of showing someone that you care for them-  pick up the phone, go to the store and actually mail a card, and even consider personally delivering a plant.

We can all text, tweet, email and send messages from the comfort of our own home or office-- but I urge you every now and then to unplug from the matrix, and just consider going that extra mile. Maybe if more people did these simple, non-techie gestures more often, we'd have a lot less need for GPS devices, spyware, etc. Nothing beats the human touch to make someone truly feel loved and special.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sex, Lies and Videotapes- All Part of a Regular Day

Every day at work I hear all sorts of stories about people's dysfunctional marriages, including all the lies, sex scandals, and drug or alcohol abuse, which are among the leading factors contributing to the demise of a marriage. This week, someone asked me what I thought was the number one reason for so many divorces, and his guess was either disagreements over finances or adultery. He was shocked to hear that in my opinion the top two contributors causing so many break ups are (1) unrealistic expectations and (2) poor coping skills for dealing with stress. Let's take unrealistic expectations first-- many people take their loved ones for granted. We all get tied up with work, our kids, other obligations, but you have to make your partner feel like a priority otherwise s/he will start to think that perhaps the grass is greener on the other side... And, here is a newsflash- in a world where most no longer believe in vows that say "til death do us part," thinking you can slack off once you take that walk down the aisle is a big mistake. It used to be that only celebrities in Hollywood or politicians on the Hill were surrounded by temptation. Thanks to modern technology, that is no longer the case. You can have random strangers contact your spouse through chatrooms, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Someone who may not even be looking to make contact with others, may nonetheless receive an unsolicited invitation. Generally speaking, those that are happy in their relatioships will not stray; it is those that start to fantasize of ways to escape their misery that will wind up taking the bait. With respect to coping skills, I am truly not passing any judgment-- these are incredibly stressful times. Very few people have guaranteed salaries anymore, and we have all seen once mighty companies collapse over night. Many have lost significant portions of their savings and home values, and of course, I see in a very real and raw way how the economy has hit everyone across the board, because divorce does not discriminate based on socio-economic class. Unfortunately, it is those that don't find healthy ways of releasing stress that wind up in my office, where I then have to reassure them that their sordid tales of sex, lies and videotapes are normal-- at least in my world. Thankfully, we have ways of keeping many details confidential and more importantly, encouraging people to get help-- because in my opinion, it is less important to focus on our past, perhaps maladaptive behaviors, and instead far more constructive and productive to focus on solutions and moving forward.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tips for Families with Special Needs Children

Families with special needs children, which are on the rise across the country, have a substantially greater chance of divorcing-- over 80% in fact, and the risk actualy increases as their children get older. Here are some reasons why: (1) the expenses related to these children can be astronomical-- doctors, tutors, medicines, attorneys, therapists, not all of which may be covered by insurance add a lot of financial stress to the family's budget; (2) if a child has a behavioral disorder or disciplinary issues, this may cause friction between the parents; and (3) whereas a mainstream child tends to become more independant around age 7-8, the special needs child may actually need more assistance at this time. The emotional and financial toll combined put these families at a huge risk of falling apart. I have been noticing this trend for over a decade in my cases, so I took this information as common knowledge, but apparently, not many are aware of these stats-- no surprise that the nerdy chick in me is the one keeping up on this stuff. It was really cool, however, to be able to share this information on national radio this week, to increase public awareness on a topic that is very dear and personal to me. But for those who did not get to hear the segment, I hope others will share this blog with anyone that has a special needs child. Parents need to be aware of the risks and hopefully guard against them. Get help-- involve the school counselors, teachers, doctors, etc. as soon as you think something is not quite right. Early intervention is the best chance of helping these kids and their families thrive. Special needs children may need to get an IEP, which is an individual education plan. There are attorneys that can help with this process, so that the school puts together a plan geared for that child's specific needs. These plans do not apply to universities, however, so you may need to involve another attorney and invoke the American with Disabilities Act to ensure that your child continues to have special accomodations in college/gradudate school. Special needs trust should also be considered to ensure that these children will have resources available to them upon the death of their parents, and back up guardians need to be identified in the event of an unforseen situation. In the beginning, without a clear path or understanding of the complex issues presented, families may feel overwhelmed, but the message I want to share today is that you cannot lose hope. Your children need you more than ever to keep it together, to form a plan, and get help from others as needed, to give these beautiful young minds a chance at meeting their full potential. There are so many resources out there-- don't be afraid to reach out!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rethinking the Dating Game

For those of us that like games, the Dating Game can be a blast. Thanks to modern technology, even without the use of online dating sites, you are constantly connecting with people through social networks-- LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and for those blessed with a decent education, good looks, and an out-going personality, every where you go there are opportunities for new encounters.

If you have stamina and a liver of steel, you can be out almost every night of the week. Then with the use of a handy little smartphone, you can just check in whenever you want with a "hey" text-- perhaps even with multiple people all at once. While you are waiting for a date, you can scroll through your Facebook newsfeed and discretely keep in touch with others, who actually think you care because you hit "like" on a recent status update. It is all just so easy--- and sick.

Putting aside for this discussion all the concerns about STDs, stalkers and psychos out there, I really want to caution those gamers that get so caught up in the thrill of the adventure-- the chase, the hunt, the challenge-- whatever you want to call it, that you lose sight of the ultimate goal. Perhaps immediately post-divorce the goal is just to have fun, but normally the whole point of the game is to sort through the options out there until you find a quality person that you want to have as your life partner.

To find a life partner, sooner or later, you need to focus, and put the games aside. It is just not possible to truly get to know someone, build trust, and actually fall in love while you continue to surround yourself with temptation and keep your options open. More than once, I have seen it happen where someone misses a great opportunity because they were too caught up in the games. It is so easy to get sucked into all the craziness and lose sight of what the end game is all about. The fact is 2/3 of all women and 75% of men will remarry post-divorce, and usually most of these people rebuild their new lives within 2-5 years after the divorce is finalized.

If you find yourself now working well outside these norms, I beg you to ask yourself, have you veered off course? Are you so off track that you might not actually be appreciating a good thing when it comes along? There is so much of an adrenaline rush that comes from playing the game, and those highs can be great-- but don't let the game the best of you.