Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Does divorce drive you nuts?

We all know divorce sucks, but sometimes, it can mess with your head. Sometimes, the newly single can, well for the want of a better phrase, go off their rockers.
Depending on the person, out-of-character behaviour can include normally conservative people partying all night, embarking on one-night stands, rushing into a new relationship, taking drugs (legal or otherwise), suddenly dressing younger or sexier, or being particularly nasty to the person they once loved.
Celebrities do it all the time. Think actor Alec Baldwin’s angry spray at his daughter Ireland, or Britney Spears dancing around sans knickers, shaving her head, and crashing cars.
Now Hulk Hogan and his ex Linda are reportedly celebrating the end of their 23-year-union by courting teens, sorry partners, young enough to be their kids.
Now, generally, I acknowledge that love knows no barriers, and I don’t see a problem with older people dating younger ones. But in the Hogans’ case, Hulk is dating a woman who looks scarily like his daughter Brooke. And Linda’s new beau is dating 19-year-old Charlie Hill, who once went to school with Brooke, and who is nearly 30 years her junior. What’s more, young Charlie looks eerily like a younger version of Linda’s former love. I’d post some pics so you could see for yourself, but they are copywright. So you’ll just have to take my word for it.
It’s for reasons like these, that counsellors advise taking at least two years following a split before starting a new love affair. Because, quite frankly, we’re just too darn mixed up to know what’s good for us.
Even usually sensible Nicole Kidman dated a series of unsuitable love interests following her split from Tom Cruise, even getting secretly, and briefly, engaged to one of them. Before finally finding love again with fellow Aussie Keith Urban.
And it’s not just celebrities who go off the rails occasionally.
An Italian man was recently arrested for allegedly kidnapping his ex-girlfriend and forcing her to, er, iron his clothes and wash his dishes.
Now, I know this could have turned out much worse, and thank God, housework was all he wanted her to do. Luckily, the woman was rescued by a friend who witnessed the kidnapping and called police.
But forcing an Ex to do housework? That’s seriously messed up.
So why do some newly-single people start acting whacky?
In many ways, it’s actually a normal reaction to the shock and pain of separation, and often of finding out a loved one isn’t exactly who you thought they were. If you’ve been betrayed or ripped off by an ex, you start to question everything you believe in. It’s also a natural response to learning to become an individual again, as opposed to half of a couple.
In a way, it’s like re-living adolescence. You need to try different things out in an effort to find out who you are, and what you want from life. You suddenly have the freedom and time to put yourself first. To be whatever you want to be. But to do that you need to broaden your horizons, make mistakes, and learn from them.
The good news is that as long as your acting out doesn’t go on for too long, isn’t too extreme, or does not put you or anyone else in danger, it’s a phase that will pass.
But if you’re at all worried about your behaviour, or anyone close to you, seek help.
There is plenty of it available, from people who won’t judge you and who will be able to help you.
Counsellors, or even family doctors, are a great place to start.

Did you go off the rails after divorce?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Join the carnival!

There’s nothing like a day at the fair. After all, everyone loves a day of junk food, free samples, entertainment, and, er lawyers and financial advisers?
It’s the Divorce Fair and it’s coming to a city near you.
Organisers of the so-called Starting Over Show, say the fair will feature everything a couple at odds with each other could possibly desire – health professionals, lawyers, financial advisers, healers, estate planners, psychics, and even pole dancers!
The Starting Over Show (SOS) is the UK’s first, though similar fairs have been held in Austria, Germany and Holland with great success.
The event will be held in October in Brighton, where more than 20 per cent of couples divorce – 4 per cent higher than the UK average.
Event producer Suzy Miller said the fair may help people who are too frightened to split because of financial worries, and also give guidance to those struggling with separation, with a variety of experts all available in the one spot.
SOS has three main focuses:
· To provide a great collaboration of lawyers, especially when children are involved,
· To give good financial advice to take the fear out of the process, and
· To give motivational help to make it feel less doom-laden.
Suzy says: “From the people I have spoken to, they have said, ‘God I wish something like this was around when I broke up’. There is a sense that there are a lot of people who have got to the other side but without the right support and advice, people can end up bitter and unhappy.
“Going through a break-up can be an extremely lonely time so we are placing a lot of emphasis on mind, body and soul to help people get through it.”
There will also be live music, a chill-out room, and a creche, so parents can talk privately about concerns, without worrying their kids.
While some critics worry fairs like these will trivialise divorce, and even make it easier, I think anything that makes divorce a little easier has to be a good thing.
And unlike the Austrian fair, which also included private investigators and DNA laboratories selling paternity tests, organisers of SOS seem to have a more wholistic view of divorce, with the emphasis on moving on and upwards.
And perhaps that will give comfort to those who feel that their lives are over, and make them realise, that a new life is just beginning.
Let's just hope the organisers don't forget to include dagwood dogs and fairy floss!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The divorce diet

Pic: Often divorce can trigger dramatic and effortless weight-loss

UK ex-wife Ingrid Tarrant has revealed her personal weight-loss secret - the Divorce Diet.
Ingrid, who gained about 12.5 million pounds (the folding kind) in her divorce settlement with TV and radio personality Chris Tarrant, says the stress of separation had an unexpected benefit - effortlessly shifting pounds on the scales. Not that she needed to lose weight anyway.
The new-look Ingrid, is now stepping out in boots, fitted tops, skinny jeans, and at 53, has a new lease on life.
I can attest to the power of the Divorce Diet. Traumatised during the split from my Ex-husband, I lost my appetite completely and spent hours avoiding being home alone by exercising in the gym. I didn't starve myself though - I forced myself to eat just enough healthy foods to keep my metabolism and immune system ticking over. After all, I didn't want to get sick on top of everything I was going through!
And following my divorce, I was probably the fittest and healthiest I'd ever been. (That's probably my problem these days - just too darn happily-married! That and the fact that my lovely husband is a fabulous cook.)
But I've seen it happen to countless women, and men. During divorce they burn up stressful energy, lose their appetites, deliberately diet to boost their self-confidence. Often divorce can be a time where people finally start to make time for themselves, and put themselves first.
And that can be a great thing.
One thing is for sure, Ingrid is not alone. Other celebrities who have lost weight and toned up following divorce include Dannii Minogue, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson and Carmen Elektra.
Certainly, there's a thrill in bumping into your Ex while looking more gorgeous than ever. But like all diets, this one definitely is not to be recommended!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Is revenge sweet? Or sour?

A UK man has taken out the ultimate revenge against his former partner by, wait for it, advertising her for sale on ebay.
Jealous hubby Paul Osborn offered up his “cheating, lying, adulterous slag of a wife” for sale after suspecting she was having an affair (which she denies).
Paul compounded the agony for his wife of 24 years Sharon, by posting an unflattering photo of her, apparently pulling a face and picking her nose.
Granted, Paul later had second thoughts about selling his estranged wife, and took the ad down, but not before police began investigations into harassment.
Is it ever okay to take revenge against an ex? Even if they deserve it?
Look, I totally understand the anger and rage that can be sparked when the person you love treats you abominably. But taking revenge usually just makes things much worse – for you, as well as for your former lover.
You’re the one who comes off looking childish, mad, pitiful or crazy. You’re the one who will have to endure details of your messy relationship becoming fodder for gossip. And ultimately, you’re prolonging the agony of your split rather than putting that energy into moving on.
I think most of us have entertained thoughts of revenge at some stage or another. Who wouldn’t want to make a bonfire out of a cheating hubby’s best suits, or wee in the wine bottle of an unfaithful wife (and trust me – people I talked to when I wrote Happily Ever Parted admitted to doing just that!)
Not everyone is quite so restrained though.
Here are a few other real-life cases of revenge:
- An angry UK wife sold her radio star’s $50,000 sports car on ebay for a few dollars after he told an model on-air that he’d leave his wife and kids for her
- A US woman deliberately rammed her husband’s prized car into another car to destroy it. (Must be something about men and their cars)
- A German man decided to finalise his property settlement by chain sawing the marital home in half, and taking his half away on a truck.
- A US couple – neither of whom wanted to leave their Brooklyn home – had a dividing wall built inside the house, and continued living under the same roof.
- More recently, Tricia Smith tried to humiliate her millionaire husband Phillip Smith in a taped rant she then put up on uTube. Among other cringe-worthy moments, she actually calls his office and asks his secretary what he wants her to do with the pile of porn, Viagra and condoms she found in their bedroom.
- And long-suffering cricket widow Simone Warne gave magazine New Idea copies of incriminating text messages her ex-husband Shane Warne sent to another woman.
Look people, I know divorce is tough, but take a deep breath, and let it go. Bitch to your friends, family or a counsellor whenever you need to, but don’t make a fool of yourself to make someone else suffer.
Because the person who will get hurt the most is probably going to be you.
It’s an old cliché, but it’s one I truly believe in: The best revenge is moving on, finding happiness and living well.
Anyone else got any thoughts on revenge?