Mike: This is Mike Hennessy on behalf of the team at Loveevolveandthrive.com I am pleased to welcome you to today's interview with Rosalind Sedacca. Rosalind Sedacca is a divorce and parenting coach as well as a dating and relationship coach. She is co-author of 99 Things Women Wished They Knew Before Dating after 40, 50 and yes 60 and the Dating Rescue 10-week E-course for Women. To learn please visit her websites at www.womendatingrescue.com or www.childcentereddivorce.com.
Mike: Rosalind Sedacca, thank you for joining us. It's a pleasure to have you with us today.
Rosalind: Well, thank you so much. I'm glad to be with you.
Mike: Rosalind as a dating a relationship coach you have helped a number of women find love for women coming out of divorce dating can be tricky and even scary because they often feel intimidated and lost. Can you talk about what women need to know and do before they start dating after a divorce?
Rosalind: Yes, that's a very important topic because if we move ahead following a divorce without really giving it the thought and attention that it deserves we can set ourselves up for more failure in life and that's the last thing anyone wants after one relationship went down the tubes.
So divorce, of course, we all know creates tremendous havoc in anyone's life and it's especially so if children are involved.
And that's said so in a high percentage of cases. It's even more challenging because not only are you concerned about your own well-being emotionally and psychologically but if you have children there's a whole other dimension involved before you move ahead in finding another love partner.
So I want to start by saying that we all that we start a marriage with considerable emotional investment and everyone believes that their marriage is going to be successful.
So very often we face a sense of failure and grave disappointment when a divorce takes place and it's hard for us to really understand what to do regarding future relationships and that's why I suggest that you take the time following divorce to really analyze what part didi I play in the breakup of this relationship.
Now many people say, oh it was all his fault. If he wasn't A, B and C then none of this would be happening. Or if he didn't do this or that to me. But the truth is you made this choice, you made this decision to partner with this person and regardless of their negative attributes and faults there was a part that you played in the dance of the marriage.
And it's very important that we leave a relationship, take responsibility for decisions we made and actions and the things we said and the way we handled things. Because otherwise, we can't look back and say, hey, I've learned some things from this. This is a great teaching experience for me as painful as it may have been I'm going to move ahead now and be different and look for different types of qualities in my next partner.
So I call that doing the inner homework.
If you don't take the time and that time can be several weeks, several months and for some people several years but if you don't take the time to really analyze how things went wrong, what part you played in it, what choices that you made and learn the lessons then you're going to set yourself up for repeating those old patterns again.
I looked at the lessons from a divorce as the gift because if we have the right attitude they are gifts. They are teaching moments for us to say, I will never do that again. I will never choose that kind of person again. I will never make those decisions again when faced with certain challenges. In other words, we are approaching our future with more wisdom and more caution and more insight into who we are and who we're looking for.
So if you don't come out with that insight and wisdom you're very likely to find another partner who's going to have a different face but be very similar in their personality, in their qualities and characteristics and that's why we see relationships where someone will marry an alcoholic two or three times or a drug addict or a partner who fools around on them, or who is emotionally or physically abusive to them.
Because they didn't learn, the didn't do their homework and they're making the mistakes over and over again. And when you have children involved this is even more disastrous and more crucial. So let me focus a bit more on the children because that is so important. You really want to be able to help your children make it through the divorce in the best possible way and then you want to prepare them for the fact that you may be ready to start dating again.
To move on, to have a happy life, reassuring the children that their father, their other parent who in most cases they love as well isn't going to be totally out of their life is helpful.
It's much easier for children to accept another partner in your life if you're not ostracizing them from their other parent and saying that someone else is replacing them.
So letting your children know that what you're doing is transitioning on in your life to find another love partner so that you can be happier and so that they can be happier with you as a family doesn't mean that you are replacing their parent. And it doesn't mean that they no longer have access to their father.
When that happens it's much tougher for children, they put up a barrier and it's much more difficult for them to accept a new love interest. So rather than a replacement of a parent what you're doing is finding a partner for you who is going to be there in their life, who's going to be a male role model who's going to be a friend and a confidante and a supporting figure but they can still have Dad in their life and that'll make it easier. And you need to be extremely sensitive empathic when you talk to the children about this because they're smarter than you think.
They can pick up on your emotions when you're telling untruths and it's best to be honest about your feelings bringing in other potential partners into your life.
So you want to be very sensitive about the topic and let your children know that you're healing and feeling better about yourself and now you're ready to explore meeting new friends.
But you need to remind them how much you love them. The children have to know and feel that they come first in your life. That no other partner is going to replace them and no one's more important in your life than them and that dating has nothing to do with replacing them, ever.
Otherwise, you dare deepening insecurities and wounds that you'll inflict on your children. So you want to remind them that you will still be the loving, attentive parent that you've always been and that they always come first and that no one is going to replace their other parent.
And you may need to have the conversation several times over a period of weeks or months in advance to give the kids time to digest the concept and express how they're feeling.
And it's important to encourage them to ask questions and share their opinions and to listen.
Listening doesn't mean lecturing, listening doesn't mean saying yes, but and then disagreeing with them. They need to be heard regardless of their age and they need to be assured that you heard what they saying and you understand what they're saying.
So you should be patient and understanding with their perspective even if you don't agree with it because they may very well be saying I don't want you to see anyone else and I don't want you to love anyone but Daddy and things like that.
That's understandable for children to say and you don't want to disagree with them but you want to share the fact that you may have a different perspective and the more reassuring you are about the things we just talked about the easier it will be. Then it's important to remember that you have to be very selective in choosing partners.
First and foremost, no matter how wonderful another partner may be, if they don't love children and if they don't love your children and you have children then that's a big red flag.
That's a big no, no.
You can't force a fit. And you can't force your children to love another person and you could be endangering them emotionally and psychologically if you bring a partner into the house who doesn't respect them, who doesn't treat them with love and care. It'll backfire on you and you'll alienate your own children and create tremendous stress for them.
So that's first and foremost is choosing a partner who immediately knows that you have children because you don't want to lie about that and who cares and respects for the children. And you never want to introduce your children to every person you date. You want to be selective and wait until the time comes that you feel that this person is a real keeper. This is a potential life partner for me. This is a serious relationship and that's when you introduce someone.
Because otherwise, you have a revolving door.
Children can get very attached to someone that they meet for 2 or 3 or 6 months and then suddenly that person is out of your life and it's another emotional disaster for them to deal with. So never bring casual relationship partners into their life. And you don't want to confuse them and disappoint them and then you want to act very slowly and carefully when you are introducing a new partner.
Start out with some outdoor activities like visiting a zoo or a park together or going for a fast food meal together.
A short visit where you can get feedback from the kids and you can see what they like or don't like about this other person and then you can introduce longer periods and then invite them over for dinner with the family or watching a movie or something like that and make it a very slow periodic connection. And be very considerate and careful and empathic in all of your actions because you want the kids to always feel that they come first and that you respect them.
I found in my own practice as a divorce and parenting coach that children who already have a close relationship with both biological parents are more likely to accept a new parent partner into their lives because they don't feel threatened that they're losing Dad as a result of Mum having a boyfriend but if they feel that there's some threat along those lines then children can be very, very deceptive and devious and manipulative in ways to sabotage your relationship. They can play games, they can come up with fake illnesses and stomach aches at the last minutes. They could drive babysitters crazy so that you can't date effectively.
There's a lot of things that kids can do, they will use their power.
But if they're not feeling threatened and if they're not feeling that this person you're bringing into their lives is going to harm them emotionally, change life too much, take you away from them or replace their Dad then they're more likely to judge your new partner on the merits of that person and then it's up to him to slowly win them over.
And you need to be patient with children and respect their antenna's because if your kids are not liking your partner it may be that you're so enamored with the love and the sex and other aspects that you're not seeing things as clearly as they are. So take your time when transitioning into dating after divorce. Move very slowly when opening the door to a new relationship especially if it's affecting children.
And even if it's not affecting children it's, new relationships are going to affect you emotionally and psychologically on many, many levels and you want to take your time. You've made some mistakes in the past, you've made some choices that weren't the best and people don't always show their true selves until a while, it could be 6 months or a year into a relationship when we see the full other party.
And that's why you need to take your time and not just jump into a relationship too soon.
And make sure you put yourself in your children's shoes when you're doing all of this because if you look at what's happening through the eyes of your 5 year old or your 12 year old or your 18 year old then it's easier for you to understand what they're feeling, what they're experiencing and what their fears are.
And of course, it always makes sense to talk to a therapist or a relationship coach, another professional because you get a lot of insights that wouldn't be immediately apparent to you. Getting an objective professional opinion and expertise and answers to questions is very useful.
Using your friends and your family as support is fine but I wouldn't always take the advice of friends and family who don't have the experience and may have their opinions be colored by their own experiences. So I would trust a professional’s guidance before I would just listen to your cousin or your friends and make decisions about the relationship especially the complexities that may come along.
And I want to acknowledge parents who are trying to create a good child-centered divorce following the divorce. Because the better the co-parenting relationship with your ex who is the father of your children the better the children lives will be. The less damage to them emotionally if they feel that they are comfortable and freely enjoying connections with both of their parents.
The worst thing you can do is the putting down their other parent verbally, in gesture, in tone of voice, in ways where you are constantly demeaning their father.
When kids hear you on the phone talking down about their father and making disparaging comments, all of that harms children. It hurts them inside, they may not say anything and express it but they're torn about connecting and loving both parents. And when you put down their father you putting down a part of them too and they feel it. So it's damaging for your kids and you may dislike you ex.
Your ex may have done many things very harmful for you and may not be a great person but if the children love him then you have to treat them respectfully around the kids, never fight with your ex around the kids and that'll open the door to an easier transition into the next relationship when the co-parenting side of things is working well, if things are smooth.
It's much harder to introduce a new partner when you're having a lot of tension and conflict and anxiety in co-parenting.
And the kids feel it more and put up more resistance too. So they're great tools, courses, classes, programs, training to help you be a more effective co-parent. I have a 10-hour audio coaching program with workbook as one example that at childcentereddivorce.com that's very, very affective.
Most important is that you want to always keep in mind that your children's needs have to be first as you're moving ahead. And you also want to remember that your children have extended family. So letting them have connections with Grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts and other family endeavors is, is a healthy thing to do.
The less you change the dynamics in the normal schedule the easier it is for the children and eventually you can introduce your new love partner into these family gatherings and birthdays and holidays and events and hopefully you and your ex can both be there at these wonderful occasions.
When your children graduate from school, and have special sporting events and, of course their wedding ahead. You want to be there, your ex wants to be there and if you both have partners at the same time then everyone wants to behave maturely and civilly.
And so, that's important to understand that right from the beginning, that you're bringing someone into your life for a long-term and you want to make sure that they are a quality person.
So a little more about you and finding the right person.
It's important to be honest right up front about your children, about your situation. And you want to make sure that you do not bring the emotional baggage from any past relationship into a new one. So if you're still looking backwards, so to speak, and your mind or your heart is still connected to that past relationship. no matter what you say you're really cheating yourself and you're cheating any potential new partner because you're not fully enmeshed in the new relationship.
And you want to make sure that your partner also is free of the baggage of his last relationship. Because otherwise, you're sabotaging yourselves right from the beginning before you even start. And it's so important to understand that you're looking for character qualities first before the physical attributes.
Everyone wants to fall in love with someone who's very attractive to them but there are so many other factors that make for a long-lasting relationship and you want to look at the commonalities in your value system first. What are your beliefs about spirituality and religion and politics?
And your goals for the long-term. What do you feel that you want to be doing in your future years regarding career and in your golden years regarding retirement? If one person is a homebody and just want to sit around and spend time with the grandchildren and the other one wants to travel the world, well that's going to create huge issues a few years down the road.
So you need to be talking about things that you may not have talked about before your first marriage because you were so much younger and life was just different.
You're at a different stage now Talk and get to know this potential partner and talk about the challenges and the issues that are really important to you. What differences did you have in your past marriage that may come up. Many marriages have financial issues, different values about how we spend money, how we save money, how we use credit cards and various other aspects of finances.
Paying bills on time, you need to see if you're on the same page in that regard. I don't believe in the opposites attract for long-term relationships, I really think that the more you are in synergy with one another on the essential values and qualities that the better off, the easier the relationships will be.
So sex is another area.
You want to talk about sex before you dive into becoming intimate too soon in a relationship because once the passion of the relationship begins women especially will start overlooking things and all their feeling is the excitement of being in love and the excitement of having sex and being with a new partner who may be whispering sweet nothings in your ear. But that doesn't mean that you're getting the right partner for you for a long-term relationship.
So when you're ready to settle and look for your Mr. Right you want to see if you are compatible sexually in regard to how much respect he has for you and you have for one another. And in your approach to doing things sexually and experimenting sexually and being able to talk about what you'd like and don't like.
And there are some many things that happen as we age, illness comes along and other difficulties and how well do you know this partner as far as their handling the bad times as well as the good.
I always tell my clients the best way to know a partner is to see them when they're sick and see them go through a crisis like a losing a job or going through an accident or something.
When you see a person going through tough times you get an idea of how residual they are and their state of mind and where they let themselves go to. Do they get deeply depressed? Do they lash out and blame everyone else in the world except themselves?
Those are the times when you get to see the real person and I suggest you don't make any commitment until you get to see that authentic person. Know who they are and then make a decision knowing the full truth. Because the honeymoon phase which is the first few weeks, or months is not the reality of a long-term relationship, as most of us have learned once we've been divorced.
And I've been divorced, I was single for 8 years. I am re-married and just celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary so I've been through it all, I know where you're coming from. I had a son going through the divorce who was 11 years old and he wrote the foreword to my book. How Do I Tell My Kids About The Divorce. So he's been through the entire process. I have a lot of resources available for divorced parents and, who as well for single women who are moving ahead at the childcentereddivorce.com website.
You'll find a free e-book and free advice, blogs, articles, speakers series. I also have a free weekly talk show, video talk show at divorceview.com, where I interview divorce experts from all over the world. Very valuable insights from that.
I have another program that's available at womendatingafter40.com, womendatingafter40.com and that's a create your ideal relationship kit and for those who are looking for help and support in co-parenting and parenting after divorce, I have a10-hour audio coaching program with workbook that's available at childcentereddivorce.com.
Just click on the coaching button. I also do a personal one-on-one coaching as a divorce and parenting coach and as a dating and relationship coach and as you can see the two often intertwine and that's why my insights are very valuable having had the divorce myself and gone through being single and dating again and then remarrying. So I understand I've been where you're at. I understand the dynamics you're going through and I'm here to help you. In addition, you can reach out to me by email at [email protected] and I thank you for giving me this opportunity to chat.