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One of the saddest consequences of divorce or a break-up is the new alone-time, getting used to being single again. The holiday season can be a particularly challenging time, especially when friends and neighbors are busy with their own family gatherings.

Among the greatest challenges for the newly single is avoiding self-pity. Overwhelmed by a sense of isolation, or feeling undervalued as a person or a parent, can often result in making poor choices that compound your feeling of aloneness, emptiness or low self-esteem.

Turning toward a support group of friends can be really helpful when these feelings arise. Seeking out a counselor or divorce coach can also provide advice and new resources for creating alternative holiday options and traditions.

There’s a big difference between being alone and being lonely. Loneliness is a state of mind that can occur even in the midst of a large family gathering. If you’re afraid of being alone or experiencing the emptiness of feeling lonely, get professional support to help you understand your fears and redirect them to a state of greater self-confidence.

With the right mind-set, we can discover many pluses in being alone. Enjoying your own company is a great feeling when you don’t “need” to be with others to make you happy. Indulge yourself in books, films, nature, music, aromas and other things that make you feel good inside and out. Making time for YOU is a healthy way to express self-love.

When it’s time for company, remember there are hundreds of singles living in your community. Use the internet, social media networks, MeetUp groups, newspapers and other local resources to find out about events, parties, dinners, cruises or other activities specifically for singles.

Don’t hide your head in the sand. Get out, volunteer at community organizations and you’ll find new friends and ways to enjoy yourself without a partner. Remember, you’re not alone. Many others out there will be happy to meet you, especially at this time of year!

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Dating & Relationship Mentor, co-creator of the DatingRescue eCourse for women, and co-author of 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating At 40, 50 & Yes, 60! Learn more about her programs at http://www.womendatingafter40.com andwww.womendatingrescue.com.

Dating Tip:Sometimes you don’t realize it, until it’s too late. Some relationships are so insidious that if you are not careful, you can become a victim of abuse. Every now and then, you meet someone…

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1. Be aware of unresolved baggage from your past, which would sabotage
your present relationship. Identify your feelings of anger, hurt, pain,
guilt, and disillusionment and accept these feelings as lessons learned.
It then becomes easier to move on.

2. Avoid “fairy-tale” thinking. It’s not your partner’s job to make you
happy. It is your responsibility to be all you can be when you enter a
relationship. Dependency and neediness are not attractive qualities, so
don’t assume anyone can meet all your needs or desires.

3. The basis for a healthy relationship is friendship. This level of
comfort translates into a solid foundation for love to blossom and intimacy
to develop. In other words, be friends first before you open the door to
the physical and emotional closeness that is so essential to a solid
partnership.

4. Be sure your expectations are realistic. Are your demands about weight,
age, height, financial success and other factors limiting your ability to
find the right partner who will love and appreciate you? You must be
flexible, objective and fair in your expectations, so you don’t set
yourself up for pain and disappointment.

5. Be able to communicate effectively by encouraging open, honest
dialogues. Be attuned to nonverbal cues and body language that can trigger
messages and unconscious signals to your partner.

6. Notice any uncomfortable behaviors that would be a sign of impending
abuse. Jealously, quick attachment, mood swings, anger issues, verbal
threats or distorted accusations are the “red flags” that spell caution.

7. Stop sacrificing yourself for the sake of your partner. It’s important
to be flexible whenever possible, while maintaining the values, integrity
and standards that are important to you.

8. Trust your intuition, which is that part of you with knowledge vital to
your well-being. This internal antenna continually sends you messages and
if anything or anyone makes you feel uneasy, don’t ignore it.

9. Successful relationships are built on mutual respect. Therefore, the
more you focus on negative aspects of your partner, the more you will deny
yourself the positive, attractive aspects you noticed when you first
started dating.

10. Maintain your individual interests, including friends, activities and
professional goals. You must be able to orchestrate your life and not
feel smothered.

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Dating & Relationship Mentor, co-author of 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60! and co-creator of the Create Your Ideal Relationship Kit for women over 40. Learn more about her and her programs at http://www.womendatingafter40.com, http://www.womendatingrescue.com and http://www.mensdatingformula.com.

Relationships should be life enhancing and ever lasting. That’s why if you are recently divorced, widowed or between relationships and are ready to start dating again, you should know what to anticipate and how to avoid the common relationship pitfalls.

For men and women, it is often frightening and maybe even devastating to find themselves alone and having to start over. After all, meeting new people in new social venues can be very scary. Yet, many single boomers are making choices based on what they consider important and essential for their well-being and mental health. They are trusting that there is a life out there better than what they had before. They are willing to take the risk and be vulnerable, again.

I recently had a 50-year-old client who was newly divorced and determined to get on with her life. She enrolled in several senior online dating sites, carefully worded her profile page, found a recent, attractive picture of herself and had fun perusing through the pictures of many eligible men. What she didn’t anticipate were the reminders of her past life and all the anger, mistrust and disappointment she never worked through.

You can’t expect things to run smoothly in your new relationship if old baggage is still lingering. Any unfinished business from your past needs to be cleaned up as part of the process of closure and moving on.

Here are the steps you can take to release your negative emotions so that your dating experience is positive and successful:

1. Identify your “issues “. Are you having trust issues because your spouse cheated on you? Were you a victim of physical or emotional abuse from a controlling partner? Are you so co-dependent that you don’t know how to live your own life?
It helps to pinpoint what areas are bothering you and identify your underlying concern. Notice any patterns you keep repeating and be responsible for changing what you can about yourself. At the same time, realize you can’t change anyone else. Therefore, don’t expect to “fix” your new partner, especially if he/she has no interest in modifying what they do.

2. Once you know the problem areas, feel the feelings associated with them. Are you feeling sad, angry, guilty, bitter, hurt, resentful or just plain disillusioned? Some external trigger, like a familiar song, a comment, a certain look, a meal, etc, will usually uncover these feelings and other feelings that are suppressed. Your new partner, unaware as to what is going on, will be a clueless recipient of your snide remarks and inconsiderate behavior. By getting clear on what triggers may be setting you off, you can neutralize your feelings, making those emotions lose their negative charge. In that way, you allow your new relationship to move ahead successfully, without the usual drama.

Remember, you don’t want to repeat your mistakes and blame others for things going wrong. Instead, take a look at what part you play in allowing any situation to develop. If you could do things differently, you probably would. Insight is the gift you get for learning your lessons and taking another path.

3. Finally, visualize yourself happy in a relationship. You know what you want and what you don’t want. Have a clear image in your mind of your desired partner and see yourself happy together. Feel how that would feel. The more genuine the feelings are, the more you will attract what you are looking for and what you most deserve.

When you release old baggage from your past, it is very liberating. You feel a weight lift off your shoulders, setting you free to have a healthy, long term relationship. The time you spend letting go of the past will make you and your potential partner grateful that you took the time to clear your mind, heart and soul to love again.

Amy Sherman is a dating and relationship coach. She is the co-author of “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 and Yes, 60!” and “Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer’s Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life.” Go to http://www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.comto get more information and to sign up for her free eZine. Amy can be reached at amybethsherman@gmail.com

Communication, in general, is the most difficult part of making a relationship work. We misunderstand one another, assume things that aren’t so, misinterpret messages and in other ways create conflict through poor communication skills. Texting adds fuel to the fire. It doesn’t provide the clarity or nuances one needs in a relationship. It is devoid of real intimacy, even when using loving words. It can easily be misconstrued. And it doesn’t help us strengthen our connection with our love partner.

Talking on the phone can increase feelings of intimacy through language as well as voice tone. Texting reduces the connection to its most basic level, devoid of feelings, sharing, caring and expression.

Starting a relationship depending on texting as your primary communication vehicle, or maintaining a relationship mainly through texting, is sabotaging and defeating.

If you’re not comfortable talking and sharing feelings with your partner, you’re not in a relationship. You’re just meeting to have sex. Don’t fool yourself into believing otherwise.

In reality, therapists have been teaching good communication skills forever. There’s a new App, CouplesCom, designed to teach more effective communication skills: active listening, validating, empathizing. Yes, that’s what works, but we need to use those skills innately, when we need them, without reverting to phone apps.

Phone apps don’t replace eye contact, body language signals, touch, voice tone and tender makeup kisses and hugs. Texting and apps are connected to a robotic world that works for certain types of job performance but not relationship fulfillment. They’re like blow-up sex dolls. Somewhat close, but not the same as the real thing. We can’t short-cut our way into creating lasting love relationships without good communication skills. Texting is taking couples down the road backwards!

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is a Dating/Relationship Coach and is the co-author of “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40,50,and Yes, 60!”

Jealousy is based on feelings of insecurity that come from within. If your partner is treating you disrespectfully by flirting with others, not expressing their love for you or invalidating your worth in the relationship – it’s time to pick up and leave. Those are signs of a bad relationship, not about jealousy issues in you. Never remain in a relationship in which jealousy is a constant part of your life.

If, however, you recognize that the jealousy is unfounded in reality but is still nagging at you regularly, ask yourself these questions:

1. What am I telling myself about this situation? Is it really true or based on my fears and insecurities?

2. Is my partner really disrespecting me – or could I be misinterpreting their words/behavior?

3. If I thought better of myself and had higher self-esteem would I still feel uncomfortable in this situation?

4. If I did or said the same thing as my partner did would they feel jealous as well?

5. Is this issue worth a blow-up over, or can I just relax and let it go?

6. Are jealousy issues making me possessive and controlling in my relationship? Will my partner continue to accept this behavior from me?

7. Am I a worthwhile relationship partner worthy of love and respect? If so, do I need to create this internal turmoil regarding my partner’s behavior?

Unfounded jealousy creates havoc in a relationship and can destroy trust and intimacy between partners. If you can identify your own insecurities behind your feelings of jealousy, then do the inner work. See a therapist, a relationship coach, join a support group, read about jealousy issues, catch your inner dialogue and talk yourself into a healthier state of mind.

Doing nothing can be devastating. If jealousy is in your nature, work on yourself to get a handle on its cause and damaging effects. Changing partners is of no value as jealous people will always find something to be jealous about before too long. Changing your state of mind — through guided inner processing — can help free you from this obsession, enhancing any relationship and boosting long-term happiness in your life.

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is a Dating & Relationship Coach and co-author of 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60! To receive a complimentary ebook, Smart Dating Advice for Women Over 40: Answers to Your Most-Asked Questions, along with a Tip of the Week which spans every facet of dating success — from preparing for your first date to determining whether your partner is a “keeper” — visit http://www.womendatingafter40.com.

Why are so many women afraid of being vulnerable? Indeed, many worry that if they show who they truly are, they will be rejected. Or they fear someone will use revealing information to manipulate. Either reason will keep a woman from being her authentic self and cause her to live life closed and disconnected.

Vulnerability involves a lot of uncertainty and emotional openness. What can you do to embrace being vulnerable and still risk revealing your courageous self? Here are some steps to take:

1. Allow others to see you as you are so you know they are loving the real you.
2. Any rejection or NO leaves you open to an eventual YES. The growth and lessons that come with this are priceless.
3. Admit your weaknesses and ask for help — Pay attention to how this feels. The support and encouragement is very empowering.
4. Understand that you may have unconscious blocks that hold you back. While “hiding behind a mask” may seem necessary to protect your well-being, it can do the opposite and close you off to being loved and giving love.
5. Think about the risk you take when you love someone and realize the other person is thinking and feeling the same thing. Together you can share your fears which offers you greater intimacy and bonding.
6. Set boundaries, and only let in those who have earned the right to know the TRUE you.
7. It’s OK to fear being judged, questioned, or rejected. Does he like me? Will he understand me? Can he be trusted? These questions are valid, but should not keep you from living, loving and laughing your way through the relationship.
8. Know that the connection you feel with your partner depends on how much you reveal about yourself. If you’re afraid about what you can say, do or think or your message is misunderstood, any meaningful connection will be lost.

Vulnerability shows strength. When you are vulnerable, others can hurt you, disappoint you, rely on you and especially love you.This may make you appear weak if you give up your strength to others, but it is really indicates the opposite. You are putting your heart out there. How courageous is that!

Amy Sherman is a Relationship/Dating Coach and co-founder of http://www.womendatingafter40.com. She is the co-author of “99 things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 and Yes, 60!” She can be reached at amybethsherman@gmail.com

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