Are You Attempting to Escape From Yourself?

Staying active and seeking pleasure-filling outlets for one’s routine lifestyle can often generate excitement and joy…temporarily, at least. Seeking out that Sunday matinee, attending your favorite outdoor jazz festival, heading up to the ski slopes and, yes, even a mall-shopping excursion can provide badly needed fun in your stressful everyday life. But...be honest...are you using those diversions merely as an attempt to escape from the problems that are threatening to engulf you?

Pause for a moment and ask yourself, Am I the type of person who must stay on the run 24/7, including nights and weekends, in order to find some sort of fleeting, superficial happiness? Am I filling my social and work calendars to the max in order to avoid facing the annoying issues that keep cropping up in my life? Do I have urgent job, relationship, family, financial or health matters that need my attention? Is my desire to flee from the realities of my own existence on a regular basis simply a temporary solution to solving more pressing problems that really need to be addressed sooner rather than later?

Do yourself a favor! Assess whether you are navigating your life in the realm of reality or the fantasyland of denial. If, for instance, you feel as though you have to entertain yourself or be entertained on a fairly consistent basis, you may be trying to escaping from yourself. Everyone needs quiet time in order to contemplate, meditate and create. Are you allowing yourself time to just be with YOU – with no distractions, diversions, or outside stimulation?

Whether you are in a relationship with a partner or live by yourself, assess where you are and attempt to get to the bottom of what may be seeming to keep you running a nonstop marathon. Then throw in a dash of self-love and awareness, which might actually return you to a place of true joy and gratitude. And don’t forget to find precious time for that much-needed mental, emotional and physical rest necessary to support a truly healthy and happy lifestyle.

Seeking a Safe Harbor

Have you ever found yourself to be the sudden casualty of a broken relationship where you are placed in a desperate situation, needing to quickly find the next safe harbor? Have you hoped, and perhaps prayed, that there would be a magical person somewhere out there who could mend your broken heart, provide security and wipe all your troubles away – even those not directly connected to the previous match?

Maybe you've lost faith when you discovered that finding that proverbial “needle in a haystack” might be a lengthy and emotionally difficult process that seemed as though it would never end. Maybe you've asked yourself, will I ever find that safe haven? Will I ever be happy again?

Rather than convincing yourself that the next safe harbor will be found in the arms of that so-far-unmet perfect partner, try spending time identifying ways to find self-assurance, confidence and peace every day…even though you may be living by yourself.

You are the captain of your ship, and you have the responsibility for finding your own happiness. And guess what...the safe harbor you are seeking is right there, inside you.

So, when waves of anxiety, fear and negativity come crashing in on your shore, practice self-love and start believing in yourself. Listen to that little voice that whispers in your ear, “I don’t have to wait until I find the next best partner to enjoy life. I can do it right here, right now.”

Then promise yourself that before you embark on a new discovery voyage to seek the next great love of your life, you won’t leave port until you've fixed that torn sail, broken rudder or leaky hold. Address and jettison your past issues; you'll have a much better chance of identifying a partner well-suited for you.

Here’s to smooth sailing, everyone!

Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day in a New Style!

As St. Valentine’s Day approaches each year, I can’t help but question why, in many cases, the burden tends to fall on the guy to surprise his sweetheart with a piece of fine jewelry, a designer bag she has hinted about, a five-star fine dining experience or that Ecuadorian bouquet of red roses. What if the tables were turned and the burden fell on her to, say, book and pay for a surprise weekend at a lavish resort, purchase brand-new snowboarding equipment for her love or break her piggy bank open to afford the latest technology gadget he’s been talking about. Either way, the pressure to celebrate with lavish gifts and surprises can get a bit out of hand.

Rather, shouldn’t this be a time for both parties to honor the couple’s relationship, whether it's still in that sizzling-hot, brand-new discovery phase or has been road-tested for some time, and simply needs a jumpstart to get it back on the fast track?

Instead of stressing about whose responsibility it is to do what for whom on Valentine’s Day, both the guy and the gal in the couple could have fun deciding on ways to enjoy that special day without breaking the bank.

Here are five tips for celebrating Valentine’s Day that won’t blow your budget!

1. Meet for a sushi lunch in the middle of the workday. Each person brings a red rose, and a romantic note that lists 10 things they appreciate about their special someone.

2. Leave work early and meet at your favorite wine bar. Clink your glasses, enjoy a couple of appetizers and head home for a cozy Netflix evening.

3. Plan an Ugly Valentine’s Day Sweater pizza party with friends. Give your love First Prize in the contest, but don’t tell him or her what that “after-hours surprise” will be. Wink, wink!

4. Plan to do an activity on Valentine’s Day evening that you’ve never tried before, i.e., a cooking class, indoor rock-climbing, bowling, go-karting or ice-skating. Finish the evening with a champagne toast to being adventurous and in love.

5. Prepare a picnic and drive to your favorite lookout point. Enjoy your romantic experience outside the car on a picnic blanket in a warm climate, or inside the car if it's cold. Who knows what could develop later in the evening?

So, instead of dropping hints to your lover in hopes of receiving a lavish gift you’ve been wanting, remind yourself that Valentine's Day is not just about you! It’s about both of you!

Break that pattern. Collaborate with your sweetheart on how best to spend Valentine’s Day to honor your relationship. Whatever you choose, do it with sincerity, authenticity and most of all, with love.

5 Days, 5 Relationship Tips

Today is the first day of the rest of your week Photo Quote.png

Day 1:  Tip of the Day:

Going into a relationship with "eyes wide shut" will guarantee some unexpected and, perhaps, unwanted results.  Put your glasses on to help you filter the rays while you're out there scouting for your partner.

Day 2: 

I promise myself I will never seek a partner because:

I'm feeling lonely and emotionally needy

I'm seeking financial security

I'm feeling pressure from family and friends

I'm seeking freedom and independence from a co-dependent situation

Day 3:  

Remember, you are not in a committed relationship if your partner isn't aware.  Make sure both parties are on the same page. Don't forget to do regular check-ins.

Day 4:  

Soulmates are people with whom you have a strong connection.  You may have more than one soulmate in your lifetime and they may appear on your relationship journey to accompany you as you experience a situation.  A soulmate may also be present for a time to teach you a lesson.  Instead, when seeking a long-term committed partner, keep your eyes open for your "twin flame".  As a couple, twin flames can have a powerful impact and together open new pathways and create opportunities that will bring joy to their lives and enhance their relationship.

Day 5: 

Always remain conscious when dating and remember to choose wisely. You'll thank yourself in months and years to come!

Signs Your Relationship Won't Survive The Holidays. Is Your Relationship Doomed This Holiday Season? Let's Find Out

Getty Images

Getty Images

Thank you AskMen for the feature!

Lindsay Tigar

While summer might feel like the busiest season for couples — weddings, vacations and more! — the holiday season can be the most stressful time. Depending on how long you’ve been together, you’re suddenly faced with a lot of decisions together. From if you’re ready to take the next step and meet each other’s families to how you’ll split the time between your office party and hers — the ‘happiest’ time of the year can make or break your relationship.

“Each partner already has a full plate with events, but now add to the mix: too little time, too little sleep,” relationship expert and author Pam Evans says. “From year-end deadlines at work, financial pressure, the company party your partner drags you to, social obligations with family (whether in-laws or outlaws!), friends and colleagues, to possibly travel to a holiday destination. It’s a lot.”

These signs, straight from experts, tell you if you’re relationship has what it takes to make it from Thanksgiving to New Year’s… and still be in love:

Sign #1: You Aren't Willing To Compromise

A big part of the holiday season will be saying ‘no’ to the events you simply don’t have to. Another key element is definitely compromise: You can make some of her events, but you might have to skip a few of your own, and vice versa. If neither of you are willing to let go of control, then you’ll end up fighting each week about your plans.

“If one or both partners are guilty of consistent finger-pointing, nagging or using power manipulation tactics, you’re definitely in the danger zone,” Evans says. “If one partner focuses 100% of his or her time on getting their own needs met, without consideration or respect for what is good for the other partner, this type of behavior will eventually wear away whatever luster may have existed when the relationship was new.”

Experts advise to come together as a couple — preferably over some wine or booze — and list everything that you both have been invited to. Leave no detail out — even include shopping time for those you care about. Then you can go through each and figure out which ones you want to attend together, which ones you can fly solo at and which ones you both want to skip. Especially in the early stages of your relationship — less than a year of dating — it’s important to be open to your first holiday season with new traditions.

Sign #2: You Can’t Save Face In Front Of Family

If the stress of the holidays is causing so much stress between you that you can’t come together as a couple in front of your family members — it’s going to be a really awkward holidays. Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels, co-authors of Designer Relationships, say it’s a bad sign when you’re disgruntled to the point of not being able to rectify the situation. “Being disrespectful to one another at a family gathering can be another scary sign,” they say. “Losing face among loved ones is a form of public humiliation and can be horribly undermining. If it’s a pattern that repeats itself, it’s a strong indication that there are deeper problems.”

If you see that your relationship is breaking at the seams, it might be time to have a tough conversation together to see if you’d like to take some space to spend the holidays with your respective families. While it’s not a great foreshadowing to your relationship, it may be the only thing that saves it.

Sign #3: You Can’t Make It Through A Holiday Movie Without Arguing

While it may feel frantic at the holiday season, one of the best parts of being in a relationship is having a safe haven where you can rest, relax and recharge. If sitting together on the couch to watch a holiday special movie turns into another fight about something, you might be in trouble. Personal development coach and author, Peggy Sealfron says: “If every decision you make whether it’s about what time to have dinner or what movie to see becomes a debate, you’re entering a no-relationship zone. Cooperation, understanding and friendship are the keys to a sustainable partnership. It shouldn’t be a battleground.”

If you really want to save your love and make it work, suggest you take a break from the holiday chaos and do something that you’ve always enjoyed together. Maybe it’s going to your favorite bar or a long drive on the parkway — whatever it is, use that time to get back to where you started and reestablish the reasons you choose each other to begin with.

Sign #4: You’re Not Having Sex

Let’s face it — if you’re upset or stressed about nearly anything, a great orgasm will make you feel better pretty quickly. If you can’t find a common ground in the bedroom, it’s going to be a long winter. “If you’re feeling rejected and neither of you can even talk about your likes and dislikes to at least cultivate an emotional intimacy, your couplehood is doomed,” Sealfron says. “Communication is an important factor in order to encourage desire.”

To encourage more sex that’ll bring you closer together, you might want to make some romantic gestures and do things that’ll really get her in the mood.

“Many couples become absorbed in meeting all the other demands that are placed on them during what should be a joyous and festive time, rather than paying attention to what is really important…this special time to truly enjoy their relationship,” Evans says. “ Step out of the frenzy and share some intimate time as a couple which will help you both get through the holidays.”

Modern Living with kathy ireland Explores Changing The Way You Approach Building Relationships with Pam Evans

MMP (USA) presents Pam Evans on the set of Modern Living with kathy ireland

Tune into E! Entertainment Network as sponsored programming on Thursday, November 5, 2015 and Bloomberg International on Sunday, November 8, 2015. See market by market listings below.

Los Angeles, CA - November 2, 2015 - Pam Evans, a woman that is changing the way people search for relationships in a strategic manner, is a featured interview on Modern Living with kathy ireland.

During the segment, Kathy Ireland interviewed Pam Evans, a relationship strategist who helps people identify their limiting patterns so they can break them and achieve the success they desire.

Pam commented on the challenges of achieving healthy relationships by stating, "I think it's because they rush into them so quickly and often from a state of need. They have this fear of being alone, they are looking for financial stability, and sometimes there is pressure from family and friends to get into a relationship. I also think that people do not do a good job of vetting their partner and go into the relationship with unrealistic expectations."

Pam also commented on how she helps people in these cycles by stating, "I help people in a lot of ways because I have made the mistakes myself. I come from a place of compassion and kindness. I really help people try to discover who they are as individuals first before they go into a relationship."

Learn more about what Pam can do for your dating life on the upcoming segment of Modern Living with kathy ireland.

JL Haber, Vice President of Programming, stated, "There are many ways to start a new relationship in this modern world but many of them go about the process completely wrong. Pam Evans is revolutionizing this process by looking at it from a strategic standpoint."

Tune in to see Pam Evans on E! Entertainment Network as sponsored programming on November 5, 2015 at 6:30am ET/PT and on November 8, 2015 on Bloomberg International as sponsored programming at 8:00am CET and 10:00am CDT and 3:00pm HKT.

About Modern Living with kathy ireland

Modern Living with kathy ireland is a weekly business television program featuring real-world insights from corporate executives from all over the globe.

Modern Living with kathy ireland airs Thursday mornings throughout North America on E! Entertainment Network as part of their sponsored programming lineup and to over 50 countries throughout the world on Sundays on Bloomberg International as part of their sponsored programming lineup.


Distributed by Modern Living with kathy ireland® 

Media Contact
Company Name: MMP (USA), Inc.
Contact Person: Gila Stern I Communications Director
Email: gstern@mmpusa.com
Phone: 561-988-9455 x269
Address:999 Yamato Rd. Suite 103
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State: Florida
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Website: www.modernlivingtv.com

Relationship Experts Reveal: How to Survive a First Date

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Thank you Sheiresa Ngo for including me as an expert!

First dates can be exciting, yet nerve wracking. You want to make a good impression, look nice, and say all the right things. But how can you be cool, calm, and collected when your heart is racing? Four relationship experts shared secrets with the Cheat Sheet on how to date like a boss. READ MORE
 

I have no clue!

Have you ever asked your partner a question that resulted in an abrupt response like, “I have no clue”? This has happened to me on occasion, and I’ve often pondered the meaning of that retort. Is my partner being dismissive because he is preoccupied with something else? Is he simply disinterested in that subject and unwilling to help me explore further? Or, is it perhaps that I’m annoying him by asking a question I should have the intelligence, independence and curiosity to answer myself?

I’ve witnessed many a spat between partners, and have been a participant in a few standoffs myself, simply because the two parties had dramatically different communication styles. Whether you're the asker or the askee, take note of your intentions when requesting or responding to seemingly unimportant questions. A routine brush-off can add up and, in time, turn into a relationship “blister” that, when continued to be rubbed raw, becomes a bigger wound that is difficult to heal.

The next time you ask a question and your partner comes back with, “I have no clue,” first analyze the tone in which that response was said. Then, take the time to clearly state your reason for asking. Next, hear out your partner’s objections. Going the extra mile here might save some unnecessary misunderstandings; also, you just might find the answer by searching for it together.

Bustle Magazine: 6 Stories From Women Who Regret Changing Their Names

Thank you to Bibi Deitz at Bustle Magazine for including me in your article! Bustle is for & by women who are moving forward as fast as you are. 

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There seem to be quite a few women who regret changing their names when they got married. Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time, but as time went on, it became clear that becoming a Smith when they'd spent their whole lives as a Jones was not the way to go. The thing is that there's no way of truly knowing how you'll feel about changing your name until you do it. Also, there are unpredictable pieces of the puzzle — one gal shared that she and her wife hyphenated their last names only to discover that a dash in a last name is a computer system nightmare.

"Name change is a huge decision with many personal ramifications," says Danielle Tate, founder and CEO of MissNowMrs.com, an online name-changing service. She created an eight-question quiz, The Married Name Game, that "uses key life factors and the bride's personal style to suggest thebest name change option for her (there are eight, including not changing her name)," Tate says.

The quiz, which has a patent pending on the algorithm behind it, is one way to go — but sometimes good old-fashioned advice passed down from those who have already had the experience is the best way to go. Here are sixwomen who changed their names when they got married — but wish they hadn't.

1. Cori, 31

My wife and I hyphenated our names when we got married last year, and now we really regret it. It seemed safer to have the same last name, just in case we ended up in the ER or some other situation where we'd want to be able to quickly demonstrate our ability to make decisions for each other.

As we quickly learned, the hyphen breaks computer systems. We've had endless hassles at airports, etc., because computer systems remove the hyphen and then our documents don't match our legal IDs. Renting a car or shopping online has become a huge hassle. We travel frequently, so not being able to use anything with automated kiosk adds a lot of time to every trip. It's a big reminder that most major computer systems are running off of cobbled-together code from the 60s. Thankfully Porter Airlines allows the hyphen, and they're the airline we use most often.

The hyphenated name also confuses every doctor's office, doorman, etc. I thought hyphenated names were pretty common, but apparently they're not. It seems especially absurd that this is such a problem in New York City.

If we could do it over again, we wouldn't have changed our names.

2. Jennifer, 27

I changed my last name after I married my husband, and often regret it. At first I was on such a high from being newly married that the name change didn't hit me right away. Now, after three years, I miss my maiden name and often feel like my family's heritage gets lost. People assume I am Irish because my new last name is Gallagher, when in fact I am Danish. I chose to change my last name because it is a long tradition in my family (my parents, sister and grandparents all changed their last name) and a romantic gesture. Plus, now that my husband and I have a son together we are all three tied together with one last name. If I could do it again, I would keep both my last name and my husband's last name with a hyphen, so it would read Jennifer Jensen-Gallagher.

Advice I would give women thinking about changing their name: If you are hesitant at all, then you will probably regret it later on. I suggest either hyphenate the two last names or change your middle name to your maiden name. Another alternative would be to change your last name legally but keep your Facebook name, Instagram handle, business cards, etc. with your maiden name. Best of both worlds!

3. Marilyn, 72

When I married in 1964, I changed my last name from Barnicke to Belleghem. Twenty-six years later my husband left me, and I had gained many friends, my educational degrees and all my professional reputation with his last name. It would have been professional suicide to revert to my maiden name. I started using my maiden name with my married name, and all sorts of people found me who never would have known who I was without doing this. Now, many years later, I am remarried and didn’t change my name. I suggest all women keep their maiden name, as life is a long time to lose your identity.

4. Erin, 44

I did not get married until 2002, when I was 30 years old. By then I had a career, a cat and a house. Unlike colleagues 10 years older, I did not want to have a hyphenated last name; it was either keep my own or take his. My then-fiancé worships his ancestors, and at that point in my life, I did not feel a particular kinship (pun intended!) with my own heritage. So I chose to go with his name.

So much has changed since the wedding, including going through a life-saving stem-cell transplant to keep me in remission from my 2011 leukemia diagnosis. In March 2014, my husband asked for a separation. I am now using my maiden name again for my work (as a writer) and my yoga teaching, but our divorce is not final. Therefore, I still have to sign all official documents with my married name, all my credit is in my married name, etc. If I had to do over again, I would keep my single name and identity. So much simpler than changing it (and changing it again). Today, a woman has no need to change her name after marriage and, for career and financial reasons, shouldn't.

5. Katherine, 49

Like most of my peers, I changed my last name to my husband's at marriage. That's tradition — it's simply what one does — or did. From that moment on, I felt like property of his — and branded! Goodbye maiden name identity; hello new label. And as it turned out, that particular label depreciated in value and meaning immediately, and continued on the decline for the next few decades. My name was not associated with someone else's misdeeds before marriage, but that changed and I was stuck with it. I had built an academic and professional resume using that undeserving name (plus my children had the name), so I got rid of the husband and kept the name. I still flinch at writing it as part of my signature. I always have. It doesn't look, sound or feel like me! And when someone asks about my heritage (after hearing the name), I simply state that I was not given the name at birth, but rather cursed with it through marriage.

6. Pam, 62

I married for the fifth time in 2013, and did not change my surname to my new husband's name, although I had done so four times before. Having grown up in the South and marrying for the first time at age 18, changing my name to my husband's gave me a sense of security and union with my partner. Each time I was divorced and remarried, I continued the cycle of taking my husband's name as that was a pattern I was accustomed to and always gave me a sense of belonging.

In retrospect, taking my husband's name each time affected my independence and personal identity. And, since I unintentionally turned out to be a multiple marrier, changing my name created a paper trail I can never get rid of — creating complications along the way.

When I recently married for the fifth and, hopefully, final time, I actually kept my fourth husband's name, which had been my name for almost 20 years. My new husband didn't mind at all, because he believed the decision to change my surname was my choice and not his, which is one of the reasons I believe this will be my final marriage.

My advice is to take into consideration your partner's feelings about changing your surname to his, but ultimately make your own decision depending upon what's important to you. Assess your lifestyle and how you feel about your identity and personal brand. It's your choice! Because at the end of the day, you are the one who has to carry that name.

BIBI DEITZ

Is Your Relationship Like Two Ships Passing in the Night?

I've just returned from a vacation with my husband in Sweden.  One morning I sipped a cup of coffee at the kitchen table in our rented apartment in Helsingborg, Sweden, looking directly across to Helsingør (Elsinore), Denmark. I was fascinated by the passenger ferries that glided across the water every 20 minutes or so,  shuttling residents and tourists from one country to another. 

I’ve taken the ferry twice from Sweden to Denmark, and back again.  Once, I hopped off in Denmark and spent a pleasant afternoon meandering the cobblestoned streets of Helsingør.  I was exposed to the fascinating history that explained why both countries were fierce opponents during medieval times.  I recall my curiosity as I visited the cafes, peeked inside the various shops and listened to the mostly-Danish language.   When I returned to Sweden later that day, I had a better appreciation for Denmark and an increased knowledge about the history of both countries. 

The only other time I took that same ferry ride, I had a lengthy, pleasant dining experience on the boat, going back and forth between the two countries for an entire afternoon.  But I never set foot onto the Danish shore, although I had at least two opportunities.  Instead, I was preoccupied with the social scene inside the boat, only occasionally glancing at the beauty of Kronborg Castle –immortalized as Elsinore in Shakespeare's play Hamlet -- perched on a lonely island that we passed by.    

This example shows how we make choices in life that are often short-sighted.  Given the opportunity for a “do-over,” I would have made time for a richer experience in Denmark that day. I really had no idea when, or if, I would ever get back there.

All too often, the second type of ferry experience happens in relationships.  Each partner moves in a hurried, independent fashion through daily life, preoccupied with his or her own desires.  Sometimes one partner will wave to the other from afar, but neither takes the time to discover who the other partner truly is and revel in the special, deep joy each can bring to the relationship. 

In short, by being like "two ships that pass in the night," the opportunity to experience a state of togetherness in the relationship is missed.  Several celebrity relationships have foundered, like a sinking ship, and ultimately ended recently – mostly due to each partner's preoccupation with their own career. 

Ask yourself:  Are my partner and I like two ships passing in the night?  If the answer is “yes,” why not make the decision to hop on the same ferry ride and experience the rich adventure of life together?

3 Steps to Repairing Relationship "Split Ends"

Sadly, this summer season has brought us the news of a number of celebrity breakups.  Some of these splits have been more or less expected; others, not so much.    Not surprisingly, when the separation and impending divorce announcements about these high-profile couples surfaced publicly, the spousal party lines seemed to come from pretty much the same scriptwriter:   “ Each of us will now spend time focusing on our children and our careers during this difficult period.  And, we are parting as friends.”

Naturally, I’m a champion of “focusing on the needs of the children,” as the little ones seem to suffer most when parents make the decision to break up the family unit.  And, “focusing on the work" as a way for each divorcing adult to stay grounded is a very common, and all-consuming, activity at a time of personal transition. It helps us take our minds off the pain, anger and confusion surrounding this major life event.  I know, I’ve done everything but reflect on the past when I had to face my own “split ends” situations.  I just stopped briefly at the crossroads, looked around, and hastily moved on; my ex took one path and I took the one going in the opposite direction.

Here are my three steps for repairing relationship “split ends”:

1.       Look back before rushing ahead.  Find out what environmental stresses played a role and what negligent and, perhaps, harsh treatment by each party may have led to your split ends.

2.       Take time to nourish and restore yourself when dealing with a split ends situation.  Focusing on repairing the damage to yourself will bring you back healthier than before, much more quickly.

3.       Go out into the sunshine of life this time with the knowledge and self-awareness that will give you the ability to prevent and protect yourself from facing split ends in the future.

So, if you experience a “split ends” time in your life, don’t just ignore the "reasons why it happened" by focusing on everything but the cause of the situation.   Be excruciatingly honest with yourself. Vow to find out the real cause of the split ends, so you never find yourself in that situation again!

Riding out the Perfect Storm

Recently, I was asked to serve on a panel at the Annual Better Marriages Conference, which was held July 9-12 in St. Louis. The conference is intended to educate couples and help them continue to build healthy relationships.

 As a multiple marrier (one who has been married 3 times or more – as 5 percent of the U.S. adult population has), I was both flattered by the invitation to speak at the conference and puzzled as to why someone with my background would be a desirable role model for couples who are happily married, and perhaps to the same person for, say, more than 30 years.

Was it simple curiosity that attracted the crowd to our session?  Perhaps I was like the circus entertainer on the panel who could tiptoe across a tightrope 40 feet off the ground, or survive being shot out from a cannon?  What awe-inspiring acts would the audience be seeking from a person who had been unable to keep not one, but a few marriages alive?  Thank goodness my part of the act would be complemented by two distinguished guests, Priscilla Bass, Ph. D., and Patricia Bubash, M.Ed. Author of Successful Second Marriages, who could provide a safe harbor if I found myself drowning in deep water.

To my surprise, not only was I well-received by both the audience and the panel, but our message resonated with many people.  It seems that whether you are in your very first committed relationship or marriage, or your third, chances are you will eventually have to deal with threatening winds (nagging and bickering), a squall (a job loss or relocation) or even that 50-foot wave that seems to crest from nowhere (sudden and/or a life-threatening discovery).  We three experts had hard-earned wisdom to share and solid practical knowledge that any individual or couple could benefit from.

So, check out our panel's PowerPoint presentation. It might be just what the doctor ordered, for yourself, your partner, a friend or a loved one.   Safe for all ages, and for all stages of your relationship or marriage. ;-)

Here’s to your smooth sailing!

When You Let Happiness Go

DAVID LIVINGSTON/GETTY

DAVID LIVINGSTON/GETTY

This week, another celebrity couple, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, announced their parting of the ways, after a 10-year marriage. According to the latest national data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the likelihood that a couple will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary today isn't much greater than a coin toss. Sadly, Ben and Jennifer will contribute to those statistics, as it appears that “tails, you lose” is the outcome of their coin toss.

I have to ask: Are Ben and Jennifer really ready to let happiness go? Have they exhausted all the possibilities of reassessing their priorities and improving their communication in order to find equality and balance in their marriage?

Perhaps a quote from Russian writer Maxim Gorky (1868-1936), says it all, “Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.”

I hope Ben and Jennifer understand the magnitude of their decision. I hope they don’t look back one day and lament, “We once held happiness in the palms of our hands, and we let it go." Despite their counseling and trial separation along the way, it seems Ben and Jennifer just couldn’t find a way to hold on to the happiness they once shared.

Best of luck, you two!

Remembering Past Relationships

Father’s Day gave me a reason to remember past relationships that I once cherished, but now have lost.  My Dad passed away six years ago and, although I am close to him in spirit, the relationship we once enjoyed can no longer be.  It is very much the same story when it comes to my former partners and spouses.  The association has now vanished and only the memories remain.

When looking in the rear view mirror at relationships you may have had with former lovers, spouses or friends, take a moment to examine the reason why and when they entered into your life and what they may have contributed to your personal growth during the time you were connected.  Have no doubt that we are not taking our earth-bound journey alone, but will share our path from time to time with individuals who may appear for some reason or the other.  Those relationships whether brief or lingering, help mold us as individuals and teach us life lessons that we wouldn’t learn if we were traveling solo.

I’m grateful for the time I had with my Father who was a great teacher and instructed me to never give up on myself or lose faith in the magic of life.  And today, I am also thankful to those ex partners, spouses and friends who traversed my winding road with me for a bit and taught me some lessons, as well.

Here’s to past relationships.  After all, didn’t Alfred Lord Tennyson write, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

What’s the Backstory?

Isn’t there always an explanation, a two-way rationalization or something that makes up the “behind the scenes” when we hear the shocking news about another Hollywood celebrity couple who has decided to consciously uncouple?  What is it with Ben and Jennifer?   I thought they were solid.  Well, I guess they are falling into the category of 40% of all marriages that end before the 20 year mark.  But, why?  Don’t they have successful careers, a beautiful family, notoriety and everything the average person could possibly wish for?

Perhaps, we’ll never know what has motivated them to terminate their 10-year marriage.  However, I hope they recognize their own backstory, have come to terms with it and have learned some lessons before they move on.  Otherwise, they stand the chance of repeating their relationship mistakes in the next, best relationship or marriage. 

Best of luck you two! 

Check out the most expensive celebrity divorces: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/english/hollywood/news/The-most-expensive-divorces-in-celeb-dom/articleshow/47482417.cms