Cmrebecca: The holidays can be difficult ... especially if you're dealing with a broken heart. Join guest expert Adele Wilcox, author of Mending Broken Hearts: Meditations for Finding Peace and Hope after Heartbreak, to learn how to overcome your pain and, ultimately, to grow.
Akwilcox: Yes, I've just arrived.
Cmtdarden: Welcome Adele, glad you made it.
Elivers: Hi Adele, nice to "see" you.
Akwilcox: It's good to be here.
soledad28: I'm newlywed to a younger man, and he is very jealous of my ex-husband for no good reason. He left me because of his doubts and went to live with his parents. I don't know what to do to make him come back. We can't talk without arguing. I feel hopeless, depressed and broken-hearted.
Akwilcox: When your ex left you and went to live with his parents, that tells me that he is not very mature.
soledad28: I have tried everything.
Akwilcox: There is a good chance that you will need to move on. Good luck. soledad28: He is my husband, not my ex. I don't want another divorce. I love my husband and he says that he loves me but yet he doesn't want to come back.
Akwilcox: Yes, he is still your husband.
Shoshy: I just found out that my husband and I are separating. I am clueless about my feelings and what should happen first.
Akwilcox: It is really hard to sort out your feelings. Sometimes we get angry and sometimes we just cry. Listen to your feelings and know that they are normal. I hope you have some good friends to support you. Good luck.
snthrnsky1: Why does my husband always decide to leave me around the holidays? It happened last year and again tonight. He had a bad childhood but he always blames me for what goes wrong.
Akwilcox: Holidays are sometimes hard for people. Do you know what his childhood holidays were like? Does he leave for long? Or is it just temporary because he doesn't like holidays? I guess I need to know more.
krash829: My husband cheated and left me last February. Things are nasty between us -- he acts as if it is my fault. How can he have no conscience and not want closure, and why can't I let go? He is so evil -- not the man I married -- and is now with a mutual friend (ex-mutual friend).
Akwilcox: I'm sorry that you were left by your husband and that things are so nasty. The question isn't about his conscience, but about you. Letting go is a choice you can make so that you can move on. Yes, you say that he has changed. You are right, but it is up to you now to move on. Good luck.
Pulnpush: I'm having problems letting go of the pain from my ex-boyfriend, and I don't know what to do. We had a child together and I'm married now but he treats his new girlfriend better than he did me and it's hard to swallow.
Akwilcox: Letting go of pain is hard. You feel hurt and alone. One of the best things you can do is to try to make yourself busy with new friends and activities. When you think of your ex-boyfriend, wish him well in your mind and then think of something else. Good luck.
LaurOT: How can you get closure from yourself when you did not get it from your partner? After a year he broke up with me and then avoided me. I never found out why. I feel stuck two months later. Does it take longer for your heart to heal if you have no closure?
Akwilcox: Yes, it's hard to bring closure when you never felt it from your partner. But it's a good goal. Sometimes we never know what happened, and we have to live with that uncertainty. Bring your own closure to the relationship by deciding for yourself that it wasn't going to work rather than letting your ex decide for you. Good luck.
mbcamp00: I have a long distance friendship that is slowly turning into a romance and I am afraid that it will eventually fizzle out. Are long distance romances workable for a long time?
Akwilcox: Long distance romances can certainly work. I've seen long distance marriages work very well. However, they take a great deal of commitment and maturity. You and your partner should talk honestly about this. Good luck.
Wendyflys: Can lovers be friends after a breakup? 5kidzrus290: My mom and her ex are best of friends even though he has been married 20 years.
dmc0328: I'm best friends with my ex.
akwilcox: Certainly. Remaining friends can be very difficult. If you want to try, remember to take care of your feelings. If you feel hurt, then perhaps remaining friends won't work. If you can genuinely enjoy each other's company and not hope for more, then enjoy!
Froggietcu: I need help improving my communication skills in relationships.
Akwilcox: Communication is always hard. One of the most important things is to genuinely listen to the other person rather than just "waiting your turn" to tell what you think. When you are interested in others, they will be interested in you. 5kidzrus290: That is such a good point! Not waiting our turn.
Cmtdarden: Adele, would you like to talk a bit about your book Mending Broken Hearts.
Akwilcox: Mending Broken Hearts is a book of meditations for people going through the breakup of a relationship. A hundred meditations covering topics from infidelity to self-esteem to children to rebounding. You can read one meditation a day or as many as you find helpful. The meditations are listed by topics so you can turn directly to whatever you need at the time.
Elivers: Thanks. I was wondering if you could give an example of a meditation. Or are they too long?
akwilcox: Actually, there is one posted on the iVillage Relationships message board called Mending Broken Hearts. It's about the holidays. But every meditation opens with a quote and then I write about the topic. I end with an affirmation, such as "Today I will allow myself to have fun."
Nyuanstar: How do I build my self-esteem after a breakup?
Akwilcox: That's an excellent question, because without self-esteem, we often end up in another bad relationship. One thing to do is to look inside yourself and find your good qualities. Look at those good qualities and appreciate them. Stop dwelling on what you think might be wrong. Focus on what's right. Each of us is a good, worthwhile person. We just need to believe that wholeheartedly.
Cmtdarden: How do you start over when your life has revolved around someone else for many years rather than around yourself?
Akwilcox: The key to your question is that you have revolved your life around another person. Starting over can entail beginning to revolve your life around you. I don't mean that in a self-centered way, but in a way that affirms you as valuable and not as just here for everyone else. Begin focusing on your needs first and then on others around you. It's a start but no doubt it is hard after being with someone a long time.
Cmtdarden: Adele, I asked about that because I see that question a lot on our boards and I know its hard for our members to rebuild their lives. They stay home with the kids and jump into being "Mom" rather than being themselves.
akwilcox: Yes, you are right. One of the things I see is that people focus so much on others that they forget themselves. Especially women.
Cmtdarden: Yes, we are trained to be great wives and moms but not about ourselves -- even in today's times.
Akwilcox: Yes, so often we define ourselves in terms of our relationships with others.
Seeingdaylight: How are we to define ourselves? Isn't giving to others what it's all about?
Akwilcox: How do you want to define yourself? Let's begin with saying that we are whole, healthy human beings. Part of that is definitely how we relate to others, but it is not our sole definition. Doing for others is important. You're right. We want to be generous. But we are generous because we want to be, not because we want to hold onto someone else.
akwilcox:Good for you. I've been trying to balance the "I'm no good without someone else" thing that I hear so often.
Wendyflys: He is criticizing everything I do, say and feel as a way to leave without guilt. Any thoughts on whether I should try to reason with him?
Akwilcox: Am I reading it right, that he wants to leave without guilt and is criticizing you as a way to do so?
Akwilcox: If this is true, do you want to reason with him? If he is using the criticism to leave, he may not hear your reasoning. Ask him if he genuinely wants you to change or if he is looking for an excuse to leave? But be prepared for his answer if you ask him that question.
Wendyflys: He says that they are his "observations" of me and I am just too sensitive. I definitely feel that he is using it to distance himself.
Akwilcox: Good luck with this one. However, if he claims it is his observations, ask him to couch things in a more gentle way and then you might be open to his ideas. Good luck.
Wendyflys: Thank you very much, I'll try talking with him and try not to get defensive.
Akwilcox: I think that in broken relationships the hardest thing for any of us is to realize that we have come to a turning point in our lives.
IslandLover7: Anyone willing to help out a person who's new to the dating world?
Akwilcox: We have choices to make that we often don't want to make because that means making change. Changing can be scary or it can be exciting. It's up to you. For someone new to dating, try to enjoy yourself.
Cmtdarden: What made you write the book and how did you get the information you used?
Akwilcox: I had been through a bad divorce many years ago. When another friend went through the same thing I began thinking of ways to be helpful to others. Then my agent called and said that an editor was looking for someone to write this book of meditations and was I interested. The rest is history. The information came from many sources -- a lot of research and my own training in pastoral counseling.
Akwilcox: It was interesting gathering information and topics. Yes, I spoke to a lot of women. Several women who were going through breakups at the time I was writing it read what I wrote and commented. They were so helpful because they were willing to be honest with me about their feelings as they were experiencing this painful time of their lives.
Cmtdarden: That is great to hear and sounds like you enjoyed it as well.
Akwilcox: One of the things that impressed me so much while working with the women while writing the book is how resilient we really are. We think we will never survive anything so painful and yet we do.
Cmtdarden: That is so true, I didn't think I would survive my divorce but it was the best thing for me. I'm happily married now. The best thing I ever did was move on and get out!
Akwilcox: During the time of the breakup it seems as if it is all we can think about. But when we look around we realize how many men and women have gone through similar experiences and have put their lives back together. We can, too. It's amazing how many people down the line end up saying their breakups benefited them because they grew from them. But that's hindsight and hard to see at the time.
Cmtdarden: Yes, we have a lot of great boards here on divorce, dating and Mending Broken Hearts, where we can learn and share with others.
Akwilcox: I don't encourage women to dwell on doomed relationships because I trust that they will grow from their experiences. Yes, sharing with others helps. The boards and chats are great because you know you are not alone in your experience. See how many of you agree. I can say the same thing for myself. Today I'm much happier than I was in my first marriage.
Cmtdarden: It is true, though at first it's so scary that you think your life is ending until you move on and see differently.
akwilcox: Yes, you do think your life is ending. That's what hurts so much. Moving on sounds hard but it is so necessary.
Cmtdarden: I think if you have help from family and friends it is easier, though, but not everyone gets that little push from others.
CL-Bigbyrd3: When you look back you realize what a ride you've been through and how far you have come!
Akwilcox: I just wish I could show people going through these painful moments a crystal ball of their futures and how things work out for the best even though it seems impossible at the time. Having supporting friends and family certainly helps. Be sure to thank them when you get a chance.
Wendyflys: This was my first time on a chat and Adele made it a worthwhile experience thanks!
Akwilcox: Thank you. One of the hardest things we face is the fact that our world is such a coupled world and we don't want to look like a failure if we don't have a man at our side.
Akwilcox: Yes, I've been amazed at how many people have posted to the message board. I've tried to answer several of them but it's hard to keep up.
Cmtdarden: I know its a very much needed topic. Thank you for doing the board with us as well for those that can not make it into the chats.
Akwilcox:This has been fun. Any last words you want?
Cmtdarden: Just hope you enjoyed chatting with us and hope to see you again sometime in here.
LynetteSmith: How about ending a nine-year relationship with a man you thought you knew?
akwilcox: Nine years is a long time, Lynnette. It must be painful. I wish you well.
LynetteSmith: Painful just doesn't do it.
CL-Bigbyrd3: You will change that perception, Lynette, when you heal yourself.
Akwilcox: Lynnette, it sounds like you are really angry. That's okay, but I hope that eventually you move away from your anger.
LynetteSmith: After a abusive marriage the first time around, I thought I had the perfect mate. Boy was I surprised.
CL-Bigbyrd3: Lynette you will recover, look in the crystal ball.
Cmtdarden: Adele, we thank you so much for joining us tonight. It has been a pleasure having you and I am loving your board as well.
Akwilcox: Thanks for everything.