STARTING OVER DOESN'T HAVE TO BE SO HARD
After the shock of a relationship change it can be tough to get out of bed in the morning, much less be at your best. But it doesn't have to be that way. With a realistic and proven game plan to help you get where you want to be, THE NEW SINGLE is the essential roadmap to:
-Surviving the split-up and starting over, 90 days at a time
-Embracing the person you are today
-Taking better care of yourself inside and out, from career and finances, to home, health, and fitness
-Avoiding toxic patterns and dangerous missteps
Tamsen Fadal is empathetic and incisive about relationships and breakups: she learned many of the lessons in THE NEW SINGLE the hard way. Now, with candor and humor, she's sharing her secrets, stories, and sometimes painful lessons.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The New Single
By Tamsen Fadal
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Tamsen Fadal
All rights reserved.
Happily Single Comes Before Ever After
"What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be."
— Ellen Burstyn
How Did We Get Here?
It was May 2012. One of those gorgeous Manhattan nights. Not too hot, not too cold. I was on the rooftop deck of the Gansevoort Hotel, attending a party for my network. You could see the city from every angle. As the sun began to go down it created a beautiful scene, a serene oasis in the hurricane of turmoil my life had become. Details of my divorce had just been splashed in the tabloids. I was not looking forward to facing the inevitable knowing glances, murmurs of sympathy, and, especially, nosy questions from my peers and concern from office friends, so I was hesitant about attending the event at all. Even so, I went. I had decided early on after my separation, I was going to try to say yes to everything.
I walked around the party with a chip on my shoulder. "I've got this," I kept telling myself. The articles had come and gone, and I was still standing, albeit on shaky legs. I was a newswoman and my divorce was yesterday's news. Onward and upward. I pumped my brain full of every generic bit of positivity I could muster, and shut away the sadness I was feeling. Then I looked up to see a former professional acquaintance standing in front of me looking like a slightly intoxicated grizzly bear.
We had known each other for a few years, though I was not particularly fond of him — nor he of me. In this environment, he was the last person I wanted to run into. I gave him that half smile that you give to someone whom you aren't in the mood to smile at, and said, "Hi." He didn't say a word. At six feet three — a tower of a man who, even at his most sober, stank of scotch and so often oozed the machismo of someone who had something to prove — he opened up his arms without a word and put them around me, crushing me to his chest. All he said was, "It won't be like this 365 days from now. Remember that." Out of all the sympathetic smiles and multiple murmurs of "I'm so sorry," his words were the ones that touched me the most. I remember them whenever I am trying to get beyond a new obstacle or a problem or another hurdle. "It won't be like this 365 days from now." While I still am not fond of this man, I remain forever grateful to him for his advice.
Trust Yourself First
It is important to know whom you can trust, but it's also important that you don't seek the advice from people who have competing interests, personal agendas, or on the other hand, are too kind to offer any criticism at all. My friends and family were way too nice. In fact, most of the people closest to me wanted to make me feel better, so they held their tongues when they should have just screamed at me about what they were seeing me do to myself. I found that it was important for me to have more than one sounding board as I was moving into my New Single status. My brother often kids around that I like to take polls to find out what to do when I have a dilemma in my life. Even as my marriage was coming to an end, I was constantly asking my closest circle of family and friends: "What should I do?" "Can I make this work?" "Will I be successful on my own?" "Was it my fault?"
I was lucky enough to have people who knew me very well and knew that I had a pattern of asking questions that only I could answer. I suggest as you move on and get past your breakup and evolve into a New Single that you look internally to answer these questions. Have people you can trust around you, but trust yourself first and foremost. Only you can get yourself to the next place that you are destined to be.
You Are Not Your Relationship Status
This sounds easy enough, but even in this amazingly advanced age we live in, the word "divorce" still makes people cringe. It's the way my grandparents used to refer to cancer — the c word. It's still the d word in so many circles, especially with the other c word — couples. A lot of people who are part of a couple don't love to hear about divorce. You can't blame them. I still don't love to hear about it, but this is about you and making sure your d doesn't define you.
The first time a friend of mine had to answer the relationship question on a form in the doctor's office, she froze. She had gone through her breakup and was telling me what to expect. "I couldn't bring myself to check the 'divorced' box," she recalls. "I wasn't the person I thought I was. I ran into the ladies' room and had a good cry." It's been years since Laura was in that doctor's office, and she's now part of a stable, happy couple, which helps her remember those early days of divorce with great fondness — that they are now behind her.
Remember this. You are not a classification. Single. Divorced. Widowed. You are not a statistic. You are someone who is about to embark on a whole new dynamic of your life and a whole new relationship with yourself. If you are not there yet, it's okay, but know that you will be. I remember the day my husband moved out of our apartment. Every single item in our once-shared space reminded me of an experience, a moment, a time that we were happy. In that moment I could not imagine being an "I" instead of a "we."
I had to take it one hour at a time and then one day at a time. In fact, to be quite honest, I refused to believe our separation and divorce were happening for a long time, not because we were so happy together, but because I was so afraid to be single again. It was important for me to realize that where I was two years ago was not where I was going to be today.
A-TEAM FEATURE: Regaining Your Confidence
My friend, Dr. Diana Kirschner, is a psychologist, a PBS love expert, and a best-selling author. She's helped thousands of singles and couples find the relationship of their dreams. Dr. Diana is the author of Find Your Soulmate Online in Six Simple Steps; 30 Days to Love: The Ultimate Relationship Turnaround Guide; Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor's Guide to Lasting Love, and the best-selling dating book Love in 90 Days, which is the basis for her one-woman PBS TV show, Finding Your Own True Love.
Define your concept of confidence.
Having a sense of self-worth, deservedness, and self-love so that you feel connected to others and attractive, lovable, loving, and successful as a person and as a woman.
What are ways that low self-confidence manifests itself in newly divorced/newly single women?
Mourning for the relationship or longing for your ex.
Feelings of depression.
Loss of appetite.
Difficulties in concentrating.
Aches and pains (physical and emotional).
Loss of interest in usual activities.
Isolation from others (a BIG problem!).
Almost always negative self-talk about many or all of the following:
Being too old, over the hill, too fat, unlovable, damaged goods, or unattractive
Feeling bitter or untrusting of yourself.
Self-pity, a feeling of victimhood.
Judgments and resentments about all men being jerks.
Loss of faith in people, in yourself, or in love.
These kinds of reactions are perfectly normal and not to be resisted or judged. It's all right to feel this way. But if you stay in these reactions you will hurt yourself by continuing a cycle of loneliness, low self-confidence, and low self-esteem. Women who hadn't gotten over a relationship by sixteen weeks after the breakup had decreased activity in brain regions associated with emotion, motivation, and attention. This is a physical change in the brain. That's why it is so hard to concentrate on anything — so hard to get up and go. Do not let yourself go this length of time without intervention (see below).
How do you rebuild confidence?
SHARING Talking about your negative feelings has been shown to lessen the activity in the pain-feeling part of the brain, and being with close friends causes the brain to release natural opioids, which are like the painkillers found in opium. A trusted friend can also boost your self-confidence. The same holds true for talking to a good therapist or relationship coach. If you need a coach who is an expert at helping women recover from a breakup you can find one at www.lovein90days.com/dating-coach/.
MEDITATION/RELAXATION Johns Hopkins researchers recommend practicing relaxation techniques to get rid of heartache. These include meditation, deep breathing, or journaling out your feelings. This process will speed the return of your self-confidence.
SLEEP is very important in helping to elevate mood. When you're depressed, however, sleep may be hard to come by. This is another reason to consider starting a regular relaxation or meditation program — these have been shown to help people sleep better. You can also try a warm bath with lavender oil and/or cutting off stimulating activities like checking e-mail, watching TV, or surfing the Web a few hours before bedtime.
EXERCISE releases opioids, those all-natural painkillers. Hitting the gym regularly can help you feel good about yourself. To start, just try ten minutes of walking, stretching, or any kind of physical exercise and see what happens. Those ten minutes can carry you forward in every way!
IMAGINARY CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR EX People who have imaginary conversations with their partners, which help them to say good-bye, have more relief from grief than those who don't. You can write a letter you don't send or have a conversation with a pillow in a chair that represents your ex. You may want to do this in a session with your therapist or coach.
How can we build self-confidence?
Here is my 180-Degree-Turn Exercise for Building Self Confidence, excerpted from my new book, The Diamond Self Secret: Say Goodbye to Your Inner Critic and Hello to Self-Acceptance, Serenity, and Lasting Love. It really works if you work it!
Read each section and then close your eyes, taking your time to do each step of the exercise.
1. Remember a time when you felt good about yourself — alive, real, attractive, connected, LOVING, and LOVABLE. You can go all the way back to some innocent time in your early childhood if you need to. Just find the most self-loving experience you ever had. Put yourself in the picture so that you are looking through your own eyes. Feel that completely.
2. Imagine yourself better, even better. Imagine yourself five times better.
3. Now take that image and bring it closer to you. Make it brighter, clearer. Give it a great sound track, magnify all those good feelings — make them stronger. This is what I call your self-loving Diamond Self (DS). Give this self a grand or playful nickname that includes your real name — like Beloved Susan, Lovable Little Tami, Annie Adorable. Have fun and give yourself permission to be outrageous with this! Say your self-loving DS name to yourself.
4. Shrink the image of your self-loving DS and make it as small as a real diamond. Then put that image aside.
5. Get an image of yourself at a time when you felt self-doubting, self-critical, anxious, undeserving, invisible, rejected, abandoned, or unlovable. When you were overrun with negative self-talk. This is your Disappointing Self.
6. Take your Diamond Self, make it the size of a hand grenade, and imagine throwing it right into the center of your Disappointing Self, watching it explode, and completely destroy the Disappointing Self.
7. Now, instant replay. Imagine your Disappointing Self, throw the Diamond Self grenade into the center, and blow the Disappointing Self up again.
8. Speed the whole thing up and do it several more times.
Do this powerful exercise until you cannot get a clear image of the Disappointing Self. You will be shocked at how it frees you from your suffering! Do a quick version of this process whenever you need to feel better or be more comfortable and at ease with yourself (the MOST IMPORTANT person) or get ready for a date or anything else that feels challenging. The bottom line is, no matter how bad you are feeling now you can recover from heartbreak, rebuild your confidence, and come back better than ever!
Explain the difference between being confident and being egotistical and self-centered
When can we recognize we are indulging our egos instead of being confident and "outer directed" (when we are sad we may have a tendency to wallow, which is self-indulgent and not healthy).
Get Personal With Yourself
Chapter Four is devoted entirely to self-care, a critical element of surviving your divorce. At first I was not sure how personal I wanted to get in this area; as it turns out, it's important to get pretty personal. So bear with me. This is the time you are building a foundation. Whether you are relieved to be single again or you are devastated by the idea of being alone, this is not a time you can afford to let stress get the best of your health.
Yes, you will have sleepless nights. Yes, the sight of food may disgust you. Yes, you will skip your shower some days (I will admit to this one — only to you). There will be days when all you want to do is just stay in bed. Even the toughest of women out there, who wanted the divorce and were anxious to put the marriage behind them, feel this kind of stress from time to time.
When You Have Kids to Consider
Not only are you dealing with your own well-being, but your childrens' as well. You cannot take care of your children by neglecting yourself. You are no good to them if you are not whole yourself. This is a time that many children inadvertently learn to take care of themselves. They often grow responsible faster and learn that they, too, are individuals. So, be the best you can for yourself and for them, but try not to sacrifice either in the process. With those goals in mind, it leaves less time to mourn the loss of your breakup or divorce and gives you a clear purpose to forge ahead and make a new life for yourself.
Accept Your Life Is Different Now
As time went by, I realized that I was part of a community of single women who were successful in their careers and able to meet any challenge work threw at them, but they were perplexed about the next steps in their new personal lives. We all wondered about how to start dating again, how we would get beyond the breakup, and, most of all, how to gracefully and healthily move into this new phase of our lives. A woman I met through a networking group, Gina, who is the owner of a trendy Brooklyn clothing shop, put it: "I look like I'm ready to get back in the game, but I can't remember the rules." By this Gina meant not just dating, but participating in the little everyday rituals at work and out and about: water cooler chat about what happened last night, remembering to buy three ounces of ground beef instead of six — the little things.
I faced this dilemma by compartmentalizing my life so that my personal problems did not bleed over into my career. I was very careful talking with people about my divorce, including who was at fault, what my ex was doing now, or what I was doing. It's easy to get sucked into those conversations, and I caution against doing so. Don't talk about your ex at work. It is unprofessional and can snowball into unpleasant and harmful gossip. In fact, I could count on one hand the number of people I spoke to at work about my personal life.
At the water cooler I made it a point to keep the conversation about those around me, and not myself. I just didn't want to be in a position of wallowing in my own misery, or feeding off the pity of others. This was essential for peace of mind. At the time, I was waking up at 2 A.M. to be on the air at 4 A.M. for the news. I made sure the moment I hit the door at work, I was not calling, texting my ex, talking to him, handling personal problems, scouring his social media pages, or asking anyone about him. Out of sight, out of mind, definitely worked for me.
TAMSEN'S TIPS: How to Not Contact Your Ex
1. Don't tell yourself you can just be friends. It is too soon.
2. Remember he won't give you closure. Only you can do that for yourself.
Excerpted from The New Single by Tamsen Fadal. Copyright © 2015 Tamsen Fadal. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As a child I saw my parents divorce and as an adult I've seen my younger brothers separated and divorce several times. I however have never experience that kind of heartache so when I received a copy of The New Single by Tamsen Fadal I wasn't sure I could relate. However I was wrong. The book is meant to help women who have experienced a breakup or divorce to learn to empower herself. The New Single is the guide to help you create, become, and embrace your new authentic self after a divorce. As I read this book I learned you don’t have to go through a break up to use some of these tips to help you now. Tamsen basically is helping women to find their inner self and to learn to love them self and who they are after divorce, doing so one step at a time. We as women should all learn to love our self, to embrace our inner strength and become women we are proud of. I must say this book was a good read and though I’m not divorce I found it very informative and enjoyable. Tamsen is wonderful writer and has lots of great tips and advice to share. I highly recommend reading this book. **Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**