Tag Archives: Divorce

State Of Emotion

Surveys are weird.

No, really. I mean, there’s stuff out there on the interweebs, some pushed by relatively sedate and well-respected organizations, that just make no sense.

Take, for instance, this interest survey that is designed to tell us what state of the United States you most resemble.

Yes. You read that right.

From the science portion of Time Magazine, the survey is designed to tell those taking it where they might best fit in amongst the 50 not-as-united-as-you-might-think states.State of emotion

It’s no secret that a lot of (our famously different personalities and cultures) seems to be determined by — or at least associated with — where we live.

Now a multinational team of researchers led by psychologist and American expat Jason Rentfrow of the University of Cambridge in the U.K. has sought to draw the regional lines more clearly, literally mapping the American mood, with state-by-state ratings of personality and temperament.

After having taken the test, I’ve found something interesting about myself. Apparently, I’d fit in best in the state of Oregon. I rank in the top 10 of openness and agreeableness, but low in every other measure. Which I did not expect. At all.

Of course, I hadn’t given it much thought. Certainly not as much thought as I’ve given to, for example, if I were a tree, what kind of tree I would be. That consumes a lot of brain power, let me tell you.

What? Why are you looking at me like that? It’s an important question*.

Moving on.

The survey results were based on data taken from more than 1 million people interviewed across the United States. It found some other interesting data that, again, I did not expect.

According to the study, the winners (or losers, depending on how you view these things) were in some cases surprising and in some not at all. The top scorers on extroversion were the ebullient folks of Wisconsin(picture the fans at a Packers game — even a losing Packers game). The lowest score went to the temperamentally snowbound folks of VermontUtah is the most agreeable place in the country and Washington, D.C., is the least (gridlock, anyone?).

For conscientiousness, South Carolina takes the finishing-their-homework-on-time prize, while the independent-minded Yanks of Maine — who prefer to do things their own way and in their own time, thank you very much — come in last. West Virginia is the dark-horse winner as the country’s most neurotic state (maybe it was the divorce from Virginia in 1863). The least neurotic? Utah wins again. Washington, D.C., takes the prize for the most open place — even if their low agreeableness score means they have no idea what to do with all of the ideas they tolerate. North Dakotans, meantime, prefer things predictable and familiar, finishing last on openness.

Why not go over to the site and take a gander at the test. I’d love to hear where you dudes and dudettes sorted out.

*If you must know, it’s an weeping atlas cyprus. For all the obvious reasons.

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One Family, Two Houses

Divorce is a fact of life, dudes. No matter how much we might wish otherwise, people will get divorced. As sad as that is, it’s even more sad when there are children involved.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing that people who simply can’t live together, are always fighting or who have simply grown apart should always stay together just because, at one point in their lives, they thought they should get married. At that point, breaking up and divorcing is probably for the best. No, I’m just sad that two once-happy people can no longer be happy with each other.

It’s the kids, though, Marty. It’s the kids.

When parents divorce, the kids also suffer through the process. No matter how much Mom and Dad dislike each other, each child sees them as parents, not as people. The kids love their parents, don’t want to see them argue. Kids want their lives to stay the same, for Mom and Dad to be happy and be together. As a family.

And, sometimes, that just ain’t gonna happen.

When my parents started the process of getting divorced, I was in high school. They broke apart, came back together and then broke apart for good when I was in college. Even though my sister and I were older, we still went through some pretty difficult times, both on our own and with our parents.

And that’s even considering that neither of my parents had to worry about visitation and custody. For parents like that, rearing children can be especially difficult.

Imagine there’s someone who doesn’t like you, who you don’t like, but who you have to deal with on a constant basis. Not so easy. In talking to friends, that’s one of the most difficult parts of divorce, especially in an acrimonious one. It’s hard to want to pass along any cool information about your child to a person who is hated by/hates you, even though that person loves the child just as much as you do.

My divorced friends tell me it’s one of the most frustrating things they’ve ever had to deal with.

I’ve been thinking about this lately as I’ve helped a friend stagger through the opening rounds of his divorce. Which made me especially receptive when I heard about this interesting new iOS app called 2houses. You can also find it on the web at this link. Both the app and the website call themselves co-parenting facilitators.

That is, both mom and dad can download this app, or use the website, and they can communicate with each other without having to deal with each other face to face. I know when I’ve had issues with roommates in the past, communicating via post-it note was a lot easier than trying to talk to the so-and-so. This is the same thing.

The first thing that jumped out at me about this app is that it has a message center, which allows both parents to communicate by the electronic version of a post-it note.

I’ve not used the free app myself, but I did a lot of poking around the website and I really liked what I saw. There’s a calendar, for scheduling visitation and when a child stays with which parent, doctors appointments and the like.. There’s a finance area where both parents can keep track of expenses.

In addition, there’s also a section that allows you to jot down any cool information about what one of the kids did when he or she was with you, and a shared information bank, in which you can put things like a shared contact list, medication information, clothing sizes, you name it.

I’m not trying to push this app, but I was in a receptive mood when I learned of its existence. Looking it over, I liked what I saw and thought it might be a good idea to spread the word for any parents who might need it.

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Relationship Rules For Home And Office

“No man is an island entire of itself.” John Donne

It’s true, dudes. No matter how much it might irk us at times, we all are beholden to the many and various relationships we build, strengthen, destroy and recreate every single day. Heard the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Yeah, that’s relationships.

And relationships are built on feelings. Which, as we all know, is something with which all dudes are exceedingly comfortable dealing, especially around other people.

Not only at work, but, perhaps more importantly, in your personal life. Relationships are vitally important. A bad relationship with your spouse leads to divorce court, if you’re lucky. At work, a bad relationship will drag you down and keep you from advancement.

At home, a good relationship will lift you up from the muck and mire that is the lot of all men, allowing you to see the splendor that is shared joy. At work, a good relationship can help propel you to the top.

Which means it’s time for all dudes to get a move on and start working on their relationships. Hence, this little post right here.

“Relationships are an art, and most of us lack the skill and mastery to help break—or all together avoid—destructive patterns, disrespect, and deception. Far too many people also lack the ability to have productive connections with others—those that help you achieve goals, sharpen your mind, and generally uplift and enrich your life.”

That last was from Van Moody, author of the forthcoming The People Factor, and a motivational speaker who concentrates on building healthy relationships between people. I know this because he had his publicity people send me a big release about some of his rules for healthy relationships.

Photo by Quez Shipman of EQS Photography
Photo by Quez Shipman of EQS Photography

Of course, because he’s got a book coming out, he’s here to tell us that in the book he will detail some serious rules that, if followed, guarantee you a great relationship. I can’t speak to the verity of his implied guarantee, but I have looked over the abbreviated list of ideas his people sent along and they sound like some good stuff. I thought I’d share those with you right here.

Don’t hide: While secret identities might be fun in the movies, a person who harbors secrets, and hides their fears, and beliefs from others will never be able to enjoy an authentic relationship. Being real with others and even making yourself vulnerable from time to time can foster tremendous emotional connections, including all-important trust, and forge unbreakable bonds.

I love this idea, especially as it’s right up there at the very top. If we can’t be honest with the people closest to us, how can we expect them to give us what we really want, what we really need.
Don’t tweak the truth. Studies show that 10-30% of applicants admit to “tweaking” their resumes—that’s certainly no way to start an engagement with a new employer.  Whether at work or at home, lying—even small white lies—will do nothing but undermine and compromise any relationship. Instead, even slightly altering the truth is one of the most destructive forces that can permanently damage a personal or professional relationship.

I can’t emphasize this one enough. You might think it’s a victimless crime to inflate your experience, but it’s not. Consider what sort of attitude your boss will have toward you when she asks you to do something you’re supposed to be an expert at, but you have only a vague idea what to do. Trust? Not so much and that can’t be good.
Don’t rush and miss critical red flags. Understand that a relationship is a journey with changes in direction, twists and turns, and roadblocks along the way.  It’s imperative to pass through certain experiences and navigate through difficulties to learn from these situations and create a healthy outcome. Resist the desire to take shortcuts or race through certain aspects of a relationship. 

This is a tough one for me. I’m constantly watching conversational flow and jumping ahead in an attempt to cut out the boring stuff and get to where we both know it’s going to end up at the last. I’ve found people don’t actually enjoy being preempted like that. Take the time to get it right.
 Don’t force it. There’s an old R&B lyric that says, “If it don’t fit, don’t force it.” Despite the poor grammar, it is quite insightful in its simplicity. Relationships that create positive synergy through mutual respect and shared values are worth your investment.

By the same token, relationships that don’t work shouldn’t be kept around because you wish they would.
That’s all the room we’ve got for today, but we’ll be back with a few more rules for successful relationships tomorrow. Join me, won’t you?

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