Breakfast Cereal – Part 1

Philadelphia, PA – 1960s-1970s

Growing up in the suburbs in Philly was great. We lived in a pleasant, quiet neighborhood. It looked like a snapshot from nostalgic America back then. All of the dads headed out in the morning in their cars to their jobs and the moms stayed home and took care of the house and kids.

Breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Sure, lunch usually consisted of a sandwich on white bread with some potato chips and a drink, and dinner was a protein, a vegetable, and a carb. You got a couple of cookies for dessert and a glass of milk.

All good, but breakfast was the most fun meal of the day. That’s because back then, we had so many cool cereals to pick from. Many of them tasted the same and were just manufactured into different shapes and brands. But they had such great personalities. No other food in your life as a kid had funny characters and mascots like breakfast cereals did. You also never got a prize in a bag of peas or a can of baked beans.

I used to love going to the supermarket with my mom. She would be off somewhere in the store pushing the cart and collecting items from the handwritten list she’d made at home. I would be standing in the cereal aisle for the entire hour. Time moves slowly when you’re a kid, and normally doing errands with your parents was boring. Unless there was the promise of some treat at the end of the trip for good behavior, it was a drag.

But looking at all of the cereals in the aisle made the trip worthwhile. So many cool cereals to choose from. Most of our moms worked on a pretty strict food budget. They had to think of the five people at home and how to make the food money go the farthest.

But as a kid, you have no concept of money because you simply don’t have any, nor the skills to earn any of it for yourself. (Unless you had a paper route, then you were an earner!)

I would stand in that aisle and read all of the boxes carefully. Never worry about any nutritional value or cost. The big questions in my mind were always the same. What kind of prize is the best out of all of these cereals? How many box tops do I need to send away to get an even better free prize?

Before I begin, remember Tang? That weird orange drink that the astronauts drank on the Apollo spacecraft? I tasted it as a kid, and it reminds me of the flavor of today’s Sunny D. We never had Tang as a kid. My mom would buy these rolls of frozen orange juice concentrate in bulk. I remember her mixing it up in the kitchen. Chopping through the slushy mess until it became orange juice. She was always nice enough to strain the pulp out of mine. I thought pulp was gross. It always felt weird in my mouth. Like I was drinking something that had some weird stuff in it that shouldn’t be there.

I write these nostalgic pieces and I really enjoy it, but sometimes I like the reader to come away from it having learned something.

Do you know why kids like candy and sugary cereal? Why do we crave sugar in any form as a kid? The reason goes back millions of years to the origins and development of our species.

What’s usually the first thing a baby does when you hand it something. Yep. Right in the mouth. Why? Because we’re predisposed to test objects we find as babies to see if they are a potential food source. That’s how we learn what we can and can’t eat to survive. Over thousands of years of evolution, babies developed a taste for sweets.

Why? Because most things that are sweet are not poisonous. That’s why little children like sweets. They won’t die if they put it in their mouth like everything else. So the next time you reach for that Kit Kat, you’re just doing what your ancestors knew was right.

Let’s talk healthy first. I remember my dad never agreed with us chowing down on bowls of sugary cereal every day. “It’s not good for your teeth!” “It’s a bunch of sugary crap that has no nutritional value!” “It’s junk!”

All the while he was chowing down on fried eggs, and greasy bacon every morning. Cholesterol and fat city, dad!

He once had the idea that we should all try cream of wheat instead of eating sugary cereals every day. We all tried it one morning on a weekend. It was horrible. We’ve already been eating the crunchy, sugary deliciousness of store-bought fun cereals. Why would we ever want to eat this swill? A big warm bowl of gruel? What sort of medieval torture is this? Gross! No, thank you.

I will say this. My mom was awesome. Every morning for 20 years I would roll downstairs and have a seat at the table. I ate a bowl of cereal while intently reading the back of the box. Next, 2 pieces of bacon, a slice of buttery toast, and a glass of orange juice.

remember waking up in your bed, and you could smell the bacon cooking downstairs? there’s nothing like that in the world. Why does bacon crackle and sizzle when you fry it in a pan? Yes, because it sounds like applause. Bacon has rightfully earned that ovation!

My daughter is Vegan, and I feel sad for her as I write these words.

i could have drunk more than the small 6oz glass of orange juice each morning but you simply don’t need that much juice to get your daily dose of vitamin C. “It’s full of sugar and citric acid! It’s going to irritate your stomach.” Yes… dad again.

But it was a balanced breakfast. Oats, protein, carbs, and vitamin C. Sounds good to me. I think that’s why I love breakfast so much even today. Did you ever go into a 24-hour diner and have breakfast for dinner? Brilliant!

Oh, and when my dad brought home some donuts from the bakery? Cream-filled powdered donuts? My favorite! Good bagels? yes, please! A well-made bagel doesn’t even need anything on it to be awesome.

But I digress…

Let’s talk about some of these breakfast cereals we had as kids.

I’m just going to cruise over the boring adult cereals and get to the fun stuff, but they’re worth mentioning.

  1. Cream of Wheat – Awful
  2. Wheaties – Popular with the athletic sports set
  3. Shredded Wheat – Parent breakfast food. I’m assuming dad needs a bit more fiber
  4. Spoon-Sized Shredded Wheat – Let’s make the same thing smaller so they can shovel more of our product into their gaping maws.
  5. Rice Chex & Wheat Chex – Looked like something you dumped into at a party to snack on. (But I always wondered how they made those little ventilated squares)
  6. Corn Flakes – No taste. Gets instantly soggy, and is really Frosted Flakes that have been stripped of their sugary deliciousness. So sad.
  7. Special K. – Also crap. No, thank you. As bad as Corn Flakes. There’s a reason we called that one girl, Special K  who rode the short bus to that ‘other school’.
  8. Product 19 – Did anybody even buy this cereal that sounds like a failed experiment?
  9. Rainin Bran – What’s Bran? No, mom, I don’t want to eat raisins as a snack and especially not in my cereal. Just chewy grossness.
  10. Life – Is this boring cereal what adult life will eventually become for me? Probably. But, no.
  11. Grape-Nuts– No one believes anything Wilfred Brimley is saying about this cereal. As Seinfeld says, No Grapes. No Nuts. What’s the deal?
  12. Total – I don’t know or care. Totally boring, okay?
  13. Cheerios – Okay… these are good and I still eat them when I get the munchies if you get what I mean.

Remember those variety packs of cereal they used to make? I think they still make them today. But back then they looked cool because they were tiny replicas of the real cereal boxes. I once asked my mom what these little boxes had an I-shaped perforation along the face of each box. She told me, that if you opened it that way and tore open the bag inside, you could pour milk in there and the box would serve as an on-the-go bowl of cereal. I never did that but thought it was an innovative idea. But I thought, what if I went through all of that and then realized I had forgotten to bring a spoon with me?

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2. We’ll talk about the fun cereals!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

11 Things That Attract A Younger Woman To An Older Man

Have you ever been attracted to an older man? Suddenly your friend’s father or his/her older brother or even your college professor seems like a forbidden fruit you want to indulge in. When you see Milind Soman, you can’t stop drooling over this silver fox and his mature personality. Young woman-older man relationships are common nowadays, especially among celebrities. From George Clooney and Amal Clooney, Hillary Burton and Dave Morgan, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively to Beyonce and Jay-Z, they all have been in marriages with a huge age difference. So, what attracts a younger woman to an older man? Let’s find out.

According to a study conducted by St. Mary’s University’s (Halifax), Sara Skentelbery, and Darren Fowler, women who date older men are looking for father figures. There’s a possibility that they were neglected by their fathers as children and now they are looking for attention from older men. The study also says that older men come with financial security that women often look for and when older men go for younger women they could be looking to reproduce at an older age. Whatever the reason maybe we will look into what really attracts a younger woman to an older man.

So why would a younger woman choose an older man? What do younger women actually look for in older men? Are they just sexually attracted to older men or it is something more? The attraction between older men and younger women sets some obvious sparks which are hard to resist. Sometimes it’s just sexual attraction while there are times that it turns out into something more meaningful. Whether or not the relationship is meaningful or sexual, purely depends on compatibility and differs from person to person. Here are 11 things that attract a younger woman to an older man.

When you actually fall in love, age is just a number.

1. They are more responsible and mature

We all agree that men act like grown-up kids or are as a man child. They run away from responsibilities and maturity is something you can’t expect from them. Many times, women find men of their age to lack a sense of responsibility. Women get tired of doing all the work and seek someone who is responsible and will look after them, instead of vice versa. In the long run, married men become lazy and women feel that older men would still be able to understand their problems because of their maturity levels.

Women mature faster than men and seek someone to match their level of maturity. Older men are more responsible which make them ideal for such women.

2. A sense of security

Older men provide a sense of security which is an essential criterion for a happy relationship. Most of the time, older men are more accomplished in life. As and when they reach heights in their career, they procure certain assets to secure their future. Women seek emotional and financial security, especially when they are thinking of settling down. Finding a man, who is able to make them feel both emotionally and financially secure, is something that draws them towards older men. They feel more comfortable knowing that their future is secure with such a person.

3. They are more experienced

Older men have played the field for a longer time and are more experienced in handling women. Their experience with women makes them adept at handling women. They can handle a woman’s mood swings and can also comfort them with the right words and actions. Younger women feel more comfortable with older men because they know all the right words to say when they feel pulled down. Older men make them feel emotionally secure.

Related Reading: He thought he’d have a good time with a younger woman, she asked him for a loan

4. The daddy issues

Women with daddy issues usually get easily attracted to older men. They want the next male figure to be someone who is the opposite of their father. Someone who understands her like her father didn’t. In the attempt of seeking someone unlike their father, younger women find older men as a replacement for their father. They seek a mentor, a friend, and someone to give them advice. In the process, these younger women get attracted to the wisdom and maturity of older men and fall for them.

Younger woman may be having daddy issues

5. They know what they want in life

If you ask a guy of your age what he wants in life, he will either stare at you with a blank expression or will give you some immature answer like, “Playing video games all my life” or “Nothing but sleep”. The same response from an older man will be about his ambitions, his career objectives, and his future prospects. Older men are driven by goals and direction which is what makes younger women get attracted to them. And then by the time you figure that you are married to a wrong person, it is too late. This is because women are usually more mature than men and they look for someone who would match their level of maturity.

6. Their mysterious aura

Sexy older men have this sense of mysteriousness around them. The frowns on their forehead or the seriousness in their face says that there’s something deeper to them and you can’t help but want to know more about their story. The lesser an older man talks about himself, the more you want to know about him. Blame it on chick flicks or rom-com movies, you feel as if he has a dreadful past and you want to act like the girl who revived him from it and brought happiness back into his life again.

Related Reading: 8 Relationship Problems Faced By Couples With Huge Age Difference

7. They are more understanding

Older men are more understanding than younger men. They don’t fight over small issues and make a big deal about them. Older men are more patient and will try to find the root of the problem and resolve the issue rather than playing the blame game. Their conflict resolution skills are exceptional. They keep their calm and will try to understand you first before jumping to conclusions. Women find this attractive because they feel like older men understand their feelings, value their emotions, and know how to respect them.

Older men understand better

8. They aren’t afraid of marriage

Younger women eventually get tired of heartbreaks and look for settling down with someone who isn’t going to break their hearts anymore. Older men make the perfect match because at that time they are looking towards settling down with someone. They aren’t afraid of marriage and make such women feel secure and assure her that this is not going to end up like another fling of theirs. Younger women feel that finally, they aren’t going to suffer another heartache.

9. They make a good sugar daddy

Younger women get easily attracted to older men because sometimes all they are looking for is to be a sugar baby. Younger men and women like easy money and don’t mind dating older people for it. They want someone to pay their bills and give them a lifestyle they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Some younger women want sugar daddies to give them expensive gifts that they can show off in front of others, something which would make them socially desirable and boost their ego. An older man would give them all these perks which she would otherwise not be able to afford.

Related Reading: 6 Bollywood Movies Where The Lead Characters Have Had A Huge Age Difference

10. They’re good in bed

If there’s one more thing older men have more experience in, it’s with women. Older men are more experienced in bed too and know how to satisfy their women. They understand s*x is not only for them but also for the women. There’s this chemistry between an older man and a younger woman that does wonders in bed too. It’s hard for the spark to go off when you’re dating an older man.

Older men are good in bed

11. The heart wants what it wants

Sometimes a younger woman dating an older man has nothing to do with his age. We say that love is blind and the heart wants what it wants. After all, there is no set age difference for a great marriage! Sometimes it’s just compatibility and understanding that just makes them click. Cupid can strike anywhere and at any time. It can bring two totally opposite people together, even if they have a huge age gap. For people whose age isn’t a factor, a huge age gap doesn’t make a difference.

Can an older man love a younger woman? How does it feel like dating older men? Dating an older man will make you feel that you’ve finally found someone who wants the same thing as you.

However, there are some important things that you need to think about. Will this person be able to handle your immaturity or will he treat you like a child? What are his plans for children? Where do you see your future with him? You need these questions answered as you don’t want to end up like Monica Geller who had to leave Richard because he didn’t want kids.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

7 Tips for Dating After Divorce That All Single Parents Should Know

Avoid drama and open yourself to true love.

Dating after divorce can be rough, especially when single parents have to balance their kid’s lives and their own love lives.

When you are a single parent, it often feels like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.

You may even wonder if you should add more pressure and responsibility to your life by exploring the murky waters of dating when you already have your hands full with parenting.

You’ve heard the horror stories of blended family drama increasing brokenness in the children’s lives. But, there’s a way to avoid this.

As a personal Matchmaker who has worked with countless single parents throughout my professional career, I coach them through this process and give them the best dating advice possible.

When your kids watch you date in a healthy way, they can learn how to build positive relationships in their own lives.

Here are the 7 ways single parents can get dating after divorce right when they want to fall in love again.

1. Date the kind of people you see as potential role models for your children

I always advise our single moms and dads to date someone who they want their (future or present) child to grow up into as adults.

Though easy to fall for the exciting playboys or the flakey party girls, avoid attaching yourself to this type of person, and let consistency in the relationship mean more to you than any fleeting feeling.

2. Behave like you would want your child to behave

Often, dating brings up a lot of excited and nervous feelings, boundary questions, and frankly the desire to throw caution to the wind.

It can feel exhilarating to enter into the dating scene after a long time but refuse to rush into a relationship and take your time.

Have fun, but also maintain your self-respect, values, discipline, and wisdom.

3. Give yourself “me” time and date-time

Tyler Perry’s hilarious “me time” Madea riff aside, if you lose yourself in your children, they may fail to see the importance of self and soul care.

Be there for your children on weekends and after school, but carve out time for dating.

Single parenting means relying heavily on scheduling to get everything done.

Give yourself a weekly night out to attend a non-work-related event, and hire a trusted sitter if necessary.

Block out an hour each morning for prayer time, meditation, reading, or whatever it is you want to do, even if it means waking up a bit earlier to ensure that you get those coveted moments of solo time.

Consider planning time alone with your children in your schedule to do the activities that you’ve had on your family bucket list.

Refuse to cancel plans with your children. They may hide it, but it will hurt them when they feel like the second priority.

Be a person of your word, and chances are, they will too.

4. Only introduce them to your kids if you could seriously see yourself marrying them

Wait to introduce the kids to your love interest until you’ve made the relationship exclusive: official boyfriend or girlfriend status.

I recommend waiting 3 months before establishing this title since you want to get to know each other as much as possible before committing to each other exclusively.

Even after you have defined this relationship, you may want to wait another 3 months to really see if they will stand the test of time.

When deciding if your next boyfriend or girlfriend could be your future husband or wife, take your time getting to know them in different settings, especially when you have children.

Children get attached quite easily and too many “new” Mommies or Daddies who they meet could cause them to get disillusioned, defensive, and bitter.

5. Avoid putting your children at risk and take security precautions when dating after divorce

Unless you work with a dating service, this is an important step for single parents dating after divorce

Unless the introduction comes from a respected source, get the dating prospect’s last name, and as much information as possible about them before you let yourself catch feelings for them.

Do your own background checks. Google the person, look on mugshots.com, subscribe to an online background check company, get Facebook and social media accounts, even simply for that purpose.

At the same time, in researching someone beforehand to make sure that they pass the “serial killer test”, stop yourself from getting too judgmental or picky.

While the internet, Instagram, and Facebook can supply a lot of information, it also contains false material and will always fail to show the person in their entirety.

Only through time will you discern the full story.

6. Explore topics of conversation other than your children or former spouse

Commonly, when I Date Coach a person who went on a date with a single parent, he may say that he really liked her but she sounded still angry, hung up on the ex, or talked about her children incessantly.

Before you start dating, ensure that you have found peace with the death or divorce of your former spouse and that you can open your heart to love another person.

Then, try to make your match feel like the only man/woman in the world. That was the past, this is (potentially) the future.

Frequently, when nervous on a first date after a divorce, people will default to the most comfortable topics for them, and for single parents, it’s commonly their children.

While completely fine to bring them up in conjunction with a story, for instance, try writing a list of other topics that you can speak on, and look at them before your date.

This will train your brain to redirect your thoughts when on a date.

Although you love and devote much time to your children, allow yourself to explore other interests, memories, and insights on your dates.

7. Don’t treat your child like a therapist, Date Coach, or confidant

Although frequently wise beyond their years, children need space from your dating life.

This is another benefit of working with a Date Coach, like us, through your dating journey.

Since children want to make you happy, if you include them in your dating life, they will try to defend you, and end up growing up too quickly.

This leads them to develop issues in their own relationships.

They try to have the strength to make up for the weakness and vulnerability that a parent shows in the dating process.

With these tools, you can start dating after divorce as a single parent successfully.

While dating can fill you with a newfound exuberance, refuse to sacrifice your soul to please someone.

Expect ups and downs because falling in love can feel like a rollercoaster.

Ensure that you have the proper support system in place, rather than your children, before you begin.

Most importantly, listen to the still, small voice inside, which will guide you through the most challenging of dating experiences.

Though a new and confusing era for dating, a rose, is a rose, is a rose, and red flags are always red flags.

You can still guard your heart, date with purpose, and get on that train track to meet the love of your life.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Hunt’s Pier – Epilogue

Philadelphia, PA – 2021

The reason I’ve struggled with writing this story is that it can’t really be written. It has to be felt. To be lived.  It was just a summer job on the boardwalk in wildwood. But it was something else. We did the same job over and over every night. It was us on the ride, and the people lined up and boarded the ride and we sent them up. That’s it. Over and over again. A sea of faces. Thousands of happy smiling faces night after night. Non-stop. We keep loading them in and they keep coming back for more. They’re on vacation. We’re there to serve them entertainment. Welcome to the show, I’m Chaz and I’ll be your host. It’s a circus. A carnival. A place where the freaks run the rides and you enjoy the show.

But it’s more than that. We sell happiness. Joy. Excitement. Thrills. Anticipation. The list goes on and on. What job have you ever had in your life where you can deliver that to your clients every single day? That’s the only product we make and our customers can’t live without it.

I’ve never ever had a job like that again. I can name every job I’ve ever had and none of them will be any of the things I just mentioned. That’s why many of the people who work there never leave.

There are worse vocations in this world.

It’s as if we worked in a place that existed in another world. A sea of joy and happy faces. Of children giggling and laughing and having the time of their lives. we’re the hosts bringing them fond memories. The type of memories they carry with them forever. The old memories. The ancient senses developed in our species millions of years ago. 

The excitement in the air crackles around you with your every move along that boardwalk. The music that fills the air whether it’s something on the radio or the crashing symphony of the calliope from the merry-go-round. That merry-go-round that you only get to ride once in this world.

One time around. Maybe you catch the brass ring, maybe you don’t. Maybe you rode all the way home on that mighty steed or maybe you didn’t. Maybe you fell off the horse a few times but you had a good time doing it. You get one ride in this life and we all have to make it. Make yours count. Maybe not for yourself but for someone else in this life.

 

Can you smell it? Is that Curly fries, or is it the sweet fragrance of a fresh funnel cake? When you bite that soft pretzel and the mustard drips on your polo shirt, and your wife pulls out a tissue to clean you up. She and the kids are so happy you’ve got a job where they can take a vacation for a week at the seashore. To play with the kids on the beach and swim in the sea, and see things you never imagined come to life. The stroll on that boardwalk, where you stuff your head with delicious pizza from Sam’s or Mack’s. 

I’m here to help. I will facilitate your joy, sir. We all will. And we’ll deliver you a show you won’t soon forget every night. That game you played. That teddy bear you won. We’re here to deliver.

But all the while we’re loving our very existence. Really living. The sun shines above our young heads. Our skin browns in the sun and our hair turns a lovely flaxen color. We feel it too. You’re here for a week or two. But we’re here every day. We get to live this life for two months every summer.

And when the shadows grow long in the autumn twilight, you’ll remember us. Because we’ll always be with you in your memories. A place that can’t be seen or touched, but you can feel it. You can smell and taste the memory. That first bite from your favorite burger spot. That first kiss of that person you just met on the beach today or this very boardwalk. The possibilities that can happen. It’s all yours. But only for a week. I get to do this every day.

It’s my life.

For now.

But one day I will join you in your world. But, we’ll all be able to look inward and feel that bit of magic in our hearts that came to life when we were young. That place that you loved that you can never revisit. 

Only in your dreams and memories.

Other people have written about Wildwood. I’ve read what they’ve written and it’s been simple documentation of what the place was like. But not how it felt. That’s what I’ve tried to describe here.

You don’t know it if you didn’t really live it. My sisters and I really lived it.

Every summer in Wildwood was different. The weather was the same and some of the things stayed the same but that was the beautiful constant.

It was always Summer there. Eternal. I only felt its dark side when I spent my first winter there. That was when the spell was broken. But only for a while. Every summer we spent there we changed. Because we were growing up. It’s not like now when another year goes by and you’re feeling the same as last year. We were growing. We were growing up. From little children to teenagers to adults. You spent your winters in Philly and went to school in the cold and waited for the bus. But in the summer you returned to a magical paradise with days filled with sunshine and joy. Only joy. You can never get that back. Those formative years are fleeting, and once they’re gone… they’re gone forever. 

I finished writing this series after a long time. I covered everything but I knew something was missing. I scheduled it and put the finishing touches on my work because it was done. I would only return to it in a month to do final edits.

But one night I was sitting in my room watching my show, and it kept gnawing at me. Something was missing from the long series. That’s when I stopped watching TV and opened a new doc and started pounding out these words. This may not even be enough. But maybe it’ll be enough for now.

The carnival. The amusement park. The sweet sea air as it blows in warm from the beach onto the crowd as they laugh and sing through the night.

The more I wrote the more I realized it’s almost something that can’t be written about. It can’t be documented. It’s a feeling. You can write what you saw and what you did, but it’s not the same.

You have to remember the feeling. 

A dear friend once told me, “It’s not what you said or what you did. It’s how you made them feel.” 

Thanks to everyone that follows my blog and also to everybody who dug it from Facebook and Instagram. I reconnected with some old friends from these posts, so it was totally worth it.

A book about my youth in Wildwood entitled, Down the Shore will publish in 2023.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

5 Things to Know Before Separating From Your Husband or Wife (That Could Save Your Marriage)

It’s possible to still save your marriage.

Most couples think of separating when they no longer know what to do with their relationship problems. They know they’re not happy.

Perhaps, the love and connection between them feel dead. Maybe they can’t stop the fighting. A marriage separation might feel like the only way to save themselves.

But wait, isn’t a separation agreement just the first step towards divorce?

Separation is a pause in the action and treated with respect where the goal is a happy marriage.

For many people, it is because the pain is too great and the couple is desperate to feel better. They absolutely need to get away or take a break from the daily repetition of dysfunctional dynamics.

In her work, Dr. Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy, refers to the Demon Dances that couples do — the dialogues that couples have over and over that lead to nowhere but more pain, marriage problems, and disillusionment.

When a couple gets locked in their own version of Demon Dancing, they may look to separate as a means to stop the noise without going through an actual breakup.

But separating doesn’t need to be the first step to divorce. Separated couples who structure their separations can quiet the demons while making the space for learning new tools and ways of interacting.

You will most likely need the guidance and marriage advice of a Relationship Counselor or Coach to help you to mediate the various factors which need considering.

Here are 5 things you need to know before committing to a separation — even a trial separation — with your husband or wife.

1. Know your goals

Are you both fully committed to the idea that this separation is to call “time-out” on the difficulties you’re experiencing — not a “time-out” on the marriage?

There should be an agreement that neither of you run off and file for divorce without a full discussion before the end of the agreed-upon separation. That goes for threatening divorce, as well.

The separation is a pause in the action and should be treated with respect. The shared goal is to work back towards a happy marriage.

2. Be aware of the practical implications

It will take some negotiation to figure out who will stay in the home and who will move out.

If there are children, you’ll need to talk to them and make a plan for custody and/or visitation during the separation. Who will take which car? Who will use which credit cards? How will you fund two households?

You will also have to compromise and agree to stay faithful and not date others during the separation if you want to keep a healthy relationship going.

3. Discuss what to tell friends and family

It’s important to develop a script for how to handle the questions of your loved ones. Tell them what they need to know but no more.

Often, couples make the mistake of over-sharing information and inadvertently creating animosity for their relationship. This makes it tough when the two of you have healed and your family still hates your spouse!

Try something along the lines of, “We’re separating to rebuild. We’re still fully committed to our marriage and will be working hard with a therapist. We hope to have a stronger, happier relationship soon.”

4. Agree on how much will you interact

At the very least, couples will need to see each other in regular therapy appointments. At first, this might be the safest way to see one another. You might also agree to weekly dates or times together with your children. You’ll want to decide how often you want to check in on phone, email, or text.

Make a plan that honors both of your needs for separation and connection. It’s likely that you are probably used to some chaos in the relationship, but now is a good time to slow down and breathe.

If you’re the one that typically pursues your partner, this is a good time for you to pursue other interests and participate in self-care.

5. Wait until you’re both emotionally safe to move back in together

This, of course, is a very important question. Each of you should be able to state what you are looking for to feel emotionally safe enough to live together again. You should be able to see clear progress in your marital therapy, including an ability to communicate about important topics.

You’ll want to feel that you’ve resolved and forgiven those hurts which led up to the separation. You will also want a clear plan about how to handle relationship “hot buttons” before they escalate to deal-breaking problems.

I have worked and continue to work with many couples who have taken a break from their marital woes by separating. Those who have consciously structured the boundaries of their time apart have emerged with healthier, stronger relationships.

It may not be right for everyone, but handled well, a separation could just save your marriage.

 

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