POD Member Experiences Dating Discrimination

Just viewing the trailer to the new Adam Scott movie A.C.O.D. ( http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-207_162-57598847/adam-scott-is-an-a.c.o.d-in-new-trailer/ ) brings to mind the story 27 year old male POD Association member, Juan, recently shared with me.

Juan had divorced a year ago and started dating six months after.

Juan met Mia through an Internet dating site he joined.  After a few emails and phone calls, they decided to meet.  Juan was attracted to Mia immediately.  Over dinner, he shared with her that he was previously married and divorced (hereafter, termed a “MAD”) and she shared that she had been in two live-in committed relationships (hereafter, termed a “LIC”) that failed.

In thinking and feeling that Mia was a good potential match, a second date was even more enjoyable.  During that date, Juan shared the details of what led to his divorce. His marriage failed to sustain his wife’s change of life plans.

She was an exceptional athlete and, two years into their marriage, she told Juan that she wanted to pursue a goal of being chosen to the USA Olympic team in her sport.  This endeavor necessitated that she would have to move around the country several times in the course of a year to achieve selection goals required to make Team USA.  Juan had just secured a teaching job in the city in which his family lived since his childhood.  To follow her would not only mean he would have to give up his job, but also that he could not be assured he could keep a contract commitment to teach in any city for even a full school year.  His dream was to always reside close to his family.

There were other issues in their marriage, but this was the situation that ultimately led them to divorce. They had no children.

Mia politely listened to Juan’s story and then explained what caused the death of her two live-in relationships.

Juan believed their mutual sharing added more strength to their seedling dating status.

Juan called Mia for a third date.  He noticed her different tone of voice even as she said, “Oh, hello.”  Mia responded to his date request by telling him that she did not want to continue to date.  Juan asked, “Why?”  She responded, “Because you are divorced.”

In telling me the story, Juan was perplexed and confused.  There was something that he just could not understand.  How could Mia’s reason for dismissing him be for a divorce when she had two extended, failed, live-in relationships in her record book?  What was the difference, really?

This is a cultural phenomenon in America today.

A hundred years ago, if Mia had cohabitated with a man outside of wedlock, she would have drawn the scrutiny of her family and the community.

Recent statistics reveal that 8.1 million American households are inhabited by unmarried heterosexual couples. Today, pre-marital cohabitation which fails is looked upon with different eyes than divorce.    A person with four live-in fails is somehow distinct from four divorces logged.

This is especially notable when considering that LIC’s may struggle with commitment issues in the first place or may be less willing or skilled at working hard through relationship breakdowns.

Juan asked me, “Isn’t the break-up of a live-in, committed relationship like a divorce?”  I suggested to him that we could call that a live-in-committed-divorce (hereafter, a “LICD”).

Is it naive to think that the separation of a committed, long-term, live-in couple is less emotionally draining or less of a life punch in the gut than a divorce?   If they have children, are they less effected?

What do you think?  Please tell the members…

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Co-Parenting & having “the talk” with your kids

Parenting collaboratively from two household is difficult and complex.  This story illuminates that reality.

When Tomas, a divorced dad of a 12 year-old daughter, Anna, had Saturday placement, his daughter had her first period.  She chose not to tell her father – not a peep.

The next day, dad rode with the mom to drop Anna off at camp for a week.   When they were alone on the drive home, mom shared with dad what had occurred at his home the day before.  Suddenly, the blood stains on Anna’s bed sheet made sense to Tomas.

Dad chose not to ask mom why she did not call him on Saturday with a heads-up after Anna called her with the announcement.  Mom suggested to the dad that Anna may have been too embarrassed to tell him or talk about it with him.  Tomas asked mom what “product” Anna was using so that he could make that available in his home.  Mom said that Anna was given product and not to worry, suggesting again that Anna may be hesitant to discuss the topic with Tomas.

Tomas pondered the events and process that just occurred for his POD family.  Tomas knew this was a big deal in Anna’s maturing process and, somehow, he felt on the outside looking in.  He was not being viewed as a valuable resource to Anna in the situation and, without notice, was not included.

This is sad.

Not that it is always so, but within an intact family, there is more opportunity for mom to immediately inform dad of Anna’s development and to collaborate how to discuss the issue with her from numerous perspectives.

Parents tend not to discuss sexual issues with their “of-age” children nearly enough.  Being in two households makes it even easier to avoid the discomfort and work of deciding what to say, what to teach, and when.

To Tomas’ credit, he wrote mom a letter declaring that he wanted to be more involved with Anna about her physical maturity.  He wrote that he would share with Anna that now he knew and to inquire with Anna into what she had learned about the actual physiological purpose of a woman’s menstrual cycle and, even more importantly, what having her period now meant to her sense of self.

In the actual conversation, Anna shared that she knew her body was going through a “monthly cleansing” and Tomas was able to add more facts about how her body prepares itself for egg fertilization and regroups through the menstrual cycle when no pregnancy occurs.  Anna was not shy or uncomfortable in the conversation and told Tomas that her period signals that she is “growing up” and is now capable of becoming pregnant.

Tomas asked Anna to consider that the arrival of her period should have her reflect upon the ability that God has given her to grow one of her fertilized eggs into a baby.  And, that she should always honor and respect her body within that miracle potential.

Anna seemed to welcome her dad’s interest and appreciated his insights. Anna and dad agreed that, within the coming years, they would have many conversations about her growing up, sexuality, and dating.

Effective collaborative parenting requires awareness and the willingness to collaborate on a level with parents and children who reside in one home.

Please share your collaborative parenting successes and failures on the POD community social network.  We can learn so much from one another!

Why I Am Never Getting Married

I am always amazed by the conversations I get into with people since beginning the POD mission and project.

Recently I was checking in at the hotel registration desk where I was conducting a workshop. A bright-eyed, polite, twenty-something, seemingly intelligent, attractive lady named Sheila politely said, “How may I help you?” I told her I was here for a conference. She asked for my credit card and began typing on her computer. She paused; then said, “PEOPLE OF DIVORCE, what’s that?”

I shared, “It’s a membership driven, on-line association for the 60 million people of divorce in America that provides education, support, and resources focused on accomplishing the one goal that all POD’s want – to never go through another divorce again, to never have our kids go through another divorce, and to never have our grandchildren feel the pain of divorce.”

Her eyes widened as she looked up at me and said, “That’s wonderful! Your Association is so needed! It is interesting because just last month I made a decision that I am never going to get married. It’s too expensive to get a divorce. And, all of my friends who got married in their 20’s have divorced within two years – every one of them! It’s a big problem in this community.”

Looking into her eyes, I could see she was dead serious.

Is this to where our culture has evolved – our young people not wanting pursuing marriage for fear of divorce? Is this what my 11 year old daughter be thinking when she is 20? What are the implications for our grandchildren? What is the future of our society? What can we do? Please share your thoughts with the membership.