For more information:

Monday, April 10, 2017

Four Axes of Connection: Places to Look When You Need Someone On Your Side

If you happen to be in a relationship that is close to breaking apart or has already broken, you may find yourself feeling lonely and worrying about being alone. The loss of our lover, companion, spouse, or friend leaves a hole in our lives. Whether it was our choice or not, we miss at least something about that person we shared language with, that person who knows us best.

It's at this point in the breakup process that it becomes super important to connect with others.

As part of the sequence of recovery from a relationship breakup, connecting to others helps provide grounding and support. It can be the first thing you need and one of the first things you do: you reach out to someone you know to tell them the news. 

If you picture yourself stretching your arms out to the sides, that's the axis of present-time connection. It's connection to peers, family, and support professionals (like a therapist). Many people find a lot of value in present-time connection. You've got people in your life to bring you a meal, text you some words of encouragement, or help with childcare or financial concerns. If you can identify even a person or two right now that you trust, connecting with them is important.

However, you might feel like you don't have a lot of friends or supporters you can lean on; your family might not be nearby or understanding. It could also be that your partner was the one with more present-time connections.

For many reasons, it might not feel possible to make sideways connections. Luckily, there are three more directions you can look in.

When I got divorced, I found that it was important to look inward and connect on the internal axis. In other words, I needed to find out who I was separate from my partner and the roles I played in that relationship and our social/family circles. Internal connection may be easy for some people; they have a strong sense of identity and are confident in their persona. For others, this internal connection can take months or years, or it may never be a priority or a possibility.

The third axis, the re-connection axis, is one I have some very recent experience with. In the last month, three different people that I had three very different relationships with have popped back into my life. One came via LinkedIn and the two others came via Facebook, which reminds me the power of social media. One gave me a chance to see that the person has had a really fulfilling life since I knew them. Another gave me a chance to show them that I've had some really great things happen to me. The third gave me an opportunity to apologize for something and help with something else.

I don't know how far into the future any of those three connections will go, but they might turn into long-term re-connections. One thing I do know is they all provided me with a chance to revisit who I was in the past and compare her to who I am now. They helped me connect with people and a time that was once very important to me.

The last axis of connection involves looking forward. It can seem daunting and difficult to try to cultivate connections in the future when you're so necessarily focused on the past (What went wrong? What could I have done differently? Is this my fault? Did I fail?). Think about the value, though. If somehow you're not connecting well in the present and you don't want to connect with the past, combining a connection with yourself with a connection to future people can be just what you need in order to weather this breakup. Finding new people for your future can include signing up for classes, joining a faith community, moving to a new neighborhood, or increasing your involvement with your children. 

What about you? Who are you connected to?

Think about your situation. Considering all four axes of connection: Which one gives you the most support right now? Which one might give you support you're missing? What strategies can you use in order to increase your level of connection to others and yourself?

If you'd like to talk about connection or feel like you could use some professional support, please don't hesitate to call me at 612-888-2522, contact me through my website or find a reputable, compassionate professional near you.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Toss the Bag of Poop, or...Things You Shouldn't Have to Do When You Break Up

A few weeks ago I noticed a funny thing on the way to work. There was a white plastic bag of poop in the middle of the street. Just sitting there, alone. My thoughts, in order, were: 

** Who drops a bag of poop and doesn't notice?
** How many people have driven by this bag of poop and done nothing?
** How gross would it be to drive over it? And, would it explode like a Taco Bell sauce packet?
** When are the poop-droppers going to get back here and move this lump of turd from the street?

Then I, of course, also drove by it.
And then I drove by it again and again and again, as did all my neighbors and delivery people. No one drove over it. No one moved it. We all just drove by it.

One day, it wasn't in the middle of the street anymore. Someone had taken the time to...well, not throw it away, per se...just move it to the side of the curb. And, they placed it precisely on my property line. 

Was this bag of poop now my responsibility? Was it my next-door neighbor's? Who was playing this game with the poop? WHY DIDN'T THEY JUST THROW IT AWAY??

So, I and all the people on my street drove by it for another week that way--it's thin white plastic handle gently waving in the breeze created by our vehicles scurrying past.

Eventually, I thought: GOOD GOD. Someone has to do something about this bag of poop!!

Then, I realized it could be me. I could be the "someone" who did something about the bag of poop. I didn't want to and I sure didn't think I should have to (it was not MY bag of poop, you know), but I *could* do something about it. So I did.

And then I decided to write about it. 


Because I know a lot of people who are dealing with bags of poop in their relationships. Almost every divorcing couple has a bag or two of poop that no one wants to deal with because "it's not fair" and "it's not my fault" and "I didn't make this mess". 

They are right. And, yet...

We often don't make the mess we have to clean up when a relationship goes south. It really can be less our fault than the other person's. It can be incredibly NOT FAIR that we have to deal with it...and it can still be a bag of poop that needs dealt with. 

There's no F for Fairness in a divorce or a breakup. Even if the money and personal property get split fairly and custody is fair and anyone (who isn't actually IN the relationship) can look at the situation, nod, and go "Yeah, that seems fair", it just isn't. It isn't fair that you have to deal with a mess that you may not have contributed equally to. It's not fair that your kids or your friends or your families have to reorganize their lives around your changed relationship.

It isn't fair; it just IS.

Are there any bags of poop lying around in your life that need tending and tossing? Are there any leftover bags of poop from your breakup that *someone* (meaning, probably YOU) just needs to deal with?

If so, knowing full well that it's not fair AT ALL, you may find that it makes sense to plug your nose, squint your eyes, and just dispose of the bag of poop quickly and efficiently because then you won't have that particular bag of poop to deal with any longer.

You'll be one step closer to better.

For more information on how to delicately dispose of or deal with bags of relationship poop, please feel free to call me at 612-888-2522, check out my website at, or email me at