Divorce doesn’t have to be a drama-filled ordeal, even if you feel like your heart’s been torn apart. Read More...

“Sarene had never married — it was illogical to believe two people could remain compatible for a lifetime …” (Robert Jordan, Lord of Chaos, pg. 489).

Even if you know that your person and you will both change over time, the reality is that you don’t get married expecting a divorce.

Almost no one does. Even if you sign a pre-nup, chances are you don’t really plan to divorce. It’s just a precaution.

Unfortunately, sometimes a divorce is just the way things shake out.

Divorce almost always comes as a surprise — to at least one of the parties.

Even though I had noticed some incompatibilities between my husband and me over the years, it was a shock to me when he asked for a divorce.

I was truly surprised. In fact, even though we’d had some problems over the years, I thought we were working through them better. Things had seemed smooth for a while. Then, one day as we were making plans for some quality time together during the coming week, he just sort of blurted out that he wanted to split.

I felt hurt and betrayed and a number of other emotions. As was natural.

But those feelings didn’t stop me from deciding that it was important to learn how to divorce like an adult — and do it quickly for the sake of our son and our own sanity.

Let it out and let it go.

You don’t have to bottle everything up when you divorce like an adult. I cried every morning for two weeks. One day, I lost it and went on a rage-fueled, profanity-laden tirade at my husband. That was the least adult interaction we had, and he was gracious through it all, letting me get it out and apologizing that his choices put us in this situation. (Our son was nowhere near, which was important.)

After letting it all out that time, I realized that I also had to let go. Let go of the hurt and anger and sadness, and replace it with purpose. It’s not always easy, even two and half years later.

Sometimes I feel angry or upset. There are times I feel a little bitter when I think about what should have been my life. I look at the things I’ve had to accept and do and settle for because of this situation, and I feel angry. But I acknowledge those feelings and let them go.

Besides, I look around and realize that I have a pretty great life right now. It’s not perfect (whose life really is, anyway?), but the bitter feelings well up much less often than they used to. Time has helped. And so has letting go of the feelings after I’ve experienced them.

Being angry doesn’t help anyone, and it holds me back. Plus, it’s not healthy for my son to live with me if I’m negative. Letting go is one of the most important things you can when you are ready to divorce like an adult.

Your kids aren’t bargaining chips.

It’s tempting to bring the kids into the situation.

This is a terrible thing to do to the people you love.

Your kids need love and support — and they need to see a united front. Even when you are divorced, you still need to coparent. Just because I was angry at my ex, it doesn’t mean that he’s a bad person. He’s still my son’s father, and they need to have a good relationship.

Unless there is actual abuse involved (and you need to do what it takes to protect them), your children will be better off if you both act like grown-ups and are kind to each other.

My ex and I consult on major purchases related to my son. I’m not buying him a laptop until I discuss it with my ex, and we regularly talk about consequences, and school, and other parenting issues. Staying on the same page keeps the kids from playing you off of one another and helps them see that you can handle the situation like healthy adults.

Your friends aren’t bargaining chips, either.

The same is true of your friends. Don’t make them pick sides.

In the last couple of years since the divorce, my ex and I have done things together with friends. We went to a basketball game with one couple. We also got together with another group of friends for a New Year’s Eve party.

Don’t pump your mutual friends for info about your ex, either. While I’m pretty reserved in what I say to our mutual friends, I also acknowledge that he probably needs a safe place to go.

Besides, unless what my ex is doing will affect our son and those visits, it’s none of my business. He’s got his own life, and there’s no reason for me to pry. Especially if it will make things awkward with my friends.

Keep calm and communicate.

How to Divorce Like an Adult: Keep Calm and Communicate

Other than The Incident, my ex and I talked calmly throughout the entire process, even doing our research to figure out how to divorce in the most cost-efficient manner.

It helps that we are both reasonable, grownass adults who aren’t trying to destroy other people’s lives.

We sat down and talked through what would be the best way for us both to get a fresh start. We were calm when talking about the issues, and when one of us started feeling stressed about it, we took a break to regroup.

Dragging it out and trying to “stick it” to the other person doesn’t help anyone. The only people that benefit are the lawyers. We saved money on the divorce by divvying everything up on our own, and acknowledging that we were both working toward the goal of a good start.

Do I sometimes wish that my ex’s desire for divorce didn’t come with the current results? Sure. Am I going to try to ruin his life? Nope.

I’ve got better things to do. Like get on with my own life.

Can you remain on good terms?

Learning how to divorce like an adult isn’t just about settling it like grownups and moving on. If you don’t have any of the same friends or you don’t have children together, you may never have to see your former S.O. again. And that’s cool if that’s the way you want it.

But I’ve got a child with my ex, and I have relationships with members of his family because we were married for 13½ years. So he’s part of my life. Permanently.

Actually, we’re pretty good friends. We text and talk regularly. Our relationship is the best it’s been in probably three years. The first Christmas after the divorce, when I went to collect my son after holiday time with dad, we got together with his parents and had dinner. Like normal families do. We also enjoyed a pretty kick-ass family vacation (just the three of us) to New York in July.

We’ve spent Christmas together since, and had some solid family time together during summer months. My ex even came and stayed a week with us here in Idaho.

While things are changing a bit as my ex gets involved with dating and I deal with a situationship, we still remain on friendly terms.

In fact, even though I won’t be staying over the summer for as long, we’re still planning a nice family dinner. I’ll be out there for business anyway, and my son is spending most of the summer with his dad, so we’ll all hang out for a day or two.

Real talk: divorce.

Divorce doesn’t have to be toxic and drama-filled. We seem to have this idea in society that divorce has to be terrible, and you have to go around trying to ruin each other’s lives.

Or we have this idea that someone is an awful person for asking for a divorce. But that’s not the case. Sometimes it just doesn’t work anymore. And because relationship dynamics are increasingly equal, there’s no reason to stick out a marriage if you’re unhappy.

Divorcing like an adult doesn’t mean that it will be all unicorns and rainbows. There are hard choices to make, and emotions can run high. It’s not fun.

But, at the same time, a divorce also doesn’t have to turn your life into a pit of despair. There are ways for you to approach the situation in a mature manner, and come up with a way to give you both the best potential start in your new lives.

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Always coming up short when you’re out. Never paying their fair share. What do you do when you’re always covering? Read More...

We’ve all had that friend. You know the one.

When the dinner bill comes, they severely underestimate their share (let alone account for tax and tip). You spot them $10 here and $20 there — and they always “forget” to pay you back.

But you let it slide every time. After all, what’s a few bucks among good friends?

That used to be your attitude.

Lately, your desire for a person’s company has a perfect negative correlation to how much of their crap you are required to put up with. You are, in fact, too old for this shit.

You’d like to stay friends with your broke friend, but it seems like an almost impossible task. If you want to maintain the friendship, it will take a little work. And maybe a couple of drastic measures.

Here’s how to deal with that friend who makes you feel more like a bank than their buddy — without killing the relationship.

Be honest.

The great thing about friends (real friends — not the people you pretend to like out of various social obligations) is that you can tell them the truth and they’ll still be your friend. A true friend gets that sometimes you say and do things out of tough love.

You’re not doing anyone any favors by pretending your pal’s poor money etiquette doesn’t bother you. Besides, leaving those feelings festering just creates an uncomfortable situation for everyone. Your friends can sense your displeasure.

So the next time they leave you hanging with the bill, be up front and tell them how much they owe right then and there. Clear the air.

Add that you’re pretty strapped for cash as well and can’t afford to cover them. Consistently push back rather than ignore the behavior. Eventually, they’ll get it and stop mooching all the time.

And if this honesty does cause a rift in your relationship, it’s probably time to reevaluate whether you two shared a real friendship at all. No one likes being the ATM all the time.

Find cheap or free things to do.

A novel idea, right?

As much as you’re annoyed by your pal’s perpetual brokeness, they likely feel pressured to keep up with the group financially, too. After all, if your group is always going out, the FOMO is real for you — and for your annoying broke friend.

That’s a tough spot to be in. As a friend, though, you can be part of the solution. Find ways to spend quality time together that don’t force your buddy into yet another awkward situation. There’s no reason to hit the clubs every weekend or go out to expensive restaurants.

Besides, one of the best things about friends is that all you really need is each other’s company to have an awesome time.

Check your local weekly for low-cost and free events such as concerts, art exhibits, and movie screenings. Have a picnic at the beach (or in the park). Go for a hike. Get dressed up, pretend you’re rich, and hop from one open house to the next while eating all their snacks along the way.

Or, just have a chill evening at home, playing games and laughing.

No matter what you do, the important thing is that you have fun together — without spending a ton of money. Once you start getting creative about these types of activities, it’s easy to have a good time without breaking the bank.

Consider it a gift.

That Annoying Broke Friend

When your friend does ask for money, and you feel comfortable parting with the cash, treat it as a gift.

Loaning money turns a personal relationship into one of business, which opens the door for guilt and resentment on both sides — especially if the borrower isn’t able to pay up.

When you loan money, things get weird. Often, it’s better to just consider it a gift. Or, take turns paying for each other. However, if your broke friend can’t (or won’t) take a rightful turn, that can get just as ugly. When you give money to someone you are pretty sure won’t pay you back, just think of it as money gone and move on.

Bottom line.

It’s your choice whether or not you want to support your friend financially — and it’s perfectly fine if you do.

Keep in mind, however, that you can’t expect things to change if you continue to enable the situation. If your friend starts to rely on you, and the situation suddenly changes, you could be doing your friend a huge disservice. It’s vital to think through the implications.

Friendship is something that only becomes more precious as you grow older. As you watch your time with friends dwindle, you might worry that soon there will be no one left. As a result, it can be tempting to over-compromise in order to avoid conflict.

But true friendship is also built on honesty and desire to make each other happy. It’s a relationship that involves give and take. If you’re always the giver, it can get old fast. So don’t be afraid to share your feelings in a caring but straightforward manner if things are becoming unbearable.

Besides, you also have to think of your own money situation. At some point, you need to stop sacrificing your own well-being on behalf of someone who offers nothing in return. If your own financial goals are jeopardized in order to keep the peace between you and a broke friend, that friendship probably isn’t worth it in the first place.

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Ghosting is the ultimate passive-aggressive avoidance behavior. Here’s what to do when it happens to you. Read More...

Things have been going great: you’re texting daily, flirting over social media, maybe even Netflix and chilling every now and then.

At least, you were.

Recently, the texts have slowed to infrequent, one-word responses. Your DMs don’t seem to be going through. You watched The End of the F***ing World alone last weekend and spent waaaaaay too much time on YouTube.

To the objective observer, it’s clear what is going on. He (or she) is just not that into you and wishes you would take the hint.

In other words, you’re in the middle of being ghosted.

Or, just maybe, you’ve already been ghosted.

Have you really been ghosted?

Unfortunately, attraction turns even the most logical individual into an optimistic idiot.

Maybe he’s just really, really busy. Perhaps she had a family emergency. You’ll hear back when everything gets straightened out — but let’s send another text just in case the previous 15 somehow weren’t received.

While attempts to rationalize the situation after weeks of radio silence might be foolish, those feelings of hurt and betrayal are not. The act of ghosting is a growing phenomenon that can be confusing and painful for the person left wondering what happened.

But with growing reliance on digital means of communication, ghosting is becoming a popular strategy for ending a relationship while avoiding conflict. In fact, if someone thinks they can honestly avoid bumping into you for a few months (and hopefully forever), they will likely go ahead and ghost you.

We live in a world where people hide behind semi-anonymity all the time. We don’t like dealing with unpleasantness, and a real, actual break-up is the definition of unpleasant.

When you’re on the receiving end, though, it’s brutal. Here’s your survival guide for being ghosted:

Stop trying.

Sure, it’s possible there are exceptional circumstances preventing the person in question from getting back to you. As more time passes, your desire to find out what’s wrong increases.

You tell yourself you need closure. Can’t they just get back to you and tell you why? You try to convince yourself that you’ll be fine if it’s over — as long as they just explain everything. After all, they owe you the courtesy.

Just stop. If they really wanted to talk to you, they would find a way. A sudden, prolonged halt in communication is a strong sign they not only want to break things off but don’t respect your feelings enough to tell you in person — or at least over the phone.

Real talk: they’ve probably moved on to someone else (who they will likely end up treating the exact same way).

In the long-run, you’ll come away with your dignity intact if you stop trying to make contact after one or two follow-ups. Obsessing over it isn’t doing you any favors. It doesn’t hurt them, and all it does is sap your emotional energy and bring you down. They’re not worth your energy, so stop giving it to them.

And if it turns out they were trapped in an abandoned mineshaft for two weeks with no cell service, I’m sure you’ll get a call as soon as possible.

Understand it’s them, not you.

So You've Been Ghosted

“It is a form of avoidance,” said Lisa Bahar, a marriage and family therapist based in Newport Beach, CA. Bahar explained that ghosting is a behavior meant to communicate that the person doesn’t want any more contact for now — without actually having to communicate.

In other words, the act of ghosting is one of immaturity. A person who ghosts is overwhelmed by either a crippling fear of confrontation or a shameful lack of empathy for others.

Either way, it’s not a good look — for them.

That lack of emotional awareness would like have manifested in other ways throughout a prolonged relationship. Trite as it might sound, it’s better to find this out somewhat early on, before you’ve put too much of your life, time, energy, and (possibly) money into the relationship.

It’s important to understand that being ghosted is nothing personal. People who ghost simply lack the basic social skills that dictate we show consideration for others.

Focus on yourself.

So screw them. You are no less attractive, intelligent, or interesting because someone didn’t have the balls to speak to you directly and honestly. That’s their problem and it’s not your responsibility to fix it.

Really, don’t try to fix it.

Don’t concoct elaborate emotional revenge schemes and don’t think about what you’ll say to them when you run into them at the bar. Don’t think about how you’ll teach them a lesson. It’s not your job to turn someone into a decent human being.

Bahar recommended processing your feelings with a therapist or trusted confidant while giving the ghoster space.

“Avoid asking for explanations,” she said, and instead find healthy outlets for releasing your frustration and anger.

Then move on with your life. After all, what’s greater payback than not giving a shit?

Actually, scratch that. You don’t want to even think about payback.

Instead, get to know you. Enjoy yourself doing things you like. It’s ok to spend time alone and like it. In fact, you might be happier single once you get to know yourself.

Bottom line.

Adult relationships are hard. They require candor, compromise, and the acceptance that sometimes it’s just not going to work out. But the hardest things in life also tend to be the most rewarding in the end.

When someone ghosts you, it’s clear that they weren’t willing to put in the work. Instead, if you want a relationship, you deserve to be with someone who puts in the same amount of work you do. Don’t waste your time on someone who can’t be bothered with your feelings.

Ghosting happens, but that doesn’t make it okay. You don’t like to be ghosted, so show others the same courtesy if you’re not feeling it.

Don’t give in to the temptation to go dark on someone just because you’re afraid to talk to them. Treating others with compassion — even if the actual passion is gone — is the easiest way to receive the same in return.

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It’s ok to get your freak on. Here’s how to do it comfortably with your partner. Read More...

If your sexual tastes go beyond the traditional, you’re not alone – Americans are getting kinkier by the minute.

As a society, we’ve started to move past the stigma and shame associated with fetishes and kinks. But not everyone is comfortable exploring their kinkier side, and that can cause serious problems in a relationship.

Mismatched sexual desires can be a relationship-killer, and many people avoid the conversation altogether. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make the problem go away.

If you’re the kinky one in a relationship, it’s up to you to make sure your sexual needs are being fulfilled. Your partner might not be open to trying everything, but you might also be surprised at how receptive they are. Some people need a little encouragement to bring out their freaky side.

Before you give up hope, here are a few things to try:

Talk about it with your partner.

This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s shocking just how many relationship issues persist due to a lack of communication.

If you’ve been scared to bring up your kinky side to your partner, now’s the perfect time to tell them. Start off slow. Talk about your favorite kink, and why it turns you on. Make sure you’re in a setting where you’re both comfortable and alone.

Find out if they are interested in learning more. If they are open to it, maybe send them a link to your favorite porn video with that kink and ask them what they think. Ask them subtle questions about the fetish, like if they’ve ever tried it or been interested.

Gauge their responses carefully. Do they sound curious or turned off?

Take it slow, and give your partner time to think.

Sex therapist Lanae St. John of The MamaSutra says you should do this during a non-sexual time so the person doesn’t feel pressured to decide to try something right away. Also, never demonstrate the kink on your partner without their full and affirmative consent. Your partner needs to feel safe in order to explore something new.

You can also send them a link to Mojo Upgrade, a sex questionnaire that examines your interest in various sexual positions, scenarios, and fetishes. You’ll each take the questionnaire separately, and the site will only send you a list of ideas you’re both into. That way, there’s no fear of you exposing your wildest fantasies to a partner who’s not into it.

These are non-threatening ways to bring up your kink. And it’s vital that you do so in a way that doesn’t put pressure on your partner. If you feel like you need a little distance, the Mojo Upgrade can help — as can my next suggestion.

See a sex therapist together.

If you’re still having trouble communicating your desires, see a sex therapist. A sex therapist specializes in helping people understand their sexual needs and fulfill them in a consensual way.

A sex therapist can help your partner understand why you like something, and help you realize why your significant other might be apprehensive. You can find a qualified professional through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

One of our favorite sex educators is Bez Stone. She offers insights into why we’re so uncomfortable with sex, and what you can do about it. Sometimes, it’s less about the kinkiness and more about understanding your partner and being able to have a mutually satisfying experience based on grownup realities, rather than the erroneous information we received as teenagers.

Praise them for trying something kinky.

A partner who isn’t kinky the same way you are might feel scared to try it, even if it’s a common scenario like bondage or choking.

Going out on a limb sexually is a frightening experience for many people. If they decide to go along with your idea, be encouraging, supportive and avoid criticism. Yes, they might not be doing it “right,” but at least they’re doing it.

It’s the same way you’d treat a boyfriend who bakes your favorite dessert on your birthday. Sure, the cake might not taste the same way your mom made it, but you should still show your appreciation. A person who feels shamed for doing something is less likely to try it again. You can still offer suggestions or corrections, but be gentle, understanding, and show your enthusiasm for the next time.

Avoid pressure.

If there’s one thing that will destroy your sex life, it’s pressuring your partner to do something they aren’t interested in. It’s ok to mention a fetish a few times, but if your partner always says no or seems uncomfortable, stop bringing it up. Pressuring your partner probably won’t work, and even if it does it will just lead to resentment.

Sometimes, backing off and waiting a while to bring the issue up again works better. Your partner might want more time to get used to the idea. If they’re unsure, waiting could show them how willing you are to be patient and understanding.

Decide if it’s a dealbreaker.

While sex isn’t necessarily the most important thing in a relationship, it is a vital component of a healthy romantic partnership. In my college psych class, we learned about the Venn diagram of relationships. It had three circles: love, sex, and friendship.

Image credit: Alivox.net

If you have sex and love, you have a relationship based on lust and infatuation. When you have friendship and sex, you’re friends-with-benefits. If you only have friendship and love, you’re missing the physical component.

To have a successful partnership, all three circles need to align. When sex is missing or inadequate, a third of your relationship becomes fractured. If your sex life starts to feel lackluster and your partner is unwilling to change, it could be time to move on.

And, quite frankly, it can help to figure this out before you get married (if you decide to marry). After all, what happens if you are a couple years into a marriage before you realize that your sex life is a total dealbreaker. Even if you decide not to have sex before marriage, talking about the kinky stuff you like ahead of time can at least give you a clue — and even be a warning to your potential mate.

Where to go next with your relationship.

St. John says that sometimes couples with mismatched sex interests go outside of their relationships to find what they’re looking for. This kind of open relationship doesn’t work for everyone, but it is an option in some cases. But making an open relationship work is its own challenge.

Carefully think about what matters most to you and your partner. Think through the situation to see if you can make something kinky work, or if you need to seek satisfaction elsewhere. Be realistic and open as you go on this journey.

And invite your partner to come with you. Your partner might surprise you.

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We all speak different languages. Learn how to speak your SO’s. Read More...

Before Gary Chapman published The 5 Love Languages in 1995 partners have been struggling to try and decipher each other.

“Why does she touch me like that?”

“Why won’t he touch me like that?”

“Why does she say those things?”

“Why doesn’t he stop talking?”

The arrival of a manual helped couples learn how to better communicate. After all, the way we communicate love differs from person to person. You might need a translator to ensure that you and your partner aren’t constantly unhappy due to misunderstandings.

On one hand, it may seem ideal to have a partner who has the same love language as you. On the other, it could lead to a boring, one-dimensional relationship.

To be fair, though, having a partner with a different love language is a challenge. You both want certain things that the other may not be able to give — or they just may not understand what you’re asking for.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Better understanding your partner’s love language can lead to better communication. When you start to speak your partner’s love language, they’ll start to speak yours. Then, you have better communication, which leads to more happiness — and more and better sex.

That’s when it gets fun. Speaking your partner’s love language doesn’t have to suck. It can prove very rewarding for both of you. So, let’s better understand each of the languages of love.

Language of affirmations.

The best three words in the world to hear are, “I have wine.” The second best three words are “I love you.” This is especially true for people who speak the love language of affirmations.

Speaking this language may be the easiest of all, and words aren’t necessarily required to speak this language. Sure, a quiet “I love you” whispered in the ear in morning is nice. Those can never be discounted – not even if you don’t speak the love language of affirmations.

However, a simple text mid-day that says, “How’s your day?” does wonders. “I’ve been thinking about you” will send them through the roof. Go to Hallmark.com and send your word-affirming partner an e-card telling them how you feel, and you’ll be the week’s biggest winner.

Satisfying a person who desires words of affirmations only requires remembering to say, send, write or text a thoughtful sentence once in a while.

Language of quality time.

Lovers who speak the love language of quality time love spending time with their partner – whatever they’re doing, regardless of what they’re doing. This can be anything from lying in bed to watching a movie to spending the day at a theme park.

The time spent together can be easy or complex. It doesn’t matter. Personally, this is my second strongest love language. Whether we’re binging Netflix, each working our own jobs in the same room, or drinking wine on our balcony, I love simply spending time with the person I love.

The best combination of partners may just be those who prefer quality time and those who prefer touch because hours spent touching each other makes both partners happy. Maybe as important as matching yourself with a partner who fits with your astrological sign is matching with a partner who fits your language of love.

Language of touch.

We’re all familiar with the love language of touch. If you were an alien who did nothing but watch television and movies on your first visit to earth, you’d think touch was the only love language of your new human friends.

The love language of touch isn’t only about lovemaking. This kind of language includes holding hands, snuggling on the couch, spooning in bed, running your fingers through your partner’s hair, massages, and more.

These people love holding hands. They appreciate a kiss on the forehead. Of course, don’t discount the sexual touching. Never. Discount. Sex.

Touching this person the right way at the right time will never suck, but . . .

Language of gifts.

You may think that lovers who speak the language of gifts keep the economy going, but that’s not entirely true. It’s also not true that those speaking this love language are materialistic. Gifts for these lovers don’t need to be expensive or even bought. They simply need to be thoughtful.

The person who speaks the love language of gifts want to know someone – you – care for them. This can be done with small gestures, such as a homemade card, a flower picked on your way home, a kiss wrapped with a bow on it.

Give a thoughtful gift to this person and they’ll shower you with all the love they can give.

Language of service.

The person who speaks the language of love isn’t looking for a Lady in Waiting or a Gentleman of the Bedchamber (here). This person appreciates when their love does for them something they can do for themselves.

This one hits home. I love cleanliness. I love when my condo is spotless. I love when there are no dishes in the sink. I love, love, love clean sheet night.

Not long ago, our Mini Cooper was filthy. Denver had a bunch of snow, and with the snow, sludge, and de-icers our Mini was a mess. When the roads and weather permitted, my husband had our car thoroughly cleaned inside and out. I was the happiest driver on the road, and this half hour and $30 investment showed me a special kind of love.

The language of service, however, is not all about cleaning. It’s holding the door open. It’s picking up the laundry. It’s making dinner. It’s taking the kids out of the house, so your partner can soak in the tub and read a good book in quiet.

Show the love of service with your partner and your lover is sure to stick with you through thick and thin.

As you can see, your S.O.’s love language doesn’t suck when you understand the kind of love they need. In fact, giving your lover the love they need will give you the love you need.

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Sure, moving back home is a great way to save money after college. But at some point you need to suck it up and move out. Read More...

One of the best ways to save money is to live with your parents. Food and shelter are provided, and you probably have internet access as well. As someone who has been going over to my mom’s to print stuff out for the last three weeks, I know the seduction of access to free services.

At some point in the next week or so, though, I need to suck it up and buy a printer cartridge. And at some point in the near future, you need to move out of your parents’ house.

While your parents might be willing to let you stick around for a little longer, it’s really not the best option for long-term success as an adult. At some point, it’s time to move out. Even if your parents are charging you rent (it’s probably below market rate) and expect help with chores, eventually you need to leave the nest.

If you aren’t sure it’s really time for you to get a place of your own, here are seven clues the (mostly) free ride is over:

1. You can afford your own place.

It might require a little sacrifice on your part, but if you can afford your own place, it’s time to move out. Even if you need a roommate to help you afford your first place, it’s time to move out when you have the money to take care of your own needs.

Research the local housing market. What are the rents? Look at estimated utilities. How much are groceries? If you are worried that you can’t afford all those costs, take your new budget for a test drive. Set aside what you’d pay for rent, utilities, and groceries in a savings account. If you can manage your budget with comfort for at least four months, you should definitely leave your parents’ house.

2. Conversations devolve into arguments.

Does it feel like every conversation you have with your parents devolves into an argument? As long as you live in someone else’s home, they feel they have the right to tell you how to do things. And they aren’t too far off. If you feel that you’re always arguing with your parents, it’s time to move out. Get that distance, and you might be surprised at how much your relationship with your parents improves.

This sign is less about your ability to manage your money outside your parents’ home and more about the emotional situation. It’s all about preserving the most important relationships in your life.

3. You have too much stuff.

Tired of trying to cram everything into a single bedroom? Even though I lived in a campus dorm three years out of four, I still ended up with more stuff than could reasonably fit in a bedroom at my parents’ house. When you have your own TV, computer, furniture (spare as it might be), and other trappings that make it hard to fit everything into your old bedroom, it’s probably time to move out.

And let’s engage in a little real talk. It’s not your parents’ job to store your shit in their basement or garage. My parents were ecstatic the day I took the last of my boxes down from the attic and carted it off to my own storage space. Don’t take over your parent’s home with your junk. Either pare down your belongings or move out. At the very least, get your own storage unit.

4. You’re ready for the next chapter.

One of the biggest clues it’s time to move out is that you’re ready for the next chapter. It’s practically impossible to feel like you’re moving on with your life — and becoming your own person — when you’re living with your parents and still (sometimes) being treated like a kid instead of an adult.

When you find yourself stagnating in your life, it’s time to move forward. Just moving out can help you get out of your life rut. It can energize and help you feel more grown up. After all, you’re taking care of business.

Besides, moving out and starting the next chapter doesn’t mean that you’re going ignore your parents. My son and I go to my parents’ for Sunday dinner every week, even though I’m pretty self-sufficient. You don’t have to leave your family behind just because you’re moving on with your life.


5. Lack of privacy.

Can’t bring bae home to chill because it’s awkward? Do you have to walk outside in the freezing cold when you take a call? Does it feel like your parents are staring at you every time you leave your room? Are you expected to come out of your room and socialize regularly? You need your own space.

As you get older, you have a chance to be you. Living in a place where you can’t just let loose cramps your style, and it doesn’t help you develop into a fully functioning adult. We all need those private moments.

6. The rules are getting to you.

You want to be treated like an adult, but you feel like all the rules make you feel like a kid? It’s time to move out. You’re living in someone else’s house, and that means they make the rules.

After college, it’s hard to come back and worry about how late you stay out and what you’re doing with “me” time. Tired of living by their rules? Figure out what it takes to move and get your own place. Then you make the rules.

7. Your parents are dropping hints.

It’s not always about you and your needs and wants.

At some point, your parents are likely to want you to move out. My mom considered it a mark of success when we could get out of the house and mostly “make it” on our own. If your parents are dropping heavy hints, like sending you Craig’s List ads for rentals, it’s time to move out. The biggest clue, though, is when your parents start charging you rent. If you’re paying rent to live in your childhood bedroom, you’re not adulting.

Take the next step.

While it can be scary to move out and make it on your own, it’s something you can handle. Start by making a reasonable budget and seeing what you can afford. Save up a little so that you are ready to make the move. Let your parents know your plans and see if they can offer some support.

And, once you’re out, keep up the relationship with your parents. They have helped you for a couple decades. Maintain those family ties, and be ready to help them when they need it.

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Forget IQ. What you really want is better emotional intelligence. Read More...

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We hear about IQ all the time — even if it’s controversial. However, book smarts and the ability to pass a test might not help you a lot in your interactions with other people. What you need to develop is emotional intelligence.

The ability connect with others is an important part of life. When you develop emotional intelligence, your relationships with others, from your friends to your coworkers to your kids to your parents to your life partner, improve immensely.


  • What it means to be emotionally intelligent.
  • How your emotional intelligence helps you interact with others.
  • Tips for using emotional control to problem-solve.
  • The importance of being able to understand others.
  • How to develop an emotionally intelligent approach to life.
  • Tips for boost your level of emotional intelligence.
  • Learning to recognize your emotions and others.
  • How to practice different activities to make you more emotionally intelligent.

Use this week’s DO NOWs to get started with developing your emotional intelligence. Begin recording your feelings in a journal, and practice active listening. You can also begin looking for others’ good qualities and get input from others about your own personality and how you come across.

Having trouble identifying social cues? Our question this week looks at what happens when you struggle in social situations. We talk about developing emotional intelligence and how to improve your skills if needed.

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Basics of emotional intelligence

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What happened to all your BFFs from high school and college? Chances are you need a new crew. Here’s what you need to know about making new friends. Read More...

When you graduate high school, it seems like your group of friends will stay close forever. For most people, that sentiment barely lasts through college. Once you get your degree, you may assume the same thing with the new group you’ve formed at university.

As great as it would be to hang on to all the personal connections we make throughout the years, people grow apart and move away. Your best friend in college could end up being a borderline stranger before you turn 30. As popular as you may have been at any one time, you may wake up one day soon and realize: I need new friends.

It’s ok. That’s a common sentiment these days, even in a digital age where connecting to anyone around the world is possible with the click of a button. Unfortunately, connecting on a personal level is a little harder.

At this time in your life, friendships are going to be important to your health and well-being — and they’ll continue to be in the years ahead. Being active socially with friends keeps you happy, but it also keeps you healthy, because friends will encourage you to maintain healthy habits and support you as you pursue whatever health goals you have.

And in life, all your goals will find support among your friends. It’s unlikely you can achieve everything you’d like to do without that kind of moral support.

If you’ve found yourself feeling lonely, unfulfilled, or bored lately, it might be time to start the friend search. Here are some tips for making new friends.

Lower your expectations.

Once I graduated from college and moved away from my closest girlfriends, I realized how special our bond was. I’d no longer have access to my best friends any time of day without advance notice.

Adult friendships are different. It takes longer to become close to someone, and meeting people isn’t as simple as talking across the dorm hall.

Instead of getting upset that finding a BFF is harder than you imagined, you need to refine your expectations. Don’t be disappointed if you can’t find a special bond with everyone you meet; that will only discourage you from meeting new people and making new friends.

You don’t have to lower your expectations in the quality of person you look for when you choose your closest friends. Just assume that with everyone’s busier schedule — we’re all adults with adult responsibilities — the effort it takes to make and maintain connections with friends is going to be harder.

Go online.

My latest attempt at friendship-forming is through Bumble. Bumble is most often used as a dating app, like Tinder, but it also offers a Bumble BFF version where women can find other female friends.

I signed up for Bumble only a week ago and already have had a dozen matches and one official date planned this week. Anyone using the app really wants to find new girlfriends, so it’s easier to strike up a conversation.

If you’re a guy, stay patient. There may not be any great friend-finding apps for males yet, but the tide is headed in that direction. The success of Bumble for platonic-connections will likely open up a world of friendship possibilities for both genders.

It doesn’t have to be a dating or connection-making app. There are online tools that focus on the area you live in. Local Facebook groups is just one way to find those who live near you who might be open to getting together.

Find common interests.

Meetup is one of the first resources people suggested when I talked about making new friends. They were right: the site is a treasure trove of people like me. But it can also be a dud.

There are two kinds of groups on Meetup:

  1. Groups based around a mutual interest or activity.
  2. Groups based around demographics.

You can find groups for knitters, hikers, and teachers, or groups for women in their 30s who live downtown.

The problem with the latter is that besides gender and age, I might have little in common with those women. You need something besides having a vagina in common to spark a friendship.

Even if you’ve been to one Meetup meeting and didn’t find someone interesting, try again. Making new friends is a process, and often involves failing multiple times before you succeed.

I recommend joining groups centered around a hobby. This gives you an automatic talking point and provides numerous ideas for potential hangouts. Combine the hobby-centered groups with a location, and you’ll find people who are close to you who might be interested in the same types of activities. Again, Facebook is a good way to connect.

If there isn’t a group on Facebook dedicated to an interest in your region — for example, amateur photography in Philadelphia, start a group, whether on Meetup or on Facebook. You’ll quickly find interesting people to connect with. On top of that, if you are “in charge” of the group, everyone will get to know you and will be more interested in meeting you.

Take classes.

Finding your squad works best when you see them consistently. That’s why in-person classes are a great idea. They’re typically on a regular schedule and contain a small enough group that you can get to know your classmates well.

I met friends taking boxing and kettlebell classes. I plan on taking improv classes in a couple months. As with most of these ideas, it’s not enough to sign up and pay the entrance fee. You have to be willing to engage.

Fearlessly talking to people is one of the key skills you need to make friends. Most of us want to meet new people, but far fewer are brave enough to actually ask. Plus, what happens if you’re an introvert?

It’s like dating: one of you has to be courageous enough to make the first move.

Unlike dating, most people aren’t going to say no to grabbing a coffee or seeing a movie. If it goes badly, you don’t have to ask them out again. If it goes well, you can continue to build a friendship.

Make yourself a good friend.

What kinds of qualities do you like your friends to have? How much attention do you expect, and how do you want to be treated? Make sure you’re making an effort to be the person you want your friends to be. Don’t be the one who waits for the other person to initiate. If you like keeping score, forget about doing that to make new friends as adults.

Be willing to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. You might get rejected or rebuffed, or find that someone just doesn’t have time for you. Don’t let it get to you. Keep striving to make those connections and don’t worry about whether someone thinks of you as a friend as much as you think of them. That kind of confidence helps people be drawn to you, anyway.

Say yes to everything.

No matter where you live, there are times an acquaintance or coworker invites you to something you’re not interested in. No matter how boring the event seems, go anyway. Saying yes is an important habit to cultivate if you want to make personal connections.

Related podcast: Yes or No: Do All the Things Except Some

The more you say yes, the more you’ll be invited. The converse is also true: say no too often and you’ll never get an invite again. Once you’ve ingratiated yourself with a crowd, you can start saying no every once in awhile without losing your new squad.

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Vacations can make or break a friendship. If you’re going to plan a good one – do it right. Read More...

Recently, the number one movie in America was Girls Trip-a hilariously wild movie all about taking an epic trip with a few of your best friends. I’ve had the good luck to take a number of girls trips with my BFFs (I have more than one) and there are a couple of tips that I would like to share so that you can successfully plan an incredible vacation with your BFF.

Decisions, decisions!

First, you will need to decide on the destination. This decision sets the foundation for all of your additional trip-related decisions. In the process of deciding where to go, you will discover the type of traveler your BFF really is.

You can opt for a traditional location such as a large city with good food and interesting tourist exhibits. Cities such as NYC, Chicago, LA, and New Orleans are typically safe bets.

Then, you begin asking one another the following questions:

  • How safe of a city does it have to be for you to feel safe visiting it?
  • What do you find interesting to do for fun?
  • Do you want to drive around town all day?

Once you’ve worked through these questions, begin discussing the logistics of your trip. Talk about how you like to experience and explore a new city. Are you a wanderer? Do you prefer to follow an itinerary? These are all disqualifying (or qualifying) questions that will help you decide: is this really a person that I would like to travel with?

Do I want to travel with you?

Be honest if the answer is NO! If this is your BFF, don’t put yourself in the position of a friendship breakup because you took a trip that one of you potentially wouldn’t enjoy because the activities and city were ill-suited to their personality.

Friends sometimes want to get super adventurous way too fast when traveling together. I would strongly advise you to avoid doing this and to build up to an epic travel experience by taking smaller trips together…just to make sure.

Time to talk money.

Once you’ve decided on the location, you’ll then need to work on some of the nitty-gritty. What do your budgets look like and how does your budget affect what you can do?

Be candid about your budget-but at the same time be self-aware. Whether both of you are flush with cash or not, come up with a nice balance of activities that provide a wide-range of opportunities to have fun at varying levels of expense. This empowers both friends to choose activities that suit their financial situation.

Have a real conversation about what you can, cannot, or won’t pay for during your travels.

Become self-aware. How flexible are you? Would you lose your mind if there were problems with your accommodations? Would you freak out if you had to share a room or a bed? Are you an indifferent eater, an obsessive museum fan, or (ahem) clingy? Do you need someone with you as you explore town? Or, are you the type of traveler who needs occasional “me” time when you’re on trips with friends? Be honest!

It’s now time for shenanigans!

Some of my favorite trips were taken with my BFFs. Traveling to Las Vegas on a Greyhound bus and freaking out when the blind couple with the fake seeing-eye-dog almost got hit by highway traffic during one of our rest breaks. Fun times!

Going to L.A. with another friend and meeting every single freaky person in California – who just knew that we weren’t from there. They just could smell the Colorado on us.

Going to Breckenridge with my European BFFs and everyone (but me) getting altitude sickness and needing to go to the local oxygen bar for some relief.

I love having these memories and I know that you, too, will enjoy creating new, life-long memories with your BFFs.

I strongly suggest traveling with your friends, just be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot tolerate when traveling. You can be realistic about your friend’s quirks without throwing them under the bus.

Share your favorite BFF travel story in the #Adulting Facebook community!

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Don’t grow bitter and ghost. Here’s how to help your peeps out and keep your sanity. Read More...

I’m sure there are a number of people who read the name of this post and reacted with a, “Oh, HELL NO!” Paying for your friends potentially opens up a can of worms that none of us want to even begin to deal with.

There are a number of ways that you can find yourself “paying” for your friends. And several ways to pay for your friends include exchanges of time, goods, or even services. Has it been awhile since you’ve had to deal with that issue? Good for you! But, it’s a matter of time before you find yourself potentially paying for a friend.

Let’s walk through the moments when it’s ok to pay for your friends and moments when it’s not.

The friend payment tiers.

First, let’s acknowledge that there are different tiers (or levels) that requests for payments may find themselves. Let’s go through a couple of scenarios.

Scenario #1: You and your friends go hiking for the day. Your friend chips in and pays for gas because you’re driving. In this scenario, there is an acknowledgement that the friend is experiencing an expense that the other friend can contribute to.

But wait, there’s more! Before the day is over-you stop for a cup of coffee. Your friend (who gave you gas money) no longer has cash and you offer to buy them a cup of coffee. In this particular situation everything pretty much balances out. This friend normally is pretty good about remembering these types of situations, so you know that a cup of coffee is in your future.

A cup of coffee is usually around $5 or less so this situation shouldn’t upset your friendship.

Scenario #2. I recently had a friend pay for some other friend to attend a Tony Robbins event. My friend paid for everything-because this person CAN. They make around $200,000 a month (I kid you not) and have the ability to give gifts that in no way affect their financial life.

For the rest of us who aren’t making a couple of hundred thousand a month the question you need to ask yourself before paying for your friend is the following, “Will paying for this harm my finances directly or indirectly?”

If the answer is yes, then you should not offer to pay for whatever it is you’re paying for.

Loans vs. gifts.

I don’t loan money-to anyone. And, when you talk about paying for someone else’s expenses, whatever they may be, you’re basically talking about loaning someone money. Loaning money to a friend is a “Don’t Do it” zone.

If you’re the friend who is putting your other friend in the situation where they need to loan to you-not cool. I’ve been the friend who has borrowed money from a friend and it took YEARS to heal the rift that occurred because of it. I was borrowing money because I was broke and so it’s not surprising that I was unable to pay them back. I was a financial mess.

If you’re the friend who is being put in the position of loaning some money-you will have to ask yourself some questions. The most important one is: are you comfortable loaning money? And if you loan it, are you ok with potentially losing that friendship if your friend fails to repay you?

The next question you should ask yourself is: “can I help this friend by giving them a gift versus giving a loan?” Again, I don’t loan money to people. I give money and I typically have an account for family and friend expenses.

These expenses always come up unexpectedly and when it’s inconvenient for EVERYONE. I strongly recommend having a “my friend’s/family member’s money is funny-and I’m not laughing account.” But, the key is to never let anyone know that you have this account.

Hey, you slackers!

Has your friend picked up the tab for you several times in the past couple of months? If you’ve answered “Yes” then it’s time to do two things, pay back your friend and treat them to something nice. And, it’s also time to consider why this situation keeps coming up and your friend keeps paying for stuff for you.

We’ve talked about literally paying cash for things for your friends but we haven’t talked about other types of payments you may find yourself doing for your friends. Here’s a few examples of non-cash payments that you may find yourself gifting to a friend.

Driving your car-less friends around town.You’re basically always the designated driver (sigh). I hate to admit this, but I learned how to drive as an adult. My friends drove me around for YEARS. That means I now find myself (happily) driving people around town and into the mountains because I have YEARS of being driving to make up for.

Yep, I was that girl. I’m absolutely happy to drive people around as much as possible because I appreciate all of the times my friends drove me around town.

Maybe your friend has helped you out with your new puppy, every time you went on vacation, saving you hundreds of dollars in boarding fees. Now, they have a dog. It’s time to offer to puppy-sit their dog and give it the love that they gave yours.

Maybe your friend has babysat your teeny tinies a couple of times. If your friend doesn’t have kids, think about what would make their lives better? A grocery gift card (plus cash). A special experience? If your friend has kids, it’s a no brainer-just babysit their kids and call it even.

The longer you’re in a friendship with people the more your boundaries may get blurred. Don’t take your friends for granted and check in from time to time to make sure you’re both on the same page in regards to financial expectations within your friendship.

Are you usually the lender or the borrower? What boundaries do you have to make sure your choices don’t ruin your friendships? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.


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