Over the past 18 years, I have written nearly 200 newsletters (187 actually) that have addressed every situation you can possibly think about. My earlier words were filled with insight, wisdom, and compassion. I am very proud of how helpful and comforting so many of you have found these words over the years. Therefore, over the next month or two, I'll be going back in time to reprint some of my best works. Many of you haven't seen these articles because of how far back they date, and others who have read them may not remember them due to the length of time! Either way, they are still just as relevant today as ever.
I apologize for not writing some new material, but to be honest, I am on a strict deadline for several publications. One project is my new book called "The Gift of Truth from my Ex-Husband." In October, my gay ex-husband passed away. In return for my support to him during his final 18 months of suffering from bone cancer, he gave me one final gift at the end of my life. He loved me enough to provide me with all the written proof I need to bring federal charges against a few people who made it their mission to destroy my life and undermine my work on behalf of straight wives over the past three years. You will be quite shocked to see the length that these misguided criminals went to in order to accomplish this mission--which will never happen. So please stay tuned. I'll be talking more about this in the spring sharing some and excerpts prior to the book release.
THAT TIME OF THE YEAR COMING UP AGAIN....
Yes, it's the holiday season here again. The season starts at Thanksgiving and will last for the next 3 months ending on Valentine's Day. In between you'll have to deal with Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. For some of you, this will be the first holiday with your life in the state of total turmoil because you are learning or have learned the truth about your husband, but you are still stuck where you are. For others, it will be the first holiday season split as a family and in some cases, you will be feeling very alone. And for others, it will be the early years in the recovery process--early enough to remind you that these holidays can really make you depressed.
I don't have a magic solution to this, or I would give it to you--I swear! Holidays are horrible for me because of the loss of my two children. They will never be the same. The loss of something you loved so much--such as your family unit--is very painful. And no matter how lighthearted I could make it sound by giving you some good "tips," some of you aren't ready for them--and guess what? That's fine.
We all deal with pain in different ways in the same way as we all heal at different paces. No two situations are the same--and no two women are expected to heal at the same rate. There are so many different variables involved here.
For those women who had wonderful marriages, the hurt is so much stronger. You feel like your life was torn away from you right in front of your eyes. There were no signs--no real problems--lots of love (even if it didn't translate into "making love")--lots of warm times filled with laughter while you were going through life with your best friend.
For those of you who are coming out of less-than-wonderful marriages, the hurt is still there. You realize that you've lost a chunk of your life that you can never get back. All the dots are finally getting connected. You feel better knowing the truth, but you still resent having lived with the lies for all of these years wondering why you could never please your husband no matter how hard you tried. You suffered from emotional and sometimes physical abuse. The scars have been deep for years as you lived in a state of depression because you didn't know the truth of why your husband didn't love you.
Some of you will reject the holiday parties and settle instead for a personal "pity party." I say enjoy yourself if you want to have one. There's nothing wrong with a pity party every now and then because it's part of the grieving process. Don't feel guilty if you want to indulge for a day or two. Just try not to get stuck for too long in one because they can be hard to give up if you let yourself linger. Set a time frame--a "one afternoon, one evening or one day" party. Buy yourself something that you really love to eat--or if you are not an eater, maybe you are a drinker. Even if you make yourself a hot fudge sundae with six scoops of ice cream, it's fine! You're entitled to a little instant gratification.
If you feel like being alone--then stay alone. Don't let people talk you into doing something you don't want to do because they think "it's not good for you to be alone." I like to be alone during these times. I don't feel like people telling me I should be thankful for all that I have or how I should feel or how I should have started 'getting over it" by now. I'd rather sit home and watch a Law and Order Marathon or play some mindless computer game. Those are luxuries for me! Find something that is a luxury for you and indulge. That's the fun of the pity party. You can be miserable--but enjoy the time alone by doing things that make you feel good momentarily.
The most important thing to realize is that life is changing or has changed. It may be a horrible time for you, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging it. Life will get better--when you are ready to let it. And there's no time limit for healing!
REVISITING and REVISING THE KINSEY SCALE - 2012
Most of you have heard of the Kinsey Scale. Gay men use this as an argument to prove that they are not gay, but rather on some road or continuum that never seems to get to where you know they are going or have landed.
The Kinsey Scale was first devised in 1948 by Dr. Alfred Kinsey. His research broke sexuality into seven steps starting at “Totally heterosexual” to “Totally Homosexual.” There were a number of other steps in between. According to Kinsey, these are the steps:
0- Exclusively heterosexual with no homosexual
1- Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2- Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3- Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4- Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5- Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6- Exclusively homosexual
According to Kinsey, “Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.”
This scale has widely been accepted and utilized by many professionals in the field. I look at this scale as being an excuse for gay men as a way to prove that they are not gay, and I regularly see it being used to that end.
Quite frankly, I don’t understand this whole concept. For instance, what is the difference between the Number 1 and the Number 2 position on the Kinsey scale? Number 1 is: Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual. Number 2 is: Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual. What determines if someone is “incidentally” or “more than “incidentally” homosexual? For that matter, what does “incidentally” mean? An “incident” happened one day or night? And how is a man predominantly heterosexual but more than “incidentally” homosexual? Hmmm, beats me. And quite frankly, let’s skip up to Number 5 on the scale: 5- Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual. What does that mean? Very confusing, isn’t it?
I believe that there are men who are “emotionally” straight. They are unable to come to terms with the gay world. They dread the thought of being “labeled” as gay due to societal or religious pressures. They enjoy the security of living with a woman in a “heterosexual lifestyle” where they don’t have to fear the rejection of their families, religions, and communities. However, this does not deserve a space on the ladder climbing up to homosexuality on the Kinsey Scale.
I think the Kinsey Scale is an excuse for people who can’t accept their sexuality. I believe that some gay men can perform sex with heterosexual women when the emotional need is so great that they can talk themselves into it. And I believe that these men feel much better talking themselves into being a 2 or 3 on that scale rather than a 4, 5, or 6. That scale convinces many a man that he’s okay staying in a marriage because he’s not a “6.”
The Kinsey Scale is a product from 50 years ago. I believe it needs to be updated and simplified. So now, I’ve come up with a “Bonnie Kaye Scale of Sexuality.” The scale has two levels – Number 1 and Number 2. Number 1 is Heterosexual. This is a man who craves sex only with a woman because these are the only sexual feelings that arouse him. Number 2 is for all the other men who desire a penis on any level—“incidentally,” “occasionally,” “every blue moon,” “just out of curiosity,” or “in a fantasy.” Think of all of the anguish this new scale will take away from people who are intellectualizing about where they stand on the Kinsey Scale. Think of all the worry they could avoid as they inch up the ladder and move from a 2 to a 3 or a 4 to a 6. I can’t even imagine the fear a man would have who is on Number 4 and creeping up to Number 5. Does he sit and worry how long it is going to take him to get to number 6? Will he try to convince himself to have sex with a woman so he can downslide to number 3?
I like the idea of my scale so much better. Men don’t have to sit and worry about “how gay” they are or will be. They have nothing to prove if they desire sex more with men. It won’t change their number—they will still be a Number 2. Wow—wouldn’t that take the pressure off of men who are trying so hard to fight their own gay desires and behavior?
And wouldn’t it make things so much easier for our women also? Women wouldn’t have to wonder if their husbands/boyfriends are moving up or down a scale. It would be much more black or white. If you want a heterosexual man, that’s fine. If he’s anything else, well, it’s not fine—at least not fine for a marriage. We could eliminate the fallacy of “Bisexuality,” or Number 3 on the Kinsey Scale which always gives false hope to women. “Bi” implies to women that they have an equal chance to win their man as a man has--which we know is not the case. It reinforces false hope that if they “love their men enough or try harder to be better wives/girlfriends,” their men will pick them. It just ain’t happening, is it? The desire for a penis is always there. All “bi” men would automatically fall under the Number 2 category. Even men who are “just fantasizing” about other men would be in the Number 2 group. After all, if a man gets “aroused” by a penis, it’s definitely the Number 2 category.
I think the “Bonnie Kaye Scale” will help women make easier decisions. You don’t have to sit and debate anything at all. It all comes down to one question—do you want a man who wants a woman or a man who has a penis on his mind? Why does something this simple have to become so complicated?
Alexis Hall has a website for single parenting. She invited me to share this with you for the holiday season. Her contact info is below.
HOW TO OVERCOME POST-DIVORCE DEPRESSION THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
BY ALEXIS HALL
If you’ve gone through a traumatic divorce this year that’s left you anxious and depressed, the thought of the approaching holiday season may feel as challenging as climbing Mt. Everest. And, similar to such an arduous task, reaching the summit will count a great deal on how you tend to your mental health.
You’re suddenly a single parent. You’re responsible for your own financial success. Your social circle is evolving. All of this can feel overwhelming.
Take a moment to slow down, breathe, and make a plan; remembering your journey to renewed mental and physical health will be depend on your own self-administered care.
One of the most important things you can challenge yourself, and your children, to do during this time is climbing that mountain, or let’s say a smaller one. Physical activity such as hiking, indoor cycling or even a less aerobic activity like bowling can improve your mental health by stimulating positive hormones and neurochemicals.
We’ve all heard of the popular “runner’s high” that comes from releasing endorphins in exercise, but getting physical also impacts the brain’s serotonin levels. Serotonin, the chemical many anti-depressants work to increase, boosts your mood and improves your overall sense of well-being.
Your mental health will also improve when you practice good parenting techniques after the divorce. Most importantly, be there for your children. Spend quality time with them, and in doing so, seek to understand their emotional needs during this stressful period. Seeing them happy will in turn make you happy. Consider trying the following:
● Sharing them with your ex.
● Keeping them out of the middle of any disputes that evolve.
● Talking positively about the other parent.
● Always show the other parent respect when you come together.
You may notice during the dark months of winter that your depression worsens. This may be a sign of Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. Feelings associated with SAD come and go with the seasons, and it is diagnosed, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, when the following symptoms appear in addition to your traditional depression symptoms: low energy, hypersomnia, or excessive sleepiness, overeating, weight gain, carbohydrate cravings and withdrawing socially. SAD can also contribute to substance abuse in a way to manage your emotions.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, Dr. Barton Goldsmith, suggests in an article for Psychology Today, “using a full spectrum lamp for twenty minutes a day.”
Perhaps one of the most important things you can model for your children is your resilience by moving on. Put some careful thought over the holidays into making the new year about a new you. Not necessarily making lofty resolutions that make you feel more like the stressed mountain climber, but smaller goals that help move you forward in your healing.
Consider socializing more. The last thing you should be doing is turning inward, or isolating yourself. Much research has been done correlating the reduction of stress with spending time with our friends, but did you know friends can even extend your life?
A 2010 study at Brigham Young University in Utah concluded that people with, “strong social relationships increased their odds of survival over a certain time period by 50 percent.” That's on par with quitting smoking, and nearly twice as beneficial as physical activity in terms of decreasing your odds of dying early. Astonishingly, this correlation to better health is as strong as smoking cessation and exercise.
Try bringing to life the old adage “out with the old and in with the new.” Build some excitement for you and your children by co-creating new family traditions. For example, instead of going to the same old holiday vacation spot, collaborate with your children on finding and planning a new, more exciting destination this season. Doing this allows them to build wonderful new memories and traditions with you.
Many things can be done to improve your mental health following your divorce. Study and research ways to improve you. In doing so, you won’t be just helping yourself, but you’ll be actionably demonstrating to your children that they too can overcome life’s challenges. Teaching them to be a successful mountain climber may provide the richest mental health reward ever.
You can find more support for single parents at Alexis's website: