Positively Paula

Check Out the NARME Conference in Baltimore

Thursday, July 19, 2012
If you are in Baltimore next week and have an interest in reducing the cycle of poverty, enhancing relationships, and increasing the health and well being of children, adults and families (including yours!), check out the second annual National Association for Relationship and Marriage Education (NARME) Conference. Workshop tracks include fatherhood, marriage, family, single adults, and youth.

The conference not only provides professional development for those who work in fields related to marriage and relationships, but it also features resources and services available to help you in your marriage and life. Focusing on this year's theme of "Champions for Children," the conference will be at the Baltimore Hilton from July 20 to 25. Kudos to all of the people at NARME for bringing together some of the best marriage and family experts there are to help improve the lives of many.


For Single Parents: Overcoming the Challenges of Dating After Divorce

Monday, October 24, 2011
I often hear from single parents who have divorced and are open to getting remarried. "Within 5 years of divorcing, 89% of men and 79% of women remarry," according to Stepcoupling by S. Wisdom and J. Green. RemarriageWorks.com supports you wherever you are on the remarriage journey, including if you are divorced or widowed and thinking about remarriage and having a stepfamily one day. If you are a divorced single parent, have you heard of DateMyFamilly.com?

I am passionate about helping people who think they want to get married again, especially before they remarry and have a blended or stepfamily. I think the remarriage journey is easier to navigate if you know what to expect ahead of time. One website that caught my eye recently is DateMyFamily.com. 

Basically, DateMyFamily.com is a free online dating website for family-oriented individuals. I am really careful about associating with dating websites, so I recently connected with one of its founders. I liked what I heard; their mission statement is "to establish a network of family-oriented individuals while inspiring love, happiness and growth, by not just building partnerships but by building families." Interesting concept.

I'm personally not in the dating world, online or off, anymore, so I invited DateMyFamily.com to share some ideas with single parents about overcoming the challenges of dating after divorce. Here is what they had to say:

"For the majority of individuals who have been through a divorce, the idea of dating again and committing themselves to another relationship is one that is challenging and takes time. But we are not animals! As human beings, we are social by nature and long for the attention and nurture of an intimate partner. And, although the feelings of confusion, guilt, vulnerability, heartbreak, insecurity, indignation, anger, depression — and the list goes on — are tough to cope with, they do eventually pass.

Dating in many cases can be one of the most effective tools for growing past the heartbreak and moving on after divorce, once you are comfortable with the idea of it. There are a few key factors for dating after a divorce that can make it easier, more enjoyable, and make it possible to begin a fresh and successful relationship.

1. Self Confidence. Similar to dating prior to marriage, self-confidence plays a huge role in dating after divorce. Not only does self-confidence help in attracting a date and making you feel good about yourself, but it also serves as a step forward in moving on from the previous relationship.

2. Having an open mind. One of the worst thing someone can do when re-entering the dating world after a divorce is to compare the new person they are involved with to their previous partner. Although it is something that will occur naturally, it is one that should be avoided. Especially openly making comparisons or remarks about your prior partner to the person you are currently speaking to or interested in. Nothing turns someone off quite as badly a a person talking about their ex. Having an open mind and positive attitude towards the new man or woman can also help you appreciate new aspects of the person or even yourself, that you were previously unaware of.

3. Take your time. There is no rush to jump into another relationship and risk getting into a similar situation to the one you already experienced. Taking your time will save a lot of energy and potential grief and the future and make you feel more secure with the person you end up dating. It also allows for more positive dates because with no rush, you will really be able to pick through the crowd to find someone you are truly compatible with.

By keeping these three tips in mind, dating after marriage should be a positive experience that gives you a second opportunity at finding that special someone as well as help you grow as an individual. And, remember, we're not animals! Don't be afraid to go out and find your true life partner!"

So, there you have it from DateMy Family.com, the world's first free family-oriented dating platform that effectively uses a matching algorithm which goes one step deeper to match individuals not just through personality traits and common interests, but through their background and views on family.
Let me know what you think! I, myself think the "Take your time..." makes a lot of sense. If you are remarried, would you advise the same? If you are a single parent after divorce and happen to sign up for DateMyFamily.com, I'd like to know your thoughts about it, too.

LeAnn Rimes, Gary Busey, and Huh? A Call for Better Stepmom Reporting!

Thursday, August 18, 2011
A couple of weeks ago I tweeted about People.com's "Caught in the Act!" column that opened with a picture of LeAnn Rimes, her husband Eddie Cibrian, and Eddie's sons. The piece consisted of four lines total, and the opening line was "What a good stepmom!" I tweeted about it, and I knew from LeAnn's tweets back to me that she wasn't too happy.

You see, I had tweeted, "'What a good stepmom!' for shopping w/ stepsons. More to being a good stepmom than shopping. Let's hear it." And, once again I learned a lesson about communicating on-line whether it be via email, Twitter, or whatever else. Most of us have had the experience of our thoughts and even feelings being interpreted differently than we had intended.

Here's the real point I wanted to make in my tweet, and I am so thrilled that I have more than Twitter's 140 characters in which to say it. I wish the media would cover remarriage and stepfamilies in a more positive way. (By the way, I just tweeted the preceding sentence because it fit into a tweet.) 

That paragraph that opened with "What a good Stepmom!" didn't really do justice to what LeAnn or the majority of stepmothers do every day for their stepchildren. It pointed out that: their family was enjoying a shopping outing; she was wearing leopard print shorts while browsing; she ran into Gary Busey; and, she returned to the area for a romantic meal with her husband later that day.  That's it!

I'm just not getting how the opening line connects in any way with the rest of the paragraph. Good stepmoms do more than shop with their stepkids, and I think the column contributed to the unfair picture of remarriage and stepfamilies that is often painted. (Read more about this in my column entitled, "On ReMarriage: Hollywood Paints an Unfair Picture" in The Washington Times.)

I'm pretty certain that LeAnn Rimes, like most other stepmoms, did a lot more that day to be a good stepmom than what was portrayed. And, regardless of what people think about her, her marriage and the circumstances in her and her family's personal lives, which I was quickly informed about by people whom I doubt even know her in a flurry of Twitter activity, my point was and is this:

Attention media! Let's please hear more about the positive, inspiring, loving things that stepmothers do every day for their stepchildren. I'm not looking for "The Brady Bunch" model, nor am I trying to be a Pollyanna. But, when will the media provide us a broader range of views of stepfamily and remarried life?

I  invite LeAnn Rimes and the millions of other stepmothers to join me in calling for a shift in the way media covers stepmoms. Let's talk about about stepfamily life, its challenges, and more importantly, real solutions.

Correction on What Para-Kin Means

Thursday, October 07, 2010
Yesterday, I contributed to some misconception about what Para-kin means. I thank Debra Chernick for setting me straight and apologize for my misinterpretation. According to Debra, "Para-kin is primarily for those adults who are in monogamous relationships, raising children from a prior union but have not chosen or are barred from remarriage."

That being said, I think I'd still like to be called "P-Mom." There's just something about step....

Read more about the Para-kin movement here. It is a pretty novel idea that could help many.



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