Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Divorced Moms: Tempted to Date A Guy Who Just Split With His Wife? You're Nuts

Tempted to Date A Guy Who Just Split With His Wife? You're Nuts
by Lizzy Smith
July 14, 2014
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Here’s something we don’t talk about nearly enough. The perils of dating a guy who has just exited a marriage. Not divorced yet. Recently separated. Should you proceed?
The answer is a huge big enormous NO.
When I met my ex-husband, Rob, he had recently separated from his wife. In my defense, he lied to me about their official separation date. They had filed for divorce several months prior but continued living in the same home until just weeks before we met. Had I known this, I would have run for the hills.
The problem with dating a recently separated guy are numerous. First, he is still married. If you believe that it’s ok to date a married guy, then you can stop reading right here. Because if you’re morally and ethically ok with that, then you date really horrible men and you deserve the men you date. Enough said. And when your guy cheats on you and makes your life hell, you deserve it.
But for everyone else, seriously, it is imperative that we respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a huge commitment. Most of us hope that our marriages will last forever. Knowing that it’s ending is sad and traumatic – as it should be. Marriages should never end easily. As such, you need to allow their marriage to end before you hop in. Why? Because it's simply the right thing to do.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tales from the (Mormon) dating trenches

I am so grateful that I have friends who are willing to share (and let me write about) their dating stories. The latest is from my good friend Lia. If stories are specific to the Mormon community, I write them here; if they are broader dating stories, I write them for Divorced Moms. Since this is the latter, you get the exclusive!

The Date With Ultra Conservative Mormon

I met Tim online. He looked cute enough. I saw him standing outside the restaurant. He looked just like his profile. I said hello, we hugged briefly, and went into the restaurant and sat down. So maybe he was a little heavier than I expected but he was average. We ordered. In my head, I gave him grades:

Looks: C
Initial Impression: B-
What he ordered: B-
He didn't understand what I ordered: F

We started talking about the Civil Rights error. I have three sons. I told him that I took them to the American History Museum in Washington, DC where my sons were shocked that black people had such a hard time trying to go to school, riding a bus in the front seats, or sitting at a soda counter because of their skin color. I told him I was happy that they were growing up without those horrible prejudices. Next, I told him that my sons were also un-rattled by gay people. My cousin is gay and I have many gay and lesbian friends. My sons have grown up knowing that gay people exist and they don't even think about it. We go to dinner with them, sometimes see them holding hands at the mall, whatever, and they don't mention it, flinch... I don't even think they notice.

That started off a firestorm.

Him: "It's unfortunate that your sons are unable to discern the difference between right and wrong."
Me: "I'm not debating right and wrong with you. I'm simply saying that the next generation is very different than ours or the generation before us and so on. My sons are really good boys. I'm proud of them and they do know the difference between right and wrong." ...Says THE ONE who has no children at all, don't even go there!
Him: "So what do you think about Kate Kelly?" [Kate Kelly is the leader of Ordain Women, a Mormon group that is advocating for the ordination of women within the Mormon church. She was excommunicated a few weeks ago for her activism and this has become a very controversial subject.] Oh my here we go. I decided I would answer as diplomatically as possible and if he didn't like it, we should ever date again anyway.
Me: "I don't believe in excommunication with very extremely limited exceptions. If the church is very concerned with its image, like Pepsi, Bank of America or Nike, then yes, image is more important than anything. Coerce and threaten members into silence in order to maintain the image above all else. But this is a church, and Christian principles like forgiveness, inclusion, love, and openness should rule the day. Free speech. You know, all the Constitional concepts that the church professes to love. So you don't kick people out for voicing concerns or advocating for change."

The look on his face!

Him: "How long have you been divorced?"
Me: "Three years. Why?
Him: "Hmmmm.... Maybe that's why."
Me: Stunned silence.
Him: "Were you like this when you were married?"
Me: "Like what?"
Him: "A feminist? Anti Mormon?"

Says the one who was married for TWO YEARS only, is 50 years old, has no children, and has been single for SEVEN YEARS. I could have gone right back at him but what was the point. I was never in a million years going to see this control freak again.

Me: Silence
Him: "If you don't like the church, you need to leave."
Me: "Thanks, but that's not your decision. I'm not intimidated by sitting next to people in church who don't agree with me. If the church is true, it can withstand debate. Who cares? Leave them alone, let them doubt, and embrace them at church."
Him: "No, you need to leave."
Me: In my head, I'm thinking "shut the fuck up." I smiled.

And it went on and on and on. While he tried to tell me that Mormon women were equal to men because Mormon women had the Relief Society.

Me: "Yes, which reports up to Priesthood authority. So a Relief Society president with a masters degree, who heads up a corporation, still reports to a man who is a janitor. Call it what you will, but equal isn't accurate."
Him: "That's just semantics."
Me: In my head, I'm thinking if he knows the meaning of the word semantics. Obviously not. "No, it's not semantics. It's factual. Big difference." He looked confused.
Him: "Women hold the priesthood in the temple."
Me: "And what happens to that power when we leave the temple? And why? That is what Kate Kelly was asking."
Him: "She shouldn't have asked the question publicly. She had no right making the church look bad."
Me: "It's not Kate Kelly's job to make the church look anything. She had questions, she organized, she wanted answers. She's not the only one."

And this was the kicker...

Him: "People get kicked out all the time. I have a friend whose brother went on a mission. He was a good missionary until about a year into it, he started telling investigators that he was the prophet of the church. His companion told the mission president. He was told to stop it but he wouldn't. His dad was a Stake President and he flew to Mexico and told him to stop it. He kept saying that he was the prophet and was being given revelations and he wouldn't stop because God was telling him things. He was the new prophet. The sent him home early and ex communicated him. They did the right thing."
Me: "So your story is heartbreaking to me. This kid was probably having a mental breakdown. From what you're telling me, it sounds like a psychotic episode, maybe the beginning signs of schizophrenia, or bipolar, or who knows? He probably needed psychiatric care, not an excommunication and a plane ticket home. Oh dear God."
Him: "He needed to be excommunicated."
Me: "Well the concern you're showing isn't very Christ-like." I was hoping he would walk out of the restaurant. Me? I was wondering how far this whole bizarre conversation could go. I suppose when talking to a Freak Mormon, it could go anywhere. Imagine being married to a man like this.

Ok, since I wanted to walk out but decided I wouldn't, I tried a different tact...

Me: "So what are you favorite restaurants?"
Him: "Olive Garden and Five Guys."
Me: "Oh that's nice."

In my head, I gave him new grades:

Looks: F
Conversation: F
Offensiveness: A
Restaurant Choices: F

The bill arrived, thank goodness!

He went to pay the bill. Since I only ordered a small appetizer, mine was $4.99. I handed him $10, and he kept the whole thing. He didn't even give me change. I suppose a feminist should not only pay her half, but several more dollars for his, too.

We walked out.

Me: "Oh my gosh! I had the best time EVER. Thank you very much. So incredibly nice to meet you." I said in my most over-the-top sarcastic voice. I'm not sure he was smart enough to catch on to it. I gave him a Big Huge Hug. "Good luck!"
Him: This time he acted confused. Was I serious? No dumbass. "Oh, yes, ok you too. Stay in touch."
Me: "Absolutely!" As I went home and blocked him.

Now I'm wondering if I send him a quick text before deleting him off my contacts to let him know that there is a reason he is still single. Not that marriage = happiness. I'm divorced. I hated my marriage after about three years. But this guy is offensive. I have never in my entire life been on a date where I was so deeply offended by a total asshole with nothing to offer. And a paralegal that he was who didn't know the meaning of the word "semantics."

Dating in Mormonville is a Freak Show. The men in the Mormon church fall into three categories:

1. Inactive because their guilt over having sex is so terrible. They have stopped going to church and won't go back until they get remarried. Because having sex is the worse thing ever in the church, second only to murder. Men, especially if they've been to the temple, get excommunicated for having sex outside of marriage, even if it's in a committed relationship. As a result, these guys are just "off." In their minds, hey, if they've had sex with one, might as well have sex with anyone they can get into bed with. After all, they're already doomed so it doesn't matter anymore. These guys are Freak-tards.

2. Conservative Mormon: I'll put the guy above into conservative. They believe that, as the Priesthood holder, they call the shots. The woman is the help meet to him. He believes his girl better fall in line. Don't even get me started here. They care about image, putting on a good show of righteousness for the neighbors, make sure they go to all their meetings wearing their suits and white shirt only (colored shirts are a Big Fat No), do their home teaching, pay their 10% tithing plus fast offerings and missionary fund and scout fund, go the temple often, magnify their calling... and forget to be like Christ. They are judgmental, mean, ridged, controlling, and unforgiving. They are assholes. And since they want to have sex Really Bad, they are angry men. Potentially, if they can control their impulses for a few months, they are ready to marry you. Or, if it's like my date, no doubt he masterbates often, which is also totally against church standards. Which makes him angrier, more depressed, more aggressive, and more, you have it, a Freak-tard.

3. Anti Mormon: They've done the Mormon church thing and, usually over doctrinal issues, have left the church. But they also can't stop talking about the church. It is Conversation Point #1. They hate it and they want you to understand that the church is a fraud and you need to leave it too. Getting these men to talk about anything else is one tough sell.

I will keep dating simply because it is entertaining. I'm from Northern California. I dated a lot of men in other cities, having also lived in Chicago and Orlando. Never have I encountered such FREAKS as I have in Utah. Utterly overwhelming nutcases. Is it the church's fault? To an extent. The Mormon culture has created a dating culture that is unhealthy and bizarre. Fabulous.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Divorced Moms column: 5 Reasons Why I Don't Hit My Children

My latest Divorced Moms column is out. Hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July weekend. Ours was nice. Peaceful and relaxing. We leave for LA in just four days, yay!

5 Reasons Why I Don't Hit My Children (as tempting as it can be)
Lizzy Smith                    
July 07, 2014
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I will never forget the time that my then seven year old daughter pushed me to the edge of madness. It was last summer and we had just boarded our cruise ship in Copenhagen. As I was unpacking, something upset her. I don’t even remember what it was. But she literally started screaming at the top of her lungs. A full on child temper tantrum. I was speechless, stunned and frozen. A million possible reactions ran through my mind, none of which seemed a good idea. Do I slap her or throw something against a wall? What are the people around us thinking? That I'm beating the crap out of my child when, in reality, I hadn't touched her? My 13 year old daughter stared at me to see how I was going to react. My heart pounded and I was beyond furious, nearly out of my mind with red hot anger. I walked into our tiny little bathroom, shut the door, and sat on the toilet seat with my hands shaking. Gathering my thoughts, trying to calm down, trying to come up with an action plan. I was frightened at how close I had come to harming my child.
When I was ready, I left the bathroom and sat on the bed next to her and looked in her eyes. “Listen up,” I said calmly, so calmly that she, I think, was truly afraid of me. “If you ever do that again, I will grab you by the arm and push you into the hallway and shut the door behind you. You will then be standing in the hallway alone while everyone on the ship realizes that a seven year old child isn’t being touched or hurt and is just acting like a two year old. You will be totally embarrassed. I am also taking all your dolls away from you (we had purchased several small dolls at some of the cities we had visited on the trip) and they are mine until we get home, . And even then, you only get them back if you have behaved. Questions?”
 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July! What we plan to do this (mellow) weekend

Happy 4th of July! My latest on Divorced Moms.

10 Things I Plan To Do This 4th of July Weekend
by Lizzy Smith                    
July 03, 2014
                    
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The 4th of July weekend is one of my favorite times of year. It brings memories of barbecues, sun, friends and family, and fireworks. After college, when I moved to Washington, DC, I became fascinated with American history and developed an even greater appreciation for what the 4th of July meant: Independence and the adoption of the Constitution. So the 4th of July is even more significant – I get to celebrate my own independence (from an abusive husband) and the adoption of my new life.
 
I don’t know what I’ll end up doing this weekend and that’s cool with me. It’ll actually be the first time in years that we are home. So we’ll just “wing it.” Here are some ideas on my list. They are inexpensive and effortless:
  1. Picnic: We have amazingly beautiful canyons and parks near us. At least once this weekend, we’ll pack up great food, a few friends, a Frisbee and towels and spend a day hanging out in the beautiful outdoors. Since everything this weekend must be simple, I’ll probably go to my favorite deli and buy everything—yummy sandwiches, hummus, healthy chips, and drinks without aspartame or high fructose corn syrup. There are farmers markets galore here so I’ll stop by one of them on our way up the canyon and load up on fresh, locally grown, organic fruit. In fact, now that I write this, I remember that my mom has a cherry tree in her back yard that is loaded. Maybe I won’t need to buy any fruit at all!
  2. Swimming: A 4th of July weekend isn’t complete without hanging out at the pool with a magazine, sunscreen, and a comfy chair.
  3. Movies: I still haven’t seen Maleficent, which I plan to do this weekend. Maybe we’ll catch back-to-back movies at some point this weekend. Why not?

Keep reading...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Oh wow oh wow-- I love it when I get a surprise like this!

I just stumbled upon a blog post that I didn't even know existed, and it's about ME!!! Oh my gosh, I'm so touched and humbled. And I have to post it right here. (Even though a few people - notably my ex husband - have tried to silence me with threats, I have pressed forward. Going public is not necessarily easy but it's been worth it a million times over. Fearless, unapologetic, strong. I strive to live those traits every day in everything I do. I can't say I achieve it but I'm trying! To the extent that I help, inspire or touch others in some way? Absolutely worth it. No regrets.)

Multiple myeloma, divorce and finding love once again; Positive attitude leads to positive outcomes!


In the course of my work writings for the medical research focused content on Cure Talk Blog, I have had the opportunity to interact with many young people, whose lives have suddenly been turned upside down with the diagnosis of multiple myeloma or cancer. Lizzy Smith is one such young girl. Interacting with Lizzy has been different. Her radiance and positivity shown through all the interactions I had with her. 

Imagine fighting multiple myeloma and a divorce from an alcoholic husband simultaneously. Traumatic, draining is what comes to my mind. Lizzy Smith has survived the journey with aplomb.
In my interaction with her, Lizzy shared of how she tackled a messy divorce from an alcoholic husband simultaneously while she got treated for multiple myeloma. Living life to the fullest, Lizzy is now dating and looking for love once again. Lizzy’s journey is very encouraging for everyone to hear that cancer does not always win and does not necessary take destroy physically and emotionally. 
Multiple myeloma, divorce and dating tips; Lizzy Smith talks about it all!
Multiple myeloma, divorce and dating tips; Lizzy Smith talks about it all!
Sharing part of my inspiring interaction with Lizzy, who also happens to be a mother of two young girls.

Me: Multiple Myeloma and a crumbling relationship with an abusive partner. It must have been tough. How did you cope?

Lizzy: It was horrible. The day I went to the hospital for body scans, the X-ray tech said they were scanning me for body tumors because they suspected I had cancer. I started sobbing. I went home and waited for my husband to arrive.

When he did, it was clear he had been out drinking. I started sobbing and said, “They think I have cancer. I’m so scared.” And he responded by screaming at me so loudly that he was spitting in my face. He accused me of being a drama queen, lazy and stupid. I called the police, had him removed from the home, packed up trash bags with clothing, and left him. I moved to Utah where my parents were living and became a patient at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. Their Multiple Myeloma clinic is among the top in the world.

Me: You have mentioned in your blog that dating, in spite of battling with multiple myeloma has not been difficult. Any learning’s that you would like to share with our readers, regarding beginning a new relationship?

Lizzy: I am as honest as I know how to be. With my boyfriend of 10 months, I told him about my diagnosis about four weeks after we started dating. I decided I trusted him and if the cancer news scared him and he couldn’t handle it, it was ok. He was terrific and he’s incredibly kind and supportive. Being a cancer survivor has made me a better person and it shows in the way I treat everyone. I think there’s not ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to sharing health news with anyone new. Share it when the time is right, no apologies or second guessing yourself.
Second, life is too short. If you start dating someone new and he or she doesn’t seem like a great person to have in your life, don’t stick around. 

Me:  What would you say are the 2 most important things required in successfully battling an ailment like multiple myeloma? 

Lizzy: 1. A great support system. Not only must your caregivers be trustworthy, but also it’s important that they help you stay emotionally strong. I knew from day one that I would beat this cancer or, at a minimum, learn to live with it. My parents were like-minded. We’ve always been ready to win this battle.
2. Don’t get overwhelmed. My nurses used to start rattling off all the upcoming treatments and procedures. It made my head spin. I finally asked that they just tell me what was coming up over the next few days. It was much easier that way.

Want to read more and know about her current treatment schedule and what were the symptoms which led to the diagnosis of multiple myeloma? The rest of the interaction is here http://trialx.com/curetalk/2013/09/curetalk-interview-lizzy-smith-on-multiple-myeloma-divorce-and-finding-love-once-again/

Interacting with Lizzy, I am reminded of something that I read some time back ~ A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.

For more, click here.

Divorced Moms column: HELP- I'm So Tired! 11 Tips for Falling Asleep

I'm recovered from jet lag but (obviously) getting a good slumber is definitely on my brain. Hence my latest on Divorced Moms!

HELP- I'm So Tired! 11 Tips for Falling Asleep
by Lizzy Smith                    
June 30, 2014

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I don’t know about you but this divorced mom can sometimes have an impossible time falling asleep. It’s usually because I’ve had a stressful day and my mind is working overtime. When that happens, relaxing enough to get real shut-eye is an exercise in futility. And as the clock ticks and I realize that my timeframe for sleeping is shrinking fast, I become more stressed out, which means that the chances of falling asleep become smaller and smaller. Inevitably, the next day, feeling sluggish and unable to focus, all I can do is drink one enormous cup of coffee after the next. Yuck.

Sleep deprivation is serious business. The consequences of not getting adequate rest include a whole host of health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. When we’re not sleeping at bedtime, we tend to get the munchies and have less energy to exercise the next day. It’s one reason we can gain weight. Plus our brains don’t function so well when we’re tired so we make poorer decisions, are crankier, and suffer from depression more often.

Sometimes I have bouts of insomnia and it sucks. I've been prescribed sleeping pills but I try not to ingest anything that I can avoid (trust me-- after all the chemo I've taken, the thought of dumping extra poisons into my body is really awful). So I've found 11 ways to combat insomnia that work.

Keep reading...

Monday, June 30, 2014

From www.myelomacrowd.org: Summer is here! Tips for staying healthy in the heat

Us myeloma warriors, whether we have just been diagnosed or are in remission, have to think about our health Every.Single.Day. Or, if we aren't, we should be. If we're still taking any number of drugs that leave us immune compromised (for me, that's Velcade and Thalidomide), we can get sick at the drop of a hat. I get a terrible cold every six weeks or more often, it seems. Or if we're in the midst of transplant, getting a sunburn could be deadly.
 
I wrote this article for www.myelomacrowd.org with some tips on staying healthy this summer. For more great info on all things related to myeloma, check out the web site. It has a plethora of information and it's easy to understand and navigate. Cheers!
Summer is here. Are there tips for staying healthy in the heat?

Summer is here. Are there tips for staying healthy in the heat?

by Lizzy Smith
  1. Air out your home! After a winter of closed doors and stagnant air, let fresh air inside. Open windows and doors. Clean and dust.
  2. Use sunscreen at all times. Many of the medication you are taking leave you very sun sensitive. Never leave home without applying sunscreen. Don’t forget about your ears, lips, and the tops of your feet!
  3. If you don’t have hair, make sure to wear a hat, turban or head protection. Burned scalps are painful and dangerous. Also, sunglasses are a very good idea.
  4. Always wear shoes. Chances are you’ve got some neuropathy and you may not feel things that you’re stepping on. Plus, it’s imperative to keep your body clean, including the bottoms of your feet. Keep flip flops, slippers or socks with you at all times.
  5. Practice good hygiene always. Wash your hands often and keep them away from your mouth, eyes, and ears.
  6. Be very weary of public pools and hot tubs. They are a breeding ground for germs. In fact, you may want to consider avoiding them completely. Discuss with your doctor.
  7. Get plenty of rest. Our bodies heal and repair while we are sleeping so make sure you’re getting adequate slumber.
  8. Get fresh air and move! As much as possible, exercise. Many doctors suggest at least 30 minutes a day. Try to take a walk outdoors (maybe in early morning or evening when it’s not as hot and the sun not as strong), work in the yard– anything that gets your heart rate up. Plus, fresh vitamin D is good. Don’t forget to wear good shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen!
  9. Eat healthy. Fresh fruits and veggies (if you’re not neutropenic!) are great options and many have incredible anti-cancer benefits. If you are neutropenic, make sure you understand your dietary restrictions before eating anything.
  10. Have fun! If possible, take a vacation, whether it be big or small. We all need to have healthy distractions from doctor appointments, medications, and dietary restrictions. Get lost in a great book, watch a good movie, or explore a new part of town.

For the full article on the site, click here.