The Biggest Lesson I Learned From My Divorce

biggest lesson

It was all her fault.

She was so difficult, challenging and uncompromising.

She couldn’t give in, not even an inch.

So many of these thoughts swirled through my mind as I squarely placed the blame for my divorce on my ex.

When the marriage ended, my blame meter was supercharged.

If she had just changed, everything would have been ok.

If she had been just a little more forgiving or a little more respectful or a little more accommodating, we could have made it work.

I was angry with her not only for the marriage’s end but for the way she showed up in the marriage.

I felt she had so many problems and I simply couldn’t fix them.

What a difference 7 years makes!

My journey to coming to terms with my divorce and moving on came down to one very basic and profound lesson about love, relationships and life.

Ready?

It has nothing to do with anyone else.

Let me repeat: Your journey and your growth and your happiness have little to do with other people.

Your partners and spouses are simply mirrors of whom you really are.

All the issues you find in your ex have more to do with you than with them.

I know.

You don’t agree.

I don’t want to agree.

I want to fight this notion and I did fight it for years.

Until the epiphany one day: What if it was me?

What???

How sacrilegious of me to say this!

How disrespectful to myself!

Yet, that’s what I can ultimately share with you about my most profound experience from divorce.

It really had nothing, or very little, to do with the other person.

(I understand that in some situations, the other person is violent or abusive, or has serious underlying issues. In such cases, that person is responsible.)

Those of us who get divorced are on the high-speed train to inner growth, spiritual growth and wisdom. But ….

only if we let that happen.

This can start only when we take the blame off the other person and focus on ourselves.

Let’s say you don’t quite agree and are intent on convincing me that the other person was the one at fault.

Your ex cheated on you, was mentally or emotionally abusive towards you, left you…

Even in these cases, I’m suggesting that those are things you have very little control over.

You CANNOT change, correct or fix your ex or anyone else in your future.

You CAN make wiser and smarter decisions about whom you choose to be with.

And…you can try to figure out what issues you brought to the table, how you dealt with your ex and what you can do differently.

This was my biggest lesson. It doesn’t have to be yours.

If you strongly blame your ex and believe your ex is at fault, fine.

You can let it be but you may be robbing yourself of the opportunity to take responsibility, do your own inner work and improve your own life.

If you’re ready to move past the blame game and holding your ex responsible for everything that happened in the past, it’s time to get honest about some of the questions you’re asking yourself.

  • How could you have shown up differently in the relationship?
  • How did you make things worse for you or your ex in your relationship?
  • How could you have handled things differently in your past relationship?
  • What are your triggers and shortcomings when it comes to relationships?
  • What kind of help or tools do you need going forward?
  • What are the lessons and insights your former guru, your ex, was able to leave you with?
  • What are you still angry about?
  • What are you still resenting?
  • What are the things you need to forgive and let go of?
  • Who are you becoming with this self-awareness, knowledge and insight about yourself?

The longer you hold onto the blame, the longer it’ll take for you to move on.

This doesn’t happen overnight or immediately.

It took me several years to go from blaming my ex to slapping myself in the face and realizing that I was the one who had the issues!

Again, she may have had issues too but it wasn’t my job to fix them. I don’t have the tools to help her solve her issues, triggers and shortcomings.

All I could have done was point them out to her and all she could have done was the same.

If you’re resisting what I’m saying, I get it.

It took me the better part of a decade to get here.

It’s so much easier to blame and shift responsibility.

It’s convenient and comfortable to feel like nothing is wrong with you and that you brought no issues to the table.

It doesn’t require us to do any work or take any action yet we are losing the self-growth and insight that accepting responsibility fosters.

Have you taken responsibility for your past relationship? Did you play a role in the deterioration of your marriage or relationship?

I’m curious to hear what you have to say. Drop me a line and reply to my email.

If you’re not getting emails, sign up for my weekly messages so we can communicate.

Happy 2019, all – this is our year!

How to Improve Your Relationship With Yourself

Kajal Pandey, Transformational life coach and truth teacher

I hope you enjoy this video above and the important questions Kajal asks us to ask ourselves in order to improve the relationship we have with ourselves.

I had also asked Kajal share the Dear Beloved: Love Letters to Yourself project she’s created below.

Here she is:

Three years ago in meditation an idea struck me, which was to write a love letter to myself.

Intrigued and willing, I decide to take it on as a 30 day challenge of writing daily love letters to myself. 

Writing love letters to myself daily served as a practice of loving myself, but also greatly changed my perception of myself as it allowed me to know what was really going on in my inner world and how I felt about myself. 

Inspired by that initial idea this workbook was born!

The workbook includes: 

  • 31 love letter prompts to help you understand your relationship with yourself, and actually improve it at the same time.
  • The tools of self-love that make loving yourself tangible and easy-to-do with complimentary exercises.
  • What self-love habits are and how to create your own self-love habits.
  • Affirmations as a tool to train your mind to focus on positive, life-giving thoughts about yourself.
  • A mini relationship with yourself quiz to help you get clear on where you are with yourself right now.
  • Plus bonus videos (10) on self-love topics and access to the a private facebook group to ask questions and support!

You can pick up the workbook here: https://kajalpandey.com/product/dear-beloved-workbook/

Kajal Pandey is a transformational life coach and truth teacher. She is passionate about guiding people into their inner world so they can create a life they love. She does this by teaching people how to embrace their darkness, unlearn who they think they are to remember who they really are in truth. You can learn more about here work here: http://www.kajalpandey.com

Just Because Your Love Ended Doesn’t Mean Your Love Life Has To

Just because your love ended doesn’t mean your love life has to.

You may have gone through a bad breakup, like I did.

The breakup may have knocked you down so hard, you think all kinds of unhealthy thoughts.

When my marriage ended, one of the big thoughts that swirled around my head was that no one would ever want me again.

It wasn’t just that thought.

When you’re the one who doesn’t want the breakup, you put an inordinate amount of blame on yourself.

You believe you did something wrong and that you’re not good enough.

You build toxic thoughts in your mind about all the things that are wrong with you.

You begin to believe that you’ll be alone and no one will ever love you again.

You begin to believe there’s no one out there for you.

You begin to believe that you were meant to live a solitary life of singlehood.

You turn into a ghost of a person who floats around your life, believing no one’s out there for you.

I want to take this moment to snap you out of this ghostly midnight stroll.

If you would rather be alone and don’t want a partner, no judgment here. I have nothing more to say.

But if you’re reading this and you want a partner in your life, I want you to keep a few things in mind.

* Your beliefs about relationships and partners will have an inordinate impact on your ability to find one.

* Your subconscious beliefs about relationships and partners will have an undue influence on your ability to find one.

* Your thoughts and feelings on relationships will weigh heavily on your ability to find a new one.

When I thought I would be alone and would never find a partner, I was right.

When I decided that I was tired of being alone and wanted a partner, I was right too.

Life, courtesy of the universe, brings you what you’re thinking and feeling.

You want a partner but underlying this idea are thoughts, beliefs, feelings and subconscious blocks preventing you from finding one.

To find a person you want to spend your life with, work on shedding these underlying gremlins.  

Remember, what you think about, you bring about.

Your inner emotions shape the world around you.

Your beliefs create your reality.

Ready to start  creating a new reality for yourself today? Ready to start loving anew?

Pick up my book Does True Love Exist to give you some encouragement to find love at the Amazon store today.

Before You Find Romance

Regardless of who loves you and validates you, you can’t invite romance into your life until this happens first.

Don’t believe the Hollywood hype and pop song lyrics You are not complete and whole simply because someone else loves you.  Click on the above video to watch.

For more on this topic, check out my books at the Amazon store here:

Love Yourself After Heartbreak

The Self-Romance Manifesto

7 Life Lessons from Glennon Doyle’s Love Warrior

“What if pain – like love – is just a place brave people visit?” Glennon Doyle, Love Warrior

Love Warrior is a book about how to turn pain and suffering into love.

This past October 27th, in Visalia, California, I watched Glennon Doyle deliver a sermon about becoming a love warrior. Her commentary about Jesus left me awestruck.

Just to be clear, Glennon isn’t a minister and doesn’t possess religious credentials of any kind.

I found myself sitting in the auditorium of love, listening to Glennon preach the doctrine of love.

So, back to Jesus for a minute.

Jesus never avoided the crucifixion, Glennon reminded us. He knew that pain and suffering awaited Him, but He didn’t shy away from His path. It was the pain, struggle and crucifixion that led to the resurrection.

It was the crucifixion that led to the rising.

Have you noticed that most of us usually try to run from our pain?

You and I would do just about anything to avoid feeling bad for a few hours.

Glennon made me question why we run from our pain when, in fact, pain will lead to our own personal resurrection. It’s the pain that will transform us and help us rise again.

In her popular memoir, Love Warrior, Glennon takes the reader on her life journey through bulimia and alcoholism to marriage, betrayal and divorce.

She uses her life story to show us that we, too, can become the alchemists of our own lives by transforming pain to love.

Here are 7 important life lessons from Glennon’s memoir, Love Warrior, to help you become a love warrior in your life.

1. Just the next right thing.

I will go to sleep. The sun will rise. I will make breakfast. I will take the kids to school. I will come home and rest…Just the next right thing, one thing at a time.”

When, at a therapy session, Glennon found out about her husband’s betrayal, she panicked as she watched her life spin out of control. Not knowing what to do after coming out of that session, she did the only thing she could do with her life.

When you are in situations of panic or disaster, or have hit rock bottom, your plan can be as simple as hers.

Just take the very next step.

You may not know what all the right things are and what the future holds but you can do the next right thing. Whatever feels right next, do that.

2. Doing the precise thing.

When other people blamed or scorned her for her dissolving marriage, Glennon stopped asking for advice from others and pretending that she didn’t know what to do. She stopped fretting about whether her next actions were right or wrong.

It’s about doing the precise thing. The precise thing is always incredibly personal and often makes no sense to anyone else.

You have to do what’s right for you. The divine is speaking to you at all times and guiding you in your life. You know what’s best for yourself. The precise thing is the right thing for you to do next.

3. Tear down the walls and face what’s underneath.

When Glennon didn’t know how to fix – or whether to save – her marriage, she realized that it wasn’t about her marriage.

“All I know is that I need to tear down my own walls and face what’s underneath.”

You have little control of the circumstances and people outside yourself.

To become who you are, you must be willing to go within. To fix the outside, you have to start with the inside.

To progress and become who you are may require going backward and unbecoming who you were.

The journey to who you are requires an internal detour.

4. Sitting in the hot loneliness.

You have a sense of loneliness within you that you may have tried to escape, just as Glennon tried to do.

I thought I needed to hide these feelings, escape them, fix them, deliver myself from them…I didn’t know that it would pass.

Just like a hot yoga class that Glennon found herself in, sometimes all it takes is sitting on your yoga mat, feeling pain and not running out of the hot yoga studio.

The pain may be uncomfortable and the heat intolerable, as will be the loneliness. However, if you sit tight and allow the uncomfortable feelings to pass, you’ll realize that you can get through it. The feelings of discomfort are temporary and passing.

5. You are everything you already need.

What if I don’t need Craig to love me perfectly because I’m already loved perfectly? What if I am the warrior I need? What if I am my own damn hero?

Your true identity is one of love. You came from love and you are love.

Yet you look for love on the outside. You’re looking for a person to love and complete you when you don’t need anyone to do that.

You just have to observe and embrace the love that’s already there.

Once you’ve embraced your true identity as a love warrior, you will become the most powerful force on Earth.

6. Be real, not perfect.

I tell them that we can choose to be perfect and admired or to be real and loved. We must decide.”

If you choose to show up in the world as perfect, you have to be an inauthentic version of yourself.

If you choose to be real, you show up as a tender-hearted and vulnerable person. This person will likely suffer hurt more often but will be much stronger than the superficial version of yourself.

You don’t have to hide, terrified about what people think of you.

Show up as how you are with your faults and shortcomings. Your true self is your strength and your authenticity is your gift to the world.

7. Trust yourself.

I will not betray myself. I will trust the wisdom of the still small voice…I will trust her and I will trust myself.”

It’s easy to let outside society dictate your decisions and actions.

Our intuition is strong, Glennon reminds us, and we should listen to it.

The inner voice that you usually drown out in the midst of a busy life is the voice of reason and wisdom.

The more in tune you are with that voice, the more you’ll take actions that are in your best interest.

Listen to it, trust it and know that it will guide you to what’s right for you in your life.

* Thank you to Adrianne Hillman for hosting the event.  Pick up Love Warrior here in the Amazon store.  

7 Simple Personal Growth Lessons I’ve Learned In The Past 7 Years

As my life swirled out of control upon the end of my marriage, house and career, I fell into a state of hopelessness and despair. “What is the point of it all?” I asked myself. “What even matters?” I wondered. “Is there life after heartbreak and loss?” I pondered.

Getting out of bed was difficult. I found myself in tears more than I had at any point in my life. The tsunami of personal, emotional and financial failure was overwhelming! It was also my life’s greatest wake-up call.

Since that time 7 years ago, I’ve done everything I can to regain a grip on my life. After reading hundreds of books; reflecting for hundreds of hours with therapists, coaches and healers; writing thousands of words and implementing dozens of life hacks, here’s what I’ve discovered.

Although it came with much pain, suffering and tears, I’ve distilled my life’s biggest learnings into these 7 lessons.

These are 7 simple personal growth lessons I’ve learned in the past 7 years.

1. The insides matter more than the outsides.

We spend almost all our younger lives focused on building our careers and providing for ourselves as adults. We are busy either making money or learning a trade to make us money. There’s nothing wrong with being able to support ourselves but this focus does ignore everything else that matters. Professional and financial success matter but how about emotional resiliency, interpersonal relationships and self-worth? The latter matter much more but we don’t spend any time developing these qualities.

I’ve learned that the insides matter more; this is your operating system that determines the quality of your life.

Learning to be in touch with your emotions, to pick yourself up after falling and to develop healthy relationships with people is what matters for long-term happiness and success.

2. Habits trump dreams.

People tell you to have dreams and follow them. You revisit your dreams during the new year and maybe a couple other times in January. You set some goals and intention for the year but all of this quickly falls away. People tell you to visualize your dreams and write them down.

None of this is effective.

If you truly want to achieve your dreams, you must focus on daily habits. Daily habits are vehicles that will move you closer to your dreams. A simple check-off of daily tasks you accomplish over a long period of time will get you much closer to your dreams than will audacious dreams.

Small, doable habits you accomplish every day beat tricky and complicated habits you have no motivation for.

3. Less is more.

We fill our lives with so much crap. We look for better housing, better jobs, better relationships, better vacations, better cars, better friends, better partners, better things.

We spend all our time bringing more into our lives.

However, I’ve found that the opposite is true for personal growth.

You must get rid of the stuff in your life. You must lower the number of people filling your life. You must let go of the career or job that is overwhelming you.

Create space to breathe.

Fill your life with what truly matters to you.

4. Busyness is over-rated.

Along the same lines, people in the West are addicted to staying busy.

You’re too busy to take care of yourself, too busy for your health, too busy for your sanity.

People take pride in filling their schedules and lives to the brim. Busyness isn’t cool.

Busyness is for people running on the treadmill of social pressures and pursuing external achievements.

Create more time for yourself so you can do what you really want to do. Don’t be a slave to time.

5. Today matters more than yesterday.

After failure and loss, we want to stay in the past.

You know why?

Because that’s where we are most comfortable.

It’s like knowing the end of a movie. You would rather watch or be in a movie whose ending you know rather than be in a movie you have no clue about.

We would rather be comfortable in the certainty of our past than venture out into an unknown future.

However, this comes at the expense of our lives today.

If you live looking backwards, you’re robbing yourself of what today holds. Live for today; appreciate what’s in front of you. Be mindful of what you’re experiencing and imagine today is the only day you have left.

Live more, reminisce less.

6. Intuition and values are your GPS.

We spend much of our lives focusing on what other people think of us.

I did this for the longest time … until my life fell apart.

When I had nothing else to lose and everyone thought I was heading down the wrong path, I gave up on what everyone thought.

As the black sheep of any community or culture, you have tools to guide you – tools that you never rely on.

Most of your life, people have used loud noises and chatter to drown out your intuition.

You’ve never learned that your values rule your life.

Spend some time getting a better understanding of your gut feeling, your intuition.

How do you listen to it? How does it speak to you?

Also, discover what your values are.

What are your life priorities? What matters to you? How do you find meaning?

Spend the rest of your days both aligning with your intuition and making decisions according to your values.

7. You don’t have to wait to be happy.

You don’t have to achieve x, y, z to be happy.

You don’t have to hit a certain career point or find that special someone to be happy.

Often, we wait our entire lives to be happy. Why not be happy today?

I’ve concluded that happy is as happy does.

You don’t have to wait some day for happiness. Start figuring out what makes you happy today and do that. To be happy, you don’t have to move, marry, get a raise, succeed in your business or get that degree.

Look for the simple pleasures in life that trigger happiness in you; a walk, a pet, a phone call, a visit with a friend, a date, a movie, giving back, cooking your favorite dish, picking up a new hobby.

Do whatever lights your soul on a daily basis.

Schedule it to get daily shots of happiness.

For more personal growth lessons and insights, check out my books at the Amazon store here.

Win the Hearts of Indian Parents and Marry Your Indian Partner

You’re in a bit of an Indian parent masala.

Your boyfriend is Indian and you’re not. (Unfortunately, your partner’s parents are Indian as well!?)

You had dreamy hopes of marrying him and living happily ever after.

The only problem is that your partner hails from that part of the world known as South Asia: primarily India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan or Bhutan.

If you’ve fallen in love with an Indian guy or dating someone from one of these South Asian countries, your life is about to turn upside down.

You found a brilliant, well-educated, polite and devoted guy but…you had no idea this wonderful person came from an overly-protective, slightly judgmental, and hostile family.

In fact, your partner’s Indian parents are likely neurotic, hate the idea of their son dating you and will do everything in their power to sabotage this relationship.

Would Indian parents actually go to this extreme? You betcha!

You will face an emotionally manipulative and aggressive force like no other: the Indian mom and dad.

It’s nothing personal. It’s just that they didn’t work hard, come to this country with 15 cents in their pockets and put their kids through Ivy League schools for those kids to marry you!

You may have initially thought that Indian parents were slightly protective and uncertain of you but now that you’ve gotten to know them, you’re no longer naïve about what’s at stake.

Indian parents (and most South Asian parents) are against intercultural or interracial marriages. They will do whatever it takes to end the relationship between you and their son (including espionage, private investigators, blackmail and criminal threats).

You are realizing the full emotional and psychological battle facing you.

Indian parents will make your dating and potential marriage with your Indian boyfriend very challenging. Your partner is supportive and helpful but you need advice and guidance to deal with the volcano known as Indian parents.

Luckily for you, a guide is available to help. Today, I’m releasing a book called, How to Get Indian Parents to Accept Your Marriage Proposal.

It’s a basic, straightforward guide to understanding the mindset of Indian parents – and to outmaneuvering and outsmarting them so you can have your big, fat Indian wedding.

If you’re not Indian but dating an Indian man (or woman), this one-of-a-kind book will help you understand the Indian cultural mindset and overcome the Indian parents standing between you and the relationship you desire.

The book contains 14 chapters filled with pearls of wisdom and practical-action steps that will help you move your partner’s Indian parents from “hell no” to “fine, ok, whatever.”

Here are the 14 chapter titles of How to Get Indian Parents to Accept Your Marriage Proposal:

  1. Introduction 
  2. What do Indian parents really want other than diamonds and landed property? 
  3. Why are Indian parents against interracial/intercultural marriages and you? 
  4. What extreme measures will Indian parents take to stop you from dating their offspring? 
  5. How should your rational partner talk about your relationship to her slightly neurotic Indian parents? 
  6. How do you take a strategic approach to get the blessings of Indian parents without losing your mind or your Indian partner? 
  7. What is the secret to acceptance into Indian culture without having to be reborn as an Indian person in your next life? 
  8. How should you treat Indian parents to get their appreciation and approval instead of their scorn and hate? 
  9. Another laundry list of ideas to receive marital blessings from your partner’s Indian parents as they put you through the washing machine of life. 
  10. How can you meet, converse with and socialize with the enemy and turn Indian parents into allies? 
  11. How are your sanity and other things more important than your relationship with Indian parents? 
  12. How do you deal with hostile and hurtful Indian parents who tell you to go fly a kite? 
  13. What if your partner is considering a big fat Indian wedding without you? 
  14. May the Gita and the Force Be With You

What if your partner is considering a big, fat Indian wedding without you?

If you’re seeking approval and blessings so you can marry your Indian or South Asian partner, this is the guide for you.

Pick up How to Get Indian Parents to Accept Your Marriage Proposal today.

Use the book’s strategies – and be sure to put me on the guest list if they work and you have a big, fat Indian wedding.

I’ll be checking the mail for my wedding invite!

Get How to Get Indian Parents to Accept Your Marriage Proposal today.

How to Talk to Indian Parents about Marrying Someone From a Different Culture

(If you’re looking for my book on How to Get Indian Parents to Accept Your Marriage Proposal, get it here.)

Talking to Indian parents about love and marriage is different than it is in other cultures.

You don’t simply approach your parents and tell them you’ve fallen for the love of your life and the love of your life is…white or Asian or Latino.

The way to put your life in further jeopardy is to claim your undying love for your long-term American beau, insist you’ve made up your mind and boldly proclaim that you will marry only this man of your dreams!

If you’ve fallen in love with someone from a culture outside of your Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or South Asian family, your relatives will quickly respond.

This response will likely range from complete silence to utter anger and disgust.

Many Indian parents will be in complete shock about your decision and your declaration of love.

Indian people do not believe in marrying for love. Also, they do not believe in marrying non-Indian people.

So, if you’re Indian and you must break the news to your non-Indian parents that you’re marrying an American or westerner, fasten your seat belt and prepare for the passive-aggressive journey you’re about to begin. Get ready for the emotional and psychological battles that are about to ensue.

If you have fallen for an American guy or girl, here is what you must know about how to break the news to your parents.

Getting your parents’ approval will be an uphill battle. Here is what you should keep in mind when preparing for the lengthy battle ahead.

Despite the odds, stay optimistic and follow this strategy to get your Indian parents to accept your boyfriend of girlfriend from a different culture.

A 16-point plan to talk to your parents and get them to accept your non-Indian boyfriend of girlfriend follows.

1. Break the news slowly and over several conversations to help your parents deal with it. This might be the most devastating news they hear in their lives, so understand that they need some time to process it. Give them a few details at a time; limit your revelations when you first break the news to them.

2. Prime them for the conversation. Slowly introduce the topic of your getting serious with someone else or marrying someone who is non-Indian. Do not speak assertively or with certainty. Bring it up as a concept first; introduce the idea as if you are contemplating it with them. See how much they push back each time. If the situation quickly gets hot and intense, change topics and bring it up another day.

3. Do not react as emotionally as your parents do. These initial conversations will likely be intense and hard for your parents, and they will likely say hurtful things. Be aware of what’s coming up. Do not use this time to fight back with the same negativity or insults.

4. In the first conversation, do not die for love. This means do not say this relationship is “do or die.” Do not say you’re going to die for love: “It’s this man or woman or no one else.” Do not make bold and outlandish statements about your love for this person. Do not come across as a lovesick puppy or withering Romeo who will put his life on the line for this non-Indian woman. Tone down your declarations of love and keep things fluid. Take the attitude that anything can happen in life. This marriage may or may not be in your future. Give your parents some time to take it all in and cope.

5. Listen intently to what your parents say. Without a doubt, your parents will have much to say. Instead of coming up with defenses against each response they make, hear them out. Spend more time listening instead of convincing. By speaking, your parents are processing. By listening, you are gathering information.

6. Use every argument as a means of collecting strategic information. Take notes if you must. One day, you can use everything your parents say. They may sound angry and disappointed but they are essentially scared, so use the first few conversations to fully understand where they are coming from and what their fears are. Gather strategic information so you can formulate a plan of attack with your partner!

7. Be on a fact-finding mission to discover what each of your parents is worried about. Each parent will speak a different language and use different words to tell you what lies behind his or her fears. Like a reporter, collect as much information as you can. Then spend the next few months formulating a strategy for convincing them. Reporters don’t yell back or challenge their subjects. They give their interview subjects plenty of time to relax and vent their true feelings and fears.

8. Treat each parent as an individual. Speak to each parent separately. Each will have his or her own quirks, opinions and fears. The more you can divide them and have separate conversations with them, the better your chance of understanding what each one fears.

9. Make strides to address each of their concerns. Over the coming weeks and months, you will know what to focus on. If they are afraid of religious or food incompatibility, make the case to them. If they are afraid of what other people will think, let them know about people who approve of your relationship. Discover their concerns so you can address them.

10. Look for allies within the family and community. Your parents may want to keep the news within your immediate family because of their shame and embarrassment; however, you will benefit by sharing your relationship with people outside your immediate family. You will help the extended family cope and possibly find supporters outside of your parents. You may also find other people in the community whose children married non-Indian people. Definitely bring them into the picture and get them involved. Your parents win in silence and secrecy. The more people who know, the more you’re helping break the taboo and discomfort over sharing this news with others.

11. Help your non-Indian partner educate himself or herself about Indian culture. The more your partner molds himself or herself to the culture, including learning your scriptures and language, the better. What does your family value and prioritize in the Indian culture? Food? Religion? Parenting? Language? Education? Whatever it is, get your partner up to speed. This will help alleviate your parents’ fears. Your parents want to feel as comfortable as possible with your partner because they believe they might be living with you in their older age, and they don’t want to live with a foreigner who doesn’t understand them.

12. Be prepared for psychological and emotional warfare. If you’re expecting it, your parents’ reaction won’t traumatize or shock you. Your parents will try every conceivable method to scare you, hurt you and blackmail you into submission. They will feign health issues, threaten you, disown you, never speak to you again. If you realize they are using these tactics out of fear, you can better cope with the emotional warfare.

13. Use time to your advantage. The more time you have and the longer you drag this out, the better. Your parents will need time to process the news. You are changing generations of a thought process they have believed their entire lives. This is all they know. Give them time to process and to learn about other people and families that have gone through the same thing. They may be going through a grieving process, so expect them to experience all the steps of grief before they arrive in a rational place to accept your decision.

14. Highlight the practical advantages of this particular partner. Indian parents care about respect of their family, religion and culture, as well as about financial stability. You know this, so your task over the next few months is to provide rational reasons why this relationship makes sense. Try to show how Indian-like – or “Indian-lite” – your partner is, even if your partner is not Indian. If your partner is well-educated and has educational or career plans, highlight that fact. If he or she come from a traditional culture or a stable family background (i.e., parents who are still married), highlight that fact. If your partner’s parents are wealthy and have family property, definitely highlight that fact! If your partner has attended church his or her whole life and comes from a religious family, highlight that fact as long as your partner is open to participating in your religious traditions, too.

15. Use compassion and kindness to alleviate your parents’ fears. Your parents will act irrationally out of anger and fear. Responding to them the same way will not help. You must speak with kindness and listen with compassion despite their every tantrum, hurtful statement and blackmail attempt. If you want to make this work, you must find that inner strength to be rational, kind and reasonable. Essentially, you must be the opposite of your parents; you must show them that you have thought this through and that you are not being irrational or disrespectful. This is a case in which kindness and understanding (of what they are experiencing) can help you all get to marital bliss – ok, at least acceptance.

16. Clearly state your intentions and desires. After some time has passed, you can let your parents know that you are serious about this relationship. Now that they have had time to digest and process the news, you can state unequivocally that you are interested in this person as your life partner – and not only are you interested in this person, you’re going to marry him or her. Say this calmly, with certainty and confidence. You stand on the strength of your relationship and the confidence of your partner. More than that, you stand in your own power of knowing what you want and what’s right for you.

If you have more questions about this topic, pick up my book, How to Get Indian Parents to Accept Your Marriage Proposal, here.

The book is a guide to help your non-Indian boyfriend or girlfriend understand Indian culture, outsmart your Indian parents and marry you.

18 Unhealthy and Kooky Myths about Indian Divorce

Unlike Indian divorce, our marriages involve so much pomp, celebration and joy.

Color, jewelry, family, food, elaborate and exotic celebrations.

Our marriages create happy tears and celebrate love. They involve so many traditions, so much culture and sentimentality.

Indian culture CAN handle death well too.

We have respectful ways of mourning and celebrating dead relatives. We have done this for generations. We have rituals, remembrances, memorials, ceremonies galore. We have Ganges River cremations that leave a permanent imprint on the souls of the mourners. We know what to say, what to do and how soon to complete each step.

We can die and mourn the dead like no one else can.

Indian divorce, on the other hand, is a whole other story.

While we have mastered marriage and even death, we are terrible at divorce.

Indian divorce scares Indians, even if divorce is on the rise throughout the Indian community. This has made my own divorce difficult to manage and cope with.

Imagine you’re going through the most stressful experience of your life and the people you love most are isolating and shaming you because of it.

People run from you like you have Valley Fever, the mumps or Ebola. Indian divorce is filled with shame and stigma.

To the normal and rational person, the theories and myths Indians perpetuate about divorce are nutty and odd.

If you think you’re going through a bad divorce, consider Indian divorce and feel a little better about your situation.

18 unhealthy and kooky myths about Indian divorce:

1. You’re at fault.

It doesn’t matter what happened or who did what. You’re at fault. You caused this divorce because of your behavior, your attitude, or your plain and simple desire to bring great shame to your family. No one in your inner circle cares about the reason or rationale. Keep your excuses and your tears to yourself, mate. No matter what you say, you’re the one who caused this divorce.

2. You can’t “adjust”.

You were stubborn and bull-headed growing up. Speaking to you was like speaking to a wall. No one could convince you to do anything then and, sure enough, your partner can’t rationalize with you now. You refused to listen, to compromise, to give in and give way. Your family is convinced that not only are you the problem but you can never change your stubborn character or strong opinions.

3. You’re an alcoholic, wife beater or cheater.

If you’re a man divorcing, you’re definitely going to hear that you are one of these things. You either drank, beat your wife or cheated on her. Having a drink at a holiday party will make you a drunk. Covering your body as your partner throws dishes at you will make you an abuser. Talking to another woman – any woman, be she a colleague, supervisor or friend – will make you a lying, cheating demon.

4, You’re sleeping around with other men, most likely an ex-lover.

If you’re a woman, more than likely you are getting a divorce because you are still in love with an ex-lover. You married your current husband only so you could get to America or Canada, where your previous lover was waiting for you. If not one lover, you have many. Your insatiable appetite for sex OR your lack of desire for sex led to the divorce!

5. It’s the woman’s fault.

If you’re a woman, no matter what happened, it’s your fault. You are the divorce-initiator, home-wrecker, reputation-ruiner. You’re the outcast.

You had the power, ability and wisdom to give in, adjust, compromise and make it work. You chose not to make any adjustments because you wanted to punish your poor parents. Your divorce is simply a way to get back at your family, who raised you with love and affection.

Oh, and not only is your parents’ happiness gone but your dad’s chest has been hurting of late. You might be the reason why he develops heart issues, diabetes or any other health condition within the next 20 years.

6. You married only for the green card.

This is not a joke. This is probably the first reason I hear when anyone in the Indian community gets a divorce in America. Oh, she married him for the green card. She married him to get to America. Once she achieved her American dream, she let go of her marital nightmare. Marriage was just a way to get what she wanted. A marriage certificate until citizenship certificate. When you get one, you let go of the other.

7. Your karma is at fault.

You were likely a royal torturer in your past life. You raped and pillaged cities and countries. In your former life you were a terrible human being, the lowest of the low, and you were reborn as you in this life. Now you are going to pay for your past sins. You were so bad in your last life, you were likely a lawyer, dictator, murderer or evil-monger of some sort. What goes around comes around.

8. Your fate is at fault.

You’re cursed and your fate is the reason why you brought suffering upon yourself. This isn’t so much karma (which you can do something about) but fate (which you have no control over). The Gods have written your life story and determined that you are going to suffer. They pre-destined you to live a lonely, sad, depressed and tragic existence. They have cursed you with a contentious, non-mutual consent Indian divorce! You have no hope and no future. Lunch, anyone?

9. Your astrology and your time are at fault.

You got married at the wrong time, an inauspicious time. Neither you nor your parents listened to the temple priest, pandit or family astrologer regarding the right time and day to have your marriage. Therefore, the Gods have cursed you. Also, it wasn’t the right time in your life to get married. You were in your cursed and inauspicious 7-year circle, when the demons were out for your head. Of course this marriage didn’t last. When you ignore the stars and the Gods, you’re on your own.

10. You didn’t marry the person your parents wanted for you.

How can anyone trust you to find someone? Why did you think your own decisions would be the right ones? If you’re going to start doing wild things and thinking for yourself, you deserve the consequences of your decisions. If you had married the nice boy from the orthodox and wealthy family your parents had desired for you, everything would have worked out fine. If you had listened to them, you would have succeeded. Because you didn’t heed their advice and marital selection, you’re doomed and will fail at everything you do.

11. Your divorce is contagious.

Your behavior and actions will influence anyone who crosses your path, especially people who are getting married. Your rebellious nature, your disrespect of tradition and culture, your hatred of the patriarchy will not only doom you but spread these ideas to anyone who crosses your path. People in your life, especially those who love you or claim they do, will ensure that you have no contact with the innocent, the single, the ambitious or the good. They will keep you in a cell, away from productive and good people.

12. You’re a bad omen.

The rain falls, the stock market tanks and all the calamities you or your family now face are because of your bad omen. You are the cause of that drought, hurricane or terrible agricultural season. Sorry to say but you’re bad luck to all those you come in contact with. If someone is betting, they should stay away from you. If someone is celebrating an engagement or a baby, they should stay away from you. If someone is walking down the street, they should travel on the other side so a bus doesn’t hit them.

13. Your family didn’t raise you correctly.

While your family will blame you for your divorce, don’t fear. There’s plenty of blame to pass around. For example, everyone else you’ve loved, known or trusted your entire life will blame your family for raising such a useless, destructive and rebellious child. People will begin to wonder about the mental health and parenting skills of the parents of divorcees. You will become a bad reflection of yourself and your family, your culture and your community. If there were an Indian hall of shame, you would have a prominent place in it.

14. Your family members can’t show themselves in public.

Every person your family sees in public will take a swipe at you … or so your parents believe. Every question about you will lead to more shame and resentment. Your parents, and possibly your extended family, will tire of their association with you, tire of answering questions about you and tire of hearing your name. You live far away and don’t have to see the community and people you’ve known your whole life. They, on the other hand, must remain in solitary confinement, hiding from the people and places they’ve known and visited their entire lives.

15. You’re a bad example.

You must remain locked up and far away from younger siblings, nephews, nieces, cousins and all impressionable people. Others might notice your wicked ways and get strange ideas about divorce or being happy. Per your karma and fate, you must suffer in misery rather than find happiness. You got married for your family and must make all life decisions for your family. You shouldn’t set bad examples for future generations. We need mentors, academic superstars, spelling bee champions and heart surgeons … not divorcees.

16. You’ll live in abject poverty and sadness and die alone.

Our parents really do believe this about our lives after divorce. If the best potential partner for us, our former spouses, could reject us, who else could possibly want us? You are destined to live in sadness, and in that sadness you will find loneliness. In that loneliness, you will find poverty – either material, emotional or spiritual. Your world, as you know it, is over.

The rest of the world will be happy, celebrate festivals, buy gold and watch Bollywood movies but you will not. You will be sad, depressed and regretful, and will live in misery.

17. The only thing worse than what you’ve already done is therapy.

Nope, not only are we not going to support you and be there for you in your darkest hour, we want to let you know loud and clear that we don’t want you to seek additional help. Please don’t shame us more by getting a therapist and talking to a bunch of nutty mental health people. That’s a Western thing, and we don’t do it. You’re not as crazy as we think you are. Well, you are crazy but don’t go to a therapist and prove it to everyone else. Let us preserve some dignity and respect. Don’t visit a therapist and confirm to us that you’re a nut job.

18. Your only hope for redemption is … another marriage.

You have caused us so much shame and suffering. You have embarrassed your family, your community, your ancestors and your country! You have only one way to redeem yourself: a second marriage (Shaadi.com, please) You can continue to be the disappointment and failure that you are or you can say “I do” to the partner we choose and get married on the date we pick.

Now, who’s ready for a big fat small lonely Indian divorce?

For my books on healing from heartbreak and divorce, visit my Amazon link here.

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