“Jon & Kate Plus 8” Divorce, 4th of July Gathering, Mark Long Road Ahead

Despite trying to make nice for the 4th of July holiday with the kids, Jon and Kate Gosselin – the stars of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” – have a long road ahead – involving divorce and raising eight children separately in a now broken home. News reports state that Jon and Kate Gosselin spent the 4th of July holiday together at their Pennsylvania home for the kids’ happiness.

Reports also state that Kate Gosselin filed for divorce on June 22, 2009. While no allegations have been confirmed on either side, various photographs have surfaced showing Jon Gosselin with a 23-year-old schoolteacher, so it’s plain to see that Kate Gosselin is going through some pretty heavy stuff right now.

Author Ginger Emas, who penned the amusing and supportive “Back on Top: Fearless Dating After Divorce” (Globe Pequot Press, 2009), offers divorce survival advice for Kate Gosselin based on her own experiences.

“A break-up or divorce is never easy, and especially not for Kate, who has eight kids and a very public life,” Emas comments. “I applaud her. I’m rooting for her. And when she’s ready to date, I’ll be glad to babysit.”

Divorce Survival Tips for Kate Gosselin from Author Ginger Emas
Ginger Emas offers the following divorce survival tips for Kate’s split with Jon:

1.    Decide to have an amicable split from Jon, no matter what it takes. With eight kids, you’re going to need a supportive co-parent, especially when they hit puberty – all at once! It won’t always be easy, but you get to create your own divorce. Maybe you won’t bring your ex home for the holidays like I do, but strive for a friendship that allows you to raise the kids without yelling and arguing. After all, if you wanted to scream at each other, you would stay married.

2.    Do not say mean things about Jon in front of your kids. Ever. This is an opportunity to tap into your best self, your truest character. You will feel so incredibly good about yourself, at a time when it’s easy to get down on yourself. Be nice. Your kids are going to be feeling torn, confused, scared. They need to know that Mommy and Daddy love them, and the way kids feel that is to see that Mommy and Daddy are nice to each other. You won’t be able to change Jon’s behavior (you already know that), you can only change how you react to his behavior, and how you guide your children. That’s a big enough job!

3.    Take care of yourself. It’s not going to be easy with a houseful of adorable preschoolers, but you’re going to need some self-love here. Surround yourself with girlfriends you trust, who really care, and who can help you smile through some of the hard times. I know this isn’t the happily ever after you dreamed about on the day you got married. (Although I have talked with several women who told me they knew as soon as they walked down the aisle that their marriage was doomed; I certainly didn’t. I was thinking, “This is the best day of my life, this is the man of my dreams, I’m sure I can change him.”)  Kate, we all feel different things – we’re scared, we’re worried, we’re lonely. What you’re doing also takes courage — especially because you live so publicly. Just remember that you are making the choices that are right for you — and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. But you do owe it to yourself (and to your kids) to take care of yourself.  Breathe.

4.    Don’t even think about dating. I know this is odd advice coming from the woman who wrote the book on “fearless dating after divorce,” but all the experts agree: you won’t be ready for at least a year. That doesn’t mean you should sit home alone (who am I kidding? You’ll be lucky if you’re ever alone between now and the time your kids go to college) but do some things that you enjoy. When your children are with their dad or with relatives or a nanny, take Salsa dancing or fashion designer classes or something else you’ve always wanted to do, now listed under “Classes for the Newly Divorced.”

5.    When you do decide to date, don’t date on your kids’ time. One thing that helps keep me balanced is to remember that I am a mom first. This is why my son thinks he is the center of the universe. And for a little while longer, your kids are, too, Kate. As you start dating, consider your kids’ feelings first. That means keeping your dating life private, separate from your family life, until you are dating someone exclusively and have been seeing him for at least six months. (We can all do the math, this is at least 18 months from now!) It can be confusing and scary for kids to meet a revolving door of dates. Quick tips: Your children do not need to meet your dates; sleepovers should be kept to nights that your kids are not home, and only when you are in a serious relationship; don’t feel guilty about dating (or not dating), be supportive of your ex dating, and finally: love your kids, respect your kids, spend time with your kids. And while I tell most women to be wary of their neighbors, for you: beware of the paparazzi.

6.    Never, ever think you must date. No matter how many times you say “Not yet” when friends who think they are just being supportive ask if you are dating. Unless they offer you the name, age, photo, and financial and mental health records of an eligible bachelor, I think you have just as much right to ask them if they are still having sex with their spouse. If you are out there dating because you think that you should or that this is your one last chance or someone wants to offer you another reality show, dating really will be a disaster.

7.    Do not date looking for your next husband. Do not date for security. Do not date to meet some societal standard of couplehood. This keeps us in relationships with men we wouldn’t even sit next to on the subway. Relationships that could be harmful to our health and self-esteem. You will wind up dating a lot of “frogs” this way. Well, no matter what you do, you’ll probably wind up dating a lot of frogs. Just don’t marry them.

8.    And my all-inclusive advice: Don’t do anything too stupid.

–    The above tips and comments are courtesy of Ginger Emas.

About the Expert:
Ginger Emas is the author of “Back on Top: Fearless Dating After Divorce” (Globe Pequot Press, 2009). For more about Ginger and the book, visit online at: http://backontopthebook.com and on the social media site Ginger created for women finding the courage to date again, www.fearlessdatingafterdivorce.com.

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