On the Worthy blog and social channels there is always one topic that gets the most hits: love and dating after divorce. When you’re a single mom looking for love it can be easy to feel defeated. You’ve been hurt before, you’ve got enough on your plate, and you might just not be ready yet! No matter where you are in your own journey this episode is for you. We knew the best person to chat about this with is Laura Lifshitz, one of our favorite writers on the Worthy blog!
Laura strikes the perfect balance of not wanting to settle for someone who is not Worthy of her, and enthusiastic about the possibility of finding love again. When we’ve been burned before it can be easy to shut down, and we know it isn’t easy to put yourself back out there after divorce. But Laura reminds us that it’s worth it to get unstuck! You are becoming your best self, and you’re equipped with experience that helps you know what you want and need!
Audrey: 00:00 Welcome to Divorce and Other Things You Can Handle, a branded podcast from Worthy. I’m Audrey, and I’m your host. “What is a queen without her king? Historically speaking, a very effective leader.” This was one of your favorite and our favorite recent quotes that we featured on our Instagram, and it is just one of many examples of a little bit of content about men, about your exes, about dating, about falling in love again, that you guys have really taken to, and so we know that you want to talk about love and dating after divorce, and we know that the best person to do that with is Laura Lifshitz, who is one of our favorite writers on our blog.
She is so compassionate, and so smart, and her view on love after divorce is that perfect balance between not wanting to settle for someone who’s not worthy of you, and also hopeful, and believing that there is love again out there for her, and super optimistic, and not getting stuck in the dark, and super unproductive places that we can so easily go to when we’ve been burned before.
She’s also very relatable, and very funny, and this was such a fun interview, and we’re so excited to share it with you. You can go to worthy.com/podcast to read some of her articles that you might find interesting if you enjoy this episode. We’re going to take a quick break, and then we’ll be right back with Laura.
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I am very excited to be joined today by a very special guest. She has a past on MTV. She used to be a standup comedian and actor. She is a graduate of Columbia University, and she is a single mom to a gorgeous and very adorable seven-year-old girl.
Laura Lifshitz: 02:31 Ah, thanks.
Audrey: 02:34 She is a wonderful writer, I think one of the funniest and smartest writers who’s talking about being a divorced woman and a single mom. We’re so lucky that she writes for our blog. You can also read her pieces on POPSUGAR Moms, and Huffington Post, and many, many other places. Welcome to the podcast, Laura Lifshitz.
Laura Lifshitz: 02:59 Thank you, that was very sweet. Thanks for saying all those good things. You made me smile. I love writing for Worthy, I think you guys are great. I think the content’s really relevant, and inspiring, and positive, and that’s really … it’s not snarky, it’s just very real, and very relatable, at least to me, so I enjoy writing for you guys.
Audrey: 03:21 We love having you write for us, and I think you’re one of the voices that makes our blog really special, because we don’t do the bullshit. We’re very honest about what it’s like, and I love your voice, and I’m so, so excited that you are doing this episode with us.
Laura Lifshitz: 03:37 Yay, thank you.
Audrey: 03:39 Absolutely. We are going to be talking about dating and love today.
Laura Lifshitz: 03:44 Woo-hoo, my favorite topic.
Audrey: 03:47 I want you to start by telling us a little bit about your marriage and divorce, just so we can get some background.
Laura Lifshitz: 03:55 My ex and I were together for maybe eight years. We were probably married for six of those. We were separated twice. We took a trial separation for six months, we tried again for another few months, and then we’re like, “You know, this wasn’t working.”
I was the one who was like, “Look, I don’t think we can do this,” but it’s not like he was sitting there going, “Yes, I really, really want to be with you.” I mean, maybe he did, but I don’t know. He tells me all the time he didn’t. So I said, “Let’s do this, this isn’t working.” That was four years ago, actually, like a little over four years ago.
Audrey: 04:34 Wow.
Laura Lifshitz: 04:35 Yeah, yeah. Four years ago. We’ve been separated since. We’ve been divorced for two years. He was actually … I dated a lot of guys, I mean, I had a new love interest like every other day in my 20s. In my world, if it rained men I would be gloriously happy. I am still waiting for that to happen, but the weather girls were inaccurate. It’s never happened.
I loved men, I mean, they’re just so manly. I had a new boyfriend every other day, and I tended to always think like … For a long time I just really didn’t like great guys, honestly. I wasn’t attracting the right people.
Audrey: 05:23 You know, that’s so unusual. I’ve never heard of a woman that’s into bad boys.
Laura Lifshitz: 05:32 I was like, “Wait a second.” You know what? I don’t even know if it was bad boy, per se. I was pretty smart in that there were a few men I met in my 20s that I knew, “He’s attractive, but he’s not going to be somebody I can date.” I knew instinctively, like, “This is a bad boy,” and I didn’t get attached, which is-
Audrey: 05:32 Lucky.
Laura Lifshitz: 05:51 Lucky. Yeah, lucky. But there were a few guys that I got attached to that I shouldn’t have for sure. I mean, absolutely. A lot of that had to do with my self-esteem. A lot of that had to do with early experiences, and it’s funny, who I am today dating is so different than who I was when I met my ex-husband.
I can say that if I’d knew what I knew today, and if I felt as confident as I did today as I did back then, my life story would have been totally different, but you know what? I can sit here and wish, and wish that I had made different choices, but that doesn’t do anything. We learn when it’s our time to learn, and I learned, and I grew confident when it was my time to grow confident.
Audrey: 06:40 I think so many people have that experience, too. I mean, I think one of the silver linings of divorce is that you really have an opportunity to see what wasn’t right, and pursue your future with some lessons learned, and pursue things that make more sense for you.
Laura Lifshitz: 06:57 That’s how it should be viewed. One of the problems I see, and obviously I’m female, so I have the women’s viewpoint. I mean, for you guys, I really focus on a female voice, but I do really try with a lot of my content. I’ve actually had men come to me and say that they really like what I write.
Audrey: 07:15 That doesn’t surprise me at all.
Laura Lifshitz: 07:18 Well, because I really try to think about everybody, and I’m super outgoing, I have a lot of friends, I love people, I really genuinely do. I love hearing people’s stories, and I deeply feel for people, I’m very empathetic.
Audrey: 07:33 Right. I think that comes across in your writing.
Laura Lifshitz: 07:35 I hope so.
Audrey: 07:37 I do. I think what’s so great about your point of view is that it’s so honest, and it’s so human, and that is beyond the female and male experience. That’s just the experience of being human.
Laura Lifshitz: 07:49 Yeah, and being divorced. Well, one of the things I see is that unfortunately, I see this actually a little more for men than I do for women, but the divorce has really, really crushed them. I see it with women too, and I think that it’s unfortunate, because I see it as yes, a divorce was a failed marriage.
It was a failure, but you’re supposed to fail in life. You’re not supposed to win at everything, and it is a big failure when you think about it, but you can turn it into a win, and I think that the most happiest people after divorce turn that into a win, and I see that the people that are struggling are not turning it into a win. They’re not sitting here and saying, “This is what I gathered from this. This is what I got from that.”
Audrey: 08:38 Right. I love that, turning it into a win. That’s great.
Laura Lifshitz: 08:42 You have to. You have to, because I could sit here and cry that I have no money, and I struggle, and my daughter will ask, “Why can’t we do this?” And it’s, “Well, I don’t have money.” I’m single, but you know what? I’m happy with who I am, and when you have that, and when you say, “This happened. It’s hard. Life is not what I thought it was going to be.” I never envisioned being a single mom. Never, not a second did I ever think this would be my fate.
But then when I look back, I say, “You know what? Yeah, this was going to be my fate, because I wasn’t making the best choices for myself with love, because I didn’t feel great about me. I think the biggest thing I can tell anybody after divorce or getting through a divorce is you need to really own your mistakes, figure out who you are, and really, you have to turn this into a win if you ever want to move on after a divorce and be with someone else. There’s sort of these two camps of people, right? Well, three, okay?
Audrey: 09:42 Okay.
Laura Lifshitz: 09:42 I want to say when it comes to love and dating, I want to say to myself, “I’m a person that’s turned this into a win, and I’m happy with who I am, and I’d like someone else to join me on the journey.” Right?
Audrey: 09:55 Yeah.
Laura Lifshitz: 09:55 I’d like a partner. I’d really like a life partner, but then there are two other groups, right? So they’re the people that are sitting there like me, like, “I’m happy. I have a lot to offer. Who wants to join me on this crazy trip called life?” So that’s the positive group.
Then we have the hole fillers, so people who are like, “I need somebody. I need somebody. I need somebody. They must fill me up. I can’t be alone. Why am I alone? Why do I keep meeting the wrong people? Why do I meet jerks? Why do I go out with jerks?”
Audrey: 10:28 But super, super passive, like all of this is just happening to them, that they’re only meeting this kind of person.
Laura Lifshitz: 10:36 Yes, because a lot of it comes from … not that they’re bad people at all, because I’ve been there. I’ve been that empty pot of need, you know?
Audrey: 10:46 I think we all have.
Laura Lifshitz: 10:47 Yeah, yeah.
Audrey: 10:48 It’s like a normal thing, but you don’t want to get stuck there.
Laura Lifshitz: 10:52 Yes. I think I was right before I met my ex, he’s an attractive guy and everything, but I just think I was so nervous about never getting married. All my friends had been married, and I was like, “Well, I have to be.” And I really wanted love, and I think he did too. I think he really wanted that too. Our friends were all married, and we really wanted to have that for ourselves, right? The white picket fence dream without the white picket fence, but you know.
So there are hole fillers. There are people that they are separated, and they feel like failures. “The divorce is done. I need to find somebody else quick. Anybody.” And they don’t sit there and say, “Well, why am I attracting bad people?” Because they’re looking for someone else to turn to them and say, “You’re amazing,” but the fact is, even if someone turned to you, like if I said, “Hey Audrey, you’re amazing.” If you sit there and go, “Well, I don’t believe you,” it doesn’t matter.
Audrey: 11:44 “No, I’m not. I’m this, I’m that.” You have to have it in you before you can believe it from someone else.
Laura Lifshitz: 11:50 Yes, and it’s the most cliché thing, and it’s annoying, and people used to tell me that, “Ah you need to love yourself.” I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, Oprah Winfrey. Okay.” Like I know. I know, and there are times where I’m like, “Uh, I don’t like the way I look. I don’t like what I’m wearing. I don’t like my hair or my face.” Whatever the case is. But overall, I generally like myself.
Audrey: 12:09 It’s so important to find the way to love yourself, even if it has nothing to do with the way you look. I mean, I don’t know if you can ever really be happy until you believe that you deserve to be happy.
Laura Lifshitz: 12:21 And that’s part of it, right? So a lot of people exit the divorce feeling defeated, and that is normal. It’s normal to feel that way, right? You put your whole life into somebody, and then you walk away, and you have nothing. Sometimes you have really-
Audrey: 12:34 Negative.
Laura Lifshitz: 12:34 … literally nothing. Yeah. There’s the positive group. You’ve got the hole filling group, and then you’ve got the, “Oh my gosh, I am devastated and scared, and I am never coming back out of my house again,” group. You know, the people that are like, “I’m never going to meet anybody. Men suck.” I mean, I see it on the posts all the time. Guys are like, “Oh, she did me in for my money.”
Just the people who have decided that, “You know what, I’m never going to take this risk again. I’m never going to be hurt again. I am just going to lock myself up in my own little world and keep everyone out.”
Audrey: 13:11 Yeah. “I’ve been burned once, and I’m not willing to risk it again.”
Laura Lifshitz: 13:14 Yes.
Audrey: 13:15 It’s a terrible way to live life.
Laura Lifshitz: 13:18 But you know what? It happens a lot. Here’s a great example. I went out on a date with somebody. Maybe it was … it was about a year ago. Really nice guy. I don’t know if we had a lot of chemistry. We didn’t, but … we didn’t, but he was really … I would have gone out with him again, only because you know what? He was nice. He was smart, he could carry a conversation, and he was a dedicated father. Those are things that I like in someone.
Audrey: 13:46 Big things, yeah.
Laura Lifshitz: 13:47 But we weren’t obviously a love match. But in any event, you could tell that even though he had been divorced longer than I was, separated longer than I was, it was like he still wasn’t on board with the idea of having an identity outside of his children. He hadn’t had a serious relationship. He still talked about the marriage like it happened last year.
For me, I just walked away saying, “You know what? He’s a super nice guy. I don’t think he’s ready.” It’s funny, I almost wanted to text him and be like, “Look, you know, I don’t think you’re ready, but I’m here for you as your friend, and I’m going to encourage you.”
Audrey: 14:27 That’s so sweet.
Laura Lifshitz: 14:30 But most guys don’t want to hear that.
Audrey: 14:31 Right. Right, right, right.
Laura Lifshitz: 14:31 They really hate that.
Audrey: 14:33 And probably most women too, I mean … you know.
Laura Lifshitz: 14:37 Yeah, I agree.
Audrey: 14:37 I’m sure he’s trying. And same thing for our listeners, if they’re not there yet. Of course we know that it takes time, and everybody’s journey is different, but I think of the three groups that you mentioned. I think it’s good for people to try to aim and be in the first group, right?
Laura Lifshitz: 14:53 Yes, it is, but I see a lot of people get caught in the cycles of those two groups, because you know, fear. I mean, with the last group, the people that lock themselves away, it’s really fear, right?
Audrey: 15:05 Right.
Laura Lifshitz: 15:06 It’s a risk analysis. They’re sitting there and saying, “I can hang out by myself and be just fine, or I could get involved with someone and end up sitting there splitting my assets again.” I understand that, I understand the fear of that. It wasn’t a fun experience. It’s not fun for me to still deal with someone who’s difficult, you know, a difficult ex. But at the same time, you can sit and be just fine by yourself, and there’s nothing wrong with being alone. You don’t need to have anyone to be happy.
Audrey: 15:35 That’s right.
Laura Lifshitz: 15:35 But at the same time, you might be missing out on something great.
Audrey: 15:39 I think so too.
Laura Lifshitz: 15:40 You know?
Audrey: 15:41 Right. So let me ask you a question.
Laura Lifshitz: 15:43 Sure.
Audrey: 15:43 You said that your marriage ended kind of slowly, like you had taken a couple of different breaks, so do you think that the way that it didn’t have kind of a sudden end, or it didn’t come out of nowhere impacted what it was like for you to get back out there when you started dating? I mean, what was it like when you went on your first date after divorce?
Laura Lifshitz: 16:04 You know, I think that the way a marriage ends, yes, it could definitely affect how somebody views dating, right?
Audrey: 16:11 Right.
Laura Lifshitz: 16:12 I think because this was something that I felt was the best choice for me, I think that that made it a lot easier for me to move forward. At the time, he was a little more present and around for our daughter. That did help.
I have a girlfriend who husband had an affair, those things were pretty jolting, so I do think that when somebody has a, “Hey, by the way. I just want to leave,” or, “Oh, by the way, I’m sleeping with the nanny, and we’re going to get married two months from now,” it does make it very hard for someone to cope, because they didn’t know. Right?
Audrey: 16:49 Right.
Laura Lifshitz: 16:49 But at the same time, I also believe that people don’t know what they don’t want to know, and that the reality is there are very few surprises in life if you were paying attention, but there are some people that choose to sit there and not look at what’s going on.
Laura Lifshitz: 17:00 … people that choose to sit there and not look at what’s going on, you know? For me, my first date, you know, it’s funny, I think he might follow me on Facebook, actually. He was a divorce guy, too. He was really nice. He was somebody that I matched with online. He was on a website. At that time the apps weren’t as popular. Now they’re really popular and they’re actually easier. It was a website, and I said to him like, “You know? I’m kind of nervous. Not because I don’t feel ready to date but just because I haven’t done this online thing in a while, so I’m sorry if I’m nervous.”
I’ll be honest with you. I really don’t like online dating. I don’t really think it’s my best venue, and I’ll get into that in a little while. Anyway, I met this guy at just a bar and I could tell by his messages and stuff that he was nice. He was. I didn’t feel that chemistry, but he was a nice guy and we could talk and we could relate with each other. But, I mean, a part of me is like if one of my girlfriends was like, “Oh you know, what do you think of him?” I would say, “You should go out with him,” because he was nice, right? He was a really, really nice person.
Audrey: 18:12 Yeah, just not for you. Not the right fit for you. Okay.
Laura Lifshitz: 18:12 Yeah, it just didn’t fit that. I found that in my early dating experiences that most of the times there was some nice guys that like just yeah, we just didn’t have that connection. But there were definitely a few guys. There was one guy who was really mean. I think I was still fresh and still unsure and in the “what’s wrong with me” needy stage that I went out with him twice and I was like … Now, I wouldn’t even think twice of looking at him, you know, because he was just mean. I think at the time I was fragile.
Then, one other guy who I felt, we just went out once but I think I was just naïve. I think I was just more naïve in the beginning. I went out a few times with somebody like a mutual friend. He was really great, but then he flaked out. For me, I think I was just ready to date because I had felt so alone in the marriage for so long that I really missed that companionship. I think for me, personally, I don’t think I was confident enough to really find the right person. I don’t think that’s everybody’s journey. I just think for me part of what got me into my marriage was the fact that I didn’t feel confident in myself and that’s why I ended up there. It was something that I needed to resolve and I feel good about myself.
In fact, now, when I meet people, or I talk to people, or I swipe left, or swipe right I have never been wrong about someone I’ve met. I’ve always said, “You know what? This person is going to be this.” It’s always been right. I’ve been able to kind of like keep myself away from anyone bad because I have good judgment now because I have confidence. When you have confidence in yourself and you have boundaries, it changes a lot.
Audrey: 20:05 Right, you’re not willing to waste your time because you feel that your time is valuable.
Laura Lifshitz: 20:10 Yes, but you’re also willing to tell people, “This is what I need and this is what I don’t need.” Right? I think that a lot of women have a hard time with boundaries. They just let people walk all over them or they’re like, “I don’t want to do this, but I’m going to do this.” Or you know what? This guy messaged me and he said something really not that great, but I’m going to go out with him anyway. You have to have boundaries for yourself. You have to sit there and have expectations of how you want to be treated.
You’re teaching people how to treat you that way, right?
Audrey: 20:40 Yeah, like you set the bar for how you deserve to be treated by the way that you treat yourself.
Laura Lifshitz: 20:47 Yes, exactly.
Audrey: 20:48 You lead by example.
Laura Lifshitz: 20:50 Like for example, one guy he messaged me something that was very nice. You know, nothing like flowery but it was normal. Then the second thing he said to me was, “When did you get breast augmentation done?”
Audrey: 21:03 Oh, thank you. That’s such a weird thing to say.
Laura Lifshitz: 21:08 I was like, “Actually, never, and this is the end of our conversation.”
Audrey: 21:12 Yeah, good for you.
Laura Lifshitz: 21:14 Because I was setting the boundary that that’s inappropriate. You don’t say that to me. I don’t like people that do that. I’m leaving.
Audrey: 21:23 Yes, good for you.
Laura Lifshitz: 21:24 But, let’s be honest. A raise of hands for all the women listening right now. How many of you could say that somebody has messaged your or said something inappropriate and you’ve sort of let it slide?
Audrey: 21:38 Yeah.
Laura Lifshitz: 21:38 You know? Every time you let someone slide it’s like you’re lowering yourself.
Audrey: 21:43 And lowering your standards.
Laura Lifshitz: 21:45 Yeah, yeah.
Audrey: 21:46 Yeah.
Laura Lifshitz: 21:47 You know, you set the stage. A friend of mine the other day said, “You know, I messaged this guy and he hasn’t gotten back to me in three days. Should I message him?” I said, “No. Of course you shouldn’t message him. You set the bar.” The bar into expectation is you want somebody that reaches out to you, that communicates with you, that wants to have a relationship with you. You don’t sit there and chase after people and say, “Hey, hey, like me, you know?”
Audrey: 22:14 You know, this is that episode of Sex In The City that the movie He’s Just Not That Into You is based on. You know what I’m talking about?
Laura Lifshitz: 22:22 Yeah, yeah.
Audrey: 22:23 It’s such good advice when you just think about that one line. A guy that’s into you is going to make it happen. He’s going to say nice things to you, he’s going to be respectful, he’s going to be trying to impress you and make you feel good. A guy who’s not is not going to be putting in that effort. Don’t put in the effort if he’s not putting the effort in.
Laura Lifshitz: 22:43 Exactly, you know, you’re not supposed to bend yourself into a pretzel in order to fit someone’s desires. You’re supposed to be the pretzel that you are and hopefully someone likes our saltiness, your sweetness, whatever it is.
Audrey: 22:56 Side of mustard.
Laura Lifshitz: 22:58 You know, if you’re a hot pretzel. I’m getting hungry.
Audrey: 23:00 That’s really cute. The pretzel that you are.
Laura Lifshitz: 23:03 Yes, the pretzel that you are. You know, I say that because you shouldn’t chase after somebody because the reality is if somebody wants you around they’ll find a way to make it happen whether you guys are far away, whether you guys have children on different custody schedules you just make it happen, right? Because we always make what’s important to us a priority.
Audrey: 23:28 Yeah, when you want something you make it happen. Exactly.
Laura Lifshitz: 23:32 Yes, yes.
Audrey: 23:33 I think that’s like the best dating advice just in general for everyone. That’s the golden rule I think of dating.
Laura Lifshitz: 23:41 Well, the other golden rule of dating that is something that I remind people of is you can not take online dating personally. If you’re swiping left and right and you match with, let’s just say, Joshua. You message him and he doesn’t get back to you. It’s not about you. For all you know, Joshua could have come out of the closet. Joshua could have decided to get reconnected with his girlfriend from high school.
Audrey: 24:07 Exactly, yeah.
Laura Lifshitz: 24:09 You just don’t know.
Audrey: 24:10 I actually have a friend who was dating a Joshua who ended things and got back together which his ex. I really do.
Laura Lifshitz: 24:20 Well, that’s really weird.
Audrey: 24:22 Yeah, but you’re right. That kind of thing happens. It’s not necessarily like, every relationship that doesn’t work out doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you.
Laura Lifshitz: 24:32 Well, in the case of online dating it’s different, right? It’s not really a relationship. You’re trying to get a date. What happens a lot, and I can say this for me, is that like sometimes I message somebody and they don’t message me back. I don’t sit there and go what’s wrong with me? Don’t they like blondes? Don’t they like cute little blondes?
Audrey: 24:47 Should I change my pictures?
Laura Lifshitz: 24:50 Yeah.
Audrey: 24:50 Right.
Laura Lifshitz: 24:51 Did I say something wrong? I just figure it just wasn’t a match. Sometimes, I don’t get back to a lot of guys that message me. One guy messaged me the other day and he did the female thing, which we’re going to talk about that, too. This is something else I think women need to not do off the bat.
Audrey: 25:09 Okay, what is it?
Laura Lifshitz: 25:11 Okay, the first message he sent me was, “What are you looking for?” I’m like okay, how about where do you live? How about what do you do? I said, “I’m looking for a long term partner and I don’t rush into that kind of choice. I take the journey, right? I take it slow.” He’s like, “Oh well. I tend to go a little quickly.” I was like, “Whoa, you know?” That was like a I don’t like this. That’s not good. He mentioned, “If I want to put a ring on somebody fast, I will.”
It felt like his whole message to me read desperation, desperation, desperation. I didn’t message back.
Audrey: 25:56 It’s not very attractive.
Laura Lifshitz: 25:58 Yeah. You know what? Usually, women tend to be the ones who are guilty of that. Right? I’ve actually been with some of my single guy friends and I’ve sat there and looked on Tinder, Bumble … [crosstalk 00:26:13]
Audrey: 26:12 That’s one of my favorite things to do, yeah.
Laura Lifshitz: 26:16 Yeah. I sit there and I go, “Oh, you can go out with her. Oh, you can’t go out with that one.”
Audrey: 26:20 Yeah, right. This one is a red flag. This one if you’re looking for a good time, but make sure she knows what the plan is.
Laura Lifshitz: 26:27 Yeah, well, two of the things that I see a lot is that women well say, “You know, I’m looking for something serious.” I think even in the beginning I might have said, “I’m not looking for a hookup.” That’s okay, but I think if you’re like, “I’m looking for the one. I’m looking for this, I’m looking for that.” It’s like, you know what? Just chill out. Chill out.
Audrey: 26:51 I think, you know, we also hear from a lot of people who just had they had these slow ends to their marriages and they find themselves living a life without sex at all. All of the sudden they’re a single woman again and they have the opportunity to go out there and just be with a man. That’s, you know, no judgment from me on that.
Laura Lifshitz: 27:12 No, not at all.
Audrey: 27:13 There is a time for that, honey. You know?
Laura Lifshitz: 27:16 Yeah.
Audrey: 27:17 There’s different ways to get back out there.
Laura Lifshitz: 27:19 The problem is more that they’re like I’m looking for Prince Charming and then it’s like here’s my list of things.
Audrey: 27:26 Yeah.
Laura Lifshitz: 27:26 Or, the other big thing that I see, every time I see a guy write this I don’t contact him.
Audrey: 27:33 Oh no.
Laura Lifshitz: 27:33 When they say, “I don’t like drama. Drama free.” Or, they mention their past and how horrible it was.
Audrey: 27:43 Open wounds.
Laura Lifshitz: 27:45 It’s an open wound. Even if you say like my life is great, drama free. No, most likely …
Audrey: 27:50 If you’re bringing up drama …
Laura Lifshitz: 27:52 Yeah, yeah.
Audrey: 27:53 All right, so with that we’re going to take a quick break and we will be right back with Laura. Moving past divorce is hard enough without your old engagement ring staring you in the eye every time you open your jewelry box. Worthy provides the smart solution for women looking to safely elevate their rings from dusty relics of hard times, to financial assets to help you embrace your fresh start. Worthy covers the cost of insurance, shipping, grading and more. If you’re going to sell, sell smart with Worthy. Go to worthy.com/podcast to get started. We’re ready when you are.
Okay, we are back with Laura and Laura, I wanted to talk with you about deal breakers. I want to know what your biggest deal breakers are and I want to know if they are the same deal breakers that you had before you met your husband. Ex-husband.
Laura Lifshitz: 28:54 Ex-husband, watch it. Watch it, lady. We were friends a few minutes ago. No, just joking. You know, deal breakers for me I don’t want anymore children. I had a really tough pregnancy with my daughter.
Audrey: 29:13 That’s so hard.
Laura Lifshitz: 29:13 I had failed pregnancies. I love children, so I’m more than willing to accept anybody else’s kids as my own. I’m very loving, I love kids, I have a huge heart. If anybody has kids I’ll love them, but I don’t want to have any of my own, again. I’m just, you know, that ship has sailed.
Audrey: 29:34 Yeah, you have a perfect little girl.
Laura Lifshitz: 29:37 Yes, and I suffered like hell for her so I can not do it again. I’ve done it again and it was not successful. I really just, yeah, that’s one of the biggest things. I had a guy message me the other day and he was like, “I am divorcing my wife because she doesn’t want kids.” I said, “Well then you definitely don’t want to go out with me because I’m not planning on having anymore children.” He was like, “Oh, but you know, you seem so amazing and beautiful.” I’m like, “I get it. You need to go find somebody that wants to give you a baby. Don’t settle today.” You know, and I sent him off his merry way.
Yeah, a deal breaker is if they want more kids I’m not doing that. I can’t. I want somebody who is an active father. I would say that I’m totally cool with dating someone who doesn’t have children, but I tend to really, you know, I’d kind of like somebody who already has kids because they understand where I am and where I’m coming from.
Audrey: 30:35 They get it.
Laura Lifshitz: 30:36 They get it. I find that, I’m thinking of somebody in particular who’s like a really great guy that I know. He’s a wonderful dad and that is extremely attractive to me. Somebody that is so caring and nurturing and has time with his children. I don’t like somebody who’s like, “Yeah, I see them every other weekend,” unless they have a very, very, very good reason, right? I like somebody who’s a hands on father because I know how much my own daughter misses her own dad. She doesn’t see him as much as she would like. For me, it’s important.
I’m such a hands on mom and I have her so often that I want someone who could really relate to me. Let’s see. I am not a couch potato, so somebody who sits there and they’re like, “Yeah, I watch 10 different shows each week and I’m really attached to my video game controller,” would be, I would never want to go out with them.
Audrey: 31:33 That’s a hard no for you.
Laura Lifshitz: 31:35 It’s a hard no for me.
Audrey: 31:36 Okay.
Laura Lifshitz: 31:37 I would drive them crazy. They’d be like, “Why are you getting up again? Why are you going to the gym? Why are you going to run? Do you ever sit still?” That’s a hard no.
Audrey: 31:48 Hard no, okay.
Laura Lifshitz: 31:50 I love smart guys. A guy that is smart and is a great listener. Somebody who remembers what you say, who really takes the time to put his phone away and pays attention is absolutely like …
Audrey: 31:50 That’s sexy.
Laura Lifshitz: 32:09 … so sexy, yes, yes. Gosh, deal breakers, deal breakers. There were definitely a lot of conversations about my education and my former marriage. I would like somebody educated. I don’t think it’s a hard no for me if they’re not, though.
Audrey: 32:29 Yeah, but that’s another turn on for you.
Laura Lifshitz: 32:31 It’s just another turn on for me, and you know what? Somebody who is supportive of my craft. Not a lot of people understand writers. Not a lot of people want to. They might think it’s weird. I guess somebody who really supports me and what I do.
Audrey: 32:44 Yeah, and you deserve to be supported. I mean, I think that your articles make a lot of women feel brave and hopeful.
Laura Lifshitz: 32:51 I hope so. I’m trying.
Audrey: 32:53 I’m proud of your work, and I’m sure that whoever you end up with is going to also take a lot of pride in that because you do pretty amazing stuff.
Laura Lifshitz: 33:01 Thank you, I hope so.
Audrey: 33:03 You’re welcome.
Laura Lifshitz: 33:03 You know, is my list different than it was before I got married?
Audrey: 33:08 Probably the kid stuff is different.
Laura Lifshitz: 33:10 The kid stuff is different, but you know what? I think yes, because I think that before I got married I think it was just oh, does he love me? Is he attractive? Does he want to commit? Sounds great. Sign up here. Whereas here I’m sitting here thinking like who is a good guy for me? I know that somebody who’s not so cold, somebody who is gentle and compassionate. Some women are very attracted by the man that’s yeah, here I am. I’m the tough guy. I’m not, probably because I am tough and I don’t need them to sit there and be some big macho guy. I don’t like that. I’m not turned on by that.
I like somebody who is more, who can stand up for himself and has a spine. He has to have a spine, but somebody who is more gentle and more compassionate and like a friendly outgoing …
Laura Lifshitz: 34:00 … and more, you know, compassionate and like a friendly outgoing exterior. I like somebody who’s more laid back because they compliment my energy level, I think.
Audrey: 34:10 That makes sense. What about sense of humor? We didn’t talk about sense of humor. Here’s a good deal breaker question for you. If you meet a guy, let’s say he’s got two kids and it’s every other week with him. He’s super involved in their lives, he’s well educated, he has a good job, but he isn’t funny at all. Deal breaker?
Laura Lifshitz: 34:37 You know …
Audrey: 34:39 Okay, let me make it easier for you. What if he thinks he’s really funny and he’s always making jokes and they’re terrible?
Laura Lifshitz: 34:47 I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone like that. Here’s the thing, you know, I did stand up for a living and so somebody who thinks they’re funny but isn’t most likely isn’t going to want to get involved with somebody who’s like a critique of funny, I guess?
Audrey: 35:00 That could be true. You got a good out on that one.
Laura Lifshitz: 35:03 Yeah, I’m thinking of somebody that I know and that I kind of like. He appreciates my sense of humor. Okay, so if somebody thinks I’m funny matters. My ex didn’t always think I was funny so that should have been a big signal right there, but he thinks I’m funny. He says things that makes me laugh. I like his dark humor.
Audrey: 35:29 That’s fun.
Laura Lifshitz: 35:29 It is nice. Someone who makes me laugh does matter, but I think it’s really important to me, like, for someone to laugh at my goofiness.
Audrey: 35:37 Yeah, because I think, especially for you, I mean, your humor is such a big part of your life and I think it’s a big part of your voice and the things that you write. If somebody couldn’t appreciate that it would be like they were missing a part of you. Maybe they don’t need to be funny, but they need to have a good sense of humor.
Laura Lifshitz: 35:55 Yes, and they need to appreciate my sense of humor. Do you know what I mean?
Audrey: 35:59 Yeah, because that’s a part of you. That’s the difference between appreciating you and not appreciating you. It’s a part of you.
Laura Lifshitz: 36:04 Yes, and that was part of what I don’t think my ex really appreciate me.
Audrey: 36:08 Yeah, that’s hard.
Laura Lifshitz: 36:08 I don’t think he understood me, and to be fair, I don’t think I understood him all the time. Yeah, he definitely, I felt like he wanted to make me be someone who I wasn’t. That was really tough.
Audrey: 36:21 That’s one of the things that I think changes the most after a divorce is that when you know what didn’t fit and you put a lot of effort into making it fit. It’s easier to decide not to do that again after divorce because you know what it feels like to be pushing something to fit that doesn’t. It’s easier to not do that, I think.
Laura Lifshitz: 36:44 It is. I think what’s really attractive to me is somebody that I feel comfortable with and somebody that I feel like I can trust and be myself with because, you know, I’m a strong personality and I don’t want to feel bad for who I am.
Audrey: 37:01 Which is a wonderful thing, by the way.
Laura Lifshitz: 37:04 Thank you, but I often felt like it wasn’t a wonderful thing in the last marriage. Nowadays I see it as, you know what? I’m really great and I have a lot to offer. Now, honestly I could say that I would make a better wife today than I did when I got married.
Audrey: 37:21 That’s so interesting.
Laura Lifshitz: 37:22 I wholeheartedly am positive of that.
Audrey: 37:25 You know what? Before, we were talking about the three different mindsets of dating. Once you’re able to say, “Okay, this is who I am and I like these things about myself. I’m okay just the way I am. I don’t need to be perfect and I deserve to be happy.” I think that puts you in a position to be a better partner to somebody else, too.
Laura Lifshitz: 37:46 Well yeah, yeah. My tank is on full, right? I have a lot of my own life that matters to me and I’m passionate about. I’m just looking for somebody to join the circus.
Audrey: 38:01 That’s so cute. Yeah. I think that’s really smart because you have a lot going on in your life. You’ve got this great daughter and you have a career that’s important. I think it’s fun, also, your work. I have fun with your work.
Laura Lifshitz: 38:17 Thank you.
Audrey: 38:18 You know, you do have a very full life. What percentage of your life would you say is about dating and finding a relationship? How much emphasis are you putting on finding a partner in your life? What do you think is the right way for people to approach it? You kind of hear these stories about women who it’s like they’re looking for it and we were talking a little bit about desperation before. What is the right approach to looking for someone? How much of your time should this take up?
Laura Lifshitz: 38:47 I mean, I don’t think there is some calculation. Like here, you should be doing this or that. I think the problem becomes when women are getting out there and with every bad date they are coming home and they’re feeling bad about themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I went on a bad date recently and it was just kind of like oh, I would have rather stayed home and read my book. Whatever. But, I saw it as I got myself out there. That’s what matters.
Audrey: 39:12 Yeah, in my opinion it’s always a tragedy when you could have been in sweatpants and you went out.
Laura Lifshitz: 39:19 But see I like to go out.
Audrey: 39:21 Right.
Laura Lifshitz: 39:21 Here’s the thing, I see it as you should see dating as most likely the chances of this person being the one is slim. You’re going to just go out there and you’re going to learn about someone new. Learn something about yourself. Go out there and have experiences. I actually think the best way to do things is to get involved in activities, right? The problem is for a lot of us, we’re single mom’s, we’re busy, we don’t have time to take up mahjong and Parcheesi and join 50 million meetup groups, right?
Audrey: 39:54 Right.
Laura Lifshitz: 39:54 That’s why online is so good for us.
Audrey: 39:59 Tell us your advice about online dating. You mentioned that you have advice about online dating.
Laura Lifshitz: 40:03 Yes, so the first thing is ladies, don’t put it out there that your heart was broken. Nobody wants to hear the negativity. Nobody wants to see you as a train wreck. Tell them what makes you amazing. What makes you special. What makes you fantastic. That’s my first thing.
Audrey: 40:21 Don’t lead with it. You’ll get there. Don’t lead with it. Lead with the positives. And don’t let your heartbreak define you on a dating profile or any place else. It’s a part of you, but it’s not all of you.
Laura Lifshitz: 40:31 Yeah, if you’re really that heart broken you shouldn’t be online, quite honestly. That’s another thing.
Audrey: 40:31 That’s true.
Laura Lifshitz: 40:37 If you’re really that broken up and you still have all this anger towards your ex like you need to take time off. That’s a big thing. Keep in mind what you wear. When I go on first dates I usually dress down so they don’t get to see all the sexiness because you know what? I’m not there to fool around with somebody. I’m there to sit there and kind of decide who this person is, assess as best as I can in a short period of time and let them assess in a short period of time who I am.
You know what? Sometimes that means I actually dress down, as crazy as that sounds. Keep in mind, a lot of us after divorce we’ve been sex deprived or the sex lives weren’t great and you’re wanting to have that part. You’re wanting to feel sexy and like a woman, which is fabulous. You’re not just your sexy package. You’re not just your booty or your breasts, whatever it is. Be yourself. Let people get to know you.
If guys don’t message you, don’t care. Don’t chase them to ask you out. Let them ask you out, and if they don’t, move on to the next and most importantly, I think, keep it with a grain of sale. You know? The chances of you meeting the one on one match it’s rare. The thing is, there is no percentage of time that you should be looking for the one. Like I’m not sitting here going online everyday. I’m just not. When I can, I do. I look occasionally or whatever the case is. Really, the most important thing is I just put myself out there. I try. If a date is bad, that’s okay.
The way I see it is there is somebody that will absolutely adore and love every part of me and I’m just waiting for him to show up, you know?
Audrey: 42:24 Totally.
Laura Lifshitz: 42:24 I’m waiting for the Universe to deliver him.
Audrey: 42:27 I have a quote from one of my favorite articles that you’ve written for Worthy. It’s called to the men who weren’t worthy, thank you. Where you’re thanking men from your past who were terrible to you.
Laura Lifshitz: 42:41 Yeah, that’s an understatement.
Audrey: 42:44 But you did exactly what you were talking about earlier in this episode about you know, kind of finding the lessons and getting to a place where you can identify that you’re somebody who’s worthy of love and worthy of happiness and looking for someone to join your circus, right?
Laura Lifshitz: 43:01 Yes, I’m looking for another ring leader. Hopefully he’s sexy and tall.
Audrey: 43:09 I don’t know, I’m not familiar with sexy ringleaders. I think we may have taken the circus analogy too far.
Laura Lifshitz: 43:16 Too far, yeah.
Audrey: 43:17 Maybe we can find you a nice lion. That might work better.
Laura Lifshitz: 43:20 Oh, that sounds good.
Audrey: 43:22 In this great article you wrote, “Some day I will find someone who knows I am worth committing to and he will do everything in his power to secure my love and respect and commit to me wholly. Then, I’ll consider committing to him.”
Laura Lifshitz: 43:37 Yes, I know, right? Then maybe I will. Maybe I will.
Audrey: 43:40 I love it.
Laura Lifshitz: 43:41 It takes a lot for me. It takes a lot for me to be like really amazed by somebody. There is somebody I like. We’re friends as of now. That’s kind of how he wants it to be. I would say one of the things I really like about him is I respect him as a person. I think he has great values. That really matters to me. You know what? That’s a deal breaker. Somebody who doesn’t have good values, but somebody who’s really a kind person, that really matters to me.
Audrey: 44:13 Well, I think we’re going to have to wrap things up. This has been so much fun, though.
Laura Lifshitz: 44:17 I know.
Audrey: 44:19 I think you just have such a good perspective on what life after divorce can be like and I think that our listeners are going to come away with some really helpful tips from you.
Laura Lifshitz: 44:30 Most importantly, for them to make their life after divorce, to turn it into a win.
Audrey: 44:35 Yeah.
Laura Lifshitz: 44:35 Okay? Because let’s not lie. Someone is like, “You shouldn’t call divorce a failure.” Why? Everyone fails. People fail everyday.
Audrey: 44:44 Yeah, failures are opportunities to learn, too.
Laura Lifshitz: 44:47 If you’ve ever seen me mini golf you know what failure is, you know what I mean? You can’t sit there and say, “Oh, I’m never going to fail.” Guess what? You’re going to fail a lot. I guarantee you. You’re a parent? You’re going to fail every second of every day. You’re going to go to bed and say, “Why did I do this?”
The point is turn this into a win. You can sit here and cry. You can say, “Why didn’t I do this? Why didn’t I do that?” It’s not going to get you any further. You’re just going to be sitting there backpedaling. Move on.
Audrey: 45:14 That’s such good advice. Yeah. Okay, one final question. I know that when you worked at MTV you were hosting say what Karaoke? Right?
Laura Lifshitz: 45:25 Yeah, yeah.
Audrey: 45:26 What is your karaoke song?
Laura Lifshitz: 45:28 Oh gosh, oh my gosh. Well, based on the earlier conversation it could be It’s Raining Men.
Audrey: 45:34 It’s Raining Men.
Laura Lifshitz: 45:36 No, I mean, I like, I don’t know. That’s a tough question.
Audrey: 45:40 I think go with It’s Raining Men. That’s a really good karaoke song, too.
Laura Lifshitz: 45:44 It’s raining men, hallelujah.
Audrey: 45:46 God bless mother nature.
Laura Lifshitz: 45:51 She’s a single woman, too. Or something like that.
Audrey: 45:52 There you go. Perfect, that’s amazing.
Laura Lifshitz: 45:55 Yeah, that’ll be my It’s Raining Men. This is totally humiliating. I hope my dad doesn’t listen to this podcast.
Audrey: 46:02 My dad, either. No dad’s allowed.
Laura Lifshitz: 46:05 Honestly, I’m just telling Hal Lifshitz, if you’re listening you know that I got most of my sense of humor from you.
Audrey: 46:13 Thanks again, to Laura Lifshitz for joining us and to all of you for listening. Next week we will be joined by Erin Levine, Divorce Lawyer Extraordinaire and the founder of Hello Divorce. Make sure you subscribe so you can catch every episode of Divorce and Other Things You Can Handle in your feed weekly. If you like what you hear, rate and review us to help other women like you find us.
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