The Best of “Off The Fence” 2023

Are You Ready for Divorce?

TAKE THIS QUIZ and Find Out. 

Minute Read

Episode Description

  • Have you ever felt stuck in indecision and trapped in a life you no longer want to live?
  • Have you hesitated to get a divorce because you KNOW how ugly your toxic spouse will make it?
  • Are you worried about getting a divorce and starting all over again "at your age"? ( ... i.e. when you're over 50!)
  • Have you suffered from trauma in your marriage and wonder if you'll ever be able to trust again?
  • Have you wondered whether you'll ever find love again after your divorce, or what getting a divorce will do to your relationship with your adult kids?

Our 50th-anniversary episode addresses these issues, answers these questions, and provides insights you can trust.
In the Best of Off the Fence in 2023, you'll find clips of the best advice given by our most popular guests about decision-making, divorce, and more.

Show Notes

Bios of the Guests in The Best of Off the Fence in 2023

About Lin Schussler-Williams

Lin Schussler-Williams is a Sales Coach, Author and Speaker.  For over 20 years, Lin has worked with individuals, groups, business owners and sales people, helping them build their dreams, accelerate their results, and create richer, more fulfilling lives.

Connect with Lin

You can find Lin on her website at UPRising - Unstoppable Powerful Women, or in her Facebook Group, UPRising - Unstoppable Powerful Women   You can connect with Lin by clicking here. If you want to hear more from Lin check out her Podcast, Frequency 500.

About Andrew

After going through his own gray divorce, Andrew Hatherly decided to help others avoid the financial and emotional stress so common to the process. Andrew earned the designation Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® and is trained in both divorce mediation and Collaborative Divorce. In 2022, Andrew started The Gray Divorce Podcast, which is focused on mid-late life divorcees.

Andrew has over 25 years’ experience in investment management and financial planning. He has also studied with leaders in the field of humanistic and positive psychology and is a strong advocate for the role creativity can play in personal growth after trauma.

Andrew has a Master of Business Administration from McGill University and ESADE. He has lived and worked in five countries and speaks Spanish. Andrew loves to write, travel, play pickleball and tennis and discuss classic movies with fellow film buffs.

Connect with Andrew

Andrew Hatherley is the founder and CEO of Wiser Divorce Solutions, LLC and Transcend Retirement, LLC and the host of The Gray Divorce Podcast. You can find Andrew on Facebook at Wiser Divorce Solutions and LinkedIn at Andrew Hatherley.  You can also watch his videos on his YouTube channel at Wiser Divorce Solutions

About Holly Herzog

Holly Herzog is a therapist, coach, and writer who has been offering her services for over 20 years. She specializes in relationship issues and has started her own venture, Grace Untethered, to provide support to women in midlife going through divorce. 

Connect with Holly

You can connect with Holly at Grace Untethered on InstagramFacebookYouTube. She is on LinkedIn as Holly Herzog. You can also find her on her website, or email her at [email protected].Special Offer:Stagger, Stumble and Stand is Holly's divorce support e-course. CLICK HERE to check it out.

About Bethany

Bethany is trauma-informed yoga therapist and relationship coach with over a decade of experience helping mid-life career-women heal anxiety or PTSD,  find their power and skyrocket their confidence after divorce or toxic relationships, communicate better, navigate conflict and most importantly, co-create healthy relationships.  She is a domestic violence survivor and thriver who helps women triumph over trauma, break their cycle of emotionally unavailable partners and attract the love they deeply desire.   

Connect with Bethany 

You can find Bethany on social media on Facebook at Bethany Dotson and on Instagram at Bethany Dotson.  You can learn more about her work on her website at Bethany Dotson and listen to her podcast Break the Cycle 

Special Offer

 Bethany would like to invite you to her free training Break the Cycle.  For any who feels 100% aligned with the class, Bethany will invite you to book a free consult call to discuss the possibility of working together.

About Dave Moravec

Dave Moravec serves as President of the Colerain Chamber of Commerce in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a native of the Chicago area. He has been a business owner and in leadership across multiple companies & industries over his 40-year career. Dave graduated with a degree in business administration from Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL) where he met his wife; they were married for 33 years until their separation/divorce in 2017. Dave has three married children and two grandchildren. He and his wife Patti just celebrated their second wedding anniversary; Patti has 2 married children with 5 grandkids.

Connect with Dave

The best way to connect with Dave is through Facebook at Dave Moravec or by emailing Dave directly at [email protected].  You can also find Dave on LinkedIn at Dave Moravec.

Key Takeaways From This Episode 

In this 50th episode: The Best of Off the Fence in 2023, host Karen Covy compiled highlights and the best nuggets  of wisdom from the past 49 guests to celebrate the 50th episode milestone. 

  • Coach Lin Schussler-Williams shared her "9 Little Words" process for interrupting unhelpful thinking patterns and making positive changes. The 3 phrases are: "Up until now...", "I am willing...", and "No matter what...". 
  •  Financial advisor Andrew Hatherley discussed financial considerations for grey divorce, including social security, tapping home equity, budgeting, and finding creative solutions to divide assets. He emphasized there is life after divorce. 
  • Therapist Holly Herzog explained signs of a toxic relationship, like frequently apologizing, unresolved conflicts, name-calling, and feeling resentful or victimized. She suggested couples therapy to learn new communication skills.
  • Somatic therapist Bethany Dotson said trauma survivors often have limiting beliefs like "something is wrong with me" and recommended inner work to shift beliefs, along with taking outer actions outside the comfort zone. 
  • Dave Moravec shared his positive experience with dating and remarriage after his 33-year marriage ended. He emphasized being open, letting relationships breathe, and focusing on your own peace of mind.

The overarching theme in all of these segments is about finding ways to interrupt negative patterns, work through limiting beliefs, let go of resentment, and remain optimistic in order to make positive changes and decisions after divorce.

Do you like what you've heard? 

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The Best of "Off The Fence" 2023


feeling stuck, indecision, toxic relationships, finding love, healing


Lin Schussler-Williams, Andrew Hatherley, Holly Herzog, Bethany Dotson, Dave Moravec

Karen Covy - Host: 0:10

Hello and welcome to Off the Fence, a podcast where we deconstruct difficult decision making so we can discover what keeps us stuck and, more importantly, how we can get unstuck and start making even tough decisions with confidence. I'm your host, Karen Covey, a former divorce lawyer, mediator and arbitrator, turned coach, author and entrepreneur. And now, without further ado, let's get on with the show.

Hello and welcome to a very special episode of the Off the Fence podcast. I'm your host, karen Covey, a former divorce lawyer, mediator and arbitrator, turned coach, author and entrepreneur. And the reason that this episode is so special is that this is our 50th episode, and I want to start this episode by saying a big thank you to you. Thank you for listening, thank you for liking and subscribing and being here and showing up and making this podcast what it's become today. It's your support that has really made a huge difference. So, number one, thank you. And the second thing that's going to make this episode special is that I have gone through the past 49 episodes and taken out some of the best nuggets of wisdom from the various guests that we've had, and we're going to showcase them and put them all together in one episode here. So this episode is going to be a little longer than the normal podcast episodes, but I think you'll find it worthwhile and I hope you enjoy it. Our first guest today is Lynn Schussler-Williams, so can you tell our audience a little bit about?

Lin Schussler-Williams Guest: 1:51

So the nine little words are a process any of us can use to do exactly what this podcast is about Get off the fence, change the result that you've been going down the path of over and over, right those patterns. And so there are three phrases to this process and that's it. It's not nine things to remember, it's just three. I'm done doing things that make me work that hard, so I'm all about is it fun and easy? So you come up with something that you want to change, some thought you know, some result in your life that you wish were different, and you treat that thought with an up until now. So the first phrase is up until now. So you know, up until now does a couple of things. It interrupts your old pattern of thinking. You know. In three words, it says that's how it was. It's going to be different now, right Up until now it's been this way. Implies it's going to be different. So it interrupts that old pattern of thinking and lays down a new process. And then the second phrase is I am willing. So what are you willing to do to change it right For me? I'm a bullet point list maker from wayback, Karen, so for me, I'm willing is almost always a bullet point list of things I'm willing to do, and it always includes how I'm willing to think differently. And then the final phrase is the one that decision is in. The final phrase is no matter what, and so no matter what engages our, our mental faculties of faith and decision. I don't mean faith like religious faith, I mean the willingness to see a result, you to believe in a result you can't see yet. Right, that's faith and decision. You know decision is a favorite topic of mine. You know I always go back to. I remember Bob Proctor said one time decision is a magical mental activity that can literally propel you down the road to success. So decision is firm and decision is about dedication. And decision means that we will result in confidence, because we get confident when we make a decision and then we follow through with it and follow up with it. That experience builds our confidence. So I love decision as a topic.

Karen Covy - Host: 4:34

I was just when you told me that I was like oh, well, I am so excited and there is so much to unpack and what you just said. Let's see if we can start to take it piece by piece. So with your first question you said that you have to be the first question is designed to interrupt your pattern. It's like up until now, why is interrupting your pattern? What does that matter?

Lin Schussler-Williams Guest: 5:00

Well, if you want a different result, you got to have a different way of thinking about it and acting on it. Right? It's that old saying about you know when sanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So we got to interrupt those old patterns. We got to interrupt those old stories we've been telling in our heads, and until we do, it's really hard to make a change.

Karen Covy - Host: 5:24

Yeah, and it sounds like that kind of presupposes that you're willing to make that change, that you're willing to interrupt that pattern, or none of this is going to work right.

Lin Schussler-Williams Guest: 5:36

Well, that's right, and that's why there's a whole little book around it, because you know there's always more to unpack. It's just not that easy as do this, do this, do this. But once you get a hold of it, you realize that those first three words up until now, you know people start using them. People will walk up to me and say you know, up until now. Like it becomes a whole life of its own. When you really start using it, you realize the breadth of the things you've been holding on to and you know that have had a hold of your life because someone said it to you as a kid or you know whatever right or an experience. And that's the other thing, Karen, about this. It isn't that those things aren't true for you, it isn't that those things aren't your experience. Of course they are. That's how you got these repeated thought patterns right Was from some experience you had, and so it's just a matter of yeah, being willing. And so then the second words make you declare your willingness.

Karen Covy - Host: 6:51

Yeah, absolutely. And you know, what I love about this is that it's a simple. It's not 500 steps or you know, try to remember this 90-page checklist, right? Three simple little questions. And I love the idea of a framework. I work a lot with frameworks and the work that I do, yes, Because it gives you structure, it gives you a way to think right, and you said that. I mean, that seems to be underlying all three of these questions is, you know, your willingness to think differently, your ability to interrupt the pattern of how you were thinking and to make a change right?

Lin Schussler-Williams Guest: 7:35

Well, and let's talk about people who are in relationships that are ending. You know your clients, right? That's a very common human experience, right, for men and women, and you know, we see people get really stuck on a story right in that situation. I've been through that situation personally, so I'm speaking from experience here. Right, there are stories about that experience that we tell over and over and over until they're so stuck they become part of who we are and then we want to go on to another relationship that's healthier, another relationship that's happier, but we're still telling these stories, right. So that's a perfect example. And you know, Karen, this book was designed for other coaches to use. There's a worksheet in the book and I'm happy to give anybody my email address and they can email me and I'll send them a PDF of it they can use with their clients, right.

Like many other coaches besides me, use this process with their clients because it's widely applicable.

Karen Covy - Host: 8:56

Well, yeah, this sounds like it would apply to anything, and I know your work is so broad, you do so many things and this simple process could help. It sounds like anybody in any situation to make a decision, because doesn't it all come down? You know what I it kind of comes down to? How do you think it's a mindset thing as much as it is a decision making. It sounds like.

Lin Schussler-Williams Guest: 9:24

But the key to the mindset shift is the decision. At the end it is, and you know that happens a lot too. People get ahold of this process and they love up until now because it feels good to interrupt that old pattern. You feel like you're really doing something and sometimes they remember I am willing. But often they forget, no matter what, which is really what seals the deal right Is the decision to commit. That seals the deal and you know it is broadly applicable. One of my favorite stories about Nine Little Words is a good friend of mine is a professional tennis coach. He's coached I don't know how many young people. Some of them have even gone to Wimbledon. Like he's a big time tennis coach and he uses this book with the young people that he coaches tennis. So it's got a great application for athletes and people who are trying to change their results in that manner. Of course, athletes understand mindset, right? Any Olympic athlete will tell you know you got to picture it done and you know it's how you think about it and what happens in your head happens on the field and all that sort of thing, right? But this tennis coach his nine-year-old daughter instead of grounding her, he told her she had to write a book report and she chose Nine Little Words to change your results. And so there's a YouTube video out there of her doing her little video book report about Nine Little Words. So even a nine-year-old can get this process and yeah, that is awesome.

Karen Covy - Host: 11:10

I'm gonna have to go look up that video now just because it sounds so cute. But you know, the other thing that it sounds like is a part of the decision-making too is the commitment, and I know I always tell my clients it's like you can decide anything you wanna decide, but if you don't take action to make your decision into a reality, if you don't commit to making it into reality, nothing happens.

Lin Schussler-Williams Guest: 11:40

Yeah, that's so true. You know I talk about in the book that decisions are three things. They are firm, they aren't wishy-washy. Right? I tell the story of if you decide to go to the grocery store and you get in the car and I drive and say it's me, I'll just make this about me. I drive up the street, because it happened, okay. I drive up the street and I'm on the way to the grocery store and a neighbor is having a yard sale and they have a piece of furniture that we've been talking about wanting in our front hall and there it sits. Now I could have gone to the grocery store, but I had not fully decided that that was important, I had not committed because I stopped. I shopped, I called my husband about the size, I went home and got a measuring tape, I measured it, I got it in the car, I took it home and then I remembered, oh yeah, I was thinking about going to the grocery store. Right, so that is not decision, although we say it that way all the time in our culture. We say well, I decided to do this. Well, you didn't really did you, otherwise it would be done. So decisions are firm. They involve dedication. You said commitment, dedication and conviction Like we must be convicted to the result we want right.

Karen Covy - Host: 13:07

Our next guest is Andrew Hatherly. What is it, from a financial perspective, that people need to think about when they're facing divorce or deciding whether to do this, particularly in a great divorce situation?

Andrew Hatherley Guest: 13:21

Well, the big thing about the financial aspect from a grey divorce situation is that typically, if you're over 50 or over 60, heck, I've even heard recently from an attorney about people in their 80s getting divorced it's a factor of time. Now, when you're 20 or 30, and let's say you're getting divorced in your 30s, you've got probably another 30, maybe 40 working years ahead of you to put money aside for retirement In your 50s and 60s. You don't have the luxury of time on your side. So you want to make sure that when you're dividing the assets, you're doing it in a way that dividing assets and negotiating spousal support is that you're putting yourself on a decent foundation going forward. It's also with respect to training and education going forward, because with women in particular, they find it tougher financially going forward. A lot of studies have shown. There's a recent study it's very good says that the standard of living of women over the age of 50 after divorce declines to the order of about 45 percent, whereas men it's about 21 percent. There's a number of decisions with respect to the house, with respect to retirement plans, and you often see a gender divide with respect to the house and retirement plans. Mothers with the maternal instinct. If there are children involved, and even older children, or if they've been in the house for a long time, they want to stay in the house. But it can be tricky if there's a lot of equity there, because that's tied up in the house and you can't go to the grocery store and say, hey, I've got half a million dollars tied up in my house. Give me a pound of prime rib. You need to make sure that your divorce negotiations somehow account for budgeting going forward, and with men, they tend to look at their retirement plans as I think of the creature from Lord of the Rings and my precious the ring. He's crawling. Gallon, that's Gallon, that's the guy. And so I talked about the emotions getting involved. Well, sometimes it makes more sense to either sell the house down size, find some sort of cash out scenario where income needs and cash flow needs, because ultimately, cash flow is where a lot of stress comes from. It's like paying those bills. And so, in combining my financial planning background with the divorce work I do, a lot of attorneys are about dividing the assets and relatively equal sides of the ledger. That's fine, but you want to be able to manage your cash flow as well, so I incorporate a financial planning aspect to the work I do with divorcing people to make sure they're on a good foundation going forward.

Karen Covy - Host: 16:38

Well, what you're talking about, cash flow, that's money and money out budgeting for lack of a better word not anyone's favorite word or concept, but very necessary, particularly in a divorce situation. But can you talk a little bit to the point of, let's say, you've got a couple and they're 65, right, so they are older than you were when you went through it. They're already. And let's say, they are already retired, so their income is pretty fixed. I mean, it is what it is and that's what it's going to be moving forward. And now all of a sudden, that's divided in half. I mean, does one spouse still? I mean, what does that do to support obligations? What does that do to cash flow? What does that do to the decisions people have to make about? Is this a good idea to do this, or should I just tough it out?

Andrew Hatherley Guest: 17:31

Well, that's, whether or not someone should tough it out is certainly a unique situation for each individual, and that's where working with a coach such as yourself can be a great benefit, and I'm a big believer in bringing other professionals into the process as early as possible Divorce coaches, divorce lending practitioners they can play a particularly strong role, particularly as I mentioned lending in this day and age because you find, with grey divorce, let's say, you mentioned people 65. Well, 65 year olds tend not always, but tend to have a lot more equity in their properties. So, and they tend to have retirement assets saved not always, but more so than someone in their 30s, they tend to have more retirement assets and more equity in the house. And that's where creative solutions can come into play with respect to extracting cash from the sale of the house, and recent developments in mortgage financing and reverse mortgage financing are allowing people to some. There's some creative solutions out there that can work with people, work for people in the house, and the house is a key asset, certainly. Another thing is typically someone 65 and divorced. Unless it's a second marriage, typically they've been married for 10 years, so a spouse is entitled to half of the social security of the of the of the higher social security payment, and it doesn't affect either the payment at all from the person receiving it. The husband's getting 3000 a month and the wife would be getting 500, then she can get 1500. So that's a consideration to take into effect. As I mentioned the reverse mortgages in the 60s, that becomes an option and you're right.

Karen Covy - Host: 19:35

I just want to interrupt for a second for somebody who doesn't know what a reverse mortgage is. Can you explain that for a minute?

Andrew Hatherley Guest: 19:41

It's. I know enough about it to be dangerous, so I was. I work with some very good, certified divorce lending professionals and I would suggest seeking counsel there. But essentially, it's a way of taking equity from your existing home, potentially using it as down payment towards a new home, but not having a mortgage, essentially the but. When you pass on, you know the house is not yours anymore.

Karen Covy - Host: 20:08

Got it. So it sounds like there's a lot of options out there that people might not have thought about or might not know about going into the divorce process, which speaks very much to your point of getting a team with the right professionals on  it so that you understand what all of your options are, things you might not have known about. And that is actually really kind of cool because it inserts an element of hope into this whole process, which would otherwise be, or could be, very, very overwhelming and dark. And another thing that I wanted to talk with you about, because I know it's one of your really strong suits is, you know, the hope of post traumatic growth. We've all heard about post-traumatic stress and how horrible it is to go through trauma and the effects of trauma. What is post traumatic growth and how does it play in, particularly to a great divorce situation?

Andrew Hatherley Guest: 21:10

Well, that's this great question and I'm glad you brought that up, Karen. I just want to backtrack a little bit, because when I do my divorce workshops, if there's any message that I want to get across in these workshops, it's that there is life after divorce. Because when you're in the middle of the process, your imagination is running wild. You think the worst is going to happen, and it's often based on incorrect information. I know I remember hearing you're going to have to pay spousal support for the rest of your life. Well, no, that was probably never in the cards, but I didn't know because I was uneducated about the process. So, and of course, going through this, you know your amygdala is triggered, you're seeing saber tooth tigers around every corner, so you're not thinking straight. So that's the kind of. The first point that I want to get across is that there is life after divorce, and I personally experienced it. You know, I would say for the first year or so, year and a half after divorce I wasn't in a great place emotionally, because you know you're disappointed and of course, as a financial advisor, you see your net worth cut in half and that doesn't feel very good. You know, some of your savings, a lot of your savings are gone and so financially, that started to feel better when I put a plan in place to rebuild. But then, emotionally and psychologically, I I started getting out of my head a little bit. I found by looking outwards as opposed to focusing on woe is me. I thought let's try and turn this around, the proverbial making lemonade. I started Wiser Divorce Solutions, which is my CDFA business, but also committed, and this is crucial. It's so simple, but committed to a healthier lifestyle. So simple elements such as sleep, diet and exercise just can't underestimate the benefit of those components in your life and just put you in a better mindset. If I work out now, it's not so much. I mean, yes, there's an element of one to be able to fit into my clothes and look half decent to my clothes, but I think more than anything it's the way I feel after exercising and working out.

Karen Covy - Host: 23:53

Next we're going to hear from Holly Herzog Can you define what you mean by a toxic relationship so people have some way of knowing is my relationship that I'm in toxic or not?

Holly Herzog Guest: 24:04

Right, okay, so here are some things that you might find yourself doing. If you are in a toxic relationship, you might walk away from conversations after having apologized for all kinds of things. If you're frequently apologizing in a relationship and not that you don't in a healthy relationship, but this is like I'm always at fault and I'm sorry for upsetting you and I could have handled that differently If you're finding yourself in that role a lot, you're probably not in a healthy relationship. The other thing that you'll see is that you agree to things and then you feel resentment about that. There's some sort of interruption in the negotiation or the communication process where a person agrees to it because there's no other option to get out of this conversation. I'm going to say whatever I need to say to get the conflict over with, and then you find yourself resentful or angry or hurt, and you might be confused about what was said or, again, about what is yours and what's not yours. And so feeling victimized, feeling angry, feeling resentful, not having things resolved, having name calling, character assassination those are signs that your relationship is not healthy.

Karen Covy - Host: 25:33

I have to tell you I hear that from so many of my clients it's like we have the same fight over and over and over again. We have a fight or a disagreement, or call it what you will, and then at the end of it nothing's resolved, nothing changes, and then the next day we're doing it all over again because nothing is resolved. So if you find yourself in that kind of a position or that kind of a relationship, what do you do?

Holly Herzog Guest: 26:09

Well, I think your comment a while ago is a really great one about you might need some professional help and getting a couple's therapist. I know a couple's therapy gets a bad rap from a lot of people because by the time people go to therapy as a couple, they're pretty far down the path and often one person is either part way out the door or has the idea that they've got something else that they want. So but if you are able to get your partner to agree to go to couple's therapy, you'll get somebody else from the outside that identifies the patterns that are happening and teaches you some new skills for navigating it differently. And what I see as a couple's therapist a lot of times is that people get defensive, and so if their partner says you hurt my feelings when you did XYZ, they get defensive and say, well, only did that because you know, instead of saying, well, OK, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, Thank you for sharing that with me. Can you tell me more about how I can avoid doing that in the future? And so those are skills you learn. You learn to set aside your defensiveness and to listen and to ask questions and to get curious, because when you're doing that, you're emotionally attuning to your partner rather than being lost in your own thoughts, putting up defensiveness and barriers and walls to making progress. So those are skills you learn.

Karen Covy - Host: 27:49

Yeah, what do you do, though? Like if you're in the relationship and you realize that let's say whether you go, whether you get these skills through couples therapy, through your own individual therapy or just through work that you do and you're really working on it Then what you see is that you're doing all the work and there's no change on the other side, and you're trying to practice these new skills, but your partner is not. Everything is your fault. They, you know your partner doesn't want to take ownership of anything. Then, at that point, is that how you identify that you're in a toxic relationship?

Holly Herzog Guest: 28:27

It could be a toxic relationship. I mean, I think sometimes those things happen for other reasons, like drug or alcohol abuse or unresolved mental health issues. Sometimes one partner is depressed or something like that. But in general, yes, I mean, I think that there comes a point where if your partner is not willing to work with you, you have to make a decision. Is this relationship healthy for me? And a lot of people wait a long time to make that decision until they've kind of lost their own self-worth, and that's painful.

Karen Covy - Host: 29:06

And now we're going to hear from Bethany Dotson.

Bethany Dotson Guest: 29:12

Almost I would say 80% of the clients that I work with have physical symptoms, physical manifestations of the trauma anxiety, ibs, ibd, binge eating, sleep issues, their hair is falling out, reproductive issues. So all of this is from. We have a fight or flight system to help us stay safe and keep us alive, but most people are living in their fight or flight response and they don't know it.

Karen Covy - Host: 29:46

It just feels normal for them and then, yeah, so is it, if I'm understanding you correctly, you just kind of get used to the way that you feel and then that becomes your new normal?

Bethany Dotson Guest: 30:01

You get used I don't know if you ever truly get used to the way that you feel. A lot of people that I work with settle and have been resigned to that and then they turn to coping mechanisms to help them feel something. So when people have unresolved trauma they tend to feel numb on some level or not enough on the inside and they turn to sensation seeking activities like being a workaholic, taking risks, that shopping, spending too much money, or they turn to numbing out Workaholic. Workaholic again is a numbing activity as well. Drinking too much wine at night, being on their phone just kind of like numbing themselves. Staying chronically busy is a big symptom that I see a lot just to avoid feeling anything.

Karen Covy - Host: 30:58

So, and the people that you're working with? Are these people who have been involved in a toxic relationship, are still involved in a toxic relationship?

Bethany Dotson Guest: 31:08

Tell me about that they have been involved in a toxic relationship and they've already made the decision to leave. Even if that was extremely painful, they got to the point in the relationship where they realized I have to make a different choice. I have to leave. So those are the people that I work with. Unfortunately, the healing doesn't just magically happen when you decide to leave. There's a whole lot that has to happen in order to go from leaving that partner to becoming a woman who is worthy of receiving.

Karen Covy - Host: 31:52

Yeah, and I know that's hard for a lot of people, especially women, to feel worthy. You know, how do you help women to get to that point, to really because it's one thing to say it oh yeah, I'm worthy. I'm, you know, but if you don't own it, if you're not, that it's not the same. So how do you get women to start to really feel and believe that they are worthy?

Bethany Dotson Guest: 32:25

So first addressing the inner and then addressing the outer. So when I say addressing the inner, I give all of my clients a daily somatic therapy practice that is designed to kind of break their addiction to coping skills like busyness, being a people pleaser, anxiety, beating themselves up the inner critic. So that's designed to turn their focus inward and just be really aware of their thoughts and how they're feeling. That practice alone starts to shift a lot of stuck thinking patterns and ways that they react emotionally in their lives. Then we start to dive into their subconscious beliefs. So if somebody's, you know, living in fight or flight and they're constantly busy, it's really hard to shift their thinking because they're too stressed or they're too contracted, they're too keyed up. So we relax them a little bit with a somatic work and get them used to feeling okay, doing nothing, and used to feeling relaxed and get their nervous system calmed down and get that pattern pretty set. And then we address their subconscious beliefs that they have. And a lot of people on some level know that they're the problem, they know that they're the common denominator, but they don't know why. They don't know the specific like why do I keep doing this? And so we dig a little deeper, to understand their limiting beliefs about themselves, about what they believe they're capable of having, and we start to shift those. And then we bring that to the outer by having them take actions out of their comfort zone every week. When somebody has trauma, they tend to want to control their life. After they don't want to take they garden, I'm not going to date. I'm never going to date. I hate dating apps. I'm too old. I'm going to stick with this one job, even though I hate it, because I know I can't get any. So all of that stems from their inner world. So once we start to shift this inner world, I then we have to anchor that with behavior outside. So it can't be like a theory that we learn on the therapy couch but we don't ever take it with us. So I give them actions to take outside of their comfort zone to widen their window of tolerance to new experiences. They might meet the feelings of rejection or abandonment or the feeling of something's wrong with me in those experiences, but the gift of doing stepping out of your comfort zone, taking yourself on dates, I have them do all kinds of things that they look at the assignment and they're like, oh my God, I can't do that.

And then they do it and they're like oh, my gosh.

Bethany Dotson Guest: 35:24

The beauty of that is that they're able to bring the inner work with them to the outer and they get a result and they're like oh. And then they feel like oh, I kept telling myself I would never be able to do this and look, I did it. And then that creates that positive reinforcement, that emotional reaction they have to doing. It creates the momentum and they keep going.

Karen Covy - Host: 35:49

That's awesome and I really hope that people hear what you're saying, because our tendency my tendency as well as every other human on the planet is like, okay, I see the exterior manifestation, Like I see that things aren't going in my life the way I want to. Okay, I'm going to work harder or I'm going to try to fix that thing. It's like we all focus on the outside to fix whatever the problem is, because that's where we see it right and we don't turn and look inside. And what you're saying about limiting beliefs is fascinating. Do you find that there are certain common limiting beliefs that someone who's experienced trauma in a relationship has?

Bethany Dotson Guest: 36:32

Yeah, the overall, the number one belief I hear is there's something wrong with me. There's something wrong with me. I've made it this far. I've never had a healthy relationship. Usually, the belief that there's something wrong with me started long ago In childhood, from some type of an adverse childhood experience. A lot of the people that I work with are overachievers. They borderline on work burnout they give. A lot of the people that I work with are in healthcare. They have very poor boundaries and that all stems from the belief the fundamental, fundamental belief that there's something wrong with me and in order for people to like me and for me to feel worthy and for me to be approved of, I have to work really hard. People aren't walking around saying that, but that's what they're feeling way back in here, and then it becomes this vicious cycle. So about the time they're 40 or 50, the infamous midlife crisis. Right, we can't do it that way anymore.

Karen Covy - Host: 37:43

Yeah, and it sounds like, if I'm understanding what you're saying, properly. From the outside. If you or I were to meet someone like that, they would just look like super successful, super high achieving, high functioning people. You'd never known a million years what their inner dialogue was like.

Bethany Dotson Guest: 38:05

Yes, and I feel that that makes it in some ways even worse, because I feel like people who are, who appear to be successful, and who are successful on paper, but who don't feel that way inside carry a lot of shame, and sometimes that shame stops them from getting help or stops them from truly taking the courageous step to change.

Karen Covy - Host: 38:38

Last but not least, we're going to speak with Dave Moravec.

Dave Moravec Guest: 38:43

Sure, yeah, I began dating. I met several women. It was a new period of time for me because we'd been married 33 years. There weren't other women in my life and during that period of time I don't want to say experimental, but it was different- yeah, it had to be a little weird.

Karen Covy - Host: 39:11

I mean, if you hadn't been, you'd been married 33 years and you were dating your wife for some time. Wasn't that weird?

Dave Moravec: 39:19

Yeah, it was, but it was also natural because male-female relationship for me, and it was just a natural thing. However, I wasn't sure whether or not I would live a single life for the rest of my life and just continue dating. I have friends that have been through divorce and have not have dated but not gone into marriage. I have friends that have long-standing relationships and single but stayed single for a variety of different reasons, and when I met my current wife of two years, we just hit it off from the very beginning and kindness was in her heart and I could see that kindness in her heart and, being a kind person myself, it was just a magical bond from the very beginning.

Karen Covy - Host: 40:12

Okay, so you had this great bond, and that's wonderful. However, you had friends who weren't like. They're bonded with their you know their in relationships, but they're not remarrying. What made you say I'm going to do it again?

D:ave Moravec 40:27

Yeah well, we moved to Cincinnati from Illinois. I had lost my job and she actually said, hey, what you want to move in? She was retiring. She said, while you're looking for a job, why don't we take this for a test drive? And we did. We lived together for three years, three months, three years, three months before moving to Cincinnati. And she just said, hey, all of our kids are in five different states. Let's have an adventure, let's go start someplace fresh and in so doing, that first year that we were here was during COVID 2020. And it was actually very good for our relationship because I worked from home and we got to spend a whole lot more time together. We traveled by car because you didn't have to quarantine. We saw lots of Kentucky and Indiana and Ohio and West Virginia by car and we got to know each other to the point where we just said, yeah, it makes sense for us to get married and get hitched.

Karen Covy - Host: 41:38

Get hitched, huh. And then when that? Because that's a major life event. So she has kids, you have kids. You decide to get married together. How did that affect your adult children, all of your various adult children?

Dave Moravec: 41:54

Yeah, I think it goes back to the openness. Well, there's a couple of things. First, my daughter I mentioned got married in 2019, just as the divorce became final, and I was dating Patty at the time and I let my daughter know that I wasn't going to be bringing Patty to the wedding. Well, you could see her body posture, take a relaxed approach. So many people, I think, tried to try to push relationships or their situation on somebody else, and it was not my place to do that. Yeah, I wanted Patty to be there. I wanted to share, have her share the day with my daughter. However, I knew that it would put her in an awkward position, so it was unselfish of me to let her have her day and, in so doing, she made the day special for me, and what that did was it solidified the relationship with my daughter to the point that she said I'm open to, because you're respectful of my situation, for me to be respectful of yours, and so she and her husband have really been very welcoming to Patty and I. We've been to their house, we've been out many times together and something too that, with that dynamic, my son-in-law did not know my wife and I together, my daughter and her husband met after the separation. So he only knew my ex-wife and I separated, and so he was better at bringing my daughter into the relationship and saying, hey, you got to accept your dad, you got to accept your mom, and that's been really good. The other thing was that when we got married, we invited all five of our kids Patty has two and only one of them one of the five chose to come and instead of griping and saying, well, you know, I was at your wedding, you need to come to mine I just said you know, if it's not something that you want to participate in, I get it, remember? Let's go back to my family dynamic situation my dad's fourth marriage. I was the best man at his wedding, only because the best man got stuck in traffic on the Borman Expressway in Indiana, couldn't get there. So he walks me out of the audience and says, hey, would you stand up? I said, sure, I was comfortable in that situation, but I wasn't going to put my kids in an awkward situation. That said, hey, you got to come to Cincinnati, we're getting married and, by God, you need to accept that. I've really just said let it breathe and accept it as you see fit.

Karen Covy - Host: 44:53

You know that is gold right there, because what you're referring to is your mindset and your. I mean I've seen so many people get I mean devastated and so hurt that their kids don't want to be a part of their new life and they keep trying to force it down their throat and that doesn't tend to work really well. But the scary thing is, when you said that and only one of five kids showed up for the wedding, I mean that had to hurt on some level too.

Dave Moravec: 45:28

It actually didn't. And again for your listeners, it's your peace of mind that matters and if you have that disappointment in anything, you're going to carry that with you and I didn't want that burden. It was one day and I mean it really was just one day we were able to celebrate her daughter. Her son walked her down the aisle. We only had about 25 people at the ceremony. We got married on a riverboat in the middle of the Ohio River with fireworks after the Reds game. It was really a cool event. But for me to lob that at my kids and say, wow, you weren't there and put that guilt on them and I think parents put guilt on their kids and sometimes kids throw it back at the parent as well. You didn't do this, that or the other. I just didn't want that to affect the next 20 or 30 years of my life with her, and also, too, we didn't want to do that with her kids. Her kids are now closer. Within a couple of hours we have five grandkids on her side and I didn't want that to ruin the relationship with me as a potential grandfather to those five kids. And if you stick your feet in mud, oftentimes you get run over and you can't go anywhere, and I didn't want us to be put in that situation.

Karen Covy - Host: 47:04

That is beautiful advice. It's beautiful advice for everyone. So, in wrapping this up and bringing your story full circle, what would you say to people now who are going through a divorce, who are thinking about it, or maybe even on the other side, but can't let go of that angst for whatever reason?

Dave Moravec: 47:27

Yeah, I think the best advice I can give is to, by an own heart, be true Once you've made that decision, if you're really convicted that the marriage is no longer let it go. It's a hard thing to do and again, I went through some counseling and your book was terrific. When Happily Ever After Ends, it touched me and that's part of how our relationship started. But for those that are going through that, know that there's something else out there. When you lose your job and again I've come back to this and I've lost my job I've been in that position. You can wallow in it for a period of time, but if you're not out there presenting yourself positively to an interview, you're not going to get that job. And if you're not presenting yourself in a positive way online dating, in that dating environment with your kids, you're going to be seen as that negative person and you're not going to find that other relationship. However, if you can find peace in that, whatever that was you had, whether it was two years or five years or 40 years there's a lot of great divorce. That's out there. But know full well that life expectancy my dad's 86, and he's currently dating a 95-year-old woman.

Karen Covy - Host: 49:00

Oh, my goodness.

Dave Moravec: 49:03

And he's been married four times Now. They're not likely to get married under the circumstances, but when he married his wife I think they were in their 50s. They lived 25 years. She had dementia and passed away a year or so ago. That's a long time and if you're going to wake up on the other side of the bed, angry, depressed for the rest of your life, you're going to continue to do that. But if you wake up positive and know that the smile on your face is going to show to that future dating partner or future love interest or potential spouse, that's what they're going to see. So that's the positive aspect that I try to bring forward to people that I talk to. You don't have to take that advice, but I'm a Cub fan. There's always next year.

Karen Covy - Host: 50:09

That definitely explains your optimism.

Thank you for tuning into today's very special episode. Don't forget if you enjoyed this episode or any of the other episodes, please do me a big favor like subscribe to the podcast, and I look forward to seeing you again next week for another episode of Off the Fence.

Head shot of Karen Covy in an Orange jacket smiling at the camera with her hand on her chin.

Karen Covy is a Divorce Coach, Lawyer, Mediator, Author, and Speaker. She coaches high net worth professionals and successful business owners to make hard decisions about their marriage with confidence, and to navigate divorce with dignity.  She speaks and writes about decision-making, divorce, and living life on your terms. To connect with Karen and discover how she can help you, CLICK HERE.


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