Life After Divorce . . . Be Ambidextrous In Your Relationships

By Lindy Earl

          After more than ten years, I am painting my bonus room.  Rather than hiring a painter and having it done well but expensively, I’m painting it myself. Being a divorced woman, I’m painting it alone. In edging the other day, I found myself using my left hand.  I am right handed.

          The vast majority of what we do is accomplished with our dominant hand.  That means right handed people mostly use the left side of their brain, but left handed people mostly use the right side of their brain.  Years ago I decided I wanted to make an effort to maximize both sides, so I decided to be more ambidextrous. 

          I found simple ways to start – I began wearing my belts backwards and my watch on the opposite wrist.  Both normal now, but definitely awkward in the beginning.  Once you master these small tricks you can change hands to eat, or cut your sandwich.  It’s actually kind of fun and funny. You need to think about such simple steps as getting your veggies onto your fork – it doesn’t come naturally when you switch hands.

          There are switch hitters in baseball, but how common are they?  I am a terrible pool player, but I enjoy the game anyway.  I learned that some shots are just more logically taken with the left hand.  Once when practicing alone I shot the entire table left handed.  It probably took four times the amount of time, but it was good for my brain. 

          So now I’m thinking, we should be ambidextrous in our relationships.  How? Well, we can do this by engaging people we normally wouldn’t, or we can open ourselves up to new ideas, new activities, and new challenges.  For instance, in a relationship we can try to think and feel like the other person.  If you have a friend or SO who is very emotional, try to tap into your emotions the next time you’re having a discussion.  Try to think the way they are thinking.

          We all accept that men and women are very different.  No question, and it doesn’t even matter why – nature versus nurture and all that.  Suffice it to say, we are different.  How might it affect your relationship if you tried to think like the other gender?  The commonly held belief is that women are more relational and men are more logical.  So, women, try to see the situation from his view and think through it logically.  Men, add some feelings the next time you have a discussion.

          In applying this to real life, times of job transition are hard for everyone.  Nobody wants to find themselves between jobs and looking for work. Women, however, to my knowledge, do not feel less feminine when they lose a job.  They may feel less empowered, and stressed out, but they do not lose their femininity.  Men, however, when they lose a job, can feel less empowered, stressed out, and emasculated.  Really.  As a woman, I do not naturally understand this, but I can see it.  For men, their job, their taking care of their family, their need to protect and provide, is intricately tied to their job and income.  When the job is removed, even temporarily, they may feel a loss of masculinity.  Once women know this, they can be more compassionate and careful of what they say and how they say it.

          In this same situation, women may react more emotionally, and by trying to be ambidextrous in the relationship, men can be more understanding of how hurt a woman might be when she is let go.  She has a need to understand, where a guy might just want to move forward in a logical manner.

          Maybe you’ve always been the jock and it’s time to try something more cerebral. Or maybe you’re a Brainiac who has never fully explored your physical side.  Maybe you can try some new sport or activity that has interested you, but you’ve never been willing to expend the effort.  Now is the time!  This is especially true if you’ve never been active in sports. Jump in and learn skills you’ve never tried, let alone mastered.  Maybe you have some latent abilities waiting to be discovered, that may use the opposite side of your brain.  To use your left brain more, maybe you can try some brain teaser games. There are a plethora on line but I’m not here to sell anything.

          Even in every day life, just take a new route home.  It may not be as efficient, but you could see some new and interesting sights.  There are streets and stores and areas very close to you that you don’t even know exist.  You can try a new restaurant or even a new cuisine at home.  I’ve never cooked Thai food before – maybe now is the time to try.

See how being ambidextrous can help you grow?  As you try new things and explore new areas, you become a more interesting person. You may be more sensitive, thus respond better. The idea is simply to try to engage the other side of your brain, or take the other view in a discussion, just for the experience and knowledge it could bring you.  You may find yourself thinking in a new way, just like I found myself painting with my left hand. I still can’t write left-handed, but maybe with practice.

That’s Life After Divorce.

          Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.  Contact her at or find her on Face Book and join her support group: Single Again . . . From Devastation to Divorce.