Is “Expert Advice” Driving You Crazy?
We received a question from one of our community members.
She’d read Dr. Kevin Leman’s relationship advice that opposes dating after being widowed or divorced until your youngest child is at least 18 years-old, and better yet, when they are 21 or 22 and the nest is empty.
Now, this is a youthful, 50-ish woman with children far from leaving the nest, so this would mean a very long wait for her.
After reading Leman’s opinion she became very discouraged and asked if we agreed that she should wait years before seeking companionship. What is a healthy person supposed to do when they long for companionship and the “expert” says forget about it?
Our Thoughts on the Matter
As soon as we read this we knew this blog post was needed. It’s not uncommon for people to wonder what to do when an expert’s opinion seems so at odds with their own. We’ve run into this before in relation to the advice of other experts–and our answer is always the same.
One saying we love is: The shortest path to a happy life is found through conscious choice. But you can’t make conscious choices–even about what you hear from the experts–unless you’re very clear about what’s deeply important to YOU.
Opinions Are Like Armpits
Why? Everyone has more than one and they tend to stink if you’re not careful with them.
What we mean by being careful with your opinions is that you are conscious of them, how you’ve come to hold them as true for you, and whether or not they serve you and others in your life.
Everyone has lots of opinions, and we all generate new ones all the time. We are opinion generating machines!
Every expert focuses on particular areas that are very important to them–areas they care about deeply. This has them come up with specific strategies to help themselves and others experience what is important to them about these areas.
Dr. Leman must deeply values particular things that caused him to come up with the strategy: Don’t date after the loss of the mate until the youngest child is at least 18.
This strategy may work great for you–or it may not work for you at all. But you can’t know whether it might work for you unless you know what you hope to create in life at a core level, both with your children and with an intimate companion.
Once you understand this, there may be many other strategies that will allow you to experience what’s important to you that don’t prevent you from dating.
So What Is “Our Opinion”?
Our opinion is that you are your own highest authority. You are best served by looking within to discover what you value most about each aspect of this rather complicated situation. One way to do this is to work through one of our free Values Exercise worksheet. You can find it at:
In this case we would suggest that you do a separate Values Worksheet for each aspect of the situation that’s important to you: your relationship with each child, what you hope for from an intimate relationship, etc. Then read our special report about creating conscious intentions. To find it go to:
Then, while keeping all of the various opinions and advice you’ve received in mind, choose which strategies would work best to help you experience what you value most. After doing this, it may turn out that Dr. Leman’s approach would work best for you, or you may come up with strategies that seem more appropriate for what you want to create in your life.
But you can’t know for sure until you hear from the most important expert–YOU!
Trust yourself. You are your own best expert. The rest of us are only here to support, suggest, and offer our ideas and strategies. The rest is up to you–and that’s the good news. 🙂
With much love and respect for who you are,
Beth and Neill