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Should I get a divorce?




Have you ever wondered what life after a divorce would even look like?

Today's guest, Paige Dempsey, is an anti-anxiety Dating and Relationship Coach for women. 

In Paige’s words, she got married late and divorced early. She’s been a step mom, mom of a child with her ex, and a solo mother by choice.  At the same time as her and her husband were separating, her best friend was diagnosed with cancer. She felt like she was just getting by.

In this episode, Paige holds nothing back as she narrates her thoughts and feelings both inside and outside of her marriage. She shares how she believes divorce can strengthen the kids’ experience of and relationship with their fathers, the mindset she used to move forward without fear, and the patterns she sees in her dating clients. 

This episode is for you if you’ve wondered what’s on the other side of a divorce, been intimidated by leaving or dating again, or just hope to glean wisdom for your current relationships!


  • How Paige decided getting a divorce was the right decision
  • Why Paige and her Ex get along now better than ever
  • The difference between therapy and coaching


  • Paige's timeless dating advice, especially if you're on the apps

UnF*ck your Brain podcast - Kara Loewentheil 

Ep. 121 of Failing Motherhood - Solo Motherhood by Choice - 9/12/23


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Paige Dempsey 0:00
My son needs a healthy, happy parent. Despite all of my best effort, despite all my trying, despite all my crying, despite all my efforts at making this be a thing that can work, this is not working. And I choose me and I choose him and I choose our happiness, even if that means not in this marriage that I had had only just gotten into a couple of years earlier. As a you know, older adult.

Danielle Bettmann 0:28
Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood I mean? Have too much anxiety, not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. This is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up. And you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is FailingMotherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Showing her insecurities, her fears, her failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough and you're not alone. I hope you pop in your buds somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend. We're so glad you're here.

Danielle Bettmann 1:40
Hey, it's Danielle. Have you ever wondered what life would look like after a divorce? My guest today, Paige Dempsey is an anti anxiety dating and relationship coach for women. Paige was certified by the Life Coach School and also holds certification and advanced deep dive and feminist coaching. Paige is an expert at helping you get past what is keeping you stuck in your old familial patterns and into something more authentic, empowered and connected. Her mission is to help women feel better in their relationships with others and most importantly with themselves.

Danielle Bettmann 2:12
So in Paige's words, she got married late, and divorced early. She's been a stepmom, mom of a child with her ex and a solo mother by choice. At the same time as her and her husband were separating her best friend was diagnosed with cancer. For a while there, she felt like she was just getting by.

Danielle Bettmann 2:30
In today's episode, Paige holds nothing back as she narrates her thoughts and feelings, both inside and outside of her marriage, and just how much her understanding of and experience of relationships has evolved. She shares the two ways she knew divorce was the right decision for her how she believes divorce can strengthen the kids' experience of in relationship with their fathers, and the mindset she used to move forward without fear. She hopes that listeners hear from her story that there is no prize for suffering. It's okay to do things your own way, and that it's best not to spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think, only what you think. This episode is for you if you've ever wondered what's on the other side of a divorce, been intimidated by the thought of leaving or dating again, or just hope to glean wisdom for all your current relationships. Let's dive in.

Danielle Bettmann 3:25
Welcome to Failing Motherhood My name is Danielle Bettmann. On today's episode, I'm joined by Paige Dempsey. Thank you, Paige so much for coming on the show.

Paige Dempsey 3:35
Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Danielle Bettmann 3:37
Course, of course. So we are here to talk about life after divorce and there is nothing that feels more like failing I'm sure for some than failing your marriage, failing your white picket fence dream, having, you know, your ideals kind of like self sabotage or the knees swept out from under you and just trying to reimagine what life can look like. And that's what we're going to talk about today is what life after divorce can look like. But I want to start from the beginning. I want to get to know you. I know we have met we are local connections. And I'm so excited to kind of share you with my listeners. But let's start at the beginning. Who were you before you got divorced?

Paige Dempsey 4:16
Oh goodness. Well I was first a stepmother. Then I was a mother. And before I got divorced, I was just a really unhappy person who felt like I was almost in a life or death decision at that point. I mean, it was very hard for me to be in that space in my life, especially while being a mother.

Danielle Bettmann 4:40
Walk us through how'd you become a mom?

Paige Dempsey 4:42
Ah, married late. so I got married by the time a lots of people are getting divorced. So I didn't get married till I was 38 years old. I married a man with two kids. I always thought this is amazing. I want to have a big family. I myself was a product of divorce. So I I thought I had welcomed that experience rather openly. But it wasn't what I expected. Obviously, families are very hard, can be very hard, especially if the person that we had in common, which was my now ex husband, wasn't really riding the ship. And once we had our own son about a year later, so just felt like a division between like his kids and our kid or his first family and our family. And I sort of felt like we were living in two different families a lot of the time. And I would tell him in our multiple therapy sessions, like, Hey, if you keep acting like you have two different families, you will eventually have two different families, because this is not at all what I had envisioned for my life and my marriage and my time with my kids and how I wanted them to grow up or how I wanted to be in relationship with somebody.

Danielle Bettmann 5:53
And what did that look like, on a daily basis?

Paige Dempsey 5:57
Yeah, I mean, so this would have been, you know, my son's almost eleven, this was 10-11 12 years ago. Nowadays, what's typical is kind of a 50-50, split in custody arrangements. But this, you know, 15-20 years ago, when my ex was first divorce and doing his parenting time, his girls would come over, like one night a week, or like, for a weekend. And so if you can imagine, anytime you have company over, like a sister that's in from out of town, or your cousins are in town, and with all kinds of disruptive for a weekend, and I'm like, oh, we gotta get back to normal. I mean, that was like, every other weekend, right? And then, when my son came along, you know, his girls were a little bit older, but I would try to encourage us to do stuff together, like, Hey, let's go to the pumpkin patch, he's to the next one up would have been like 13 or something? Well, this one doesn't want to do that. And this isn't that I'm like, Hey, like, if we had five or six kids in between, you know, if he had more five kids, a 13 year old, and a two year old would surely go to the pumpkin patch together, you know, and so there was just a lot of feeling like, well, they're down stairs in the living room watching a movie together. And I'm sort of not welcome. Or, you know, there was a day that he went to a movie with his younger daughter, and I was like, No, you can't come and I'm like, What do you mean, I can't come like, I'm your wife, like, I'm hurt. happening here.

Paige Dempsey 6:02
So, I mean, I, we dated for four years before we got married. So I don't know. I mean, if I could do it all over again, or like what I know now versus what I knew that like, maybe I should have noticed that some of this was coming. But really, when I had our son, and it just when I would see him as a little baby or a toddler and be sort of put second to what, you know, my ex's girls would need, even though they were older and older enough to really get things for themselves or take care of themselves. I just was always felt placed, not just second to his kids second to his ex wife second to his mom, second to his to job, you know, then behind our kid, and I'm like, I cannot be number seven, all the time and be in this marriage in a way that's gonna work like this is just, this is just not gonna work. Hmm.

Danielle Bettmann 8:01
So how did you come to that conclusion? And how much time did it take you?

Paige Dempsey 8:06
I will tell you exactly how I came to this conclusion. It was two parts. One part was partly inspired by the work that I used to do. So some of the work that I did. And still I've done sometimes is this like working with organizations and nonprofits and doing like strategic planning. So if you have a job and you have a company, you're always visioning what's happening in three to five years. And so we were at a one of our multiple, again, therapy appointments, and the lady was doing her procedure where he says something and then I repeat, or I say something, and then he repeats, and I was like, listen, we're just gonna stop right here. And I looked at him, and I said, Tell me your vision for our future. Very simply, tell me your vision for our future. That was the whole question. And he responded, or like a good 20 minute, the repeated theme was I go to work, I come home, I'm a good dad, I take care of the kids. I go to work, I come home and my dad, I take care of the kids. And as this is going on, I can even see the therapist face just like, oh, that conversation or answer did not include the words wife, partner, marriage, Paige, spouse, like nowhere. And I was like, okay, okay, this is very interesting. And I'm like, let's just try one more time. You told me about the kids, I know you're committed to work, let's talk about like, your vision for our relationship and our marriage. And again, he just could not go there. And I was like, I mean, this is very telling, because we're either gonna keep going to counseling for 30 or 40. We're not going to the same place. Think he and I are not on the same road. And I don't think any amount of counseling is going to change that.

Paige Dempsey 9:39
That was part one. Part two is what I started to say at the beginning and I don't say this lightly because it took me five years to say it without crying, which is this became kind of a life or death decision for me. Like when you are that in a dark place for that long and you have a little person to take care of. You know, eventually the decision was like, I can't. I'm gonna die if I stay. like, I, I will get a disease, I mean, something bad is going to happen because I cannot keep living like this. And so for me, it was just that decision of my son needs a healthy, happy parent, despite all of my best efforts, despite all my trying, despite all my crying, despite all my efforts at making this be a thing that can work, this is not working. And I choose me and I choose him and I choose our happiness, even if that means not in this marriage that I P.S. had only just gotten into a couple of years earlier. As a, you know, older adult.

Paige Dempsey 10:36
So I mean, for marriage comparison. Yeah, it's very hard to get married. I mean, we were separated by our fifth anniversary, but you just sometimes know, you know, and looking at my life and looking at his life. I mean, he was little enough, like his needs were met, he had two loving parents, but, you know, me trying to be a mom, when I'm just like, a shell of myself. No way. Like, I've always wanted to be a mom, I can't be a mom. And just be, I mean, just going through the motions, like, that just wasn't going to be okay. So that's, you know, just a few years after we got married. Now, mind you, we dated for four or five years before that. So there was enough evidence for me to say, also, like having that conversation with the therapist, like, there's no, this is again, like, it's kind of work lingo, but it totally made sense. To me, I'm like, there are no indicators of change, there are no indicators that he is changing. And if I go all the way, you know, 100% on my end, I'm only 50% of the way there, you know, and if every therapist we've talked to which have been more than one have said, Hey, man, you got to let this happen. Or you got to try this, or the girls and, you know, your kids and Paige need to have their own relationship, you need to stop getting in the middle of it, hey, they need to like act like they live at that house and are just visiting every weekend, you know, throw in some laundry, do some dishes, pick up a little bit, you know, all of this stuff. Nothing ever changed. We just have to decide, like, again, there was no it wasn't like, Oh, he's made a little bit of strides or whatever. And he is a good person, like, we get along really well now. But this, this family dynamic, and this family unit, I kept feeling like a, like an unwanted person in my own home like a stranger, like, not welcome. When his girls were here as part of that family. And I'm like, This is not No, not like the opposite of what I wanted. I was like, bring everybody bring the stuff kids, right, you know, like, right. So that was that, like,

Danielle Bettmann 12:35
yeah, heart breaking.

Paige Dempsey 12:36
hard and heartbreaking. And nobody goes into marriage, like, at 38 wanting to get you don't ever get married, wanting to get divorced. But I also didn't want to live in a marriage like that. And then a family like that, and on a life that was like that. And I think, you know, God bless that I had the means and the capability to get divorced. You know, your mom and your grandma, and your great grandma, they all might have wanted to get divorced to, you know, all this longevity, and marriages used to be forever. And I'm like, that doesn't mean that they were good. Right? So yeah, you know, I would think about myself in those times and think I do not have the constitution to sit here and suffer for the next 50 years, I literally cannot do it. So that is not an option for me. Like physically, mentally emotionally, like whatever the ladies did. 100 years ago, God bless them because they had no other choices. But that is not going to be for me. And so it began.

Danielle Bettmann 13:38
And as hard as that decision is to make, you want to have that clarity. You want to know that it is the right decision for you. And that you're you have security and backing yourself up and being your own best advocate in that moment. That's still really hard to do. Because there's a grief process there. There's, you know, very bittersweet aspects about your commitment and your relationship, you know, all of it. But for you, did you have any fears or preconceived notions of what life was going to look like on the other side of that decision? That kind of like made you take pause?

Paige Dempsey 14:12
I don't think so. But I do want to go back to something you just said about having a clarity around getting divorced. And yeah, as we'll talk more about what I do now and the work that I do as a coach. I don't know. I mean, I had clarity that this was the route for me. I don't think all women need certainty and clarity. Because you're always going to be waiting. The way you get clarity is you decide for yourself. And that's an important distinction is that well, if there's enough people that say it's okay or if just the right job comes along, or whatever it is, you you get clarity by deciding this is the decision and then you figure it the eff out. So no, I do not remember having, like fears of like being like I'll just figure it out. You know, I mean, my parents got divorced when I was like 10. So I know that. I mean, I've experienced divorce from three ways I experienced as a kid, I experienced it as a stepmom. And now I've experienced that as a parent. So divorce itself is not something that I was afraid of. The compounding factor that I also had going at the very same time is during this like two year process of just marriage turmoil, my best friend from 30 years got diagnosed with colon cancer. And so I had literally a two or three year period of just like divorce cancer, divorce cancer, you know, Attorney this day, chemo treatment that, a and really Oh, and I had just quit my job and I was becoming self-employed. No biggie, super major life traumas, all kind of happening at the same time. But to answer your question, you know, the only clarity that we can have is the one within ourselves. And the life that I was experiencing, I was so distraught in that whatever was on the other side, I knew would be better. And I would have more space to make it better, whatever that would be. Yeah. And I did. And I have Yeah,

Danielle Bettmann 16:10
yeah. And did you have that same mentality for your son, as in life will be better?

Paige Dempsey 16:19
Oh absolutely. as well. Absolutely. Yes. And I'm lucky in the sense, his dad, my ex is a good man. And he's a great dad, and he's good with kids. And so I always, I never worried about that. I know, for some women, that's really challenging. I would also offer though, for any woman who's thinking about getting divorce that I know many women and I have friends. I mean, once you get divorced, you start, you know, making divorce friends that, you know, I think in some cases, divorce is like one of the best things to happen to fatherhood.

Danielle Bettmann 16:52
Hmm, tell me more about that.

Paige Dempsey 16:53
Because in a lot of cases, not all, but in a lot of women that I've talked to, you know, the men were just doing the bare minimum, they were kind of riding the coattails and women did all the things. And even in a good marriage, like the women do a lot of the things right. So, you know, I know for a lot of like, friends of mine, once now that they've been divorced, the dad has to plan some things to do, they have to, they gotta be a dad, they gotta go to the park, they got to take them on the soccer trip, they gotta show up, they gotta clean up, they gotta make them breakfast, they gotta make them dinner, they gotta put them to bed. And a lot of times in a, you know, two parent household, that just the dads just kind of don't always do their fair share. So, you know, I think, unless the man is really terrible, and you need to protect your children, that's another story. But it really is an opportunity. Like, I have less time with my son, but the time that we have is focused and the time that he has with his dad is focused, and as kids get older, so when we separated, he was three, almost four, but as he's gotten older, and has had sports activities and school stuff, you know, I see him almost every day, you know, maybe six out of seven days a week, just because like, there's a basketball game, there's a soccer game, maybe he comes to my house after school, but it's Dad's night, you know, we got piano, so that has helped to also when he was young, when we separate it i i made a custody schedule that switched every couple of days just because he was little, you know, so you can make that experience like whatever you want it to be as best that you can.

Danielle Bettmann 18:34
And how did you leverage the things that you had control over? Like you just said, The One great example is that alternating schedule being you know, a lot more quick to transition back and forth. What are the things did you feel like you did well, in that time, you know, that first who is transitioning out.

Paige Dempsey 18:51
One thing that I would suggest that I did that I I know a lot of women do or try to do is connect with other divorced women. So that was a good support for me personally. And even just the technicalities of like make sure this is in your divorce agreement or make sure you think about holidays this way or so I had a lot of inputs. And again having been a divorced kid having been married to a man with kids you know in their schedule and all that and then having one of our own I had that experience I would say one thing I would do better now that I didn't do as well then is being less reactive to his behavior and his words and his whatever because it's so hard and you take things so personally and in the last you know, four or five six years therapy with coaching with just life and time. You know, we get along now probably better than we ever have. Ah, But plot twist. I didn't even see that coming but it's like once all the stuff is kind of behind you. And then we just get to parent and I don't have to be disappointed or angry at him all the time, then we just get to go. And the frustration of a lot of that day to day stuff is just not there.

Danielle Bettmann 20:08
Sure. There's not that weight of resentment or the unspoken unmet expectations and all the other kind of emotional baggage that we have in relationships. It's just, is what it is. Yes.

Paige Dempsey 20:19
Yes. So one thing that we haven't talked about yet is that I post divorce had a baby by myself on purpose. Yeah. Via IVF. So for women that aren't familiar with that, it's called being a single mom by choice. But this brings forward this idea of being partnered be it versus being a single mom, I divorced a good guy. And I think being a single mom is 1000 times easier. And I'll tell you why. That's the exact thing that you just said, which are unmet expectations. When I had my son now, granted, we were in sort of the dysfunction of the step family set up that was not amazing that I remember what my first one when I was married, it always feels like it was like an accounting. You know, like, I was up last night, you need to get up tonight, I did the breastfeeding, you need to wash the bottles, I did the bath, you need to do the bedtime. I did this, you need to make dinner, you didn't take the trash out, I did this other thing like I you know, and I will tell you as a single mom, even with this, my son before he had my my second by myself, like, you just don't have to argue with people, like, all of that just kind of goes away. If the dishes aren't done tonight. But I don't have that, you know, when you're in a partnership, you're sort of like, Oh, should he be doing the dishes? Should I be doing the dishes? I didn't want assignments, it's time to do them tonight. And so without that constant, you know, disappointment or stress or read of expectations, and who does what, it's a lot kinda easier just to do parenting, I think. And like, Now, that being said, I'm also one that mostly yard and I'm also one that shovels the snow. And I'm also the one that does all the dishes. And I'm the one that does all the laundry, and so on. And so, you know, it would be nice to have a partner to like, split the chores with sometimes, but I will tell you, there's just a lot of, I guess, maybe I just have more energy to put towards life and parenting, instead of spending it trying to fix or change this other person. That isn't what I want them to be. Yeah,

Danielle Bettmann 22:22
yeah. I mean, that does just suck so much of your capacity. Yeah. Especially when you feel stuck. Yeah, yes.

Paige Dempsey 22:28
So there is life on the other side for sure.

Danielle Bettmann 22:47
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Danielle Bettmann 25:16
When did you get a coach? Because I know that you have personally gone through coaching, and then became one. So how did you? How did you benefit from coach?

Paige Dempsey 25:26
Yeah yeah, so my coaching journey started probably about five years ago. So I had lost my dad, when I was like, worried about when I was getting married right before that time I was getting married. So my dad had died. You know, going through my separation and divorce I've used I've used a lot of therapy and mental health supports, and I think everybody should, who can whether to both podcasts or therapist, whatever. And about 2019. So friend had died, divorce was finished, I stumbled over a podcast that really resonated with me by a feminist coach Kara Lowentheil she's Unfuck, your Brain podcast if you're not familiar. And her way of sort of teeing up, this type of work just really resonated with me. So then I went to one of her weekend courses that was offered that fall and came back and signed up for my coaching certification in the following spring.

Paige Dempsey 26:15
But coaching is such a, I mean, I think I have grown and changed and elevated and evolved like so much from my work, you know, my own coaching journey and coaching others and being like, in a community of coaches are the most supportive, well trained, thoughtful humans that I have ever met. And I just really liked the idea. So the thing that I know now that I didn't know when I was married and divorced is that we have a lot of control over how we experience our lives and our relationships. And I think 10 years ago, I felt more, I don't know if victimized is the word I really want to use, but sort of the beholden to how I was being treated.

Danielle Bettmann 27:06
at the mercy of the circumstances, or

Paige Dempsey 27:09
at the mercy of the circumstances. Now, the decision in the end might have been the same, but I probably would have had a lot less suffering getting there. You know, what I mean? Like, we get to choose how we think and feel about these relationships that we're in, we get to, you know, stand up and say like, this is not what I want, which I did do that for sure when I was married and sad and you know, going to therapy but yeah, my that's all my own coaching journey, it kind of ebbs and flows a little bit, I'm, I'm really lucky to be in a community of coaches where I can, you know, I meet with people regularly that are just colleagues now and so I guess we're all like free coaching. But, you know, therapy is really good for sort of looking backwards coaching is really good for we do look backwards sometimes if that's what's keeping us stuck, but it's really giving you tools to help yourself, develop skills, and, and whatever to like, move forward in any relationship that you're in. That's the other thing that I love about coaching. You know, I know, I've had a couple experiences with therapists that might resonate for people experience number one is like, Oh, my God, I can't do anything and I gotta talk to my therapist. Well, then you're like, really dependent on this other person to, like, tell you what to do or what to think or how to feel and like, that's not empowering. Right? Right. And then a few times I've had therapists where after a while, they're like, I don't know, you seem you seem good. Okay, well, good is relative. What are you how are you moving forward, though? Like, let's keep moving. Yeah. Oh,

Danielle Bettmann 28:39
yeah. Yeah. So, like, I know what to do tomorrow. So yeah.

Paige Dempsey 28:44
Yeah and so this coaching is, is a good mix. It's sort of therapeutic. And it's sort of, it's just a way of sort of empowering people. And I particularly like working with women, on how you can find a solution or get unstuck or feel better, or make a clear decision, regardless of like, what circumstances.

Paige Dempsey 29:06
And then the other part is that gets missed a lot I think in in social media feel better Instagram posts, it's that you're actually supposed to be sad when sad things happen. You know, and you're supposed to grieve when something happens that causes grief, and learning how to allow space for that, or how to like process it sort of, out of like through your system is another thing that's just like really important to do because just staying stuck being sad, is like it's good for a while if you're grieving or mourning, or you know, something, but after a while, it becomes kind of like unhelpful sadness sometimes. So we have to just sort of learn like, you know, at some point, it's not just sadness, it's like stuckness and we keep ourselves stuck because we keep thinking about sadness. And So, you know, there's kind of a balance between the actions that we need to take. But before we take the action, we got to get our thoughts and feelings cleaned up. And sometimes it's the feelings first, and sometimes it's the thoughts first, and that's all kind of connected. Yes,

Danielle Bettmann 30:14
such a great way to explain it. Because it sounds kind of convoluted and messy as you explain it, but you explained it so well, that like we're with you. And that's yeah, what it looks like in life is it looks kind of messy, and feels a little bit messy. But, and I like it makes everything kind of fall into place. Like where, where life becomes much more like, Okay, I understand how this part of me works and how to work with it, or I know how this situation, you know, is continuing to stay with me and how it can be aware of that, or, you know, what I mean? Like, talk to me about more of what it looks like to be on the other side of, you know, you're never just enlightened, and you arrive, and everything's perfect. And you know, you have the answer for everything in life in real time. But what can life look like, when you have a lot of that kind of worked on?

Paige Dempsey 31:08
Gosh, I would say my life is calmer, I'm less reactive, I feel, I don't know, more empowered or like more confident and my decisions, thoughtful about how I show up, I don't hold on to the I don't take things personally much, which is huge. But yet, you can, like, let that go, you got a whole bunch of space in life for other stuff. I just think I'm like really way more thoughtful about my relationships in general. And that includes my relationship with myself. So letting go of shame, or being more compassionate, or understanding that, you know, I'm doing my best. Or I'm just thinking, like some things that have come up for me lately, you know, sometimes as a woman, especially and as we have kids, and as we get older, and maybe when there's a life change, like a divorce or just fine, like if you're 50 instead of 20. Like sometimes friendships don't last, or they don't come along with you through these hardships, or they might for a while, but then it's different, or, you know, I think just allowing space, that it's all just like part of the process and all part of the journey. And it's all part of the growth. And we don't have to hold on to this thing that we had 10 or 15 or 20 years ago, like you don't get a certificate for that there's no prize, or like, holding on to suffering or like relationships that you've outgrown. There's no other than society saying like, Oh, otherwise, you know, whatever. So the benefit is always to the person. So all of us women are doing our self work, and we're buying books, or we're listening to podcasts. And that's all amazing. But when you really like work on your self, make whatever that means for you, then the benefit is for you, the people around you might also be crazy. But for many of you have the benefit of like, we just let it roll. A lot of the time, I coach women on dating and relationships a lot and just relationships in general. And the thing that I say sometimes is I took my anxiety from a 10 to a 2, you know, people like well, why are the two like, what about zero or one I'm like, Listen, I'm still human, I still get frustrated, I still get that emotional nervous system flare up, occasionally. But the flare is is lower, the peaks are not as high and the valleys are not as low and then the space in between is longer. So I just have a lot more than if we and then if something is a flare up, then I'm like, oh, I need to pay attention to this, right? Like, what's going on here,

Danielle Bettmann 33:43
like the exception to the rule. So yeah, that's sounds important.

Danielle Bettmann 33:46
But I will say now that I'm talking about this, because I think this is important too. And I've only learned this kind of recently, when people are way high or way low, you know, when your nervous system is way over activated or under activated. If you're you know, in a deep depression or just hyper like, those are not the time to make changes. It's not going to work, it's not going to stick. So you know, that's something that I would share also is that I had a very long period of a very sad and serious depression. Those are not the times to like improve your life. Those are the times that you're just like, I just need to go till tomorrow, or maybe like for the next hour. And we ate a lot of pizza, mac and cheese at that time. Like it's fine. You know, so sometimes we are in surviving mode and then sometimes we are in thriving mode. But if you are underwater, then we need to get back up to like the surface. Then when things are stabilized, then we work on like okay, let's improve let's do all that stuff.

Danielle Bettmann 34:47
Totally makes sense. And all of those outcomes that you were naming is exactly what I help my clients with as well and what they end up getting through the process of working on themselves as a parent because we're just so intertwined, like who we are, every moment of the day is who we are as a parent. And it affects that relationship with our kids just as much as it would with what we bring into marriage or what we bring into a friendship, it is the core of us and our thoughts and feelings and, you know, ability to take things personally or not. And that is so worth the freedom that comes on the other side of making those painful yet powerful realizations of, you know, I have more control over this than I think, and I can react differently, even though this person's behavior isn't changing yet or ever. I think, you know, that is that is what the work is. And in my opinion, I found a lot of that at Al Anon, when I first started there, and hadn't, you know, heard any of the concepts like, you know, looking out for your own well being and what that can look like. But I wish everybody, you know, had a mandatory phase of life where you go through this process.

Paige Dempsey 35:57
Yeah for sure. Well, you probably see with your clients also that when one person starts to change, sometimes the other people come along, even if they're not the one getting coached or seeing a therapist or whatever. And sometimes Oh, yeah, right. But either way, good information. Yes,

Danielle Bettmann 36:12
yeah. So that's where doing it with your partner is huge, because then that ripple effect is like multiplied. And yeah, you absolutely have an equation your family have like a plus b equals c. And when a changes to be a different number, c has to change, even though b's your child, they're still living their life, and nobody has talked to them about anything differently. The relationship dynamic the culture of your home, and what that looks like day to day is 100% gonna change when you change, and usually changes to exactly what you hoped would happen when you were trying to fix your kid the whole time. Yeah. So how did you decide to focus in on dating?

Paige Dempsey 36:53
That is one thing that I think women just need a lot of support in. So I always like to say I'm a dating and relationship coach, and the and relationship would sort of include, you know, family, partner, co-worker, whatever. But having gotten married late and then divorced early, I've sort of seen this dating conundrum on all sides. And the thing that frustrates me the most is kind of circling back to the same theme of our conversation is that women get so frustrated with the process, or somebody they go out with, and, you know, they take it personally, like, Oh, I was talking to this guy on Tinder. I was talking to somebody on Bumble and then they ghosted me, that that that what's wrong with me? I'm here to tell you that there's nothing wrong with you. This is like this is just part of the process. And so my goal working with women, which I know is the same for you is like, really, again, empowering our choices, A) not just the choices we make about who we're connecting with and how we're showing up online, but how we're making sense of like the experience that we're having, I just really want women to stop feeling, you know, heard or victimized or like, Oh, this guy this and this guy did that. And then I have to be sad because he ghosted me or he, you know, we talked for three weeks, and now, he's not contacting me, and I'm like, that's not because of you number one, number two, some relationships are only meant to last three weeks, like this is just how it goes, you know, this is not like everybody we have one day with us, and we're gonna marry for 20 years. So I just think women especially if you're on like, the second half of life, or you know, maybe married your college sweetheart, or you know, even for me, there's just like a new world of dating that I like to provide support around.

Danielle Bettmann 38:39
Yeah, I'm sure it feels like a minefield, there's all sorts of triggers and situations and yeah, input that is going to send you spiraling or questioning or second guessing yourself. And, you know, really creating a lot of volatility and maybe your identity or your self image or your confidence, and I can only imagine just how much you have to feel resilient and confident to be able to navigate that as scot free as possible. And

Paige Dempsey 39:09
I mean, that's what I've noticed myself, I've been divorced now, what six or seven years and so, you know, I used to be the girl that was like checking my phone every five minutes to see if someone saw messaged me and, you know, getting really attached and, I mean, there's just so much freedom and like, not having those quick attachments and feeling you know, all in on somebody that you met three weeks ago on the internet. And that's tying up your self worth and like what all these other people think about you. I mean, that is I think the work for all women is like not and rightfully so like we have been taught since we were little girls like there's a boy on the playground have a crush on you my daughter's two and like I am not going to be asking her about any crushes until she's 30. That's not what women are only here to do is have you know, men have crushes on them. But that is the messaging that we've gotten from society or whole lives is that you want to be picked and by a man and that your whole worth and value is coming from being picked by a man and being in a relationship. And so I think once we let go of that, then we get to be choosy, and kind of raise the standard a little bit about who we even want to pick us. Or if we want to even be picked, or do I want to be picked right now or do I not want to be picked right now. So it's just like a whole different way to approach dating and relationships.

Paige Dempsey 40:26
And, you know, it's funny, because I see a lot of women on the, you know, the moms groups, or the Facebook groups, like, Oh, this is so frustrating dating sucks, I hate the whole thing. And I'm like, I just don't think it's that big of a problem, like, because I just don't make it a big problem. If I'm not getting anywhere on a conversation with a guy, I just, I just peace out, like, I don't have to put a lot of emotional energy into it. I save that for other things like my kids and my parenting or work that is more important, you know, then if you get some traction, then you can put a little bit of emotional investment into it. But I think there are ways you teach parents, you know, mothers with kids how to do this, and I teach women and dating and personal relationships, how to do it is to just like pace yourself and sort of be more in control of how you experience these situations and experiences. Yeah.

Danielle Bettmann 41:13
And when you are given the chance, like you know, you to step up on your on your soapbox, and give like your number one piece of advice or insight for dating women, what do you want them to know?

Paige Dempsey 41:26
Yeah, for women who are dating, I just think you know, the best relationship you ever gonna have is the one that you have with yourself. So once you get that cleaned up and sort of like that relationship, but then you will only attract other good relationships to you. And that would be for a partner that is for friendship that is for, you know, co workers, for everybody.

Danielle Bettmann 41:48
And easier said than done sometimes. Because that can wait years, you know, really working on that?

Paige Dempsey 41:57
Yeah, you know, what's just coming to mind too, I was talking with a woman yesterday. And this happens pretty frequently, when I'm talking to women around relationship coaching is have a lot of women. I mean, doctors, lawyers, professionals, moms, everybody. I'm in my 30s. And I don't know how to make friends or I'm in my 40s. And I don't know how to make friends. And we're all just like, back to the basics again, like how do I connect with people? How do I make relationships, I mean, you've seen this, you know, and like, are in a moms group, I'm in over 35 group, I'm gonna over 40 groups, everybody's got the same thing, like, just make an invitation. And then you start trying to be friends, you know, like, this is just how it goes. And, again, related to dating, not all of those friendships or relationships are going to be forever, like, you might go out and have drinks with a lady once or twice or have a coffee, and then you never see him again, this might be something that, you know, become a mom, friend, this might be a person that you see three times a year. I mean, you just have to be open to the experience of meeting new people. And I was like, sometimes I think women want to like skip the line. Like they just want to have a relationship. And I'm like, No, you gotta like do that. You got to do the work of like, getting to know somebody or like feeling uncomfortable. It's almost like going on a first date for a mom friend or a wrestler first day, you know, like, open up a little, let them open up a little see if you guys can act. And if you don't, like, That's okay, maybe there's nothing wrong with that. It's just part of like being a human out here in the world, like trying to make connections. So don't be afraid to just put yourself out there because I know that there's 40,50, 100 other women that are just like looking for somebody like you today to be friends with to hang out. Wait, you know what I mean? Like, yeah, yeah.

Danielle Bettmann 43:41
Oh, we need to hear that on repeat. Sometimes. You know, let's just take a recording of what Paige just said and play that on our alarm on our phone every morning.

Paige Dempsey 43:50
Yes do that. I highly I support that idea. I posted on Facebook this morning, everything you want's on the other side of discomfort. And I think that is like the most true thing that I just keep coming back to. Well, I don't want to get hurt if I'm dating or I don't want this lady, you know, high profile physician yesterday that I was coaching. Well, I'm trying out a new mom friend, but what if she doesn't like me? And I'm like, what if she doesn't like you? And I sat there she's like, Oh, I guess it's okay. And I was like, Yeah, that's fine. Because the thing is, we know as we get older and if we have a good relationship with ourselves that we always have our own back, right? So if that guy on Tinder doesn't want to date me or that girl that I reached out to for coffee and I don't really hit it off like it's okay. It's okay. Yeah. Somehow.. Oh, it keeps coming back around. Yes. Then we meet people that are more excited or more have more time or space for that it aligns a little bit better.

Danielle Bettmann 44:41
Yeah. Oh my gosh, so good. I feel like we can keep talking about this for a while but I know we have to wrap up. Yes.Oh yeah. Where can listeners connect with your work and hear more from you?

Paige Dempsey 44:53
Yes, Paige Dempsey Dating Coach Paige on Instagram and Tiktok and Paige Dempsey Coaching on Facebook. Would love to connect. And I love, love, love coaching women through all of your relationships. So reach out if that's something that you think you need help with.

Danielle Bettmann 45:08
Yes, I highly recommend. And the last question I asked on every episode is how are you, the mom, your kids need?

Paige Dempsey 45:17
Oh my god, I'm exactly the mom, my kids need because I just decided that it was so. And I think our relationship is so dear and so genuine and different than the one that I had growing up in a way that is not perfect, and not organized and not, you know, Perfectly Decorated for Pinterest at all times. But that is open and joyful and honest and caring. And so I hope that that is how I am the perfect mom for them.

Danielle Bettmann 45:50
Oh, no question. They are lucky to have you. Yeah. Thank you so much for just pouring your heart into this episode. I feel like there is so much honesty and just so much of your story we can pull wisdom from and so much tangible advice for where wherever a listener might be at in this journey of relating to you. So thanks again for your time. And for just all that vulnerability. It's so appreciated. You're welcome.

Paige Dempsey 46:16
Thank you for having me.

Danielle Bettmann 46:22
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they're not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child, and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.



Tuesday, Sept 27th at 1:00 PM CENTRAL

Confidently parent your strong-willed child without caving in or dimming their spark so you can finally break free of power struggles, guilt + self-doubt!