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Relationships - Living, Dying and Trying - by Duncan Rydall

Experience in life is a gift if we choose to accept it, meaning we learn from it. Cutting to the chase, in life the only true thing we need is love. That’s it plain and simple love is the only invisible, intangible, indescribable thing we as humans require. Every other material object, conquest, desire or need is immaterial. If you can understand and truly embrace that concept you are going to be travelling on a fabulous journey. Yes there will be bumps in the road, detours, hurdles, landslides, and loss but to live with love as your only requirement the journey’s going to be less disruptive to you.

Is the grass greener on the other side of the fence? Only because it has not had the feet trampling, the mileage and impacts of life on it is it greener. Understanding that you have the ability to change your circumstances at any time. Being in a relationship intimately and general relationships are arguably one in the same. There really is no difference or reason to change our attitude or how we present ourselves. By operating in such a way you deny the opportunity to have an authentic relationship with whomever is in front of you at that moment. Being you at every opportunity programs you to be that authentic person that you are. There is no hidden agenda, no reason to lie, and no reluctance from the other party because their internal mechanisms sense the authenticity in front of them.

I like visuals so bear with me the simple thought or prospect that we are all born with a virtual toolbox. We may have been blessed to have some tools in the toolbox that were passed on from our ancestors. We may have been cursed with tools that do not serve us. Or the toolbox is empty and it is for ourselves to gain experience and knowledge to accessorize the toolbox. Take the time to inventory your belief system and see what is in your toolbox. Remove what is not necessary and seek knowledge to place useful tools in your toolbox. It is like spring cleaning for the heart and soul. The flip side of this visual is a tool for you to use when you meet someone; systematically think of what they bring to the conversation via their toolbox. You may find that their toolbox is full or it fell off the bumper so to speak and you now have the opportunity to be empathetic to them. Use your tools wisely and only offer what they can handle. Sometimes the simplest tool is our ears…

Be true to yourself, place yourself on the opposite of every conversation and be present and conscious of the conversation. That is one of the largest problems in any relationship, the lack of listening to what others are saying to you. We are the biggest time wasters because we are constantly pushing conversations or interrupting with an assumed answer or filling in the blanks. This causes confusion and frustration along with the need to repeat the conversation. As adults we claim that time is accelerating but we are guilty of expediting time with our impatient I am in a hurry, I cannot reply to an email correctly I’ll just use Imogies and icons and we blame misspelling on auto correct. It is because we are rushing ourselves and each other that time accelerates; be in the moment and enjoy it.

Take time out for you, it will never come back and no one will provide it to you except you. Placing yourself in the proper priority will ensure you can provide support and have a fulfilling life. Sacrificing yourself for others will bring no rewards, only miss opportunities for yourself. You deserve your own time and space to reflect, recharge and grow.

Dying is a natural effect of living; one follows the other and there is no escaping it. Encourage living in the moment and filling your days with meaningful pastimes. Missing out or putting things off until latter may mean it will never occur. Regrettably so many people never see the golden years or die young. Experience has taught that you need to smell the roses, eat the ice cream and pursue that love in your life. Treat each kiss like it was the first kiss and the relationship sparks will always be there.

Just some random thoughts…use them, share them and encourage yourself to reflect upon them.

Duncan Rydall

Duncan Rydall
Duncan Rydall About the author: Duncan Rydall was born in Northern Ontario in 1967. Duncan is a survivor of sexual assault at the age of 9; Duncan found the courage to report the incident at the age of 27 and the perpetrator was convicted and imprisoned after dozens of others came forward. Duncan experienced a stove top fire in his family home and that sparked his drive to be in the fire service. He lost his firefighter wife to cancer in 2015 and felted compelled to write about his experiences so that he may help others. Currently, Duncan is a divisional chief in a municipal fire department; he has multiple diplomas from the Provincial Fire College, Community colleges, leadership development certificates, and has previously published several literary items.

Professionally trained to speak to others on relationship and loss he is not, but his life experiences in the fire service and otherwise brings unparalleled experience in life.
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One Size Does Not Fit All - by Paul Pellman LLB

One size does not fit all.

It's easy to think that all lawyers approach cases the same way and embark upon litigation when necessary. The reality is that some lawyers have an approach that is more skewed towards negotiations and mediated settlements versus the adversarial litigation process. Within that adversarial litigation process there are also lawyers that are more open to negotiate once litigation has begun.

Not all clients are the same… Not all lawyers are the same and clearly not all judges or mediators approach matters the same way.

Finding the right fit for you is critical in family law, contrary to, for example, using a real estate lawyer to buy or sell your home.

A skillful lawyer takes time at the beginning getting all of the relevant facts and truly understanding the nature of the scenario with your particular family. That lawyer also knows what questions to ask in terms of financial disclosure, both of yourself and those questions to pose to the other side.

The knowledgeable lawyer understands the need for certain evaluations and whether expert evidence is needed to determine an issue. For example, determining the annual income of someone who is self-employed is a difficult process and is not simply based on the income tax return. Self-employed people often write off expenses that are truly not related to the operation of the business and are therefore personal, which needs to be added back into their income and grossed up accordingly because no tax is paid on this amount.

The good lawyer needs to know not only about your finances, assets and liabilities and sources of income, but also about the needs of your children and how to find a solution that is in their best interest which may include protecting them from another spouse.

Any lawyer can write letters and simply listen to you and do as you wish them to do (the cheerleader), but that is not a real lawyer who is going to make a meaningful difference in your case.

There are also small things that are easy to notice when you meet a lawyer, namely:
  • Are they on time?
  • The appearance of their office and how they communicate with their staff.
  • How promptly they get back to you.
  • The manner in which they communicate, not only to you but to the other lawyer.
  • Finding the right fit is not easy and at times people need to shop around to find the right advocate for them.
  • Choose the lawyer who will provide you with a thorough and honest opinion and properly advise you on issues where you as the client may be overreaching.
Finally, it is oftentimes appropriate for you to bring a second set of eyes and ears, particularly to the first few interviews, and that includes either a relative or friend joining you to seek their opinion on the respective lawyer.

This is not a simple exercise and making sure that you have the right fit takes time and effort.

Paul S. Pellman

Paul S. Pelman
Paul has practiced family law for the past 36 years and is the head of our family law department. He has sat as a Dispute Resolution Officer in the Superior Court of Ontario and has served as a member of the Children’s Rights Panel through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. He is a certified specialist in family law.

Paul’s practice includes not only negotiations and preparation of marriage contracts and separation agreements but litigation, mediation and arbitration. He acts for a variety of individuals, both men and women, and has a special interest in grandparents’ rights.

Paul is extremely involved in his community through Ted Reeve Arena where he operates their house league in the tyke division. Paul has worked in the disabled community for many years.

Paul has always been of the opinion that an effective advocate needs to be a chameleon, being reasonable when the events suggest such, yet dogged and determined when the actions of parties require that level of conduct. He is extremely experienced as an advocate, having appeared in many courts and participated in many trials and appeals. He is a detail-oriented individual who takes client’s concerns seriously.

He is energetic, enthusiastic and always wishing to take on a new challenge.
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How To Do It Nicely in Separation & Divorce

How To Do It Nicely

When Couples Counselling doesn’t work it’s time for

“How to Do It Nicely” Counselling

(ending a marriage and keeping both you and your spouse’s dignity in tact)

Relationships do end and the concept of “breaking up nicely” can be attained and allows you, your spouse as well as your family to heal in a much more civilized and cost effective manner.


Couple Therapy

Couple therapy is very important when your relationship is starting to run into some road blocks, the number one breakdown is communication.  If you and your spouse are not communicating your feelings to each other and it is affecting your sex life and your friendship, don’t wait for days, months or years to pass.  Waiting for changes to occur may never happen and suddenly you are not talking.  You realize you have nothing in common anymore and you start living as room-mates. Is this what you want in a marriage? Making excuses that you are staying in a non-communicative relationship that has no more love, kissing and sex is a marriage that is over.  Can it be saved?  Absolutely. Now the mistake most couples make is they wait too long to get into a counsellor’s office and talk about the concerns of the marriage.  It is never too late if both of you want to make the changes.  Worrying is not proactive, calling a couples counsellor is. 

“How To Do It Nicely” Counselling

Respectful Uncoupling Counselling; The concept of respectful uncoupling has been helping couples end marriages in a safe and cost affective manner with a third party in the room. Angel offers individuals tools to heal separation and couples ways to separate that leaves everyone's dignity in tact.


Angel Freedman B.S.W. RSW

Individual, Couple, and Family Counsellor

Separation & Divorce Recovery Counselling

Parenting Educator

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When the Kissing Stops Check in on Your Marriage.




Kissing, and I don’t mean a peck on the mouth, I mean necking, French kissing, intimate long lasting kissing.  The kind of kissing that many couples did early on in the marriage.   



I want to encourage you to look at kissing as a very important part of a relationship.  It is closeness, it is the intimacy between two people that keeps the sexual desire alive for each other.



What happens when the kissing stops?  The answer is the marriage or relationship needs to be checked on.  Couples often tell me that the kissing stopped about the same time the relationship did.  People have often admitted that they haven’t kissed their partner intimately for years. 



“Stop kissing and your marriage is over.”  This very bold statement is to awaken your sexual self, your relationship and what you want and need out of the relationship you are in.  Are you still lovers and best friends?  Do you both need to broach the conversation about the relationship together or with a counsellor?  Kissing often ends and with it the sex will eventually be once a month or often over altogether. 



Kissing is one of the most important parts of a relationship.  Remember the first years of your relationship; you would neck for hours! How much fun was that?! Why would you ever give that up?  You don’t have to.  Have a conversation, start kissing one night, and enjoy the closeness you once had. Rekindle that romance with intimate kissing.


Relationships do end, and that is very normal.  One of the most common reasons that couples stay together and are no longer lovers and best friends is that they become room mates. Ask yourself: is this why you married your partner, and is this what you want from the relationship you are in today?


Check in on your marriage when the kissing stops.

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"In the Best Interest of the Children" In Marriage, Separartion & Divorce

What does it mean, “In the Best Interests of The Children”? If you are a separated or divorced family, you may have used this term in your agreement. I want to start from the beginning when you were married and how this term can relate to anyone who is in a relationship, be it married, common-law, or raising children together.

The Commitment to Children
When you decided as a couple to have children, you made a commitment to them to raise them the best way you possibly could. You made a promise to feed, clothe, parent, keep safe and love your children.

Relationships do end. As we see statistically, almost half of marriages end in divorce. When you divorce your spouse, the commitment you made to your children in the beginning does not change, except now you and their other parent are no longer married, and that is between two consenting adults. Children do not get divorced, parents do.

What happens to children when parents decide to stay in unloving marriages? Parents teach children that unloving marriages and relationships are normal and okay. This means, if you are no longer lovers and best friends with your partner, you are separated in your marriage and now your children are learning that dysfunctional relationships are normal. Children know when relationships are not going well. Children, as young as 5 years old, can tell you if their parents are having a good marriage. When children witness ignoring, silent treatment, no kissing, no hugging, parents not sleeping in the same bedroom, never spending time together, parenting separately, and speaking loudly to each other, children start to believe this is a “normal” relationship behaviour. Was this your intention when you got married and then had children?

Now, think about a child’s future. Now they are in their first relationship, and what they witnessed in your unhappy and unloving relationship, they deem normal. I am hoping that we want to show our children very loving, happy relationships that are respectful, mutual and kind.

Staying for the children could be detrimental to their perception of what a healthy relationship is. When in reality your relationship is very unhealthy, do them a favour; leave for your children, so they can live authentic, happy lives.

If you feel you are separating in your marriage, don’t wait, get help right away. If you are no longer best friends and lovers with your partner, start a conversation and check in with your partner to see if the marriage is worth working on, or if the marriage is over, and now the children are your top priority.

Parents who put their children first in a separation and divorce, have a better chance at an amicable separation and divorce at a reasonable cost.

Children who have parents that decide it is better for them to separate and keep the commitment they made to them from the beginning, will have a safe and loving atmosphere in both homes to grieve and heal the separation, because both parents are available to love them and parent them, and they themselves, as parents, take time to grieve and heal.

Happy parents have happy children.

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