I was a child of divorce, as were my kids. This is a tradition I hope doesn’t continue for their kids. If it does however, I sure hope it can be a good divorce. Yes, there really can be such a thing. It is a horrible feeling to be in the midst of separation and divorce, when ultimately kids really do want their parents to stay together. If that’s not possible, it is so important to try to keep them as protected as possible during this difficult time. They are the innocent bystanders in this and, as tempting as it is to bad mouth the other parent, try really hard to take the high road, as this will have long-lasting effects into their adult lives.
There are a couple of terms I am not a fan of during this process. One is the term “ex.” It has such a negative sound to it and, as much as you try, it can’t be said in a friendly way. I prefer to say “former spouse” or “previous partner” or “first husband.” The other term I am not fond of is ‘failed marriage.” Sure, we all feel like failures at this juncture, but I don’t think divorce means your marriage was a total failure. Even though my first marriage ended in divorce, we raised two wonderful kids together, created some great memories and now have good friendship. Even if you were in a bad marriage, it doesn’t necessarily mean it was a wasted relationship. Some of the toughest, most grueling moments in our lives are what teach us the best lessons. It is like watching Sian Welch and Wendy Ingraham finish Ironman in 1997. Google “The Crawl” and watch them literally crawl, cramp and stagger as they help pull each other across the finish line. You will laugh and cry at the same time. Even though it appears unbearably painful, I am sure they look back on the event with pride on how they handled it.
Going through divorce can be done respectfully. I hear people say they love their kids more than anything. If that’s true, then, hopefully, they put that love for their kids before the disdain and resentment they have for each other. I know some great lawyers in town who represent both parties together in a mediation rather than fighting back and forth. This way, you put it all out there together and come to a fair settlement. This time in your life is emotional, upsetting and, sometimes, it just plain sucks. It sounds so cliché to say time will heal, but it really will. If you are going through this right now, reassure those sweet kiddos that you both love them so much and will always work together to help them through this time. Regardless of the reason for the dissolution, try to call a friend to vent to, rather than direct the angst at the sensitive ears of kids.
In the end, even though it seems you are at odds, like the Iron Man competitors in that race, you will both actually help each other cross that finish line. Hopefully, you can high five each other and wish each other the best. Then, after you have dusted yourself off and taken some time to learn from the first race and how to train differently, contact me by email at email@example.com and we can find a teammate to join you at the starting blocks.