By: Cermonia Thomas
I’m bursting at the seams with laughter and literally doubled over with tears streaming down my face. This guy is super funny and always finds a way to lift my spirits when we speak. This relationship has been in the making for well over 20 years and has weathered storms that were meant to break the strongest bond.
No, this is not a relationship interest but he has proven to be one of my closest confidants, biggest supporters and critics (when needed). Who knew my ex-husband would be one of my best friends?
The country’s divorce rate for first marriages range between 40 and 50 percent with subsequent marriages splitting at an even higher rate. It is easy to understand why we are often met with questions about the how of our relationship because after all, we are divorced and people who are divorced should not be able to get along.
The narrative and history of divorce commonly scoffs the divorcees with screaming matches, negative accusations, and uncomfortable exchanges. Thankfully we were able to change that narrative. Here are a few quick tips at making what can be a hurtful situation into a co-parenting win.
This was the most difficult part of navigating a successful co-parenting relationship with their dad. I was an upset sister once everything had fallen apart. I can recall feelings of betrayal that ran so deep it made it difficult for me to speak with him. Guess what, I had to get over it and you will need to get over it as well. Once I realized my bitterness was jeopardizing the relationship my children were supposed to have with their father I made the necessary changes. This included seeking counseling to help understand the why behind the split as well as acceptance that the relationship had ended.
Love, love and more love
“Successful co-parenting is a showing of the love you have for your children.” C.G.Thomas
Our three sons… sounds like the T.V. show right? The love we have for our sons was enough to put feelings of negativity aside. Our children were entitled to a home life that was free from shouting matches, silent treatments, and all out disrespect and we loved them enough to decide to get along. Was it uneasy at first? Of course, but it was worth it; seeing our children no longer cringe anytime their dad and I had to interact with each other was priceless. The love you foster for your children has to be the driver for a better co-parenting platform.
Figure out what is best for the whole
Forgiveness and love for our sons served as the cornerstone for the beginning of a successful co-parenting relationship and although needed, those components were not enough to quell the occasional disagreement. I wanted what I wanted and so did he.
A house divided will never stand, and even though you are divorced you are still a unified front as it relates to the wellbeing of your children. It is no longer about you. What do the children and co-parenting partners need to thrive and survive? Sit down and make a parenting plan together, yes it should include the kids as well. This will help them understand that mom and dad are a unified front and give the family the support needed to do what is best for all.
Decide to get along in spite of
Look, I am aware that the relationship Willie and I have differs from the norm but we realized that we had to choose to get along. You have the power to make the same choice but it will require both parties to have a made up mind no matter what. I was not always approving of his choices and vice versa, but we learned to talk through issues instead of reverting back to the same behavior that caused the demise of the marriage. Trust me your children will thank you.
The new partner didn’t do it (hopefully)
It can be very difficult accepting the fact that your ex has a new partner. Surely you didn’t think they were going to stay single, that should not be the expectation. When it happens (and yes it will happen) remember it is not a comparison and the best interest of your little darlings should be a priority. I know partners are not created equal so this bit of advice is meant for the ones that are a good fit.
Children need to see everyone getting along and they need to know that their parents are approving of the new relationship. Thankfully Willie’s person was a GEM! Carma was just what I needed to help me get through after we lost our youngest son and I will forever be grateful for her. The funny thing is I speak with her more than I speak with him and I trust her to give my sons sound guidance. Mom/Dad, please let your children know the new partner is not the enemy and they deserve respect from all involved. Give them permission to develop a bond with the person who may be assisting with their upbringing.
Divorce is hard, it was designed to be because it is the separation of a family, lost dreams, resulting in open wounds that can be difficult to heal. My divorce was different, not because we miraculously avoided the hard parts but what differed is how we navigated through the hard parts. Willie and I’s decisions made our children stronger and as a bonus, they get to enjoy us together but apart. Who knew my ex-husband would become my best friend, I didn’t but I am thankful for it.