I enjoyed this article in the Washington Post by Lisa Bonos. Is it possible to get divorced and not hate your ex? A divorce necessarily comes after a lot of emotion and turmoil in the relationship. Sorting through that emotion and processing to the other side of the hatred river takes emotional maturity and “adulting” (as the new millennial lingo goes). The bottom line is that you have to love your kids more than you hate your ex. The article suggests six principles to keep in mind:
- Divorce can still involve compassion. Remember that you are both still people with feelings and hurts. Focus on the person, not the ego or anger. The person you married is not the same as the person you are divorcing. People change.
- Do not expect emotional closure. There are questions in life that have no answers. The issues underlying the divorce may fall in that category. A divorce is a transition, not an arrival. Treat divorce like a business deal, not an emotional deal.
- Settle the kid stuff then work on finances. Resolve the kid issues as quickly as possible to avoid using the kids as leverage in the money decisions.
- Avoid going to court. Settling is a lot less costly in both money and emotion. Going to court costs money in attorneys fees, but there is also a time factor and an emotional cost. Use mediation or other alternatives to litigation to stay out of the courtroom.
- Don’t talk badly about the other parent around the children. The children are in the middle and didn’t ask to be put there. Both parents are still going to be the parents. Don’t even call the other parent the “ex” around them – that’s negative. She’s still their mother and he’s still their father – not the kids’ “ex-parent”.
- Don’t let others influence your opinion. Be wary of seeking the counsel of your family and friends. While they are well-meaning, their job as family and friends is to be your cheerleader. In making the hard decisions about your divorce, you don’t need a cheerleader who will advocate your cause at all cost. You need a level head and logic. You will still have to co-parent with your spouse long after the divorce, no matter what your family and friends think. In fact, your former spouse will still be your child’s family, and therefore, by extension, your family, long into the future. Your best friend, sister, or mother will hate your ex way more than you do, that’s their job, but it is not your’s.