Tuesday 11 December 2018

Saying Goodbye, But Staying Friends

There is no artful tool, handy advice or intense knowledge that surrounds how you handle a divorce amicably. More often than not, divorce is going to hurt someone in the relationship, and unfortunately, children often become those who are hurt the most. Couples fall out of love; it happens often and when it does, joint commitments like the mortgage and children become all the more complicated. The only way for a couple to manage their children’s feelings and futures with their own separation, is to ensure that they maintain their friendship afterwards - not an easy feat!

Your separation and eventual divorce are going to be painful, but the key element is to put the children before your own emotions. You can always feel your feelings in private, but if you are doing that in their earshot, they’re going to hear the bad sides of their other parent, and thus, half of themselves. It’s one of the main things that most parents try to avoid: their children getting to adulthood with issues. Remaining friends when you are legally and emotionally parting ways isn’t something that everyone manages - nor wants - to do. But, when there are children involved it’s not always about you. You still have to parent as equals, family law experts involved or not. You still have to split maintenance and childcare hours. You still have to keep the family running as best you can - even when your family isn’t under the same roof anymore.

You have to begin by acknowledging as a couple that your marriage isn’t working. One of you may not feel the same, and this could be a window to fixing the things that have been going wrong. If you feel you don’t want to take that window and fix things, then you have to spell that out for your partner and realise that they will need more time than you to get through the cycle of emotions that come during a separation. Where possible, you will have to remain the neutral party, still being considerate of their feelings and letting them get the hurt and anger out of the way. It’s not until this moment that you’ll be able to start behaving as civil humans, and you don’t need it to be messy where the kids are involved.

Lastly, going into a new relationship with each other as co-parents who are respectful of your children and the family you created when you loved each other once is going to be better with counselling and continued therapy. You can then be able to smile about the days you had and remember them fondly, while choosing to acknowledge that your future is still linked by the children you have. Eventually, with time and consideration, you’ll be able to move forward into a life of friendship and comfort instead of one where one of you isn’t happy in the way that you should be. Staying friends is going to take a lot of effort; you just have to be willing to make that effort.

* Collaborative post *

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