Divorce can be ugly, but rebuilding can be beautiful even if it’s with the person you were once at war with. Accept personal responsibility and move forward together with a grateful heart.
I’ve thought often of how we have transformed since our divorce—somehow a more equal and calm partnership than we were while married. The ending of our 10-year marriage felt inevitable, and it was incredibly painful for us both. I am not proud of the way we behaved as it all unraveled and we tried to rebuild our lives separately. There were hurt feelings, jealousy, betrayal, and a lot of disappointment.
But that was years ago, and today, I am grateful.
I am grateful that we lift each other up in the kids’ eyes. We text and talk about the kids, big decisions, and generally back each other up on decisions in ways we never did in the early days. You remind them to listen to me, and I tell them to be good for you. They know we communicate and can talk with or about us and our lives with each other. They feel the respect between us, even if we don’t agree on everything.
We have come a long way in managing our differing opinions and venting about them privately.
I am grateful that we respect each other’s personal lives and new partners and show up as one huge support system for our kids at their events without conflict. I genuinely feel happy for your happiness and feel the weightlessness of that for our kids as it sets them free to love us both and our new spouses. I know it took a lot for you to say congrats to me when I told you I was getting re-married—thank you for that gift.
You reference my husband and remind the kids to wish him a happy Father’s Day; I remind them to wish your partner a happy Mother’s Day—these are not easy moments. Though it can be awkward, I am always happy during Halloween that we (you, my husband, me, all of our kids) are able to spend the holiday together. Or during kids’ performances when we sit in a row as one big family. We all know this takes effort, restraint, and letting go of past emotions.
But here we are, showing our kids that all things are possible.
I am grateful we have moved beyond the past hurts and transgressions of our marriage. I know we will each continue to feel the personal betrayals we think the other committed, but I am thankful we have dealt with them enough to respect each other as co-parents, and that we don’t act out of hurt or spite toward one another (anymore).
I am grateful we have reached a place where we can count on each other to modify our schedules for the kids’ benefit instead of for our own. Shifting from a my time versus your time perspective, to focus instead on the kids’ time, wants, and needs has taken pressure off of our co-parenting relationship.
I will always be grateful for our time together. For what it taught me. And most of all, for the children it gifted us with.
I did not think we would ever get here, and man, I am proud of us. I hope we can continue to be an example for our kids as they grow older—on forgiveness, working together, and the enduring love of family.
Originally published on the author’s blog