Co-Parenting with Your Ex-Spouse
It’s easy to understand that you are not the biggest fan of your ex-spouse. This is probably at least a little bit related to the reasons you two divorced in the first place, but now you’re in a new position: you have to get along for your children despite the tumultuous changes you two are still experiencing.
Perhaps your ex-spouse has moved on and this is less than welcome news, or perhaps the very existence of your ex-spouse irritates you. Either way, this dilemma has to be solved – if not for the good of your children – for your own sanity. Here are some thoughts to consider when trying to alleviate this burden.
You would do anything for your children: Your children hate seeing you fight. Imagine all of the things you would gladly endure for the sake of your children. You would jump in front of a bus. You would sacrifice one of your vital organs. You would sit through the worst school play in the history of the world! Getting along with your ex-spouse cannot be the one thing you wouldn't do for your child.
You do not want to live a life of anger and resentment: Until you let go, you will force yourself to carry around this unnecessary baggage of hate. This will hinder your ability to enjoy life, perhaps to even enjoy time spend with your children, and even your children’s ability to enjoy their lives. This tension is felt by everyone involved, growing larger by the hour, and it is not doing anyone any favors. It is in the best interest of you and your children to begin to let go.
Your ex-spouse is still a huge influence in your child’s life: Regardless of your feelings toward your ex-spouse (unless of course he or she presents real danger to your child), he or she is half of your child. Your child still needs your ex-spouse around, and because your child still identifies with your ex-spouse, badmouthing your ex to your child will only cause your child to internalize those negative sentiments.
Your ex-spouse needs to lead a new life: The divorce is finalized, and though it is not fun to be aware of, he or she is going to move on. Consider the idea of treating your ex-spouse like the bagger at a grocery store: You are kind to him and perhaps small-talk about the weather, but you don’t pry into his love life. Consider keeping your dealings with your ex-spouse similar to that of a casual acquaintance.
It might get better over time: The adage that time heals all wounds is one you may be tired of hearing, but it is quite true. Overtime, aspects of both your lives will drastically change, moments will be forgotten, and you may both just enjoy watching your child grow up. There is no use in purposefully holding on to the hate as only good things will come from getting rid of it.
Everyone knows that this is a very stressful time in your life, but the key to alleviating some of that stress is internalizing that it is hurting your child and you as well. Forget about the stupid motorcycle purchase he just made or the way she just died her hair and focus on the most important thing in your life, the only thing you and your ex-spouse need to have in common: the well-being of your child.