Friendly Exes

Gwyneth Paltrow coined the term “conscience uncoupling”, and famous couples liked J.Lo and Mark Anthony or Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon make being divorced look cool on Instagram. I am here to tell you that

Gwyneth Paltrow coined the term “conscience uncoupling”, and famous couples liked J.Lo and Mark Anthony or Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon make being divorced look cool on Instagram. I am here to tell you that real life couples are able to do just that and my ex-husband and I are living proof. It’s been 6 years since our divorce and I can honestly tell you that we still do birthdays for the kids together, we sit together and chat at baseball games and school events and this year my 13 year old son went golfing with his dad, stepdad, and my father on fathers day. Seeing us all laughing and chatting together, you would never guess that one man was my ex husband and one was my new husband. Don’t get me wrong.. We didn’t split up and suddenly become best friends. And I’m not going to tell you that it was all rainbows and butterflies at all times, there were moments when we really hated each other ( and I do NOT use that term loosely). We lived through many emotional roller coasters; angry emails or phone calls. But the one thing we did right was put our kids first 100% of the time. We were pretty proud of ourselves, when 9 months after we sold our home and went our separate ways, the teachers at the kids school still had no idea that we had split up. We went to parent teacher meetings and school events together, and the best part of all, is that the children’s demeanour didn’t alter at all during and after the process. People ask me how we did it and besides saying that we simply put the kids first, we followed some guidelines to ensure we stayed focus on what was important; the happiness and well being of the kids.Here are my top 5 tips to making your divorce work for the family.

  1. Remain a team on raising the kids, no matter what. They were our number one focus throughout every decision after the one we made to split up.
  2. Decide in advance what the custody schedule will be and stay flexible to support the other parent. When one of us had a late night work function, the other parent stepped in to help. The kids were small when we split so we stayed together in the same house for almost a year, with each of us taking turns to leave on the weekend. We continued to share the morning and night routine so that the kids never felt that we weren’t both 100% still there for them.
  3. Do not say anything negative about your ex around your kids. We both promised each other that we would never ever do that. We both thought the world of each other as parents, and wanted to make sure the kids knew how much we still worked as a team. That included positive words about the other parent while they weren’t around (no matter how hard it was).
  4. Share information about your kids when they are with you and not your ex. When we did fun activities, the kids really wanted their dad to know what they were doing. So we would take pictures and send them to their dad via text or email so he would see what they were up to. It was a great way to be a part of their lives when we weren’t together and we still do it now 6 years after our divorce.
  5. Do events together. If conversation is not an option then start with a movie or a quick dinner out. It’s important to the kids that they see you as friends. The kids really do care if their parents like each other. Especially when they were younger, they didn’t understand why we weren’t living together anymore. So we did our best to show them that we were friends and still liked each other.

The bottom line is that divorce is hard on everyone in the family. Even for those going through a “friendly” divorce, there are bound to be disagreements. The point is that the kids don’t need to know how hard it is. It’s not up to them to referee their parents. I’m not a professional, nor do I think that my tips can be applied to every couple experiencing a divorce. However, if my ordeal and positive outcome can help someone else, then laying it out here for you to read has been worth it. – Learn from yesterday, Live for today. Hope for tomorrow – Albert Einstein.

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