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Ok, so I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Because, honestly, that’s not helpful to you.
What you need is the truth, the cold, hard facts and then some encouragement…and maybe some chocolate or a glass of wine…
Divorce is stressful. Actually, divorce is REALLY stressful.
In fact, you know this to be true.
It’s stressful because it’s life changing and because it’s complex. It’s going to mean changes to a lot of different parts of your life.
Divorce changes your life
It may impact:
- Where you live
- Your finances
- Your support system
- Your friendships (together)
- Your sex life
- Your medical benefits
- Your vacations
- Possibly your job
- Most definitely your children
- And more
Here’s another fact: a lot of people get divorced in our world today.
And, some good news, there is life after divorce.
But, in the spirit of not sugar coating it, before, during, and for a while after (sometimes a long while after), it’s stressful and life can be hard. So, be patient with yourself, your children, and as difficult as it might be, your co-parent/ex/father/mother of your beloved children.
Trust me, I get it. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Your ex DOES NOT deserve your patience. I do get it.
But, can I tell you something?
Your children are also your ex’s children.
Shocker, I know. Thank you, Captain Obvious, I know. Still, I feel I have to share that reminder. Lovingly, of course, cuz it’s important.
Wait, there’s more
Yes, there’s more. Ready for it? It’s a good one.
The relationship you have with the father or mother of your child is not the same as the relationship your child has with that exact same person.
Whoa, wait what?
Let it sink in. Yep, your kids DO actually love their other parent. Even if you think they suck.
So, guess what that means?
It means…(sigh)…as difficult as it is, your child needs to be allowed to have that relationship with that other parent, (you know the one, that ex-spouse).
I’m glad you asked. Because this is also important.
Your child’s sense of self
It’s because their identity and (most often) their sense of safety is tied to BOTH their parents.
What’s that you say?
Well you see, children get their sense of who they are, their ability to self-regulate their emotions, and their emerging identity in the world from their parents.
So, being able to keep their relationship in tact with both parents is pretty important for healthy self-development. (And yes, I can read your mind, they can achieve healthy self-development if there are extunuating factors that don’t allow the other parent to be in their lives. Stay tuned on more details about that).
Now, of course, in extreme cases, such as if the other parent is unsafe or abusive, your first responsibility is to keep your child safe. You instinctively know that.
And that makes for an even more complex relationship issue.
Because deep down, your child is still going to love that other parent. That’s normal. Remember both parents are part of a child’s identity and sense of safety. Even abusive parents are still loved by that child.
Walk away with this…
So, if I can leave you with one thing today, it is this:
Letting your child love their other parent, and letting your child have a healthy relationship with the other parent, is one of the most loving things you can do for your child.
Even as hard as it is.
No doubt, divorce is stressful, very stressful.
So, be patient, try to be kind to yourself, and your children, and maybe even your ex-spouse. It will be good for your soul, and definitely for your children.
And remember, there is life after divorce.