Even in the worst of marriages, we try. We work on the relationship. We offer to go to counseling. We try to hear our partner’s viewpoint. We have compassion. We work and we work and we work on getting along, on finding common ground, on seeing the other side.
When we split up, our relationship is frozen in time. There’s no more work, no more understanding the other person. No more attempt, even, to see from their perspective.
And since many divorced couples are still intertwined through their children, that’s not such a good thing.
In marriage, we find ways to compromise when we are in situations we don’t like. I give, you give, and we meet somewhere in the middle.
A divorce freezes us in the stagnant place of how we used to be, even as we, as individuals, progress and develop and become better in every other area of our lives. In this relationship, we stay stuck.
That makes divorce more challenging than it already is!
Is there any alternative? Is it unreasonable to think there are things we can do to better that post-divorce relationship? It is a different relationship, after all.
Recently, a couple that had been divorced for seven years met for coffee to discuss some parenting time planning. It was the first time since their divorce that they finally had a tenable peace to allow it to happen.
It is never too late. We must be realistic: it takes time to cool off, but down the road, what can you do to help that relationship?
You’re not married anymore. You can’t change parenting styles even as you continue to co-parent. At a certain point, you have to let go of the need to control and realize that there will always be areas where you need to connect and it IS worthwhile to work on the relationship in whatever way you can muster.
I love this compelling blog by Jackie Pilossoph in the Huffington Post about melting away all the bitterness and hatred for her ex when their son was rushed to the ER with a head injury. “The incident brings you back to what is truly important in life, and it makes you realize that the pettiness and the hate and the anger are a waste,” she writes.