How I Deal With Divorce – My Personal Perspective

Nearly 50% of all first marriages ends in divorce.  As staggering as that number may be, it’s a painful reality for many, including myself.

I’ve felt compelled recently to share some insight into my own family situation, in the hopes that it may help someone else going through something similar.  I’ve always been taught that our trials and tribulations are learning experiences meant to be shared with others.  Our stumbles and pitfalls can help others avoid the same problems, or perhaps, simply help to cope.  We create a bond, a sense of community, over shared experiences.

As I share with you, please keep in mind that each and every situation is different.  My perspective, and our arrangement, will probably vary greatly from anyone else’s.  So please be nice.  🙂

A little background:

My daughter is now almost 11 years old.  When she was 3 years old, her father and I divorced after only four years of marriage.  Initially, we were civil to one another.  We have always maintained a 50/50 arrangement regarding parenting time, even though the days have shifted through the years.  Six years ago, when I met the man who is now my husband, the relationship between myself and my ex-husband began to deteriorate rapidly.

Over the past six years, we have done everything wrong.  We’ve blamed and accused, pointed fingers, yelled, cursed, hated, angered quickly…  Both of us are guilty of being selfish and petty, making false assumptions about the other parent, on and on and on.  It only worsened over time – until very recently.

In April of this year, we spent four days in court.  When it was all said and done, not much changed except for our daughter’s schedule.  Even the negativity continued.  Something had to give.

The judge ordered us to go to Parent Coordination, which is similar to marriage counseling, but for divorced parents.  Essentially, you pay a counselor to listen to the two of you battle it out in a confined space for about an hour and half every few weeks, in the hopes of finding common ground and improving communication.  Sounds fun, right?!

Well, it’s working.  I never, ever, in a million years expected us to be where we are today, in just two short months.  We can talk like normal human beings – on the phone, in person, wherever – and not yell and scream.  We can compromise for the greater good of our daughter.  Don’t believe me?  We actually had a 30-minute conversation on the phone Monday morning discussing the drama that has become our “tween” daughter, and reached an agreement for disciplining her accordingly.  Awesome-sauce!

Allow me to share a few things that I have gained from this Parent Coordination.  These are things I should have taken into account years ago to avoid the issues that have plagued our family for so long.  Hopefully, someone out there reading this will learn from my (and my ex-husband’s) mistakes.

  • Always be the bigger person.  Regardless of who is right or wrong in an argument, you should always be the bigger person.  Stop the argument before it gets out of hand.  Admit when you make a mistake.  (And this is the really tough one…ready?)  Apologize.  UGH!  I know!  It’s so hard, right?  Those two tiny words pack such a punch to the gut, but say them when you need to. “I’m sorry.”
  • Don’t assume anything.  You know the saying: “When you assume it makes an ass out of u & me.”  You may assume your ex-spouse is rolling in the dough and tries to buy your child’s affections because your child constantly talks about all the new things they have at their other home.  You may assume they are trying to steal your parenting time away because plans are made without your input.  You may assume the child lives in squalor because they show up at your house with unwashed hair.  Whatever.  Don’t assume anything.  If a situation arises (and it will) in which you feel that there is genuine concern for your child, suck it up and call your ex and talk to them.  Discuss the situation like an adult.  Which leads me to my next point:
  • Only concern yourself with things you can control.  Keep in mind that you are the only person you can control.  I know you may think your ex-spouse is the epitome of evil and the only reason they continue to live and breathe is to piss you off.  But it’s simply not true.  Promise.  However, they may tend to be a bit difficult to talk to about anything you bring to the table.  When a situation arises in which you need to contact your ex, try this first.
    • Pause for a moment and consider the lasting effects of your impending conversation.  Is it worth it?  Is this thing, this itchy little nuisance you are going to confront your ex about, really something worth potentially arguing about?  Do what I do – the 1-5-LIFE thought process.  How will this thing, whatever it is, affect my child in 1 year?  5 years?  In her lifetime?  If you truly feel it’s worth reaching out, then move on to the second tip.  If not, LET IT GO.
    • Sit quietly and imagine how the conversation should go.  Envision a positive outcome, a calm conversation, and a compromise.  This isn’t something I learned from Parent Coordination.  I recently participated in a 30-day challenge on thoughts done by Crystal Wilkerson, and it was mind-blowing.  Seriously.  Go to her blog and read through the challenge.  It rocked my socks.
    • Give yourself a script.  Seriously, it works.  If you have a hard time talking to your ex, like I have for several years, talk it out first.  You need to prepare yourself so you can avoid any confrontation.
These are only a few of the lessons I’ve learned lately, and I’ll be happy to share more.  Despite our best attempts to screw up, our daughter is a happy, healthy, and stable child who is excelling in school and in her social circles.  She’s a tough kid, probably a little tougher than some because of living most of her life dealing with stupid parents who refused to get along for six years.  She’s got an amazingly strong faith – completely grounded and very sure of her belief in Christ.

 

One last tip, then I’ll stop rambling.  Remember, above all else, that this precious child is half of you and half of your ex.  And they are the most important thing in your relationship with your ex.  Good, bad, or ugly, you have no choice but to co-parent, for the betterment of your child. So don’t put your ex down (at least not within earshot of your kiddos!  Save that for Girl’s Night Out when you can really vent!).  When you say ugly things about your ex, you are ultimately insulting your child, and that’s definitely not cool.  Keep your first focus on your child, and all the rest will fall in line accordingly.
*Footnote:  I’m still learning, too.  I’d love for you to share some insight into your own dealings with divorce. What have you learned that others can benefit from?  Or, do you have a question you would like me to answer?  Ask it here or email me privately through my Contact Page!
**One more:  Be nice!  These are my personal thoughts and I’m putting it out there for all to see, so please don’t insult me or others in any way.  Thank you!

4 Responses

  1. Very well said. As a child of divorce, I especially like this. Luckily for me, my parents were civil to each other. I am very happy to hear about the counseling that is offered especially for situations like yours. I am also extremely happy to know your daughter is doing well. Keep up the good work.

  2. I’m a firm believer that entering the sacrament of marriage shouldn’t be taken for granted and it should be well-thought off. It’s not a joke to enter marriage, especially to get out of marriage. So, why go through it if you’re not really sure what you’re getting yourself into. Sometimes, I think people get married so fast because they know that if things went sour, they can always get a divorce which is pretty shameful of them. By the way, I just hope the best for the both of you. With a strong mom like you, your daughter will grow up beautifully and with strong beliefs. http://wblawgroup.com/WebbBordson/Employment-Attorney-San-Diego.html

  3. Ok, obviously I was meant to find this post! I have been divorced for 5 years, I am now remarried. I have 2 children, one from a previous relationship before my ex and one with my ex. My ex adopted my son when he was 3. Thank you so much for posting this, my ex and I have trouble communicating, just as we did when we were married. He only communicates with me through email, which usually turns into rants, he feels empowered behind a keyboard. Recently, I’ve started to pray for God to help change the way in which I view my ex. I am exhausted with the finger pointing and such. Last week, I apologized to him, through email of course, for any time that I may have offended him. Nevertheless, I am sticking with God directing me on how to proceed with this relationship. Again, thanks for posting.

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MEET KIRSTEN

I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea & Saving Grace supports women seeking to find balance in the busy, deepen their faith, and instill joy and love in their homes, lives, and blogs by providing encouraging and inspiring content and valuable resources. My prayer is for you to leave here better than when you came. Be blessed!

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