Pet Peeve – Divorced parents who can’t get along!

As I contemplate the thought of another divorce (sadly, I do say that with a tinge of embarrassment, like I am somehow a bad person…but that’s another post), I worry about how my husband will treat me and my children if we are no longer together.

I worry because my first husband (my decision to divorce), simply no how, no way would even entertain the idea of being my friend. I asked him why once and his response was, “Divorced people can’t be friends; it’s not normal”. Seriously? That’s the reason?  I just simply do not understand this.  Of course, I understand people get hurt, betrayed, etc., but we are adults.  WE ARE ADULTS!   Put away all the anger and hurt, at least in front of them.  As parents, it is a wonderful opportunity to show our children how to properly treat others. They are already hurting and scared so why make it worse?  After divorce, there is only one common ground and that is the kids, so I recommend making that the “free space” to make a united front.

I do have to give my ex some credit.  We, for the most part, have been able to communicate well when it comes to the kids.  I am very much grateful for that fact.  However, when he was reeling from the divorce, he let the kids see it.  He let them see his pain all too often.  They became afraid to talk to him.  They became afraid to ask him for anything they needed because they felt bad for him and did not want to “bother” him.  Years later, they have maintained this type of relationship.

I am sure anyone going through divorce has heard the saying, “Kid’s are resilient.  They’ll be fine.”  That really always bothered me.  It seems to give someone permission to act poorly.  I read somewhere once that the affects upon children from divorce become most apparent during their adult life, meaning their relationships.  I interpret that to mean it is extremely important to show our children what a loving relationship looks like.  Many people stay together for the kids, which is great, however, I feel it is only great if you are demonstrating a healthy relationship.  How we treat our spouses WILL BE how they treat their spouse someday.  I ask myself all the time in my relationship, “Is this what I want my child to imitate?”

So that brings me back to my current situation.  My husband runs when he is hurt, like an out of sight, out of mind sort of thing.  If I choose to divorce, I am afraid he will not keep his connection to my children.  He is very close to my oldest but I am not sure that is enough to keep him around.  Is it selfish of me to expect him to maintain that bond?  Is it selfish of him not to?  I know I will be hurting my children by divorcing.  I know they also see my suffering.  My first husband denied me of my one true goal and that was to be friends.  I just don’t want to be denied that again.  I want to divorce a grown-up.  I also want to show my kids what a great relationship looks like.  I fear I am too late.

3 thoughts on “Pet Peeve – Divorced parents who can’t get along!

  1. It would be a very difficult decision to choose to divorce and I feel for you. It would take much courage.
    As for being friends with my husband, I see from the eyes of a divorcee (one whose husband made the decision with no consultation with me). I was blindsided and thrown into a dark world with feelings of rejection and worthlessness. From my perspective, it was very difficult to act like a ‘united front’ when there was none (that is, no unity in the decision for divorce). To simply fold and go along with his requests for friendship would have taken away yet another choice from me, and therefore my last shred of dignity. After the sanctuary of marriage, it would have felt like accepting the crumbs he deigned to throw under the table for me to scrounge for. Making the choice to not be his friend was the first step for me of gaining my lost self and dignity back.
    I can see your view-point, I really can, and I want so much to be that person; that is, friends with my ex-husband. Yet, it hurts SO much to even be in his presence that for my own self-preservation I cannot. Now, two years later, I sometimes think that this could have been avoided if only he had involved me in the decision-making process.

    1. Thank you for your reply. I truly appreciate your honesty. I knew, even as I wrote my post, that there are so many people with your very same experience and that my words would seem an impossibility. I respect that, as it is everyone’s free choice to determine their experience.

      From the bottom of my heart, I believe we create our experiences. I know that is also a difficult pill to swallow; however, if an event is really looked at from that perspective, sometimes it can finally begin to make sense. Would we choose a bad experience on purpose? No, I don’t think so, but sometimes we ignore all the signs that life sends us and eventually, it will smack you in the face if ignored too long.

      I also understand that sometimes one person may want to be friends and one does not. We can only be responsible for our own actions. We must accept that the other party may not be on board, but at least we feel good about our own actions and we can be an example for others. I don’t feel that anyone truly intends to hurt us; unfortunately, it is the fall-out when one is no longer on the same path. If someone does seem to hurt another on purpose, I feel it is really because that person is so unhappy with themselves, that they take it out on another. In the end, I feel it really has nothing to do with you and it shouldn’t be taken personally….as hard as that may seem.

      I too, had a relationship that ended after 7 years. I really thought life ended and I spent so much time obsessing and being depressed. Out of all the things that have happened in my life, that is the one thing I wish I could take back….I can’t get that year back that I made myself suffer. That was the choice I made and I can’t change it, but I can learn from it. I have learned that I respect and love myself so much that another person can not define me. Without sounding corny, I truly feel that something good comes out of everything bad. Discover what that is because it is there waiting for you. I have had that proven to me too many times to not believe it.

      I send you love and happiness. You are so awesome to share your feelings with me. Thank you!

      1. Thank you for your compassionate reply.
        Every situation is different and some are easier than others to overcome. I DO understand that it was because he was unhappy, that he acted in the way he did, and that it was nothing to do with me. It still does not mean I can be his friend.
        Thanks for seeing the other side.

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