When the divorce is final, you may be feeling a combination of exhaustion and relief. You’re probably ready to move on to the next chapter of your life. However, some couples choose to stay friends after a tough divorce. How do they do it?
You Can Stay Civil, Even Friendly, After a Tough Divorce
Many marriages end because of communication issues between the couple. While not all divorces go smoothly, some couples have the goal to remain cordial. This can be especially true when children are involved. Parents know they’ll encounter each other at sports games, performances and special moments throughout their children’s lives. Collaborative divorce helps couples effectively communicate to reach a mutually agreeable outcome while focusing on the family.
After a divorce, you’re beginning a new chapter in your life. It’s exciting and a bit scary, too. It can be nice to have someone to talk to who is going through the same thing. While you probably shouldn’t vent to your ex-spouse about the challenges of your divorce, you should be able to rely on them to tackle any issues you’re facing with your children.
Family First: Becoming Friends for Your Children
There are many reasons to stay friends after a tough divorce, and the main one is your kids. Your children are taking their cues from you and your ex-spouse. They are listening, learning and when they see they’re still important to both of you, they’ll relax.
One couple grudgingly decided to pursue a tentative friendship after their litigious divorce. On their first dinner together as a family after the divorce, the youngest child set the table, something he had never done. He folded napkins, made seating tags and his excitement was reflected in the pure joy on his face.
Both parents saw their stress and fighting had been tougher on the kids than they realized. After that dinner, they resolved to develop a new relationship; a friendship for the sake of the kids.
Tools to Help Your Friendship
Being friendly to someone who may have caused you pain and stress can be difficult. There are a few tools that can help you stay friends after a tough divorce.
1. Focus on your New Identity as a Single Person
You need to allow your identity as a couple to die a natural death. That means re-discovering who you are independently. You could re-energize yourself through exercise, a healthy diet and new activities. Later, you can pursue new relationships with old friends, including your ex-spouse. You and your ex have history and that can form the foundation for a solid friendship.
2. Give it Time
The first post-divorce stage is about building a new lifestyle for yourself. You are grieving the loss of your marriage. This may not be a good time to pursue a friendship with your ex. Some of your emotional baggage may be too heavy right now.
Your ex-spouse may still feel threatening to your emotional stability. Your need to protect yourself is greater than any desire to stay friends after a tough divorce. Try to be patient. Some friendships take longer than others, and this is one of them.
3. Forgive Your Ex and Yourself
When you can finally shake your guilt and resentment, you’re ready to move on. You have suffered and so has your ex. You’ve both assigned blame. You’ve survived denial, anger, bargaining and sadness.
You must take responsibility for your part in causing the divorce. Then forgive yourself and release the guilt. Forgive your ex and acknowledge they are struggling too. Acceptance is the way to stay friends after a tough divorce.
If you cringe at the thought of fighting and picking apart your marriage in a courtroom, consider collaborative divorce. You’ll stay out of the courtroom and maybe even stay friends after a tough divorce. Contact Best Legal Choices to learn more.
Are you interested in learning more about helping a friend cope with a divorce? Click here.