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Divorce Support This forum is for discussing the emotional aspects of divorce: stress, anger, betrayal of trust and more.

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Old 10-01-2010, 09:24 AM
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Smile I thought the relationship would improve with time...

I've been divorced roughly 6 1/2 years. We are the parents of two children, aged 14 and 9 years. Ex decided he'd had enough of the family life when I was expecting our second child and the "official" separation date happened just after Christmas when the youngest was just a few months old.
I was troubled by the marital breakdown (ever notice how similar marital and martial are?! ) but being ever optimistic, hoped we could manage an amicable parting of the ways.
Here it is, nearly nine years later and being amicable and putting the children's best interests first just isn't going to happen. And there's at least another nine years to navigate.
There are days when I think I just can't "take it" anymore. Being a single parent just wasn't in my life plans (I'm pretty certain many people don't plan on it either, so I'm not alone!). I'm also trying to find employment, which is a lot more difficult than I ever anticipated.
But I will survive (if the occasional panic/anxiety attacks don't -- I can't breath when they happen and yes, I've seen a dr.), and the kids will survive. It's just they aren't having the formative life I had envisioned for them. They seem to be doing okay anyway. It's better this way than if we had remained a feuding family under the same roof.
But there are times when I hope the ex and I could at least be civil to each other for the sake of the children. I can dream!
Has the antagonistic attitude between exes ever improved for some former spouses? I'd like to read some positive stories!
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:27 PM
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Just went to my nephew's wedding. His mum (my sister), step-dad, (bio)dad, step-mum, and variety of step-relations were all there, and all enjoyed each other's company (and carefully coordinated their toasts/speeches).

Certainly they were angry/hostile/stressed initially, but they worked it out. I think they learned to bypass the conflicts pretty early, so there was no prolonged antagonism, as in your case. Not sure if that helps, but thought I'd share a good example anyways.
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:30 AM
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You never know. I think it depends on the nature of why the divorcing parents are a bad match.

If one of the parents did something that was very bad and that led to the breakdown of the marriage, it may be difficult to forgive someone who is remorselessly bad. Not all things should or can be forgiven.

For example, if one spouse was abusive, does it make sense to put on a happy face and treat the abuser as a normal civilized human being? I think not.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:01 AM
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That theory is so wrong. If you have children, it not only makes sense, it's the right and responsible thing to do.

Teach your children a valuable lesson about treating others with respect, taking the high road and not engaging in 'eye for an eye' vindictive behaviour. That's not helathy for either spouse or the children to see.

Epona - my ex and I have a very good relationship. We hang out a lot both just us and as a family with children. We regularly host the extended family on both sides for family functions and holidays together. That's not to say we don't have our issues and disagreements, some that are very difficult to get through but at the end of the day we both know it's better for the children to see us being friends then enemies. They feel less torn that way.

We aren't the only ones we know that are friends with their exes that share children. We hang out with a bunch of friends who are exes and often joke that we should start a club. One of my friends has two ex husbands that she shares children with and often times they both come out with everyone, including she and her current common law husband. We dont' discuss it a lot as a group but we've all said we feel like better friends with our exes now that they're our exes.

It can and does happen, it just requires a lot of letting go of the past.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkandimgone View Post
It can and does happen, it just requires a lot of letting go of the past.
That's the challenging part! I am nowhere near that yet, and honestly, at this point I still don't want to be. I just can't stop thinking that by treating my ex with respect and pretending he's a friend around our sons, I'm condoning his behaviour towards me, and encouraging them to use him as a role model. And I certainly would not want them growing up thinking it's acceptable to treat a spouse the way I was treated!

Bad enough I'm regularly having to leave my children with someone I do not trust. I don't know how to get over that awful feeling either!

Every day I feel like I'm lying to my children. And it still seems like it's only going to get worse, not better, when they reach an age to ask more probing questions about why we're not together anymore. Is it possible to balance demonstrating respect that isn't felt with being honest with growing children?

Sorry this isn't anything remotely like what you were hoping to hear, Epona. Sure, I can pretend to be civil, and the children are benefiting now, but will short term harmony do more harm than good in the long run?
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:51 AM
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I agree, it's hard to forget the issues between you especially when one party was treated so badly. I don't think it's giving the kids the wrong impression though, for you to treat your ex with respect in front of them. If he's now behaving in a manner that's acceptable, it's good for the children to see you being respectful and courteous and doesn't condone his past behaviours. Consider it acknowledging his current behaviour.

If he's behaving in an unacceptable manner then be a good example to the children of how to handle the situation by ending the conflict and removing yourself from the situaton.

IMO, a lot of couples forget that they're teaching their children how to behave in a relationship and how to handle the conflicts when they arise. So many people fight and bicker in front of their children and although it may get sorted out later, the kids don't typically see the resolution or making up part. We model the fighting and wrong behaviours around our children, not purposely, but don't model the healing side to balance things out.

By showing our children it's ok and how to move on and end the conflict, you aren't condoning the past behaviour, you're being a good role model yourself on how to deal with someone you're forced to deal with in a potantially high conflict situation. We all have or will have people like that in our lives, whether it's a kid or teacher at school, a spouse or ex spouse, coworker or boss. Your behaviour influences the other person's behaviour and what your hcildren take from the situation.

If that doesn't help, then perhaps the old adage: forgive your enemies - 'it messes with their heads!'
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