Today, although statistics show that the divorce rate among couples with children has dropped by 40 percent, many couples with children are saying goodbye to their marriage. This happens for many, many reasons; some complicated and others not so complicated. However, about half of all children in the US will see the termination of their parents’ marriage.
Divorce occurs for numerous reasons, and each couple has a unique story behind their decision to separate. Trying to stay friends is solely your decision and it takes time to figure it out. If you were the victim of domestic violence or abuse, or an affair, your story is considerably different and it may be impossible to remain friends. That is totally understood. However, if you have children involved, it is important to consider their emotional health when deciding to live separate lives.
Get over the rough patches
As with any separation or divorce, it will take time to get over feelings of hurt or resentment. It is essential to let time do its job; this cannot be rushed. Many divorces or separations have periods of disagreement between the two adults who once loved each other. Being “friends” may not be an option right now; however, if you can somehow remain civil with each other and avoid arguing with the children, this will help the children work through this with you.
Leaving feelings aside
After some time and some sort of resolution, it will be time to try to let go of your negative feelings and move on. Agree, this is not easy because many hurtful acts or words may have been reciprocated between the two of you. However, if you have children, try to think about their needs and the fact that they won’t want to listen to the constant arguing between the two of you. This type of negative communication will create stress and anxiety for both you and the children, which is certainly not healthy.
After even more time has passed, try to consider forgiveness. Constantly thinking about what happened to cause the marriage to break up will do nothing, and finding peace with it all will help your emotional and physical well-being. This certainly does not mean that you should “forget it”, because whatever happened in the marriage will always be in your memories. However, learning to cope and forgive will help you and your children. Staying emotionally and physically well will take a toll on children, and this is a good thing!
Please remember that children come first. If your marriage ends in a very negative way, constantly talking destructively about your ex will only cause more hurt feelings in the children. Think about it. Your spouse is the parent of your children and loves them unconditionally. Hearing hurtful words or seeing hurtful actions can cause great resentment in children. Embrace their feelings and protect them, even if you are angry with your ex.
So can you be friends with an ex? If you can. Not in the way that means you have to go out to dinner and hang out regularly, but on a conversational but distant level. Many couples, after a period of healing from any ill will, are friends. There are couples who have vowed to remain friends for the sake of the children. It’s never easy for kids to see the two people they love break up the most, but if it has to happen, it definitely makes it easier if they try to get along!