Divorce isn’t merely an end. It’s also a beginning. It’s an opportunity to move beyond the dark place you’ve lived since your separation and into the joyful light of a new life for yourself! Now you can build a strong, supportive environment for yourself and your children – a life that encourages and uplifts all of you. You can do it on your own terms, as a free agent.
You’re on your own and the possibilities are endless. Moving? Possibly. Changing jobs? Why not? Creating an amazing opportunity for your children to travel with you? It’s like a dream come true!
But wait. Your ex says, No!, slamming the door on your plans. There’s the cold splash of reality – your ex may be gone from your marriage…but is far from out of your life. Joint custody and shared custody mean you are still making decisions together. Like it or not.
It’s not easy to work with an uncooperative ex. If your ex is uncaring of your needs, disrespectful to you (especially in front of your children), disregards the rules and values that provide standards and boundaries to your children, or continually tries to manipulate your children into doing things his/her way instead of your way…well, let’s face it, you have a recipe for co-parenting chaos.
Raising an emotionally healthy and happy child is one of our most significant and challenging missions. Even under the most perfect of circumstances with both bio-parents fully present in a loving relationship, there are difficulties that can be ‘testing’. Throw in a divorce and an uncooperative ex-spouse, and you’ve got turmoil. Minor hiccups transform into immovable obstacles.
Remember, the two of you divorced for a reason. It isn’t really realistic to expect an idyllic co-parenting relationship if you couldn’t manage it when you were married. Co-parenting isn’t easy. But, it is possible.
There are techniques you can use to change the dynamic between you and your ex. Once the habitual dynamic is altered, you’ll be able to transform disrespect and bickering into tolerance and negotiation. These seven steps will make it possible for you to build a co-parenting relationship that allows both you and your children to grow in the after-math of your divorce:
- Acknowledge What Is: Accepting the reality of your situation is the key to moving forward.
- Let it go: Do yourself the biggest favour you can ever imagine. Forgive your ex. Yes, that’s right. Forgive the %*&$.
- Step into Your Power: Believe in yourself and the value you bring to the world.
- Build a new relationship with your “ex”: It’s time to lay down your sword, and declare a truce.
- Set Your Standards: You are not responsible for your ex’s problems – nor is s/he responsible for yours.
- Help Your Child(ren) Step into Their Power: How can you help your children make it through these challenging circumstances with their self-esteem and positive attitude intact?
- Build Rituals: When you develop family rituals, you give your children (and yourself) a sense of continuity.
There’s no doubt about it. It’s not easy to co-parent with someone you’ve divorced. Old baggage is guaranteed to rear its ugly head periodically and when that happens, you just have to deal with it. Building a constructive co-parenting relationship is worth the time and effort. Remember, while you see your ex as “uncooperative”, the other side of the coin may look very similar with you in the “uncooperative” role. That’s ‘what is’. Each of us has a different perspective of the ‘truth’. You can build a positive and cooperative co-parenting relationship if that’s what you want. It takes work, energy and patience. But it can be done. You can’t change ‘what is’ now, but you can work towards building the best possible future for yourself and your children. Divorce isn’t merely an end. It’s also a beginning. Make it a good beginning.
Margot Thompson is a growth coach specializing in divorce recovery, a mother and a passionate promoter of possibilities. She works with individuals who are divorcing or newly divorced, have accepted what is and are ready to see this transition as an opportunity to begin building a vibrant and extraordinary life. Want to talk to Margot about the possibilities within your life? Call 519-826-9684 or email her at [email protected] in order to arrange a special free of charge conditional consult. Go to http://www.divorceyourdivorce.com to access strategies for managing your journey productively. Your ideal life is waiting.