The Stages of Separation

I have read quite a bit of information about separations yet I cannot seem to find what I am looking for. All of the information I read is about completely breaking free from one another and I have a huge problem with this.

We are a divorced family with three kids, we don’t want to completely break free from one another. We have children together. That means we are bound to one another for the rest of our lives. Knowing that, how do we make it work?

It is extremely important to find balance between having our own lives as well as still sharing one with our children. We have been working at this, and we still are. Remember, we divorced one another, not the children. We are parents together and we always will be.

We love our children and we want to be a part of all the special moments in their lives. We want to experience first days of school, birthdays, ceremonies, graduations, Christmas, recitals, teacher conferences, and grandchildren. Life is made up of these unique moments and they cannot be replicated. Why should only one parent get to share in these experiences? I realize, as the children grow older, these moments shared will be less and less but the family ties will always exist. We are going to be in one another’s lives forever.

By definition, we are not friends. We do not hang out or have drinks. We are not texting one another throughout the day. But we are also not a traditional family. We understand that each of us is part of a bigger picture. We also understand that it is critically important for each of us to be individually okay and happy. If my ex is happy, he is a better father, and the children are happier. The same goes for me.

So we stay in touch and communicate but it is mostly about the children and their needs or other issues affecting them or the two of us. If I sense stress coming from him, I will ask how I can best support him. Or I will sometimes offer to take the children so he can have a break. It is more about the whole, not the individual.

Of course we are only one year into our separation and we are still sorting out how this all works. But for now, we are clear that we need to be a team for our children to grow strong, healthy, and happy. And to tell you the truth… we like it this way. We have been able to focus on the good in one another and let go of the negative. We are now (mostly) dealing with the best sides of one another so what’s not to like? I mean, we do like one another. We were married for a reason! And when you focus on the good in life, you are met with more good.