Not matter the circumstances, divorce is not easy.
I recently stumbled upon two posts that really impacted me. One is a Facebook post from Deborah Dushku Brailsford. The other is a post from Meridian Magazine (authored by Lisa McDougle).
Also, here is a great article from LDS Living “Survey Reveals What It’s Really Like to Be Divorced in the LDS Church.” You can read it HERE!
If you have a few moments, read this content and comment below with your thoughts. We would love to hear from you!
We would have been married 22 years this month.
If you are going through a divorce, take my advice and keep it as peaceful as you possibly can.
It isn’t all about you and your pain. It’s also about your children and their pain. They will never forget this time–believe me, I know. They will carry it with them for the rest of their lives…remembering how you both behaved…how they were in the middle…how all their stability was ripped out from underneath them…how scared they were…how much they wanted to love you both, but felt bad if they didn’t choose sides…how painful it was to see the both of you “recreating your identity” and making mistakes…how betrayed they felt when you started dating…how, because of the wars between you, they didn’t even know if there was a God anymore. It’s not worth it! Be nice to each other as you separate your lives and move forward in different directions. Be fair. Deep down, you know what’s fair. This isn’t the time to get back at your almost-ex. Believe me, they will have a hard enough time handling life as it is.
Dads, take care of your children by paying a proper child support and alimony to their mom and staying involved in their lives. When you pay an unfair amount, your children are the ones who suffer. You might want to get back at your almost-ex by making her suffer, but you’re only harming your children because if their mom is gone working 2-3 jobs or to school part time and then to work and comes home an emotional wreck, who’s going to be there for your kids? Who’s going to be there for them when they come home from school with all their own problems with their friends or questions about their identity or religion or suicidal thoughts? Who’s going to help them with homework, advance in sports, buy their musical instruments, throw them a birthday party…or have enough energy to just read to them at the end of the day? No one. No one can do it like their mom can. Don’t take that away from them. Stay involved in your children’s lives! Be as emotionally stable as you possibly can. They need you more than ever now!
Moms, let your children see their dad and help them have a relationship with him. Allow him the visitations and holidays he legally has the right to and don’t make it a battle every time. Work with him. Help the kids have a successful weekend with him. No matter how much you might dislike or disagree with your ex…no matter how messed up you might think he is…remember that he thinks you’re messed up too and yet he still has to pay child support and alimony to you. Your kids love their dad and need him. He’s trying to find his way too and he needs his kids and they need him.
Do not badmouth the other parent to your children! There’s something called “parental alienation”. Read up on it and see how much it damages your children. It isn’t worth it. My ex and I had our struggles and battles for sure and too often our children witnessed it or were dragged into it in one way or another. It was the worst time of their lives and our lives and I wish we would have known how to manage it better. I wish we would have known more peaceful ways to deal with it. Please take my advice. I’m speaking from experience.
If you are worried about who your children will believe, the answer is the BOTH of you. Because you know what? At some level the both of you are to blame! The kids will figure it out in spite of what you say. They feel things in their hearts and they piece things together. They don’t need you or grandparents, uncles, aunts, or neighbors to make up wild stories to make it worse or to destroy your relationship with their mom or dad. It might not be until they are in their twenties or thirties, but they will figure it all out in spite of lies, exaggerations, or even the truth that was taken out of context. So don’t make your ex out to be wicked, insane or incompetent. It will backfire on you.
We were married for 18 years. It didn’t work out for us. It was the greatest tragedy of my life. But we have both moved on and created new lives. What everyone told me when they said: “It will be okay,” was true. And you will be okay too…maybe even very happy! 🙂
I am grateful that my kids’ dad and I are in a peaceful place now. We have found that EVERYTHING is easier when we get along, are cooperative, and even helpful to each other as co-parents. It took time to get to that place. It took time to realize that being friendly wasn’t a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of moving forward and being at peace with your new lives. We went down separate paths and it was the most painful thing for the both of us…for ALL of us…but I still see the good in my kids’ dad and I think he still sees the good in me. We grew up together and were best friends before we got married (see pic, taken during that time). Our marriage wasn’t all bad. There was a lot of good and we had five dynamic and amazing children together.
I’m willing to bet that, if you put your pride and anger aside for a few minutes, you will remember that in spite of the dysfunction, there was also love and good times between you and your ex too. Even if you disagree about so many things now, it’s worth it to get along. Do it for your children. <3