From the darkness of the loss, surrounding your kids and your ex-spouse, will emerge your own ideas of a joyful future.
It’s going to get easier. You are going to be okay. Your kids are going to be okay. And, at some point in the future, you’re going to look back on this event (the divorce) as one of the defining moments in your life. Act well. Learn to lean into the process of becoming a single parent. Learn about co-parenting. And, most of all, support your spouse in all of your communications with the kids, and in every interaction with them. It’s not easy for anyone. You alone can make a significant difference in everyone’s experience of divorce.
What I learned when I began to focus on the positive aspects of being a single parent rather than the resentment and anger I felt at my ex-partner: if you focus on the support and love of your children, you can let your ex-partner go with loving-kindness. This is the number one lesson I have learned in the eight years since my divorce. Your kids come first. Your business with your ex-partner can be dealt with outside of any interaction with them. You don’t need closure. You need to move on. By keeping your eye on the prize, your kids, you will learn that their lives are the priority, not yours. Their happiness is more fulfilling than your own happiness. Don’t let your kids get caught in the crossfire of anger and snarky comments about your ex-partner.
Hearing other people’s stories of divorce and eventual recovery from divorce can give you the confidence to do the right thing in your single parent life. We have been through the wringer just ahead of you and can give you some insights and answers to questions you might be struggling with at this moment. Joining a support group, and al-anon meeting or some other form of recovery practice can ease your journey significantly. As a man, I struggled with how to express my grief, depression, and anger. Men typically don’t have emotionally supportive relationships. I had to create some supportive groups for myself. Along the way, I learned that we need to listen to our inner voice and make decisions based on the love of our children, rather than the anger at our ex.
As you listen to the stories of others, those who have survived and thrived after a divorce, a wonderful thing begins to happen. From the darkness of the loss, surrounding your kids and your ex-spouse will emerge your own ideas of a joyful future. It may not be happy all the time, but when you are connecting with your kids, during the time you do have access to them, you will know that you are doing it right. Struggles will continue. Life is full of struggles. You and your children will go through a lot of changes over time. But, by being a present parent, and a grateful co-parent, you can focus on the positive aspects of your future as a co-parent, and potentially as a healthy partner to someone else. Hope is about believing that there is a purpose to your life. Your kids give you an immediate purpose. Your positive parenting outlook will give them hope and strength as well.
As a coach for divorcing or divorced parents, I can help accelerate your process of recovery. Through my own experience, strength, and hope, I can provide you with a divorce recovery roadmap to help you navigate out of the initial shock and wilderness of a divorce. I believe the process is simple and elegant.
The Divorce Recovery Process
- Listen to your concerns, questions, ideas, and hopes. (Empathetic listening alone is a powerful support tool. That’s why talking to a friend, counselor, or minister can be so healing.)
- Map out a plan for your healing and growth.
- Develop a process for dealing with your ex-partner and the logistics of sharing the custody of one or more children.
- Outline a parenting strategy for kids of any specific age. (For example, toddlers require different boundaries than teens.)
- Accountability and growth goals.
- What’s next in your life. (Kids are important, but your self-care, future relationships, and physical and spiritual fitness need to be part of your plan moving forward.)
- Focusing on what you can change and letting go of what you can’t.
My coaching process can be effective as an on-going support process (weekly or bi-weekly) or as a half-day or full-day intensive. I also run several free support groups online and give frequent free call-in group sessions throughout the year. Please let me know if you are interested in joining a free group or working directly with me, by visiting the coaching page.
related posts from The Whole Parent – Positive Divorce:
- What I Need To Tell You: Take Heart After Divorce. It Gets Better.
- Your Kids Are Watching How You Cope with Divorce
- Parenting Lesson: Always Consider Lightening Your Kid’s Load
- Divorce, Kids, and Money
image: john mcelhenney and family, 2018