Divorce brings out the worst in people, the desire to humiliate, the desire for revenge, the desire to use children as pawns in parental power play and the desire to cause suffering. A marriage and family is often smashed to pieces and acrimony can linger for years.
So is a friendly divorce really possible?
Divorce can be civil if not amicable…there is no doubt about it. Few of us hear of a truly “friendly” divorce. But if you really want to find a way to have a civilized break-up and are determined to avoid blame and attack, it is eminently achievable.
Where it takes two people to create and maintain this cycle of conflict, hurting, attacking, and withdrawing from each other, it only takes one person to end it. But it’s not easy. It takes immense strength of character and clarity of intention. It’s far easier to be consumed with anger and recrimination, and in fact that’s what most people end up doing.
Divorce can be made less unpleasant if you can over come those emotions and approach it in an adult manner realizing that this is not an opportunity to “get back at” the other person. Following the steps listed below can minimize the unpleasantness, and you can start to look at the divorce as a new beginning for all concerned…
“Divorce can be made less unpleasant if you can over come those emotions and approach it in an adult manner realizing that this is not an opportunity to “get back at” the other person.”
BE SURE YOU’RE READY
Make sure that this is what you really want. It’s true that divorce is more common now than ever, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always desirable. Sometimes a separation is healthier for everyone, so simmering tempers can cool down. Leave no stone unturned before reaching a final decision about divorce.
All of it is hard—psychologically, financially, socially, you name it. But through all of this you become stronger, more alive, and you end up knowing for sure what you want out of life.
“Experience is not always a reliable guide since the details of every marriage are always different.”
AVOID FREE ADVICE
Try to limit the advice you get from people, weather they are friends, or relatives. Be especially wary of those who have “been through it” before. Experience is not always a reliable guide since the details of every marriage are always different. Distinguish between those who really help and those who don’t. Don’t feel obliged to take unhelpful advice.
ACCEPT THE PERSON
When you fight the way someone is you’re fighting a losing battle. Accepting your spouse for who they really are may seem difficult, but it’s nothing more than opening your eyes and seeing the truth staring right back at you. That person is the way he is whether you like it or not, and nothing you do will change him.
DON’T HANG ON
Everything you do to make someone stay destroys love and pushes the person further and further away. You hang on to avoid feeling the hurt that comes with letting go. But once you are willing to accept this hurt as part of the process the hurt runs its course and eventually disappears. In turn the need to hang on will also disappear.
IT TAKES TWO
Like it or not the fact is that it takes two people for conflict to occur. When you fight you become full of fear and upset. You lose your ability to see clearly and you probably act in a way that makes your situation worse. Take a step back and see your role in the problem. See how your actions have contributed to the situation.
Whenever two people are arguing, there are two people who are trying to force their opinion on the other. Neither one is listening. If you stop to listen and let the other person express his opinion fully, then express yours you can find solutions.
“You need to break the news to your children lovingly. Children will remember this initial conversation for a long time.”
CHILDREN…A PEACEFUL TRANSITION
A brutal lesson in human nature occurs when we realize how two people who once believed they were head-over-heels in love can be transformed into Worst Enemies during the divorce process. Though two vicious and vindictive people ending an ill-fated marriage is bad enough in itself, it’s even worse when children are involved
You need to break the news to your children lovingly. Children will remember this initial conversation for a long time. Ideally a couple should talk to their kids together and tell them that they’ve BOTH decided this is best for the family. Try to maintain a calm and positive attitude in front of the children…sounds close to impossible, but the truth is that a successful divorce requires you to be stronger than you’ve ever been.
Whatever you do, don’t bad-mouth your ex in front of the children. If you need to call a friend to vent about how difficult your ex is being, you need to remember that your child may be able to hear you. Often parents don’t realize just how much kids can pick up on.
“Ideally you want to civilize ways of bringing your marriage to an end, but its rational to behave in an apparently irrational way when going through something as traumatic and emotional as a divorce. “
Keeping things friendly benefits mothers, fathers and children. People are realizing now more than ever that its not so much the divorce that hurts the children, it’s the conflict that comes afterwards.
At the end of it all there is no escaping the fact the divorce is unpleasant. Ideally you want to civilize ways of bringing your marriage to an end, but its rational to behave in an apparently irrational way when going through something as traumatic and emotional as a divorce.
But, keep in mind that the way you interact can either restore love and forward cooperation or in fact you can interact in a way that creates more pain and suffering. It’s never to late to have a good divorce, even if it takes you years to let go of the past and deal more maturely with your ex.