Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful experiences possible. Witnessing the end of a once-loving partnership can be traumatic, even when you know it’s for the best. But for many ex-spouses, divorce isn’t the end of the relationship.
If you have children together, the bond over your child will last a lifetime, for better or worse. Hopefully, for your children’s sake, it’s for the better. But while ending a romantic connection can be difficult, the good news is that many former couples find a way to build a new relationship.
Five ways to forge a positive co-parenting foundation
Creating a civil relationship with your ex is crucial before the divorce and child custody orders are final. Both parents are expected to put their kids’ needs ahead of their own differences. Here are some things to remember for accomplishing this goal:
- Civility: Even if you can’t stand being in the same room as your ex, always make an effort to be polite, especially in front of your children.
- Boundaries: Talk to your ex about attending your children’s events together or separately, how or if you will interact during drop-offs and pick-ups, and how you’ll communicate about issues involving your kids. Will it be face-to-face? By phone or text? Through a parenting app?
- Grieve: Many people describe divorce as akin to grieving the death of a loved one. Give yourself time to process the loss and understand that you’ll experience strong, maybe even conflicting emotions.
- Support: Many people going through a divorce try to tough it out on their own, not wanting to “trouble” others with their problems. But reaching out to close family members and friends who love you is vital during this time.
- Growth: In addition to prioritizing your children’s needs, focus on your own mental and physical health. Use this time to reconnect with old friends, explore new hobbies and realize your value to others.
Divorce is never easy but understanding that it will take time to overcome the repercussions is the first step to a brighter future. Many co-parents find a way to reach a new level of interaction that encourages each other’s growth and helps their children recover faster and thrive despite divorce’s challenges.