Depending on the statistics you read, somewhere between 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. Is it possible to go through a divorce and not secretly wish for a bus to hit your ex? Emotions run high and there is trauma and heartache for all concerned, but it doesn’t have to be a miserable situation. Unless there is emotional or physical abuse involved, you can work, slowly, toward a friendship, or at least a peacefulco-existence.
If you were around in the 1980s, you probably remember the romance and marriage of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. Two of the biggest Hollywood actors at the time seemed to have the perfect union. Fast forward 11 years and three daughters later, and the couple were in divorce court. Around the same time, a movie was released called ‘War of the Roses,’ a dark comedy about the ‘perfect marriage’ and how, when things take a very bad turn, material possessions become the center of an outrageous and bitter divorce battle. Let’s say, the Moore-Willis situation worked out much better than the Roses’ did. But what can you do to make sure you and your ex are more like Demi and Bruce?
Just like it takes two people to make a marriage, it takes two to tear one apart. Unless either spouse is abusing the other. Never ever tolerate your partner raising their hand to you or verbally belittling you. I have read that ‘marriage is a circular system in which two parts make up a whole.’ Admitting to your ex that you made mistakes that you regret can go a long way toward building and mending wounds. It’s nice if they do the same, but take the high road and recognize your part whether they do or not.
Unlike the Roses in the movie, have a clean legal battle; many times partners are unbelievably vindictive and look at the division of assets as a competition. No one wins in this situation. Remember, how important is that dining room table in the scheme of life? Not really when it comes to your peace of mind. Don’t focus on getting even by taking his baseball collection to get some satisfaction. Be an adult, not a child in your litigation.
Nothing good comes from badmouthing your ex to family and friends. Think back on when you made the decision to walk down the aisle with this person. There had to be something there, a redeeming quality to this person…you can’t claim complete insanity during the union. Being slandered can just add misery to the situation. Even if your ex doesn’t hold to this idea, make sure you do. Karma is, as they say, well… not a nice lady.
Going along with the idea of not talking badly about your ex to your acquaintances, definitely don’t degrade your ex in front of your children, if you have them. Putting down your ex only puts your children in a loyalty bind and breeds further animosity with your ex. Keep your kids out of the middle. They don’t deserve it.
And in the event that, after a time, you meet someone, look at that person with new eyes. Don’t think ‘all men are alike,’ or ‘all women are the same.’ They aren’t, so don’t lump an entire sex into one pool of adjectives like ‘cheaters,’ ‘losers,’ ‘gold diggers,’ etc. You get the picture. And by all means, do not get involved with any of your ex’s friends or neighbors. There are enough people on earth for you to date, so cast your net wider than your immediate pond.
At the end of the day, keep in mind that we are all the sum of our experiences and relationships. Like I said, unless some form of abuse is involved, you likely had both good and bad in your marriage so take away the good and set the bad aside. Nothing good comes from harboring ill feelings. This perspective centers on the fact that relationships are one of life’s greatest classrooms.
Forging a friendship or even a co-existence with your ex after divorce can be a healing experience and allows for an integration of your past, present and future.
Ask me how I know….trust me, I know.