A Happy Divorce Is Easier Than You Might Think

A happy divorce is easier than you might think. It’s normal, especially during a divorce, to imagine that working together with your ex would be utterly impossible. When there are children involved in your separation, finding your path toward a happy divorce is imperative. 

Move Toward a Happy Divorce

Moving on after divorce is a process, but a few simple shifts in your perspective can pave the way to a happy divorce. Keep the following things in mind as you move on from your divorce.

  • Dig Deep (The Biggest Double D’s). It’s very easy to focus on all of the wrongdoings and failures of your ex, but take a long, hard, honest look at yourself. What was YOUR role in the end of your marriage? It takes two to make a marriage work, and it also takes two to break it. 
  • Forgiveness. Forgive yourself because we all have our reasons for doing the things we do, we all make mistakes, and we all have our growth moments. Now, take this same sentiment and apply it towards your ex. Forgive your ex. They are human too. When you have children together, you’ll be in each other’s lives for quite a while. Forgiving your ex is an important step in having a happy divorce. 
  • Moving on is a good thing. It’s natural to miss the happy moments in your marriage, especially when you’re adjusting to an uncertain future alone. However, focus on your future, not your past. Create a vision board or set goals. Look at the things you’ll be able to do as a single person you may not have had time to do when you were married. Even taking just 10 minutes a day to work on yourself will make it easier to work collaboratively with your ex. 
  • Keep the kids in focus. It’s possible to have a happy divorce when you and your ex both have the same goal: doing what’s best for the kids. This common goal helps brings unity instead of division. And even though you may have disagreements that arise from different parenting styles, frame everything through the lens of “what’s best for the kids?” 

“Whatever decisions we had to make, we had to ask ourselves how they would affect Asher. It was the primary lens, the single platform, from which we would build everything.” ~ Nikki DeBartolo

    • Cohesion and consistency is key. Kids can be a hot button topic, especially when you and your ex-spouse eye-to-eye. The sooner that you can appear to be a unified front, the less room the child will have to play into the divide and suffer from the instability. Find ways to give and take with one another so that the child will have similar expectations in each household. This is easier for the child. It’s okay to agree to disagree sometimes, but work that out behind the scenes. It’s not healthy for the child to be burdened with your grown-up problems. 
    • Apps make it easier. Communication is essential for co-parents. But it’s not always easy, especially when the divorce is fresh. Look for apps that help you share important kid-related information if talking face-to-face is hard. 
    • Fake it till you make it. A happy divorce definitely doesn’t happen overnight. There will be days when you don’t feel like communicating and collaborating with your ex-spouse. This is totally natural. Don’t allow that negativity to rob you of the time you do have to positively connect with your children.  

    “When people ask how we were able to immediately start liking one another again, we used to laugh and tell them we faked it until we made it.” ~ Nikki DeBartolo 

    • Respect the boundaries. Understanding your own boundaries as well as your ex’s is crucial in having a healthy co-parenting relationship. If you feel uncomfortable with your ex coming into your home, let them know or change drop off locations. Boundaries are not just physical, there are emotional boundaries as well. This means separating your feelings and responsibility from them. Healthy boundaries mean that you give what feels good in that particular relationship. If you feel victimized, suffocated, or enraged by this person, this is a clue that you need to work on your own personal boundaries and perhaps you are doing too much and feeling disappointed with the other person’s actions or lack there of. 

    “We can’t control other people, how they feel, how they respond to us and to our children. What we CAN control are our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. No one teaches you this concept in school, so it’s a common skill that people come to therapy to learn about. I love seeing lightbulbs and transformations once people harness this concept. It changes everything as they relate to themselves and the world.” ~ Nadia G. Heldfond

    • Rely on each other’s strengths. Even the happiest divorce has a few (or many) bumps in the road. Sometimes, focusing on your ex’s strengths and their unique abilities can help diffuse negative feelings that you may be having toward your ex. Focusing on the common love that you share for your child or children can help carry you through rough co-parenting patches. 

    When you take a few moments to forgive, focus on collaboration and work on communicating effectively, a happy divorce turns out to be easier than you think. Healing from the trauma of a divorce is a process, and forgiving yourself is an important first step. Then, keep focusing on what’s best for the kids and soon things will fall into place. 

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