How To Accept Your Ex For Exactly Who They Are

Co-parenting is powered by a collaborative relationship with your ex-spouse. Your common commitment to doing whatever is best for your children will help you work together. But working side by side with someone who hurt you isn’t always easy. It takes maturity and intention to begin to accept your ex for exactly who they are.

Even the most amicable divorces carry some leftover feelings of resentment, disappointment or sadness. Working toward forgiving your ex and forgiving yourself are important first steps in collaborative parenting. Accepting your ex for exactly who they are will help you in your quest to forgive and work together for the good of your kids. 

  • Accept the things you cannot change. Divorce brings a shift in your relationship with your co-parent. Your commitment to each other now centers on raising your kids as partners. There may be things about your ex that irritate you, but remember that these things aren’t truly your problem to deal with anymore. As much as possible, try to accept your ex. The personality differences between you and your ex provide your kids with a well-rounded, balanced approach to life. The kids may make their beds at your house and not at their other home, and that’s ultimately okay!
  • Find your own worth. Depending where you are in your co-parenting journey, your ex’s words and actions may carry a lot of weight in your life. Transitioning back to single life can be a challenge. Instead of approaching it negatively, embrace the opportunity to change a few things about your life. This is your chance to put time and effort into your passions. The most important thing is to embrace who you are as a parent. Take a look at your strengths as a parent, and know that you are doing your best.
  • Celebrate your different approaches. Often co-parenting in a divorce is more difficult than parenting together in a marriage. Working together means focusing on what’s best for the kids, and sometimes your ex may approach things differently. While Ben and Nikki disagree on some smaller issues, they remain committed to enforcing the same core rules at each house. Nikki admits that she lets their son watch more mature movies than Ben does, for example.

“We all realized that co-parenting between two houses would require having similar rules. We might do things a little differently from house to house, but the standards are the same.” ~Nikki DeBartolo

  • Find ways to collaborate. The personalities that led to your divorce won’t change after the paperwork is done. As committed co-parents, you will be in each other’s lives for a long time. But as the emotional connection between you changes, it will actually become easier to work together. You know each other’s personalities in and out. This information can be used for good or evil! Instead of using it to push each other’s buttons, focus on anticipating how your co-parent may react to certain parenting decisions and work together. 
  • Take your time. Remember that forgiveness is a process. Thankfully, you have a common commitment to raising happy, healthy children. By putting your children first, you share a common goal that will draw you together as successful co-parents. In your life after divorce, keep focusing on the kids and things will fall into place.

“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

Although the marriage between you and your ex didn’t work out, you can still collaborate positively as co-parents for your children. Accept that your ex is also your partner in parenting now. By putting the kids first, you’ll shield them from many of the negative effects of divorce. Accepting your ex for all their parenting strengths will keep the process smooth for everyone.  

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