This is not a drama post. In fact it’s the opposite. It’s a reminder that people truly don’t have to choose sides.
My ex and I divorced 14 years ago. That’s a long time. But sometimes, people still want to talk “crap” about him to me, as if it proves something, as if it means that we are connected because we hate the same person.
But I don’t hate him. Not anymore. That ship has sailed and has sunk and the “hope diamond” has already been recovered. And I wear it daily. I have moved on.
During the divorce and during the difficult years that followed, I appreciated the support. I was thankful when people checked in on me, asked how I was doing, offered a hand and empathized with my challenges. Divorces are awful, truly awful, and dang I am glad I didn’t go through it alone.
But the years have gone by and we are a weird sort of friends. Not the “I’ll give you my other Reece Cup” kind of friend (only my husband ranks that highly with me), but the kind of friend that knows your struggle. We have kids together, so to some degree, we will always have each other’s back, even if once a quarter or so, I will want to kill him. But that’s life. People are difficult. I am difficult. Life can be very difficult.
We have developed a mutual respect. It is very imperfect, but because we created children, we try to honor each other’s roles for the sake of the children. We can tell each other when we need a time out from the kids and the other one will step up. We can bounce ideas off of each other and we will usually listen and teamwork in our own dysfunctional way. We still have different values, and we still disagree on issues, but we have no true desire to annihilate the other person. So we don’t need anyone cheering us on to do so. And when I am angry with him, I don’t need any help with that. I got it.
There was a time when I would’ve been fine to ship my ex to the moon. Not our moon. Another moon, in another galaxy, far far away. But even then it was okay to like us both. And if you didn’t like one or both of us, that’s okay. That’s your prerogative. I am not everyone’s cup of tea (I am Earl Gray in case you were wondering).
Luckily the trash talking has simmered way down. Thank God. But now I get questions and comments about his new wife, Kim. “Do you like her?” That’s the most common question and I don’t mind it. It’s easy to answer, “Yes, as far as I know she is good to my kids and that’s all that matters to me.” Also, she starts no drama. Not with me, ever. I am lucky. Some of y’all don’t have a Kim and it shows. We each know our lanes and we stick to them. So when people ask snarky questions, or ask seemingly innocent questions with the sneer on their face, I get a little irritated. Why do you want me not to like her? What joy does that bring you? She and I are not in competition. We can each be smart, likeable and successful. On the same planet. At the same time. Miracles abound.
The world has enough negativity and divorced people don’t need any help with having a negative mindset. It comes quite easily during and after a divorce. But we need to be allowed to move on. And we need to give each other that gift. So instead of asking, “Is your ex still a jerk?” just ask, “How are things? Are things improving? How can I pray for you?” And then do it. We need your empathy, we need your love, we need your support, we need you prayers, and sometimes we need a hand. But we never need the negativity. It’s hard enough to stay positive without that kind of “help.”
For about the last 5-6 years, things have been getting better each year between me and my children’s father. We have all sat at church together, met for coffee, plotted our parenting with fajitas and margaritas, and rearranged holiday plans to accommodate the other family. We do Thanksgiving on Wednesday at our house, not because the parenting plans says to (it doesn’t) but because we decided that making our kids eat two giant platters of food in one day made zero sense to us. We have learned to get along most days and we want to keep it that way.
Is my ex still a jerk? Yes, sometimes. But so am I. I have never met someone without flaws. But let’s allow people to heal. Let’s help people heal. Let’s be a smile and a hug to those who truly need it. Divorce (if you share children) is a loss that has lifelong impacts. We can still feel the loss years or even decades later as we continually see how it has affected our children. We want to make the best of this life. And we need a good attitude to do it.
Will you help us?
P.S. Divorce is not contagious. But kindness sure enough is. Invite your divorced friends to dinner, coffee and church. Loneliness is BRUTAL after divorce. It’s the glue that binds us to our couches and our sadness. Reach out to a divorced friend and check on them today. They will be glad to hear from you. Then take them some cookies. Everyone likes cookies.
Also, if you are into nutrition, healthy recipes, wellness and vegetable gardening (or you want to be), check out Kim’s wellness coaching services. Tell her I sent you and maybe she will give me some veggies from her garden (haha). But seriously, give me some veggies.