Cooperating with your ex for the sake of your children can seem overwhelming in the early stages of the divorce. Try to put aside your relationship issues, your hurt and your anger towards one another and put your children’s needs first. Your marriage may be over but your family is not and your children need to know and feel that you will both continue to love them and be there for them despite the break up.
Don’t criticize each other in front of us. Rolling your eyes counts. After a few years we might stop telling you how much we hate it. We never stop hating it. And by the way– we overhear about ninety-five percent of your phone conversations.
If we tell you something bad that happened at the other parent’s house, just listen. Maybe try to be supportive or help us figure out how to cope. We hate it when you have a conniption and run to the phone. Plus, we can tell when you’re secretly psyched that it’s not all paradise “over there.” That sucks, too.
Occasionally in my practice there is a couple I am working with that are “stuck” and if they continue to stay together they will definitely hurt their chances of perpetual marital bliss. Yet, divorce is not something I encourage though for some it becomes a decision they must make. Sometimes it is helpful for the couple to agree to “trial separation.” In this post you will learn a way to go about a structured or trial separation.
Fuller Life Family Therapy's insight:
List of questions for couples moving toward separation...
When families "blend" to create stepfamilies, things rarely progress smoothly. Some children may resist changes, while parents can become frustrated when the new family doesn't function like their previous family. While changes to family structure require adjustment time for everyone involved, these guidelines can help blended families work out their growing pains and live together successfully.
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There is a distinct lack of adequate language to describe the new relationships that arise in a “remarried” family. The complexities of relationships in remarried binuclear post-divorce families defy simple charting or characterization. The need to develop both more open and more clearly defined relationship boundaries in the expanded familythat is created when a former spouse remarries is complicated by this lack of simple relational terms. Additions and subtractions of members in three generations simultaneously, structural and functional changes in rules and roles, and the clash of pre-existing family cultures, create loyalty conflicts around “who’s the boss”?
At some point, for a significant minority of couples, one or both partners conclude that the strategies of acceptance and change no longer work. At that juncture, the goal of living a healthier, happier, more productive life shifts from working to resolve marital difficulties to focusing on a “Good Divorce”. But how do you make it work if your former spouse doesn’t want to make it work? How do you make it better for your children and yourself? What are the rules of engagement when former partners are no longer intimate or romantic but remain co-parents for life? How does the Family Forest analogy apply post-divorce with an even more complicated range of ambiguities, acrimony and cooperation?
Co-parenting amicably with your ex can give your children stability and close relationships with both parents–but it's rarely easy. Putting aside relationship issues to co-parent agreeably can be fraught with stress. Despite the many challenges, though, it is possible to develop a cordial working relationship with your ex for the sake of your children. With these tips, you can remain calm, stay consistent, and avoid or resolve conflict with your ex and make joint custody work.
A Healing Separation is a structured time apart in which can help a couple heal a relationship that isn’t working. It can also help revitalize and renew a relationship that’s working. The Healing Separation is designed to transform the basis of a love relationship —moving it from neediness to health. A successful Healing Separation requires that both partners be committed to personal growth, and to creating healthier relationships with themselves and each other. Such a framework will allow them to carve out a new and more fulfilling relationship than they’ve known in the past.
We all have priorities, but then we get sidetracked into matters that seem important at the time and in the process ignore what's important. In marriage the real priority is the marriage. No other relationships and no other issues are more important. Still, it's easy to get distracted.
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