Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned Enviro-spouse in a while. That’s not because he’s no longer part of my life — in fact, he’s still a huge part of my life. Although we now live in separate houses.
Yes, we’re divorced. But we’re still co-parenting.
People have told me (and E-spouse) over and over that we’ve done a “good” job with divorcing. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but “good” certainly doesn’t equal easy.
Our goal, from the day we decided to separate, is to put the kids first. Sounds simple, but it actually takes a lot of tamping down of egos and negotiating without rancor, but it works for us. We’ve managed to not spend all our cash on lawyers, go nuclear on each other, or prolong the process.
And we still talk to each other — almost every day. In fact, I’d wager we talk more about the kids now that they’re splitting their time between us. When we were married, I had the more flexible job, so I took care of much of the day-to-day kid management. Now during his time with the kids, E-spouse gets to be a full-on parent. It’s a change, and for that to go smoothly, communication is key. After all, our kids were preteens when we separated, so we may have some rocky parenting roads to travel together over the next several years. And we’ve made a commitment to do that together, as a team. We like to say we’re still a family — we’re just a family with two houses.
Sometimes, a divorce is predicated on something as simple as the fact that two adults have grown apart and have decided to pursue other avenues. It’s not always based on major incompatibility, infidelity, insolvency or one of those other “in” words. Sometimes it is, but not always. The whys and wherefores don’t really matter much anyway to me. What matters to me is moving forward and taking care of my kids. And despite having gone through a pretty difficult time, I still feel that I chose the right guy to have kids with. He’s a great dad and a good person. We admire and trust each other. And like all parents, we love our children deeply and unconditionally. We didn’t fail at marriage — we had a good marriage. Then we had a “good” divorce. Now we have to continue to work at being good at co-parenting.
I don’t want to make it sound like it’s been easy. It hasn’t been. Some days, especially during those months of splitting the detritus of almost 15 years of living together, were downright horrendous. There are still times, almost a year and a half after separating, when I burst into tears over a random memory or because I’m not with my kids. But it’s getting easier — there’s a level of freedom that offers both opportunities and challenges.
Divorce is painful but survivable — like a colonoscopy or taxes. It’s not something I wanted in my life, but it came, and ultimately, I’m stronger because of it. Yes, I worry about the long-term effects of divorce on my kids. Yet I know that when my concerns about my kids start freaking me out, there’s one person I can talk to who will completely understand — my ex-spouse.