Friendship After Divorce
Whether you’re divorced or not, if you have children, it is really “until death do you part.” The only other person in the world who feels about your child the way you do is your ex-mate. On the other hand, when your relationship is discordant and you’re in opposition to one another, you burden your child with feelings of anger, separation anxiety, pain, and suffering. And, because your child is the sum total of you and your ex spouse, he may feel conflicted in his own identity when either of his parents is attacked. This puts him in a double bind, as he struggles with loyalty issues, guilt, and the hurt of being left behind. However, if you can make peace, you will gift your child with the chance for a happy and healthy childhood.
The great thing about being divorced is that you can create your own space for happiness without having expectations for one another. As a result, you can achieve friendship by understanding your wants and needs and recognizing that sometimes what you need, is just not what you want. Because you are no longer married, the things that bothered you about your relationship and your partner, no longer exist. And while ending a relationship can be filled with negatives, creating a new friendship can be positive.
Many therapists believe that when the anger settles, something new can be born out of the seed of love that once existed. After all, everyone who stood in front of that priest, minister, rabbi or judge and pledged to love one another forevermore, still exists, and divorce gives you the opportunity to reclaim some of that commitment in a new form. By following my <a href=”http://drgailgross.com/use-empathic-process/” target=”_hplink”>empathic process</a>, you can listen to each other without defense. This creates a safe environment in which you can both be invested. Thus, together you can collaborate and build a new structure that can work for both of you, without the expectations and demands of marriage. This will keep you out of trouble, by finding a small place back in each other’s hearts.
The empathic process creates a safe space for not only anger and resentment, but also for grieving, healing, and acceptance, investing both partners in the outcome. By recognizing and acknowledging where you are in your own healing process, you can take back your projections of hurt and injury by integrating them into yourself. Then you can choose what you want your relationship to be. Many people who have had terrible marriages do create wonderful divorces.
Remember that your children are a combination of both you and your spouse, so what you think of each other can be taken personally by him.