It doesn’t matter if the divorce was a tragic mistake or long overdue, it just plain sucks.
I have been through divorce so many times, five to be exact, but only one of those divorces was my own. So I suppose you could say I am a connoisseur of divorce, I know when to hold em’, know when to fold em’, etc. My parents were not fans of commitment, or perhaps they were just terrible at choosing partners. Each divorce was unique, just like every relationship is different, but one thing always stayed the same, loss. I hated losing family, and without a doubt, I always did.
When my first marriage started to go south I fought as hard as I could to keep it going. I didn’t want it to end, but not because we had some great romance (I think that part ended within the first couple of years of the nine year marriage). No, I think it was because I desperately did not want to be like my parents. I wanted to break the cycle of dysfunction. So after many years of differences, many years of arguments and many heart breaks, I finally let go. As divorces go, ours wasn’t too bad; in fact we ended up sharing the same lawyer. We parted ways and have both remarried, I am happier in my second marriage and it appears that he is in his too.
If I can give out any advice to the world it would be this. Please think of your children when you are divorcing. Understand that while you may never want to be close with that person again, your child has a bond with them and needs (not wants) to keep that bond intact. It is important that the child see all of his or her family get along. My parent’s fought so viciously when they divorced that I was court-ordered into therapy, I didn’t want that for my son. Because of this, I try to never fight with my ex and I have maintained a relationship with my former in-laws. I don’t think that was easy for anyone at first. There was too much hurt and uncertainty for us to know how to interact. But we have all prevailed. We now visit fairly often, we are all facebook friends and we can all resolve conflicts without incident.
Originally, my main concern was for my son. I did not want him to lose his connection with his father’s family. But I was surprised to find how rewarding it is to still be able to connect with them. They were my family for so long, and honestly, I still consider them family. And while I do not know my sons step-mother very well, I would be open to becoming friends with her. We are the community raising my son, if that cannot bond a group of people, I don’t know what could.
My son thrives in what he calls his “Gavin Family”, he just knows he is loved and that is all he cares about. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.