I’ve not got many things right in my life; fewer as a parent, however one thing I have got right, weirdly, is divorce.
Readers of my blog will know that last year Paul and I decided to go our separate ways, after 10 years and get divorced. We didn’t hate each other, we’d just moved on, grown out of each other and realised that we could probably be a lot happier living separate lives.
It was difficult at first, we had to find a new kind of normal. Develop a new relationship, set new rules, agree new boundaries. Especially when (pretty damn quickly) we both started dating again. We had to argue, but not as a couple, as two people who’s children were depending on them to do the right thing.
We had to agree on childcare, money, and a whole lot of logistics such as who was getting what from the house. I’m not going to lie, it was tough. On occasions I wanted to kill him! Did he not realise how difficult this was? But in reality we were both struggling to come to terms with our new lives.
I think a pivotal time for me was when we first disagreed over money and my Chris said to me “no amount of money is worth your children’s mental health.” And that really hit home. It was true. We could do a lot of damage arguing over stupid things, but at the end of the day what we would achieve apart from upset kids? We had to work out things and we had to do it in a way that was amicable. More important than anything else was that we had to remain friends, which when you think about it isn’t that difficult; I liked him enough to marry him, have two children, he’s actually a good guy. We used to be best friends.
And so we have spent the last year doing just that; being friends. We have spent Christmas together with our respective new partners, clubbed together to buy the boys presents or school uniform. He has keys to our house, I have keys to his. If I needed someone in the middle of the night and I couldn’t get hold of Chris, I know I could call Paul and (after much bitching and moaning) he would be there for me.
Last week was our middle sons birthday, and so my Mum and Stepdad along with Chris’s parents, Paul, Chris and I all went out for dinner with the boys to celebrate. It means so much to me that our boys don’t have to choose between us, or feel guilty about being with one or the other of us.
Paul has come round for dinner because he can’t be arsed to cook and I am cooking, so he’s come to get the boys and had dinner with us before taking them back to his.
Today I’m at work and Chris has the boys. He will be dropping them off with Paul this afternoon. They have spoken to each other to arrange it. You know, like adults do. Not arguing and hating each other, just getting on.
Because we get on it makes all those family occasions that bit easier; he still gets an invite, he still bitches about having to go, he sometimes shows up (probably more often than he did when we were together) and all my family still talk to him. His sister, who I love has come to visit me, I’ve visited her.
And the weird thing is that people seem to find us doing this odd!! I don’t really understand why, after all, we are still a family, linked together through our children, we can’t change that; in truth, I wouldn’t want to.
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