Co-parenting is the process of becoming a partner with the other parent of your children. It begins the minute you discuss having children. The co-parenting agreement should span a lifetime, including what happens in the case of divorce. Start at 50/50 shared parenting? Agree to 50/50 shared parenting in divorce. Become great co-parents. Equals. Allies. Focused on your children and how you can support each other in the difficult journey ahead.
Even if your ex decides not to co-parent collaboratively with you, they are co-parenting, but in a negative way. You want what’s best for your children. You want a good co-parenting relationship. You want your kids to love you both. Weaponizing co-parenting is a toxic move. Stay positive. If you can’t co-parent nicely, then co-parent without negative inputs.
It only takes ONE PARENT to hold a positive post-divorce relationship. The enlightened parent can lessen the conflict at every stage of co-parenting. When I learned that positive only was the track I was on with my ex-wife, my co-parenting success was no longer tied to her poor behavior.
So, if you're single, go ahead and put your best foot forward and get out there. Getting to a relationship may take months, so you might as well start exploring the field. And if you see the 10% as potentials then you begin to get hopeful that there "might" be someone out there for you.
If we can build our alignment of priorities around our kids' health and happiness, then we can both relax when we are able to find time alone as a couple.
My most recent bouts of depression were triggered by my divorce, but it's a lifelong journey for me. I can drink. I can stop drinking. But I'm not sure how good I am at getting sad and not turning on the sadness fire hose at the first sign of things going off.
The outcome is not up to me. I am responsible for my actions. I am responsible for nailing one of the next three job interviews. I am responsible for explaining to the potential employer that contrary to my credit report, I am NOT A DEADBEAT DAD.
As I was catastrophizing in the last few months, one of the things I was soooo sad about was losing her, losing this wonderful relationship. She gave no indication that she was leaving.
There's no good way to share that the holidays are a tough time for me. I will be looking after my own health and happiness much of this season, to assure that no meltdown occurs in my life. But I will also leave some of my bandwidth open for my kids.
As you look to build the long term relationship with a spouse, remember your kids are important, and in some ways, they are priority number one, but that will change over time. As you become less of a priority in their lives, as they move on to college and their own lives, you will be left with what's next.
One positive parent can make 100% of the difference. I'm not perfect, and occasionally I want to lash out when she does something that seems unreasonable. I don't. I never do.