What is a young family to do? How can we learn to turn INTO the relationship rather than AWAY from it? In the nine years since my divorce, I've been writing and examining what went wrong. I've been trying to understand what kind of relationship I might be able to build that would sustain my idea of a lifetime partnership. And I've continued to examine how I could've done better as a partner.
And as we ask for and receive the love we need we are also going to have disappointments. My response in life, now, is "No worries, just desires." If my desires start getting squelched or compromised due to continual misses, then it is up to me to speak up.
Drink if you want to. Make sure you are aware of your motivations when you begin to fix the third cocktail. In my experience, that Third Glass came to represent a turning away from me and away from intimacy. I would choose to drink with her from time to time, but I could not follow her into the nightly oblivion. I wanted a close relationship.
I wish I could've had more time with my kids. I wish my then-wife had agreed to 50/50 shared parenting. I wish my ex-wife would be a more collaborative parent. But even as I wish about these things, even as I can feel regret about the lost time, I am HAPPIER NOW THAN I HAVE EVER BEEN IN MY LIFE.
My role is to help you identify what's stressing you out, work on lessening that stress, and begin to focus on what's good for you. And as important, what's good for your kids. And here is a simple list of things we're going to work on together.
Also, as the man in the divorce, you have an opportunity to lead the process with grace and empathy. You cannot control how your ex behaves, the only thing you can control is your own response to the challenges ahead.
Divorce is not something you just "get over." And with kids, you never really get over it. I am learning to continuously forgive and forge ahead with my own life as a single dad.
Each time I let myself reenter the sad times, the sad places, and let my soul feel the wear and tear of the hard and long journey, I begin to heal those old times.