As we get our barriers and boundaries in place, we can focus our energy and attention back on what's more important than our ex: everything. We can take our joyous energy and focus on our kids' happiness. If we can get out of our own way we can heal back into happy and healthy single parents.
When I get in a tough place I try and picture my kid's faces. In the moment I am feeling upset, I can send them a "How's it going, I love you" text. I can SnapChat a silly face.
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.
I am responsible for my actions alone. And my actions as a divorced dad have been 100% honest, 100% open, and 100% mom/kid-friendly. Her actions... Not so much.
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.
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.