I loved the family routine. I loved being their dad. I knew I was going to crash when I was no longer welcome in my own home. I knew depression was weeks away. I knew there was very little I could do to stop the sadness freight train that is divorce.
In a loving relationship, I can grow to be a happier version of myself. I think that's what we're all hungry for. Being happier in our lives. For me, this involves a romantic relationship.
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.
Don't have that drink. See how you feel. Notice you want a brownie. Pause. Check-in with yourself. Are you hungry? Tired? Sad? Lonely? If we consider all of the drugs…
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.
That same hope and energy is present in my life, at the moment. I have an abundance of joy to share. Walking through the crowd of people on a beautiful day I could hold each of them in my hopeful prayer.
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.