I wanted her to be something different. She wanted me to be something different. We didn't agree to a separation, we got a divorce. BUT, we tried, and continue to try, to make it a responsible separation. We do our best every day as co-parents.
Becoming a single dad was one of the most traumatic events of my life. I did not want the divorce, I fought against the divorce, and ultimately I agreed to collaborative divorce and was taken to the cleaners by an ex who decided to go for the “divorce package” rather than honor our 50/50 shared parenting agreement.
- Embracing the Win in My 12-years As a Single Dad
- The Father Son Emotional Loop: Struggling As a Single Dad
- The Single Dad Afterglow: I Lost My Kids In the Divorce
- Seeking Happy: A Single Dad Explains His Joyousness
- What Women Want to Know About Single Dads, From a Single Dad
- A Single Dad Sends His Hope and Greetings from the Other Side
- Healing My Divorce Resentment: A Single Dad Contemplates the Future
- Reaching a Moment of Peace and Happiness As a Single Dad
- Loss, Sadness, and Indifference: Struggles of a Single Dad
I believe that our child-centered lifestyle and choices allowed us to let go of the marriage in favor of the kids' welfare. Regardless of who blinked first in the marriage, in the end, it is a mutual decision.
Positive divorce is a choice. And the process to get there requires time, insight, and often the help of professionals. But the alternative is bitterness and continued failings at love relationships as you make the same mistakes, miss the same red flags, and put up with the same behaviors that got you into the divorce in the first place.
As single parents, dating, those choices now are much less dramatic. We can date, decide to continue or not continue dating, and that's it. No big breakup, no big divorce. Just "we're not dating anymore, maybe we can maintain a friendship."
My self-acceptance is not quite what I would call self-love, but I really appreciate the term self-care. And by caring for myself I am showing love for parts of myself I have always tried to hide.
If I had it to do all over again, I'd probably argue with the counselor and my ex-wife and negotiate something a bit more even. You will be advised not to do this. "It's easier for everyone if you just accept this plan, it's been working for families for years."
But I am also a learning individual. I can adapt and make changes in my plans and trajectories. So while I was thinking I had lost orbit and was shooting away for some new destination. I may have been only slowing to the gravitational pull of this amazing lady, and learning what her fears and passions were as well.
Get your butt on the trail to recovery and fitness at that same time. And then, if you don't, don't sweat that either. It's easy to be hard on yourself during the holidays. But your own peace of mind, and your own acceptance of yourself, just as you are, is the most important thing you can learn this season.