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7. Divorce, unlike marriage, is FOREVER when there are kids.
Unless you really wish to lose your position as a parent (which is THE hardest on kids), you will have family occasions, graduations, shared holidays, christenings, weddings and funerals that will continually bring you together over years. Those knots in your stomach at shared public events, especially in beginning, are known only to others who have been through divorce. No one else has a clue. Approaching your ex first with a friendly word at such events puts everyone else at ease and is a worthwhile practice. And with practice, and some history, you may find those stomach knots actually loosening. Mortal enemies have been known to actually become friends, sometimes good friends, and many find they can be kind of comfortable "cousins."
8. If you don't hate your exiting spouse when you first separate, you will within three months to three years.
It's next to impossible to skip this one, though it always seems to come as a surprise. Why, I'm not sure. Now you both have different agendas and no way will your priorities (usually money concerns or kid issues) be same as your ex's. It's okay, and sometimes even important, to be angry with your ex (for a certain amount of time -- not forever), but it's not okay to share or show that anger with your children or in front of your children. Not easy, but for their mental health, their need for a safe haven and their need to love both parents, you've got to keep these volatile feelings to yourself -- or limit them to your therapist or support group.
9. The day your ex remarries is really painful.
The only thing worse than hearing from a third party that your ex is remarrying, is actually hearing news from your ex. Obviously this is a no-win situation. No matter how glad you are that your ex is your ex, you'd never take him/her back, and you're thankful you're divorced, it's still a painful time. It's that last nail in coffin of what was once your marriage, and your hopes and your dreams. If you know anyone whose ex is getting remarried, don't let them spend that day alone. And if you know your ex is getting remarried, don't spend it by yourself, unless you really enjoy digging a dark hole and crawling into it. (Obviously kids will be attending wedding and unsure of how to be of comfort to or deal with other parent.)
10. After all this, know that there is still such a thing as a good divorce.
Yes, you read that line correctly. Now this is not to be confused with divorce is good, but there are ways of turning this lemon into lemonade. Read up on how to do it. There are lots of books to help you -- I've written one. Making peace with life's changes is good for you, for your kids, and for your life. Divorce is not path to be recommended easily, but it's not a terminal illness, or a contagious disease either.
I did not come up with term "good divorce." I'll credit that to Constance Ahrons, author of book "The Good Divorce." "A good divorce," she says, "is not an oxymoron.
Astonishingly, in my studies I found half divorcing couples we interviewed had civilized, and many amicable, relations with each other.
Another surprise was that almost everybody wished to be on better terms with his or her ex, even ones who had bad relationships.
I'm tired of doomsday reports and label of 'broken home.' We have been so inundated with negative stories of divorce, that men and women need to hear message that they can make their families work better, minimize stress, and not feel like total failures. In a good divorce, a family with children remains a family -- one that is sufficiently cooperative to permit kinship bonds to continue.
Perhaps if we begin to revise our expectations of what divorce means, all parents who divorce can do so with civility and respect."
Vicki Lansky's practical, common sense approach to parenting and household management is familiar to thousands throughout world. Her books, audiotapes, newsletter, media appearances, magazine and newspaper articles and reviews, make her one of America's most popular and visible parenting figures. According to one parenting newspaper, "If you have young children and you don't use Vicki Lansky's books as a reference, you are working too hard!"
Visit her website at http://www.practicalparenting.com
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JOAN BRAMSCH is a family person, educator, writer and E-publisher. Her articles appear internationally in print and online. Six of her best-selling adult novels - near one million copies - have worldwide distribution. Her Empowered Parenting Ezine serves 1000 parents around the globe. http://www.JoanBramsch.com mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org