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Is it possible to get along with an ex for the sake of your kids??

Updated on February 19, 2015

Growing up with divorced parents

My parents divorced when I was about 13. It was christmastime which is also my birthday so I took it really hard. I was the only girl now living with my dad and three brothers. Due to the way my parents split, it wasn't a friendly divorce. I was forced to choose sides and forced to deal with a new guy in my mom's life. Maybe all these changes wouldn't have been so bad if my mom and dad made it a little easier on me, but being in the middle of their feud made my life so much harder. For the next few years my mom and dad fought over me. I always felt like I was being tugged both ways and that I could only choose one, but I couldn't do that. I was happy to hit 18 so the fighting would stop. My parents to this day that I know of have only spoken to each other once. It was the day I was in labor with my first child. I had to have an emergence cesarean and my mom called my dad to let him know what was going on. Now remember I have three brothers so their have been weddings, funerals, birthdays, births, and many other events where we still feel like we have to choose. We have been able to get them in the same room for events but they refuse to speak. For the sake of your children and the fact that it's been almost 20 years can they just get past it already. No one says they have to be friends but can't they at least act cordial for the sake of the kids and the grandkids? I never wanted to end up divorced but I knew if I ever did that things would be very different.

I ended up divorced with kids

I was only married for a little over two years when I found myself faced with a nightmare. My husband was having an affair. We had a three kids ages 2, 1, and 3 months. This wasn't his first time to cheat but I had forgiven him for the first time since we had just had our first child together. We got married while I was pregnant with the second. The third one came as a surprise. Forest will now say that he was too young and immature to be married at the time and maybe that is true but I don't think much has changed with him over the years. One night after him not coming home I woke up the next morning and started packing up what I needed to for the time being, called my family for help, and I moved out. He didn't even know it for a few days because he still never came home that next day. He proceeded to go the next four months without seeing the kids. When we had our first court hearing he tried to get 50/50 custody but of course the judge said no due to the fact that he had never been alone with our baby for more then an hour and the fact that he hadn't seen them in so long. Also he had a job and would be leaving the kids home with his new girlfriend. That really didn't fly with the judge. He got to see them for a few hours every other week. This went fine up until right before our final divorce hearing and his new girlfriend kicked him out. Thus started a few more months of not seeing the kids. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little happy that he wasn't coming around because I didn't have to deal with his crap and the kids weren't being thrown around. They had a stable life with me. Eventually he did finally get his life together a little and got his own place. The only problem now was that he hadn't seen the kids for awhile and they didn't know him. We decided that the kids wouldn't be staying overnight anytime soon. We even started to become friendly again. He drives me nuts with the dumb stuff he does and the way he lives his life but I know that he is the father of my kids and I didn't want them to go through what I did. I have had two boyfriends since my divorce and neither could understand how I can be friendly with him when i don't think very highly of him. Both of these guys are also from broken homes whose parents don't get along so I would think they would understand it but they don't. Over the years, Forest has disappeared from their lives many times but whenever he comes back around, I just grit my teeth and welcome him back. Forest and I have been known to talk to each other about our everyday lives and I often times wonder how I do that. The simple truth is that I want my kids to have as stable a life as they possible can for having two parents who are divorced. It is hard work not knocking him out sometimes. He has nothing to do with their schooling or their extra-curricular activities which to me I don't understand how he can be that disconnected. I'm curious if a lot of divorced parents are like that or if Forest just really doesn't care. Do I try to get him involved or just leave it alone? For now I leave it alone. The kids don't question why he's not as involved as my soon to be new husband so I don't say anything. I hope things get easier over the years because being friendly to him is really hard but I know it needs to be done. I wish my parents could take a cue from me and get along.

statistics

  • 50% of all North-American children will witness the divorce of their parents. Almost half of them will also see the breakup of a parent's second marriage. (Furstenberg and others -Life Course-)
  • One out of 10 children of divorce experiences three or more parental marriage breakups. (Gallagher -The Abolition of Marriage)
  • 40% of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers. (Wade, Horn and Busy, -Fathers, Marriage and Welfare Reform, Hudson Institute Executive Briefing, 1997)
  • 50% of all the children born to married parents today, will experience the divorce of their parents before they are 18 years old. (Fagan, Fitzgerald, Rector, -The Effects of Divorce On America-)

Can you get along with your ex for the sake of your kids?

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