I’m fairly confident that one common reaction to a divorce is a conscious decision to protect yourself both emotionally and physically. You tend to become more rigid as a natural reaction to the pain and confusion suddenly thrust upon you. Trust takes a holiday and you begin your divorce with an initial inability to be open to compromise and find yourself going by the book and following the rules of the arrangement.
In doing so, it becomes impossible to truly get into any kind of rhythm as everyone involved has gone into a similar mode of protection with their own agenda and thoughts on how to move forward. But to successfully navigate through the pain, the anguish and the confusion, it’s crucial that we learn how to open up a bit and become more flexible in our approach to life in general, not just your ex and your children.
I recently found this video on-line that demonstrates how metronomes that are started at different times will eventually start to work in unison under the right circumstances.
If placed on a rigid surface, all of the metronomes continue to run on their own unique timing. While those placed on a surface with some give to it, eventually come together and work in sync with one another. As I watched the video I couldn’t help but compare this to my life as a divorced dad, or just my life in general. When we’re unwilling to budge and instead create an environment where there is no flux, it can quickly turn to chaos as everyone just continues to go off on their own tangent. But when we offer just a little bit of flexibility and have an ability to accept the energy around us and then redistribute it, life seems to find a way of working with a little more synchronicity.
When we can let go of our fears, our paranoias, and the negativity that come with them, we can start to once again find a way of working in rhythm with the world around us. And when that happens, everyone wins. When we’re working against each other, all that happens are battles, fights and arguments. There are no victories only continued struggles and battle plans. And not unlike a rowing crew, the more the rowers are in sync, the smoother and more efficient the motion.
Figuring out the balance that allows you to have your own life while working in conjunction with your ex is not an easy task. It doesn’t happen over night and continues to evolve even after your divorce has been final for a while. And believe me, when the kids sense a lack of synchronicity they then fight even hard against the grain. Suddenly everyone is out step with each other and frustrated and it just feels like the entire world is crashing down in front of you.
There will be times when bending just isn’t an option and others when it is. It’s up to you (and your ex) to learn when to adjust, when to maintain structure, when to bend and when not to. Just be sure to communicate and try to be reasonable in your explanations as well as your expectations. You can’t be expected to live your life according to your ex’s schedule, nor can they be expected to live according to yours. But a little give and take goes a long way in assuring the kids get what they need, which is a good relationship with both of you. When the kids feel a sense of unison and know what to expect, it’s a win / win for everyone.