Trust is one of the cornerstones of a successful marriage and for some, the lack of it is often what leads to the end of the marriage. The reality is that trust is also the cornerstone of a successful divorce. Stop laughing. If you’re divorced and have kids, you already know divorce is as much work, if not more, than marriage. Especially if that divorce involves kids and a co-parenting plan. Even if you had trust in your marriage, maintaining it as two single parents can be a struggle at times. It’s hard enough to build trust when both parties are living under one roof and building the same life together. Now you’re in two separate homes, living two separate lives, and reaching for different north stars as individuals. While you’re still very much focused on raising the kids together, other aspects of your lives are changing. Circumstances are going to change and a certain amount of distance will continue to expand between the two of you as your lives take you in different directions. Knowing in the back of your mind that your ex will have less and less concern for your own personal needs, wants and visions, it’s natural that defenses will go up any time there’s a sign that one of you is pulling away or acting more independently.
This works both ways.
Finding that balance between starting a new life while still managing essential parts of the old one is, in my opinion, the hardest part of divorce. The amount of thought, effort and consideration it takes to ride the waves of two separate lives that are intertwined through parenthood can be hell sometimes. I’ve stated before and it bares repeating; the death of a marriage is a slow arduous process that continues even after the papers are signed. Even as a divorced couple there are still elements of our old relationship that you’re naturally going to hold on to and attempt to maintain. Let’s face it, change is hard. Even if that change is a positive one. Learning to coexist under a different set of rules is backbreaking.
The reality is, your divorce isn’t unlike any other relationship you have. There will be ebbs and flows on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. Elements of your new lives will influence decisions and actions and you’ll wake up some mornings wondering, “what the hell just happened?” I promise you that for every freak out moment you have, your ex is having three. If you both truly care for your children, you’re both going to get your dander up on occasion when you don’t feel a fluid, even keeled, co-parenting plan in action. You’re also going to go into a mental tailspin any time you see your ex make a move that may or may not indirectly affect your own life. As much as you’re living separate lives, as parents it’s no secret that your own tides are influenced by your ex’s moon from time to time. Try to remember; your lives are likely going a mile a minute. You’re both juggling a LOT as you attempt to be both the mom and the dad at home. You’re going to go through financial waves that influence your mood and your decision making. From time to time the lines of communication are going to breakdown. There will be misunderstandings and misreads. When they happen, do your best to stop and scan the current landscape. Certain cornerstones have likely been knocked out of place and you and your ex are going to have to reset them properly. That may take a bit of time and effort but it has to happen otherwise everyone loses.
So stop. Breathe. Shake it off and get back to focusing on the kids. Then when you’re ready and the dust settles, regroup and rebuild.
It’s all a good lesson in trusting the cosmos.