Many divorced couples want to pack up all the memories of the time they were together and ship it off to Forgotten Land.
Get rid of the photo albums, the keepsakes, the loving Valentine’s Day cards, the risqué notes you left in his suitcase before he went out of town on business.
Don’t just let go and move on; pretend the relationship never happened.
I don’t think we should throw out those years when we invested in someone else and in the hopes and dreams that we would build a loving future together.
You may have created children during those years, loved each other so much that your love spilled over to create another human being. You had good times. Lots of them.
How you behave during the process of your divorce can affect your post-divorce relationship, forever. How parents handle themselves during the divorce will affect their children.
But even moreso, how the two of you act and react can forever mar the positive memories, the good times, the sunshine beneath the storm that ended it all.
Among my specialties, I am a collaborative divorce attorney and in collaborative divorce, we tell potential clients that you learn new ways to communicate with each other and new ways to handle problems in your post-divorce relationship. That’s a huge benefit.
Versus the other way, where people behave poorly, have and maintain resentment and anger toward one another for all kinds of reasons.
Instead of dealing with it and handling it during the process, you create a high-conflict situation with a lot of problems. And you may never be able to come back from that and remember good times, fond memories, positive situations.
Recently, a divorced mother asked her daughter if she wanted to spend time together celebrating her birthday. Her birthday happened to fall on Father’s Day, so the mother asked anyway and suggested that perhaps the girl’s father could join them to celebrate her birthday together.
During and since the divorce, those parents had never willingly spent time together with their daughter. This time, the mother was trying to put aside old hard feelings and start anew.
But the damage had already been done.
The daughter remembered all the angst and uncomfortableness between her parents and felt so caught in the middle that she told her mother it just wouldn’t work to have both parents there together. “It would not be fun for me,” she said.
They couldn’t get past the damage both parents had inflicted on the daughter – unknowingly, yes, but they did it nonetheless.
If the couple had held it together peacefully and harmoniously during their divorce and continued on that path afterwards, perhaps the daughter would have welcomed the invitation. Life certainly would have been brighter, easier, happier for her.
And for the parents.
You set the tone for your kids with your behavior during the divorce. Make sure you do it deliberately instead of dealing with the aftermath of giving in to emotions forever after.