Good relationships after divorce take a lot of work, foresight, patience, and wine. The word relationship does not just apply to you and your beau, but to a whole tribe of personalities that are affected by your couplehood.
It’s not about “girl meets boy,” falling in love and living happily ever after. New relationships after divorce include your Ex, his Ex, and all the kids. It can get a bit crowded!
It has been important for me and my partner to build a solid foundation grounded in communication, love, support, and a common big picture plan of what we want our lives together to look like.
With our common vision, it helps us stay focused when some members of our tribe don’t want to play nice in the sandbox. Focusing on the good helps us to maintain balance and move through issues that may appear along the path. It’s not that we don’t take the time to address problems, but that the problems do not dominate the relationship.
There is a quote that I fall back on during the difficult times, “Is it more important to be right or happy?” I can’t control how others feel, but I can certainly control how I respond. Sometimes the best answer is silence. I know what we are working towards and I don’t feel the need to defend our value system to people, outside the relationship, who do not share our views.
It takes a lot of strength in a relationship after divorce to make the commitment to honor everyone who is affected by the relationship. Knowing who you are inside, makes that path easier to traverse.
I know, for me, I try to meet everyone where they are with kindness and a smile, no matter what they think of me. I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and know that I was able to put conflict behind me and greet others with love and understanding. I also want to be able to honestly face my daughters, all three of them, and tell them that I have always treated everyone with love and respect. I won’t lie, there are times this is very hard because it feels as if we bend to the point of almost breaking just to keep the peace. Deep breath, glass of wine, and understanding that little problems are just a blip in the big picture plan.
Because this article is about good relationships, I asked my partner what he thought made a good relationship. I smiled as I read his response because it was so spot on and aligned with my thinking on the subject. “A good relationship, to me, means, “the ability to satisfy our partner and to be satisfied”. Whatever “satisfy” means. But for me it is the ability of two individuals to team up, support each other in solving problems and realizing their dreams…”
How do we maintain our balance as a couple when we are pulled in multiple directions at once?
We make sure that we carve our time, just us, away from everything. Sometimes that may just be an afternoon nap together while the girls play in the other room. In our home, everyone gets to express the need for one on one time, even us. The need for quality time to connect is important. The girls understand this and respect our need to have some adult time together.
Communication is key to understanding how the other feels in certain circumstances. We actively listen to each other and try to help minimize hurt feelings or frustration as best we can. One of my daughters asked me, “how come you two don’t fight?” I told her that we were committed to finding a better way than just yelling at each other. Yelling is just each person trying to be right by being louder. It doesn’t work when we really want to understand the other person’s point of view.
Lastly, we take the time to check in with each other on how we can support each other in the weeks ahead. We look at the calendars of all our parent-time schedules, figure out our plans, and if there are any issues that may crop up as a result conflicting schedules. There are times we come up with several solutions to a potential issue that hasn’t even arisen yet. Being proactive helps us be ready.
If it is important to you, you will find a way to make it work. It takes constant vigilance to keep your head up and move forward. At the end of the day, the good times certainly outweigh the bad. Focus on that. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it!
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