I am in the process of getting a divorce from a man I still love very much, and it is devastating. We've been together for 13 years, married for eight, but during this time we could never figure out how to communicate well and treat each other with the respect and kindness we both deserved.
We tried and failed so many times. Our divorce will be finalized in a week so there's no going back, and we're both focused on our daughter to ensure she has a healthy and happy life. My question for everyone is: how do you move on to form a great friendship and great co-parenting relationship with someone you'll always love yet cannot be married to? I know deep down I'll always be hoping we can reconcile but I have to be respectful of anyone he dates going forward. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
– Moving on
This is a breakup – an unwanted one – which means you'll need space to grieve the loss. Taking a break from unnecessary communication will make the re-setting of expectations much easier.
You're going to tell me there's no time for space – no space for space because you're co-parenting – but you can be respectful in that partnership without trying to be a best friend. You can tell your ex that you might seem distant for a bit because you have to figure out the new terms of the relationship. You're right, he will be with someone else at some point (sorry). You can make room in your brain to dream about how you might fall for someone else, too.
The big thing is accepting that you won’t reconcile. In a world where that's the truth, how much of a friend do you really want to be? What's the easiest way for you to communicate about your child and how often should it happen?
Also, what kind of partner would be better for you? What makes you happy? Again, these are all things to think about when you're not texting, calling, and partnering with your ex beyond the minimum of what you have to do together as parents. You won't "always be hoping" for a change of heart if you have new relationship goals that have nothing to do with him.
I'm not saying be cruel or shut him out, but call him what he is – a co-parent, an ex. So much of getting over someone is self-discipline and changing the narrative about the roles people fill in your life. Start that process.
Readers? How have you made this work?