I have been divorced for nine years.
In that time, I have spoken to my former husband on a very limited basis.
We share children, but we have never co-parented.
And to be fair, he has been absent many of those years.
Recently he has been more involved.
At first, I was annoyed, irritated and even completely resistant. He has not been helpful for years. Why bother now?
And, I didn’t trust him. I still don’t, to be completely honest.
I think he knows that. But within the past month, we have made major headway in being two people who used to be married who share children and who can actually be in the same room.
But it’s still awkward. Here is this man who shared my life — the good, the bad, the ugly for nine years — and yet, even a polite “Hello” is difficult.
Recently, we have had to communicate regarding some opportunities for our son, and at first those conversations were stilted, formal and altogether unpleasant. My defenses were on high alert. He probably felt much the same.
But after taking several deep breaths, I decided just to share some of my concerns. Lay it all on the table, so to speak.
His response was not at all what I expected. He seemed to really hear what I said. He was not defensive or argumentative.
Once I shared my concerns, he had one of his own. I listened. I heard him.
And toward the end of the conversation, I was honest in saying, “You have been absent for so long, I don’t know how to handle the fact that you’re around again.”
It was my way of explaining the awkwardness and tension that just radiates between us when we have to be in the same location for our kids.
We didn’t really solve the problem that day. But voicing it was a start.
And it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. A little bit of pure honesty in a conversation with my former husband melted away years of stress-inducing presumption and supposition.
Shortly after that conversation, I was doing some reading and stumbled upon this quote:
And while I will never profess to love my ex-husband again, I can commit to being honest and forthcoming with him. And that truth, combined with the love we have for our children, will help us find our way to being parents together.Photo credit: stevekrh19