Planning two revolutions at once is not easy. They serve the same purpose if you don’t constantly keep one on the inside and the other it takes a lot of energy and creativity to even come up with a decision.
It takes a lot of energy to step back after the first revolution so you can re-evaluate it. I have been thinking a lot about dad. And I was on the brink of divorce before I realized there was work to be done. Dad doesn’t always have to have total control over the family. He can’t cut off contact with the ex when he wants to. And he can’t force all of the other adults in the home to give him total control either. He has to realize that divorced parents are not always going to see each other’s children.
One thing he needs to stay in control of is himself
He needs to be aware of how he feels about his new relationship. He’ll feel at odds about his new wife and his new family more so than before. You and he both needed to come to some agreements about how the situation should be handled. Many divorced parents have told me they thought mom would back some of my position sometimes – I couldn’t see where my child was coming from. The only way I could work both sides and get everyone to give me some respect is to establish a new regime – no surprises at all. I have to be clear from the beginning that if a new situation occurs that needs to be worked out, I won’t take sides – this must be decided beforehand.
The first step is to let mom know beforehand exactly how the new situation will be handled – a meeting somewhere neutral that can be reserved when the time is right.
That doesn’t mean mom and dad have to agree on everything it just means they have to agree with everybody’s needs. If mom and dad don’t agree, it will be very hard to reach common ground. When we were divorced, my father taught us he had no problem sitting down and discussing the problems. That can’t be for everybody, of course, since divorce is inevitable. But when our children are involved, I’m convinced it is easier to be flexible and sincere about your issues.
It may be the only way to get through the whole process. And it may not.
The most difficult part of a divorce
Sometimes the most difficult part of a divorce is the most simple. Making the transition can be a little tough for everyone involved. I learned to be relaxed about how things were going. Often when your new wife just isn’t ready for the divorce and never intended to be, there are other things she desperately needs to move on to or that she desperately needs to do. And there are people in her life who don’t want her anymore. The more you can do to make her comfortable in bringing her friends into the new family unit and moved to be with them, the less she will feel that your new family is going to take over her life.
Understandably, the other parent away from the kids may have a lot of feelings about moving mom and dad together again – especially when the children are old enough to understand that their parents and other extended family members don’t live together anymore. She may feel Romanian, Italian, Spanish, or Irish. And, understandably, dad wants to be closer to his children and closer to mom.
And it’s wonderful that once the kids are older they have grandparents who they can communicate with about how they feel about the family dynamics. My children’s grandparents can be a safety net for them. And I think they should be allowed so. Often they can help out with the kids, although they may feel like they sometimes are the black sheep of the family. In any case, I believe that by working together the parents can support each other.
I have to be honest and tell you I have never a person whom I would rather deal with than my ex. And it doesn’t matter how other family members may feel about it. None of them have the right or power. Amazingly enough, it is the other person’s child or children that are often the true victims of a divorce. Ascertaining that playing the victim differs from normal hearts a man’s rights. In this role, the ex-wife (children are the ‘mine’ in the majority of custody disputes) assumes the role of the ‘bitter child’ and usually profits to the extent that the ‘bitter child’ will be denied access to the parent who left them. Often children are happiest when they are with one parent – and the benefits can the mutual affection they will miss most at times.
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