One simple question set me off this morning, but my reaction is not simple at all. As I was making an appointment with the allergist for my son to get tested, I joked about not sending my ex-husband because he would likely be more anxious than my son. The receptionist, not quite hearing my joke, then wanted to clarify that it was ok to let my ex-husband know that my son was going to be seen in their office. I was shocked at the question and then saddened by the realization that this kind of thing happens when some couples split up. The story goes a little like this: Your eyes meet across a crowded room and you know in an instant that you can’t be without her. You fall madly in love with him the minute the puts his hand on the small of your back to guide you through the crowded room. You eventually make the choice to stand in front of your family, god, a toaster, whomever or whatever will witness, and you vow to stay together for better or worse, and you begin your new life together as a married couple. Nice build-up right? For approximately 50% of married couples, this scenario remains throughout the relationship, but for the other 50%, there’s a different outcome. Shhhhh, it starts with a “D”, but don’t say it too loudly or you might break out in hives! Alas, couples separate, they divide assets and visitation, and somewhere in there, they often times forget the first half of their story. After the “D”, the story can look like this: Your eyes meet across a crowded cafeteria at the family event at school. You can barely disguise your resentment, your repulsion, your anger, and your upset. It’s almost like having an allergic reaction at the sight of your ex. What you may forget is that your child is likely watching you, hearing you, and sensing your “allergy.” What you may forget is the innocence of your child who wants nothing but to love both of his parents equally. What you may forget is that your child was borne out of the first half of your story and didn’t ask to be thrown in to the second half. And yes, I know that there are extenuating circumstances in a lot of divorce situations that make it impossible for both parents to be on the same side, but in the majority of “normal” divorces, it’s just ego. I had a friend email me recently to say that “no one does divorce better than you guys.” She’s right, and I am grateful and blessed! I am always glad to hear it. My ex and I work very hard to be a team regardless of our personal conflicts, because our children require that, and in the long run it makes everyone happier and definitely less itchy!
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