It may be counterintuitive to say divorce made me a better father, but that’s the case for me. “It takes two to Tango” as the cliche goes and unless there is blatant physical, mental, drug/alcohol abuse by only one party it takes two to create the problems that lead to divorce.
Unfortunately, where there are children involved the issues are immeasurably complicated. For one thing no one asks to be born into this world! We arrive and from our first desperate cries for attention, food, warmth and love, and we rely on our parents to provide those things. When those parents are in some way lacking (and we all are as human beings with hangups, habits and hurts) problems ensue. Healthy parents figure out healthy ways to work together, but therein lies the problem!
Often what one parent thinks is a healthy way to raise a child is very different from the other parent’s thinking. There could be issues from the way the parent was brought up by their own mother or father! Tonya Harding is now being interviewed on national television clearly denouncing the brutal upbringing she received from her own mother which scarred her for life.
All of this makes marriage with children more difficult because when two people coming together who are not emotionally, mentally, physically healthy to the degree where fighting and arguments and other dysfunction occur the children will be scarred.
What to do? As mentioned in previous posts Codependents Dance two incomplete people do not complete each other. In fact two halves do not make a whole, but a dysfunctional family. And that leads me to the title of this post! Did I make mistakes in my marriage? Absolutely! Did my now X-wife also make mistakes? Absolutely! We would each argue the other caused problems, but I would say now after several years of divorce, the real problem was we should have never gotten married in the first place. My X told me she didn’t know if she loved me enough to get married, but I was codependent and needy emotionally in 1992 and begged her to try. Mistake one!
We waited eight years to have our first child so it was not an accident. We stayed married for almost eighteen years when in the summer of 2009 my X started an affair. I wanted to reconcile at first, but discovered that was a dead end because my X had no desire to do anything than to get out and pursue her affair.
So we co-parent, but only because I fought tooth and nail for my full joint physical and legal custody and to require my X to stay within a reasonable distance within a 30 to 45 min. drive from my home in Lake County, Illinois in order to participate in my daughter’s school activities. My X predictably wanted to try to put as much distance as she could between herself and me and I would argue was not able to see what was best for our daughters this created a Why is My Divorce Legal Bill so High?! situation.
At one point during the divorce my X actually told the court through her second of four total attorneys hired after each of their predecessors did not get her where she wanted to go that “she doesn’t think she can co-parent with me.” Thus sets the stage for a great co-parenting relationship. Not!
After 7 years from when the divorce started and 5 years from when the 3-year long divorce was finalized I believe we now have a good co-parenting relationship, but only through many fights and working hard to swallow pride, ego and try to really figure out what’s best for the children. Something that is continually evolving and not easy because we are all flawed human beings.
This will begin phase II of the Divorce Recovery Blog. I welcome your comments. More soon.