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I understand your worries about your children being statistics, I think that is a worry we all have to some extent. I don’t know about repeating the cycle though…both my brother and myself have divorced and our parents have been married for 43 years and have a great relationship. My new husband also comes from a family where his parents are still married after 42 years and are still so in love that it’s inspiring. So, even those that come from ‘intact’ families can become divorce ‘statistics’ as well.
I believe that the worry about your children being statistics and potentially setting them up to repeat the cycle is mostly driven by guilt. For me I feel guilty that I couldn’t provide my son with the ‘intact’ secure family that I grew up in and I know my brother and my new husband feel the same.
I’m so glad to hear that you and your ex-wife understand the importance of remaining amicable. One would say ‘how could you not after your own upbringings’ but believe me, I know plenty of people that haven’t learnt from those experiences. Have you thought that perhaps you are breaking the ‘cycle’ by your ex and yourself being amicable? That you are teaching your children tolerance, love and understanding…all essential skills for a successful life?
Life after divorce will come when you are ready. You may not become a ‘better’ person per se, particularly if you are happy with who you are now…but I can pretty much guarantee that you will come out of it stronger. No one can experience the grief you are experiencing now and not grow from it in some way, shape or form. As I said before, just take the time to grieve. Right now, just focus on getting through each day, focus on the joys where you can (your children, for example), and congratulate yourself at the end of each day for getting through it.
I am sorry that you find yourself in this position. It is such a tough time.
I too went through a divorce after 17 years with my husband. My first piece of advice is to allow yourself time to grieve. You can’t move from all you’ve known in your married life without grieving it’s loss. Don’t be too hard on yourself, allow yourself to feel the grief.
My second piece of advice is to still attempt to be amicable with your ex-wife. Not for yourself, or for her, but for your children. They love you both, you two are the most important people in the world to them and nothing hurts a child more than seeing their parents fight. Their ability to cope with this situation really does depend on how you two respond to each other. If you need to fight/discuss/argue, do so in private when the children aren’t around.
Thirdly, there is life after divorce. Just don’t force it. Look after yourself, your health, your children and the rest will follow. I personally saw a counsellor to help me adjust and he recommended a book for me to work through. It may be worth a look if you’re interested or when you’re ready. It is called “Rebuilding when your relationship ends” by Dr Bruce Fisher. He also holds seminars in the US if that is where you are based.
In Australia we have a place called Relationships Australia that hold courses to help you rebuild and restart after a relationship breakdown. I’m not sure if there is anything similar where you are, but if so, perhaps something along those lines may be helpful to you.
Good luck with everything Jeff
My son seems to have coped well with my divorce, but he was only 3 at the time. My stepdaughter however, has a lot of baggage related to her parent’s divorce. However, she also had the added complication of her mother not caring for her properly and her father (my husband) taking over full care.
She has had abandonment/security issues as you can imagine, despite my husband’s best efforts. We haven’t taken her for counselling. We just let her know that we are here for her to talk to and that there is other help for her if she feels she needs it. So far, she has declined that.
I guess the point of difference with out situation is that my stepdaughter turns to me when she’s struggling. I have made a point of allowing her to feel free to discuss ANYTHING with me, including being able to tell me that she wishes her parents stayed married, that I wasn’t her step mum etc. This has all been in a non-judgemental environment. I don’t take those comments to heart as I only need to put myself in her situation to understand that I would have felt the same even if I did love my step parent.
We have also spoken to two psychologists about her situation and both have said to not pursue counselling as it can create the mindset that she is ‘damaged’ and ‘troubled’ rather than helping her to process what’s happened in a supportive environment, accepting it for what it is and moving on.
The acting out when injured etc is normal. It is your daughter’s way of letting it all out. Another point to consider is that the family situation is mattering less and less to my stepdaughter as she gets older (she’s almost 13) and friends start to become more important. She’s more focussed on acceptance in her friendship group, moving into high school and growing up rather than what is going on at home.
Your divorce is reasonably fresh, and these things take time….years even. My main advice is just to be there for your daughter and keeping her father up to speed with any conversations so that you are both on the same page.
All the best to you and your daughter….it is a tough time, but with love and support you’ll both get through it.
We are a blended family. There’s myself, my husband (2nd marriages for both of us) and our children. His daughter (12) and my son (6). We’ve together since the kids were 9 and 3.
I haven’t found any sites to be super supportive, as they all offer the same advice, most of which wasn’t really relevant for our situation. So, I have just waded blind through! We are doing well though. I think that my stepdaughter has had the hardest time adjusting as she was living with her Dad full time and his to herself all those years, and had quite a bit of freedom and contributed a great deal to decisions…in fact she kind of saw herself as her Dad’s equal even though she was only 9. Then all of a sudden, she had another parent watching out for her, and a little brother who had no idea about personal space LOL.
Anyway, three years down the track we seem to have adjusted pretty well. The kids call each other ‘brother and sister’ rather than stepbrother/sister. They have regular, healthy contact with the other birth parent and as far as blended families go, we function pretty well I believe!