Dirty looks, eye rolling and sarcastic remarks are what many people expect when it comes to dealing with their ex. It's sad, and it sort of seems like the norm. I hate it. However, from time to time, I hear about an act of kindness in divorce that inspires me and gives me hope that divorced people can open their hearts and do something extraordinary when it comes to the ex. That, I love.
For example, I have a friend who moved into her new home. The first night she was there, her ex-husband came by with a bottle of champagne to congratulate her. Someone else told me that he just drove his ex wife and her new husband to the airport for their honeymoon! Another guy stayed at his ex wife's house (with her husband and their son) when his heat broke.
Acts of kindness in divorce are very rare, but they happen. I can tell you that first hand.
It all started when I happened to notice my ex-husband's wedding band in my jewelry box. It had probably been sitting in there since the week after our wedding, since he wasn't a "ring guy" and didn't want to wear one. On a side note, my dad and brother are both happily married men and they have never worn rings so it never bothered me.
I thought about selling the ring, which is probably worth several hundred dollars. But, then I thought again. I put the ring in a baggie and when my ex came to pick up my kids that night, I gave it to him and said, "This is yours. It's worth some money and I think you should have it and sell it if you want." I seriously think he was in shock, and that's when I realized that no divorced person ever expects his or her ex to perform an act of kindness. It's sad, but that's why it's so special and so important.
A couple weeks later, my son came home and said, "Look what Dad gave me." It was a watch that my parents had bought my ex husband when we got engaged. I wanted to cry. My son continued, "Dad said be very careful not to lose it because it means a lot to him." Then, I did cry.
I'll never know if my giving my ex his ring back had anything to do with the watch, but it really doesn't matter. What each of us did was beautiful. And powerful. In other words, acts of kindness go a long way.
What people don't often realize is even though the marriage didn't work out, you once loved each other enough to get married. So, can't you get to a point where you at least like the person again? The hope is that in time, anger dissipates, bitterness is at a minimum and forgiveness happens on both ends.
I truly think divorced people can have a healthy friendship. Not best buddies or anything, but a relationship where they help each other out, respect each other, and co-parent in a productive, lovely way that benefits everyone in the family.
If you think about it, life is hard. People always say you can depend on family the most. Isn't your ex sort of always going to be part of your family?
7 Acts of Kindness in Divorce. Consider doing these things!
1. Send a birthday cake to your ex's with your kids on his or her birthday
2. Send him or her an e-mail with a compliment-anything that he or she does well
3. Help him or her find a new job (if they are looking) by introducing him to some of your Linkedin connections
4. Email him or her a Groupon from a place you know he/she likes
5. Send him/her a card if he/she gets promoted
6. Give him or her free upgrades to first class if they are going on a trip with your kids
7. Make him a photo album filled with baby pictures of your kids (if he doesn't have many)
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling. She is also the author of her new divorce novel with the same name, as well as her other divorce novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter and columnist for Sun-Times Media. She lives in Chicago with her two kids. Oh, and she's divorced!