When a marriage falls apart, you have a few options. You could be that bitter human who claims they wish no harm on their ex-spouse, all the while being mean, vindictive, and hateful. Or you can choose to really take the high road, accept that you just weren't right for each other and move on. How do you do that when there are kids involved? That is the hard part that this article won't answer. However, I can say that for me personally, before I approach any situation with my ex-husband, I say in my head "is this going to be beneficial to my daughter".
Granted, I'm about 8 years post-divorce at this point and things have gotten not just easier, but down right easy between my ex and I. It's something not many people have the capacity to do, but we have found the groove of being friends; both of us working together for the benefit of my daughter.
How far does that friendship go? Some people can eventually get to the point of being friends not only with their ex, but also with the exes new spouse. I took that to the next level when my ex decided to move back to town and that story goes like this.....
I met this wonderful woman; she's beautiful and kind, motivational and generous. She recently moved to town to start a new beginning in her life. When I met her, her smile attracted me to her. She lit up the room when she smiled. We became friends very quickly and I found myself confiding in her often because her support and advice was truly awesome. She happened to work in the smoothie shop where I would stop every morning on my way to work and we would laugh and joke, sometimes even making myself late.
My ex moved back to town shortly after I met her. They both had lived in the same town previously and didn't know each other. He met me one day for a smoothie and it dawned on me. These two need to be together. There was no obvious flirting or any reason any other person would see the immediate magnet, but I knew them both and I could see it from the first time they made eye contact.
I called my daughters father and said, "You need to take that woman out to lunch, not coffee... Lunch. You need to go down to the shop, ask her for her number and set up a lunch date."
I called my friend and said, "He is going to ask you out, and you need to say yes. You both are too shy to approach the other and oh my goodness you two are perfect for each other."
He did, and she said yes, and more than a year later, they live together and have been going strong ever since.
It actually has worked out to be a major benefit to the situation of co-parenting. There is and was no awkwardness of when and how to meet my daughter because she already knew my daughter through me. There is no jealously or power struggle of ex-wife vs. new girlfriend because her and I were friends first. She knows me and knows my personality well enough to know that I would never do or say anything to hurt her, my ex or my daughter.
What it all comes down to for me is seeing two people who are perfect for each other, and acknowledging that. Just because things didn't work out between myself and my daughters father doesn't change the fact that he is a truly amazing human being; a wonderful father, good-hearted, honest, and funny humble man. Not one person who knows either of us can deny the fact that both of us put 100% into our relationship and we just weren't meant to be together. I want nothing more than for him to be happy because THAT is what is in the best interest of our daughter. When I met my new friend.... I just knew she could make him happy.
Is it odd and unconventional and hard to explain to new people who enter MY life, yes it is. However; I wouldn't change any of it. To see my daughter smile, to see my friend happy and to see my ex find the love he deserves makes me happy. It all begins with acknowledging the terms the best interest of the child and how much that truly encompasses.