There's a men's support group I speak to once in a while. I really enjoy it. It's full of other dads who have experienced divorce, and it's a chance for these guys to communicate and express themselves. Whenever I go, I find it empowering and amazing to be part of that journey. Seeing grown men vulnerable, with an open heart wanting to move on in a healthy way is a wonderful thing.
It's great to share and hear what other guys are going through, so you don't feel isolated, and alone.
Whatever you go through in life, you can be sure other people are going through it too. Our situations are not as unique as we think they are. When you're ready to be around and communicate with other like-minded individuals on a similar journey, it's something I highly recommend.
One of the guys in the group has been having a problem lately with his ex. He's a good guy. He has a couple of kids and he fully supports his ex, financially and with co-parenting. The problem is, she constantly takes jabs at him, as if they're still married.
His focus is on being a good father to his children. He's made an effort to apologize and make amends for the part he played in the relationship breaking down. Yet she's still angry at him, she still feels wronged by what happened between them. She hasn't let go or moved on.
It got to the point in his divorce where the kids were becoming a battle. He looked at me and he said, "You know, this is the last thing I wanted to do, but I can't talk to this person anymore. It's all about her. I want to get a lawyer. I want the lawyer to talk to her."
Unfortunately, this is all too common and really sad. Lawyers are just paid henchmen going after whatever they can get. I've seen too many divorces go that direction, where the lawyers have ripped it to pieces. I told him he needed to try and make it work, for himself and his kids. He said. "David, I can't stand having this person not listening, and now using my kids as pawns."
It makes me sad. Two people who once loved each other enough to be together and to start a family, now can't even face talking to each other. It makes the problem exponentially worse once you start using children as pawns.
The key is compassion, and acceptance that all relationships are 50/50. Each person is partly responsible for everything that happens in the beginning, middle, and end of the relationship. It's never just one partner who causes the end. Until you accept joint responsibility, you're going to run the risk of the lawyers taking over and ripping it to shreds.