I was driving around and a Gwen Stefani song came on the radio. I'm not a big fan of Gwen Stefani and I usually don't have this station on unless my daughter is in the car.
The song came on and it said, "remember we used to love each other." The song is called "Used To Love You."
So I listen to what the universe delivers and it was actually the second time in two hours that same message came across to me. The first time was from my ex.
No matter where you are in your life right now, if you're in the position of sharing a child with somebody, or children, or a business, or real estate holdings, or whatever it might be that still ties you to an ex, I think some of the best advice that was given today: Remember you used to love each other.
Remember you used to love each other, which means that you need to go back and remember. When you actually loved each other, how you actually listened to each other.
It wasn't all about you.
That's the problem, when a relationship fizzles. And you have that dynamic that has to continue because you've got kids or property or a business together. Every conversation is just about you.
It's about you getting your point across. It's always about how you feel and what you want. If you think about it, that's probably the reason why the relationship didn't work out in the first place. Neither one of you was really good at giving the other person what they wanted and needed in the relationship.
In the beginning I'm sure everything was great, because it usually is.
Two people meet, their representatives show up. They fall in love.
Then they realize they may not have the tools to work through the issues. Or they may be so different that it may not even be worth it. Because deep down, just because they used to love each other doesn't mean they still love each other.
There's another piece of advice an ex gave me.
Imagine being on a desert island with me alone. Would that be something you would want? That's a great question.
Imagine being alone with the person you've been battling with for so many years and all you have left to talk about are the children or the business or the real estate you own. Would you really be able to fall in love all over again if you took all that stuff out?
Most likely no.
The relationship has failed and a lot of times we're forced to stay in a dynamic with somebody who's not very healthy because we don't remember we used to love them.
So when your ex comes to you and tells you they have issues that need to be addressed, dynamics that need to change between the two of you, things that might be going on, you need to listen to them like you used to love them.
Instead of getting all defensive like you usually do. When you used to love someone you didn't get defensive, you actually listened to them with an open heart. When you've been battling somebody for so long you get personal and defensive. Every word can trigger something else reactive.
So instead of getting triggered, you need to think and say, remember we used to love each other. Which means you'll have to listen. Which means if the other person is not comfortable with the dynamic, is not comfortable with the way things are, it needs to change.
If they're stressed out and you're the cause of the stress, or if it's because of the dynamic the two of you have, it's time to end it. It's time to go back and look at that them as a wonderful person again.
Think to yourself, you know what, romantically it did not work, but I used to love them.
The frustrations need to be thrown out. The triggers need to stop triggering. We need to move forward.
If you're in a business dealing with your ex, both parties need to be fully responsible for the business. It needs to be treated as just that, a business. If one person is not doing the job, or not earning the money they're getting, and that dynamic doesn't work, the two of you need to look at things as friends.
The hardest thing in the world when dealing with children is when you're forced to co-parent with an ex.
It becomes a constant battle. But it doesn't have to be. You can find a way to make it work.
It's funny because I've always hired friends in my business, and that dynamic doesn't work often. I've either become friends with my employees or I've been friends with them before, and when I vent or raise issues, they get emotionally bent out of shape.
They get hurt because we're friends. In reality I'd rather not be friends with the people I work with. But, I also like working with friends because I feel like they care a lot more.
My rationale may not be right.
The most stressful part of any divorce, is when you have children together. Each of you would lay down and die for your kids, there's nothing you wouldn't do. And your ex can appear as the enemy.
But you have to find a way to put the kids best interest first. The problem is divorce is often contentious and difficult, to say the least.
Try to remember, you used to love that person. So go back to when you used to love them and really listen to them. Stop torturing each other.
A client sent me an email the other day about her and her ex still torturing one another. They're still using the kids as manipulation tools. He's bad mouthing her to the kids. All he's doing is alienating his teenaged daughters.
You used to love somebody. It didn't work out. Let it go. Go get therapy. Go get help. Admit you were wrong. Admit the relationship failed and you were equally responsible for it failing.
It takes two to fall in love. It takes two to have failure.
Once you admit that, you can let stuff go. And whatever else you have left between you, whether it's work, or real estate, or kids or whatever it might be, it will be far more pleasurable.
When you're constantly battling an ex, energetically there's no chance in hell you're going to be able to meet somebody else. If you do, most of the time you'll end up talking about how you feel about the ex and how they're driving you nuts, and the new person won't stand for it.
Even if you're not always talking about your ex, the new person will feel it. They will feel that you're not there.
I think that's the most important thing, when two divorced people meet each other, you need to make sure that both of you have a clean, healthy defined relationship with your ex. It needs to be defined in every which way. Defined monetarily, emotionally, with the kids.
That's the reason why people go to moderators when they get divorced. The moderator sits down and does a complete definition of what that relationship is going to be, because most of the time, couples can't do that. If they could, they would have stayed together.
They would have stayed together and they would have made it work. The dynamic that broke them apart is continuing because they have not found a way to compromise. They haven't found a way to really see the other person, like they did in the beginning of the relationship.
That's why the advice of remember you used to love somebody, is so profound and beautiful. And really pretty simple if you think about it.
If you can't work things out together, I strongly suggest you have written agreements. Unfortunately that's what life gets to. That's why so many people spend time in court after they get divorced, and battle, and waste all of that time and energy and money.
They could just go and sit down with each other and say, this is what I'm willing to do and this is what I'm not willing to do. It's a compromise. Unfortunately most people who split up cannot compromise with each other.
That's the reason they split up. That's the reason there are laws in place, custody laws, visitation laws.
It gets that way in life. There's a reason why we get that way. Let's just remember while you're sitting there battling the same person you've been battling for so many years.
Remember that you used to love them.
Also keep in mind that they are a person. A lot of your actions are causing them grief just as they're causing you grief.
It's time to stop causing each other grief and it's time to look at the other person and say, you're right, I used to love you and I'm going to start respecting you like I did when we first started together.
So these are probably the best words of wisdom that Gwen Stephani and I can give you.
Remember, I used to love you.