Your divorce separates you from your spouse in most ways. But if you have children, you are still bound together as parents. Parenting, and especially co-parenting, is a daunting task whether married or apart. But in most cases taking the tension out of the marital relationship allows for a new parent partnership to form.
From Marriage Partners to Parenting Partners
Some people find that co-parenting is easy while others struggle to even remain civil with their former spouse. Fortunately, we have many more role models today showing us that parents who were once married can get along after divorce. But, easy or difficult, it is still a transition and a change in your relationship dynamics. Your relationship is transitioning from married, intimate partners to “parenting partners.”
Making this change from marriage partners to parenting partners requires focusing on the present and letting go of the past. Letting go of blame, regrets, and resentments and resist the urge to fall back into old patterns of arguing or trying to compete or hurt each other. Regrets and anger about the past interfere with your ability to parent positively in the present. A successful parent partnership requires cooperation. Your goal is to support your children’s lives, to keep your focus on them rather than on your own crises or conflicts you may still have with your ex.
This perspective can make all the difference. A client of mine told her estranged husband that she wanted to get along better because they were going to “be parenting partners forever.” Her statement switched on a light in his head, and he instantly became much more cooperative. What these co-parents came to understand was absolutely right: you and your co-parent are going to be parents together for the rest of your lives.
What is a parenting partnership? It is a business-like relationship between two parents who can conduct themselves professionally, collaboratively and creatively for the sake of their children. A healthy parenting partnership puts your children’s best interests first. This is the foundation for your children to be nourished and supported by both parents. You can start by both of you agreeing to form a partnership to work together to provide for the emotional and physical needs of your children and change the misconception about divorce.