Co-Parenting and Divorce: Joint Celebrations

As co-parenting becomes the norm for a lot of divorced couples, establishing a civil relationship with the ex-spouse becomes more and more important. It can be very difficult, especially at first, to be civil to your ex in regular interactions like picking up and dropping off children, but it is even more difficult when you are forced to spend extended amounts of time in each other’s company. At joint celebrations like birthdays, t-ball games and weddings, the time spent in each others company, or even just in each others vicinity, can be excruciating. Some tips to surviving the day are:

Lay the Ground Rules
Speaking in advance to your Ex about how you intend to interact at the event can be helpful in reducing anxiety and having things go more smoothly. Being upfront, non-emotional and respectful to your Ex will put him or her at ease, and everyone will be better off for it.

Bring a Buddy
A great way to feel more in control is to bring someone who can help you emotionally separate your feelings from your child’s day. A sibling, a parent or a friend can help you re-focus on the child rather than on your ex, and your buddy can steer you away from your ex if you need space.

Do Not Bring a Date
With the buddy system being established, if you happen to be dating your buddy, do not bring him/her. Unless you have been separated for years, do not bring a date to your joint celebrations. It is important to think of your children’s well-being before when thinking about bringing a date. A date’s presence may upset your ex, which in turn may upset your children. Allow a little time and slow introduction to the idea of a new significant other before introducing him/her.

Be Patient and Understanding of Your Ex
Remember, as you both interact at your first joint celebration, you both will be emotionally charged. There may be feelings of hurt, anger, sadness and betrayal on both sides. You no longer have emotional access to your ex, so you do not know what they are feeling. As you interact with each other, intend to maintain a level of patience, and to understand that no matter whose “fault” the divorce was or how hairy the divorce proceedings, you are both experiencing emotional upheaval.

At Divorce Detox, we believe that although your first joint celebration can be daunting, if you remain civil, think about the children, and be patient and be understanding, you can help your child celebrate the day and maybe enjoy yourself as well. Be sure to remember the day is for your child, and you and your ex-spouse should celebrate it as such, putting all other emotions aside. This is difficult, but it is possible.

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