Every thirty-six seconds a divorce happens in America--that’s 876,000 a year. While you may move on, your children are left with the aftermath. They have to live through every tense interaction between you and your former spouse from this day forward. Understandably, children who live through a divorce can be found to experience more instances of depression along with feelings of abandonment and rejection.
In your mind not in a million years would you be friends with your ex-husband or ex-wife. The wounds they’ve inflicted run too deep. But, as time passes, clinging to the familiar pain drowns your hopes for relief and keeps you all trapped in the hostility.
Barring physical and mental abuse, building a new dynamic with your ex provides a way out of the emotional abyss. Especially when there are children involved, letting go of the expectations of love and moving, however slowly, into a new realm of friendship has many benefits.
Empower your future, and your children’s state of mind, by taking charge of your interactions with your former spouse. Here are 4 reasons to process the pain and know that it’s ok to be friends with your ex:
1. Your kids will be healthier.
Divorced parents that communicate effectively support their kids’ overall resiliency; your children will know that uncoupling was right for you, but that your love for them remains unbreakable. Help to shore up their mental and physical strength by modeling calm, cooperative discussions with your ex-spouse. By watching your example, your kids will better deal with their own stress and conflict. Feeling securely attached and loved by each parent allows the child’s physical and mental state to remain less stressed.
2. Keeping your heart open will help you find love again.
Living with an open and forgiving heart attracts all the right people! Positivity multiplies as it is shared. Research suggests the more positive interactions you have with your ex-husband or ex-wife, the stronger the correlation to healthy future relationships.
Although rushing down the aisle is the furthest thing from your mind, chances are you will fall in love again. Out of all the marriages that occur in the U.S. each year, roughly 40% are those of people getting remarried. Keeping the lines of communication with your former spouse amicable and unstrained puts you in the right state of mind to connect with others with confidence.
3. Holding on to resentment is deadly.
Boost your own mental and physical health by letting go of the betrayal and resentment. Weighing yourself down with anger literally puts undue stress on your heart and keeps you depressed. If we nurse our pain every day and relive the injuries, we bury ourselves in the past. Free yourself! Take the first steps towards calm and forgiveness. Your future is worth more than this pain.
4. Your bond sets the tone for new family dynamics.
Your kids carefully observe all of your interactions with your ex and will feed off of the energy exchanged. At first you may have to fake it till you make it, but openly communicating with your ex-husband or ex-wife helps your new family to thrive.
A study in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy found that a successful co-parenting bond led children from divorced families to better handle the impact of having two separate households. Friendly co-parenting has positive effects on everyone’s state of being. Your choice to show grace, and even warmth, towards your ex-husband or ex-wife will stand testament to your unwavering love and sacrifice for the good of yourself and your children.
T.D. Jakes is a charismatic leader, visionary, provocative thinking, entrepreneur and compassion humanitarian with a voice that has reverberated from the world's most prominent stages. His look at life comes from the perspective of a father, a student, a pastor and a friend. His daytime talk show will be premiering this fall across the nation. Follow @tdjakesshow on Twitter!