My partner, Chris Johnson, and I sat down this week to talk about his divorce and navigating finding yourself and the healing process that follows. No one plans to get divorced when they get married, but it happens and the guilt and pain can feel so heavy when you are going through it alone.
Managing Parenting Alone
I think one of the most difficult things to adjust to is parenting alone. You suddenly go from having someone helping you and splitting responsibility to managing everything alone. You also now have full financial responsibility for the household. My advice is to not beat yourself up. You aren’t going to be perfect. You are going to be tired and irritable sometimes. I remember when I split with my kid’s dad. We were never married but it was still just as difficult. I had bad days where I would yell when I should have reacted differently and I would take responsibility and apologize. I think it is important for our kids to see we are human and we mess up sometimes. It teaches them that everyone makes mistakes; it is what we learn from them that matters.
Co-parenting can be difficult. Some of us have it easier than others. Here’s the thing: it’s not about us. You have to be able to set aside differences and have the conversations that need to be had that involve your child. Communication is so important when it comes to effective co-parenting.
Refrain from bad mouthing your ex. Yes, they may suck. Yes, they may have done terrible things. Yes, you may hate their guts and wish that Satan himself would rise from Hell and drag them back where they came from. I get it, but your child is half them. Which means when you talk poorly about them your child will take it to heart. I suggest confiding in a close friend and not venting in front of your children.
Dating after a Divorce
When is the appropriate time to start dating again after a divorce? That is completely up to you. When I asked Chris this question he said, “Whenever you are ready. You will never know until you put yourself out there.” Not every relationship is going to be life long and that is ok. Open communication and honesty is key when getting back out there. You need to let people know where you are at and what you are currently looking for.
You have to find out what you need as a single person. What are your needs and wants? You have to prioritize figuring that out before finding something new.
Above all, remember that there is no time limit on healing. Take as much or as little time as you need. It will look different for everyone so don’t compare yourself to other people. You are strong and capable and so deserving of love.