Blended families: a personal experience of a bonded family
This article is not from a divorce professional, but a visitor to this site who wanted to share her experience with others. Here’s what Gale has to say:
I want to get the message out to as many people as I can that divorce doesn't have to be bitter, evil, bad, or vindictive...
My ex-Husband and I split up 5 years ago, and have been legally divorced
for 3 years. Everyone remarks about how our divorce is the best they
have ever seen or heard of. Together we had two wonderful children
(our daughter is now 15 years old, and our son is 13 years old). We
continue to co-parent our children...and do everything in the best
interest of them. My ex is now remarried with 2 more children (a biological
son- age 1 1/2 years, and a step-daughter- age 5 years). I am in a
committed live-in relationship with a Man who had two children from
his previous marriage (two boys ages 13 years and 16 years). And together
we are one big happy family!!!!! My children know that they are lucky
to have so many people who love them, and want the best for them.
Even though I have primary physical custody, they see their Father
regularly each week. They have dinner with him every Tuesday and Thursday
evening, and sleep over his house every Thursday night. They also
spend every other weekend with their Dad.
From day one, we have let the kids know that they would still have two parents who love them very much. That they will now have two homes...which is better than the one they had, but didn't work out. That the reasons for the divorce and issues involved in getting the divorce, are between Mommy and Dad, and the Lawyers...and not them. That no matter what happens in court, their lives will be better, than if Mom and Dad had stayed together. We focused on the positive parts of divorce on their lives, not the negative. We explained to them that this is no different than if Mom and Dad decided to move the family (if we were still together) to another CA, and they hated the changes. Even though it might seem strange and hard today.. we are moving on to a better life. That we would find things to make the transition easier for them. Just like they wouldn't have a choice to stay in MD while we moved to CA, they don't have a choice about spending time with both parents during the divorce. We explained that both parents deserve to spend time with them...and build a new life for them.
My ex and I handle everything in a civil, responsible manner. We planned the kids Bar and Bat Mitzvah's together; we share in big birthday presents (so the kids get what they want, not just smaller gifts that individually we could afford); We make sure the kids celebrate Mother's Day, Father's Day, & Parents Birthdays with the appropriate Parent.; We handle issues that crop up quietly out of earshot of the kids; We inform each other of issues that we have with the kids in our home, so that we can work together to help the children grow up to be responsible adults; We share information about all activities, sports, school stuff that is about the kids; We treat each other, the others new Partners, and the extra siblings all with respect. We have taught our children that it is okay to have an extended family....that just because they come from a broken home, doesn't mean that it is a bad thing......that divorce doesn't have to be nasty. That everyone could have a good divorce if they wanted too. Having a good, responsible, civil divorce is much harder that blaming your ex, holding grudges, putting the kids in the middle, etc. But have a good divorce is a choice that looks out for the best interest of everyone involved...it focuses on the principles and values that were important to the family when it was one...and now that it is two!
My ex and I talk about writing a book some day, to let others know how we did it, and how it has benefited our children.
Thank you, Gale.