Befriend Your Ex?

Sounds like a crazy suggestion, right? Many of us experience extreme feelings of loathing, distrust or disgust for our ex-spouse after a bitter divorce or separation. Life after divorce does not need to be that way, but they sometimes are, unfortunately. The mere thought of someone telling you to “be friends” with your ex can rattle the nerves of anyone who feels their ex has been torturing them. However, Judith Ruskay Rabinor, Ph.D, believes almost everyone should try to make peace and befriend their ex-husbands and wives.

She says that if you have children, you should make nice with your ex. Even though he/she may be someone you don’t care for anymore, children are almost always better off having two parents. Every parent wants to do the best job they can, especially after putting their kids in the middle of a divorce process, and being friends with your ex may be the best way to do it.

A divorce parent’s responsibilities include keeping the other parent in the loop. This means that you should actually be helping you ex be the best parent he/she can be. A normal reaction is actually the opposite- hoping your kids will see you as the perfect parent and your ex as the devil. But that’s not good parenting and it’s not healthy for anyone. Helping your ex means making room for him/her in the family still, respecting that person, letting go of the marital issues, and creating a new relationship based solely on co-parenting.

All of those things may seem almost impossible. And it may take time. But the faster you can learn the befriend and respect that person, your co-parent, the better off your kids will be. You may even get to the point where you’d go to bat for your ex, and then you know your co-parenting successfully. Don’t think you could do it? Remember that if you go to bat for your ex no matter how much you want to hate him/her, there’s a good chance he/she will go to bat for you when you need it. And co-parenting is a joint complicated process, and we’ll all need someone to stand up for us every once in a while.