The Good Divorce was in my library from the days obtaining my Bachelor’s with a minor in critical family issues, at a time when I was sure that my fiance and I were destined to be together, forever. Now, nearly 12 years later, and I am in the midst of a divorce, with two children party to the split. Time to re-read it.
It was helpful, if for no other fact that it works hard to get the stigma of the “D” word out of the reader’s mind. Divorce, like other words, happens. Let’s learn how to deal with it. I want my kids to be strong and smart, and I want them to know they are not at fault for the divorce. I want to be a part of their lives, and I respect that he is a good father, who also deserves time with them.
The fact was, I was unhappy, and I had been for many years in my marriage. I held on for far too long to the idea that I should live happily ever after, and I cried myself to sleep, silently, more often than not in the dark days of my marriage. Finally, I stepped up and asked for a separation, hoping that I would be able to recognize why I had fallen in love with this man, if I no longer had to live with him.
The fact of this matter is, I did not.
That didn’t help at all when he asked to split the finances and pushed to see a mediator rather than a counselor. So, I found a lawyer who said mediation was the best way to go, and I went.
Most of the time, I am able to see that the arrangements we made are for the best. Other times, I hate it. So says the book, this is normal.
So, to push forward with the following recap of the book (taken from the final chapter):
1 – I may no longer be a part of a nuclear family with my children and their father, but a bi-nuclear family can and should be defined.
An all out war is nothing but destructive.
Compromise is necessary
Stay in charge of the divorce and my emotions surrounding it.
Define and regulate what my new family means.
2 – Minimize the potential negative effects for my children.
Give them time to adjust.
Accept that they have the right to both parents.
Cooperate, if only for the needs of the children.
Establish a new limited partnership with my ex.
Accept that my children’s family will include non-biological kin.
3 – Integrate the divorce into my life in a healthy way.
Remember the whole of the old relationship, both good and bad.
Accept inevitable ambiguities.
Face my losses without drowning in pain.
Forgive myself and my ex.
Let go of the anger.