Can a couple remain friends after their separation? If I were to go off the popularity of the post “When Love Turns to Hate” it would appear that having an amicable divorce is very rare. Perhaps it is.
Having never been down that love/hate road, I don’t personally understand how two people who once loved each other enough to marry, can later show so much hatred toward one another. However, through the wonderful comments on that post, people have shared many reasons as to why this happens. It’s sad when love takes such a bad turn, especially when kids are involved.
What prompted this post, was a conversation I had yesterday with my son’s dad. Due to a last-minute trip, I asked him if he could keep our son for a couple of extra days this week while I’m away. He gladly said yes, and even nudged me along by saying that it would be good for me to go. He’s always been so kind and generous. He’s a good man.
We got married right out of high school. I was 18 and he had just turned 19. A few months later, we conceived our son. Three years after that, our son was diagnosed with Autism. Had we been ready and mature enough, we could have managed to keep our marriage. But, we weren’t ready. We were still trying to learn who we ourselves were. So trying to learn each other on top of that, along with the compromises that marriage requires, was just too much for us.
Eventually, we decided to separate. We remained friends through the entire process and even laughed our way through our final court hearing. It was obvious to the judge and everyone else in the room, that we were amicable. We walked out that day a little sad, but smiling because we knew that we were going to be okay.
After our divorce was final, we continued going out as a family. We would go to dinner or meet at the park. For several months, my ex would come over after his grave yard shift and sleep on my couch, until it was time for our son to wake up in the mornings. We would talk and laugh together, and then they would head out for the day.
We got together for our son’s birthdays and even a couple of Thanksgivings over the years. On our son’s first day of school, we both met there to walk him inside. As the school doors closed behind us, we walked side by side to our cars with tears in our eyes, proud of our little boy.
It’s been over 12 years now, and we still get along just as we did back in high school. We talk for long periods when he picks up our son. We laugh, joke with each other, and mourn as the other mourns. Our appreciation for each other has never been lost.
I am grateful that, unlike many out there, our love never transformed into hate. Instead, it was only the definition that changed. There are many types of love. For our son and for ourselves, our friendship remains and I believe it always will. That is something I have no doubt about.
Just because two people can’t make their marriage work, doesn’t mean that they have to become enemies. (Of course, there are exceptions.)
Love should be unconditional and true friendship should remain, even through the toughest of times.
If you can’t be friends for you, then be friends for the sake of your children. After all, it’s about them anyway. It’s not about you. Children should never be punished because of their parents’ decisions.