Being a single parent is tricky. There’s the constant battle against the clock which rarely ever allows you a moment to slow down, take stock, and smell the roses (mindfulness meditation is actually an excellent tool for this). There’s the financial strain that comes with managing a child on your own. There’s the nagging feeling that any moment now you’ll be exposed as a fraud, and a failure as a parent and a grown-up (no, you’re not and yes, it happens to everyone). There’s the whole minefield that comes when you try and wrap your head around dating as a single Dad. It’s fair to say that men raising babies on their own have a lot of plates to spin. But there’s no plate more complex or unwieldy than managing your relationship with your Ex. Or heaven forbid, being friends with your Ex.
Even if you and your Ex manage to keep a civil tongue in your heads for the sake of the children and even if the Ex is co-operative with you and pays their dues in terms of child support, this can still feel like a strained and awkward relationship.
Can you ever be friends with your Ex? And if you can, should you? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and the caveats.
Being Friends with Your Ex Can Help You Forgive Them and Yourself
Forgiveness is extremely important. Not only does it help us to overcome issues, it is also far more beneficial for your physical and psychological health than letting old resentments stew. But it’s not enough to forgive your Ex for their transgressions against you, it’s also important to forgive yourself. Because, let’s face it, when a relationship deteriorates it’s never entirely just one party’s fault.
It may not come overnight, but reframing your relationship with your Ex as a friendship can prove an important first step towards forgiveness.
But It’s Important to Know What You Want
What are your motivations for wanting to repair this relationship? Be honest with yourself? Is there a part of you deep down that yearns for reconciliation? Do you someday hope that you might get back together? If so, you might be setting yourself up for a painful fall. If there’s still an attraction there and hope that you might rekindle your love, it may prove devastating if they don’t reciprocate that desire and worse still when they start dating.
Being Friends with Your Ex Can Make Social Gatherings Less Awkwards
Couples tend to have at least a few friends in common, and when they separate it can lead to a lot of awkwardness in your social circles. If you’re able to become amicable and even friendly with your Ex, it can make social gatherings flow much more smoothly… Just be extremely wary of consuming alcohol around your Ex.
But Is It in Danger of Becoming a Cycle?
Next, plutonomy can be hard to attain when there’s a spark of attraction that remains between you. Be wary that your friendship doesn’t spiral into an on-again, off-again relationship. This is confusing and potentially heart-rending for both of you and especially for the child or children you share.
Maybe Civil Is Better Than Friendship
Finally, maybe friendship is too strong of a goal. Perhaps there is too much negative history and one or both of you years later still can’t get past it. Under those circumstances “friendship” may be unreachable. Maybe just being civil to one another while attending graduations or weddings is a step in the right direction. Whether civil, an acquaintance, or even a friendship, it is in the best interest of your kids to try to move up the relationship you have with your Ex.
Feature image via PxHere.