I have been married to my husband for thirty years, but forty five years ago I married the father of my daughter. Although that marriage lasted only four years, our lives have been linked because of our child.
People with children who divorce have real choices about how they will conduct their post divorce relationship. Some spend it attacking the other parent at every chance they get, both in front of the children and among friends. They may refuse to even talk to the other parent and insist on all communications going through lawyers. We consciously chose a different route. At first it was just to be civil to one another and to never demean the other in front of our daughter.
As time went on, we found we were able to be cordial to one another, not just civil. We began to attend school events together. While my daughter primarily lived with me, her father saw her frequently, taking her on camping trips, to family reunions and just over to his house.
Thirty years ago we each remarried and remain in those marriages. Somewhere along the line we went from cordial to friendly. All four adults have gone to graduations, weddings, concerts and other events together. Our grandchildren benefit from four grandparents on their mother’s side.
It required a great deal of maturity to live this way, and it was a stretch for sure. But all these years later, it is my first husband who knew my sisters as children, knew my parents, knew me as a young adult. In fact, he has known me longer than any other person in my life. He lives far away and we see each other rarely. But we were faithful to our commitment to our daughter and we have been richly rewarded.