Deciding to split up was the hardest decision my ex and I have ever been faced with. That devolves into a much longer story, but we both agreed that we have different needs in a relationship, and neither of us are compatible with meeting the other’s needs, so we split. We are both kids from divorced families, and we both realized that we should both be equally and amiably involved in our daughter’s life to raise a happy and secure child as best we could with the circumstances. We take her to dinner together a few times a month, spend holidays together, and try to make sure she knows that even though we are in two separate houses, we are still a family and still her mommy and daddy.
I’d say that we are closer friends now than we were when we were married. I think it takes a lot to look at something and say okay, this isn’t working, but what WILL work? How do we create a normal, awesome life for her even though it’s not the societal norm? I think we’ve done an awesome job at that.
Here are some of the main things that we have learned:
Flexibility is everything
We do a four day (me) and three day (him) split every week with her, the same days for consistency. But some weeks things come up — I want to spend more time with her, or he has a basketball game, or one of us has a date, and we let the other one know what’s going on and we’re both always happy to switch our days around if needed. There’s some sacrifice involved — sometimes he doesn’t get to go to a football game because I’m shooting a wedding, but we both get that that’s just part of it.
We both know that we can count on each other for anything when it comes to our daughter — if one of us is sick, the other one is going to need to pick up the slack and help out.
Put your kid first
The key thing is that she is our priority. Any issues we have between us are just that — between us. We both have the same goal of raising a healthy, happy, well-adjusted child, and we worked together to establish routines and guidelines that work well for us to help us achieve that. She’s more important than ANY differences we have between us. Her happiness and well-being are behind our every thought and decision.