Letting go of the last vestiges of a post-divorce world

water under the bridgeI walked into a rarely visited cafe this afternoon, wasting 30 minutes prior to a meeting at school, and saw my 7yo sitting at a table with her Mom’s boyfriend. The two of them were sitting and doodling on a newspaper cover, eating brownies and a bagel with cream cheese while sipping on large hot chocolates (yeah, nice dinner, eh?)
My initial reaction? The same as my reaction ten minutes later: completely neutral. I’m not thrilled with the food, particularly given that I try to keep my daughter’s diet gluten and dairy free as per the request of her mother, but otherwise, it’s a clear sign to me that I’ve completely let go of any last vestiges of wishful thinking about a reconciliation.

The very idea fills me with a sense of horror only equaled by — I’m sure — Linda’s similar feelings were the discussion to arise. 🙂

On the other hand, as recently as a few weeks ago, my oldest mused thoughtfully about Linda and I reconciling and somehow making things work, and for that I do feel a bit sad. It’s one thing to know that I’ve moved on in my life and am busy creating the best life I can for both my children and for myself as a single man, single dad, and professional, and it’s another thing to imagine the daily experience of my children wishing that they were with both parents simultaneously, not one or the other, back and forth, bing-bing-bing.

Mitigating this — and I think I’ve written about this idea previously on my blog — I really do believe that children pick their parents and my children, for whatever karmic reason, chose to have Linda as their mother and me as their father, even knowing that we’d divorce and have a turbulent go of things for years thereafter.

The original title of this blog entry was “letting go of the dream” but as I wrote it, I realized that would have been a bit misleading. I have long ago let go of any dreams of a post-divorce reconciliation and remarriage.

In fact, I let go of any dreams of a mutually supportive, happy future with Linda years before we even separated. Our relationship definitely fell into a dark place well before we pulled the proverbial trigger and went our separate ways.

Now I can smile at Linda’s new boyfriend and actually feel a bit of sympathy for him, marvel just a tiny bit that he can not only deal with her but that they seem to work well together. A better man than me, Gunga Din, and good luck to him.

In any case, as he walks out of the cafe with my girl all that I feel is a sense of relief that I made it through the gauntlet of a difficult last few years with the all-important relationship between my children and I not just intact, but actually far stronger and deeper than it ever was when we were all in a single household.

I think ultimately it’s the interpersonal version of making steel in a forge: the challenges that my children face will make them stronger, smarter and better adults, more prepared for both the positive and negative aspects of adult relationships.

One comment on “Letting go of the last vestiges of a post-divorce world

  1. Hi Dave,
    Interesting that no one commented on this in the several weeks since you posted it. I suspect most of the folks on this blog aren’t at the same stage of life as you.
    I’ve now been divorced for almost 16 years ( I had to count ). My kids are all grown now (25, 26 and 29). I think the first few years were very difficult. But we also were in a different situation…. my ex had moved out of the country and the kids were with me.
    I now see my kids and grandkids going through the same thing. My grand daughter goes back and forth between my house (my daughter lives with me) and her father’s family. They got divorced when my grand daughter was 2. So we have been at this for a while now.
    I think kids are very adaptable. And sure they love both of their parents and would love to see things work out.
    But they don’t know what caused the relationship to go sour. And it is probably far better now than if you had “stayed together for the sake of the children”. That never works.
    Children see when parents fight and it is far worse for them than splitting up.

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