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Six Tips for Having a Wonderful (or at least Better Than Average) Divorce

Abby Slutsky shares her thoughts on why some of her friends and family members manage to have good divorces.

Although I have never been divorced, many of the divorces in my family are better than some marriages. Both my aunts and uncles are divorced, yet they interact well with their ex-spouses, and even occasionally socialize with them and their respective significant others or current wives.

My grandmother, who was widowed, married a second time, but the second marriage ended in a divorce. Nevertheless, she and her ex-husband went out occasionally. More significantly, they had a ten year ritual of celebrating the date of their divorce by going out to dinner to celebrate their joy that they were not married. They remained close friends until he died, and my family still communicates with his children. I have several friends who have managed to have good relationships with their ex-spouses, as well. So, the question becomes, ‘What makes their divorces work so well?’

As an outsider looking in, here are my observations on what makes their divorces successful:

  • They do not want to live with their ex-spouses, but they still outwardly act respectful to them.
  • They work hard to make their relationships with their exes pleasant, or at least tolerable.
  • If they have children, they put their own discomfort aside for the sake of their children.
  • They adhere to and respect their legal agreements.
  • When they disagree, they try to compromise and resolve their differences.
  • They do not share their dirt; their marriages quietly end without a lot of rumors.

1. They Do Not Want to Live With Their Ex-Spouses, But They Still Appear to Respect Them

My divorced friends and family members who get along with their ex-spouses do not bad-mouth their exes. At worst, they acknowledge that some of the qualities that attracted them to their ex may still exist, but people change, so those qualities are not be appealing now.

2. They Work Hard to Keep Their Relationship Civil and Amicable

We all know that having a successful marriage takes a lot of work; having an amicable divorce takes a lot of work too. Many happily divorced couples that I know will spend time together because it pleases their children.

It is not easy to make milestone events a happy occasion for many divorced couples, but many ex-spouses with good divorces put aside their differences to make the day about their children.

It is not easy to make milestone events a happy occasion for many divorced couples, but many ex-spouses with good divorces put aside their differences to make the day about their children.

3. If They Have Children, They Put Their Children First When Interacting With Their Ex-Spouse

My friends and family with exceptional divorces are flexible with their ex-spouse's schedule. Yes, when children are in the mix, there are custody agreements, but generally speaking, they are flexible when issues come up. They recognize the importance of their children having a good relationship with both parents, and they strive to make it happen.

Rarely, if ever, have I seen them say anything negative about their ex in front of their children. To the extent that they are sharing expenses for children-related costs, they make an effort to agree on the decisions. Sometimes if their children are old enough, their children contribute to the decision. Most importantly, their children rarely miss an important milestone where both of their parents are not in attendance (graduations, major holidays, important extracurricular games etc.).

4. They Stick to Their Legal Agreements

To my knowledge, both parties respect and adhere to their financial and parental obligations. Money problems can cause stress in a marriage and a divorce.

5. When They Disagree, They Manage to Resolve Their Issues

When they disagree, they take a step back and minimize their contact or resolve their issues another way. They are open to compromising and communicating.

Keeping the dirt behind closed doors can help you have a better divorce in lieu of having the entire neighborhood know your business.

Keeping the dirt behind closed doors can help you have a better divorce in lieu of having the entire neighborhood know your business.

6 They Don't Share Their Dirt With Anyone

I think everyone has been in a neighborhood where they hear the latest dirt about a recently divorced neighborhood couple. Although the rumors may be quietly murmured, they get around quickly enough so that even community members who are not friendly with the couple know their business. People talk at the hair salon, school PTO meetings and just about everywhere else. However, the most amicable divorces in my area do not provide fuel for rumors because the divorces happen quietly without any smut or fanfare.

It is probably difficult to go through divorce and manage to follow all these observations. Nevertheless, if you can, they will probably help make your divorce better than expected.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Abby Slutsky

Comments

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 06, 2020:

Thanks for reading.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 06, 2020:

You make some interesting points in this thought-provoking article. Your observations give a more positive option of how divorcd can be worked through in a more amicable way for the benefit of everyone involved.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 04, 2020:

That is wonderful. I feel confident that you benefitted from their positive relationship. It is a shame when things don't work out, but even worse when the people involved are not able to salvage anything positive. It sounds like your parents are terrific parents.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on November 04, 2020:

It certainly does help to remain friends for the children's sake. Plus it is always best if you can respect one another enough.

Your article points out some good advice.

My parents separated when I was 16 and they still get along with one another.

That was almost 44 years ago.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 04, 2020:

I would agree with you, but I think financial stress can contribute too. Nevertheess, I know two people with the deal breaker that actually get along quite well.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on November 04, 2020:

My guess is amicable divorces are (fairly rare) because it is unusual for both people to actually want a divorce. This leads to hurt feelings and if the person initiating the divorce is doing so due to a "deal breaker" they oftentimes are angry and want revenge.

Anger is the Mask that Hurt wears.

When people are angry they engage in uncharacteristic behavior.

Having gone through a divorce I can tell you there are "steps" which come before someone makes the announcement they want out. Once their feelings are revealed it's only natural for both sides to develop a strategy to protect themselves financially and plan for a life after the marriage is dissolved.

The person caught off guard feels rejected and in certain instances has a need to prove to themselves their partner was cheating on them or doing some other underhanded activities while pretending things were going fine with the marriage.

Not only are assets split up but also in many instances family and friends as they feel obligated to support whomever they've known longer. And god forbid if one learns the other is soon dating and "living their best life" immediately after the separation lots of questions arise. Being happy and moving on quickly is a sure sign someone had been emotionally detached for a while.

There are also instances of a "friendzone" version with some divorces. The person initiating the divorce doesn't want to feel like the "bad guy" and offers friendship as a "consolation prize".

The person who doesn't want a divorce accepts the friendship with the hope they might reconcile or possibly remarry in the future.

No one who "emotionally invested" or "all in" with regard to their marriage will accept divorce in a friendly manner without the benefit of time. You're more likely to see "friendly divorces" between couples who have been through divorce before with their previous marriages.

They know it's not the end of the world and are more likely to view divorce a public admission that a mistake was made in someone's mate selection/screening process for choosing a spouse.

There are three basic reasons why couples split up.

1.They chose the wrong mate. (They're too incompatible.)

2. A "deal breaker" was committed in one of their eyes.

3. They gradually fell out of love/grew apart over time.

#2 is the least likely to end in a friendly manner.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 03, 2020:

Thank you for reading. I was trying for a catchy title, so I hope it intrigues others.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 03, 2020:

The title of this article made me wonder what you could possibly say but I thought your suggestions were excellent. It is always a win when you can get along and cooperate with anyone else, and ending a marriage is usually painful.

My sister had an amiable relationship after her divorce and it was good for the children. This is a very good article, Abby.