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Were your parents divorced?

 
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amother




OP
 

Post  Sun, May 31 2020, 7:45 pm
If yes, what sort of relationship did they have with each other?

What and how much did their relationship mean to you?

My teens commented that I am tense around their father and would like it if I was friends with him.

What do I say/do?


I do not want to feel too close to him because we are no linger married and it is very easy to slip into that mode.
But I do want to make my kids happy.
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amother




Plum
 

Post  Sun, May 31 2020, 8:12 pm
My parents were not divorced though I am. It is inappropriate to be friends. However you don't need to be tense. My child always asked his father to come into our house for years. My ex never followed up and it disturbed my child. In general they want their parents to get along and want some kind of whole family connection which may not be realistic sadly. I really work on myself to let go bec lately my child has been commenting too on my demeanor.
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amother




Aquamarine
 

Post  Sun, May 31 2020, 8:17 pm
My parents got divorced for a year. He moved out and has a small apt he even slept in the basement they dated other people which I didn’t like they remarried and fought police would come to our home and it woulbe in the paper the rabbi in Scranton should have not let them remarry my mother was abused till the day she died
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amother




Honeydew
 

Post  Sun, May 31 2020, 8:28 pm
My parents divorced. It was messy and they never spoke again. We were all above 13 years old so Custody was based on where we individual kids wanted to stay with so co parenting was non existent.
It’s been over ten years now.
Obviously my situation was very very different than your kids experience.
Your kids just want to feel safe. Divorce caused a rupture in that automatic safe feeling kids experience during childhood.
So you may need to go the extra mile to create that illusion of safety. You don’t need to do anything that doesn’t sit right with you, but maybe try to understand yourself and what’s the root of the tension that comes up. And maybe that awareness will help you feel calmer during those moments. Kids also need to understand expectations, some kids live with the idea that their parents will get back together. On their own level they need to be told what to expect and that creates somewhat of a new normal..
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thunderstorm




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, May 31 2020, 8:30 pm
My parents were always cordial. My father and mother shmoozed when my father came to pick us up for visitation.
My father also came into the house a few times to fix this or that.
They converse at family functions and simchos but they are not friends. More like acquaintances.
It helped a lot that we didn’t feel friction between them , when I was a kid.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Sun, May 31 2020, 9:14 pm
amother [ Plum ] wrote:
My parents were not divorced though I am. It is inappropriate to be friends. However you don't need to be tense. My child always asked his father to come into our house for years. My ex never followed up and it disturbed my child. In general they want their parents to get along and want some kind of whole family connection which may not be realistic sadly. I really work on myself to let go bec lately my child has been commenting too on my demeanor.


U see my xdh had no problem coming into the house until I one day said that I am not ok with it. I felt that there was no boundary. We do get along but I am just careful not to get too close. Now with lockdown dynamics have changed because the kids are home and sort of in between, creating more connection than before...
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amother




Jetblack
 

Post  Mon, Jun 01 2020, 4:37 am
My parents divorced and my mother banned us from contacting my father. She maintained email contact with him and once in a while verbally abused him over the phone (I would hear the yelling) when she thought we were all asleep.

After a few years she unofficially loosened the restrictions and stopped verbally abusing anyone who tried to contact him by email or phone. Now apparently they share family news via email, once in a long while.

There was no co-parenting.

My in-laws divorced but co-parented well and are still friendly and respectful towards each other. On very rare occasions one will visit the other's home, but that's only when necessary for some other reason, they don't live in the same city anymore. The kids had the freedom to decide how much contact they wanted with each parent at a given time and who they wanted to stay with.

If it helps, all of my siblings need serious trauma therapy and have suffered harm to either their mental health or their physical health, caused by the divorce. Those of my siblings who have tried relationships have had issues there too.

All of DH's siblings have relationship issues but no physical/ mental health issues due to the divorce.
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amother




Peach
 

Post  Mon, Jun 01 2020, 6:19 am
My parents divorced when I was young and it was extremely acrimonious. I wished they would have gotten along a little better. They literally did not speak to each other once the ink was dry on the judgement.
My father was verbally and emotionally abusive and my mom had to keep 100% distance from him.
He abandoned me after a few years, he just wasn't capable of being any type of father.
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amother




Ginger
 

Post  Mon, Jun 01 2020, 7:51 am
My mother didn't speak to my father and refused to be in the same place as him for years. She almost didn't come to my wedding because of this and she didn't attend the britot of 3 of my sons or the kiddush for my daughter, which was painful for me. Things have got better and she now attends family simchas at which my father is present, as long as they are in a sizeable hall where she can stay out of sight-line from him. This had a horrible impact on all of us children. I'm glad they divorced, they had an unhealthy relationship and my mother is much healthier and happier now. I wish they could have had a non-conflict ridden divorce, and a distant but cordial relationship afterwards, but given their marriage, that wasn't really possible.

My divorced aunt and uncle have a cordial relationship in public, attend family simchas and wish each other mazel tov, and my aunt even attended my uncle's relatives funeral, who she had a close relationship with. I think my aunt finds it difficult than my uncle, but she does a great job.

As for you, it sounds like you are doing your best for your kids. No doubt your tension in exDH's is a result of the dynamics in your marriage and during the divorce, and I'm sure it's very understandable. If you can project (fake) a more relaxed persona around him for your kids' sake, and have a 'safe person' handy - at the simcha if possible, or to meet up with later - whom you can unload to and who will support and comfort you, that would be ideal.
Also, could you respond to your kid with something like, "Your dad is a great father to you and I'm so happy you spend time with him and have a good relationship [if that's true]. Unfortunately your dad's and my relationship was not healthy and that is why we decided to divorce. That's why I have uncomfortable feelings when we are together. But that's my issue and has nothing to do with you. You don't need to pay any attention to my tension and I don't want it to affect your feelings or actions at all. Your dad and I both love you and want what's best for you." A teen, especially an older teen, can have the maturity and insight to understand that, even though they might wish things were different.
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amother




Rose
 

Post  Mon, Jun 01 2020, 8:01 am
My parents are actually not Frum (I'm a BT) but one thing that stands out to me is this--every doctor my siblings and I ever had, every teacher, every type of person who would have been in touch with our parents always said, "Wow your parents really speak respectfully about each other." My parents although divorced always worked together for us and that spoke volumes. They had their issues with each other but they pulled it together for the larger cause of parenting and even found ways to cast each other in a positive light and spoke of each others' strengths when speaking to said teachers, doctors, etc in our lives. It was obvious as a teenager that this was work for them and I appreciate it. Teenagers don't always have a ton of insight into how things should be or how they can be handled but they can definitely pick up on a lot energetically. If you strive to be a mensch they will appreciate it for years to come (even if they don't appreciate it right away). It sounds like you already are on the right track since you are thinking so much about this! I applaud your efforts.
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amother




Slateblue
 

Post  Mon, Jun 01 2020, 8:24 am
Kudos to you for trying your best for your kids.

A huge achievement that certainly they pick up on.

You can set clear and firm boundaries which actually serve to lessen tension as you and everyone knows what they are. and the lines are drawn to reflect your comfort level.

Within those you can be be positive and speak so to your kids of their father.

Barring mitigating circumstances, generally your home (and his) should be a boundary neither crosses and this should be determined between the parents so it does not come up awkwardly in front of the kids etc.

The more everyone knows what to expect and the more positive and calm the parents are the better for everyone.

Hugs and hatzlocha
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amother




Jade
 

Post  Mon, Jun 01 2020, 10:10 am
Delete
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amother




OP
 

Post  Mon, Jun 01 2020, 9:47 pm
Thanks for all your replies. It is really interesting to see other people's experiences.

My issue is that I dont want to be his friend!!! we have an amicable and respectful relationship but I don't agree with his lifestyle and that he doesnt respect my lifestyle and how I bring the kids up.

Would you go on an outing together. 3 kids and both us parents? Woyld be kids dream but where do I make a boundary??
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amother




Ginger
 

Post  Mon, Jun 01 2020, 10:37 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Thanks for all your replies. It is really interesting to see other people's experiences.

My issue is that I dont want to be his friend!!! we have an amicable and respectful relationship but I don't agree with his lifestyle and that he doesnt respect my lifestyle and how I bring the kids up.

Would you go on an outing together. 3 kids and both us parents? Woyld be kids dream but where do I make a boundary??


No, definitely not.

It might be the kids' dream, but ultimately will just confuse them. Kids almost always wish their parents would get back together. Despite what I said upthread about my parents' terrible marriage, I mourned when my father remarried because that meant reunification with my mother was off the cards. Through your actions make it clear to your kids that you and ex are co-parents and respect each other, but you are not friends and you are not getting back together [if that's the case].
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amother




Ginger
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 12:37 am
Double post
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amother




Silver
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 1:02 am
I was divorced. In my circles, divorced couples have nothing to do with each other. So I did not speak to my ex since we separated. In the beginning we had a go-between person. Once my children got older, they took over. But there was never any fighting or friction. when my daughter got married, my ex came but we did not exchange one word.
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amother




Pearl
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 1:50 am
My parents are divorced. My father has come into our house plenty of times, and when I got married DH thought it was weird, but I honestly loved it. My father would be in the entranceway talking to us, or if no one was home would sit in the living room and play instruments with us. My mother didn’t care.. she wasn’t usually around. This didn’t happen often but it did happen.
Anyway. From a child of divorced parents: please please please never even mention anything to your kids abt money and tell your ex to do the same. No ‘he doesn’t pay child support‘ or her bought you what??’ Etc...
I know you didn’t mention it above but I just wanted to mention it bc it really affected me anytime one of them would say something like that.
Yes, your kids have a dream of you getting back together. Going on a trip with him isn’t a good idea. However, I do think being polite and friendly to a point is a good idea. Treat him like an acquaintance... no need to say ‘how r u’ etc., but nod at each other etc
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