Redefining Love After Divorce

Libby Shively McAvoy
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Redefining love…Happily Ever After…Separately

We always bond together in times of importance. Unfortunately, we have lost two great men in our family this year- this past week we lost Stephen McAvoy who now watches over us from Heaven above.


Many people feel trapped in unhappy marriages and deciding to leave is never easy. No one starts out thinking they will end up divorced. It has a stigma attached to that we associate with shame, guilt, and failure. Instead of looking at it as quitting, or giving up on your partner, try looking at it as surrendering to what is no longer working and realizing it is no longer healthy or what you thought it would be. If the relationship is toxic you can no longer grow as an individual. The purpose of a relationship is to elevate us and help us become the best version of ourselves. When the relationship begins to drain our energy and drag us down, it negatively affects us emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.


Many stay married until their kids are fully grown, thinking they are saving them from the emotional damage of divorce. If the children see mom and dad are not happy and healthy emotion that can do more harm than good, particularly if they are subjected to emotional abuse and arguments, and see one of their parents in tears often. We cannot tell our children to be happy and show them something different. They learn by example. Happiness and love cannot be faked. You may be able to show them more love in fact, from two separate homes, if you divorce amicably and work together to co-parent. Think of divorcing not as a family parting way, but as a family starting a new and exciting chapter with a chance for everyone to start fresh.


Deciding to end a marriage is a huge decision. I highly recommend coaching and/or counseling before proceeding to that as a last resort. Accept the present moment free from resentment. In some cases, this may be difficult and may require a separation period to cool off before this is possible. Finally, accept your future relationship with your soon-to-be ex and what that will look like. If you have children, you will always be in each other’s lives; your role will just need to shift. You will need to work together in the best interest of the children.

Someone once told me it is best to treat your spouse like a business partner during the uncoupling process of divorce. This was very savvy and helpful advice that I now pass along to you because emotions will inevitably run very high for both people at different times. Even if you were the one who initiated the divorce, it will still bring tender moments, especially if you are compassionate and empathetic.

Dads tend to get called the “Disney Dads” because they often take the kids out on weekends and spoil them. Moms tend to have to do more “policing”, but if you work well together, you will support one another. My ex still calls our kids when they are out of line and backs me up by telling them to shape up. That really helps me. Not that I can’t handle it, but it lets the kids know they cannot play against each other to get what they want. And it also reinforces the respect to keep things as stable as they would had we all been under one roof.

Take space when you need to and surrender the need to control. Remember, trust your partner with your children. You still need to work as a team when it comes to parenting. Even if you keep conversation minimal at first, if the children are old enough, you can even communicate pick-up and drop-off times through them if that is agreed upon. Keep in mind the children just want to feel secure and loved. After all, they were not responsible for why your marriage did not work.

It took my ex and me about a year after our amicable divorce/dissolution before we could spend holidays together. We both needed time to heal. In fact, he resented me for choosing to end the marriage. He even thought I had turned our daughter against him. That was his ego working against him and not the actual reality. I tell you this openly, so you know to watch out for this as an example of self-deceptive thoughts that can quickly happen when you are in the fight or flight response. When I was later texting and calling him literally, encouraging him to take both kids to do things, he realized the truth of what was happening. He actually later had a conversation and apologized to our daughter for being absent from her life for so long.

I would never keep our kids from him. He is a great dad and a great man. We just did not have enough common interests, and our love languages did not work well together. In fact, he summed it up in the end by saying, “I get it, you have grown exponentially, and I am exactly the same as when we got married. And both are OK.” From that point forward, we both knew we still had a great love and respect for each other, it had just shifted into new roles. We now try to get together on Christmas morning as a whole family and do funerals. Eventually, there will be weddings and other events. We do not socialize together, but we do the big stuff together, and when our kids are sick or in the hospital, we work together as a team. I am incredibly grateful for that. It makes my life more peaceful, and I can see the appreciation it brings our families, both immediate and extended.


Forget what everyone else says. No one else is YOU. No one else knows what is best for you. Let them gossip. If it upsets your new relationship, let the new relationship go. Your personal growth and self-realization come first and your kids come next. If that new person loves you, they should understand your ex's new role and be grateful for that. It is rare and should be respected and appreciated. Boundaries should be respected of course. As Danny Morel said, “Divorce doesn’t have to mean a broken family…it can mean a love like never before. It is your choice.” It is all about acceptance, awareness, and attitude. You have to do what is right for you and follow your arrow to happiness. We cannot live our lives trying to please others or stay married for the church or any other reason that doesn’t feel right and true. We have to live in alignment with our authentic voice. Sometimes as we change and grow, we outgrow our partners and simply need to move forward, forgive ourselves and others, and continue to love differently.

I hope this provides a new perspective and light on how divorce can go. To me, perspective and mindset are everything. Changing a negative into a positive is so important in the spirit of manifesting abundance in our lives. Our thoughts determine our outcomes. So imagine and visualize your future exactly as you wish it to be in vivid detail. That is the first step to manifesting your dreams. And then put those desires into loving action. Please do not wait until resentment builds to make your desired changes.

Wishing you all the best in life and in love.


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Libby is a Personal Development and Relationship coach specializing in emotional intelligence. By blending motivational speaking, leading yoga and wellness retreats, and writing, she has mastered the art of living her best life while helping others.

Cincinnati, OH

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