**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I resented my daughter’s father when our relationship ended. I was angry about the things that led to the demise of our marriage. I was also mad about how he chose to handle the divorce.
The first few years were hard because I was so angry. But I was careful about what I said and how I behaved around our daughter. I did not want my feelings to influence her feelings about her dad. She deserved to have a relationship that was free of my baggage.
Eventually, I realized that I needed to let go of my anger if I ever wanted to be truly happy. I started working on myself, and slowly but surely, the anger began to dissipate. And as it did, my relationship with my daughter’s father improved.
Now, he is one of my best friends.
People often ask me how I get along so well with him, given our history. I tell them it’s because I decided to let go of my anger and focus on what’s important: my daughter’s happiness.
After getting past the muck of anger and resentment, I realized that my ex was doing the best that he could — just like me. We were both just trying to survive and make the best out of a difficult situation.
Acknowledging that truth was a game-changer for me. It allowed me to move on and create a more positive relationship with him for our daughter’s sake. And I am grateful for that.
Over the years, we have been able to talk to each other about anything and everything. We talk about business and romantic relationships. We discuss our dreams and aspirations. We give each other advice and support.
We have even been able to laugh about some of the things that caused problems in our marriage. We can joke about it now because we are on the same side. We are both committed to our daughter’s happiness and well-being.
We may not always agree on things, but we can always see each other’s perspectives. We also show each other the same amount of respect that we would show any other close friend.
Naturally, we have both moved on and have had relationships with other people. And our partners have always understood and respected our friendship. One of his former girlfriends is one of my dearest friends to this day. She believes that my relationship with him helped her become a better stepparent to her husband’s children.
I also believe that our friendship has helped my daughter in many ways. She has been able to see first-hand how a healthy and supportive relationship can function. And I think that this has helped her form healthier relationships with the people in her own life.
It’s not always possible to be friends with a former spouse, especially if the marriage ended on bad terms. But if both parties are willing to work on it, I think it can be an enriching experience.
Of course, being friends is not the only way to have a healthy relationship with an ex. If children are involved, being civil and respectful is more than enough. But if you can be friends, I think it’s worth the effort.
How about you? Could you be friends with your former spouse? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below.