About ten years ago I broke off the relationship with Rocco's father. Of course you do not just take a decision like that, a lot of thinking about it precedes. In the end I could not help but cut the knot, because I knew one thing for sure, we would not be happy with each other.
There was a violent time, or I can honestly say that it is a pretty intense time. Also for Rocco. He was afraid that he would have to miss one of us, that he would have to make a choice. Since the break fell exactly during the height of the economic crisis (timing is everything) and our house was not a bit under water, but completely drowned, we decided for the time being to stay in one house.
Of course we could have made another choice, but this would have had enormous (negative) financial consequences for us both. We did not want both, so we stayed - in separate bedrooms - in the same house.
We are now ten years away and we still live in the same house. A few years ago I found a new partner and he also lives in this house 5 days a week. The other two days we live together in his house. Everything is in good harmony and I am happy that my new partner and my ex-partner can find it together. Take it from me that there is a lot of laughter every day in this house.
Of course, this situation did not arise without a struggle. There are really very violent moments preceded, because this is certainly not an easy way. Especially in the beginning there have been very difficult moments. Moments of blame, anger, grief and impotence. Yet, certainly in the interest of Rocco, we have come out of this and now the household is running reasonably calm and smooth. Quarrels are barely here and that's fine. We also just eat together every night, we celebrate the holidays together and sometimes we go out with each other. To an amusement park, football match, short holiday trip or festival. Recently, my new partner went pooling another night with my ex-partner. Top that this is possible!
Fine for our son
Even though Rocco is now in an age that he would rather see his parents go (puberty), for him this is a very nice situation. He always has his parents around him - except for the weekend. On Saturday, when we are in Boskoop, he is with his grandfather all day and on Sunday he has his father around him all day and just before supper we are there again.
Together for the children
It worked out well for us. However, I could never have stayed in a relationship where there is no room for love for each other. I have discovered that love is extremely important to each other, especially during difficult times. Love gives forgiveness, attention, a gun factor, and so on. If there is no love for each other, then these aspects are often not there and often there is only struggle, tension and envy. You no longer make the best of each other, but the opposite. And in that tension is your child, or children. They feel that and the chances are even that they will involve it in itself.
It is better to give each other the freedom. Physical and emotional distance to each other, so that there can be room for a new model of being together. After all, you are together the parents of your children. So you will always be connected to each other! You better find a good mode for that. A mode without resentment and blame.
Respect for each other
Do not expect that everything runs smoothly after the divorce. In the beginning there is a lot of pain, sadness and blame. Try to look through that and especially not to go against it. If you blame each other with blame, there is no room for solutions. Give the other person his pain and grief. These emotions are inextricably linked to the process of saying goodbye. This grieving process needs time, understanding and space. If you go through that together - and that can take a couple of years - the time can come for a new kind of (friendly) contact where there can even be room for respect to each other.
Do not try to make mud battles with each other and do not involve your child in the process of pain and grief. He loves both of you unconditionally and if one of the partners (or even both) talks negatively about the other, he feels compelled to make a choice! You do not want to do that to your child?
Staying together for the children is often not a good option, because this does not release the best in you. It only provides a breeding ground for even more blame, acidification and anger. However, this does not detract from the fact that it is important - in the interest of the children - to realize the separation in as respectful a way as possible and not to throw unnecessary oil on the fire. Try in your deepest emotions, not to destroy things (unnecessarily), so that normal contact is possible at a later time.
Shake on the tree
I once heard someone say that new situations, such as a divorce or the arrival of a child, can be compared to a tree where dozens of birds sit quietly on the branches. In the event of a violent change, all those birds are startled and fly in all directions. When the peace has returned a little, the birds also return to the branches. Maybe to the same spot, maybe to another spot, but in the end all birds will have found their own place again. That's the way it is with you too. With a divorce there is a lot of shaking on that tree, and everyone is flying up. But by allowing time to do its job and consciously creating peace, everyone eventually returns to a branch. Maybe on another branch, but there is nothing wrong with that!