A father shares priceless advice for a happy blended family.
After reading our article You can be a happy divorced family, which details why an ex-husband behaves the way he does, a Parent24 reader responded:
"I read your article on friendly divorce with interest.
"I am also the best of friends with my ex-wife. We were good friends for many years before we married, and when the marriage hit the rocks, we eventually were able to just go back to being the good friends we once were.
"We’ve been friends since the late 70’s, became lovers in the mid 80’s, married in 1990, and divorced 13 years later in 2003. Not only are we still good friends, but my wife and ex-wife at first learned to tolerate one another, and have since become quite good friends.
"Not exactly bosom buddies, but close enough to have dinner or drinks at each other’s houses every so often. When I’m out of town traveling (which I do a lot of and it probably cost me my marriage), the two girls often get together for a glass of wine and a chat.
"It really makes life easier for everyone.
Learning how to communicate is key
"This was also what I tried to instil in my wife, as when we first moved in together (she was also divorced), her ex-husband used to phone every morning at about 5am and they would have acrimonious phone conversations – or rather slanging matches, and the one would end up hanging up on the other.
"I spent many months saying that they needed to learn to simply talk to one another. They would share children forever, and if they were simply civil to one another, it would go easier on the children.
"Eventually they did learn to talk to one another, and this developed into a close friendship between them. I think the ex-husband also realised that I only had his children’s interest at heart, and had no other agenda. He and I have since become very good friends over the last few years.
Children don't need to hear or know certain things
"If people who loved one another at one time, and are no longer in love, there is no reason to feel that it is now the order of the day to be derogatory, rude and have a heart filled with hate or malice.
"It doesn’t make one’s friends proud to see you being awful about an ex. It does make people sit up and think when they can see that it is perfectly normal for 2 people to continue respecting one another.
"I made a point of never discussing my wife’s ex with her when the children were in the house. It simply had nothing to do with them, and would only make them feel insecure. It give them the feeling that the roof over their head was temporary, and could go away at any time.
"I’ve always told my step daughters that they will always have a roof over their heads, and that my home would always have a place for them, even if something should happen to their mom, they would always have a place to call home.
The most normal childhood under the circumstances
"Their dad was the same, and has always had a place for these two special children. They refer to us as their 'two dads.'
"I do think that they have had the most normal childhood under the circumstances, and today they have grown into beautiful well balanced young women.
"I have a very successful business which I always thought that I would sell when it came time to retirement, as I am devoid of heirs, and no one else in my family (sibling or nephew) was interested.
"However, both girls have since joined the business, and I'm very happy to know that they are interested in carrying on where I intend to leave off."
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