When you got a divorce, what were your expectations?  Did you think that you would finally be able to run the house the way you wanted?  Were you thinking that you would no longer have to fight your ex on every little detail that comes with the kids?  I know I was. 

Many newly divorced folks think the same thing.  In fact, for many of those co-parents, their ex was never involved in planning for the children until the divorce!  Suddenly, this job that many co-parents had been doing on their own anyway was being scrutinized by the one person that was never involved to begin with!  UGH!!

As I talk to more and more divorced parents, this is something I hear constantly.  That was the inspiration for this post.  Below are 5 ways co-parenting is a lot like still being married and ways to handle it. 

  1. Your ex is still trying to tell you that their way is better.  Whether it's the way you mow your lawn or the lunches you pack for your kids, the constant nagging feels an awful lot like still being married, doesn't it?  One of the best ways to deal with this is to simply pick your battles.  Unless it's related to the children or their care, the way you live your life is not your ex's business, so let their comments go!
  2. The in-laws (now ex-in-laws) are always still there.  This could be good or bad depending on your in-laws!  My advice? Keep the parenting between you and your ex.  Sometimes the easiest way to do that is to let your in-laws say what's on their mind, thank them for their thoughts, and move on. 
  3. You still have to see your ex at all major events.  You probably see your ex more than that with pick-ups and drop-offs.  Keep conversation light and short.  Smile and nod because it's important for the kids to see and move on, at least until the next time you have to see them. 
  4. You don't get rid of the "When will you...." questions.  When you two were dating, everyone asked when you would get married.  When you were married, they asked when you were having kids.  When you get divorced, they start asking when you'll be dating again.  My favorite answer to this question is, "I'm really just enjoying life in the moment right now."  Most people respond positively to that or not at all.  If they don't, you can always tell them that you're dating yourself, the relationship is going well, and that you really know all your wants and needs. 
  5. You can still use the, "Wait till I tell your Mom/Dad..."  OK, so this one can work in your favor.  If you have a good co-parenting relationship, the threat to tell their other parent about negative behaviors is still possible.  It's powerful before divorce and may be even more powerful afterwards. 

Those are my top 5 ways co-parenting and marriage are similar.  What stories do YOU have?  I want to hear from you, so comment below and tell me ways co-parenting feels like you've never really broken things off with your ex. 

Don't forget that if you're struggling to co-parent with your ex, you can pick up a copy of the book, "Co-Parenting When Your Ex Won't: A How-To Guide to Changing the Co-Parenting Relationship" right here.  Download immediately or order a print copy. 

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Kaern Becker, MA Life Coach