By Tiffany Williams-Jallow, Relationships360° Founder
Since nearly half of U.S. marriages are failing and result in divorce, the concept of divorcing as friends is gaining importance. It’s critical for ex spouses to get along, especially when the parted couple has children together. Children get their ideas about how to treat the opposite sex and potential partners primarily from their parents, so if their parents engage in abusive behavior toward each other during their split, then the children are likely to follow suit, if ever faced with divorce. Likewise, the children may internalize their parents’ verbal abuse and act out their aggressive behavior with peers and family members or bottle up their anger and carry it into adult relationships to be taken out on future partners. However, adversarial divorces not only cause problems with the children of divorce but the divorcees themselves.
Harboring hatred or contempt for one’s ex spouse may be wrongly projected on to new partners or spouses, which is one reason second and third marriages fail at a higher rate than first marriages. Being unforgiving of an ex spouse can also lead to rebound relationships in which the parted spouse that is still angry with their ex jumps into another relationship soon after the divorce as a form of retaliation against or to spite their ex. Because rebound relationships are entered to with the wrong motives they almost never work out hurting the angry divorcee, their children and new partner. Again, if rebound relationships are successful, they tend to quickly result in divorce, boosting the failure rate for remarriages. Not only because the relationship was entered into with the wrong intentions, but also because the ex spouse who entered into the rebound relationship might still carry emotional baggage from their marriage and are therefore emotionally unavailable to the new partner, or unpack their baggage in the new relationship by taking out their frustration with their ex out on the new partner, which can lead to constant misunderstandings and arguments or even domestic violence.
To help prevent rebound relationships and remarriages from failing, Elinor Robin and expert guest on the “Successful Second Marriage” episode of Relationships360 urged divorcees to get post divorce counseling with a divorce coach or within a divorce support group. Doing so helps the angry and bitter divorcee to grieve the end of their marriage and heal from it faster giving them a clean slate to start a new relationship with less emotional baggage than if they would have jumped into a new relationship without help. The Relationships360 Marketing Group recently published, “Relationship Roadmap: The Guide To Getting The Relationship You Want,” which helps you determine if you’re ready for a relationship and have completely grieved your divorce or loss of a long term relationship. You can download it free by entering your name and email on this blog’s registration box.
Finally, if you are contemplating divorce or going through divorce, you might want to consider divorce mediation. It’s an alternative to litigation, which tends to be adversarial in nature with parting spouses bickering and fighting over everything from who gets the family pet to who will live in the marriage home. It’s possible that divorce mediation can actually help prevent a divorce from occurring with a post nuptial or marriage agreement being reached, but if it does, at least the parting couple can remain friends feeling that they have taken care of themselves in the divorce while being fair to their ex spouse, which will be better for them, their kids, in-laws and future spouses. For more on this topic, listen to “Divorcing As Friends” at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/relationships360/2011/09/09/divorcing-as-friends or “Successful Second Marriage” at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/relationships360/2011/10/14/successful-second-marriage. Also, get a free divorce coaching session by entering your name and email address at www.relationships360.com..