Friday April 23rd would have been our tenth wedding anniversary. But after deciding to separate when pregnant with our second child, we got divorced in 2017. Today, we are one of each other's closest friends. We parent, socialise, laugh and cry together. We have welcomed new partners into the lives of the other. We have redefined our relationship in a way no-one at the time of our separation believed we would. This topic cuts deep and resources are few and far between; here are some principles we lived by to help us through.
SET: A vision for how you want your new relationship to look. You will need time, space and patience to get there but there is a lot of truth in the saying "fake it 'til you make it". You need to agree on what you want and be open to details changing. Don't sweat the little things or let them get in the way of your overall goal of being friends and doing the very best by your kids. Keep one another as a high priority in your lives and in your decision making. Write down your commitments to one another. This is your new relationship contract.
TELL: The people you love what you are working towards in your new relationship paradigm and ask for their support, together. Remember that almost everything you read in the media and everything you hear on this topic will be tinged (drowning!) in negativity. The same can be true of family and friends. They need to know you need them in your corner. You may have to wait a while for them to turn up but most of them eventually do.
DO: Therapy. You may not be committed to solving your marital issues anymore but you are committing to a potentially life-long partnership as parents and friends. You need help navigating this transition. We turned to Justin Cooper, who specialises in hypnotherapy, and helped us to see the patterns of behaviour we needed to break to make this work.
REBUILD: No matter the circumstances for how your romantic relationship ended, trust bleeds out quickly. You will have to have trust in yourselves, believe in what you are trying to do and let go of the fear that really belongs to other people.