Even though you’ve decided to file for divorce, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop caring for one another.
Read that again.
All too often, people associate divorce with shouting matches, irrational behavior, and each spouse doing his or her best to make sure the other ends up with absolutely nothing. While divorce certainly can be an ugly business, it doesn’t have to be. SplitSimple, Denver divorce mediators, point out that if you and your spouse have decided to call your marriage quits, but still actually like and respect one another, it’s entirely possible that you can end your time as a married couple but begin a whole new kind of relationship together as friends!
Keep in mind that this is obviously not the case for all divorcing couples. For example, if the grounds of your divorce include domestic violence, drug abuse, child abuse, or any other criminal activity, it may not be possible, or even advisable, to remain friendly following its finalization. But for everyone else who has simply decided to “consciously uncouple,” as Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin once described their incredibly friendly divorce, here’s how to pull it off!
Remember Why You Fell in Love in the First Place
Was it his love of dogs? Her talented karaoke performance? Their dorky snorting laughter at a dumb movie you saw together? Whatever first drew you to your ex-spouse is something that is likely still true about them. Maybe marriage didn’t pan out for you due to ideological differences, but you are still likely to find things you enjoy about each other’s company even after your divorce. Focus on those things and you’re on your way to an amicable split.
Reinvent Yourselves as Co-Parents
If you’ve got kids, it’s OK to still do stuff as a family, even if you’re no longer married. So feel free to take that trip to the zoo together, or share a laugh at your child’s first outing at the roller-skating rink or water park. You both still adore your kids- why not keep that part of your relationship alive? (One caveat: in order to minimize confusion for your kids or get their hopes up about you getting back together, make sure to always keep it strictly platonic and avoid taking any overnight trips that could send the wrong message.)
Welcome the New Significant Others
This may be the hardest step, but it’s the surest sign that you’re really, truly friends after your divorce: getting to know your ex’s new girlfriend or boyfriend. If you’re really over the time you shared as a married couple and are ready to start a new chapter as friends with your ex, it’s important that you are also inclusive of anyone new he or she meets. And turnabout is fair play- sooner or later, if you meet someone new, your ex can welcome him or her with no jealousy or negative vibes.
Bottom line: yes, it’s possible to remain friends after a divorce. No, it’s not always that easy. But if it’s important to you and your ex that you stay friendly once your marriage has ended, you’ll find that it can be achieved.