“I cannot wait to be done with that person” commonly escapes the mouth of a divorcing couple. Often times, divorce simply changes the nature of the relationship, rather than ending it.
Belonging to the same organizations, being in similar friend circles, or co-parenting children means a relationship continues. It simply evolves into a different type of relationship. Today’s focus is the transition to co-parenting.
Some parents discover they are much better at sharing co-parenting responsibilities than living together as spouses. However, spouses who did not communicate clearly about parental responsibilities during marriage may find it even more difficult when they stop living under the same roof.
One parent may assume the other will take all the responsibilities previously held or believe both parents will now automatically share equally in the responsibilities. Having a clear communication about all the child’s needs and who will take care of them when makes a huge difference. This is not a one-time conversation.
Each parent may also have ideas about how the other parent “should” behave. Since the relationship changed from couple to co-parents, the responsibilities to each other certainly change as well.
Parents may find themselves talking even more than before about the child’s activity schedules, medical appointments, and other matters as both parents assume responsibilities that one person may have just handled when together.
Navigating the new relationship may sometimes be a challenge. It may feel awkward talking with an ex-spouse. Keeping the focus on the child and seeing the co-parent as a teammate in caring for the child may help.
Both parents and the children have needs for connection, safety, security, respect, and peace. Everyone involved may have very different ideas about how that happens. Look for next week’s blog, where I offer five tips for resolving co-parenting issues.