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01:28 PM on 07/14/2011
When our marriages come to an end we get to make a decision about how we want to respond to the situation, which depends upon our ability to be resourceful in the moment.

When my husband decided to leave I was very clear that I loved him and would continue to love him no matter what. I set the intention to bring our relationship to a close with grace and ease.

We can use the emotional trauma of divorce to let go of our emotional baggage, by feeling into the pain of the trauma. I let go of my attachments to him, the house, my gardens, and I let go of anger, and fear of being alone. I began to feel confident, happier and more centered. I practiced being LOVE, loving myself and loving others.

The result; an amicable divorce, we are good friends and I love him as a human being. I gained the ability to love others even when they do things that aren't lovable, real forgiveness. I now have the strength to live into the life of my dreams without all the old fears.

We can have an amicable divorce, love our partner and take care of the business all at the same time. Sometimes we have to accept that our partner is no longer committed to being with us for what ever reason. And do you really want to live your life with someone who doesn't want to be with you?

Jacque
www.yourdivinedivorce.com
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goodmarina
Most People use Religion to justify their bias!
02:03 PM on 07/14/2011
in order to have an amicable divorce - it takes TWO people who are committed to emotional and intellectual honesty.

and in that context - what you outline is possible.

however, the truth is ... it is rare, very rare.
02:38 PM on 07/14/2011
Hi Marina,

I guess rare is a perspective. Doing my research for Divine Divorce I came across lots of people who had amicable divorces. So what I am clear about it is possible and the article itself is addressing amicable divorces.

I also believe that even if it is only one person who stands in a place of behaving from a place of love we affect the outcome of the divorce. And if we can use the emotional trauma of divorce to drop off our old emotional baggage at the same time. Then this is a bonus. It was only me who did this work. When I did not respond with hostility then neither did my husband.
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USLabor
This is going into Skinner's coffee.
02:15 PM on 07/14/2011
"When our marriages come to an end we get to make a decision about how we want to respond to the situation, which depends upon our ability to be resourcefu­l in the moment."

Agreed. We decide on how we will respond.
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knowcomment
You keep using that word...
11:57 AM on 07/14/2011
Some people are just more adept at handling change and seeing the bigger picture. That’s what got me through my divorce from a spouse with Borderline Personality Disorder. Of course, owning up to my part in the madness had absolutely no impact on her. All the kindness and understanding has not prompted her to seek help or pick up the phone and call her son or mother or sisters (much less my family). Emotionally speaking, we will always leave the door open to her. Do we think she’ll ever step through it? Doubtful. We’ve been waiting over ten years now.

I don’t think every amicable divorce is a lie. I admire those who part as friends. But I must say I feel something close to nausea when those friendly exes go on about how wonderful and well-adjusted they have been through the whole process. Comes off as very pious to those of us less fortunate.
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goodmarina
Most People use Religion to justify their bias!
02:06 PM on 07/14/2011
Wow .. you describe EXACTLY what someone who is very near and dear went through when he & wife (with BPD) divorced.  

It has been about 10 years for my friend ... and all of us just watch  - in pain - the madness of how a divorce decree and the legal system is used by the ex-wife to date in order to satiate some strange need to remain the saint and victim.   

The only folks who have won are the lawyers.   The children almost always suffer ... and go through the wringer of manipulation and confusion.   But the smart ones eventually figure it out.

Just know that you aren't alone.   I'd love to see someone write a book or literature about divorce in relation to mental disorders and high manipulation.
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robadeaux
Your labels have expired....
02:20 PM on 07/14/2011
Thanks to both of you... BPD crazy to go through and frustrating. Especially when my ex says she is my friend... I ask myself what friend treats a friend this way? She treats strangers better and she uses our daughter as a lever and has rewritten the history of her leaving... absolutely crazy... and the courts... not on the fathers side.
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knowcomment
You keep using that word...
04:58 PM on 07/14/2011
Thank you. Sometimes I would like to write that book. Don't know that I would enjoy recounting the experience, though. Saint and victim, I like that. That is how she portrays herself, up until people get to know her.
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eri 68
Let's save time and just assume I'm always right.
10:09 AM on 07/14/2011
Fortunately my divorce was, and still is, completely amicable and my ex remains my best friend.

Regardless of what society may feel; neither of us look upon our marriage as a failure but rather a successful marriage that simply ran its course in due time. Both my ex and I come from homes where mom and dad were married until death did they part. We had fantastic examples around us of people whose marriages were meant to endure and by all expectations so should ours, but it didn't. We married young, had our son young and in time found that instead of continuing to grow together we had slowly grown apart. We did not go into divorce lightly nor did we celebrate the end of our marriage, instead we accepted, adjusted and moved forward as a family.

Did we have tough moments? Well of course we did, even couples who remain *happily* married experience tough times. Was there a lot of bending going in to keep from breaking? At times, yes but everything my ex and I ever did was in the best interest of our son, including divorcing which we did with no lawyers involved and we successfully raised a very healthy, happy, well adjusted (and now grown) son.
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eri 68
Let's save time and just assume I'm always right.
10:18 AM on 07/14/2011
*going on, not going in

Stupid lack of an edit function!
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divorcedpauline
09:46 AM on 07/14/2011
As a survivor of a horrifically contentious divorce, I envy those with amicable divorces (and am also completely perplexed by it). While it may be confusing for kids to see their divorced parents get along, I think it's far worse to see their divorced parents at war. But ending (or just calming down) the war generally means one person acquiescing to crazy demands -- just as one person gives away too much in order to keep the divorce amicable.
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robadeaux
Your labels have expired....
02:22 PM on 07/14/2011
I think most of those "amicable" divorces are just made up in the mind of the guilty party...
the spouse just says nothing.
02:31 PM on 07/14/2011
And, I would think, that same partner did most of the giving during the relationship.
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Vicki Larson
Journalist, mom, always questioning
09:15 AM on 07/14/2011
I agree with charlievanchocstraw — "there are married people who leave one another with little to no animosity."

Amicable to me means that you're willing to be open-minded and flexible and perhaps even forgiving so you can put your children first. It's easy to point a finger at your ex and blame it all on him or her, but if it takes two people to make a good marriage it takes two to make a marriage that ends in divorce.

My former husband and I had an amicable divorce. We weren't all smiles and there wasn't a song in my heart either (well, maybe a country-western song, because those are great for breakups), but we tried to be as kind as we could to each other in the interest of our kids. We co-parent pretty well, not to say that there aren't times that we get frustrated with each other; that's normal.

I would suggest that anyone who is full of anger when heading into divorce court or the mediator's office look inward first and recognize his/her own contributions that lead to the marriage's demise, and then try to found compassion for yourself and you ex. Your kids need you to respect each other if you can no longer love each other.
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woodnthrifty
10:14 AM on 07/14/2011
Obviously, neither one of you had a lover that was the catalyst for the divorce.
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Phoebe917
old hermit who lives in the woods
01:58 PM on 07/14/2011
a lover is often a sympton of a deteriorated relationship, not always the cause of a divorce which may have happened anyway.
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Vicki Larson
Journalist, mom, always questioning
02:09 PM on 07/14/2011
@woodnthrifty — can't speak for charlievan­chocstraw but the catalyst for my divorce was an affair — his, not mine — and other things bundled into that. But it was I who, after trying to salvage the marriage, eventually said I wanted a divorce. I could have blamed it all on him, but I was a partner in it — perhaps not 50-50, but, as I said, it takes two to make a marriage go bad. That's why I say — look inward first and understand your own baggage before you run to divorce court.
01:55 PM on 07/14/2011
"I would suggest that anyone who is full of anger when heading into divorce court or the mediator's office look inward first and recognize his/her own contributi­ons that lead to the marriage's demise, and then try to found compassion for yourself and you ex."

How does one contribute to a spouse's cause to commit adultery? Or abandonment? Or emotional/physical abuse?

Sorry, but sometimes being pissed off is totally called for.
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Vicki Larson
Journalist, mom, always questioning
02:44 PM on 07/14/2011
@jwadvocate83 — "How does one contribute to a spouse's cause to commit adultery? Or abandonmen­t? Or emotional/­physical abuse?"

That's the question the person cheated on, abused and abandoned needs to look into. Because if you stay with someone who abuses you, are you not somewhat accountable? If someone cheats on you, you don't "cause" someone to do that but you must look at what wasn't working in the marriage.

If two make a good marriage, two make a bad one in some degree or another. You can still feel pissed off, but own your own stuff. ;-)
08:53 AM on 07/14/2011
Most sensible article on divorce I've seen yet.

I completely agree.
08:42 AM on 07/14/2011
As a Marriage Mediator, I can't guarantee that a couple will stay together, but if they do the process whole-heartedly, I can guarantee that they will be able to make an informed decision about whether this relationship meets enough of their core needs to make sense as their primary relationship.

When they discover this isn't the case (like a couple who married when they self-described as "young, stupid and stoned" but now that the children are grown they realize they are simply too different) I hear over and over couples saying to each other: "I love you, I respect you, and I understand you and myself, and there just isn't enough overlap here for this to be my primary relationship."
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farmerlady
Blonde, Democratic socialist, and unwilling expat
01:41 PM on 07/14/2011
That's nice. The there are the people who divorce because one or both are unrepetant je.rks. Not a lot of way to remain friendly there.
03:09 PM on 07/14/2011
In the model I use, Teamwork Marriage Mediation informed by NVC, Non-Violent Communication, the word "jerk" is considered a judgment, and judgments are considered tragic expressions of the speaker's unmet needs and not an accurate description of the person being judged.

While it is true that not everyone is willing to be amicable, that doesn't make them unrepentant or jerks. It just means they don't see the possibility of getting their needs met by being friendly.

My experience is, that once ANYONE sees the possibility of getting satisfaction, they become willing participants in any negotiation that will end well for them. And if a mediator is involved, both parties are likely to win as a result.
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belle27
08:31 AM on 07/14/2011
While I'm not so sure that what you've written is widely applicable, in the case of my husband and his ex-wife, you are pretty accurate. When they divorced, it was "amicable" and they told their kids that "mommy and daddy still love each other, we just can't live together."

When I came on the scene (well after their divorce), my then-boyfriend told me that he and his ex were still "very good friends." Well, apparently what was really going on was what you described, more or less. My husband had sold his dignity and his needs (and given away most of his money) in order to keep the peace, and believed that what he was getting in return was friendship. However, when he began to get serious about me, his ex changed radically -- she was furious. The fact that he wasn't as available any more to run errands, walk her dog, etc. for her at the drop of a hat was unacceptable to her, and my husband began to understand the nature of their "friendship." Moreover, I do think it was pretty confusing to the kids why mom and dad were divorced if they still "loved each other." Luckily things have worked out great (except that the ex hates both me and my husband now). Thankfully, the kids accepted me from the beginning, despite the animosity from their mother. "Amicable divorce" in this case was actually far from it. It was just a veneer.
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robadeaux
Your labels have expired....
02:26 PM on 07/14/2011
Yep... three years after my ex left me with a seven year old daughter I finally decided to date a woman... and got accosted in a public place by he sreaming at me..."you never did love me!!!"...
3 years and a lot of trying times and it still wasn't over.
08:24 AM on 07/14/2011
Lauren - you have hit the nail on the head with a very hard truth here. In an effort to remain connected with my kids, I sucked up and swallowed my anger and resentment toward my ex so that we could all share the holidays together. She walked all over me because she knew that she could, however, and every woman I dated caught onto this very quickly and fled the scene. I finally realized that, as you say, I would be alone forever until I set some essential boundaries. The Good Divorce, by Constance Ahrons, is a very good book - but so is Divorce Hangover, by Anne Walther. Learning from my own mistakes, the advice I give nowadays is that the initiator of the divorce needs to be the one who extends the olive branch - not the rejected spouse, not under any circumstances.
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belle27
10:11 AM on 07/14/2011
Your experience so mirrors that of my husband (see my post directly above yours). Wow.
08:14 AM on 07/14/2011
In a situation involving children, child support, alimony/maintenance, the word "divorce" is a misnomer.

In that situation the filing for a "divorce" does not result in a divorce (i.e.a complete separation).

If it was possible to get a divorce by filing for a "divorce" the world may be a better place.

The words we use do not reflect what actually occurs in a "divorce" situation.

What you actually get is a dissolution of marriage, which is only a legal transaction. The legal transaction typically results in a sizable (if not absurd) wealth transfer from the marital estate to the divorce lawyers/divorce industry.

The dissolution of marriage will almost certainly be accompanied by a physical separation of the parties. (By the way, you do not need to have a dissolution of the marriage to have a physical separation.) The physical separation will entail emotional/financial hurt for any affected children. But it may provide some greater peace for the "divorcing" spouses. It is a trade-off.

But if there are affected children, there will be no divorce.

The "divorced" spouses will have an ongoing relationship that is at best civil but more likely challenged.

The ongoing relationship is unlikely to be equitable, because one "divorced" spouse by typical operation of law will gain some advantages over the other (inviting further conflict that continues the wealth transfer from the "divorced" households to the divorce lawyers/divorce industry).

There is no divorce.
07:47 AM on 07/14/2011
It's true that parents who are being ingenuine with the children don't have much luck getting the kids to believe nothing's wrong. But it's also true that there are married people who leave one another with little to no animosity just as there are those on the other end of the spectrum.

I can see the point about being honest with yourself, with your ex, with your children (to a point), but why do we assume that there's never been a couple that genuinely experiences the "uncontested" divorce? Realy. While not the norm by any means, it happens.

As for getting along famously equalling love, that's not true either. Love is defined by the parties, not by outside sources. What mediators often help parties tell their kids is this: "We don't love one another the way you have to in order to stay married, but our love for you can never change."

Good point about being genuine, but maybe a bit too far on not recognizing each family has its own dynamic and some are extraordinary (in the true sense of the word).
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eri 68
Let's save time and just assume I'm always right.
10:12 AM on 07/14/2011
Well said and far more in keeping with what I personally experienced. :-)
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ligligl
feelthy liberal! ...and not just a pretty face!
04:57 AM on 07/14/2011
I loved my ex to pieces - they are still looking for some of the pieces...
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ligligl
feelthy liberal! ...and not just a pretty face!
04:56 AM on 07/14/2011
I miss my ex terribly - but I am geting my scope sighted in next week...
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Jlong
05:43 AM on 07/14/2011
Good one.
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ligligl
feelthy liberal! ...and not just a pretty face!
04:54 AM on 07/14/2011
An amicable divorce is a contradiction in terms...
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knowcomment
You keep using that word...
05:16 PM on 07/14/2011
You would also think that a "contentious marriage" would be a contradiction, but I've met a lot of people who nearly killed each other on the night before their wedding, and still went through with it.