Divorce. Not fun. Messy. Kids in the middle. It doesn't have to be this way. I had a "nice" divorce. This doesn't mean it didn't suck or there wasn't pain or hurt. It just means we didn't have to destroy each other or the children in the process.
Want to know the biggest upside to letting anger go and coming to a place of peace? Life is more enjoyable. So, you have two choices -- you can play life on HARD MODE or you can make it easier by being flexible.
Now, of course, you need two willing partners to make it super smooth, but even if you are the only one being decent, you can still make it easier on yourself.
1. Establish ground rule #1. No Nasty Talk to the Children. This is a non negotiable. This is why. You can complain to your adult friends all you want. (Keep it to a minumum, you have a life remember!) However, you cannot complain about your ex to your children. Zip it.
2. Don't fight over the kids' things. I know you buy the expensive clothes and your ex doesn't. Listen to me closely here -- you aren't wearing the clothes -- your kids are. So, why do you care where the clothes are, as long as they are with your children? Your ex is not wearing your 6 year olds shorts, I promise. Now, I understand, some things are super special or for special occassions. In this case, it's okay to specify that you'd like something back. You can do this respectfully.
3. No tit for tat. As much as it's tempting to play this game, please refrain. Your brain can only hold so much info, so don't wreck your working memory holding thoughts of the fact that your ex is 15 minutes late every time, so you have to be 15 minutes late. Come on kids -- you aren't kids. LET IT GO!
4. Be flexible. Just being flexible adds an extra layer of joy to your life. So, your ex wants to take the kids on Tuesday to something special. If you don't have anything planned -- why not? Do you need to exert your power and control just to be an asshole or can you be flexible and do it for the kids? I know, I know, you are always flexible and your ex isn't. Such is life. Do it anyway. Your kids will thank you. BONUS - they will learn how to be flexible and I ASSURE you, when the years go by, they will know who was the flexible parent and who was the asshole.
5. Keep it simple. Perhaps you are in a situation where you ex is completely unreasonable and will not budge an inch on being cool. Check out apps like Talking Parents - and keep your communication to the app. You can still participate in rules 1-4 and walk away knowing that you took the high road. The ex will be miserable on the low road, but you don't care. You are moving on. Don't get sucked in by miserable snakes.