How do you love your child’s mother when you’re divorced?

Almost every article providing advice on fatherhood lists the same thing as the first and most important thing a father should do for their children – LOVE THEIR MOTHER.

I agree, but how do you handle this when you’re divorced or separated? I’ve been told by so many people that I am a great Dad, and I am completely immersed in fatherhood. It’s the most important thing that’s ever been in my life. But how can I satisfy this supposed first and most important advice?

Obviously, I don’t love my child’s mother anymore. I guess I am lucky, in that I have a very amicable relationship with my ex, and the truth is we shared a life together, I used to love her, and she IS the mother of my child. She is one of the most important people in my life, and I absolutely do care for her. I want her to be happy and healthy so she can be a great Mum. I think she wants the same, even though it might never be said.

We agreed to place the wellbeing of our son at the centre of our relationship post marriage – and so far, it’s worked incredibly well. Our child’s best interests are usually served by a commonly held idea, making our relationship very effective. We share the same objective, so when we do have a disagreement, we usually resolve things to our mutual satisfaction.

Unfortunately, the majority of relationships with ex’s I see in Facebook groups for single Mums and Dads are diabolical. If there is a relationship at all! My heart goes out to those without a father or mother in their children’s lives. I have never been able to understand how a parent can walk away from their child. Of course, there are some in these groups that have lost their partner forever, where sadly partners have passed away, and there’s nothing the remaining parent can do about that.

Regardless of the marital status, the way a man treats the mother of their children is seen by the whole family. I believe that it does show a boy how to treat a woman even during arguments or hard times. It is said that a man treats his wife the same way he would want his daughter to be treated by a man – but I tend to think that it is more along the lines of the daughter seeing the actions of her father toward her mother during difficult circumstances, and she learns that this is acceptable behaviour from the men that will, later on, be in her life. With luck, she will learn what type of behaviour to run from.

Either way, Men, Dads, should act with civility, humility, calmness, kindness, understanding and love towards the Mum. Regardless. It’s a big call, and clearly beyond many. This is where the ability to shift focus away from immediate action – to step back in the heat of the moment, and dispassionately view your actions and their consequences, can allow the moments of clarity required to calm down and change course if needed.

So as a father – how do you ‘love’ your ex in the presence of your children; or achieve whatever the next best level of ‘love’ is? Perhaps even when being provoked. I am very interested in your thoughts.

It can be difficult enough to do this when you are still happily married.

I suspect that there is NO easy answer. Except that we have to try. Fathers – be the bigger person. Show your children what it’s like to love everyone you can – and with your ex – show respect, remain calm, be prepared to compromise, accept that you may not always be right, or win. Be flexible, and attempt to keep the best interests of your child first. Good luck. I will keep trying. I do hope the men reading this try too.

(archived Facebook post – from a group page)

Happily Divorced
Happily Divorced
How do you love your child's mother when you're divorced?

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