This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Burning the divorce papers

In my few years of dating after marriage, I’ve heard my share of stories from the dating trenches, as well as participated in a few of those battles myself.

The common lament by both men and women is usually along the lines of how hard it is to find someone decent.

Someone who is serious about making a real, legit go at it with someone else. Who accepts the baggage of their new partner and whose own baggage is managable.                                                                                           

In the case of kids, new adult singles often (not always) seek someone whose kids are the close to the same age as their own. As one woman once said, there’s no way she’s going back to playdates and play school when her own kids are getting jobs and graduating.

But this is just one more filter applied to possible potential mates, which only results in limiting the limited dating pool even more.

The common dating problems I hear about here, are the common problems everywhere … same stories, different geography. Many people swear they’re “off” dating and prefer to play by a “if it happens, it happens” attitude.

So when I came across this story, I was head over heels curious about its inner workings and background.

I was introduced to a woman who has been divorced for seven years. She share custody with her ex-husband of their four kids ranging in age from 10 years up to 19 years old.

Their divorce wasn’t the best in the beginning, but as time tends to do, wounds and old hurts healed and were eventually absorbed by the every day running of their newly, individual single lives.

After about three years of angry email, phone and text exchanges, this couple managed to find their groove with each other. They were both in happy, settled relationships that were providing each of them what they needed.

They even got to the point where they would mesh both new households for some events – such as birthdays or graduations. To people looking in, they had each nailed the relationship after divorce thing – not only with their new partners, but with each other as well.

She explained to me they strived to keep things civil between them for the sake of their kids – who were younger at the time of their divorce. She admitted they didn’t always succeed, but their long game was a mutual, unspoken agreement

About 5 1/2 years after their divorce papers had been signed, her ex-husband’s relationship went sour and his partner moved out. That left a void in her kids’ lives she didn’t see coming.

So she did what any parent would do and amped up her game to ease the transition for her kids. That meant taking them extra time at her own place and just being there when her ex struggled to make sense of what happened.

What resulted was a new appreciation of her … by her ex-husband. Although he’d never seen her as a bad mom, he never viewed her as the person who would help him when she had no pay-off or obligation to do so. But as she stated, it wasn’t for him – it was for their kids. The rest was just an afterthought.

As her ex-husband came to terms with his relationship ending, he started spending more time than ever with their kids – who were with her most of the time. This, in turn, caused her relationship with her partner to come to an end.

This woman says it was always easy for us to just let him (the ex-husband) come along with whatever they were doing. It’s not like there was any discomfort. And the bonus was the kids listened to both of them without fail – even joking sometimes about “who’s week it was” to give them discipline.

Over a period of about a year, and many kid milestones and crises along the way, the two former spouses, started re-bonding and reconnecting in a way they never had the first time around in their marriage.

She states they both had battle scars from the time they were apart, but it helped them to grow. They realized that no one except them will ever love or raise their kids the way they wanted to … and that was the starting point for the re-ignition of their love story.

Their experiences from their new, now past relationships taught them a lot about acceptance, forgiveness, growth and openness. She said neither of them regrets or blames the other for what happened after their initial marriage ended.

They both feel those experiences have led them to the point they’re at today – which is planning to have a “just married - again, burn the divorce papers” party.

Their kids are ecstatic. While she admits they likely don’t understand the mechanics behind what happened, she also says they don’t need to.

So I couldn’t help asking – what if it doesn’t work the second time around either. Her answer was lovely.

“We’ve come a long way and had to face so many doubters and even our own families questioning us. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. This is our choice. And knowing what we know now and how hard it was to get here, we won’t give up easily ever again.

"We’ve worked hard to figure out exactly what we need to succeed as a couple and a family. And we’re putting us first, for the first time ever.”

I wish them nothing, but the best and so much success.

Thanks for reading.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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