Ex Etiquette: Is a Second Try Good for the Kids?

Q: My husband and I broke up last year after years of fighting and arguing. I didn't want to raise our two children in that environment, so we filed for a divorce. It's been final for about two months. Getting over it, even if it was a bad relationship, has been more difficult than I'd anticipated. I just don't know how to be happy anymore and every time I see him with the kids it brings me down further. To make matters worse, I think he may have found someone new. I think I want to tell my ex that we made a mistake by splitting up, but I'm afraid of what it will do to the kids if I'm wrong.

A: You are right to be concerned about your children. They've already been through one divorce, and if their father and you reconcile and then decide the reconcilation was a mistake, there is no question they will be affected negatively. Facing your parents' divorce once in a lifetime is bad enough. Facing it twice in a year's time could be extremely detrimental to their mental and emotional well-being.

We all know that breaking up is hard to do. It hurts, even if the relationship hasn't been good for a long time. And thoughts about a possible reconciliation are quite common. A little time goes by and those old wounds start to heal. The anger begins to melt away, and you find yourself wondering why you broke up in the first place. Then he comes over to pick up the kids, they're all laughing as the car pulls away and you're thinking, "What did I do?" In my mediation practice, most of the couples I see have been divorced less than five years '- and many of them are not close to emotionally recovering from the experience, even if they have remarried. In some way, the anger, resentment or guilt they harbor still ties them to their ex-spouse.

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