Your marital relationship is over, but what about your relationship with your in-laws, their relationship with your children, or even your relationship with your ex-spouse's new Significant Other? What is healthy and appropriate? Since no one has written the new rules and codes of social conduct for relationships engendered by divorce, we asked some experts to share their insights with us.
Everyone knows at least one divorce horror story, but we seldom hear about people who have established friendly post-divorce associations with each other. "Did you hear that Hugh and Liz are getting along well these days?" just isn't news. Armed with their version of divorce hell, the skeptics tell us it's impossible for a divorced couple to make peace and become friends. They outtalk the quiet and peaceful believers -- perhaps because people who are doing just fine don't feel the need to vent. "If every divorce were a 'War of the Roses', there would be blood on the streets!" points out Barbara Quick, author of Still Friends: Living Happily Ever After...Even if your Marriage Falls Apart.
Luckily, it's never too late to make peace. With determination and good intentions, you can overcome the anger, grief, and sadness of losing a marriage and eventually -- believe it or not -- achieve friendship. Whether or not you want to be "friends" with your ex is a decision in itself, but if you have children together, finding a way to be amicable with your co-parent makes life a lot easier. Your former in-laws don't have to disappear with the marriage either, especially if you've always enjoyed a good relationship with them. Unfortunately there's no rule book for cultivating civility with your ex-spouse, your former in-laws, or even your ex's new spouse -- so we asked several experts -- including people who have managed to create friendly post-divorce relationships -- for some guidance. Here's what they had to say: