I have been divorced for—woah!—more than five years now. And it was eight years ago that Chris told me he wanted to go. It’s hard to believe how routine and easy our divorced life is now, since it came from such a hard, emotional, challenging times.
But when I was going through the divorce, and then later writing the book, I knew that change would keep coming to us, and that we would only know how to react to those changes as they came our way. I am happy to report that Chris and I have had very few difficulties and troubles, other than the ordinary conflicts of clashing parenting styles and rules, which every couple, divorced or not, has to navigate.
Several months ago, I realized I was going to need to move out of Brooklyn, where Chris and I both live, 20 blocks apart, because I simply can’t afford to support my son and myself here in my current job. The day I decided to let Chris know that this was looking like the situation was scary in so many ways. We did not have an agreement in our divorce regarding living in the same city (as many people do), partly because I always knew the day would come when one of us would have to move away from this expensive town. But I don’t think I thought it would be me!
Would he be furious at me? Would he tell me there was no way I was allowed to move his son away from him? Would he insist we go to lawyers to negotiate this? (Unlikely, but still, I was entering uncharted waters.) But no, Chris simply said, “I was figuring that was going to happen.” And I promised that I would take full responsibilty to bring Zack to him as often as made sense, as often as we agreed. And he said that he knew that I would.
I was relieved. And I was also once again filled with a sense of satisfaction that Chris and I have been able to manage to have an open and trusting relationship. That he didn’t assume the worst, that I was trying to take Zack away from him or make some kind of parenting power play. He just knows that I am our divided family’s economic engine, and that it’s in all of our best interests that I be able to find a place I can still save some money for Zack’s future.
See? In divorce it sometimes simply isn’t about the Who Wins? Sometimes it’s simply about What Makes The Most Sense. I wish all of you the ability to get to that place with your own ex. It takes time, but the rewards are deep and wide.