Whether you’ve been through it or not, it’s no secret that divorce wreaks havoc on anybody it touches. Often those who suffer most are the ones who deserve it the least: the children.
Most divorces don’t necessarily involve a peaceful, amicable split, so it’s easy to see why the temptation would be to treat your ex like dirt, or at least largely stay out of his/her life. That’s precisely why one man, Billy Flynn, was under quite a bit of scrutiny from his friends for doing nice things for his ex-wife. Rather irritated by people constantly asking why he did it, Billy wrote a brutally honest Facebook post that has been shared all over the Internet. Read it in full below (edited for language):
“It’s my ex-wife’s birthday today so I got up early and brought flowers and cards and a gift over for the kids to give her and helped them make her breakfast. Per usual someone asked me [why] I still do things for her all the time. This annoys me. So ima break it down for you all.
I’m raising two little men. The example I set for how I treat their mom is going to significantly shape how they see and treat women and affect their perception of relationships. I think even more so in my case because we are divorced. So if you aren’t modeling good relationship behavior for your kids, get your [act] together. I don’t care if she’s a [jerk]. Rise above it and be an example. This is bigger than you.
Raise good men. Raise strong women. Please. The world needs them, now more than ever.”
Billy’s wise words of parental and relationship wisdom have been shared over 115,000 times in the first week—but he admits, this wasn’t always easy for him to do.
“It definitely wasn’t easy up front. I’d say it took us a good year to get it right,” he told IJ Review.
“Divorce is hard and I think we all do and say some things that really aren’t our best selves. But we always put the kids first, and honestly, I think that focus helped us repair our relationship into one of mutual respect over time, and our kids win as a result.”
Billy further explained:
“I’m not advocating that everyone can or should do what we do for each other to model for the kids. But I believe it is extremely important for parents to show each other respect and care in front of the kids. If your ex doesn’t have a new [significant other], you got to make sure those kids have Mother’s and Father’s Day cards, birthday gifts, etc.
Kids want to care for their parents by nature, but they cant do it alone. It’s our job to facilitate that. So even if your ex is a terrible person in your eyes, you need to set it aside and realize your kids love this person. Seeing you mistreat someone they love is traumatic, whether you want to own it or not.
So focus on the kids, make a pact, and I think you’ll be surprised to find that your mutual focus on the kids will actually benefit your post-divorce relationship because it takes the spotlight off your individual hurts and anger and resentment.”
The main takeaway Billy wants people to understand is that regardless of how devastating your divorce may be, if ever you should find yourself in that situation, remember that it’s bigger than you.
The primary focus needs to be on “raising good men and strong women” so they can learn how to build healthy lives and relationships rather than repeating our mistakes. Now those are some POWERFUL words to remember. ♥