Why I want my ex to be happy (and you should too).

It seems counterintuitive. Why should I want my ex to be happy? Shouldn’t I hope that he regrets the day he left me and that he goes on to a life full of misery? After all, how could he possibly be happy without me in his life? I know some people make it their life’s mission to make their ex’s life miserable. I see it from a different perspective.

I want my ex to be happy. At one point I loved this man so much that we created two new lives together. Two precious lives that will connect us permanently. My children are not just my children, they are our children – a unique and wonderful blend of the best of him and me. I love my children desperately and in them, I see him. In our oldest child, I see his offbeat sense of humor and keen intelligence. In our youngest, I see his analytical thought process and quick wit. How can I not love those attributes he passed on to them? He is forever intertwined with the love of my children and someday, my grandchildren.

If I’m honest, my desire for him to be happy is not completely altruistic. Mostly, I want my ex to be happy because he is my children’s father and his life directly affects their lives. Why would I want them to be unhappy when they visit him? They love their father and they need to see him happy, stable and productive. If he is content in life, his interactions with them will be more positive. If he flourishes, they in turn will benefit.

As strange as it sounds, and feels, I honestly want him to also be in a good relationship. Once again, our children benefit if he is in a healthy, loving relationship. My motivation for this desire is also selfish. Although I can’t profess to be certain what constitutes true love, I want us both to have a second chance at love so I know our divorce was not in vain. Seeing that he has moved on to a better match confirms that we weren’t a good fit.

Of course, divorce hurts. Let’s be honest, it can be a real bitch. But the way I see it is you have two choices; you can pull yourself together and move on or you can take that hurt and nurse it along until it becomes a huge rock of pain and bitterness that stands in your path, blocking your own road to emotional health and happiness. I choose to take the high road of forgiveness, positivity and kindness. It’s not always the easy choice but I believe we will all be better off because of it.

I may never fully recover from the disappointment that our marriage didn’t work, that we weren’t able to find a way to repair “us” enough to raise our children in the same home together. But rather than focus on that sadness and develop a bitter resentment, I choose to wish him well. They say the best revenge is a life well lived but I don’t have to corner the market on happiness. There’s enough to go around and it would be good for the kids to witness both their parents doing well. Of course, if I’m totally honest, I won’t be too sad if my slice of the “good life pie” is just a bit bigger than his. I’m only human.

Categories: Single Stepping