One dad has shown the world how staying friends after divorce can be done, and it’s truly inspiring.
In October 2016, dad of two Billy Flynn Gadbois shared how he showed some love for his ex-wife on her birthday. And his kindness continues to inspire over a year later, when the popular Facebook page Love What Matters shared the post just in time for Valentine’s day.
“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,” wrote the 36-year-old lawyer and model, adding how he found it annoying why some people would ask “why in the hell he still does things for her all the time.”
Staying friends after divorce can set a good example to your children
The sweet dad, who has two sons, is a shining example of maintaining healthy relationships. Staying kind despite how they might have hurt each other in the past shows their sons that kindness is non-negotiable.
“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,” explains Gadbois. “I think even more so in my case because we are divorced.”
“So if you aren’t modeling good relationship behaviour for your kids, get your sh*t together,” he urges parents. “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.”
“Divorce can really bring out the worst in people, and it takes work to get the relationship to a point where you can co-parent like this,” Gadbois tells TODAY in an interview, adding how co-parenting means showing care and respect in front of your kids.
As of this writing, Gadbois’ post has been shared over 220,000 times. Thousands of comments poured in from mums and dads alike, who shared their own experiences.
“I’ve been divorced 17 years and I get along with my ex wife better now that when we were married,” writes dad Rick Howard, recalling how he and his wife sat down together, determined to stay friends after divorce. “The kids know both of us are on the same page when it comes to them. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“I have an amazing ex-husband! He is absolutely one of my best friends,” writes mum of four Mandey Troutman, adding how she and her ex-husband spent special occasions together. He even slept at the home she shares with her current partner.
“People think it’s weird,” she continues. “It may not be ideal, but ALL of us love those four kids more than anything and want nothing more then for them to be happy! That’s what it’s about!”
Staying friends after divorce: The end of a marriage doesn’t have to be ugly
Just because a marriage ends, it doesn’t mean the love can’t live on. Although it may no longer be romantic love, it is still love.
Clinical Psychologist Seth Meyers explains that even a failed marriage can’t kill your love for one another. For some, it is simply overpowered by anger and bitterness. But the love never really goes away.
In all his years of working with couples, Meyers has found that it is a rarity to find those who achieve staying friends after divorce. He believes it takes both a “strength in character and an understanding of the bigger picture” to rise above all the pain a divorce can cause.
Of course, if a relationship was abusive, he cautions against trying to forge a friendship with your ex. This doesn’t mean you should still harbour anger, but keeping an abusive ex in your life can only hinder the healing process.
Meyer’s advice is not to look at a failed relationship as a mistake, but as a vital part of life. It is important to the “bigger picture.” In truly accepting what parts of life didn’t work out, along with its many lessons, we can be free to wisely move forward to true happiness and fulfilment.
READ THIS ALSO: How to explain divorce to kids in a way they will understand
This article was first published on AfricaParent.com