Why inviting your ex may be the greatest Christmas gift you can give your kids

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  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    Dec. 15, 2018 10:11 p.m.

    JSTN-Utah County: Winston Churchill said of second marriages that it was the triumph of hope over reason. In either case, the good Lord wants us to be happy. Liked your comment!

  • Smileyval 89032, 00
    Dec. 15, 2018 7:00 p.m.

    I agree with others, you need two mature and emotionally stable parents to do this. My parents started their divorce when I was 10. The divorce lasted for 6 years because it was so nasty thanks to my mom. My parents have been divorce for almost 20 years now. I’m very glad that they didn’t do things together. My mom is a narcissistic person and highly abusive.

    On the other hand, my step mom would have her ex husband over for family events. It worked out great. He was a nice guy and it seems natural to have him around. I also had a friend in school that had her divorced parents doing things together all the time. It would be great if all divorced parents could be civil, but it’s a pipe dream for some. It can also be very unhealthy. I am very grateful my parents didn’t do family events together. It would have been far worse. Tons of fighting and swearing....and more damaging.

  • JStn Utah County, UT
    Dec. 15, 2018 4:48 p.m.

    This is a really important article and I agree with it 100%. I have been married for over 20 years now, and the first ten years or so were very difficult. My husband has ADD, which can be very hard to live with. I often felt lonely and disconnected from him. There were long periods of time, even years, where we sadly didn’t seem to like each other much, but my conscience would not let me leave, because he was a good Dad, and I didn’t want to screw up my kids lives. I felt the marriage had been our decision, not theirs, and we owed it to them to stick it out, at least until they were raised. I’m glad I made that decision, because as time has passed, I feel as if my husband and I have learned to understand and appreciate one another much more, and we get along much better. I understand that there are certain serious situations such as abuse, addiction, or adultery, which make divorce necessary or appropriate. But unless it is something like that, I really wish people would think carefully about putting their own temporary personal happiness before their children’s long term welfare.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 7:09 p.m.

    My ex and I divorced 13 years ago after 25 years of marriage. We didn't have a good marriage but we decided that we might as well have a good divorce, so we agreed on how to split things, used the state website to get our divorce (and not lawyers) and not only saved a lot of money but feelings as well. After we were divorced first more by accident than anything but lately we just accept it, we started having all our holidays together with our children. We've both remarried and it's just a bigger family now. I'm happy she found someone that is more compatible and she feels the same way for me. It's not worth the drama.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 4:21 p.m.

    All I can say is, hahahahaha. Not!

  • spice6 Roy, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 4:20 p.m.

    How much more guilt can be heaped on an already difficult season? When one "parent" is so physically and emotionally abusive that a restraining order has to be obtained...3 years post divorce, articles like this shame the remaining parent for "not doing enough for their children". Even now grown children reading this begin to wonder why "mom didn't try hard enough to include dad". There is a reason for the divorce and sadly no matter how hard one parent tries the others will have none of it. 10 years after having NO contact with their father (HIS choice) my children have now been lead to believe I did not give them enough of their father. Now that he is back in their life as adults with families of their own....they have chosen him to be with ONLY. I wish every day that this would have been possible. :'(

  • Justin M Roseville, CA
    Dec. 12, 2018 4:10 p.m.

    My current wife wouldn't dream of me speaking to my ex for any reason, much less doing so for the kids' sake.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 2:08 p.m.

    That is highly, highly situationally dependent.

  • Golden Rules Okay, OK
    Dec. 12, 2018 1:30 p.m.

    So the ex in this family's case died three years ago, and she included him for the first two or three years after the divorce which means she wouldn't have to say goodbye to them on Christmas Day. I'm not following who this article is saying included in their Christmas now, since the dad died.

    For ex's who have moved on with their lives and maybe even have a new family, going to someone else's house for Christmas to see their kids would be extremely difficult.

    I could see a conversation like:
    --"Would you (and your spouse) like to come join me and the kids for Christmas this year instead of just picking them up?"
    --"No, but I (or we) would love for you to come join me and the kids for Christmas instead of them spending time at your house."
    --"Let's just stick with the original plan."

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 1:06 p.m.

    UtahBlueDevil, did you actually read my post or the linked article? How on earth did you draw that kind of impression?

    I'm certainly not saying that divorces shouldn't happen. I'm saying that in most cases where a divorce should happen, attempts to spend lots of 'amicable' holiday time together afterwards are likely to be dangerous for divorcees' and kids' physical or emotional health. The serial cheater would fall under that category.

    If amicable shared holiday time is really as wonderful and healthy as the article makes it sound, one has to wonder whether the marriage should have been repaired. There are cases where people really needed to be divorced yet can be this amicable, but I think these are exceptions.

    I don't know how to make it clearer without repeating myself. Again, expecting amicable divorces to be the norm can trivialize the seriousness of divorce and the danger and trauma divorcees have faced that brought them to that serious decision.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 12:37 p.m.

    Prodicus - so my mom was married to a serial cheater.... your saying she should have just sucked it up. May work for you, but many women don't choose to have their dignity made a joke by those who step out on their marriages and disrespect the mother of their kids.

    But thats just me. I am glad you would put with a spouse that sets an example to their kids that having affairs is worth looking past. It's just not for everyone.

  • Maverick10 Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 11:19 a.m.

    Not in this lifetime or the next.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 10:56 a.m.

    Count me with those who find the many articles in recent years about amicable divorces to be concerning.

    In many cases, the divorce happened for reasons which make such 'together time' either unsafe or emotionally destructive.

    If neither parent is a danger to the children or to the other parent, if the two parents can both be mature and amicable and work together for the best interests of their children, then why not repair the marriage in the first place? That could benefit children vastly more than can a few hours on Christmas Day.

    I'm not judging the couples in the article; there are circumstances that can justify such arrangements. For instance, if the divorce had to happen to protect one spouse and the kids, the primarily-not-at-fault spouse moved on with life and remarried, and then the primarily-at-fault spouse improved his or her life enough to be a friend rather than a danger.

    But expecting amicable divorces to be the norm can trivialize the seriousness of divorce (it isn't, or shouldn't be, about "falling out of love") and the pain and dangers many divorcees have gone through.

  • Cora Smith BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 10:27 a.m.

    In some cases it might work real well. Might depend on the circumstances of the divorce.

    If your spouse had cheated on you, mistreated you mentally and physically, tour your soul apart to the point of irreversible damage, you wouldn't want to be within eyesight of your x-spouse for any reason.

    Some people never divorce even though they are miserable, for the sake of the children. The children can feel the contention, and they too become miserable.

    If you obtain counseling and really trying to make things better, yet one or both of you are unhappy, you are not doing the kids a favor by staying together. But, as the article states, if it's possible keep things amicable after divorce for everybody's sake.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 10:12 a.m.

    My ex and I always put the children first, my kids were confused as to why their friends parents weren't doing what we were. Sports, parent teacher, plays, We even have thanksgiving with extended family on both sides occasionally.

    Your right though, many prefer to hate and hold on to anger, to me it made no sense to follow that path.

  • Bloodhound Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 10:03 a.m.

    While I was attending college, my parents divorced. It wasn’t pretty. After the divorce, my parents never spoke to one another again. It was very uncomfortable for me and I ended up siding with my mother and her new husband. A couple of decades later, my mother passed away. My stepfather promised her that when he died, everything would go to me. A couple of years before he passed away, my stepfather changed his will and gave everything to someone else. Although we spoke weekly, he never told me he had changed his will. After his death, I got nothing, including my mother’s belonging. It was very painful. Fortunately, after my stepfather passed away, my father reached out and we are trying to rebuild our relationship. Looking back, I wish my mother had worked things out with my father. Children, even grown children, often pay a heavy price for their parents’ decisions.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:57 a.m.

    At Long Lost:
    "What can I give my children now?"

    You've given them a prefect parent without blemish - what else could they possibly want?

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:51 a.m.

    I feel greatful.

    No ex to be concerned about.

  • SomeClarityPlease Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:36 a.m.

    A lot of readers will not like this comment, but an even better path would be to not divorce in the first place. I think this article gives good advice for those already divorced, however, I wish I had read something that encouraged society to toughen up more in marriage. FYI, I put up with all sorts of bovine manure in my marriage and family and it ain't rainbows and butterflies. I realize there are extreme examples out there, but divorce is way too common and accepted, and is usually based on selfishness.

  • zgomer Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:26 a.m.

    A fairy tale.

  • JRL in AZ Tucson, AZ
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:04 a.m.

    Let me tell you about a woman that I admire a great deal. Couple got divorced - dad got the kids. Mom got them on weekends. Knowing how important it was for the kids to have stability and continuity, she intentionally moved into the same area as dad so that they could go to church with their friends and see the rest of the extended family on the weekends, even though she wanted to move out of state. She and the kids sat on the same pew with dad, even after dad remarried. All of this must have been very difficult, but she did it for the kids' benefit. I have seen a lot of divorces in which the kids end up getting really screwed up. But in this situation, the kids turned out really well. They benefited greatly from the stability that came because their mom was willing to put up with some awkwardness and pain. I admire her to no end.
    I know this won't work in some situations, but her example was to put the children's welfare above her own preferences.

  • zipadeedoodah Lehi, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 8:58 a.m.

    Good article. I know of a family that shares the kids on most activities. Whenever one adult picks us his/her children for a visit, all the kids from both families come along. Kudos to those who can do this! And yes, it does take two mature adults to do this.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Dec. 12, 2018 8:51 a.m.

    Gee, I feel so left out - I don't have an ex since I've been married to the same woman for over 55 years. What can I give my children now?

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 8:45 a.m.

    My Ex-Girlfriend? Probably not :)

    Dec. 12, 2018 8:47 a.m.

    Great. Now someone write an advice article on dealing with divorced parents who behave like children, bicker when they're in the same room together, expect me to ensure that they're getting exactly equal time with the grandchildren, and complain when they think it's unbalanced.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Dec. 12, 2018 8:39 a.m.

    While my parent's divorce was far from amicable, they both shared a firm belief that I shouldn't be punished for their poor choices. Most parent teacher conferences had both parents (and often step-parents). Holidays were a whirlwind of organization and coordination but they did it because family is family.

    One year, after my dad divorced from his 2nd wife he even came to my ma's side's Christmas. He didn't have anyone to spend Christmas with. It was an excellent example to me on what family means and how to teach my kids by example.

  • Bifftacular Spanish Fork, Ut
    Dec. 12, 2018 8:11 a.m.

    What this article so correctly proposes requires that the parties be mature. If people were mature, the number of divorces would drop to minimal levels. Despite the incorrect saying, it doesn't take two to get divorced, it only takes one. And if the one, that did everything they could to hold the family together, forgives, and then continues to put the children first, a much better situation, like this article suggests, can happen.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 6:23 a.m.

    My younger sister got divorced a while ago. She and he ex actually set a great example of how to do a divorce. She has since remarried - happily. Neither side excludes the other side from "family" events as they both realized that no matter their feelings, the other side and their extended family were their kids family.

    It doesn't mean they still don't occasionally disagree.... but they set a great example of putting the kids first.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 5:52 a.m.

    This is a wonderful idea, but it can only work if both parties have the maturity to put their differences behind them -- and, alas, that's rarely the case. I was divorced from my wife more than twenty years ago, but she's never moved on from that and wouldn't dream of inviting me to spend Christmas with my children. "So it goes," as the late novelist Kurt Vonnegut so eloquently said. I do, however, wish everyone who comments on the DN's site a very merry Christmas!

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 3:35 a.m.

    Perhaps it would help the kids too if their divorced and remarried parents dated on a regular basis.