Co-parenting is hard even in the best of relationships, and after a divorce, it can often feel impossible. People who have decided to exit each other’s lives are sometimes still forced together because they have children they both love and care for.
Ideally, a couple can decide their relationship is not meant to be and still be able to maintain love and respect for each other, for the sake of their children. Unfortunately, it is often not the case and the residual bitterness can negatively affect the children and ex-spouses.
Yet, what does a healthy divorce look like?
Healthy divorces are not imaginary
Yes, it is possible to go through a divorce and come out on the other side with a healthy and loving relationship with one’s ex-spouse. Such is the story of Billy Flynn Gadbois, who wrote a Facebook post about the unique and special relationship he has with his ex-wife.
His post went viral because he proved the world wrong about the assumptions we hold towards divorce.
He celebrates his ex-wife as if they were still married
In his post, Billy shares that he woke up early to buy flowers, cards and breakfast ingredients to help their kids surprise their mom, his ex-wife, on her birthday.
However, he was soon questioned about his decision to celebrate his ex-wife. “Per usual someone asked me why the hell I still do things for her all the time,” Gadbois wrote. His response was nothing short of inspirational.
This annoys me. So I’ma 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.
Billy Flynn Gadbois
Divorce is bigger than you
Gadbois is a shining example of how exes don’t have to let negative feelings about each other take lead, especially when young, impressionable children are watching.
The initiative came from both parties and was very much based on what they wanted for their children. “We decided early on that we were going to put the effort into co-parenting,” he said in an interview with TODAY.
So if you aren’t modeling good relationship behavior for your kids, get your shit together. Rise above it and be an example. This is bigger than you.
Billy Flynn Gadbois to Love What Matters
Similarly, Billy’s ex-wife also makes the effort to celebrate his birthday in the same manner. In doing so, they manage to make their children feel comfortable and spare them from the often traumatic effects that divorce can have on them.
A proof that divorce does not have to be toxic
Billy admits that “divorce can really bring out the worst in people” and that “it takes work to get the relationship to a point where you can co-parent like this.” But the work is necessary, as ex-spouses can “show each other respect and care in front of the kids, and help the kids care for that parent, regardless of how [they] feel about each other.”
Billy’s rejection of the traditional narratives surrounding the issue of divorce is a powerful gesture towards challenging our assumptions. Relationships come and go, but family ties last forever. This is why it is primordial to nurture them and foster a healthy rapport with our ex-spouses.
And as Billy said, children learn through imitation so it is important to keep that in mind when we are experiencing rough patches in marriage.
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