After my recent post about my break up with Russell, I received several comments that asked the same question so rather than respond there, I thought I would respond here.
The comments had the same general theme along the lines of … the breakup sounds like it went okay for you Alexis, but what about your kids? How are they doing with it?
So I thought I would share more about that because it seems to reflect an important and fundamental misunderstanding about children and relationships, one I used to carry with me as well.
The sentiment I feel behind these questions is that we must be careful with who we bring into our children’s lives and when because children are fragile creatures we must protect from the heartache and loss of relationships ending.
I used to believe that too.
When I first got divorced, I wondered how to handle dating.
I was told to be very careful regarding the people I dated and when I introduced them to my children. The common sentiment was that I should wait until I was really serious with someone before introducing them to the kids or perhaps even wait a year or more to begin dating after my divorce.
But I thought it through and realized that advice made absolutely no sense to me. I was not protecting my children from meeting friends even though they would come and go throughout my life, so why would I protect them from meeting someone I was dating?
Now that I have had my own experience with divorce, dating and kids, I flat out reject all of the advice that says to wait. I understand it is well-meaning and good intentioned, but it is simply based on a broken paradigm.
Relationships, by their nature, are transitory. People come and go throughout our lives. We evolve, shift, change, die. Why do we want to set our children up with the false belief that relies on some concept of forever when it is simply not true in all but very, very, very few of the cases.
It seems to me that we are raising our children to believe in a lie because we wish it to be so. But it’s nothing more than magical thinking when we look at the reality of how life really is.
Friends, relatives, co-workers, colleagues, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives … they come and go. It’s all constantly shifting and changing. At least in my life it is. Perhaps your life is different.
So why in the world would we want to teach our children that it is not okay to have transitory, shifting, ever evolving relationships?
I love that my children have had a steady stream of people come and go throughout their lives.
My kids know they have a core group of people who are there for them now and will likely be there for them forever –
- me and their dad,
- Tyson (who happens to be the first man I dated after my divorce and while we have not been in romantic relationship for more than 5 years is now running the Sacred Earth Retreat at Ali’s Farm and helping me care for the kids),
- Martha (my best friend who moved away from California to come to Colorado 5 years ago and is now back in our lives and lives two houses down),
- JoAnne (my other best friend who has been in and out of our lives for 10 years),
- my sister,
- my mom,
- my stepmom Amy (who is still very much a part of our lives even though my dad died nearly 6 years ago),
- my grandma.
But even we will all be gone one day.
I raise my children in community. People are constantly coming and going throughout their lives. And from what I can tell, they do not see it as a problem, something to be afraid about, or anything other than the way it is. It’s their normal.
I’m grateful to be raising my children with this healthy awareness of reality rather than a conditioned belief of the way it should be simply because we wish it was so.
I appreciate your concern about the well-being of my children within the context of these old patterns and beliefs and invite you to create another reality … one in which we do not need to associate the transition of relationship with painful loss, heartbreak, and trauma to ourselves or our children.
Instead, let’s create a new paradigm in which we can live in the truth of the moment and trust our relationships to express what is real and true on a moment by moment basis.
Let’s teach our children that it is okay to have relationships of any and every length and we do not need to hold on or experience trauma, loss or feel abandoned as these relationships transition and evolve.
Let’s teach our children to set themselves free.
Let’s teach that to ourselves first.
Have any thoughts about this? Think I am missing something important? Agree or disagree? I welcome your comments below.