Should You Follow Friendly Divorce?

in Divorce

It's not uncommon that many couples who officially divorced are while pretending that things are made civil and nice, really denying about the divorce and keeping doing things together with their children as a family. This action can derive from good motives to avoid hurting their children. Nevertheless, it's unexpectedly deepening the grief of separation and are confusing their children.



Among divorced people you often hear the term friendly divorce, and sometimes it is true - both people have come to terms with the reality of the situation and are on civil terms. But, sometimes the term indicates that both people are really in denial about divorce. For example, a man and his soon-to-be ex spouse are still doing things together AS A FAMILY, with children in tow. Going out to eat together, going to movies together, etc. They are behaving as though nothing has happened between the two. This is very confusing to children, when they know that mom and dad are getting a divorce and living in two separate places. Their acceptance of the situation will be impeded and they will not be able to complete the grief process that happens after divorce. If mom and dad continue to act like husband and wife, they will also not move through the grief process.


You might ask yourself, "what is a grief process" and "so what?". Let's look at this more closely so we can clarify the issue. A grief process is something that people go through after a loss of any kind, and it involves five stages:



In the first stage you are totally numb, literally in shock. In the second stage, you feel as though it's not really happening, something will change the situation and you will get back together. When you fully realize that it's not going to change, and divorce is really happening, you move into anger. You find yourself feeling angry at your former spouse for what he or she did that lead to divorce, and you also may find that you are angry at yourself for the same reasons. You are likely to blame him or her or blame yourself.


If you and your former spouse remain over-friendly, or even affectionate to each other, and continue to do things as husband and wife with the children, or even have sex occasionally, you are in denial. This is what happens when people get stuck in the first stage of grief. Looking at this honestly, does this sound like you and your ex-spouse? If so, I would strongly recommend that the two of you have a talk about this and come to an agreement that you need to move on with your lives. You also need to talk about how this is confusing for the children and can adversely affect their ability to adjust to divorce. Regardless of what feelings the two of you have for each other, if you have filed for divorce then it's time to accept that your marriage is over.


Continuing to see one another as a couple with your children in tow will only prolong your passage through the grief process and will do the same thing for your children. It would also be a good idea to talk to your children about how you have not been doing the right thing. Talk to them also about the grief process on a level they can understand for their age. Let them know that it is normal to feel sad and angry about mom and dad separating, and also let them know that many other people do this. They need to know that so they won't feel different and weird, which children often do when parents split up. Mom and dad, look at your behavior with open eyes and open mind. If you understand the grief process and apply it to yourselves, you can't help but see that you are not moving through it when you continue to do things together as a family. You need to think of yourselves as a reorganized family. Your children are a family with mom and a family with dad. This must be acknowledged in order to have a healthy divorce.


For more good information about divorce issues, visit my blog: and while you are there, sign up for my free ezine (newsletter) and book.


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Merlene Bishop has 1 articles online

My mission is to reach out and help others with divorce recovery issues. I have taught divorce recovery at a local community college for five years, and have been blogging about divorce recovery for the past three months. I have a Master's degree in counseling and have worked with families in mental health settings.

the URL for my blog address is:

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Should You Follow Friendly Divorce?

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This article was published on 2010/07/15
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