Christmas or any holidays post separation can be excruciating, especially when it is FRESH! Some have it lucky and may breeze through it however most may agree with me, that it is EMOTIONAL.
The first Christmas Post-Separation was excruciating! The memories of previous Christmases’ seemed to overshadow the first and even the second Christmas in this NEW world post separation, HOWEVER with time, you WILL feel better about the holidays and have new traditions (least this was my experience).
Christmas day Pre-Separation:
Was BIG with my family and went a little like this: Open Santa presents at home, Church with extended family (i.e. 30 people) then a HUGE extravagant lunch with a jumping castle and family games!
Christmas day Post-Separation:
It was “agreed” (or let’s say negotiated) that the NEW world Christmas day post separation would be experienced as follows:
1. Kids wake up with me on Christmas day
2. Mr Ex would turn up early in the am to open presents with us (this only lasted the first Christmas, as his parallel partner to me mandated that it was inappropriate to spend the morning with his young kids 3 & 6).
NOTE: As I always say: there are 3 sides to a story – His, Mine & the Truth, so this is MINE!
3. Mr Ex would leave, while the kids and I attended church as we always have with all the cousins’ kids and extended family ever since we both got married. I had always gone to church with my HUGE family of approx. 30, each year since I was 5 years old!
4. Mr Ex would take the kids at 4pm on Christmas day, crying about being ripped away from their cousins and my family. The kids were VERY emotional (being 3 and 6) during this “extraction” of being taken away so that they could spend with my Ex and his family (including the “other woman”, where there were no other kids involved). They would stay over night with Mr Ex and be returned on the 30 th December.
After the kids left the premises (all festivities were usually at my aunts’ home), I usually left too. Everyone usually stayed on sometimes until the next day, however I always felt deflated and devastated to comprehend smiling and pretending I was OK.
I WAS NOT OK!
I used to go back home and just sulk. I now reflect back wondering how I coped! That emptiness and loneliness was excruciating. The kids crying when leaving during the “extraction” traumatised me. My only hope is that they do not remember those horrible moments and only remember the fun we used to have during Christmas.
Of-course over time (approx. 3 years later), Mr Ex finally saw how traumatic the “extraction” on Christmas day was for the kids, so he apprehensively conceded to picking them up on the 26th Dec instead (in addition to having them a few days proceeding the 24th December. This realisation came after quite a few conversations to convince him about the impacts on the kids and the kids themselves begging him to stay with my side of the family. Who wouldn’t? With all the extravagances we undertook to make it memorable for ALL our kids.
Tips to attempt Happiness during Christmas Post-Separation:
Now that you have an idea about the complexities of my situation (which may be similar to yours), here are a few things I learnt about negotiating the terms during Christmas:
1. The Minimising of emotional duress on Kids should be paramount!
2. Have an open conversation with your Ex
About ALL options with the Best interest of the kids as the priority.
3. Be prepared to COMPROMISE
For me it was being without the kids from the 26th to 30th Dec feeling deflated, empty and lonely during what was supposed to be such a happy time of year. But, it gave my kids a full day with their cousins on Christmas day!
4. Prepare the kids
Prior to the day prepare the kids so that they know well in advance what will occur and try to make it as seamless and less emotional as possible.
5. Work on letting go
Let go of the old world and focus on making the current one positive. Dwelling on what used to be, makes it hard for all the people involved to move on if they sense your vibe (especially the kids). Focus on making positive vibes with the situation you are in TODAY!
6. Discuss present exchanges
Discuss presents in advance and prepare the kids about what was agreed (in advance!). Consider the positive impacts of buying Mr Ex/Mrs Ex a present for the kids to give. When the children see you both being amicable, the chances are that they will find comfort and re-assurance.
7. Choose your BATTLES
This is NOT where you thought you would be, however you are here so compromising and choosing your battles with your Mr Ex/Mrs Ex, will make it far more pleasant for everyone.
8. Setup mechanisms to cope
For the period you do not have the kids as distractions, plan catch-ups with friends, go on a date!?, home projects to keep you busy.
9. Focus on what YOU can change
Rather than focussing on what Mr/Ms Ex maybe doing to manipulate or jeopardise a situation, focus on areas YOU can!
10. Finally: Learn to look at the positive in each situation! Each effort to do this will perpetuate and strengthen your VIBE!
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is general information only and is not provided as a substitute for legal/professional advice. If you have a legal/financial/ any other issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or professional before making a decision about your options or personal situation. TheSeparationExchange.com cannot provide legal/professional advice.
My name is Anju, after going through a “surprise” separation and divorce was a rebirth which awakened me!
After a period of sadness and struggle, revealed a person who was forced to sort her shi# out and find the strength needed to raise 2 young kids without a partner!
And so, a new journey began with new dreams: www.TheSeparationExchange.com
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