Choosing a great relationship with ex-partners

Friday morning I caught up with my second ex-wife. We had some documents we both needed to sign for a Family Super Fund that is the last thing we need to unwind from our marriage and subsequent divorce.

We spent about an hour and a half chatting over coffee and catching up on one another’s lives, and with her sharing what is going on in the lives of the three beautiful souls that had been my step children through the ten years we had been together.

It was a really pleasant experience, there was only appreciation for who we both are, forgiveness for our flaws and humanness that had been the basis of our separation and divorce, and love for the beautiful souls we both are.

Before my second marriage came an 18 year marriage which brought my own two children by blood into this world. My first wife and I separated in 2002. I am so proud to say that we too have a beautiful enduring relationship. We have come together many times in recent years for the benefit of our children, and I have even brought my wife Pj to these events and we have all shared space with love, hearty laughter, and joy.

I shared these things later in the day with a colleague who congratulated me on having that kind of relationship with both of my ex-wives, for whom I have only love.

I dont claim full responsibility for the positive relationships, it does take two to tango, but I am in no doubt that I made many choices that helped get to that place, and that in the face of any set of reactions I could have continued to act ‘at cause’ with love and a sense of abundance.

WAS THE MATERIAL FOR CREATING ANGER OR RESENTMENT PRESENT?

I am investing my time in writing this blog because I know so very many people for whom such a relationship is the opposite of their current experience.

I can tell you that the happiness, enduring love, and respect between myself and both of my ex-wives is neither happenstance, nor simply good fortune.

In both relationships I and or my ex-wives could have sat in story about what our partner had done to us that was unforgivable, either during the marriage or in the period after separation.

It is human nature that our ego will find a way to look at events in a way that the ego gets to tell us we have been poorly treated. In many cases we have been poorly treated. What the ego is less good at until we have done a great deal of inner work is seeing clearly our part in the play.

My point here is either of us could have had plenty of fodder to be angry or resentful.

After my second marriage, through which I was undergoing an inner transformation, my entire life was deconstructed around me. I had to go through being stripped bare emotionally and in a 3D world sense. I was trying to build a new business through a period that was extraordinarily emotionally tumultuous, and that had its share of impact on my ability to succeed at that time, so in addition to emotional trauma I was also dealing with being at the end of the line in terms of financial pressures with credit card maxed from funding the business and my modest lifestyle on them, and having to borrow from family to pay rent and bills.

There was no shortage of powder keg pressures to get in the way of creating a healthy ongoing relationship with my now second ex-wife.

CHOOSING THE FUTURE I WANTED

As my first marriage ended circumstances were not without some pressures.

My wife had focused primarily on being a mother and home maker through our 18 year marriage, and so me leaving the marriage took the quite substantial income our family had relied on out of the family home.

I had lots of choices to make, as did my ex-wife. Choices about the family home, about private schools the children were attending, about the level of maintenance.

Part of my mindset as I looked forward was to envision what my future with my children would be like. I wanted to be in their lives. I wanted to be able to be at their future life events without them having to make a choice between having me there or their mother, or inviting us both and putting us at opposite ends of the room and appointing a referee if we were to have some kind of interaction.

To me it was very clear what was important. I wanted a good relationship with my children, and I wanted a good relationship with their mother, and I wanted a secure future for them and minimal disruption to their lives.

My kids stayed in the family home, and in their private school, and I paid maintenance at a higher level than the Child Support Agency required of me. It meant I was starting again at age 41 and with little to come and go on for the four years till my youngest stepped into adulthood, but I know with certainty that I did what was right and life has shown me many times since that the illusion of property and income is very much an illusion. Even in my darkest hours in this life, I have always had a roof, a car, food, and love and support.

I chose love, I chose to give to the point that my first wife felt safe in the home that was our children’s haven, and had enough money to look after the kids well. Neither she nor I were in luxury, but we were all OK.

SO YOUR EGO WILL WANT TO TELL YOU, YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS DIFFERENT

So because I have provided some content above, your ego is going to want to tell you your situation is different. That’s why Ura can have a peaceful relationship with his exes and I can’t.

Every situation is different. My story is entirely unique, so too is yours.

But challenging exes is not unique. I could have chosen to fight for more money for me, for some of the equity in the family home, to minimise my maintenance to the legal guideline, to see private school fees as a luxury in our changed circumstance. Had I fought we would probably have ended up in a court process, there would have been a lot of equity lost to legal fees, and there would almost certainly been damage to my relationship with my ex-wife, and in turn with my relationship with my children.

MAKING CONSCIOUS CHOICES

I chose two things, love and an abundant mentality.

While I cling to or fight for what I formerly had in a marriage, life has no need to show up and bring me its replacement in the so many unexpected forms it can come in.

Since 2002 life has provided for me in so many ways. I have been through some lows, that were in fact a part of taking me back to a strong foundation. I have had major wealth opportunities drop into my life in ways that I could not have predicted.

Any of us can chose love. The other person as well as being a body with an ego that tries to retain control of the human vessel, is a soul here in this life to have a human experience and to learn from that, sometimes in ways that we might not have expected. When you see the soul, it is much easier to forgive the human behaviour. What’s more when we come from the context of two souls sharing a human experience it starts to get easier to see our own part in the play, as we have less need to defend our ego.

Choosing abundance is a choice that is perhaps a little harder for us. Certainly in the west we have been taught that life is about owning real estate, and having sufficient Superannuation to live comfortably and travel often in our retirement. As so many of us have followed the conservative root of clinging to what we have, not taking risks, holding on to our J-O-B, we have not experienced how abundant life can be when we swing from the vine before the place we are swinging to becomes apparent.

I don’t say that sometimes it is not a little uncomfortable. At times along the way I have needed to borrow some money. My ego certainly would have preferred not to have to accept the embarrassment of having to ask. I will say though that it was great life experience experiencing some more humility, and appreciating the choices I had to make when there were not the resources to do everything I wanted.

BEING AT CAUSE OR AT EFFECT

Its only in recent years that I have had the language and contextual understanding to see as clearly as I do now.

When we face choices about staying angry or resentful with an ex-partner, or moving into love, forgiveness and acceptance, what we are really choosing is to be ‘at cause’ or ‘at effect’.

If we see our ex as unreasonable and the way they act towards us as abominable then these things have us ‘at effect’. That is, it is happening to us, and we believe it is something another has created. The ensuing thinking from there can tend to be that there is no lever to pull that puts us in control of making the situation better. We are therefore left ‘at effect’.

To the extent that we contemplate action, if we are thinking from an ‘at effect’ mindset, we are going to be feeling angry about what has happened and the energy we go back with is likely to carry some sting in the tail.

The alternative to being ‘at effect’ is to be ‘at cause’.

The context for being ‘at cause’ is that the world around me is my responsibility, that if I want change the only way I can get it is to work with the levers that exist for me to pull, which is my actions, my communications, and my energy.

If I am at cause with anger as my emotion, with angry actions as my responses to situations, or with an energy of resentment, those actions will not create anything beautiful.

I CHOOSE TO BE AT EFFECT WITH LOVE

I cannot control what others do.

However I can choose my responses to what others do. When I choose to be ‘at cause’ with love irrespective of what is coming at me, it is amazing what happens over time.

Our actions are not a lever on another with a direct effect. The other has free will, and they can choose a context of being ‘at cause’ or ‘at effect’.

Over time though people do feel energy and observe actions. If they see from us love, when in the past they would have expected anger or resentment we begin to change the set of data and experience they have with us, and it can and usually does start to have an influence on how they choose to be ‘at cause’ of their relationship with us.

There are people who have had experiences I have not, and at times relationships may have been so toxic or dangerous that any action or communication may feel or be unsafe. If that is your judgment that is absolutely something to honour. You can still choose a context of being at cause in your life, choosing love for the other soul that has not yet overcome ego, and seeing life as abundant. All of these things can be lived at a safe distance from the other too.

My own happiness is not something I choose to base on the actions or levers pulled by another.

I will live in relation with life in an abundant way, I will focus on my choices, my actions, and will make them from a place of love. As I do so my experiences are like those on Friday, ones that make those around me go wow.

I am so extraordinarily grateful for the beautiful women my two ex wives were, for what they taught me, for the experiences we had together (all of them), and for the relationships we have now.

What kind of future would you like to be ‘at cause’ of with the other parent of your beautiful children?

Ura P Auckland
Writer

Image Attributions:

  1. Burger Joint by Brian Roberts under license CC BY 2.0

2 comments

  1. Thank you so much Ura. perfect timing. I have been struggling and trying to remind myself that “it’s better to be happy than to be right”, while still having trouble letting go of the “but I’m right,,,and it’s not fair!!!” mind game. Ever present is the extremely strong desire to do what makes life better for my child..and of course for me, and my ex. But my ego has been having a grand old time getting in my way. I like the “at cause” and ” at effect” paradigm. One could say it is just words..but some words have the power to motivate and penetrate the way that others don’t. Thank you xx

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