Divorce 360

Split Happens

Kathryn Peterson writes the “Split Happens” column for the Houston Chronicle’s Gray Matters blog. It debuted on Valentine’s Day 2015, and she’s been doing it ever since. It’s mostly personal essays, her own processing about her divorce, and riffs on dating in one’s 40s.  She’s been charged with being “the Carrie Bradshaw of Houston.”

She recently wrote a piece about Splitopia. As Kathryn said, she was intrigued by the idea of the “good divorce,” but also skeptical:

“My biggest question was how a couple can have a good divorce if they are really on different pages? For instance, if one person wants the divorce and one doesn’t, or if one person is still very angry and tends to want to punish the other partner.”

While I have a friendship with my ex-husband, not everyone wants that.  Sometimes a good divorce means extricating yourself from the chaos of the other person kindly, and as cleanly as possible, turning your focus to your own future.

Read the rest of the interview here.

I met Kathryn at Epicure, a café and bakery on West Gray in Houston where I used to write when I lived there in the early 1990s. I knew the owner, and whenever I’m in Houston, I stop by to say hello.  In our era of non-stop change—and during the personal sea change of divorce—it can be reassuring and grounding to see people who’ve stayed in their jobs, remained invested in their same careers, continued baking the same cookies.

I like change in general, and am always eager to try the new restaurant or take the new route.  Change keeps us mentally alert and current.  But stability matters too, for us and our children.  I find that visiting people who’ve stayed where they are, or places that have been around forever, is a reassuring reminder of the continuity and continuation of so much in our lives, even when it feels as if we’re standing in a hurricane of upheaval.


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How Be an Excellent Ex-Husband, and Why This Role Matters

The trend today toward more active, hands-on fathering means many former couples find themselves interacting frequently for years after divorce.  The reality of co-parenting puts a lot of pressure on us to get along.  It also provides a chance to use those wonderful relationship skills that are tough to master in a miserable marriage, but far easier (I found) to employ in discrete doses.  I wrote this piece for QZ.com about my realization that the man I married is the ideal ex-husband—and why I think this is an incredibly important role.

You may not be exiting your marriage with a great deal of good feeling about your experience as a husband, but an ex-husband is also an incredibly important job, and one in which it can be surprisingly easy to excel, as I’ve seen in my own post-marriage relationship.  The duties are discrete, expectations shockingly low.  If, as an ex-husband, you take out your ex-wife’s trash when you come to pick up the kids, as my own ex sometimes does, she’ll call five friends to sing your praise. As a husband? You should have done it yesterday.

In many ways, being an ex-husband is a fail-safe position.  You can’t fail to be romantic enough, or to listen closely enough to her problems.  Read more here.

I have three more dates on my Splitopia  book tour: Denver, April 5, Austin, April 6 and Los Angeles, April 30.  Check here for more information.  

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