For the past nine weeks, Mr. Love-A-Lot and I have been meeting with his ex, that's right his ex, every week at Tammy Perry's office in Carbondale, Colorado to participate in the Shared Parenting Support Program(tm). Let's just say, it has been enlightening.
Since Mr. Love-A-Lot and his ex had divorced the communication has been strained, to say the least. So deciding to particpate in this program was not taken lightly. Mr. Love-A-Lot did his research (as always) and found out that this particular program is geared toward getting both parents to learn how to communicate in a business-like manner for the sake of their child(ren). He decided he was willing to try anything yet if he was going, I was supposed to go too.
Step-parents and live-in mates attend nine out of the 10 week sessions. When Mr. Love-A-Lot asked me to attend I immediately said, "Yes." I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Sitting in the middle chair between Mr. Love-A-Lot and his ex was a lesson in patience, understanding and compassion and of course, I didn't want to get in the way of the therapist and her work. She was the expert here, not me. I knew I had to be a neurtral third party or it would never work.
What I didn't anticipate was how emotional those meetings would be for the both of them. And for me.
Participating in the Shared Parenting Support Program(tm) was a smart move and a deeply healing one. After every meeting, Mr. Love-A-Lot and I would discuss what happened, how he felt and what he didn't say that he wanted to say. We debriefed for hours (and it wasn't always pretty) and after the first week, I realized that this was exactly what he needed to leave the past behind once and for all. And what I needed to know how much he really loved me.
I am sure you can imagine how many times I held my breath wanting to jump in with my Fearless Coaching but I knew that would defeat the purpose. What Mr. Love-A-Lot needed wasn't coaching but acceptance and his ex needed exactly the same thing. So with my mouth taped shut (as best as I could) another therapist guided my man and his past love into the next phase of their relationship: parents of their daughter. With me as their primary witness.
Was it weird? Yes. Was it brave? Yes. Was it healing? Yes.
If you or anyone you know needs better parenting skills during or after their divorce, find out more about the Shared Parenting Support Program(tm). It is worth walking through the fear of facing your spouse again for the love of the children.
I know you are probably wondering how Mr. Love-A-Lot's ex and I got along? The answer....fearlessly.