I can’t imagine even the thought. But some divorced couples, to maintain an appearance of family cohesiveness, take vacations together.
An Associated Press article extolled the merits of exes traveling together with their kids. It mentioned that divorced celebrities, such as Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, make it a practice.
So what? I say taking a family vacation with the ex and kids is a bad, bad idea.
Remember, you got divorced for a reason. The issues may have been complex, but the bottom line was the same: You and your ex didn’t want to live together.
So why would you travel together with the kids for a week or so? I can imagine two outcomes – neither good. One, the couple argues, reminding themselves and the kids why they divorced. Two, the couple gets along – raising false home that they might reconcile.
Divorce needs to be black and white. The exes – and any kids involved – need to create new lives post-divorce. If the divorced father and mother create the illusion of togetherness, no one in the family makes a clean break from the past and moves forward.
I’m all for exes being cordial to one another and even celebrating special occasions together. I can see the mom and dad spending a limited amount of time together with the kids at Christmas or at a graduation ceremony.
But arriving at an event in separate cars for a few hours is one thing. Traveling together for days is another.
Once, my first ex-wife (the mother of my son) suggested that we take a four-hour road trip together to a Texas tourist destination. We’d stay a few days and do some sight-seeing.
Granted, we’d been divorced for a decade. Maybe her idea wasn’t terrible. But it took me about a second to reject it.
“No, I think Connor and I will just go together,” I told her. “You know, we have that travel trailer now. It’s really good for the two of us.”
“Well, OK,” she said, letting the idea die.
End of discussion. Good.
The family changes forever after a divorce
Divorced parents, despite being apart, can still teach their children lessons. One lesson: Divorce is a sad, regrettable occurrence. Another lesson: After divorce, no one should pretend the family is still intact.
It’s not. The family members should still communicate and care for one another. But the family itself is dead.
Kela Price, a blogger on TodaysModernFamily.com, agrees with me about vacations with the ex.
“In most cases the very thing that divorced parents are trying not to do (hurt and confuse their children), they just might end up doing anyway,” she writes.
If you’re divorced, do your children a favor by keeping the old married life distinct from the new divorced one.
You may have great memories of family vacations. But cherish those memories, don’t try to recreate them.
Summer is approaching. Especially if you’ve been divorced for many years, you might be tempted to take a vacation with your ex and the kids. Resist the temptation. You could reopen old wounds and create a longing for a reunited family that can never be.