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Are You Hurt by Your Ex’s Neglect?

12650338_sThis year were there no birthday wishes from your ex? Not even a Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day) card? No acknowledgement that you were ever special to each other?

You know in your head that the marriage is over. Yet, your heart wants some sign that he or she still cares at least a little. Isn’t a simple card or text the least (s)he could do?

In the devastation of separation and divorce, it is common to want to know that your ex or soon-to-be-ex spouse still values you at least enough to acknowledge you on special occasions. The need to feel appreciated and not totally cast aside is understandable.

Yet, when that is NOT what happens you do well to learn to be okay with it, not for them but for your own sanity.

Creating an emotional disconnect with someone you were once married to is hard. This is especially true when you are still co-parenting. After all, you need to work together for the good of your children.

But, even if you are co-parenting, divorce means redefining the nature of the relationship between you and your former spouse. It means breaking emotional ties.  It also generally results in a discontinued show of affection such as sending cards on birthdays and Mother’s or Father’s Day.

It may be a hard pill to swallow if your divorce is relatively new and you are not the one who wanted the divorce. It may seem like sending a Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day) card is the least someone could do when you created babies together. On the other hand, acknowledging this bond with a card or other sentimental act is for some an emotional tie that needs to be severed.

That your ex has discontinued this show of affection since your divorce suggests that he or she has broken, or is breaking, emotional ties with you. It may hurt, but it is a part of divorce and an important part of moving on. Perhaps, it is time for you to do the same and move on with your life as well.

Note: Your children do still need a positive relationship with both parents. Helping minor children find ways to honor their other parent on special occasions is something you do for your children even if the other parent doesn’t reciprocate.  If you hold a grudge over your ex’ failure to acknowledge you on a special occasion, your grudge will have a negative impact on your children.

Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4 ESV

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About the Author

Renee Smith Ettline, life after divorceRenee Smith Ettline, M.Ed. is founder of After Divorce Ministries, LLC, author of Peace after Divorce, and creator of the Peace after Divorce Workshop. Her Peace after Divorce Workshop group study is widely offered in churches and reaches across denominational lines.  She builds on her background as an educational counselor, her Christian faith, and her own divorce experience to light a path for those who need support for healing from divorce.



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