Our distinct personalities and generational gap aside, the new husband and I learned to like each other. Most importantly, he loves my ex and treats our kids well. So we all make it work.
We figured out the rules
When I showed up -- invited -- to the reception dinner for my ex-wife and her brand-new husband, her friends marveled at our personal mores. (Full disclosure: I chose not to attend their later, grander celebration in Taos.) An attorney friend was particularly astonished because hers was the definition of an ugly divorce totally lacking in civility.
How then, she wondered, did we come to our happy divorce?
In couples therapy, we learned some great rules of engagement: 1. Don’t use “never” and “always” in an argument. 2. Use “I” statements, not “you” accusations. 3. Unpack what baggage you can. 4. If enraged, retreat to cool off, and live to argue another day. 5. Don’t talk trash about your partner to your children (it’s psychological abuse, and it’s not their fault you divorced). 6. Don’t let old, zombie-like resentments infect the current argument.