Does your Ex still own your soul?

By Peter Ehrlich

Mr. Paul McCartney, you may want to refer to this column one day, because Ms. Mills doesn’t seem like she’s inclined to make peace with you!

I recently received a heartbreaking email from Paxton, a single father. It was a long letter, detailing every example of anger, pain and frustration he suffered at the hands or lips if his exe.

I won’t go into the gory details but you know the drill; screaming at him in front of the children, not showing for her designated access and threatening him with court action if he didn’t “behave properly”. (That’s code for “if you don’t parent exactly the way I parent, I’m taking you to court”.)

Paxton didn’t just send me an email. It was his Manifesto of Pain.

Paxton explained that this toxic relationship has been going on since they separated. In other words, though he left the relationship because he fell out of love and was tired of the fighting, the separation didn’t help at all. He was in just as much pain as ever.

He “wished he could escape and find peace but as long as she “was who she was, he would have to keep fighting”.

That’s too bad, because exes seldom change.

Single parents can be killed emotionally and physically by 1,000 mental paper cuts if they don’t know how to detach, cut their (perceived) losses and walk away.

Single parents who are determined to always engage in battle every time the gauntlet is thrown down are never truly “single” parents.

Paxton isn’t divorced from his ex; rather, he is divorced “to” his ex.

If you're going to divorce someone you really should get the benefit of disengagement spiritually or you might as well stay on the payroll, bury any pride you have in the back yard and accept your permanent address as 123 Pain Street.

When I read part of Paxton’s email to a single parent friend of mine she said “she still owns his soul”.

We all ache for peace. But if we choose to battle for what we think is right, we won’t find it. Instead, your choice to “always” respond will keep you rooted in a parched desert under a black sky.

When we meet and court a new friend and lover, we know when it’s time in the intricate mating dance to step back to listen to the silence. This allows us to better understand our feelings, to better know what next steps to take.

When married, couples need to find time to detach to find their centre again. That’s why Kahlil Gilbran said this; “Let there be separateness in your togetherness”.

As a single parent, it is more essential to know when to retreat from battle to find your core, for the sake of your child, yourself, and yes, even your exe.

If we want to be a happy, fulfilled, self-sufficient single person again, we need to do a good job at picking our battles, being able to leave the darker side of our soul behind us.

Next time your exe roars or turns ugly, quietly turn around, walk away, perhaps with child in tow, say, “let’s talk when we’re calm” and feel proud you had the wisdom to retreat and save your child that day.

And to Paul, after time has passed and you sense Heather isn’t about to stop baiting you, pour yourself a hot cuppa and think of three simple words. Let it be.

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