I was touched but not surprised by Joan Kennedy’s appearance at her ex-spouse’s funeral. She was, after all, married to this man for 25 years and raised 3 children with him. They’ve been divorced for many years – it’s hardly fresh. Hopefully time heals hurts and wounds.

Re: relationships between spouses and ex-spousesA developmental process

As a counselor I’ve seen everything over the years from complete hostility …don’t even MENTION the exes’ name… to almost communal living of first and second families. It depends on the players, the circumstances and timing.

I believe there’s a developmental process of first dealing with the stress and grief of a failed marriage and then regrouping and restructuring the boundaries. It happened to me. After the shock of my first husband leaving me alone with my kids, it took me a while to GET IT and ADJUST to it. I was deeply hurt and furious with him. I hated him and the woman he left me for.

Then I met David. We fell in love. I was young, naïve and totally idealistic that I could move right in and easily raise his and my kids together. (Thank God, no one today is as naïve and uninformed as I was!) My three stepkids were reeling from the loss of their mother, and they took it out on me. I hated her for dumping her three angry kids in my lap.

The wounds have healed over the years. And yes, I can greet and spend time with our two exes…chat with them, get caught up about old friends and family etc. And yes, I can imagine us both at our exes’ funeral services for our kids’ sake as well as history that started and ended a long time ago. It’s a developmental process.

Susan Wisdom
September 2009

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