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Should You give your Ex-Husband a Father's Day Card?

UPDATE: There is at least one company now offering greeting cards designed specifically for ex's: https://xcardsgreetings.com/  If you don't live in the NY/NJ area you may have to order online, but if you plan ahead you could really make an impression on your ex.

Original Post:

I recently wrote about the lack of any Mother's Day cards designed specifically "For My Ex-Wife."  Of course the same is true for Father's Day.   The seasonal section is now  full of cards ranging from religious to sappy to funny (or appropriately politically correct kinda-funny).  There are cards separated into sections "For My Husband", "From Daughter", "From Son", for grandfathers and even great-grandfathers.

But there aren't any cards in the aisle labeled "For My Ex-Husband."

Why not?

One Judge in Plymouth County has a standard speech he gives divorcing spouses right before he approves their final divorce.  Judge James Menno tells divorcing spouses who are also parents: "Today I divorce you as husband and wife, but you will never be divorced as parents."  Divorced parents are still Mom and Dad, and nothing changes that.

In many cases (maybe even most cases), divorce involves a breakdown in trust between the two parties.  Co-parenting with someone with whom you don't have a trusting relationship can range from difficult to impossible.  In Collaborative Divorce and Mediation, we often focus on the ways in which couples can build communication and enough trust to co-parent effectively after their divorce is final.

One of the most powerful skills that couples can work on to build trust and cooperation is acknowledgement.

We've all heard the complaints that separated parents have about the other parent.  Parenting together is difficult enough, and parenting apart is bound to lead to even more misunderstandings.  But how often do you hear separated parents praise each other's efforts.  How different would conversations between exes be if they began with an acknowledgement of what the other parent is doing well, instead of starting in on what's wrong.  When you acknowledge someone else's strengths they are more likely to be understanding when you have disagreements, because they can trust you to see both the good and the bad.

Even in difficult cases most people will still admit that the opposing party is a good parent.  However, the absence of a Father's Day card category "For My Ex-Husband" suggests that very few ex-wives make a point of telling their ex-husband that they're a good father, even on the day that is specifically designed for that.

So while we wait for greeting card companies to figure this out, buy your ex-husband a tie or a tool or a generic Father's Day card.  Even a cliched Father's Day gift will make a big impression because even though you're not married anymore he is still a Dad, and that deserves recognition.

Comments

  1. You are absolutely right! Father's Day is a day of celebration, of telling all those Dads how great they're doing and how important they are in our lives. I am a recently divorced Mother and was unsure if I should get anything for my ex husband. And now I will. Thanks for helping me make this decision :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why do people have to think about this??? If your ex is a part of your child's life then of course you celebrate it. It's good for the Dad and BETTER for the child!!!

    Come on ladies...it's a no brainer

    ReplyDelete
  3. While we were married, my ex wife never once acknowledged my birthday or Father's Day. She lied to the guardian ad litem about me to get custody of our child and then left him with her parents for them to raise. I won't be expecting a Father's Day card from her this year and that's fine, in fact, I prefer it that way.

    ReplyDelete

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