A friend once suggested that I reconsider using the prefix “ex” to describe my son’s father and it changed my life.
Currently, I’ve changed my language from using “ex-husband” to “my son’s dad” or more regularly: “my coparent”.
These words have radically altered the way I feel energetically and emotionally towards somebody I am inextricably partnered with for the next fifteen years, but who also encompassed a lot of hurt and pain my life.
In order to be the most present and positive mother to my son, the word -ex had to go.
It represented a choice that I made and then fell back on.
It focused on the failure of the past, not the opportunity in the present to be a mindful mama.
What’s more, my son’s father is not an “ex” at all. An ex is somebody with whom you were formerly associated. My son’s father is in my life for a long time to come, and it’s important that the language I use to describe him honors that partnership and focuses on the joy we can bring in raising our son, even from two different houses and two different towns.
What does the word “ex” mean to our children?
It’s energetically negative.
First of all, consider how “ex” sounds energetically.
Create an X in front of you with your arms. It’s like creating a boundary or barrier between you and the life in front of you.
What’s more, it lumps your coparent into a category of the former, the disenfranchised, the past. This can make it seem like there is divisiveness between you and your coparent, even if you get along just fine.
What’s more, it harbors negative energy and may facilitate the worst of all possible things: the impression that you’re speaking negatively about the coparent.
This is to be avoided at all costs.
We know from research that children resent a parent who speaks ill of a former partners. Contrary to what you may think, speaking ill of your coparent doesn’t make your former partner look bad: it ultimately harms the child’s psyche and causes them to resent you.
Imagine somebody bad-mouthing your favorite song, book, vacation, or movie. It hurts. It hurts much more deeply when the bad-mouthing is directed towards the most important person in your child’s life, your coparent.
Don’t live in the past. The future is too full of promise and potential to use words that keep you buried behind past choices.
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