Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On Saturday I went to the state-mandated class on parenting while divorcing. (Otherwise known as "How to Screw Up Your Children For The Rest Of Their Life 101.") T went to the class the previous week. When I asked him (still trying to be friendly!) how his class went, the first thing he told me was, "You're going to love this... you're not supposed to date for two years." I'm so glad that *this* was what he learned - that *I* wasn't supposed to be dating for two years. The other thing he got out of the class was that we should tell the kids together that we were getting divorced (more on that one later).

I went to the class. Did I ever hear that I wasn't supposed to be dating? Nope. In fact, I heard the opposite - they told us to go out, date, create a new life with new traditions for yourself. I was there with my friend, TGD, and she heard the same thing. We (TGD) and I talked about it, and we think T got the 2-year thing from the part that explained that it takes about 2 years to get all the way through the grief process for a divorce. However, T might have missed the other two key parts - that it starts when you actually start thinking about ending the marriage (which for me was 3 years ago) and that the person who files the paperwork (again, me) is usually at the end of the process.

So the point of this long and rambling story is actually (shocking, I know) yet another question. Did Troy get out of the class only what he was looking to hear? Did I do the same thing? Did TGD who is also in a relationship hear what I heard because she wanted to?

Do we all just hear what we want? When in an argument with someone are we just filtering through what the other person is saying to find kernals of information that will validate our own feelings? Can we ever be truly open-minded? In my own case, I find that I'm not really likely to change my mind to someone else's way of thinking in the course of a discussion. However, let it sink in long enough, let me marinate in it for a while, and I might just come around to your way of thinking. Perhaps that is true of most of us. To be honest, I hope so.

Oh, and back to the telling the kids about the divorce together, thing. I think what the class was getting at was that when you split up, you're supposed to give the kids a reason why and do it together. We did that. However, I don't think it's necessary to sit down with them again, and tell them that "we have filed the paperwork for dissolution of marriage". I know I'm not a child expert, but I do think that children ask the questions they are ready to hear answers to. I have always promised to answer every question they ask, whether or not I'm ready. For now, I think that's enough.

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