"I did not divorce my daughter”

Divorce is not an easy decision to take, especially when there is a child involved. But sometimes it is crucial for everyone’s well-being. So how does one strike a balance and give the child the love she/he deserves despite the parents getting separated? Here is how to do it with grace and respect








Given under my hand and the seal of this court on the 3rd day of December, 2020 is the last line of my divorce paper. So, when you read this, I would like you to visualise, where I am in life right now. I have moved on, perhaps!


Even today, I am judged, by people who call themselves my family for taking this stance. I got labelled as someone who is not interested in family ties. I got stamped as someone, to whom family does not matter. As someone who was career oriented, non-adjusting and not family centric. It takes time to rise above these judgments and to understand your own self.


The biggest truth in the above paragraph is not that we were granted the divorce, but the last word, ‘perhaps’. You never move on. There is nothing like move on. You just move forward and all of that stays where it is. You start leading a new life minus some things and people, but you never forget, even if you have been in a marriage for 17 days or 17 years.


My biggest and the only loss from this divorce was separation from my daughter. I had to leave her behind. That kept piercing me. It still does. It took me a very long time to come to terms with this aspect of divorce. Even today, I am judged, by people who call themselves my family for taking this stance. I got labelled as someone who is not interested in family ties. I got stamped as someone, to whom family does not matter. As someone who was career oriented, non-adjusting and not family centric. It takes time to rise above these judgments and to understand your own self.


It takes a long time to finally accept your own stance that you took after sleepless months, endless conversations, SWOT analysis, emotional breakdowns and living in the zombie land.


The saving grace in this entire episode, despite being deeply hurt was an open communication. Both of us kept the promise that we won’t let our daughter see an ugly sight. Be it an argument or a raised voice, and we succeeded. I think the fact that our daughter is better balanced and not under trauma may be a result of this.


The orientation


I chose to speak to my daughter about this divorce in a rather gentle manner. She is 13 now, so obviously she was at a very tender age to go through this. I moved out initially, on the pretext of long work travel and then slowly built in through many conversations that “I will now be gone for good”.


There was another level of grounding that I did with her. This was about looking at the divorce with respect and as a final decision that two individuals take after trying all they can, when they are no longer compatible.



I was attending one of her friend’s birthday parties. Some of her friends collectively came to me and said, “Look aunty, what she is saying. That you live separately and not with her.”

I looked at my daughter, kept my hand on her shoulder and said, she is absolutely right. She never lies, and she is speaking the truth even now.


I then asked them: “You may not see it as normal, but do you see it as a problem? Is it not better to be happy than to be fighting? And have I left my daughter or I am with her every step of the way?” These questions were pointed towards the children, but in my own way I was equipping my daughter with answers to face a similar situation in the future.


Today, I see her speaking in a low voice about this when she mentions to her new friends that I don’t stay with her, but she does not hide it and I would like to believe that we are on the right track.


Changing the conversation


I started listening to my own conversations and watching my actions. I failed miserably. I was always speaking about life being difficult. Living alone, on rent, on doing things I had never done. I was quieter and unhappy and staying away from my daughter was a piercing pain.


I had started setting unrealistic expectations from her: Expectations about her calling me, spending time with me or getting busy with her own life MINUS me. I realized that life was moving on just fine for her without me. She never cried and called me to say she was missing me or that she was finding it difficult to live without me. She had found ways of doing her ponytail differently, managing her periods, eating other things and making more friends.


All this was bothering me. In my eyes as a mother, I was unable to accept the fact that no one is indispensable. Not even a mother. My friends helped. They stood by like rocks. My friend’s mother helped. One of my aunts helped, my younger cousin helped.


A constant message that my best friend kept giving me was: you have to decide what you want your life to look like. It is dark now, but it won’t be dark forever. Find a groove, make a new circle, meet new people. I started going to a coffee shop and it slowly became my Mecca, my refuge and my positive place that rejuvenated and refueled me, sometimes with coffee or food, small talks or just the vibe. It did heal me.


I realised that it was now time for me to build a new life, have a new positive conversation with myself, get on a new route of exploration and meet some new people, where I could talk and listen to new conversations. The biggest change in conversation was that I had started looking at my ex-husband now as the guardian of my child.

This healing helped me change my conversation. I realised that all my daughter was doing was exactly what I wanted my daughter to do. I did not want her to cry and call me, I wanted her to be brave and work around her difficulties and she was doing just that. I wanted her to be independent and learn the ways of the world, and she was doing exactly that. So why was I complaining?


I realised that it was now time for me to build a new life, have a new positive conversation with myself, get on a new route of exploration and meet some new people, where I could talk and listen to new conversations. The biggest change in conversation was that I had started looking at my ex-husband now as the guardian of my child.


I realised that we may not be marital partners, but we will always be child-raising partners. I started welcoming my daughter in my own set up. I ensured she was not living out of a suitcase but rather had her own space in both homes. There were different things she did and liked in my house. She was not a visitor.


I was owning up. I was standing tall. I was coping and I had shifted my focus to possessing things that could never be held in these two hands. I would always be in status quo, however, my response to a situation may impact my child.


I did not divorce my daughter


I got my brain around this one line. I tried that she should not feel holed up. I opened a conversation channel. Connected with her new friends, introduced her to mine.


Adjusting to this new reality was a challenge for all. I started telling her how we were not getting along and living apart was better than holding grudges. I did not speak ill ‘about her father’. That was his position in my brain now. I asserted that though it may be a tough transition, the divorce will give everyone a better life in the long run.

In life, things happen to us. The only thing that truly matters, is our choice of how we respond and what we make of it.

Divorce can bring several types of emotions to the forefront for a family, and the children involved are no different. Feelings of loss, anger, confusion, anxiety, and many others, all may come from this transition. Divorce can leave children feeling overwhelmed and emotionally sensitive.


In life, things happen to us. The only thing that truly matters, is our choice of how we respond and what we make of it.

You can spend your entire time thinking about the past. What could and should have been different. Soon you realise, it is worthless, it’s a waste of time. MOVE FORWARD.


It helps to understand, as soon as possible that there is a need to embrace a new life and new people. Be self-aware and determined to seek your happiness.

Banish guilt. Live on.

.............................................................................................................................................


The biggest lessons I learnt from my divorce


1. Acknowledge that this is happening. It is real.

2. How to manage my expectations.

3. People don’t change.

4. One needs to focus on improving own life rather than entering others’ domains and poking.

5. Criticism does not help a co-parenting relationship. Respect that the other person is doing his/her best.

6. Practicing forgiveness helps. But remembering your lessons helps much more.

7. A hurt-free zone is the best environment for your child to be in.

8. It is ok to be vulnerable and follow your gut.

9. Expect to lose some friends and even family in this journey of separation.

10. It is never too late to realise, you deserve a better life.



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