Can you get along happily with your ex after a bitter divorce? I never thought it would be possible. My divorce wasn’t easy and it took many years to heal, but here I am.

We got together in 2005 after being the best of friends all through college. I was totally in love and blind to all the signs of infidelity around me. In 2010 we had a child together, the first for us both, but by this time he was living in another country and we were long distance. We got married in 2011 so that I could move to this country with him and we could finally be a family, the family I always longed for.

On my wedding day, I found out that he was expecting a child with someone else. I still remember everything about this day, how devastating it was to learn that the man I had just married had betrayed me so deeply and to find out on this particular day. To say the road was a rocky one after that awful day in 2011 is a gross understatement.

I went through every emotion. I was angry, depressed, wanted revenge, I wanted to hurt the other woman, I wanted to still be married and not allow her to be with him, then suddenly one day I wanted to be free. One day I realized that what I wanted for my life was not to be gained from trying to stay with him. It was the most life-changing experience I’d had to simply give myself permission to let go and move on.

Everything inside me transformed. I cut my hair, I lost weight, I started eating better and exercising and everyone around me could tell that I was a changed woman. I exuded positivity and happiness from making the simple decision to let go. I forgave him for everything, not for his benefit, but for mine. To gain my freedom and my happiness. I decided that I wanted to live my best life and put forward my best self for my little baby girl.

Slowly we became friends again. Because I had forgiven him, and I mean truly forgiven him, his actions no longer hurt me. I was able to look past the past and accepted that while he was a very bad husband, he was actually a good dad and it would do me or our daughter no good for me to be bitter anymore.

So I stopped snapping at him when he would call and we started to develop a friendship surrounding our daughter again. I became comfortable enough to invite him inside my home to stay when he visits us and I stay at his house when we go visit him in his country. We go on vacations together for our child. How was I able to make this complete 180 turn? It was all in my mindset.

It started with forgiveness. They say holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. I had to forgive him not because I was OK with his actions and what he did, but because I needed to let go of that hurt in order to be free from the pain. So I truly needed to forgive him and let it go. Just, let it go.

Letting it go also allowed me the freedom to be able to talk to him without feeling all the pain inside. Since we share a child together, I didn’t have the option of letting go and simply moving on. This type of forgiveness is even harder. Having to still talk to the person who hurt you can be hard. I was constantly reminding myself to let it go. To move past the hurt. To be OK with the fact that it didn’t work out how I wanted it to.

It’s also necessary to define your boundaries. To know what you can manage and what you can’t. Even though we have developed a friendship good enough to take vacations together, boundaries I’ve put in place allow both of us to keep things strictly positive and not get messy. Seeing him used to be a very slippery slope for me, wishing and wondering on what ifs. Now, I have decided with a finality that he is not the man for me, was not the man for me and will never be the man for me. I never allow my thoughts to cross into what if land, it keeps my heart safe and our friendship intact.

Now that our daughter is about to be 8, the mutual vacations have slowed. She’s old enough to visit him without me feeling like I need to be there as well. She spends the summer with him and her other siblings and I’ve slowly distanced myself from mutual vacations in an effort to build my own romantic relationship.

If you’re going through a divorce or break up with the father of your child/children, remember that forgiveness is important for your own peace of mind. It doesn’t mean that the hurtful acts are OK, it means that you’re giving yourself permission to be happy again. Happiness is an inside job. Let go of the pain. Forgive.

Written by: Monique Solomon

About Monique Solomon

Hi there! I’m Monique, a lifestyle blogger at sharing the best of Jamaican life, fashion and beauty inspiration. I believe that happiness is an inside job and write from a place of inspiration with a touch of wild-child fun. Join me and let’s figure out this thing called life together.