Sometimes happiness comes under the most unexpected of circumstances.

50 Ways to Love Your Ex

Posted: June 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: challenges | Tags: , , , , | 25 Comments »

I love my father as the stars - he´s a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart.

I wrote this list a year ago but am reposting it in honor of Father’s Day.  It is so easy to focus on how angry your ex makes you, but can you think of the ways in which you appreciate him, especially as a father?

This list was inspired by two sources: Mom-in-a-Million who recently wrote a blog piece entitled “50 Ways to Love a Man” and Paul Simon’s “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover,” which is my buddy Tobey’s favorite song.  It was a bit of a challenge to come up with fifty qualities that I love about my former hubby, but once I wrote it, I sure felt like I had the greatest ex in the world.  Sometimes it’s all about focus.

These are the wonderful things he does:

1) Tells me he loves me every day

2) Gives our kids a life perspective that I don’t have

3) Cleans my kitchen after he eats dinner with us (much better than I would)

4) Sometimes cleans other parts of the house just because (like our garage)

5) Draws beautiful pictures with our daughter (I am so not an artistic mama)

6) Responds promptly (almost always) to my texts or phone calls

7) Wears my favorite eyeglasses when he visits (the ones that he stopped wearing at the end of our marriage in favor of some really hideous ones)

8) Buys the food for our dog

9) Cares for our dog in his apartment when I visit my family in California

10) Lets me bring the kids to California for long periods of time

11) Listens to all the stories about what we are doing in California

12) Tells me that he likes what I am wearing

13) Mows the lawn while I am out of town

14) Took our son to get a Mohawk even though he wasn’t in favor of it

15) Shows up at all the kids’ school events

16) Still loves my parents and send my mother cards on special occasions

17) Cries when he talks about how much he loves our children

18) His smile

19) Laughs at my silly stories

20) Asks about my friends and enjoys hearing stories about them

21) Waters the plants at my house when I have almost killed them

22) Brings good beer to my house from time to time

23) Always tells me how delicious my cooking is

24) Thanks me for teaching Spanish (his native language) to the kids in our daughters’ kindergarten class

25) Appreciates me for exposing the kids to new experiences like a bonfire at my friend’s lake cabin and taking them chanting at a kirtan

26) Thanks me for arranging play dates for the kids

27) Makes sure that the kids are bathed (I confess this is my weak suit)

28) Took the kids camping in Cape Cod

29) Plays fairies with our daughter

30) Wrestles with our son

31) Takes our kids to see stupid movies that I couldn’t stand (although I did take them to G Force and Alvin and the Chipmunks)

32) Teaches the kids how to clean up after themselves

33) Does great imaginative play with the kids (I seem to be too literal for this)

34) Hopes that he will make more money soon so that he can be more generous to me and the kids

35) Asks me about my dates (it’s been four years now so the jealousy has subsided)

36) Laughs when the dates are ridiculous

37) Sympathizes with me if I get hurt

38) Likes to hear stories about my wonderful eccentric family.

39) Laughs when I razz him (about carefully chosen behaviors)

40) Shares my political beliefs

41) Fills in parts of the NYT crossword puzzle that I haven’t gotten yet

42) Is still one of the most intelligent people I know (even if he doesn’t always make smart decisions)

43) Uses fancy pants words like salubrious when a simple word like healthy would suffice

44) Is committed to spending time each week together as a family

45) Cares about our house even though he no longer lives in it

46) Gave me the house because he wanted the kids to continue in their same home

47) Emphasizes the importance of a sense of spirituality in our kids’ lives

48) Is (now) willing to listen to my parenting ideas and welcomes my input (if offered gently)

49) Shares my commitment to us staying friends

50) Humorously admits that he is a good subject for a blog

As I review this list, a few things come to mind.  First, it would seem that the keys to our peaceful divorce are listening and laughter.  At the end of our marriage, we were definitely verging towards complete humorlessness.  Levity about our situation and laughing at ourselves and each other have brought joy and a sense of perspective back into our relationship.  Second, writing this list made me feel so grateful.  One of the strategies that I have learned since our breakup is to focus on what I appreciate about my ex rather than focusing on his flaws.

So, my dear readers, I would love for you to share some positive characteristics of someone close to you, especially someone that drives you a little crazy too like a parent, child, sibling, ex or even current partner.  What are the ways in which you love that person?

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25 Comments on “50 Ways to Love Your Ex”

  1. 1 aac said at 4:38 pm on June 27th, 2010:

    i love you and miss you, molly. i know, i know this is not a comment to this specific piece. or maybe it is.

  2. 2 Molly said at 5:19 pm on June 27th, 2010:

    I love and miss you too and will comment with something specific to this piece. I appreciate what a great friend you are and how expressive and communicative you are with your love. xxoo

  3. 3 Gillian Andrews said at 6:08 pm on June 27th, 2010:

    OK, here goes although I would be hard-pressed to think of 50 things I love about my ex. I will try to write some that are not related to our children.
    Here are 5:
    He adores our children as much as I adore them
    He takes them rock climbing, something I am ill-equipped to do with them alone
    He changes people’s lives
    He takes care of the rabbit far more than I do because he knows she would be in a cage at my house
    We’ve never had a fight about money

  4. 4 Molly said at 8:17 pm on June 27th, 2010:

    Those are great ones, Gillian! Do you realize how rare the last one is? How does he change people’s lives?

  5. 5 Kent Pelz said at 9:21 am on June 28th, 2010:

    Who me, eccentric? Dad

  6. 6 Molly said at 10:10 am on June 28th, 2010:

    Do you want me to count the ways on that one too?

  7. 7 Laura Furey said at 11:39 am on June 28th, 2010:

    This is inspirational! The next time Mark is driving me crazy, I will make a list of what I love about him. One recent aspect comes to mind, he will talk for hours with my niece about the placement of furniture in her dollhouse. This weekend with my nephew was really bittersweet. I realized what a wonderful father Mark could have been. We are so lucky to have Will and Dylan nearby!

  8. 8 Molly said at 1:40 pm on June 28th, 2010:

    Thanks for sharing Laura. Doesn’t it feel good to think about people’s strengths and the ways in which they touch others? It makes us feel more connected.

  9. 9 Barb said at 8:05 pm on June 28th, 2010:

    Hugo sounds like a great friend!

  10. 10 MF said at 2:19 pm on June 29th, 2010:

    Wow, I think I need to do this about my MIL (hence the slightly incognito post here!)…

    She loves my children – and they love her.

    She loves my husband – and did a damn good job raising him – he is kind and thoughtful and generous and such a great daddy.

    She loves me, even though we have vastly different views on many subjects.

    She is a great cook.

    She doesn’t complain that our house is a mess even when it is. Her house is kind of a mess too, which makes it easy to visit.

    This is starting to help – I think I need to build on it more at some point..

  11. 11 Molly said at 2:28 pm on June 29th, 2010:

    I wrote this in California at a moment in which we were getting along great. I think it’s a great exercise to try when you are feeling slightly aggravated and ready to change your perspective about someone. Going to try it again then.

  12. 12 Celebrating Our Wedding Anniversary as Exes | Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce said at 12:40 pm on September 1st, 2010:

    […] our differences, gratitude for my choice to ignore my grievances with him and focus instead on the ways in which he enriches my life, gratitude that our children still get to experience moments of a united nuclear family.  Then we […]

  13. 13 Lessons Learned from My Divorce | Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce said at 10:21 pm on December 6th, 2010:

    […] company and were often engaged in vocal disagreements.  Now, with the distance, I am able to appreciate the ways in which he is a great father to our kids and a loving friend to me.  I am so happy to be […]

  14. 14 DM said at 6:53 pm on January 9th, 2011:

    I like how expressive you are on your blog.

    I can’t help but wonder if you will try to reconcile because it sounds like he has many good qualities and he loves you, and you love him.

  15. 15 Molly Monet said at 7:53 pm on January 9th, 2011:

    I’ve addressed this several times in different posts. We are better off as friends and harmonious co-parents. We fought too much while living together and, even though he ended our marriage, I have come to realize that we are much better with space between us. We do love each other and always will. It just takes a different form.
    Thanks for visiting and participating in the discussion.

  16. 16 P2 said at 4:50 am on February 14th, 2011:

    Have found your blog a great comfort at present painful time of separation. Hopeful of achieving what you describe here, would love my ex who I love but struggled to match temperaments with, to feel like this and for it to be peaceful not strained to visit. So how long did it take Molly, for the visits to become sources of pleasure and sustenance and no longer sadness/regrets/doubts?

  17. 17 Molly Monet said at 11:43 am on February 14th, 2011:

    I am glad that you have found my blog. Keep poking around because I have written on lots of topics that may help you at this time. My ex and I have very different temperaments and it hasn’t always been easy to keep the peace. I think we turned the corner about two years or so after the split, but we kept at being friends from day one. It just got easier to do so as time passed.

    You might find this post helpful…the-first-time/

  18. 18 Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce » Blog Archive » Why Keep the Peace? said at 7:41 am on April 26th, 2011:

    […] read, but the other day she says to me, Mama, my favorite essay in your book is the one called “50 Ways to Love Your Ex.” It’s an appreciation list about how great I think her father is.  It’s not surprising that […]

  19. 19 Kriste said at 11:10 am on May 5th, 2011:

    I love this exercise! After being divorced a little over a year, with many terrible times, my ex has finally seen the light and agreed to reconcile a friendship between us and also co-parent our kids. Our last month has been a great start and I am so excited to have found your blog. Finding 50 things is a tough task, but it will be interesting to see what we both come up with, and to let each other shine, rather than talk about the faults all the time. THANK YOU!

  20. 20 Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce » Blog Archive » The Right Approach to Divorce? said at 8:55 am on June 18th, 2011:

    […] argumentative with him.  I started to accept his behavior as beyond my control, and I actively appreciated the ways in which he was a good father and friend to me.  I decided to make our love more important […]

  21. 21 Michele said at 12:07 am on June 20th, 2011:

    Love the list Molly! Hope you all had a fabulous day!
    Michele recently posted..Patience

  22. 22 Adrienne said at 10:17 am on June 20th, 2011:

    Such a worthwhile exercise. I’m going to find some time, inhale deeply, and write a list like this about my mom. As my daughter’s wedding approaches, all her most awful qualities are coming through with nuclear force. Part of me doesn’t want to push myself to do this exercise…I just want to complain about her. But I will! Yay for the repost, since I missed this the first time around!

  23. 23 Molly Monet said at 11:38 am on June 20th, 2011:

    This is a great exercise for anyone in your life that you know you love but who pushes your buttons. Wedding sure bring out stress in a family. Good luck!

    I’m glad that you enjoyed the repost. I have some really worthwhile essays that I wrote at the start of my blog a year ago that I may repost for my current readers. Blogging experts actually recommend that.

  24. 24 kate said at 6:07 pm on June 20th, 2011:

    I love this beyond words. This is the model for what divorce should look like, when kids are involved.

    I love many things about my ex, and we are MUCH better off as friends and co-parents than we were as husband and wife. I am happily remarried, but my ex is always welcome in our home. When he comes over, my husband offers him a beer, and invites him to stay for dinner. You should see the look of contentment on our daughter’s face as her “three parents” sit around laughing together.

    While your marriage may end, the commitment to your children to love and honor their other parent never should.

  25. 25 Molly Monet said at 9:46 am on June 21st, 2011:

    Oh Kate, thanks for sharing your story. I love to hear about other peacefully divorced families. I will always love my ex and I appreciate the role that he has played in my life and will continue to play in my life. I’m glad that you found my blog.

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