Monday, 12 March 2018

How to: Positive Co-parenting

When I get asked to write about co-parenting, I really don't want to. This experience is so new and so extremely personal to me but the thing is, I have always shared everything because it always made me feel better about everything and hey, if this helps even one other separated couple to build a better relationship for their child, then I am happy... so, with Ben's permission, here we go.

It didn't start off amazing, I openly admit. I didn't deal with our relationship ending very well. I was lost, confused and in a circumstance I never imagined I would be in. Ben didn't deal very well either. We didn't know what to do, we didn't know how to feel or what to say to each other and at the time we were angry with each other and had just lived together for three weeks knowing we had ended. Things weren't great at all. We spent the first two weeks after Ben moved out arguing with each other via text (oh yes, what a great platform to express your emotion and expect the other person to completely understand...NOT).

After two weeks of this Ben CALLED me. And it was the best thing to happen to our new relationship. And that's exactly what it is, co-parenting is a relationship. Probably not one that either of you expected to have with each other but it's a relationship none the less and like any relationship, it takes work and this one, takes a HELL of a lot of work.

Here's some things that have helped us get through these last few months while maintaining a positive environment for Achilles.


Look, you're both in a pretty shitty place right now. The relationship has ended, its obvious you both need to work on yourselves and find your feet in this new co-parenting world so it is really important to be patient with each other. No one is going to be perfect every day. Feelings will pop up every now and then because you were in love and that can't change over night. Expect confusion, hurt, and an array of both positive and negative emotions but if you can, take advantage of the fact you have this person, who knows you better than anyone, who is going through the exact same thing. Be patient and kind to each other and talk about your feelings. As uncomfortable as it may be, it helps.


This leads me to my next point. Talk. It is really hard to talk to the person you're trying not to feel in love with anymore, every single day. But talking often, for us,  allowed us to build a friendship.  In saying all this, it is a two way street and you both have to want to speak. Even just having conversations about your day and sharing things about your child/children and just having a laugh really helps form a new relationship.


I could not think of anything worse than the father of my son missing out on everything. I send photos and videos to Ben of Achilles. I've had people tell me not to do this and many other things I do for Ben because "Why would you want to make it easy on him?" UMMM WHY WOULD I NOT WANT TO MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR THE FATHER OF MY CHILD? And he does the same for me. He will help whenever I ask. Why wouldn't you want the father/ mother of your child to be in a positive frame of mind and have them have as little stress as possible so they can focus on being a good person and father/ mother. The amount of negativity that has been thrown my way since Ben and I broke up has actually been ridiculous. People telling me it won't work, people telling me not to share things with him and say "let him wonder what he's missing".  I am not a negative or spiteful person and I refuse to be just because our relationship didn't work. A co-parenting relationship will not work when you hang on to these negative behaviours - LET IT GO AND JUST BE HAPPY.


Ok so Ben and I do better than most separated parents. I know this because I am constantly told things like "I wish my parents got along like you and Ben when I was younger" and "I wish my ex and me could get along like you and Ben". BUT please know that our co-parenting relationship isn't always perfect and that is completely ok. We go through stages where we are just civil with each other and don't really talk beyond that. So many aspects of this are new to both of us so we really cannot be perfect all the time and neither can our friendship. We also go through stages where we can't stand each other...again, completely normal, in the end, we are going through a break up and you're always going to disagree on some things.


In the end, no matter what, the most important thing that makes a co-parenting relationship successful is just respecting each other. They are the other parent to your child. You don't have to be best friends or spend time together. But, we want Achilles to grow up knowing when he needs us, we will both be there and we will be able to be in the same room without our son feeling uncomfortable. Any issues we ever have will be pushed aside for the benefit of our son. It takes maturity, respect, dedication and support. I can guarantee you it is hard and challenging and it won't always be good between you. But you have to put certain things aside because it creates a positive environment for everyone. And what is better than everyone being happy? NOTHING...

Keep smiling


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Signs your relationship is just not working anymore

**I am writing this post because I have had several messages from women asking me about this... I hope this can help even one person.Now before I get in to this post, I just want to be clear, I am not a relationship expert, I am simply writing from my experiences in my past relationships.

***Very important note*** One thing I wish Ben and I did before deciding to end things is see a relationship counsellor. Bringing a child in to the world, whilst amazingly beautiful, completely turns your world upside down. It brings exhaustion, stress, money worries, potential post natal depression (which can happen in men too by the way) and many other feelings and emotions. Its such a big change and nothing and no one can prepare you for the change. I think once you have children, its important to see a relationship counsellor regularly, even if everything is great. There is no harm in constantly working on your relationship and making sure you're both doing ok. Because sometimes its really hard to let every one know that you're not ok. Would it have saved us? Who knows and probably not but at least we could have said we tried and that we did everything we could and in the end we knew it wasn't meant to be. In our case, unfortunately, we just let it go on for too long. We would talk about seeing a counsellor but by the time we got around to it, things were 'good' again so we didn't see the need. Seeing someone who is completely independent to your situation will allow you and your partner to communicate things you might not feel comfortable saying in front of each other, or force you to really listen to what the other person has to say. Before you call it quits on your relationship based on what I write below, please consider this first. Cover all bases before you just give up on what was once (obviously) a beautiful love story.

Sign one...

You're not happy

Most of the time, its not that you're unhappy, its just that you're not happy. You don't feel the happiness that used to come with your relationship. Love and relationships certainly aren't all rainbows however, you are supposed to be happy more than anything. If you constantly find yourself emotional, crying and just generally feeling pretty crappy and upset, its a really good time to assess where this is coming from. Is your partner not showing you enough love, are they acting distant, are they not listening to what you have to say? Happiness is imperative to making a relationship work. If you're not happy, then maybe this relationship isn't for you? In saying that I wish Ben and I saw a counsellor, I also wish we ended things earlier. We were both not happy for a long time and when I look back, such a waste of our lives feeling crappy and essentially, doing it to each other. Usually, we are two bright, energetic people who thrive on making others happy... and yet, we couldn't even do that for each other.  Don't wait for things to magically become better. Unless both parties are willing to put in some serious effort to change things, its not likely anything will become better anytime soon.

Sign two...

Things change

Whether its you or your partner, when things change, it's not normally a good sign.Sure, its completely normal to grow and evolve and be interested in other things, but when you're in love, you openly share that information with your partner. If you find yourself, or if you notice your partner not wanting to spend as much time together, chances are, maybe the love is fading.

Sign three...

You argue or bicker a lot (like a lot, a lot!)

I'll be honest, I don't remember half of what we bickered about but in the end it felt like there was something almost every day. We were both at our whits end. On top of both being exhausted, unhappy, feeling isolated and unloved and maybe a little resentful of each other, it was all just too much and I think we just ended up hating everything about each other. After doing quite a lot of research on relationships after having a child (and seeing multiple posts from other couples going through the same thing), arguing frequently, is normal. At the time, we didn't know this. We had never argued before. We literally were just always happy. And then Achilles came along (TOTALLY NOT blaming him one bit) and we became exhausted, more stressed about finances, we were both under a lot of pressure in regards to work and I guess we just took it all out on each other.

**Note for this one** But guess what.. that's what a partnership is all about, being there for each other, understanding the other persons frustrations, understanding they're exhausted because of everything they do and understand that life is full of the unexpected and people cannot always be perfect and its ok to have a break down, scream a little and say things you don't mean. But when you love them, you love them through the imperfect and you unite as one to get through this. Partners are partners for a reason. You unite together and work through the hard.
In saying all of this, if your relationship isn't strong enough to realise all of this and instead of the bad times bringing you together and making your relationships stronger, it tears you a part, then it's time again to either seek professional help or re-evaluate your relationship. I guess we thought, because we had never argued before that we were suddenly not working anymore instead of seeing it as an opportunity to make our relationship even stronger.
**I just want to note here there is a big difference between arguments and bickering and abusive behavior. Arguments involving violence are NEVER okay and if you are experiencing this, I suggest you immediately seek professional help. Free counselling is available through the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732 (Australia only)

Sign four...

You can't communicate

Communication is one of the absolute keys to a successful relationship and when you can't communicate successfully, there isn't much hope. When you don't communicate often, little things, become big things and the big things become massive, relationship breaking things. I would suggest making a time each day to sit and talk about everything that's on your mind together. If the other person isn't interested, it's time to have a serious chat about the future of your relationship.

Sign five...

You don't make time for each other

Spending time on your phones on opposite ends of the couch doesn't count as quality time with each other. Unfortunately, this became our norm and it's no wonder we lost our spark. We had a grand total of ONE baby free date in 16 months. ONE....
I think making time to spend alone together is so important for a relationship to succeed. One on one, to concentrate on and build your love and remind yourselves that life really is fun and despite the challenges, you can come together and overcome everything that gets thrown your way. Make one day per week and that's your date day. Whether you take turns to organise something at home or you visit somewhere new together, make the time to work on the "US". I'm a big believer in the relationship being number one above everything. Because when you're both happy, everyone is happy.

Whether you're a man or woman, whether you're married, dating or in a long term relationship, any or all of these are signs that your relationship needs some serious help or it may just be the wrong relationship for you. People drift out of love for many different reasons and that's okay. What is not okay is disrespecting ourselves and the other person by staying in these relationships if you really have no desire to make things work.  Whether you're on either end of this, respect yourself and your happiness to walk away.

Break ups can be heart breaking and incredible difficult to recover from, especially when at one stage, you thought this person was the absolute love of your life and you thought you would spend your days growing old with them, getting tattoos, riding motorbikes and jumping out of planes together when you're 80.

But life is not always how we dream it will be. But these hard times in life teach us to be strong, to respect ourselves and know that we are enough and we all deserve to be in a happy relationship that is full of happiness, respect, unity and above all, unconditional love.

Through all of this, keep smiling and remember that love is beautiful and whether these signs spell the end of your relationship or whether they make you realise that the spark that you've dulled it worth re-igniting, remember, everything will be ok. <3

Tahana xo