Why One Man Isn’t Abandoning His Ex-Wife, Despite Their Divorce
It comes down to his kids and the example he wants to set for them.
Acrimonious divorces aren’t hard to find nowadays. Even though the rate of marital separations has declined significantly over the past few decades, it’s still common to find people who not only have divorced their significant other but actively loathe them. Such is not the case for one man, though, and his touching post about his ex-wife might leave you in tears.
In a Facebook status that has since gone viral, Billy Flynn Gadbois wrote about how he still works hard to show affection towards his ex-wife. As an example, he wrote that he’d woken up early that day to buy flowers, cards and breakfast ingredients so his kids could surprise their mother (his ex) on her birthday.
Apparently Gadbois is accustomed to fielding questions about why he still cares for and helps his ex-wife despite their separation, so he cleared things up for everyone.
The post reads in part:
“I’m raising two little men. The example I set for how I treat their mom is going to significantly shape how they see and treat women and affect their perception of relationships. I think even more so in my case because we are divorced.“
This is a good point — it’s undeniable that children learn by modeling their behavior after that of their parents.
The post continues:
“If you aren’t modeling good relationship behavior for your kids, get your sh*t together. Rise above it and be an example. This is bigger than you. Raise good men. Raise strong women. Please. The world needs them, now more than ever.”
Clearly, his words are resonating with people. The post has since received more than 24,000 comments since it was shared by the Love What Matters Facebook page earlier this year.
For his part, Gadbois is not entirely enthralled with the attention he’s getting. In a recent Facebook post on his own page, he warned friends not to get involved with those who might question his choices.
“It’s not worth engaging and bringing negativity into your life,” he wrote.
Later, Gadbois received some negative feedback about the post, saying that his views were unrealistic. So Gadbois explained his thinking even further to The Daily Advertiser, writing that parents should always put their kids first, but especially after a divorce. They’re too young to understand your words, but they can feel your emotions and they are watching your every move.
“Kids don’t need to know your resentment or interpersonal issues with your ex, that’s selfish. They aren’t your personal sounding board or therapist. They are too young to comprehend the issues, but they aren’t too young to sense anger and resentment and they don’t know what to do with that. It’s confusing. You have to set it aside. We can pretend Santa is real for them, why can’t we pretend Mom and Dad still value each other and care to treat each other with respect? It’s even more important! They look to you as an example of how to behave, of how to be, of what is acceptable in relationships — and ultimately, that’s the bottom line. Actions speak louder than words. It doesn’t matter what the other person does or doesn’t do.”
And according to an interview with TODAY, it seems Gadbois and his ex-wife have co-parenting pretty well figured out.
“I’m not saying everyone needs to help the kids make breakfast,” he said in the interview. “But the message people are getting is that you can show each other respect and care in front of the kids, and help the kids care for that parent, regardless of how you feel about each other.”
Gadbois said their style of co-parenting ultimately leads to happier kids, too.
“We decided early on that we were going to put the effort into co-parenting,” he said. “We just think it’s really important to show each other respect and care in front of the kids. Kids want to take care of their parents, and they can’t do it alone. So if it’s Mother’s Day and the kid doesn’t have anything to give to his mom… that doesn’t feel so great.”
Wise words indeed.
And they happen to be supported by experts. Researchers have found that children of divorce may do as well in the long term as children from stable families, although they may experience negative emotions such as anxiety and depression early on. The process is easier for children if parents can limit exposure to any conflicts associated with the divorce process.
If you’re looking for more stories about love, Love What Matters (the Facebook page that helped Gadbois’ post go viral) has published a new book titled “Love What Matters: Real People. Real Stories. Real Heart.“
Apparently, it’s a real tear-jerker (in a good way).
“This curated collection of powerful stories features first person accounts and photographs that perfectly capture each moment: A husband learning he’s about to be a dad. A new mom embracing her body. A cashier inadvertently teaching a young girl a lesson about patience. A bagel from a stranger that saved a homeless man’s life,” the book description reads. “From long overdue adoptions to military heroes returning home; from a fireman’s touching 9/11 tribute to what an old dinner plate found at a bake sale can teach us all about life — these are the moments that matter. They are genuine. Authentic. Raw.”
It just goes to show, divorce doesn’t have to be acrimonious, when parents think of what’s best for the kids. Kudos to these co-parents for being able to keep it civil.
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