Should I go out with my ex-wife?

How on earth

A complex topic for parents.

Completing with the ex-partner when there are no children isn't that difficult. You (just) get out of the way and distract yourself. There are many rituals that support detachment from the partnership. However, when a separation from the couple level to the parent level is necessary, many are at a loss and the rituals of the past cannot be translated 1: 1.

Rituals are also of great help now. Because only when the emotional injuries have been adequately appreciated by the woman and the man, an encounter at the parent level is possible.

Case study from my consultation

Recently Luisa was in my consultation. She is a single parent and was permanently very exhausted. In our first conversation, we identified the stress with the ex as a decisive factor as an emotional burden.

We agreed to note the feelings and reflect them. To help, we use a general catalog of questions that is used in many counseling centers and therapies.

Luisa agrees to show you her answers publicly and to draw a conclusion at the end of the article.

Of course, I would also like to motivate you to answer these questions in writing. Simply download these 26 questions as a PDF for free and complete them better at your own pace with your ex-partner.

Download 26 questions

Luisa's answers

1. What strengths did I bring into our relationship?

Outwardly, I look confident. I've always done my thing and that was what was definitely appealing. You liked to let me cook for you. I also loved cooking for you. I wanted to show you that I am the right one. The right one to start a family.

2. What weaknesses did I bring into our relationship?

It was my weakness to be unsorted in some areas of my life. Despite my external strength, I have given up more and more responsibility. I wanted to be looked after and sometimes I was jealous. From that you could see my own insecurity.

3. What are your strengths and weaknesses in our relationship?

I admired your calm and structure in everyday life. The opposite of me. You've been so sensible a lot of times and been damn right. Today I often think: He was right ... crap! Often times, like a defiant little child, I felt the urge to do the opposite. Your weakness is also your strength. You are too rational and structured.

4. What I could give you was ...

my liveliness, creativity, openness and stormy love.

5. What I couldn't give you ...

Calm, structure, assumption of responsibility and security.

6. Which side of me have I been able to experience for the first time through our being together?

You showed me what it means to have real friends. This also made me more courageous and was able to approach people.

7. What I got from you ...

Well, we had a child. It was a dream child.

8. What I did not get from you but would have wished ...

to be a family with you. I would have liked you not to withdraw and do your thing more and more. We were still there too. And then suddenly the other woman was there. I would have wished for a gentle and friendly "ending" from you. Just pack things up and take off your clothes. That was a big shock for me.

9. How did we help each other?

That sounds cynical now. But we catapulted each other into a major crisis. I could very well have done without that.

10. What have I neglected most in my relationship with you? Which side of me has faded?

I no longer stood up for myself. I wanted to keep the three of us alive and I put up with it if you came home late again. Little by little, I became a little adapted mouse. But I am not at all.

11. What did you hurt me the most with?

Your retreat, the abandonment of our family and your selfishness. Suddenly our child no longer had a father. Now and then you've been there for an hour. But my friends leaked pictures to me. You on the golf course. You at a party. You with this woman. When I heard from you that you "3" wanted to go on vacation to France, a fuse blown on me. That was the low point.

12.What did I hurt you with the most ...

Oh, I was terrible. Hatred is not an expression at all. I bombarded you with the worst text messages, went to the lawyer, hoping to prevent this vacation, killed this woman in front of our child. :(

I yelled at you, pulled your arm, shook you ... hoping to wake up again. And in between our child. I'm so ashamed and wish I could turn back the clock. I was just a fury for you and my behavior only encouraged you to flee even more. Suddenly really single parent. Do you know how hard everyday life is? Certainly not, because you have enough time to relax.

13. What did we miss in our relationship?

Maybe you still remember. I was eight months pregnant. I already wrote you a letter there. In it I wish that, despite having children, we would occasionally have time for two. You waved it off and said our time would come again in a few years. Oh man. We should have talked to each other more.

14. What was my biggest mistake in our relationship?

Giving up responsibility and waiting for you and your decisions. In addition, I always had a problem with trusting in you and also in me.

15. What was your biggest mistake in our relationship?

To get involved in the role of a father. You love N. more than anything. I kind of know. But you couldn't really show it back then. I often had the feeling that you can only love a few facets of me. You stopped looking at me and talking to me. Unfortunately.

16. What behavior do I always resent you?

Your initial unreliability towards our child. We wait and who doesn't come because something else was more important?


You have no idea how many tears I've comforted Our child can't help it and you are crooked. At some point I got so fed up that I asked less and less. What a shitty cycle. And then, according to the guidebook, you should still read carefully about the other parent. The days I heard that you should deliberately lie to the child up to the age of 8 so as not to unsettle them. One way or another, they would find out the truth of what mom or dad really is later. Fortunately, it got a lot better over time.

17. What have I made up with?

I no longer exclusively blame you for the failure of our family. Looking back, I also see a lot of mistakes in myself. I no longer ask myself the question of guilt. It prevents me from continuing to live and does nothing good except for a bad conscience. It doesn't make us better parents. But we can do better now!

18. What did I love you most for?

Your open-mindedness, your clarity, your smile in your eyes, your intelligence, your broad shoulders when you've been joking around with our child.

19. I felt most loved by you when ...

I've danced.

20.What I want to thank you for ...

For our child. For our love, which was there once and was justified. For your clarity. Even if we never talk about it, you still indirectly influence my decisions from time to time. E.g. buy or not buy.

21.With the end of our relationship I am now finally saying goodbye ...

I know now that it is not the end of my life. I know that family can be very diverse and not only mean mother-father-child under one roof. The media often portray breakups as horror. It doesn't always have to be that way. As parents, we are now doing quite well. I'm proud of that too!

22. What do I like to say goodbye to and leave it behind?

Our quarrel, the silence, the ignoring, our lawyers, they thought they knew us better.

23. What do I not say goodbye to so easily?

The three of us backpacked through South Africa. When our child was born, you said: “Later we will go out with our child.” Yes, we’re celebrating our birthday together again ... but we’re no longer going to Africa.

24. The good things in our time as a couple. What do I keep from it?

The cosmopolitanism and the courage to let people into my life.

25. What lives on in our child?

Our love. There is no more evidence.

26. What would I like to give you as a farewell souvenir?

I just wish to say goodbye to our couple relationship. Phew ... am I really writing that right now? Yes, but that's the way it is. As a mother and father, I want to toast our child's graduation ceremony with you in a few years' time. If our child really gets the idea of ​​getting married, I would like to dance with you. Now I have tears in my eyes. The souvenirs are all TV seasons "Lost". ;)


For a long time Luisa was unsure whether she would send this letter to her ex-partner or not. In our last conversation, she finally told me that she had copied the letter. She tore the original into many small pieces and threw it on a bridge in the river.

“It wasn't just notes that swam away in the river. I ended up using a pack of tissues too. I feel much better. I avoided this step for a long time. But now I can breathe easier. Thanks!"

Many Thanks! You read this far. Not many do that and it shows that it is an important issue. Answer the 26 questions and let me know how you fared with them.

All the best

Alexandra Widmer

Image source: Unplash