Recently, several photos were posted on social media of Jennifer Garner and her ex, Ben Affleck spending Thanksgiving together with their three young children. Articles accompanying the pictures stated that they plan to spend Christmas together as well and, in fact, spend all important holidays together as a “family”. This is in spite of the fact that Affleck has dated several women—including a much younger Playboy model—since he and Garner split and in spite of the fact that she is ‘seriously’ dating a new man now.
You may be thinking to yourself (or shouting at this article), “Well, of course it’s easy for her to do that; she’s Jennifer Garner! She’s rich, famous, pretty and her Insta feed is full of charming videos, including cooking with the Barefoot Contessa! She doesn’t have any problems.”
Let me remind you that allegedly Affleck was unfaithful to her during their marriage (with the nanny!), he has been in and out of rehab during and after their marriage and the most recent time was through Garner’s insistence. She even drove him to the rehab.
Why does she do all this? Because she’s made the decision that their children are her only priority and despite what their father does, he is still their father and it is up to her to support his emotional and physical health because that is what is best for her children. That is why they spend holidays together as well. She believes that is what is best for the kids, even if it’s not best for her.
When you divorce, there is always that awkward and difficult decision about how you spend important holidays with your children. Many women choose not to file for divorce until after the holiday season is over for that reason. But then, there are birthdays, graduations, parent/teacher conferences, school performances, etc. Those also have to be navigated. Do children prefer to see their parents together for these occasions? Provided the parents can act in a non-conflictual manner, yes they do. Is that always possible? No, it’s not.
The important take-away from this article is this: little people did not ask for or create big people problems. This holiday season, ask yourself what YOU can do to create more harmony and peace in your children’s lives. That may not include spending them with your ex but it may involve a more cordial atmosphere at drop offs and pick ups or speaking nicely and generously about their dad or helping them to pick out a gift for him. Why? Because it benefits your children’s emotional health.
Adam and I wish you the happiest of holidays, peace and happiness for you and your family.