"I don't want people to think it's effortless," the singer-songwriter says

By Jeff Nelson
Updated May 09, 2016 09:30 AM
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Jewel and Ty Murray made an amicable split seem easy when they announced their divorce – but the singer insists it came with its challenges.

“It’s work. I don’t want people to think it’s effortless – it’s work to do this because you obviously don’t get a divorce because things are going well,” the 41-year-old star says in the new issue of PEOPLE. “But it’s letting those things live in the past.”

The singer-songwriter and rodeo cowboy, 46, announced their split in 2014 and have since worked hard to maintain a positive rapport for their 4½-year-old son Kase.

For Jewel – who’s on the road for her Picking Up the Pieces tour through May – that meant “realizing you’re in a relationship forever, so learning to treat one another with respect and dignity and just doing the right thing for Kase.”

[IMAGE “For more on Jewel, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.” “” “std” ]

Last fall, the star released her memoir, Never Broken, and the experience inspired her to evaluate her life – and how she would lead by example for her son.

“Going through a divorce really caused me to say, ‘What kind of woman am I? What kind of woman do I want my son to know?'” says Jewel. “I wanted him, as he goes through his life, to have permission to redraw himself as many times as he needs. We have many chapters in our life, and we actually get to rewrite them.”

As for what kind of woman Jewel is today? She’s still a devoted mom – and is taking another chance at romance.

As the singer tells PEOPLE, she’s been dating Indianapolis Colts quarterback Charlie Whitehurst for “almost a year.”