Communication with your ex can be a tricky path to navigate, so here are 8 simple and effective tips for communication after divorce.
Tip 1 – Keep Things Open
It’s fairly common after any divorce for ex-spouses to find themselves experiencing difficulties communicating with each other without getting into a heated argument. The easiest thing to do then is to simply stop communications.
This can happen when there are no children involved but, unfortunately, often there are children involved and ex-spouses have to face the realisation that they will need to be in contact with each other for a long time to come.
Simply stopping talking to each other is not going work. You need to find a way of improving your communication after divorce with your ex to save you and, especially, your children much unnecessary stress and anxiety. Let that be your ultimate long-term goal.
Tip 2 – Stay Civil At All Times
Staying civil at all time, requires taking all emotions out of any discussion and focusing on the needs of your children and the issue at hand , no matter how unreasonable you believe your ex may be. Be polite but keep your distance as much as possible.
If the ex keeps pushing your buttons and emotions start to take over, pause for a while to process your thoughts before responding. There is no need to respond immediately to anything. You can just say, you’ll give it some thought and get back to them. Try not to say anything when you’re angry, because chances are you may come to regret it.
You may find, in time, by remaining civil they will begin to respond in a similar manner, paving the way for easier communication after divorce and less stress for you all in future. And that’s your ultimate goal – right?
Tip 3 – Decide To Actively Co-Parent
You may have divorced your spouse but you both still have the responsibility of raising your kids. You both have equally important roles to play. You may be living in separate homes and you may not like one another but, when it comes to raising your kids, you still need to be a team if at all possible.
The best thing you can do for your kids after your divorce is to avoid constant and obvious tension between you and your ex. Do not bad mouth them in front of your children or even when they are in the house. Little ears hear everything. By removing hostilities, children will feel you’re still on the same page, just living in separate homes.
Tip 4 – Be Consistent Across Households
To make the transition as easy as possible for the children, co-parenting also means that both parents need to stay on the same page when it comes to significant parenting decisions,. Although it is unavoidable that certain things will need to change after a divorce, it is important for children to have a consistent set of rules across both households.
Some divorced couples choose to have different rules, causing much anxiety and confusion for the children. Good co-parenting requires parents to put their differences aside and maintain an even set of rules that apply to both households, preferably as close to their pre-divorce lifestyle as possible. Homework, dinner times, play times and discipline need not change at all in either household.
Tip 5 – Organisation Is Essential
Being organised at all times and planning well ahead regarding all parenting issues is an absolute necessity. Mark on a calendar any events, school holidays, excursions or special holidays like Christmas, Easter, birthdays etc.
Make sure your ex and the children are consulted about upcoming events you may have planned. In today’s world, we even have co-parenting apps to make life easier for busy divorced parents. Being organised and planning well ahead helps to restore calm where everyone knows exactly what to expect.
Tip 6 – Share Your Concerns In A Constructive Way
Choice of words is vital in avoiding tension in any conversation, so be clear with your words and share any concerns in a constructive rather than confrontational way.
For instance, avoid starting a sentence with the word “you”. “You always do this” or “you always want that”. Rather start with the word “I”. In a calm voice try saying “I would prefer it if you would…”
Listen carefully when your ex speaks so you fully understand what they mean. Also pay attention to your body language. A roll of the eyes, or a shake of the head, may not be consistent with what you are actually saying and could result in a negative response.
Tip 7 – Think Of It As A Business Partnership
Treat your relationship with your ex as a business partnership. Keep things cordial, sticking to the facts and the issues that you’re dealing with. Nothing more. No need to be too friendly and no need for emotions.
Avoiding emotional reactions and focusing on the well-being of the children makes communication and co-operation less stressful for the whole family.
Tip 8 – Get It In Writing
If you find verbal communication with your ex is not possible without it leading to a full-on argument, inform him or her that you will in future communicate in writing only. That way, you both have time to think carefully what you want to say and making your communications less confrontational.
Hopefully you’ve found these tips for communication after divorce helpful.
If you would like to find out more about how Move On Mediation in Perth can help you settle your separation issues (financial and children’s issues), you can read more about our family dispute resolution process and check our schedule of family mediation fees now.