Communicating With Your Ex Partner

Communicating with your ex during the divorce / seperation process can be very stressful and can lead to anger and hurt. 

These tips will help you communicate more effectively with your ex.

Be clear about the kind of relationship you want to have with your ex in the future.  Consider how you want your relationship to look like in a year’s time, in 10 years’ time, at your children’s weddings, when you become grandparents for the first time, etc.  The last thing either of you wants is for your children to feel they have to choose between you; you want them to be happy and have a good relationship with both of you and with your new partners when the time is right.   It will help to share this vision with your ex so you are ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’.

You may want to maintain a distanced but respectful relationship where the only contact between you is about the children; you may prefer to have a closer relationship.  The important thing is that both you and your ex-partner are in agreement.  Once you have decided how the relationship will look, try to keep it in mind in all your communications, whether that is face to face, over the phone, by email or text. 

Try to see things from the other person’s point of view

You may feel your ex is doing things to wind you up, trying to punish you or hurt you.  Alternatively, you may find yourself bringing up old arguments or starting sentences ‘you never…’ or ‘you always…’.  Before you jump to conclusions and assume your ex is saying or doing something to annoy you, consider for a moment that you could possibly be wrong; take into consideration that they too are going through a divorce and they may have similar feelings about the way you are behaving towards them.

Be aware of the limit of your control

You can only control your own behaviour.  You can give your perspective and express your opinions but you cannot and should not expect to be able to control your ex’s behaviour, attitudes, choices, actions or words. Think carefully about what you say and what you do.  If your ex doesn’t respond in the way you want them to, consider changing your approach.  If you feel yourself getting angry, breathe deeply before you respond; this will help to decrease your heart rate and help you think more clearly. 

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