Home » Blog » How Do I Manage Communications After a Divorce?
How Do I Manage Communications After a Divorce?
Whether your spouse is involved in your family business, you work in the same industry, you share the same social circle, or you are co-parenting your children together, you may need to communicate with them after your divorce.
It can be difficult to interact well with someone you recently divorced from. However, effective communication can help as you move toward the next chapter of your life. Continue reading for tips on managing communication with your ex-spouse.
The first thing to do during these new interactions with your ex is to stay calm. If you react emotionally, get angry, or lash out, this could escalate a situation, lead to negative interactions, and potentially be used against you in court.
Act Like Business Partners or Colleagues
It can be difficult not to run into the same communication patterns you had during your marriage. However, a divorce can give you the opportunity to recalibrate and change the communication dynamics. Rather than looking at your ex as a former romantic partner, try to treat them like a business partner or colleague.
To avoid creating problems in your relationship or allegations that you have not complied with the court’s order, always engage in a respectful manner. Avoid yelling, cursing, name-calling, or any other disrespectful interaction.
Keep Your Eye on the Goal
Try to remain focused on the goal at hand. Try not to get distracted because of something your ex says or does. Instead, focus on your shared goal, such as co-parenting in a positive fashion.
Get Extra Support
Divorce can be one of the most difficult transitions to experience in life. What you imagined for your future is gone. You may be grieving and dealing with difficult emotions while also struggling financially or emotionally.
It may be helpful to get extra emotional support by seeking out a counselor. You can work through some of these difficult emotions with a professional to help ease the tension of dealing with your ex.
Practice Active Listening
Active listening is a way of trying to understand what someone is saying and why rather than just hearing the words they speak. It requires actively being involved in the process, not just a passive witness.
Active listening may involve both verbal and non-verbal factors, such as:
Maintaining eye contact
Restating what the other person said
Asking clarifying questions using open-ended questions to encourage sharing additional information
Reflecting on what you just heard
Done correctly, active listening can create mutual understanding.
You do not have to agree with everything that your ex says or believes. If you have a difference of opinion, express it. Explain your point of view and state your case clearly. Your ex may accept your position or at least better understand where you’re coming from.
Try To Understand Your Ex’s Point of View
Unless your ex is completely unreasonable or simply trying to create conflict, they probably have a valid reason for their perspective. Try to get more information about why they have a certain position.
Ask pointed questions. Are they worried about how something might negatively affect your child? Are there expenses involved that they are concerned about? Is there a negative history that concerns them? Don’t try to invalidate your ex; instead, try to truly understand where they’re coming from.
Even if you don’t agree with this position, it can still help if your ex feels heard and understood.
Read Your Agreement
You may have aparenting plan in place that instructs you about how to make decisions regarding your child or how to address conflict.
State that one of you has the final word on a matter
Instruct you to seek help from a third party, such as a counselor or mediator
Explain when the court will need to intervene
Follow the instructions outlined in your agreement, parenting plan, or decree. Your family lawyer can help explain what to do if you are unsure.
Put Your Communications in Writing
If your ex frequently forgets things or you are having trouble communicating, try to put information and requests in writing. There are various calendars, apps, and other tools that help co-parents keep on track.