Divorce is rarely the end of a relationship. When you have children and other family ties, you must still communicate with your ex- even after your divorce is settled. These interactions are often stressful, but they don’t always have to be. Finding ways to communicate better with your ex-spouse ultimately benefits you, in reduced stress and greater happiness. Here are a few things you can do.
1 – Beware of Text Messaging
Whether it’s with your ex or anyone for that matter, misunderstandings can occur via text messaging. It’s difficult to detect tone and intent through texts. Sometimes shorthand comes off as being curt or rude, or your choice of words may simply be wrong. So, beware of text messaging. It’s okay for short messages to coordinate logistics, but don’t have emotional or difficult conversations via text.
2 – Stay On-Topic
Angry conversations almost always go off-topic when your ex-spouse is involved. As you argue about one thing, you naturally bring up others. The issues may be related because they result in a similar emotion or impact. However, such conversations are rarely effective for anyone involved.
For your own benefit and sanity, keep discussions on-topic. If you’re looking to address a particular issue with your ex-spouse, focus on just that issue and how to best resolve it. Ask your ex- to do the same if he/she wavers off-topic. Sticking to one topic at a time is an effective way to communicate better with your ex-spouse.
3 – Give Yourself a Cool Down Period
When we’re upset, we don’t think clearly and we tend to say things that we regret later. This is true for just about everyone. As situations arise with your ex-spouse that make you extremely angry, give yourself some time to cool down. It’s okay to tell your ex-spouse that you’re not ready to talk about it yet and need a little time.
Sometimes writing down or recording what you want to say is helpful, too. There are many people who write letters or type emails that are never sent. The process of writing it down can be therapeutic and allow you to reflect on those emotions. Once your head is clear, then approach your ex-spouse to discuss the matter.
4 – Allow Some Give and Take
Remember that there should always be some give-and-take. If you take the approach that you are always right and your ex- is always wrong, you will remain in a constant state of conflict and unhappiness. In your attempt to hurt or punish your ex-spouse, you essentially hurt yourself! Whereas, if you choose to compromise, you encourage your ex-spouse to do the same. That approach leads to better communication and better outcomes for everyone involved.
Summary of Better Ways to Communicate with Your Ex-Spouse
Simply put,… by finding better ways to communicate with your ex-spouse, you improve your own quality of life. Allow yourself some time to cool down before communicating with your ex, avoid angry text messages, stay on topic, and compromise. These are all critical to reducing the stress of interactions with your ex-spouse. Be deliberate in your approach and you’ll find yourself less stressed. These tips are also helpful before and during divorce as well.
Contact our team for assistance with all divorce-related matters. Whether through mediation or litigation, our team will work to ease the stress of the process and find ways to help you move on with the next stage of your life.