As we discussed in Divorcing With Dignity, keeping things civil with your ex is beneficial for everyone, especially when children are involved. However, communicating without tempers flaring is often easier said than done. You may be angry and resentful because your spouse cheated on you. Your marriage may have broken down because you and your spouse were unable to communicate.
Here are some tips for effective communication with your ex during your separation or divorce:
1) Make a list. Creating an agenda of topics to discuss and sticking to them will help you stay focused on resolving pressing issues without bickering.
2) Find a common goal. If you have children, agree to make all decisions with their best interests at heart. If not, find another end that you can both strive towards, such as selling your house so you can both move on with your lives. Sharing a common goal will help you work together towards a resolution.
3) Choose your medium. If you and your spouse cannot have a conversation without screaming at each other, consider using a different method of communication, such as written letters or emails.
4) Think before you speak, and especially before you write. If you find yourself getting angry or irrational while speaking with your spouse, terminate the conversation and resume it when you have had a chance to calm down. Do not send emails and text messages when you are angry. They may be used against you if you end up fighting over your children in court.
5) Cut ties. Contact your ex only when necessary. Keeping up regular communication just for the sake of being in touch will only make the separation more traumatic and drawn out.
6) Avoid accusatory statements. No matter how angry you are at your spouse, using accusatory language will only make him/her defensive and your communication will break down. Be the bigger person.
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