Ask any divorced man or woman, “Do you get along with your ex?” and you will probably get that familiar eye roll. It’s sad, but the reality is, most divorced couples struggle when it comes to communicating. Here are nine tips for talking to your ex that might improve your co-parenting relationship.
1. Never say the words “It’s your fault.”
Suppose your child forgot his or her school project at your ex’s and came home to your house after school and cried about it. If you call your ex and say, “It’s your fault,” will that really solve anything? Maybe it is his or her fault, but does it help to point that out? People who are told “It’s your fault” tend to get defensive and angry Besides the fact that the statement doesn’t change what happened, it also weakens your ability to co-parent in a productive way. If something bad happens, forget whose fault it is and focus on how to fix it or minimize the damage.
2. Think before you speak
Men and women tend to get very emotional when talking to their ex, probably because there’s a certain level of resentment that is always lurking in the back of a divorcee’s mind — things that could stem from years and years ago. If your ex says something that makes you want to shout, “Are you crazy?!” take a deep breath before you respond and think about two things: the impact it will have on what’s going to happen next, and the effect that statement could ultimately have on your children. It helps to write your feelings down in a journal or tell a friend.
3. Leave the past in the past
When having a discussion about your children or your divorce, it does not help in the least to bring up things from the past. For example, if your ex is asking for more custody than you feel comfortable with, don’t say something like, “You never spent time with the kids when we were married! Why do you want more time with them now?!” Drudging up the past is unproductive and will cause your relationship with your ex to unravel. You got divorced because of the past. It’s over. Neither of you need to recap it.
Click here to read the rest of the article, which was published today in Sun-times Media. You really need to read numbers 7 and 8!!