Do you envy those separated parents who still act like best friends? What divorce advice do those ex-couples know who can go out on family outings together like there is no bad blood between them?
If you know any divorced couples who act like this, then they are truly lucky, because most divorced couples can’t stand the sight of one another. Not every post-divorce relationship is going to be ideal. It will take a lot of patience, calm breathing, and inner strength to keep your cool when you’re around your ex. What should you do when you strongly dislike your ex but have children together or other circumstances that may put you in the same room together?
We’re giving you 5 pieces of divorce advice to handle conflict and move on with your life after your separation.
1. Seek Divorce Advice from a Therapist
If your inability to get along with your ex is taking a toll on your life, it may be advisable to seek divorce advice from a therapist. You can do this together with your ex or on your own. When you attend divorce therapy together, your counselor can help you and your former partner get your differences out on the table. This can help work through past problems and learn how to have healthy communication together going forward.
Attending therapy is still incredibly beneficial even if you’re going on your own. Your counselor can still help you to work through the emotional trauma you endured during the course of your separation. They can also give you divorce advice on dealing with any anger you are feeling and help you take steps to get your life back together as a single parent.
Remember that by taking care of yourself, you are actually taking care of those around you who may be dependent on you, such as your children.
2. Disengage Completely
One of the biggest pieces of divorce advice we urge you to follow is to cut off all contact with your ex as soon as the divorce is finalized. The only exception to this rule is if you have children together and absolutely must interact for that reason.
Studies show that those who spend more time on social media are more likely to develop mental health issues. This is especially true if you are creeping on your ex’s profile and monitoring their daily life. The results you find from snooping across their social platforms can make you feel depressed, guilty, or just plain angry with them – especially if cheating was involved or if you were not the one who wanted to end the relationship.
Remove your ex from your social media platforms and download a page-blocker if you must to keep yourself from checking their profiles. The goings on of your ex are no longer your business, nor your problem!
Furthermore, do not meet together in person unless it is absolutely necessary. Whatever you have to say, you can say it over text and run a lower risk of ruining your day over it.
3. Be Cordial When Possible
If you do not have any children, it is advisable to delete your ex from your contacts. Refuse any form of communication until you feel that you and your ex can calm down enough to speak to each other respectfully.
However, if you are parents of the same children, it is your shared responsibility to fill one another in about the goings on in your child’s life. If you find that no matter how hard you try, there has simply been too much that’s happened between you to be cordial together in person, there are other options available to you.
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when communicating with your ex:
- When dropping off the children, say only hello and goodbye (unless there is anything about your child to report)
- Do not inquire about each other’s personal lives
- Use only e-mail and text messaging to communicate, if possible
- Remember that all electronic communication can potentially be used against you in court, so watch what you say.
4. Leave the Kids Out of It
No child wants to see their parents arguing. If your children had to endure this during your marriage, do them a favor and don’t put them through it after your divorce.
Studies show that parents who have a high-conflict divorce make it more difficult for their children to adjust to life after divorce. The stress of having their parents at each other’s throats can cause a deep sense of helplessness, guilt, and can even trigger depression in children.
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry found that a typical divorce response for children is to assume responsibility for the broken relationship. This wrongful thinking can result in anxiety and chronic stress in a child.
Therefore, when it comes to your unflattering feelings toward your former spouse, it’s best to keep your children out of the mix. This means not using them as a go-between for communicating together and no badmouthing your ex in front of your children.
5. Let it Go
Hatred can be harmful to you. Those negative emotions don’t hurt your ex, they hurt you. Do yourself, your kids, and your mental health a giant favor and learn to let it go.
Get closure. This may or may not be possible, especially given the contentious relationship you likely have with your ex. If you cannot seek closure, find a way to close that chapter of your life and put it behind you.
Have a great support system. Studies show that support from family and friends after going through a trauma (such as a high-stress divorce) can significantly lower psychological stress. Use your support system to the fullest until you can get your life back together post-divorce.
The best divorce advice you can follow is to distance yourself from your ex as much as possible.
Disengage from them on and offline so that they are no longer a factor in your life, but be respectful of any role they may still play in your children’s upbringing. Divorce therapy may also be beneficial for couples who are looking for positive ways to handle post-divorce conflict.
Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.