Divorce is hard. Anyone who’s been through it can attest to how difficult it is on so many levels. Having a healthier partnership with your ex can make things easier for both of you. I came across this article posted by a friend of mine that includes some powerful tips for avoiding the nasty conflict that sometimes goes along with divorce. The end of a marriage is a real opportunity to learn to rise above your ego, swallow your pride and focus on the positive in another person. These skills are valuable no matter what relationship you find yourself in!
Here is the original article, but I posted the content here for easy reading.
What about the kids? Every divorce parent worries about what divorce will do to their kids. It may keep you up at night obsessing over how you could prevent your children from experiencing such pain. As a clinical counselor, I want you to know that there is something you can do. It may sound like an impossible task, especially if the pain is still fresh. You might be thinking that I don’t understand. Based on my own experience, believe me I get it. I know firsthand the importance of creating a positive connection with an ex. We worked hard to lessen the impact by keeping communication open and eventually transformed our divorce into a working friendship. As a result, a harmonious (and yes, divorced) family unit was born. And my son loves it.
It only takes one
The secret is that it only takes one person to shift the energy and behave respectfully… despite what your ex is doing. What’s more; with continued effort, they often follow our lead. Unless there is physical or severe mental abuse, an amicable divorce is possible. Your ex’s name-calling and disrespectful comments don’t let you off the hook. Retaliating is never justified.
Studies show that the parents’ relationship after divorce contributes to the child’s ability to adjust afterwards. It is your actions that will minimize or contribute to their pain. It depends on how you choose to participate. Ironically, divorce is an opportunity to model healthy relationship behavior. As a parent, you want to do whatever you can to help ease your child’s pain. Here is your chance.
It starts with you
You can stop the cycle of blame and practice kindness all by yourself. You can refrain from participating in the fight. In order to stop fighting, you have to be willing to look at yourself.
Here are 7 keys to creating an amicable divorce:
- Be light and polite by remembering please and thank you. They go a long way towards being pleasant and are usually the first to go when divorcing.
- Ask your ex spouse’s opinion about the children. Don’t assume they’re always wrong. It’s easier than doing it alone, and even though you are no longer married, you have the joint responsible of raising and caring for your kids.
- Use time-outs to avoid blowups. Extended arguments increase the likelihood of frustration and even violence. Take a mental breather when conversations become too intense.
- Be accountable by acknowledging your mistakes. This creates a humble attitude rather than being right. Admittedly, this is not easy to do! But by recognizing and owning your problems, you’ll create a healthier and more productive with your ex spouse.
- Accept your ex spouse’s limitations. What drove you nuts when you were married isn’t likely to change. Don’t waste your energy trying to “fix” him/her.
- Stop talking about the marriage. Stop ruminating about the past (good and the bad). It’s over, right? Look instead to the future.
- Value each other’s unique strengths. Capitalize on where each of you parent most effectively and acknowledge areas where your former spouse shines.