I think it’s fair to say that communication problems exist in even the strongest relationships – we all have different ways of interpreting the same information through tone, verbal and non-verbal messaging.
The message we hear is not always the same as the message being said. The difference between intact relationships and those that have broken down, is in intact relationships, there is often still an element of goodwill and patience in trying to understand what is being said.
Breakdown in communication and different styles of communication seem to be one of the biggest factors leading to separation. If you don’t have children, the amount of time you need to continue finding ways to communicate effectively, may be limited to sorting out your financial matters.
However, if you are experiencing separation, and you have children; it is likely you will need to keep finding ways to communicate in an effective, positive and constructive way for many years.
My advice is to start the way you intend to continue.
While sometimes your emotions will take over, here are some tips to try and help you keep communication constructive, productive and positive with your ex:
- You can change the situation. You can control what you do and what you say. You can also control how you respond in any situation, or to any conversations you might be having. Try to be as pleasant as you would be to the stranger at the counter in your favourite coffee shop. If you find you are having trouble controlling how you feel, there are some good coaches, counsellors, psychologists around who can help you develop the tools you need to communicate effectively.
- Remove the situation. If you find, no matter, how constructive you try to be in communicating with your ex, communication is still tricky, eliminate the need for direct communication. Communicate only about the important things like school, health, and the time the children spend with either of you. Try sending voice messages (you can down load voice recording apps on your phone and send them by email – it’s a good way of communicating tone if you’re worried a text might be misunderstood).
- Accept the situation for what it is. Your spouse may never change. And you may not either. If you accept that, you can learn to ignore sarcastic or nasty tones and snide comments.
Megan Sweetlove is a divorce lawyer and the owner of Sweetlove Family Law. Megan has worked with families who are experiencing separation and divorce for over 10 years. She is passionate about helping separating couples improve the way they communicate so they can successfully resolve their conflict and rebuild their relationship to be the best thing for their children.
If you or someone you know needs assistance during divorce you can organise a complimentary 15 minute phone appointment with Megan here.
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