When you want to maintain an amicable, respectful and dignified separation, consider these tips for communicating with your ex after separation.
Pause on pressing send. Pause on pressing enter. Just.. pause.
Is the message or the email you are about to send constructive and productive or is it written in an angry state and therefore likely to harm your already tenuous relationship or will it help maintain the conciliatory and calm state of co-parenting communcation you are aiming for?
In a time when communicating from a distance is so quick, easy and so very instant, it can be very easy to fall into a trap of sending, or responding to, messages immediately – whether necessary or not.
And often times, that immediately sent message can be damaging. Whereas making a different choice, and taking time to pause and making the decision to respond, not react, is a far better choice.
Parenting is one of the most wonderful and rewarding experiences you can have in your life.. It is also one of the toughest jobs, particularly when sleep deprivation and/or exhaustion and/or the stressors of life come into play.
Although I have only been a parent for a few short years, I have three small humans therefore feel somewhat qualified to weigh in on this topic – particularly because while my husband worked FIFO and I was at home with our small humans, I could have done with this advice to “pause”, on occasion – there were times I sent a message or email I later regretted, and apologised for. Only, fortunately, Luke operates from a position of “assume we have each other’s best intentions at heart…”.
It’s not that simple when you separate.
Sadly, that goodwill you have built up in your relationship – where you assume the good about each other, and see the best in one another – is usually gone, or fading fast, by the time you separate.
And so, parenting apart is even tougher when you and your former spouse don’t see eye to eye on the “things”. Things that matter to you, but not your spouse; big things; little things; significant and insignificant things; things that, when together, you would let go but now you’re separated, they really, really grates to the very core of your being.
And while you no longer share a common goal of a life together as a single family unit, you still share a common goal raising healthy, happy humans who will go on to be (you hope!) productive members of society.
So, before you send that text, email or social media passive-aggressive swipe at your ex, pause and consider:
- Is it constructive?
- Is it productive?
- Is it helpful?
- Is it the best way you can say what you need to say?
If the answer to any or all of these questions is no, perhaps delete whatever it is, phone a friend, vent in real time.. or write in a journal… pen and paper are superb for these occasions. And then, if there is a problem that needs addressing – after you have paused, and can identify and articulate the “thing”, find a constructive way to address it, either yourself or with some kind of assistance.
Megan Sweetlove is a divorce lawyer and the owner of Sweetlove Family Law and based in the Adelaide Hills. Megan has worked with families who are experiencing separation and divorce for the past 10 years and is committed to assisting her clients find respectful outcomes to their separation, away from the Court process and with a focus on having a healthy future.
If you or someone you know needs assistance during divorce you can organise a complimentary 20 minute phone appointment with Megan here.
If you are considering separation or have recently separated, and you want to maintain your privacy, you may wish to clear your browsing history now if you are reading this article on your phone or work computer and other people have access to it on a regular basis.