Before, during and after a divorce for many people relations with their ex-spouse will be bitter and angry. However, if you have children together it is vital for them that you maintain good a good relationship. In situations of domestic violence or abuse it may be impossible to keep any form of relationship, but in every other situation you should be able to work through your emotions and come out the other side, no matter how hard it is.
Why should you try?
The first step to creating a good relationship with your ex-spouse is to remember why it is important, specifically for your children. Work towards a goal of creating an atmosphere in which your children can grow and thrive and feel emotionally strong and secure.
You should also aim to have a good relationship after a divorce for your own emotional well-being. Conflict creates stress and is exhausting and upsetting. It is bad for your health, your work and for your other relationships with family, friends and colleagues.
If you have children then you will encounter many situations in which decisions will need to be made. This could be anything such as which school to send them to, or what behaviours you want to encourage or disagree with. Being able to handle each situation without conflict will not only reduce your stress, but will send a clear message to your children that they can not try and bargain one parent off against the other, making discipline and upbringing easier.
Why is it so difficult?
There are so many emotions involved in the divorce process, and each one is completely natural and understandable. Depending on the situation of the divorce, you may feel bitter, angry, resentful, broken-hearted, betrayed, guilty or vengeful. Having been married you know each other inside out and know how to make the other one hurt.
Breaking up a union that you thought would last forever is a real shock. Wanting to regain your power and self-esteem often leads to acts of revenge and striking out. Conflicts can soon escalate as you fail to see past each new argument.
How to avoid conflict?
Creating a good relationship is all about avoiding the conflict and therefore learning to work through situations on a non-confrontational level.
To avoid conflict you must be very strict with yourself and it is not easy. Always try to see things from the other person’s point of view and be willing to compromise. That is not to say that you have to give in easily, but explain why you disagree with some points in a way that they will understand.
Whenever your ex-spouse gets angry with you remain calm and remind them why it is important that you don’t fight. If it is possible, cut the conversation there and then and agree to discuss the situation at a later date when you have both had a chance to think and calm down.
Aim for realistic goals. Your partner isn’t suddenly going to change personality so aim for a compromise that you can both be happy with. You know how they will react, even if you don’t agree with it.
There are ways of appearing strong that do not involve shouting and winning fights.
If you need help to work through a conflict that is dangerous or could cause harm to you or your children, seek the help of a mediator or experienced family lawyer. They can help you to reach an agreement with the aid of understanding various parental rights and laws.