Talking to an ex-spouse after a divorce can be difficult. Bitter feelings may not have subsided, and there may be disagreements on key issues. However, particularly if the custody of children is involved, communication can be extremely important.
If communication between two ex-spouses deteriorates, it can lead to even more stress for everyone involved, particularly the children. An article in the Santa Monica Mirror offers a few tips for effective communication after a marriage has dissolved. Here are a few of them.
• Try to communicate effectively if you can. You might be surprised how good your communication can be if you simply attempt to be courteous. Attempting to use phrases like “thank you” and “goodbye” might be a good start.
• Keep the tone professional. Don’t tell an estranged spouse anything you don’t think they should know. Always behave appropriately, because anything considered inappropriate can come back to haunt you later. It may be best to avoid sharing personal information if that seems best.
• Think about the other person’s personality traits. People often change after a marriage ends. But thinking about the way a person behaves and reacts could indicate the best way to communicate with them.
• Try to avoid constantly blaming an ex-spouse. By doing so, it sets them up to be defensive, upset or bitter, and that will only hinder communication down the road. It may be best to avoid phrases such as “You are” and “You did.” The words you use can have an unintended effect on the person who hears them.
Source: Santa Monica Mirror, “Communicating with your ex after divorce,” Andra Brosh and Allison Pescosolido, March 25, 2012