If you feel like your relationship with your ex could use some TLC, you’re not the first, and you certainly won’t be the last. Creating and maintaining a healthy way to deal with your ex can be a challenging feat. Divorces don’t always go smoothly, and both parties often don’t feel the same after the split. One of you may want to start a friendship, while the other wants nothing to do with their ex. But when the dust settles, and time begins to heal some of your wounds, it is possible to create a more than civil communication with your ex.
Some couples end up doing divorce better than they do marriage, and if you’re one of those twosomes, your split was probably the best thing that could have happened. Now it’s time to figure out your relationship outside of being a married couple.
Here are seven ways to get along better with a former spouse. .
1. Let the Past Stay in the Past
It can be difficult not to bring up the past in the present, but the more you do, the harder it is to move on and create a positive relationship with your ex. If you keep thinking about and bringing up issues from the past, you’re always going to be focused on the negatives of your relationship. The two of you got a divorce for a reason, and the split was the first step to new beginnings. Anger, bitterness, and guilt are not healthy feelings to cling to. Let go of the past and focus on creating a healthy future.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Part in the Divorce
If you’re always taking the blame off yourself for the divorce, you’re going to have a hard time building a better relationship. In almost every divorce case, both parties are at least somewhat to blame for the break up of the marriage. One person may have contributed more than the other, but in most cases, an entire marriage doesn’t fall apart because of one person. If you want to create a more positive relationship with your ex, take responsibility for your part in the divorce. Admit to your ex that you made mistakes that you regret and hopefully she can open up to you and do the same. The way you communicate will be a lot healthier if you’re honest with yourselves and with one another.
3. Give it Time
You likely won’t be able to form a friendship with the ex immediately after a divorce. Give it time and let the dust settle before trying to push for any relationship. Work on yourself and focus on getting yourself into a good head space. A divorce can take a massive toll on anyone’s health, both mentally and physically, so do whatever you can to get back to a healthy state. Eat well, stay active, take up a new hobby, pursue a career goal, join a divorce support group. Focus on making yourself the best version you can be for yourself. A better you will make better relationships all around.
4. Maintain Respectful Dating Boundaries
Be respectful when it comes to dating after the divorce. It’s best to stay away from dating a mutual friend, neighbor, or even worse, one of the ex’s best friends. Without dating boundaries, your relationship is bound to get a lot messier. There are plenty of fish in the sea; you just need to get out there and find them. And when you do start dating someone new, be respectful of when you start bringing her around, especially if you have children. If you want to create a better relationship with your ex, let her know about your new relationship before she finds out from your kids, or someone else.
5. Put The Children First
If you’re going through a divorce with kids involved, you always need to put your children first. Don’t be selfish about vacations and holidays. Your kids’ needs should be placed in front of your own. You and your ex shouldn’t be fighting over who has done more or whose turn it is to watch the kids. Communicate and work out holidays and other occasions with your ex, with your children as a priority. They should never become a source of conflict or be used as a bargaining tool.
On the topic of children, never talk down about your ex to your kids if you want a better relationship with your kids, besides with their mom. Your children should stay out of any conflict between you and your ex. Don’t use them as a communication tool for you and your ex and don’t try to get them to tell you things about your ex, either.
6. Work on Communication
The one thing that makes any relationship stronger is communication. Your communication with your ex should be purposeful and always done healthily, for example, no screaming or bad-mouthing one another. You should be working towards establishing conflict-free communication with your each other, first and foremost. Your relationship can’t grow if you’re always in conflict and refuse to listen to one another. If you have kids, put them at the front of your mind anytime you communicate with your ex. Ask yourself how your kids will be affected by your conversation and if you see it turning negative or hostile, it’s best to leave it alone. As healthier communication develops between you and your ex, your relationship will become stronger too.
7. Be a Co-parenting Team
No matter how you and your ex get along outside of co-parenting, if you can be a team when it comes to parenting your kids, you’ve won most of the battle. You and your ex should come up with the same set of rules and expectations to be followed in each of your homes to keep things consistent for your kids and easier on everyone in general.
Come together to make important decisions about things like your children’s medical needs, education, and financial matters. Did you have a parent-teacher meeting your ex should know about? Tell her. Can your ex afford to provide opportunities to your kids that you can’t? Be grateful and polite about it.
For a Better Relationship with Your Ex, Respect Her
The most important thing to do if you want to get along, is to respect her. Respect her choices as the mother of your children (as long as they’re not harmful). Respect her need to work on herself and become the best version of herself post-divorce. Everyone deals with major life changes in their own way, and divorce is a hard pill to swallow. If she needs time away from you, be respectful of that and don’t try to force anything on her. She may not want to see you or talk to you much at first, and if you feel the opposite, it can be tough to come to terms with how she’s reacting. But give it time and trust that she’ll come around when she’s ready.
It takes two to get along for the long-term. Whether for your kids, or just to make peace, if you are motivated to create a better relationship with your ex, be realistic, take it slow, and try these tips for getting along after your divorce.