If you have children, you will continue to have a relationship with your ex, likely for your entire lifetime. You will continue to co-parent your children and go through all the life-stages together with your children. While you have a life of your own and have moved onto another chapter of your life, your children anchor in some fashion to your ex. The reality of this will help you to have a peaceful divorce process and a more peaceful existence with your ex going forward. What does this mean? How you are with your ex as you go through the divorce process defines how you will interact with each other in the future It is difficult to turn around an “unfriendly relationship” with your ex during the divorce process to a “friendly, more cooperative” one after the divorce. During unfriendly moments, things are said and things are done that can never be taken back or reversed…….they will always be remembered and mostly remembered for how it made you both feel at the time. Likely, you will have some disagreements and irritating moments going forward, but if you don’t want major difficulties with interactions with your ex for decades to come, then now, at the beginning of the divorce process, is the time to decide exactly what kind of relationship you would like to have with your ex. and act accordingly. It’s not an easy thing to even visualize, while you are emotionally distraught, financially panicked and each day you live in hope for a time when this is all behind you and you can be happy again. However, start by realizing and admitting to yourself that your ex will indeed be in your life going forward and for a long time. Next decide what type of relationship you can possibly see yourself having with your ex. Do you see it being a friendship or more like acquaintances? Or, perhaps you would like to be amicable but a little more distant from each other. Once you decide and have a vision of how you see your interactions with your ex, you can begin to put that plan in place even while you are in the negotiations of your divorce. Begin to establish a communication style and negotiation behaviours of the desired relationship. Set the stage for how you will resolve issues. Determine the boundaries for your private space. Typically, ongoing communications will be around the children, support and money, so begin to think about how you might have discussions in these areas with the desired relationship you have selected. How would you resolve differences of opinion. Friends may be able to discuss in person and in a very open and supportive manner. An acquaintance or distant relationship may have to have conversations that are more limited to facts and communication done electronically.
Whichever relationship type you have selected, be a little flexible and be prepared that it might change slightly as life events and new partners make their contribution to your family interactions. Your decision to be friendly at the outset of the divorce discussions will pay you huge dividends in emotional peace around the key areas of concern for you in your divorce (children & money).
Final Word: You get to determine your future relationship with your ex.