How To Improve Communication With Your Ex

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If you’re going through a divorce, you may be wondering how to improve communication with your ex.

Clear communication is the key to a swift and stress-free divorce, so here are our best tips on how to improve communication with your ex when you get divorced.

Think About The Long Term

You might feel as if going through your divorce was probably the most stressful period for you and your ex, but now, instead of some peace and normality returning to your life, emotions may still be running high.

Are you finding it difficult to communicate with your ex, without it leading into a heated argument?

Although this is a fairly common scenario after any divorce, it can be detrimental and damaging to all involved if it continues for too long.

If there are young children involved, the first step towards restoring harmony in their lives, is for you to accept that you may have to be in regular contact with your ex for a long time still.

Once that fact has sunk in, your next challenge will be to improve communication with your ex, saving you all much unnecessary anxiety and heartache, for years to come, especially for the children, who are often affected the most by continued conflict.

Take The Emotion Out Of Your Communication

To achieve any level of civility between you, all emotions must be removed from your communications, whether verbal or written. Treat each interaction in a business-like manner, by only sticking to the facts. That’s often easier said than done, as either of you may be harbouring negative feelings such as resentment, anger, or disappointment towards the other.

You must also be honest with yourself and constantly question your own intentions. If your intention was to hurt or upset your ex, think of what purpose will that actually serve?

Remain civil at all times towards your ex, no matter how difficult or unreasonable you feel that they are being.  This will encourage your ex to reciprocate, paving the way for a peaceful life for everyone, which is your ultimate goal.

Choose How You Respond and React

Realise that you cannot control anyone other than yourself. But the way you react and behave, can have a huge bearing on how your ex will respond.

By remaining calm, you stay in control of the conversation and can guide your ex towards responding in a similar manner.

That approach may not work the first or the second time and perhaps may never work at all with your ex. That is out of your control. But you still need to be patient and remain focused on your goal and not stoop to their level by allowing emotions to take over. This will not do anyone any good and the conflict will continue.

Another approach could be to arrange to meet in a public place, where both parties must remain civil.

Pause & Process Your Reactions

If emotions start building up and you feel overwhelmed and unable to think clearly, press the PAUSE button immediately and say nothing. There is no need to respond to anything immediately.

Remain calm and say you will give it some thought and respond in due course. If a text or email has angered or upset you, sleep on it before responding.  Never say or write anything while angry.

I like to say: picture anything that you text, email or say over the phone ending up on an affidavit and a Magistrate or Judge at the Family Court reading it. How would you feel about that?

If you would have a problem with someone else reading it, it is probably a good opportunity to reflect, and consider whether it is an appropriate message to send.

Never Make Assumptions

No matter how well you think you know your ex, from now on you assume nothing, because the person you married is not always the same person you have divorced, and neither are you.

Make sure all comments, agreements and undertakings are clearly and fully understood to the minutest detail.

Be Clear With Your Words

Choice of words is vital in avoiding tension in any conversation, so be clear with your words. Think of what you need to say long before you engage. Write them down if you have to.

Avoid starting a sentence with the word “you”. “You always do this” or “you always want that”. Rather start with the word “I”. In a calm voice try saying “I would prefer it if you would…” or “I feel that when you…”

Make Sure You Really Listen To Your Ex

Pay special attention when listening to your ex and make sure you fully understand exactly what they are saying. If you aren’t sure of their intentions, keep asking until you are sure. It’s quite simple really, if emotions are kept at bay.

Be Aware Of Your Body Language

Make sure your body language and tone of your voice reflects the words you are saying. A roll of the eyes, a shake of a head or the throwing of hands in the air, will only add fuel to the fire and dictate how the conversation will end.

Have Clear Parenting Agreements Or Parenting Orders In Place

By having a clear Parenting Order or Agreement in place, it will enable both parties to stick to the facts and terms, focusing only on the needs of the children and thus alleviating much unnecessary stress and heated arguments for years to come.

As family lawyers in Perth, we use both our skills and knowledge to help our clients communicate effectively with their ex while working through a separation or divorce.

Book a free no-obligation phone consultation with one of our experienced Perth divorce lawyers now.

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