Everyone knows somebody who has had (or is going through) a bitter divorce. You know, these are the divorces where the couple is going to court over and over again over the littlest things like dropping the kids off fifteen minutes late. Or their ex sent their child to school one day without a jacket so they’re trying to sue their ex for neglect.They continue litigating each other even though it’s been five or even ten years since the divorce was finalized. And even though it’s been five or ten years they just can’t stop talking about their ex. They always find some way to insert into their conversations how their ex was such a jerk or how their ex never helped around the house, etc.
Everybody knows these kinds of divorces are bad for everyone involved: the kids, the stepparents, yourself. But there was a divorce for a reason. You divorced because you just couldn’t stand each other anymore. And just because you divorce each other doesn’t mean that your ex is going to magically stop all the annoying things that caused you to divorce them in the first place. Whether you had a nice divorce or a bad one, it’s always difficult to have a healthy relationship with your ex. But despite all the anger and bitterness that goes along with any breakup, it is possible to be friends with your ex. Not only is it possible, it’s mandatory in order to have a healthy functional family after divorce. Here’s how:
Tips To Getting Along With Your Ex After Divorce
Mourn Your Past Relationship
When you’re married, you share a lot with your spouse. You share your love, you share intimate moments and you share personal things about you that you don’t share with anyone else. You also trust that your partner will protect these personal things that you share together. Unfortunately, whenever there’s a divorce your partner has usually done something (or lots of things) that betrays that trust and hurts you. And over time, you just can’t take it anymore.
But even though you have lots of stories about how your spouse continually hurt you, there were good times, too. You were even once madly in love with them or else you wouldn’t have married them. And it’s hard to reconcile your feelings of how much loved them what a jerk they are now. In order to be friends with your spouse you need to come to grips with your own feelings. Own the feelings of love that you have for them (yes, you still have feelings of love for them) and reconcile them with your feelings of hurt, anger and betrayal. This is called mourning. Allowing yourself to mourn your relationship is a great way not only to successfully survive the divorce but to also feel at peace again afterwards. Until you truly mourn your divorce you’ll always have difficulty being friends with someone who you loved so much but has also hurt you so much.
Learn to Let The Little Things Go
Like I mentioned before, just because you divorced that doesn’t mean that your ex is going to magically stop doing all the annoying and frustrating things they used to do. When you divorce, you don’t have to see it as often but they’ll still do them. And you’ll still be annoyed by them – especially when it still affects your kids.
The truth is, however, that unless it’s blatantly abusive or neglectful to your kids you have to learn to let it go. It’s no concern of yours anymore. Your spouse can make whatever life decisions they want to make whether you want them to or not. If it’s not abusive or neglectful, it’s considered a little thing and you can’t let it get under your skin anymore. You can talk about it cordially and cooperatively but because you’re not married anymore, they’re under no obligation to listen to you. And when they don’t, you have to let it go and not let it get under your skin.
Respect Your Ex
It’s hard to respect someone who did so many awful things that you ended up divorcing them. But it’s still possible. You fell in love with your ex for a reason. Even though you fought all the time and ended up divorcing there are still good traits about them that made you fall for them. So instead of festering on the all the bad thing that happened during your marriage and all the reasons you divorced, try to focus instead on the good traits about them. You don’t have to see them as much after you divorce so you don’t have to focus on it all the time.
Even if they don’t want to, you can still get along with your ex
A lot of couples are quick to blame their ex for not being able to get along. They’ll say that they’re trying to get along but their ex is saying mean things about them to their kids or that their ex is making up lies. But even if your ex is slandering your name and trying to make life difficult for you, you can still be friendly towards them. By mourning your relationship, letting little things go and having respect for your ex you can learn to not let your ex’s behavior provoke you.
It takes two opposing forces to cause conflict. By allowing yourself to be provoked and fighting back you are engaging in the conflict. That doesn’t mean you have to go along with everything your spouse says or does. But it does mean that it’s within your control to have a healthy, functional relationship – even if they won’t.
Good Men Project ARticle. as well as Marrie’s article and
In an article on The Good Men Project about how