Every couple experiences divorce differently. Depending on the factors leading to the dissolution of the marriage and the various experiences the couple shared over the years, the divorce process can run the gamut from cooperative to contentious. When there are children involved, however, it is crucial that parents find a way to work together in the years following the divorce.
Here are four tips that might help you salvage at least a portion of your post-divorce relationship to avoid unnecessary arguments and the potential for unintentional parental alienation.
- Stop bringing up the past: While there are indubitably deep-rooted feelings and emotional scars, the best advice is to continue moving forward in your life. Rehashing past arguments and marital wrongdoing prevents both parents from fully embracing the divorce and letting those emotional wounds heal.
- Forgive your ex and yourself: In all but the most extreme examples of divorce, both partners share some level of responsibility for the end of the marriage. Closely related to the first tip, it is important to forgive yourself for your role in the divorce, as well as forgiving your ex.
- Maintain a healthy sense of understanding and compassion: It is easy to believe the worst about your ex and even hope for their personal and professional failure. It is wise, though, to remain compassionate and understanding of his or her new life.
- Avoid becoming immediately defensive: With a long relationship history, it is not uncommon for partners to feel attacked after even an innocuous comment. Individuals can feel slighted in discussions about parenting, education, career or relationships. It is better to take a breath -figuratively, and, perhaps, literally – before responding in anger.
Whether couples simply grow apart or the reason for a divorce is more insidious, it can be challenging to remain friendly. When there are children involved, however, exes must find a way to stay socially polite.