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The Marriage Is Over: I Need New Ways To Communicate With My Ex

Posted 18 Sep '15 by Bay Whitaker

We at Sheffield Central Counselling were contacted recently by a local Law Firm, Banner Jones, inviting us to offer a few top tips for those going through a divorce.  We felt that one of the most important points we wanted to make was around finding new ways to communicate with the ex, after separation.  If people have children together and need to remain in regular contact to share childcare, they wlll to remain in touch with each other.  Even if there are no children, many divorced couples need to be able to communicate effectively for some time after separating, to manage legal and financial negotiations, or because of family, connections and other history that has been shared together.  These are some of our top Do's and Don'ts for effective communication through divorce and beyond:

DO

  • be prepared to share the big decisions about your future and your family’s, and to do this in a businesslike way.
  • note down in advance the points that you need to cover, keeping them as simple and depersonalised as possible.
  • establish the habit of closing down any conversations that turn into shouting matches or where you are constantly interrupted.  Just acknowledge that you are feeling too emotional to continue, and agree to speak again when things have calmed down.
  • make use of a professional, such as a couples counsellor or a mediator, if you and your ex are having difficulties communicating about major decisions.  As we have already noted, divorces are an emotional journey, and many divorcing couples have benefited from having an unbiased professional to help.

DON’T

  • communicate by text when it comes to any but the simplest information.  Texts are both intimate and highly prone to misinterpretation.  Email, telephone or face to face tend to work better.
  • expect new systems for sharing childcare and arranging access to work perfectly straight away.  You can’t possibly know how things will work out, so be prepared to trial a few different arrangements before you settle on any one system. 
  • use children, or other family members to relay information to your ex.  Not only does it put an additional burden on them, but you can’t be sure how accurately information will be relayed.  Your relationship with your ex may already be fraught enough, without this additional potential for misunderstanding.

To read more of our top tips for surviving Divorce, you can read the full article on Banner Jones website.