Co-Parenting with your Ex
Guest article | 09 February 2012
Whether you are divorced or were in a de-facto relationship
you probably don’t want to maintain a relationship with your ex, especially if things didn’t end on good terms. Sadly continuing cordiality is often essential for many ex couples when children are involved.
The first thing to remember is, you are not the only ones who need to make this type of situation work. Thousands of men and women are in your shoes. Even if they are now in a committed relationship, and your new partner is already scouring jewellers for a ring, civility with your ex is still essential for the kids’ sake.
How do you make joint custody work though?
Focus on the children – They will be the most affected by your interaction. Instead of thinking about yourself, or even his needs, focus on your child’s happiness and security. They come first.
Separate feelings and actions – This often means an impossible task for many: putting your own feelings aside to work co-operatively. Hurt and resentment between an ex couple is always going to linger, and it will be difficult to put those feelings aside.
To deal with it:
Get your feelings out – Vent to a close friend or even the family pet. Just make sure your children are out of earshot. Negative opinions about your ex will make the child feel stuck in the middle and like they have to choose a side.
Communication – Keep an open dialogue with your ex. It isn’t necessary to meet your ex in person. Speak over the phone, exchange texts and emails, just keep it conflict free. Don’t dig at one another and above all listen.
Topic – Keep the conversation about the children as much as possible. This will allow you to maintain a cordial partnership that is focused and conflict free.
Communication breakdown – Remember, if a child knows communication has broken down between you, they can use this to their own advantage when they want something. If it happens, try not to let on, and if the children relay a message, double check the facts with your ex first. This will cause less stress in the long term.
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