Breakups can be volatile, heated and, in some cases, just plain ugly. Not all divorces are this way, but the potential is there for many relationships that are ending. Even if your separation has been relatively easy-going, chances are there has been or will be several bumps along the way both during and after the divorce.
When you and your ex have children together, this makes you forever entwined. While you may not be together as a couple any longer, you do share a very special and important bond through your children and will have to deal with one another. For the sake of your kids it is a good idea to try and get along, even if you feel significant degrees of anger or resentment.
It may not always be easy, but in the long run putting aside negative feelings and making an effort to get along when dealing with one another is beneficial to everyone involved.
Here are some tips you can try as an attempt to extend an olive branch, or to help you manage to be at least be civil, to your ex:
Kids Come First
One of the biggest and messy issues in a divorce is dealing with visitation and custody issues. Chances are you probably won't agree with one another and will frequently clash over situations with the kids.
No matter how you feel, whether or not your or your ex's anger is justified, make every attempt not to express those resentments in front of the kids. When kids are exposed to vicious fighting or even subtle put-downs, this does not fare well for them and puts them in an uncomfortable, and unfair, position.
When dealing with your ex, try your best to push any antagonism aside and focus on your kids. They'll be better off when you do this and it may even lead to a heightened ability to deal with one another without the anger.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
As each battle arises it is a good idea to evaluate the situation and see what the long term consequences. If the battle is worth fighting, then you should fight it, but if not, sometimes it is best to just let go and let your ex 'win'.
When you make allowances to compromise this helps reduce some of the conflict because each party involved doesn't feel as if they are always giving something up. When you consider the important issues, these are the ones you should fight for, don't sweat the small stuff.
Compromise is the foundation for any relationship, even with an ex. If the two of you can sit down and amicably work out an agreement that suits the both of you, this is beneficial to your kids. When you and your ex are able to effectively compromise on your own, this will mean less court battles, hearings and other legal ramifications. This equates to lowered stress, not to mention less financial burden too.
Every battle exposes your kids to additional hurts and if you can bring yourself to compromise, even if you have to make the first step, your ex may be more open to compromise too. Sometimes that first step into the doorway the hardest, but once the door has been opened chances are it will be easier to get along.
Focus on the Issue at Hand
When a conflict arises between you and your ex, it is wise to focus solely on the issue at hand. Don't spend your time rehashing old anger or hurts because this will just escalate the problem. When you zero in on the current issue you can resolve that problem without getting distracted and aggravated over the past. You can't change the past, but you do have a degree of control over the future.
With a breakup comes many hurts. It is often hard to get past these when you have to deal with your ex. The fact that you have kids together makes it a certainty you will have to have exchanges with your ex and if you can find a way to effectively push old hurts aside it will be easier for everyone.
If your ex can't let go of anger or hurts, do your best not to fuel the fire, if you can remain calm and unemotional when he/she acts this way, it helps keep the embers from exploding into a full raging fire. Sometimes talking to a friend, or even a professional, can help heal those old wounds; a benefit to finding a way to move beyond past hurts is that you'll feel an acute sense of freedom when you can effectively do this.
Once the pain is healed and the issues become a thing of the past, you'll find it much easier to get along with your ex. Instead of putting emphasis on the past, you can look to the future to a happier place.
Things may have been broken, but that doesn't mean sunny days can't happen again. Being proactive can go a long way for both you and your children's happiness.
Remember Good Times
It's possible to get along with an ex, but it requires putting the bad times aside. Instead, try to remember the good ones. After all, usually, there was probably a pretty good reason why two people got together in the first place. If you can get in tune with that side of your former relationship it can be all the more easier to get along.
Granted none of these solutions are an insta-fix to resolving issues with your ex, but if you can make attempts to get along, you, your ex and your children will feel much happier in the long run. While often anger towards an ex is warranted, you don't have to let it consume you because, in the end, it will bring you down and prevent you from moving forward.
Getting along with your ex is not a requirement, but it sure does make life easier if you can manage to find a way to do it.
[ Related Reading: Supporting Your Kids With Visitation Issues ]