~ Ex-Partner Communication

19th December 2019

Two qualities to aim for when communicating with ex-partners are patience and wisdom – avoiding locking horns for the benefit of all involved.

Property settlement; Financial settlement and Custody arrangements are now probably in place.  We may or may not be completely happy with the outcomes though we usually have to abide by them.

Our emotional states may take longer to resolve and maybe not so easy to control. Emotions may still run high and feeling fragile is normal.  If there are no children involved then it may be easier to move on.  This doesn’t suggest that feelings of hurt, anger and vulnerability aren’t still around. When we feel we are not coping then it may be a good idea to talk with someone unrelated to the situation. Resolving concerns and especially before embarking on new relationships can be helpful and may enable us to avoid unsuitable relationships.

When children are involved the relationship is not ended it is simply a new relationship and if the new relationship is conducted with respect and consideration the benefits are many and include::

  • Primary – Happy well adjusted children
  • Lower anxiety levels both adults and children
  • Harmonious exchange leading to willingness of adults to empathise with the situation for all parties.

So how might this be achieved?

Most arrangements for access or change of access are now made by email or text. Firstly don’t assume the sender is hostile.  They may or may not be.  How we read emails, text etc., is usually how we are feeling.  In other words it goes through our filter. If we are the sender then we cannot be responsible for how the recipient interprets it.  Though we can do our best to use language and phrase that is conducive to harmony.  It is then the recipient’s choice as to how they reply. Overall, how we decide to conduct ourselves is observed by our children and patterns good or bad will likely be repeated by them.

Phone communication can also be fraught. A smile on our face and lightness in our voice makes a difference - difficult maybe, effective usually.  Yes, it could be misinterpreted  – however knowing that you have engaged in communication from a place of personal integrity is what matters.

A new partner on the scene may be challenging for the ex-partner and may be especially difficult for children.  Hard as it may be to accept, the new partner may be feeling vulnerable too and usually wanting to be kind and considerate to the children involved. If possible engage the new partner in the parenting of the children.  This is not Pollyanna.  It is about love for the children and giving them the best childhood possible.  If they are exposed to negative emotions and behaviour it has an affect on their relationships with both parents. It will also influence how they conduct their future relationships.

It takes time to adjust for everyone involved and if we are able to employ compassion and empathy it helps. We are all made up of light and shadow.  We are all “works in progress” each trying our best to narrow our shadow side.