Three Dimensions to a Rational Relationship with Your Ex-Spouse

Parents Holding Child's Hand
July 31, 2017
|   updated:
July 26, 2023

Emotional, Logistic and Legal Aspects

The pain involved in most divorces approaches and even equals that involved in unexpected death of a loved one.

Still, during this process, you’ll hear repeatedly that, for the sake of the children, you must build a workable relationship with your ex-spouse or partner. Most likely, you’ve never been called upon in the past to exert the level of willpower required to keep your anger to yourself or your friends and therapists. Even though it’s difficult, this is the time to create stability, patience and routine for your children. And you must do so when your emotional energy is at an all time low. Getting through it can be brutal, but in 10 years, you will look back and be very proud of the courageous choice to abandon revenge and parent responsibly. We hope these tips will help you do so.

Handle the Emotional Aspects

While married, you and your partner intertwined nearly every aspect of your lives. Now is the time to pull in those tendrils and invest all your emotional energy in yourself and building your new life with your children. When a thought of the wrongs committed by your ex threaten to overwhelm you, force your mind to concentrate on the new activities you now have the freedom to undertake.

Expressing your anger in ways other than bad-mouthing your ex include:

  • Indulging in physical expression:
  • Exercise intensively. Join the YWCA or a nearby gym. Find a running or fast-walking partner.
  • Take a martial arts or boxing class.

All of these will help you feel so much better and help you feel physically fit.

  • Processing your feelings with friends and therapists, not the children. Most health plans include regular therapy sessions, particularly in instances of divorce. Co-pays can be as low as five dollars per session. The medical establishment is well aware that stuffed feelings emerge in heart disease, obesity, stomach issues and even suicide attempts. Judges, doctors and most family members want divorcing partners in individual therapy. Be careful to not to wear out friends and family members too much. Therapists are paid to listen. Most divorcing partners are in crisis; if ever a therapeutic intervention is justified, it’s during divorce.

With your anger and sadness expressed appropriately, you move it out of your way so you can work on managing parenting, finances and schedules in a reasonable way.

Handle the Legal Aspects

Failing to follow through on legal aspects of your divorce hinders the workable relationship with your ex. It can ripple into your children’s lives when your ex complains about your failure to sign a document, appear in court, pay expenses and more. Following through on your legal responsibilities the divorce entails helps your spouse to trust you, thereby building a stable foundation to your future relationship.

This said, divorce can be so debilitating, sometimes you can’t even imagine looking at any legal papers. The stipulations, division of assets and agreements deplete you of energy and intimidate you. If you’re in this situation, you may benefit from using a divorce coach.

In the past three years, divorce coaches have been gaining more visibility. There are now even educational and certification programs for individuals who want to become divorce coaches. Less expensive than attorneys, they can orient you to the divorce process, help you organize and even provide emotional support. They know all the phone numbers for the local forensic accountants, therapists, mediation specialists, attorneys and more. While their fees can range from $125 to $300 per hour, they can save you an incredible amount of time and even prevent mistakes in your case.

Divorce coach or no divorce coach, you WILL need to read and process all documentation that pertains to your case. You will also need to act on the agreements you sign. Most legal documents come with strict time limitations. If you do not read through, answer and sign a document in time, you could be on the hook for your ex’s attorney’s fees. It’s imperative to make any alimony or child support payments to avoid penalties and interest.

Handle the Logistical Aspects

These days, children attend more activities than their parents. Getting children to lessons, practices, doctors’ appointments and playdates on time and consistently takes a huge amount of time and attention.

Unfortunately, interacting with an ex to get children where they need to go can be the most challenging aspect of parenting after divorce. Once again, technology rides to the rescue. Google calendars can be shared, but enterprising companies have created great co-parenting scheduling tools that allow you to upload all kinds of information making phone calls unnecessary. for example provides the calendar and also places to store medical contacts and information, children’s friends’ phone number’s, expenses, important documents and even photos. 2Houses, CoFamilies and OurFamilyWizard also put ex-partners in touch with each other. Those that charge typically have low fees, while the free ones subject users to advertisements. Most now come in smartphone app form. In addition to relegating communication to the Internet, these apps and programs create a record of who did what when. This record helps avoid the he said/she said fights and general bickering that undermines the post-divorce, co-parenting relationship.

Divorced parents also manage the logistics more comfortably by letting the school day separate them. With each house stocked with clothes, school supplies and toys, one parent can drop the children at school in the morning and the other parent can pick them up in the afternoon. The school day also eases the transition for the children.

Bring Your Relationship with Your Ex into a Cerebral Rather than an Emotional Space

The more your can intellectualize your relationship with your ex as a series of tasks and communications, the faster the pain will subside. We broke down this post into the three dimensions and offer practical tools so you can begin this rational process. As we mention above, in 10 years, you and your children will thank you for your self-control and courage in this mission. You can do this!

About the Author

Christie Hopkins has personal and professional ties to the Family Law industry. She has extensive experience working with families going through child custody disputes. Christie approached Family Law with attentiveness and care to ensure both parties feel valued and heard.

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