Divorce is one of the hardest things anyone can ever go through, regardless of how necessary it is or the circumstances that got you there. When my ex-husband and I first separated, I was devastated. Not only for myself, but for my then-2 month old daughter. I hated the thought of her not having a family, of having to leave me every other weekend, but I also had to be selfless. Because regardless of how it all ended, you have to know how to stay on good terms with your ex, because your child's happiness depends on it.
I know, it's easier said than done. Trust me, if anybody is going to be your ally in this, it's me. You're hurt, you're angry, you're heartbroken, and you're worried about your child. I get it. It's incredibly hard to co-parent with someone you're no longer with, let alone actually get along with them. Divorce is such an emotional time, and the hardest part about trying to stay on good terms with your ex is that your children get caught up in the madness.
You're angry that your ex never listens to you about your child wearing a helmet, so now you're arguing with your kid over how daddy is wrong. Your ex cheated on you and now wants to bring the other woman around your toddler, so you cut off visitation. Your ex refuses to answer the phone when you call them and now no one's communicating about your kid's after-school activities.
But look, if you want to stay on good terms with your ex, there's one way to get it done: You have to remember that you are never fully divorced.
I know, you signed all the papers, you have your maiden name back, you've got your own place — but you have a child. And that child means you are always going to be connected to your ex. You are always going to have to deal with them, see them, and interact with them.
So is all the fighting necessary? Is it worth it to constantly be at odds with someone you're going to have in your life forever? No one's saying you have to put up with nonsense, abuse, or anger, but you are going to have to learn how to get along with them.
It's so easy to choose to see your ex as your ex. But you have to look at them as your child's parent. I've been there and I've done it. For the sake of your kid and yourself, you need to be on good terms with your ex and these five tips can help. It may take some time and it will definitely take some work on both you and your ex's part, but if you keep your little one in the front of your mind, it always works out.
1. Find A Way To Communicate That Works For Both Of You
Some ex-couples are terrible at communicating, no matter the circumstances, but that's a major part of getting along with your child's other parent. It's easy to get resentful and angry when you've missed a school project or soccer game because you weren't communicating. Talk to your ex and find out the best way for you two to communicate. A shared calendar? Texting? Emails? Should you schedule a call each week to discuss things? Don't use your child as the mailman between you two.
2. Speak To Each Other When You See Each Other
Even if it's just a "Hi, how are you?" it goes a long way in showing your children that you two still respect each other.
3. Remember That They Didn't Divorce Your Kids
You and your partner may have split, but they didn't split up from your kids. You have to keep that in mind. Regardless of where the two of you stand on a romantic level, they are still a parent to your children and deserve their time with them, too.
4. Choose Your Battles
Some things are worth arguing about, like car seat safety or the school you want your child to attend. But if you hear that your kid doesn't have a bed time on the weekends at your ex-partner's house, is it really worth hating each other over? You have to pick your battles. If you're constantly fighting, your ex is most likely going to refuse to listen to anything you say.
5. Don't Let Other People Influence Your Decisions
Your family is angry that you were hurt and your friends all have their opinions, too, but guess what? They're not involved. They don't have to see your ex or deal with them all the time, and it's not their child upset over the fighting. Don't take the advice of your well-meaning friends, the ones that tell you to ignore your ex or let your child know why you divorced. They don't want to see you hurt, but their opinions can do more damage than you think.