Some of my clients have been able to remain friends after divorce, but know that it may take a great amount of resolve and effort to make that happen. Psychologist Dr. Seth Meyers notes on PsychologyToday.com: “It is rare, it seems, that couples are able to hold onto a friendship and remain close while still moving on after the divorce. I am always impressed when I see couples who manage to stay friends as it takes strength in character and an understating of the bigger picture to rise above the hurt.”
How can we keep things amicable – even post-divorce?
Most of my clients who are able to remain friends after the divorce do so because they have children and they believe it is in their children’s best interests to keep matters amicable. Maintaining a friendship with your ex after divorce begins with a decision. You must consciously make a decision to try to be friendly and cordial, either for your kids’ sakes or simply because it will help you move on or grow your own character.
Below are a few more tips for trying to keep things civil after the divorce.
- Forgive: It may take a good bit of reflection, soul searching, and counseling, but forgiving your ex (and yourself) for any past mistakes and for an unsuccessful marriage is very healing and freeing. Holding onto past hurts and grudges hurts yourself and can affect your kids, as well. It is much easier to maintain a friendship when you have taken the high road and wiped the slate clean.
- Recall the good in your ex: Try not to remember your ex only as your partner in a failed marriage, but as a separate human being with hopes and failures just like you. Perhaps you can recall his good qualities and reiterate to yourself that while he might not be a good marital partner for you, he may still add value to your life as a friend.
- Use the divorce as a catalyst for personal and spiritual growth: Divorce is sometimes unavoidable, but you can choose how you view it and how you conduct yourself. Shift your goal from “having a happy marriage” to “having a solid friendship” with your ex and strengthening your character. It takes a very strong person to focus on her ex’s good traits and be cordial despite the past.
- Keep communications short: Keep calls, emails, texts, and in-person meetings brief. It is usually much easier to get along with your ex if you do not have to spend too much time together. Too much communication may rekindle old arguments. Work towards longer conversations later when you and your ex have been able to let go of the anger and hurt from your divorce. Who knows, you may even end up the best of friends again.
Even if you manage to remain cordial or even friendly with your soon-to-be-ex, there is a good chance not everything in your divorce is completely uncontested. And even if you do seem to agree on everything, it is still prudent to retain a divorce lawyer for any of the possible “what-ifs” down the road.
Contact me, Molly B. Kenny, today at 425-460-0550 for help with any aspect of your divorce.