Getting along with an ex-spouse, especially right after a breakup, can seem nearly impossible for many people. Anger, resentment, sadness and a variety of other feelings can quickly boil over, causing one person to lash out at the other, whether it’s called for or not. However, if you need to get along with your ex-spouse because you have children, mutual friends or business responsibilities, there are some things you can do to make it easier.
Give It Some Time
Getting along with your ex-spouse right after a breakup can be difficult. It’s likely that you have mixed feelings about the end of a relationship, and some level of grief is normal. Unfortunately, this grief often manifests as resentment, irritation and anger. Take some time to put some space between yourself and your ex-spouse. There’s no right amount of time, but after a while, negative feelings will likely start to fade, which can make having a peaceful relationship with your ex-spouse easier.
Talk About It
Talking about why your relationship didn’t work or the feelings you have toward your ex-spouse can help resolve problems, especially within yourself. You may not be able to talk openly to your ex-spouse, but talking with a trusted friend or therapist can help you work out some of the anger, confusion or frustration you may feel toward your ex-spouse. Without carrying these negative feelings around with you, you may find it easier to get along with him.
Change the Way You Talk
When relationships change, it’s essential that you change with them. A big part of that is changing the way you talk to your ex-spouse. Try making requests instead of statements, and avoid showing frustration, even if you feel it. Speak slowly and calmly, and don’t raise your voice. HelpGuide.org suggests talking to your ex-spouse in a business-like tone – remaining neutral, respectful and cordial – the way you’d talk to a colleague at work.
Do It for Your Children
If you have kids with your ex-spouse, getting along with her, or at the least, getting along with her in front of your children is extremely important. Children who are exposed to parents who constantly fight or are in conflict often experience emotional problems and become disillusioned or feel alienated from one or both parents, according to Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D. Some children also feel responsible for their parents fighting even though it isn’t their fault, which can lower their self-esteem and lead to depression and anxiety. Getting along with your ex-spouse will help keep you children healthy and stable. Knowing that alone may make it easier to get along with an ex-spouse.