Keeping things friendly with the ex is a subject that often perplexes even those involved in the tamest of divorces. Many people ask, “Can I really have a friendly meeting with my ex?” Although, it may take a while — and some hard work — the answer is, “Yes, you can!”
The animosity that exists between exes mostly depends on the reason for the split. Did the marriage end because of infidelity? Did it end over money issues? Or did you just grow apart? The degree to which you dread meeting with your ex is often intricately linked to those hard-to-forget issues.
In many cases, when ex-spouses meet, they are blinded by the hurt that they felt — and often continue to feel — at the end of the relationship. Emotional discomfort that one feels has been caused by the other individual may make any face-to-face meeting not only difficult, but downright painful. Still, there is a way to ensure that you and your ex work with each other and not against one another.
I have found that it helps to keep meetings with my ex short and to the point. If you are meeting to talk about your children, remember to keep the meeting about the children. Delving into the who-did-what-to-whom blame game will only lead to anger, fighting and more hurt feelings. More often than not, your ex will not acknowledge wrongdoing any more than you would, so no good can come out of revisiting why you split in the first place.
Try to keep in mind that your ex is someone that, in some way, shape or form, you will be dealing with for the rest of your life. You might as well make the best of it.
Also, it is beyond important that your children are not made to feel anxious when an event is scheduled that both parents are going to attend. Some anxiety is certainly normal, but your kids should never have to worry that their parents are going to fight, or make them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Remember, your split had nothing to do with your kids, and they should not be made to pay for the divorce of their parents.
Last but not least, if you can do nothing else, try to keep in mind that, once upon a time, you dearly loved the person you now call your ex. Your ex was not always someone that you didn’t like or didn’t trust; he or she was once someone that you thought you would spend the rest of your life with, and whom, on some level, you may always love. Although those old wounds may never heal completely, they will scar over, enabling you to function without your emotions in the forefront.