Relationships end every day, some acrimoniously and some not. While it remains obvious that all relationships end for a reason, sometimes these reasons can make it difficult to maintain a friendly standing with the ‘ex’. However if there are assets involved or even more importantly, children, it becomes absolutely necessary to facilitate peaceful interactions. Below are some ways to help overcome any animosity and work towards a civil (ex) partnership.
Tempting though it may be to want to run things on your time schedule, remember people grieve differently and at different paces. Your ex could still be mourning the loss of the relationship while you’re ready to move on. Remember to give each other some space and a little grace. Be as patient as you can with each other during this transition time there may be moments where it gets messy and you want to pick fights with each other. Remember to breathe, count to ten and try to remember that both of you are hurting.
Be kind to your ex and most importantly, be kind to yourself. Don’t be the sort of person who lashes out and hurts someone unnecessarily, and if your ex is behaving that way towards you, be kind to yourself and don’t respond. The best you can do in difficult circumstances is to conduct yourself in a manner that doesn’t allow for question or judgement. Hold your head high, be kind and gentle in your decisions and actions. Your future self will thank you for it, as being kind to yourself and your ex will pave the way for a happier life.
Break ups are heart wrenching business. Make sure you have a firm support network of friends and family to prop you up when you need it. These people can act as your moral compass when you need it and help you to remove some of the emotion out of your decisions when it seems impossibly difficult to do so.
In the event that you don’t have a support network, there is plenty of help out there. Reach out and talk to the people that you need to help you through the difficult times. Lifeline is a great option and Relationships Australia also offers a fantastic counselling service and can help to navigate you through murky waters.
Set clear standards for behave that you will tolerate and behaviour that you absolutely won’t. Also be very clear about what you expect from the end of the relationship and what your boundaries are with regards to children and any assets. Do not be afraid to be assertive in this aspect and stand your ground with your boundaries. This is where your support network comes into play to act as your moral compass and help you set fair and reasonable boundaries.
This is fairly obvious and quite simple. Be honest with your ex and most importantly, with yourself. Don’t play games, don’t be malicious and try to be as fair as possible even if the other party isn’t being receptive.
Take Your Time
Remember that building strong relationships (even with your ex!) takes time. Give each other some space to work through individual feelings and circumstances and try to find common ground as often as possible. Be willing to make concessions without compromising your boundaries and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
There will come a point that either partner will be ready to move on and begin a new relationship. This will be hard to bear and you’re entitled to any sorts of feelings of jealousy and hurt, but remember that once the relationship ended, this was always going to be possibility. Try to make peace with that and unless you have serious reservations about new partners when it comes to their impact on your children, try to be respectful.
There are no hard and fast rules to creating a healthy friendship with your ex. A lot of it comes down to circumstances and individuals, but if you can pay mindful attention to the above points you can do a lot to facilitate the friendship process and keep things as smooth and amicable as possible.
Alex Wieland is full time working, time starved Mum to a whirly dervish toddler. She loves her dishwasher more than life itself, relishes her son’s bed time (wine o’clock) and is constantly on the hunt for ways to make life just that little bit easier.