Divorce Doesn’t End The Relationship
If you’re in the middle of a divorce, you’re probably counting the months, then the weeks, and then the days just wanting to get it over with already. You’re hoping that once the judge bangs his gavel and declares you divorced, you’ll be free from the hurt and any connection you have.
But here’s the reality: Divorce ends your marriage in the eyes of the law. It does not terminate the relationship.
If you have children, you’ll still be required to communicate about schedules, school, medical care, sports and other activities, vacations, etc.
Fourteen years after my divorce I’m still dealing with my ex when it comes to my children, and they are now in their 20’s! Just yesterday we needed to talk about medical care for my youngest daughter. It’s expensive, and he was pissed at the cost. So, I was subjected to a long, loud, fist-pounding, foul-mouthed berating about how I don’t get anything right. Ouch.
As confident as I am and as much as my daughters tell me how they know I do everything for them, it still hurt. I hate confrontation, especially when it includes screaming and insult after insult. I just don’t speak to people the way he spoke to me. And I was hurt for my daughter who heard it all (because instead of calling me, he called her and told her to put the phone speaker on so he could talk to me).
Afterward, she said to me “I had no idea he still speaks to you this way.” He does, and there’s not much I can do about his behavior.
But I can take steps to protect myself and so can you:
Try to keep the peace. I know it’s hard to do, but try not to be reactive. Count to five before responding. Take a deep breath. Do anything that can keep you calm and out of the drama.
Be as organized as possible. If you prepare a list of what you need to discuss, you can limit your conversation to those points only and be done quickly.
Limit your conversations. Luckily, I rarely have to speak to my ex, but when I do, I collect everything we need to talk about so that I limit the times we have to be in contact. I’ll save up several issues and send them in one email so that we resolve each item and put off communication again.
Communicate in writing. If you cannot get along or you’re subject to belittling or obnoxious behavior, don’t speak. Instead handle all communication through email, where there will be a record of what he says (just remember your words will be in writing too!
Make it clear that it’s unacceptable to be yelled at, cursed at or insulted. If it doesn’t stop, stop communicating. Hang up if you are on the phone, and don’t respond to nasty texts or emails. Or, if you have to respond, don’t respond to the insults, just stay on point.
It’s kind of ironic that even after you’re officially divorced, you’ll continue to have a relationship with the very person you wish to leave.
On the bright side, you won’t have to deal with the drama day in and day out anymore.
Always look on the bright side.
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