As a divorced dad, you're probably frustrated with the challenges you're facing--being a father to your kids while adjusting to being
divorced. Talking to your ex-wife is probably the hardest challenge of all. Here are tips to help you communicate better so you can relate to your ex-wife in a positive
way, thus protecting your kids from more hurt...not to mention yourself.
Get emotional closure. Divorce can accomplish that, but sometimes it's hard to let go of the idea that the wife you've known is now
your ex-wife. When you realize your marriage is truly over, you won't have any hidden agendas--hidden from yourself, that is--in talking to your wife.
Speak to your ex-wife with clear intentions. Know what you want from an interaction. If you're feeling emotionally "iffy" when you
talk to her, wait to address important issues until you feel more in control. Stay focused. Keep your kids in your mind at all times.
When interacting with your ex-wife in the presence of your kids, be a role model. Research indicates that kids of divorced parents
model their conflict-resolution behavior on their parents..
Be assertive. Assertive is not the same as aggressive, however...it's stating simply and reasonably what you want. Rather than make
demands, work with your wife as if you are slightly adversarial, but cooperative members of the same team.
Be prepared for old patterns to rise up again. Don't succumb to the temptation to engage in old battles. You're a divorced dad, not
still married. Your ex-wife may say things that get your goat, either unintentionally or intentionally. Don't rise to the bait. See the Resources section for
additional tips on resolving conflict with your ex-wife.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA