October 16, 2014

8 Ways

148360728You are getting a divorce and, as to be expected, you aren’t quite your normal care-free self; seems that resentment, loss, anger, confusion are all kicking about your head and the whole situation might be tolerable if it weren’t for the fact that dealing with your soon-to-be-ex can be, on occasion, frustrating.

So, for those times when you’d like nothing better than to scream, shout, fight, name-call, or just flip that no good so-and-so off, here are a few ways to really throw that no-goodnik for a loop.

  1. Tell your children about those qualities that drew you to your ex in the first place. You know those endearing, sweet, charming, good things your ex possesses. It may diffuse some of your tension and will certainly help your children see the good in your ex and in themselves.
  2. Brush off that friend who wants to rag on your ex. You don’t need the bad karma and you’ve got far more interesting and fun things to do than spend your time wallowing in negative emotions.
  3. If your ex buys something expensive for your kids or takes them on a trip be happy for them. Be excited for them. Be enthusiastic for them; just don’t be negative – why ruin their enjoyment?
  4. If you’ve messed-up, made a mistake, or otherwise erred have the strength of character to apologize. Nothing positive comes out of holding grudges.
  5. If your ex seems to be looking for a fight, take a breath, leave it alone and come back to it another day when you’re both calmer. This lets you spend your emotional energy on things that really matter and will leave your ex wondering “what the h…”.
  6. Make the occasional, random nice gesture towards your ex. Things like: simply saying OK when asked switch a visitation night, or sending your ex a cake to enjoy with your kids when it’s your ex’s birthday, or congratulate your ex (and mean it) on their new job. Who knows, good things may come your way as the result of a few moments of kindness.
  7. Be friendly when your ex comes to pick up the kids. Say hello, engage in a little polite small talk, may be ask about how they are doing or about the news from their side of the family. It will make your kids feel more comfortable and it is certain to earn you a little positive karma.
  8. Smile and say “that’s great” when you eventually learn that your ex is now dating. If you hear the news from your ex, say congratulations. After all, you are both in the process of building new futures for yourselves and this news will (generally) have little bearing on either your divorce or your future.

If you’ve read this far, you’ll have realized that there is a common thread to all these suggestions; all of them are about taking the high road and avoiding expending your emotional energy on unproductive outlets (anger, resentment, bitterness). Even if your ex never reciprocates, the fact that you are being kind and polite will help you engage with your highest functioning self, make better decisions about your divorce and your future, ease your children’s transition into their new post-divorce family and might even save you money (after all, conflict can really run up those lawyer bills).

Bruce Cameron
Attorney, Cameron Law, PLLC

Bruce Cameron, JD, MS is a second career attorney, practicing Quaker, and advocate for small town law practices. His solo practice focuses exclusively on collaborative law and mediation with just a soup├žon of estate planning for excitement. Bruce believes that alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, like collaborative law and mediation, are powerful positive means to reduce the destructive conflict typical of litigation. He has found that a little peacemaking tends to produce better outcomes for his clients. Learn more at www.CameronLawPllc.com

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