From a recent discussion with two of my divorced friends I learned that both of them had decided that if they had to do it all over again, no matter how difficult their marriage had been, they would have stuck it out for the kids and not left their ex spouse. The reason- they had no idea how difficult the divorce would be on the children. Not everyone feels that way and all situations are different, but many couples considering divorce believe that if they can just get a divorce all of their problems, namely their spouse, will just disappear.
But guess what? If you have children with your spouse most likely he or she will remain in your life and you will be negotiating such contentious issues as child support, child custodial arrangements and how to eventually rear your child together in two separate homes. Add a new spouse or additional family and it can get even more difficult.
Steps After the divorce
In a recent article titled “Three reasons you shouldn’t take digs at your ex,” Marina Sbrochi, a dating coach and author, has outlined the number one rule after your divorce: do not bad mouth your ex-spouse.
If you have chosen to proceed with divorce it’s no secret that it will take some work to shuffle the children back and forth between homes. With two households there is bound to be some conflict. House rules could be different, your spouse could be more lenient with the kids, you may let your kids have a phone or your spouse may pay little attention to what your kids eat.
There will be misunderstandings, mistakes, and maybe things done intentionally to undermine you and your parenting decisions. Your ex-spouse is busy just like you and they are bound to forget things, miss meetings and show up late to school or practices.
But what does Marina Sbrochi say (and all relationship experts for that matter)? Do not bad mouth your ex-spouse. Not only will it not help the situation, it’s likely to damage your relationship with your child or your child’s relationship with the other parent.
So what are the three main reasons you should not bad mouth your ex?
1. The children
Children learn how to treat others by the way they see you treat others. If you have an issue with your spouse, talk to your spouse. Comments about your ex to your child (a person who has no control over the situation) does not help resolve anything. It only makes your child defensive or angry at you or the other parent. If the issue is serious enough it’s time to have a meeting with your ex and discuss a solution.
2. It does not accomplish anything
Although complaining may make you feel better in the short run, it doesn’t solve anything. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a calm, rational discussion. Talk to your ex if something is really bothering you and find out if you two can come to a mutually satisfying decision.
3. Be the bigger person
Often living a great life and setting a good example for our kids is really about doing what is right not what we feel. Sure your ex may be a jerk. He may have cheated on you with your best friend or left you for a younger woman. But the truth is if he did do this you may be better without him, although it may take some time to realize this truth. If you are the bigger person you can stand proud as a person of character and take comfort that someday your children will tell their children that their mother never said anything bad about their dad.
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