Co-parenting after divorce is not easy. It’s like walking a tight rope at first.
You want to be cooperative and communicate well but on the other hand how close is too close with your ex-spouse?
1. Don’t give your spouse that sexy look.
2. Don’t hug your ex-spouse.
3. Don’t give your spouse too much attention at social events.
4. Don’t stay too chummy with your ex-spouse’s family.
5. Don’t use your ex-spouse’s friends.
There are two sides to the coin. I fully agree with Karen but would add the following:
1. Don’t give your ex-spouse that dirty look like you are disgusted by them. How would you feel if you saw one of your parents give the other parent that kind of look?
2. Don’t push your ex-spouse away. If you need a hand, ask for help. If your ex needs a hand, help out. Treat your ex like a good neighbour.
3. Don’t pretend that your ex-spouse does not even exist when at social events. Occasional eye contact is polite. Maybe you could even say “hi”. It wouldn’t kill you.
4. You don’t have to be enemies with your ex-spouse’s family. You can still be friends. There is a lifetime of events you will share so reach out and try to break the ice. It is awkward but worth some effort to make things comfortable for everyone, especially your children.
5. Your friends can be your ex-spouse’s friends. It isn’t fair to ask them to keep secrets so remember that what you say or do may get back to your ex-spouse. If you have something to hide, be careful. But, hey, who has something to hide?
Striking the right balance is a real challenge. Working with a Family Coach or Divorce Coach (both are therapists with special training to help clients move through the emotional stages of divorce) really helps.
Walking on a tight rope is challenging at first. You might fall from time to time. Your spouse might fall too. Be patient. Put in supports to catch you when you fall such as a Family Coach. Raising kids is like being in a circus. Co-parenting is just another act! You can do it… one step at a time!