One of the weirdest things about divorce is that just when you’re at your lowest ebb and really can’t stand to be in the same room as your Ex, this is the time when you really need to get on with him!
For most people communication difficulties contribute to marital breakdown. If you could fully communicate with him, if you really felt he understood your feelings and if he felt you understood his, you probably wouldn’t be divorcing.
Once you get a sense that the marriage is going pear-shaped, these communication problems increase. You want to be understood and you try to have that ‘we need to talk’ conversation. He will do anything to avoid that talk!
Plus if you have been dumped for another woman, you will feel peevish, angry, incandescent with rage or just a little narked. This isn’t going to put you in a good mood to have constructive chats with your Ex.
But divorce, of course, is a negotiation. You both have to come to an agreement about how you will bring up the children and you both have to come to an agreement over the finances. For this to happen successfully you need to be able to communicate effectively with your Ex.
So here are some pointers to help you do this;
1. You have every right, and may have every justification, to feel angry, sad, tearful or vengeful. But you will negotiate better if you can be very clear-headed about what you want in a very reasoned way – and wanting his head on a platter is not a reasoned response! Handle your emotions away from the negotiating table.
2. Seek to negotiate for your best interests and those of your children. If you do this reasonably (i.e. without the head on the platter stuff) you can stand firm for what you want. It doesn’t have to be an immovable negotiating position, you can change what you settle for, but aim to get the best outcome you can.
3. Negotiating should be done in a clear-headed way – use your head by all means but don’t be afraid of being emotional where it is needed. If you are deeply hurt or deeply afraid, say so. Divorce is a hurtful process and if your Ex is reminded of this he may soften his approach. A little bit of genuine emotion combined with a lot of clear-headed negotiation will show that you are human but not a pushover. If he cannot accommodate your distress he’ll look mean and unfeeling.
Finally, his communication style will also be affected by his emotions. You might find that much of your negotiating time is spent managing his emotional state. This is fine if you are very clear about what you want and how you will go about this.
If you expand and diversify your communication skills you may be able to talk to your Ex so you can get what you want. You will be able to do this without making him feel destroyed. You will have developed life-long negotiating skills and you will have come out of your divorce feeling you have achieved what you want.