When you end a serious relationship, there are usually strong reasons behind why it ended. This makes building any sort of friendly relationship with your ex-spouse or partner extremely difficult. You may not even want to see that person again, but it isn’t always an option. Ex-couple who have kids together must find some way to work as parents towards a common goal: raising great kids. While you probably won’t ever have a friendship like any of your other friends, it is possible to achieve a working relationship with your co-parent for your kids’ sake.
Know that it will take time
Going through a separation or divorce is emotionally taxing, and all of the feelings you experienced as you went through it will stay with you long after it is final. Let yourself grieve and recover before trying to build a new relationship as friends with your co-parent. Don’t keep all of your emotions inside; instead, talk to trusted friends and family. You may also some time with a counselor or therapist. Going to sessions with your co-parent may also be beneficial whether you do it right away or wait until your emotions have settled some.
While some contact right after the break up may be necessary due to your children, it is best to avoid any conversation that might turn into a fight in front of your kids. This will only add to your stress and make it more difficult to build a relationship later. Save those conversations for a more appropriate forum such as with your attorney or in mediation.
Give each other some space
It might be strange to no longer be involved in your co-parent’s life to the degree that you used to. While it might hurt, don’t let this drive you to pry into their personal life. At first, try to limit contact as much as possible. Don’t look at their social media, and ask shared friends not to invite you to the same events. After you have had some time to adjust, you can reopen contact and possibly learn how to be in each other’s presence among mutual friends.
Take some time to yourself
Adjusting to single life can be difficult, especially if you had been in a relationship for a long time. A good way to help you refocus your mindset is to take some time for yourself. Take a class on a new subject for you, learn a new language, travel to new places, and try to meet new people. These new experiences will bring new ideas and a new outlook, and help you to revel in your newfound freedom.
Concentrate on the future
The main reason behind why you are building a new relationship with your co-parent is for the sake of your kids. When you are finding it hard to bear, think about them and their future. You don’t want your children’s birthdays, graduations, and weddings to be marred by you and your former partner’s inability to get along. On the day of your grandchild’s birth, you want to be able to enjoy the wonderful event without any resentment getting in the way. Keep these special days stress-free for yourself and your children by building a non-hostile relationship with your co-parent. Even if you never like them again, they don’t have to be a blot on otherwise happy memories. In the end, you are still a family whether you’re in a relationship with the other parent or not.
Becoming friends after a divorce will take a lot of time and effort. Anger needs to subside and wounds need to heal before you can begin to view them without hostility. Despite the difficulty, it is well worth the while, as it will make your life in general less stressful and will help your children to have a healthier, happier childhood.