You may believe it is impossible to have a productive discussion with your ex, but in reality most couples can work out their differences given enough time and a good strategy. There are several things to remember when you are trying to work with your ex on issues relating to finances, children or any other potentially argumentative topic:
- Understand what you want. Before you begin a discussion with your ex, clarify what it is that you want. Be as specific as possible. For example, saying, “I would like to spend more time with the kids” is not nearly as effective as saying, “I would like to have the kids on the third weekend this month so we can attend a family reunion.” The more specific you are, the more likely it is that your ex will hear what you are saying.
- Be prepared to compromise. An aggressive or belligerent attitude is guaranteed to shut down negotiations, but you can reach an impasse just as quickly if you are unwilling to compromise. It may help to have a “bottom line” in mind but start negotiating with your ex at a higher level so that you have a “fall back” position.
- Avoid recriminations. As tempting as it may be to bring up past wrongs, avoid this type of behavior. It is guaranteed to stall any productive communication and may extend the timeline for talking with your ex for a long period. You are always better not saying something and revisiting an issue later than blurting out your true feelings.
- Stop making assumptions. Just as your ex may assume that you are only out to hurt her, you may be assuming the same about your ex. Instead of making these types of assumptions, assume the opposite: that you and your ex can have a productive conversation if you both choose to take the right approach.
- Realize you cannot control your ex. There are times that your ex simply will not work with you. When this happens, there may be nothing you can do. Be prepared to back off and allow the dust to settle before you attempt another conversation.
The attorneys at the Men’s Legal Center are ready to help you with your divorce, child custody and child support issues. Contact us today if you are having trouble dealing with your ex and need professional help to settle your divorce issues.