If your marriage was riddled with conflict you may find the tension is amplified now that divorce is underway. But despite the acrimony between you and your ex, it is still possible to work towards a non-hostile divorce.
And if you have children, it’s essential that you try to disengage and/or resolve disputes. Why? Studies show that children are far more impacted by a high-conflict divorce than they are by divorce itself.
So, if you’re ready to ramp down conflict between you and your ex, read on for how to keep hostility to a minimum in your divorce
6 Steps To A Non-Hostile Divorce
Low conflict divorce isn’t a miracle; it happens because people acquire the skills necessary to work through disagreements. If you never learned conflict resolution skills, don’t worry; you can develop them now. Here are the top six tools for achieving a non-hostile divorce.
Practice Radical Acceptance. Wanting your ex to be someone they’re not, or have the “aha moment” you waited for the entire marriage are signs that you haven’t accepted reality – and may cause you to act out in anger. Once you accept the way things actually are, you can focus on making the best choices available to you in your divorce.
Be a flexible thinker. If you believe the only solution to a problem is yours, you’re going to invite conflict. Amicably divorced couples are able to consider different options and adjust to the necessity of a compromise.
Manage emotional reactivity. Divorce is an incredibly destabilizing life event, and many people experience heightened emotions at this time. But if you communicate with your ex when you’re angry, you won’t solve any problems and you will likely inflame your former spouse’s intense feelings. Maintain healthy habits and develop coping skills so you can manage unpleasant feelings and make wise choices.
Utilize effective communication skills. One of the most important steps you can take to have a non-hostile divorce is to master effective communication strategies. Leave feelings and opinions out of anything you say or write to your ex. When emailing and texting, be concise, informative, neutral in tone, and firm – don’t get stuck in protracted negotiations.
Stop caring what your ex thinks. Do you feel misunderstood or disrespected by your ex? If so, you may be tempted to defend your position, aka argue, or return their contempt with your own. Behaving in these ways won’t prove anything to your former spouse, other then you’re really the unreasonable person they believe you are! Once you stop caring what your ex thinks, you will start to disengage psychologically so that you can make appropriate choices.
Focus on your own behavior. Taking constant inventory of your spouse’s wrongdoings and lousy personality traits will keep you feeling angry and victimized. You can’t control your ex’s behavior, but you can control your own. So do your part in minimizing conflict by making the best choices available to you.
Practicing the strategies you need to manage emotions and make skillful choices won’t change your spouse, but it will improve your quality of life and the way you experience your divorce.
Don’t miss these benefits of low conflict divorce! For more help creating turning down conflict in your divorce, read this quick how-to guide: 7 Steps for Creating a Positive Divorce.
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