Divorce can be messy and complex, especially when there are issues of custody and ownership involved. While it might seem impossible at times, staying friends during and after a divorce can help make your transition smoother and your life happier–even post-divorce.
Call a Mediator
Call in a mediator. Having a trusted and respected third party on hand for when disagreements arise can help you sort through post-divorce issues more easily,especially when there are property or custody issues involved. Set up an appointment with a therapist, or mutual friend –one who’s good at arbitrating disputes–whenever you need to discuss a grievance, and agree to abide by the mediator’s discussion rules and ultimate recommendations.
Set ground rules and follow them. For instance, agree not to ask questions about each others dating lives. Plan ahead for holidays to decide when one of you gets the kids and when both of you should be included. Create limits about expressing affection. Agree on what activities can and can’t be shared–like continuing to attend the same religious services but not working out together at the gym. Boundaries can make everyone feel more comfortable.
No Bad Mouthing!
Avoid bad-mouthing your ex at all costs. There are bound to be shared friends and family members who feel the effects of your divorce–not to mention children, if there are any involved–and you can make things more pleasant and easier for everyone involved by cutting the gossip. If you hear complaints or catty remarks about your ex, walk away from the conversation or say that you aren’t going to criticize your ex. Others will soon realize that you’re not interested in gossip.
Focus on Positives
Focus on the positives. Instead of lamenting the loss of your marriage, make a list of all the things that you can do in your newly-single state. Arrange fun outings with your girl or guy friends. Take a singles’ vacation. Join a dating site. Pick up a new hobby. Your change in marital status is a great time to reinvent yourself instead of wallowing in sorrow.
Leave the Past
Leave the past in the past. Remember that your post-divorce relationship has changed. Put away old photographs and mementos from your relationship. Store a few for safe-keeping if you have children, but otherwise, consider throwing away things that remind you of the marriage. Try to redecorate your space with only your style and your single life as much as possible to help you move forward.