The door to conflict in divorce is often wide open, hosting a range of challenges for both parties and all family members involved in the experience. Regardless of the circumstances, all couples inevitably emerge from the transition with a few emotional scars. For those who experience a slightly less turbulent divorce, however, the crucial factor most responsible for a “successful” split is almost always communication.
Communicating in Divorce: The Ultimate Challenge
Research shows that poor communication is often the primary reason couples end up divorcing, so it is not surprising that talking to one another in the midst of a stressful separation would be even more challenging. How we react and interact with our spouse during the divorce process has the power to drastically shape the outcome of our experience, however.
The American Psychological Association (APA) stresses the importance of cooperation from both parties to ensure a smooth transition, and cooperation begins with how we approach one another. The better our communication efforts, the better our results.
Consider the following tips to make conversations with a soon-to-be ex spouse productive, not destructive:
- Resist the urge to be on the defense. Experts tell us that by avoiding a defensive mode, we have the chance to reduce tension and greater conflict. When our partner is not feeling attacked, he or she may be more likely to listen to what we are saying and respond less aggressively. Research suggests that both speaking with a therapist and turning to mediation with your spouse can help you both be productive in your divorce endeavors, versus tearing one another down with your words. For example, mediation allows both parties to discuss settlement details and other important arrangements in a neutral, professional environment.
- Resist speaking badly about your spouse to or in front of your children. When applicable, this one is a big deal. Divorce can already be a traumatic experience for children. Calling your spouse names, complaining about his or her behavior, or merely venting your minor frustrations in front of the kids or directly to them can not only add to their distress but also create more conflict between you and your spouse. Hence, it will be much more difficult to communicate effectively.
- Express your willingness to meet halfway. Compromise is a beautiful thing, but it is not so easily achieved under excessive levels of stress. If you and your spouse are already engaging in hostile shouting matches or not speaking whatsoever, striking a compromise can feel downright impossible. Before you attempt communication with your spouse, take a moment to sit and write down what you want to say when you are feeling calm and focused. Jot down any area in which you may be willing to compromise, and areas that are non-negotiable for you. Identity your boundaries and needs, and then speak to your spouse when you are ready. Express what you are willing to sacrifice and what you are not. Showing that you are willing to be flexible to an extent may work in your favor and take an edge off the immediate conflict.
If you are on the cusp of filing for divorce and tensions between you and your spouse are rapidly rising, speak with a qualified DuPage County divorce attorney right away, before the situation escalates any further. Make sure your rights are protected in a court of law as you move forward with the proceedings. Call the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC today at (630) 793-6337 for your personal consultation.