Military satellites are spangled above our skies by the thousands, yet the Coast Guard and Navy still use Morse Code to send signals by lamp. Keeping multiple lines of communication open is essential not only to the military, but to your life after divorce.
Using the Right Communication Channels
Your ex-wife may not be amenable to clear communication, but she may also have some hidden preference as to how you reach out, not just what you say. You and she, after the divorce, still have a lot to talk about:
- Child visitation
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Real Estate
- Family gatherings
Neither of you can realistically pretend the other person no longer exists. That is not practical or mature, so consider all the ways you can stay in touch:
- U.S. mail (postcards and letters!)
- Through your attorneys
- Telephone text (SMS)
- Monthly breakfast at a diner
- Social media
- Family members passing messages along face-to-face
- Birthdays, graduations, weddings, and other social gatherings
Keep as many channels of communication open as possible. She may not like to talk on the telephone, but she will respond to text messages. She may despise snail mail but clicks on a Facebook message.
Communication is More Than Words
You and she, whether she will admit it or not, have many reasons to improve your communication with each other. If part of the reason you divorced was a lack of communication (“You never listen to me,” “You’re always away or on that stupid video game.”), you already know a challenge area to work on.
Find out, politely but persistently if you need to, why she is reluctant to stay in touch. Perhaps it is not what you are saying, perhaps it is the way you are talking to her. MyFamilyWizard reveals that word choice and delivery are just as crucial as the substance of what you say.
Why call her names when you could call her by her name? Why sound sarcastic when you could sound sincere?
Make certain she knows you have no ulterior motive. The divorce is done; you both need to move on. The same tools you could have used in marriage will work after marriage:
- Carve out time to talk together
- Use more “I” statements and fewer “You” statements
- When issues arise, be specific
- Avoid pretending you can read minds
- Express negative feelings constructively
- Listen without being defensive
- Freely express positive feelings
Let go of grudges. You are communicating with her to make both your lives easier, simpler and more peaceful. You are not communicating with your ex to stir up old emotions, re-fight past battles, or be “right” to prove her “wrong.”
Communicate for the Sake of the Children
Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to improve communication with an ex-wife is for the sake of your children. The divorce decree and property settlement agreement will, in the hands of a good attorney, outline nearly everything (and will certainly protect your legal rights). It will not, though, foresee everything. Kids grow. Kids change. Circumstances change.
Co-parenting after a divorce is much harder than being good, hands-on parents while married. Keep a reasonable expectation on change:
“Every moment a parent spends trying to get the ex to change or act differently is a moment lost with the children.”
Instead of focusing on trying to change your ex-wife’s behaviors and responses to your attempts at communicating, change the way you reach out. Strip emotion from as many exchanges as possible, and press for rules, boundaries and parenting strategies you can both apply. Your children will (whether they acknowledge it or not) appreciate the consistency and your ex-wife (whether she realizes it or not) will enjoy the stability.
Treat the exchanges as business correspondence, at least at first. You two are engaged in the practical, compassionate “business” of keeping your children healthy and happy as they shuttle between your homes. By keeping the communication civil and brief, you lessen the chance of misinterpretation.
So You Feel Like You’re Talking to a Wall
You may feel your ex-wife, alone among all divorced women, is somehow less communicative, more resentful, angrier or more hostile than any other woman has ever been. That cannot be, of course, so take a look at it from her side for a moment. Keep these strategies in mind:
- Be patient
- Do not take her emotional bait
- Be flexible
- Listen to listen, not to respond
- Be restrained and civil
- Be insightful — you know how she thinks
- Use your best manners
You may feel, at least at first, that you are talking to a wall. Eventually anger burns out. If you are patient and kind, she will eventually communicate better with you.
For more help with your divorce after a divorce, contact The Firm For Men at 757-383-9184, or contact us online. We have seen just about every situation, put out just about every divorce “fire,” and worked with just about every type of Virginia man. Whether you are the quiet type or a Gabby Gus, we can help you improve communication with your ex-wife.