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Remaining Friends After a Divorce

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 20 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Divorce Separation Divorcing Divorce

Even in the most amicable of divorces remaining friends with an ex-spouse can be difficult. Yet many people would like to give it a try, perhaps for the sake of children, family members, business interests or simply because they feel that it is the right thing to do. Certainly remaining friends during the process of obtaining a divorce, and then with an ex-spouse, will be difficult, but with some maturity, patience and flexibility it just might be possible.

Remain Mature About the Situation

If both parties are truly committed to remaining friends both during and after a divorce then neither will do anything specifically to get a rise out of the other. However, since you are divorcing, obviously there are weaknesses in the relationship that may very well be exacerbated during the separation and divorce.

Throughout these times both parties must make a concerted effort to be mature about the situation and to treat the other with respect. Criticising the other person (especially in front of children), spreading rumours about the other person, belittling the other person or attempting to bully the other person into doing something that (s)he does not like or is not comfortable with should all be avoided. As a general rule of thumb, if an action seems like something at home on a school playground then it is probably immature and should not be undertaken.

Have Patience with Each Other

During and after a divorce life will probably not be exactly perfect for either party, but if both have the patience to live with compromises for a little while then the process will be much smoother. Sorting through legal paperwork, dividing up assets, telling the news to family and friends and answering all of their questions, discussing the situation and future plans with the children, making business and investment decisions, and eventually one party packing up possessions and moving to a new location can all be very trying experiences. Reminding yourself that this will not last forever and that this time next week/month/year your life will be settled and back to your preferred arrangement can be very helpful while you are practicing patience.

You Both Need to be Flexible

Hand-in-hand with having the patience to live with compromises is having the flexibility to change arrangements as needed. Perhaps you agree to a temporary custody schedule that simply does not work. Remaining flexible enough to make changes as needed will ultimately help you sort out your affairs much more quickly than will screaming and shouting that it should have been perfect the first time. If, however, you feel that you are being taken advantage of during the divorce process, or that your (ex) partner is taking advantage of your mature and patient nature then you must be flexible enough to bring these concerns to your support team (solicitor, therapist, etc.) and consider whatever advice they may give you.

Going through, and flourishing after, a divorce will probably ever be described as fun. However, if you are truly committed to remaining friends with your (ex) partner throughout this time then there are ways to make this happen. Agreeing to remain mature, patient and flexible throughout this time will go a long way towards cementing your friendship and taking some of the angst out of this time.

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