What is the Best Way to Communicate with my Significant Other During a Divorce?
Posted: April 1, 2017
Dr. Brian Stress, Psy.D.
Communicating with a soon-to-be ex can be incredibly complicated and the difficulty level is generally related to the amount of conflict between you and your ex. The primary difficulty I see when working with individuals who are going through a divorce is one partner may be passively or openly attacking their soon-to-be ex because they feel they have been wronged. This generally results in the other each person attacking their soon to be ex over and over again. The constant exchanges of insults and inappropriate behaviors only escalates each person's wounds and generally results in your ex participating within behaviors to injure, anger or upset you.
The best way to communicate with your soon-to-be ex is to treat them with respect so they treat you with respect even when they are not being nice to you. If it is an incredibly horrific divorce, it may be appropriate to only communicate through your attorneys, or an agreed upon third party, until both individuals have healed emotionally enough to communicate with each other effectively.
The question I ask individuals I work with who are going through a divorce and are having troubles communicating with their ex-significant other is "What can you do to reduce the conflict and tension related to your ex-significant other?" Unfortunately, most individuals have difficulties even understanding this question whereas they feel they have been injured and need to injure the other partner to get even. This results in increased problems and costs as a result of the constant arguments, disagreements, and revengeful behaviors. I have had the privilege of working with individuals who have taken the "high ground." These individuals do not respond to emotional attacks by attacking the other individual. This is not to say they don't defend themselves to the best of their ability but there is a difference between attacking your ex or defending yourself. Individuals who want to heal and move on with their lives develop goals and control their behaviors and emotions towards accomplishing their goals.
If you would like to ask Dr. Stress a question to be answered on this blog, please email your question(s) to
*Disclaimer: The materials provided in this article are for informational purposes only. Use of and access to this article or any of the links contained within the article or website do not create a relationship between the author and the user or browser. We are professionals that have been trained and have experience in assisting individuals going through a divorce. We are not lawyers and do not provide legal advice.