Is it possible to be friendly with your ex?
This is something I am asked regularly by my clients and from my own personal experience, I say yes!
The main motivator to maintain a friendship with my ex is for the benefit of our daughter and to have a healthy co-parenting relationship.
The Family Law Act provides that the paramount consideration for children is their “best interests” including that they should know and have a relationship with both their parents (subject to a whole range of other considerations of course). It is also important for parents to promote the relationship between the child/ren and the other parent and avoid exposing them to conflict. As a family lawyer, I personally take the legislation seriously and when providing advice to my clients.
My pathway to separation was difficult and I agonized over making such a huge decision knowing it would impact not just me, but my daughter and my ex as well. So, I planned, I gathered information, I spoke with various people, including professionals, to ensure I received the validation that I was making the right decision. This, I believe, put me in good stead when delivering that final message about going our separate ways. Great preparation laid a solid and positive foundation for the steps to come which continues to this day.
My marriage and my ex weren’t perfect however, now we have separated, I choose to leave the past behind and look ahead towards a positive and happy future. I’ve navigated my ex’s new marriage (yes, I attended their wedding!) and the news of the pending birth of their first child together. There are many other times when my ex says or does things that drive me nuts. The key for me is not to react but smile and bite my tongue. This allows me time to process the issue and consider whether it’s worth the argument (and rarely it is).
I also preach this motto to myself and my clients often – “Remember, we can’t change other people’s behaviors, only the way we manage the impact of that behavior upon ourselves”. I live by this motto because I don’t want to live in a negative past but prefer to live for the now and look ahead to a positive future.
Everyone’s pathway through separation and divorce is difficult and maintaining a friendly relationship with your ex cannot always achieved. However, once the pain of separation has eased, and parenting and financial matters are settled and new life chapters contemplated, that question can potentially be revisited. It takes a little getting used to, and a lot of work (and biting of tongues!) but it is do-able.