Divorce Poll

I know that many of my readers are or have been divorced and are co-parenting to some degree with their ex-spouse. I was curious to know how you communicate with each other and how that works for you.

My ex and I communicate primarily through email. We don’t use the kids to pass messages. When it’s something urgent concerning the kids we will talk on the phone (like when Squiggy broke his leg), but we try as much as possible to do it all by email. There is less chance of disrespectful dialogue that way. We have learned to be straightforward and to the point in our emails. Extra unnecessary verbiage just doesn’t help. He is not my friend. Nor am I his. We ONLY communicate about the children. There is nothing else that needs to be talked about. We both have blackberries so we know our message gets to the other person immediately.

This email communication really cuts down on arguments and actually gives a written record which could be useful. The only problem with email is tone. Sometimes you read something into a sentence which totally isn’t there.

So how do you communicate? Does it work for you? Do you think good communication will only work if the other party is on the same page as you and willing to be civil too? What do you wish would change? Does your ex use any communication opportunity to remind you of why your marriage ended? To go on about your failings as a husband / wife / parent ad nauseam?

ETA – how long were you married? How long have you been divorced? Are you or the other party remarried? More kids? Step-kids?

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11 Comments

  1. David says:

    Communication, by definition, is a three stage process:

    1 — A tells X to B.
    2 — B restates X in his/her own terms, as X1, to A
    3 — A acknowledges X1 to be, either affirming it as correct, or restating X as X2, and returning to Step 2.

    It is by necessity a cooperative process and yes, it only works insofar as both parties have a desire to work together.

    The flaw in this regarding divorce is in a number of instance, that type of cooperation is NOT possible in divorce, either one or both parties as so disenfranchised that communication is not possible, and there is no cost-effective mechanism to address it. Mediation only goes so far, but the objective of the mediator is to get the two parties to agree and too often focuses on the one functional party to come to terms, without helping the non-functional party overcome themselves.

  2. Lady Lock and Load says:

    I have a friend who is divorced, her ex does not want to communicate with her via e-mail because she writes things that she would never say in person. I am glad e-mailing works for you and that you keep them brief and to the point and only about the children.

  3. frumgoth says:

    I have a very unusual situation. My ex. and I live one floor away from each other, in the same apartment building. We are not only co-parents, but neighbors as well. We communicate on the phone (and sometimes when we bump into each other in the elevator, the lobby, – you get the idea). Problems arise when we disagree about something and then the communication turns negative quickly, leading to a breakdown in it. This usually causes a lot of misery, but resolves within a week or so. We celebrate all major occasions, inc. kid’s birthdays and graduations, all together as an extended family. Also, our professions overlap, although we do not work together (imagine that), and we do communicate at times about work-related topics.

  4. a friend of mine was just complaining yesterday about how her ex husband will ONLY communicate with her over text message or through messages sent through the kid, and how it drives her nuts and she thinks it is messing with her kid’s head- and she is now having major problems with her daughter acting out in weird ways when around the father (like her daughter recently started eating out of the garbage at her dads house- she is 11 years old and knows better).

  5. IMA2FOUR7 says:

    We divorced moms have enough problems we do not need our children eating out of the garbage eating out right now. Get help–right now.
    I was married to my children’s father and there are four of them and we were for 15 years.
    I still speak to him, text him and email him about the children. I even enter his home when I pick up and he comes in to my home when he picks up or drops off.
    Yesterday, my was-band dropped off the children from his evening with them and he claimed yet again his inability to access the google (so I don’t have to talk to him) calendar about the kids. A divorced mom friend of mine clued me into this so as to minimize contact but to level the emotional playing field of communication. On this document to which he and all of my children have access they see when I have scheduled the childrens dr.’s appointments and when they have a day off from school and when they have an activity after school. I have sent him at least 2 invitations to this calendar. I am sending him another one today.
    I knew that when I divorced I would probably have more contact with him than either of us wanted and that he would now have to be consulted more formally. In light of this I decided the best I can do to take care of myself is to maintain control it on my end.

    • HSaboMilner says:

      firstly love love love the term WAS-BAND. totally stealing that!
      Secondly – the calendar is an awesome idea. I don’t know why i didnt think of that. we did something similar when planning the barmitzvahs, we had a google spreadsheet for the guest list, and names and addresses and gifts and what not, that we could both sign into and update.

  6. IMA2FOUR7 says:

    As a loyal reader of her royal highness I totally bequeath to you Was-band.
    Secondly,Please use google and pass it on!

  7. Kim says:

    Hey:) I am getting caught up on your blog. We do a lot of communication via email also…or text message if necessary. I find, that if we are in disagreement about something, talking on the phone will not work. We revert back to marriage dynamics…and it makes me so angry. We don’t talk about the past–but he tries to manipulate whatever situation to his advantage. I was married to him for 12 years…3 of which, I don’t even want to count–because we might as well not have been.

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