Is It Possible to Be Friends with Your Ex-Spouse?

If you’re getting divorced, you might be wondering what your relationship will be like with your ex after the agreement is filed and you officially go your separate ways. You were married, after all, so does that person who spent years with you need to completely disappear from your life?

There is no rulebook for how your post-divorce connection should look. Naturally, every relationship is different. You might want to separate from one another completely and just abide by the divorce agreement and co-parenting arrangements. Or, you two may want to try build a new friendship post-divorce. It’s up to you and your spouse to build the framework you want for your future relationship.

Your Divorce’s Role in Your Future Relationship

Your divorce will, in part, set the tone for your future relationship with your ex-spouse. For example, if your divorce agreement comes after a knock-down, drag-out litigation brawl, there is likely less of a chance of an amicable relationship after it’s over.

On the other hand, if you and your spouse work out the terms of your divorce through mediation or a collaborative approach, you will resolve your issues in a more amicable setting. This experience leaves open more of a possibility of a good-natured relationship with your ex in the future. In fact, one of the benefits of mediation and collaborative divorce is the productive conversations they facilitate, which can reinforce the qualities divorcing spouses once liked about one another. By working out a fair agreement and a strong co-parenting agreement (if kids are involved), some exes figure out they function together much better as friends than as a married couple.

Behavior to Avoid if You Want to Be Friendly

To give yourselves the best chance at a friendly relationship in the future, both of you should avoid the following during your divorce:

  • Vindictive behavior
  • Pitting your children against the other parent or asking them to choose a side
  • Bringing up negativity from the past
  • Making irresponsible purchases or other financial decisions right before getting divorced
  • Sending abusive or hurtful messages or posting about your spouse on social media
  • Dishonesty while dividing your assets, earnings, and debts

No matter the divorce method you choose, how you treat one another during the process will impact how you two treat one another later.

Why Stay Amicable?

Staying on OK terms after your marriage ends will help you avoid losing other relationships with your ex’s family and the friends you two share. With less animosity comes less bad-mouthing, which lets people know they don’t necessarily have to choose sides.

If you have children, avoiding tension and building a new functioning relationship with your spouse will greatly benefit their emotional well-being now and in the future. You will be co-parenting for years to come, so the better you two can work together amicably, the better off everyone will be.

Simply put, your future relationship with your ex depends on whether you decide to preserve good feelings for one another. If you’re interested in taking steps to build a post-divorce friendship, mediation or collaborative divorce might be the answer for you. Contact our firm for more information about these methods and how they can help you work toward an amicable relationship.

Categories: Family Law