It is well known that communication is key in any relationship. It’s what allows us to understand each other and maintain a healthy connection that can weather any storm. However, this is not always easy to achieve, and even the best couples struggle to communicate effectively. This is often magnified in the case of divorce when couples are forced to re-evaluate their relationship and figure out how to best co-parent moving forward. By better understanding some of the most common miscommunication patterns found in newly divorced households, you and your ex can avoid potential conflict and better communicate with one another for the sake of your family.
Some of the most common miscommunication patterns found in newly divorced households include the following:
- Complete lack of communication: One of the most common issues facing newly divorced couples is a complete lack of communication. This can happen for various reasons but is often the result of one or both parties feeling like they need space and time to heal. Of course, having space is important, but it’s important to balance this with staying in communication so that you can remain on the same page regarding parenting and other important family matters. This is because a lack of communication can quickly lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications, further escalating the situation.
- One party is always talking: Another common miscommunication pattern is when one party is always talking, and the other feels like they are not being heard. This can be frustrating for both parties and often leads to the person who feels like they are not being heard to begin withdrawing from the conversation. It’s important to make sure that both parties feel like they are being heard and that their opinions are respected. If one person feels like they are always the one doing the talking, try to take turns speaking or take breaks so that the other person can share their thoughts. Another good exercise is paraphrasing what the other person has said to ensure that you understand them correctly.
- One party is constantly interrupting: This is similar to the previous pattern, but instead of one person feeling like they are not being heard, the issue is that one person feels like they are constantly being interrupted. This can be frustrating for both parties and often leads to the person who feels interrupted to begin withdrawing from the conversation. Sometimes the interrupter tries to be helpful by jumping in with their own thoughts, unaware they are coming across as disrespectful. It can be beneficial to gently point out when this is happening so that the interrupter can become aware and try to change their behavior.
- Avoiding difficult conversations: It’s natural to want to avoid difficult conversations, but this is often a recipe for disaster. If there are certain topics that you and your ex find yourselves arguing about, it’s important to try to have these conversations respectfully and constructively. This means avoiding name-calling and personal attacks and finding a resolution that works for you. It can be helpful to write out what you want to say in advance to ensure you stay on track and don’t get sidetracked by emotions.
- Constantly arguing: While it’s important to have difficult conversations, it’s also important to know when to let go. If you find yourselves constantly arguing about the same thing with no resolution, it might be time to take a step back and reassess the situation. There may be a different approach to the problem, or you may need to agree to disagree. In any case, it’s important to remember that you’re on the same team and that you’re both working toward the same goal — a happy and healthy family.
Q: What Happens if There Is a Complete Lack of Communication?
A: A complete lack of communication can quickly lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications, further escalating the situation. It sets up a negative pattern of behavior and can be very difficult to break out of once it’s established. It also risks important information not being communicated, which can have serious consequences. For example, if both parents are aware of an issue their child is having at school but have not been communicating with each other on a plan for addressing it, the child may struggle to get the help they need dealing with two different approaches.
Q: How Can I Improve Communication With My Co-parent?
A: If you struggle to communicate effectively with your co-parent, you can do a few things to try to improve the situation. First, try to be clear and concise when communicating with them. This will help avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications. Second, listen to what they are saying and try to see things from their perspective. This can be difficult, especially if you don’t agree with them, but it’s important to try to understand where they’re coming from. Last, avoid making assumptions about what they want or need; always ask if you’re unsure.
Q: What Should I Do if My Co-parent Is Not Communicating With Me?
A: If your co-parent is not communicating with you, it can be difficult to know what to do. First, try reaching out to them to see if they can talk. If they don’t respond, you may need to consider other options, such as mediation or counseling. If there has been a complete communication breakdown, it may be necessary to consult a lawyer to discuss your options if the breakdown is negatively impacting your child, such as not being able to make decisions about their schooling or medical care.
Q: Should a Child Be Used as a Messenger Between Parents?
A: No, a child should not be used as a messenger between their parents. This can be confusing and stressful for them, putting them in the middle of their parents’ conflict. If you need to communicate something to your co-parent, do so directly or through a third party not involved in the conflict. A child may already feel like they have to choose between their parents, which will only worsen the situation.
Communication is key in any relationship, but it is especially important in newly divorced households. By being clear and concise, listening to your co-parent, and avoiding assumptions, you can help improve communication and avoid miscommunications. For more help with communication, connect with an experienced Springfield, IL, divorce attorney today to discuss your situation.