Emotions run high when you are fighting for your parenting time, your housing, your assets, your self-worth. When your divorce is contentious it is easy to choose vulgar language and communicate with grit and raw emotion. As natural and tempting as it is to write to your ex from this feeling place, there are benefits to choosing your words carefully and taking the high road during divorce.
Tips for Taking the High Road During Divorce
When writing to your ex, it is recommended to use email rather than text so that a valid record of your correspondence is available if needed. If you are feeling overcome with emotion and need to communicate with your former spouse, take a few breaths and do this instead:
- Write your letter on a Word document, date it, and file it as unsent. This allows you to release your emotions and let off steam, while preserving your dignity.
- Ask a close and trusted friend if you can text your tirade to them. Write as if you are speaking to your ex, but message your friend. You receive the benefit of releasing the toxic words and tumultuous emotions to a safe place.
Take the High Road
Taking the high road in communication is never about stuffing your emotions. Your emotions need to be expressed and released. At the same time, they do not need to serve as an ignitor, further damaging communication channels with your ex. Hire a divorce coach or therapist to aid you in managing your emotions at this trying time.
Once you get your raw words and reactions out of your system, begin to craft your high road communication. Three reasons to take the high road include:
Reflect and choose your words. Picture a first responder in an emergency situation. They are prepared with equipment and a protocol. They respond to the matter at hand. What if they came to your 911 call and recklessly reacted? Picture their anxiety and panic. They would be frantic and searching for the right equipment. When you choose your words and write from a high-road perspective, you are responding. When you write from your emotions, you are reacting. You would not want that first responder reactively coming to your aid. Release your anger. Then choose effective and neutral communication. Now you are on the high road! Your message will be more effectively received, and will serve you better should you need to refer to it later for legal reasons.
The second reason you want to take the high road during divorce rather than tell off your ex is your legacy. Whether or not you have children, your words leave a trail. At some point in your life you may look back and regret your tone, accusations, or name-calling. Perhaps you will remarry and your spouse may not be sympathetic to your past emotional tirades. If you are a parent, always keep in the front of your mind that your children represent half of each of you. Blasting your ex can be construed as berating your child.
Your self-esteem is high when you travel the high road. Since you are not stooping to meet your ex at a low level and are not generating communication that is damaging, you remain with your character intact. Being your best self as you navigate your divorce will serve you well. When you address and release your emotions, and can communicate the core message that needs to be delivered to your ex, you are operating at peak performance! When you look back at this transitionary time, you will know you did your very best.
Your divorce may be filled with sadness and anger. Yet you still have the opportunity to be kind to yourself. The hallmarks of taking the high road in communicating with your ex-spouse are the neutrality and directness to your tone. Your words are professional and succinct. The gift in communicating in this manner is that you will not have reason to look back and regret your behavior. You can rest in the assurance that you did the best you could. The sum total of each of these actions is that you are being kind to yourself. During these tumultuous times, you must look after yourself and be kind. Allow your best qualities to shine through. Being on the high road is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.
For all the challenges of divorce, one of the gifts is that it allows you to grow in character and resilience. You are strong and will get through this. I encourage you to be motivated by the benefits of being eloquent, your legacy, and self-kindness. Take the high road when corresponding with your ex.