Your ending, splitting, is a beginning and can set the tone for years to come.
It’s not uncommon for there to be resentment, anger and hurt feelings at the dismantling of a relationship. Indeed, it’s the norm.
People typically enter a relationship hopeful that it will be lasting. They may have children along the way and one or both partners may already come as a package deal.
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The dismantling and untangling are a struggle as is the loss of the hope for that lasting relationship. Grief, fear and upset. Worry about life post-separation and managing not only emotionally, but financially too. So much to consider.
In the turmoil, there can for many, be a power grab. The worry is that by not getting on top of resources quickly, one will lose out. Splitting is not a battle to win.
The challenge throughout is to keep ones feeling in check.
Emotions can get the better of us and translate to untoward actions. That challenge not only has to do with managing oneself but recognizing the underlying feelings and fears of the other to maintain some semblance of empathy.
Notice, the word is empathy and not compassion.
Empathy is about knowing, understanding, and appreciating the feelings of the other. It is about the capacity to see things from their perspective.
This is not about liking what they see or their perspective and nor is it about necessarily accommodating. However, if you have a good sense of where the other is coming from, you just may be able to structure how you manage yourself and present your situation in a way less likely to inflame matters. This is otherwise known as tact.
So, being a good ex, isn’t about giving in and giving up.
This is more about better self-management to as best as possible seek solutions and use words that are less likely to be triggering.
This is so important when ending a relationship where feelings are high. Never has tact been important.
Your managing to be tactful, regardless of the behavior of the other provides at least a 50% improvement and can help lower the temperature better enabling the spirit of cooperation for the years to come.
Splitting can be made easier. Stay cool.
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW is a Canadian Social Worker in private practice. He is recognized from his 65 episodes of the hit show Newlywed/Nearly Dead, to over 650 columns as the parenting expert of a major metropolitan newspaper, to more than 350 media appearances, to his book, Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout Canada and the US and helps family peacemakers grow their practice.