Communicating with your spouse during your divorce process can sometimes get a little heated and make things worse as you are trying to reach a settlement.
Here are 3 simple tips for how to best communicate with your spouse effectively during the difficult time of divorce.
1) Take a deep breath and count to 10
Before replying to an email or text message from your soon-to-be ex-spouse, take a deep breath and count to 10. Most people are in a heightened emotional state at the end of the relationship. You aren’t always thinking clearly when you are on this emotional rollercoaster. Texting or emailing means that you are not hearing the person’s voice, inflection, or tone. You might read something that makes you angry, which, if you had heard the tone of their voice or seen their face, you would have interpreted the message differently. Whereas if you stop, take a deep breath, and count to 10 before you reply, then maybe you’ll have a more measured response. Sometimes I even suggest waiting 24 hours to respond. If it is not something urgent, give yourself time to think through your response.
2) BIFF Responses
Bill Eddy is an attorney and a therapist in Southern California who developed the BIFF method for responding in high-conflict situations, like a divorce. BIFF stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm. When you get a communication from your ex, instead of firing back and fanning the flames of the fire, think about a reply that is Brief, that is Informative, that is Friendly, but is also Firm. If you can craft a reply to your spouse that meets those criteria, then maybe it’s okay to send it.
3) Don’t use the Kids to Communicate with Your Spouse
Children are not your messengers and should be kept out of communications with the other parent as much as possible. You shouldn’t interrogate your children after a weekend with the other parent. If the children want to share information when you ask basic questions, that’s fine, but the children should not become spies on your ex-spouse. Be an adult when you need to communicate with the other parent and communicate directly. Do not put your children in the middle of your conversations with their other parent.
These simple tips of taking a deep breath before responding, using BIFF responses, (Brief; Informative; Friendly’ Firm) and not using your children as messengers will help to make for better communication during the divorce process.