Love, Self

Rules For Emailing Your Ex-Spouse

How To Keep The Relationship With Your Ex On Good Email Terms

Whether you’ve just filed for divorce or are already divorced, you’re going to have to communicate with your ex at some point.  If you have kids, the need for effective communication becomes even more important, because you and your ex-spouse will need to coordinate your schedules for years to come.  If done correctly, email can be used to reduce potential conflict and limit negative interactions, which can lead to a stronger, more productive, co-parenting relationship.  Here are three rules to keep in mind before emailing your ex before, during or after the divorce process:

1. Skip the digs.  If you want to keep the lines of communication open, skip the insults.  And, yes, that includes passive aggressive comments.  Need an example?  Imagine your ex emails you that he will drop off the kids at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon and you respond: "I assume you mean 4:30 p.m. since you love to be late."  If you’re concerned he's going to be late, do you really think he'll be on-time after you take a jab at him?  Leave out phrases like “I assume” and "as usual," because they tend to invite a defensive response.  Remember, it’s up to you to build a positive communication pattern. So, ditch the catty comments.

2. Keep it short.  Limit your email to the essentials.  Long emails tend to invite long responses.  So, communicate what you need to— without discussing the past, dishing out a lecture on responsibility or going into unnecessary details.  Pretend like you and your spouse are lifelong business partners in the business of raising healthy, well-adjusted children, because you are.  Remind yourself that your main goal is your children, and it's in their best interest to have parents who are able to communicate for the rest of their lives in a non-confrontational, productive manner.  Remember, your relationship doesn’t stop when the kids turn 18.  There will be graduations, weddings and other milestones that, hopefully, you both will attend.

3. Wait before you hit "send."  One of the main advantages of emailing over calling or texting is the ability to reflect before you communicate.  Reread every email before you press the "send" button.  Make sure what you’re sending is rational, non-emotional, to the point and free of any inflammatory comments or language.  If you find yourself heated over something, take some time to cool off before you draft or send an email.  Remember, each email you send contributes to the kind of post-divorce co-parenting relationship you will have for years to come.

Take advantage of the valuable opportunity that email provides in communicating with your ex.  When used appropriately, email is an incredibly valuable tool in overcoming challenging emotions and roadblocks to communication.  For more tips in sending or responding to emails to your divorcing spouse, feel free to contact me today.