Contrary to what you’ve seen in movies, it’s entirely possible to have an amicable divorce. You might have to bite your tongue every now and then, but it is possible. If you’re determined to take the high road, here are nine tips for keeping your cool when your marriage comes to an end.
1. Don’t Call Names
Your parents taught you this before they let you loose on the playground, and it still holds true today. What will you accomplish by flinging insults at your soon-to-be ex? Is a momentary feeling of satisfaction worth the stress of a drawn-out, bitter divorce? Think twice before you twist the knife.
2. Learn How to Compromise
Compromise doesn’t mean I get everything that I want while the other person just deals with it. It is important to enter a divorce negotiation knowing that it is just that — a negotiation. Whether it is who gets to keep the house or the exact child visitation schedule you wanted, you will have to sacrifice some things. A true compromise occurs when both parties win and lose something.
3. Hire a Lawyer
Even if you are anticipating a friendly split, it pays to have a lawyer on your side when it comes time to sign the documents. They can give authority on things like custody and property agreements, and they can also point out any potential problems in the language of your contracts. You don’t want to be dragged in front of a judge five years from now because of a loophole.
4. Don’t Get Jealous
Your relationship is ending. There is no point in being angry, resentful, or jealous if your ex has found someone new. Instead of starting pointless fights that might forever cast you in a negative light to your ex or their partner, try welcoming them with a smile. You don’t have to be best buds — or even friends at all — but you can be polite. This is especially important if you and your ex have children together.
5. Let Go of Past Hurts
Does it really matter if her hours were too long? Will anything change if he admits that he didn’t do enough housework? These petty squabbles won’t result in anything but old, pent-up feelings disrupting the present day. Leave them in the past where they belong.
6. Figure Out How to Divide Your Assets
This is often one of the biggest sources of drama in a divorce, but there’s an easy trick for ensuring that you get your money’s worth: Convince your spouse that it’s actually better for you to have the item. For example, instead of demanding the dog, you might pose the question, “Do you really think that you’ll have the time to feed and walk him every day? Your schedule is pretty busy.”
7. Don’t Vent to the Wrong People
Venting to your friends is a natural part of the divorce process, but make sure that you aren’t putting the listener in an odd or uncomfortable spot. For example, no matter how close that you are to your sister-in-law, it’s inappropriate for you to slam her brother to her face. Think about her feelings as well as your own.
8. Keep the Children Out of It
The biggest rule of a smooth divorce is to keep your children completely shielded from it. This means no “casual” questions about who your ex is seeing or how much their house is worth. They may seem like innocent queries to you, but to a child with divided love and loyalty, they can be genuinely distressing.
9. Find a Support Group
A divorce support group can help you deal with the turbulent thoughts and feelings that accompany a separation. They’ll also give you the confidence to deal with whatever comes your way in the future. Many divorced people find it scary to be single again, but a support group can help you turn it into a freeing, liberating thought instead of an anxious one.
These are just nine secrets to an amicable divorce. You might need to take a few precautions and make a few attitude adjustments, but if you’re serious about making the process as easy as possible for you and your kids, you’ll listen to these ideas. Good luck!