I get asked this a lot when I’m coaching clients, so I thought I’d do a quick blog post on this today…
If you and your partner have decided to call it a day and you’ve agreed to go your separate ways (for whatever reason) then it’s important to focus on yourself and give yourself the best opportunity to heal. So if you’re in the first 4 to 8 weeks of your break up its best to have the least amount of contact as possible.
If you’re feeling vulnerable and emotionally raw (which is natural) then communicating with your ex will likely trigger feelings of uncertainty and in turn you’ll start to feel needy, desperate, jealous and even enraged. It’s confusing you’ve gone from being best friends and lovers to someone saying they don’t want to build a life with you. It’s tough and painful.
Minimising contact is the best way to set yourself up to take care of yourself so you can heal and start the process of rebuilding your life.
Obviously not every situation is the same, if you have children or run a business together, you will need some level of communication, if you don’t then things will be different.
If you have no reason to stay friends (other than you think you should)
Okay our brain will tell us we have lots of reasons to stay friends, it’s the trick it plays to keep ourselves safe as we don’t like uncertainty or discomfort… so we say “we’ve got shared friends or a dog, or we like the same pub etc” – right now, the best thing for you is to break all contact… Especially on social media, SMS or email.
You need healthy boundaries; one’s where you’re not stalking your Ex on social media or in your car (I know, we’ve all done it). If you’re friends on social media it will keep throwing up things your Ex is doing and guaranteed they’re going to be things they didn’t do with you that you might even have begged them to try… it will set you back and will stop you from creating happy healthy love within yourself and with someone else.
Healthy boundaries start by knowing your “NO”s and the most important no when a relationship ends is no communication… You have to focus on you, there’s a reason why you’ve broken up and even if it’s your choice to break up the “don’t want them, but don’t want anyone else to have them” mindset can also kick in.
Suddenly someone seems attractive and interesting again usually because we’re scared we’ll be alone forever and no one will love us again. So we go back to what wasn’t working a few weeks ago. The going back and forth creates even more confusion when you need a clear mind in order to heal your heart.
So drop all contact until you're settled into your new life, and ONLY then, decide from a clear head and heart if it’s good to be friends… of course if you do bump into them be pleasant, but keep boundaries that support you.
If you have children or run a business together.
You have to accept that you will need to communicate, of course you might extricate yourself out of a business, but with children that’s obviously not an option… so here are some simple guidelines to help you get going… . Firstly, the above comments apply, especially the social media and stalking… close all connection on that front.
1. Set a clear intention to behave respectfully and civily with your Ex… I’m not saying this will always be easy, but the intention is a stand you make for yourself so you show up in a way that honours you and your children.
2. Do not bad mouth your Ex or discuss any of the divorce arrangements in front of your children, tempting though it may be. It’s important to allow your children to have a healthy relationship with both parents, even if you are aggrieved. Think about what’s triggering you to want to share information about your Ex with your children and work on this in private with a friend or even better a coach.
3. Make sure your divorce and custody arrangements for your children are clear and concise, so there’s no confusion around expectations and responsibilities. This helps to minimise misunderstandings and mis-communications.
4. If you have any angry ex, who is prone to emotional outbursts then it’s important to know how to respond in advance. It’s very likely that you didn’t learn to deal with this in the relationship and it may even be part of the reason you’re separated now.
The most important thing here, is that you have to take care of your emotional wellbeing, and it is not acceptable for someone to communicate in this way with you. You have a right to ask someone to stop communicating in this way, and this requires you to be in your own authority and to speak up. The first thing I remind my clients is;
"It's not personal" - even when it feels like it is...
Someone’s behaviour tells you more about them then you. It’s usually because they are communicating from their wounded child, and they’ve learned to respond in this way in childhood… It doesn’t make it right, it’s just helpful to know this and to say this in your head when they behave in this way.
One of the best techniques for stabilising yourself and dealing with the emotional stress is the Heart Focused Breathing™ I teach in my HeartMath™ coaching, this is easy to learn and if you would like to know more click here.
5. Don't use your children to send messages or relay information. It’s unfair on the children and they get confused. Children often favour the underdog in any situation (as do most people) and it’s very likely that your children will end up feeling more compassion for your Ex than understanding why you’re behaving like you are.
If you have any questions about this post, please comment below and I will happily answer them.