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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Always Negotiating

Once the legal action is final and the decree is stamped by a judge, the ongoing negotiations between two former spouses do not end.  Whether it is the schedule for children, ongoing financial concerns, or even just when he's coming to get that last piece of furniture, there are times when each of us needs something from the other.  For so long, I was afraid to ask for what I needed that I still find myself falling into the pattern of simply letting my ex have his way.  It is emotionally easier not to confront, but then I find myself feeling taken advantage of, resenting or simply feeling used.

Through practice and clear thinking, I have learned that it alright to insist on having a say in matters of schedule and that requiring him to commit helps not only me but my children have a consistent and predictable life.  A few thoughts are:
  • Plan ahead as much as possible.
  • Communicate the plan.  Use email, Google calendars, whatever works to put ongoing items in front of both you and your spouse.
  • Do not feel obligated to remind or hound him about what is on the schedule.  Allow him to take ownership and establish the expectation that he will follow-through with commitments.
  • Use face-to-face time to confirm verbally.
  • Be ready to be flexible, but not a push-over.  He will have last minute interruptions or special events that necessitate change.  It can be frustrating, but you will have time where you desire flexibility, too.  The give and take continues as long as children are involved.
The irony of divorce is that it takes so very long to untangle lives that were intended to remain together.