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How to Communicate with your Ex in ten(ish) words or less: Part 1 of 4

By Amy Setzer, Legal Assistant, Woodruff Family Law Group

One of the trickiest things about divorce is learning how to communicate with your ex. It’s easy to slip into old habits, talk too much, and over-complicate things.  Shorter is sweeter my friends—unnecessary interactions stem from emotions caused by your split.  Entertaining them only drags out the recovery process.  Below are the perpetrators who commit these heinous communication crimes, and, in turn, add undue stress and heartache to their lives.  We’ve provided some suggestions (and okay, Greensboro, they might not be exactly ten words) to make conversation with the one you used to love healthy and productive. Still…if you see yourself in any of these scenarios, you may need to seek treatment.

Perpetrator #1: The Victim is the partner left behind. Even as their spouse abandoned ship, they stood on deck blissfully unaware the marriage was sinking. Out of nowhere, the lifeboat pulled away and suddenly, the life they knew no longer existed.

Modus Operandi: A series of unanswered, one-sided communications commonly mistaken for begging.




If you’re this person, your marriage is over, that’s clear.  But the reason why is a tad blurry.  You’re feeling lost, confused, and your self-esteem is history.  It’s natural to turn to your ex for comfort; you’re used to leaning on them and they’re the one who can absolve you of the blame.  With a simple, cliché, “It’s me, not you,” they can provide reassurance that you are a decent, attractive person. You have this driving need to ‘understand.’ Trust me, I get it.  I’ve been there.

The odds of this actually happening the way it plays in your head? Approximately zero.

Let’s say a couple splits because the wife is cheating.  The husband reaches out, searching for answers.  She’s probably not going to respond by admitting she’s simply a horrible human being, undeserving of the Utopian life they once had together.  She’s going to explain her unhappiness at being married to The Victim; that she needed something the husband couldn’t or didn’t give her so she found it somewhere else.  It may not be valid, and certainly won’t justify abandonment, but nevertheless, the Wife will have a reason and that reason will be something she found lacking in her Hubby.  Instead having his wounds healed, The Victim ends up angrier and more confused.  His plan backfired and lead to unnecessary conflict.

If you’re a Victim, the bottom line is your spouse left because they didn’t want to be with you anymore. It’s not fair, and it’s not nice, but it is the brutal truth.  Will hearing it over and over again repair your tattered self-esteem?  No, so stop trying to finagle answers out of your ex—it’s counter-productive.  Seeking solace from the one who made you feel like crap in the first place is like asking your mugger for a Band-Aid.  You’re better off leaving the subject alone altogether.  In this case, there isn’t anything else to understand, anyway. Some things just are.

Rehabilitation: Good-old-fashioned, cold-turkey willpower is the only way to lose this crutch and start walking on your own two feet again. In this case, the sound of silence will speak more volumes than any words from your heart. Block your ex’s Facebook, delete her contact, pack up her pictures and move on. Groveling isn’t a good look on anyone; show her you’re better than that by figuring out how to accept the situation and move forward without her. Talk to a friend, go to therapy or watch Dr. Phil. Do whatever it takes to feel better about yourself, but don’t ask your ex for support. They quit that job.


How to Communicate with Your Ex in Ten(ish) Words or Less

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4