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How to Communicate with your Ex in ten(ish) words or less: Part 2 of 4

By Amy Setzer, Legal Assistant, Woodruff Family Law Group

Divorce happens for many different reasons, but here’s one universal fact—the sooner you learn to effectively converse with the other half of your crumbling marriage, the better off you’ll be.  Last blog’s communication culprit was The Victim.  This blog we feature their Creator.

Perpetrator #2: The Nice One is a role most typically played by the person who initiated the break-up. Fueled by self-blame, The Nice One strives to soothe the feathers they ruffled.

Modus Operandi: Quivering volumes of repentance.


There is a payout—a reward—for everything we do—it’s kinda why we do things.  On the surface, the exchange above may seem kind, considerate, and understanding.  It’s not.  If you see yourself reflected in the text above, take a good long look at what is truly motivating you; you may not be respecting your ex after all.

First off, guilt is a selfish emotion. The rueful subtext of such interactions serves only one true purpose:  to make The Nice One feel better.  Terrified of being perceived as the villain, they bombard their former partner with simpering and apologetic undertones.  The Nice One intends to say “I understand you’re hurting, and I’m sorry for what I did.”  The expected response is of course, “I forgive you.”  That’s the payout they’re actually seeking, and that doesn’t benefit the other party a single bit.  The Nice One fails to see that from the other side of the fence, this message is nothing but salt in their ex’s wounds.  The One Left Behind probably thinks that the caring and supporting stance is too little too late.  And from here the resentment builds.  If you’re a Nice One, be genuinely kind to the one you might have hurt by keeping it short and sweet so they can concentrate on healing.

Secondly, The Nice One doesn’t have anything to feel guilty about. They didn’t choose to become discontented and they have a right to be happy.  Would it have been better for them to settle?  Of course not. In the long run, letting their spouse know it wasn’t working anymore was the right and fair thing for The Nice One to do.  Their partner deserves someone who loves them in a way that The Nice One doesn’t anymore, and only time will help the Ex see that—not a contrite text message.

If you’re a Nice One, remember this – you can’t heal your old flame; it’s up to them to pick themselves up and find a way to move on. In fact, being super-sweet may send mixed messages and give your Ex false hope; it opens doors for conversations where you end up hurting them over and over because they get to hear again and again that you don’t want to be with them.  Do the one you left behind a real favor–make a clean break and send them a single message:  it’s over.

Rehabilitation: “Hello. Please tell me when you want to see the kids. Thanks.”


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

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4