Expectations and Reactions


It is difficult to maintain a relationship with someone when the trust that once existed in that relationship is gone.  This is often one of the lingering consequences of a divorce or allocation of parental responsibility case(what you might think of as child custody).  The dynamics of the relationship are naturally going to change, but each party’s expectations and reactions can drastically influence the course of the new relationship.  Because trust, and often respect, have been strained or neglected, it is not unusual for a party to expect the worst by default.

When one party is expecting bad behavior from the other, the initial reaction is usually to place blame, whether or not that blame is justified.  This behavior is only intensified by the lack of direct communication between the parties.  Far too often a party is willing to allow communication through a child, or to take the words of a child as gold.  It is important to keep in mind that children love both of their parents and are often self-filtering information in order to please each parent.

The way you manage your expectations and reactions can go a long way towards making interactions with an Ex smooth, if not pleasant.  If you neutralize your expectations, the way you react is likely to follow suit.  As daunting a task as it may seem, giving your Ex the benefit of the doubt can ease strains in communication and help rebuild trust and respect in the new dynamic.

So go ahead, go out on a limb and assume the best.

For more information on Co-Parenting, check out this post.

Unsolicited Advice

My neighbor said… My best friend said…  My cousin’s brother’s hair stylist said… Much like when you have children, when you have legal problems, every person you know is likely to have tales “From my experience”, something “I heard”, or other piece of advice.  And much like when you have children, the near constant barrage of advice is likely to become tiresome.  But even more, it can become dangerous.  While most of these advice givers mean well, not a single one will have to live with the aftermath of that advice.  Whether you are contemplating a divorce, in the thick of it, or even dealing with issues regarding children, there is one very important thing to keep in mind: the only person who has to live with the outcome of your decisions is you.  While our family and friends have our best interests at heart, they are usually not thinking about what the road looks like a year from now, or 18 years from now.

The emotional journey you will make when going through a divorce or legal matter regarding children is hard enough.  Processing the horror stories of friends and balancing your own thoughts with those of your family can compound the stress and anxiety you are already feeling.

While a strong support system is invaluable to your well-being, take the first step to keeping your sanity through the process: take all advice with a grain of salt and remember the most important thing… you are going to be ok.