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In life, some relationships are transitory. They may be wonderful while they are active, but they are not built to last: eventually, we part ways with people we once thought we might spend our life with. This is, of course, entirely natural; people change, and frequently, they don’t change together, and the new differences that develop simply become too much to ignore.
The most obvious example of this scenario is a romantic relationship. Almost everyone reading this will have someone in their past that they once suspected they could spend their life with, but have since moved on from. In some cases, the split will have been bitter and problematic; in others, you were able to walk away on good terms. Either way, whether you choose to try to develop a new, platonic relationship with your ex is entirely up to you – except for in one specific circumstance: if you and your ex share a child.
If this is the case, then you and your ex will inevitably have to cross paths in future. If you find yourself in this situation, then the following tips may help to ensure a cordial, respectful relationship can thrive.
1. Be honest about everything
If you have moved on, and particularly if you intend to settle down with another person, it’s helpful to inform your ex of this as soon as possible. There are two reasons for this: first and foremost, if the child you share with your ex is going to be living with your new partner, they have a right to be aware of this as soon as possible. Secondly, it can help to soothe any ruffled feathers if you ensure the information comes directly from you rather than via the grapevine.
2. Use careful language when discussing finances
Child support is often talked about as if the mother, not the child, benefits from it, but this isn’t the case. As the likes of Dickson Frohlich point out, child support is about what the child needs to thrive, and this fact should always be front and center of any financial discussions you have with your ex. In the unfortunate, but not unheard of, instances where your former partner suggests the support is for you, disengage from the conversation until they are able to discuss the matter with a clear, honest mind.
3. Don’t expect to be friends
It would be wonderful if you and your ex-partner could be friends but this, most often, isn’t advisable – especially if you have moved on. Instead, keep your expectations low, and aim for a friendly, supportive co-parenting system; if you can then become friends, it’s a bonus.
4. Leave the past in the past
When you and your ex have entirely separated, or perhaps even divorced, then the past and any transgressions or arguments contained within it should be locked shut and never spoken of again. This can be difficult to stick to, but it genuinely is for the best: focus on the present and the future, and ignore anything that went before. There’s almost never a satisfactory resolution for old issues so, realistically, it’s just not worth the stress.