Many marriages and serious coupling relationships do end.
Sometimes when a marriage ends the partners are able to simply go their separate ways… perhaps never seeing each other again.
But, quite often after the partnering aspect of a relationship has ended the two individuals still need to interact with each other. This is most common when a couple has children, but it may involve other issues that linger after the couple has divorced (shared assets, business interests, common social groups, etc.)
A New Relationship with the “Ex”
Counseling can play a valuable role in this situation by helping the couple anticipate these necessary interactions and develop methods for managing them in the most cooperative and efficient way. This can be very difficult for couples to do on their own, especially right after the break up when hurt, resentments, or anger is apt to be present and interfere with developing constructive solutions.
Most often the need for ongoing interactions involves issues with children; and in that case having some predetermined means of interaction – or at least some strong guidelines – is even more important.
Children are usually in a somewhat vulnerable stage after divorce as they’re trying to make their own sense of things. One major contributor to how well they’ll manage and adjust to this challenge is directly related to the cooperation or chaos shown by their parents.
It can be awkward or emotionally difficult to come together and plan how to manage future interactions, so many former couples simply avoid doing it. But, without having some agreements and plans in place, every single encounter with the former partner is a fresh unpredictable and undefined event. The absence of having guidelines or agreements in place increases the likelihood of having a spontaneous conflict or a frustrating and disruptive encounter.
Using a counselor as a consultant and/or mediator to establish agreements make plans and their future interactions can help you to avoid unnecessary anxiety, embarrassment, or emotional distress.