Co-parenting is tough. Whether you’re new to co-parenting or you have been co-parenting for quite some time, keeping that balance copasetic presents many challenges – especially if you detest your ex partner.
No matter where in your parenting journey you are, it’s never a bad idea to ask for a helping hand. If you think you could use the guidance of a professional therapist, check out the services that BetterHelp has to offer.
Likewise, if you and your ex partner decide that attending therapy together would be in the best interest of your child, you can seek that assistance too.
Until then, it’s useful to get practical. Dealing with an ex you can’t stand to be around makes co-parenting that much more difficult. In this article, we’ll share some tips and tricks to make it easier.
Reasons for Strife
Before you start problem solving, it’s important to evaluate the core of the problem.
Why do you feel you despise your ex partner? Is it one-sided? Was this feeling present during the relationship or only thereafter?
Once you understand your detest, it can be easier to find solutions. Is there a lack of trust? A lack of appreciation? A lack of reliability?
When a partner is not in line with your values, it can sometimes throw you off balance.
Say, for example, you really value honesty. If your ex does something dishonest and apologizes, you might still feel hurt. This is because that partner did not live in keeping with your values.
Of course, you and your partner will not necessarily prioritize the same values, but being able to recognize and respect the values of the other person is important.
Likewise, let’s say you value education, but your partner doesn’t. He/she/they may not, for instance, provide the same reinforcement when it comes to your child completing their homework.
These sorts of differences can be a point of contention. A difference in values is a difference in lifestyle. A difference in lifestyle can create some tension, especially when you’re trying to cultivate a synergetic environment. Make a list of your top 5 values and try to see where the gaps are.
If you’ve already come to terms with the reason for strife, the next question becomes how much you have communicated those feelings to your ex partner.
If you have kept the feelings bottled up, you might consider working with a professional counselor to help navigate that conversation. Finding the words to express your frustration in a healthy way can be challenging, and while it might feel like more trouble than it’s worth, it might make co-parenting more collaborative.
On the flip side, if you constantly communicate your distaste for your ex partner to your ex partner, co-parenting might be an uphill battle. When people don’t feel liked or respected, it can be difficult to put your best foot forward.
That’s not to say that you should placate your ex partner in the interest of their feelings, but toning it down a notch could help. Try speaking with a counselor if you need a safe place to vent those frustrations.
Finding the right solution for co-parenting with an ex partner you detest is a tall order. It might take a few attempts to figure out what the best route will be for your particular circumstance.
To make co-parenting work for you, try these five tips.
Establish a schedule
This can be one of the more challenging aspects of co-parenting, especially when you do not get along with your ex-partner. Making sure the child or children are picked up on time, dropped off where they need to be, attending the right after school activities or birthday parties, and more all show it can be difficult to manage multiple schedules.
Decide if you’d like to use an app or a virtual platform to pencil in different events and commitments so that the information is in writing and accessible at all given times by both parties.
It’s important to keep an open line of communication for the sake of co-parenting running as smoothly as possible. That said, set boundaries and don’t overshare. Sometimes, speaking transactionally is the best way to draw lines.
For instance, you can explain something that the child needs without interjecting an emotion or an opinion about it. Keep it simple, keep it light, keep it transactional – assuming there are no major accidents or behaviors that need addressing.
Don’t involve the child or children
Bottom line, don’t involve the kids in any sort of disputes. Toxic behavior like this – making children choose sides, insulting one parent in front of children, etc. – can completely shake any hope for successful co-parenting.
When a child is living between two houses, they will be living two different lifestyles. One parent might let them eat different foods, spend extra time on their devices, or allow them to behave in certain ways.
While this can be extremely frustrating for the other parent, try to work it out amongst yourselves. It’s not the child’s fault that they are getting mixed messages. Pick your battles wisely and try to accept the minor differences.
Keep opinions quiet
It is good practice to refrain from sharing your opinion of your ex partner to others. This includes, mostly, the children.
When you complain about your ex partner or talk poorly about them to your child, it will create tension and be incredibly confusing and frustrating for the child. With the guidance of a professional therapist, you can air your grievances without taking it out elsewhere.