The end of a relationship is an emotional time. Everyone will go through their own roller-coaster journey (for more information on this, click here) and sometimes this leads to emotional text messages from an ex.
If it was your choice to end the relationship, your ex may feel blindsided or shocked by your decision, and it may take them longer to process the break-up. Meanwhile you might have had longer to come to terms with the separation, even grieving the end of your relationship while you were still in it, and now you are ready to move on and make practical arrangements for your children and/or your finances. Or perhaps you separated a while ago, but a new partner on the scene is stirring up emotions.
Whatever the cause, some people will take out these difficult emotions on their ex. They will send tonnes of emotional text messages, emails and messages to the other person. Often the messages are angry and unkind. Often, they arrive late at night. They are unpleasant and stressful to receive. They can make an already difficult situation even more difficult.
Usually, the bad communication will settle as your ex processes the separation and all of the difficult issues following separation are resolved.
- ASK them to stop – politely but firmly. Explain that you understand that it is very hard just now, but that you cannot respond to their emotional messages.
- AGREE a method of communicating about the important issues e.g. children’s arrangements. Use this only for important issues relating to the children. Many people find that agreeing that all matters relating to the children will be communicated via for example email, works. If your ex really cannot communicate politely on important issues, you may wish to consider an app like Our Family Wizard that moderates the messages for you.
- IGNORE all other communication. If you have managed to agree on a good method of communicating about important issues, you don’t even need to read the emotional messages. Sometimes you may need to scan them (or get a friend to do so) to see if there is important information within the rant.
- DON’T ENGAGE Do not get sucked into what your ex is saying. It may well be untrue and unfair but you will only make it worse if you engage in discussion. If you ignore it, your ex is likely to stop sending more because they are not getting any reaction. It is strange how we hate to receive these messages and yet we cannot help ourselves and we read them and respond. Don’t.
- REMAIN PROFESSIONAL However your ex communicates with you, ensure your communication with them remains professional, polite and respectful. Often this alone will help your ex to communicate in the same way. So often when verbally attacked, we can find ourselves attacking back and before we know it, everything has escalated. It’s not always easy, but try to stay calm and keep your cool.
- MEDIATION. See if you can get your ex to agree to attend mediation in order to provide a safe space to discuss the important issues.
If the bad communication doesn’t settle after a little while, or if the messages tip over from being unpleasant to being unsafe for you, then you will need to take a different approach and you should contact the police or a solicitor.
If you would like to discuss how mediation can help you in these circumstances, please contact email@example.com or call on 07706 513496.