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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Carmichael

Navigating Divorce and Texting: 5 Key Considerations for Communicating Effectively

Couples Solutions Center - Texting & Divorce

We work closely with couples as they work though their divorce process, helping mediate their conversations, interactions, and agreements. While communicating in writing, such as via text, can be extremely valuable in helping agreements and transition progress during the divorce, written communication can also become more volatile and cause conflict to escalate.

I like to think of conflict as not good or bad, but productive or unproductive. Productive communication focuses on issues rather than people, solutions rather than conflict, the future rather than the past, and brings people together rather than polarizing them. Ultimately, productive conversations involve respect and trust, while unproductive communication involves shame, blaming, and insults.

Thus, to create a more productive conversation and avoid conflict, you should sway away from the following texting mistakes during your divorce:

1. Focussing on the Past -

"You always did XXXX" - You always hated my family

"You never did XXXX" - You never did care about homework, why would it be different now?

2. Placing Blame or Shame -

"You should have XXXX" - You should have been a better parent or spouse.

"Well that's typical" - I'm not surprised you missed her soccer game. That's typical of you.

"This isn't my fault - it's yours" - It's not my fault you didn't read the calendar right. That's a you problem.

3. Insulting -

Use of any swear words or calling of names - You are such an *sshole.

"I hate you" - I hate you for what you've done. This is your fault.

4. Focussing on conflict -

Rather than trying to find a solution, remaining in the conflict - I know you want to figure out a time that works for us when exchanging our kids, but that's not the issue. You and your crappy, selfish schedule is where we have the problem.

Bringing up past conflict that was resolved, but you haven't let go of - I can't believe you forgot how you didn't remember to get the kids at school a few months back. So what if it was just once. You screwed up.

5. Making Assumptions -

Assuming you understand the other person's life or lifestyle - Well you can afford baseball on your own for our son. You have enough money over there moneybags.

Assuming fault or past actions without proof - I know you hid money and are doing it again now.

While we are only human and don't always control our reactivity well, it can be helpful to monitor your texts for these problematic mistakes, particularly during and after the divorce process. When we lash out at our spouse or place blame, it cause defensiveness and typically results in more conflict. The goal is to alleviate as much as conflict as possible by avoiding the triggering language in the first place.

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