Your first public appearances with your ex after your separation or divorce might be a bit awkward. Relationship experts tend to view the period following divorce as comparable to a death, replete with the stages of grieving. Most people - including your friends and family - feel vulnerable and confused. Here are some strategies for keeping your cool in public following your separation.
AT SCHOOL OR CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES
If you and your ex are required to attend parent-teacher conferences, sporting events, plays or concerts together, remember to stay focused on the needs of your child. Try to avoid blaming your ex if your child is having a hard time or displaying some emotional struggles during or after school. Listen and work together for the sake of your child's well-being.
AT SOCIAL EVENTS
It is inevitable you are going to encounter your ex in a social setting (unless one of you has relocated). If and when you do, here are some tips for keeping things under control and civilized:
- Don't ask anyone to pick sides - if you have mutual friends, allow those friends to choose to remain loyal to both of you;
- Don't get pulled into negative speak about your ex - badmouthing always backfires, period;
- Uphold the right to privacy - avoid airing dirty laundry in a public situation;
- Maintain your dignity - by being upbeat, happy and calm; and
- Don't vent or bring up old business - save private conversation for another time.
Even if your ex chooses to pick a fight or take a jab at you at every opportunity, you always have the option to take the high road. In the end you only have to account for your own behavior.
If your ex threatens violence - either directly or in a veiled manner - ask witnesses to write down what they saw and heard. Speak to your divorce attorney about obtaining an order of protection if you feel you or your children are in danger.