Breaking up is hard to do under any circumstances. However, when it means getting a divorce, the process can be particularly gut-wrenching.
Does it help or hurt to stay friends with your ex-spouse after the break-up? There’s no easy answer to that question, but there are some things to consider.
What are the advantages of staying friends with your ex-spouse?
You and your ex-spouse may not agree on much these days, but you have a shared history. The longer you’ve been together, the deeper the roots of that shared history are. Preserving your friendship with your ex can help you look back on your lifetime without feeling as if a big part of your past is somehow “lost.”
If you and your ex-spouse have children together, preserving your friendship can be very wise. You need a good working relationship to co-parent your children together. Even if your children are adults, staying friendly with your ex-spouse means that there’s less conflict and discomfort when you both show up at an adult child’s wedding or a grandchild’s birthday party.
If you’re in a same-sex marriage, you may have another good reason to remain friendly with your ex — your ties to the LGBTQ community. In many areas, that community is fairly small and insular, so it’s impossible to avoid contact with each other and maintain your other social ties.
Is there ever a reason not to stay friendly with your ex-spouse?
Absolutely. If your ex was abusive, manipulative or toxic, it’s better to cut ties and move on. Similarly, if you feel like there are lingering romantic feelings (on either side), it’s usually better to make a clean break so that you’re both free to move on.
Divorce doesn’t have to be a battle. Working with an experienced attorney who understands the value of collaborative law can help you find a way out of your marriage without unnecessary acrimony.