Change it up – Use these tips to create healthy new communication habits during and post-divorce

by | Jun 26, 2024

A critical aspect of defining a new relationship with your spouse / ex is figuring out how best to share important information in a timely and appropriate way. This can be challenging as it often requires unlearning habits that have been in place a long time. Not only do old habits die hard, but there are also a range of complicated feelings, such as hurt, anger and frustration, that are likely in the way now.

It’s important to recognize that it will take work to create new, healthy patterns. It won’t happen if you just hope for the best.

It’s also worth remembering that your communication during divorce is one of the best tools you have. It’s free, totally in your control, and has a significant impact.

Remember: No matter what your ex does, he/she cannot make you send a text or an email, pick up the phone or respond in a particular way during a conversation. When you decide to put yourself in charge of when, how, and what you communicate, you take back your power, create healthy boundaries, and set the tone you want.

Here are a few ways to break old patterns.

Acknowledge that you need to communicate differently and think about what will work and what won’t.

  • One of the first steps in doing that is looking forward, not back. Rehashing your marriage during every conversation will not be productive. You may also want to minimize in person interaction for a while if your conversations are consistently resulting in arguments.
  • Share only what’s necessary about kids, timing, etc., but avoid discussing anything outside of the need-to-know category. You both need time to figure out what your boundaries are and some space to rebuild. When in doubt, don’t share. Err on the side of respecting each other’s privacy. Questions like, what are you doing tonight, is that a date, or sharing that you will be spending the night out, are almost certain to increase tension and conflict.
  • Remind yourself that your choices are for YOU. Not because you owe anyone anything, or they owe you. Each choice is an opportunity for you to show up as your best self, and those small choices will add up and help you feel good about yourself!

Create new communication standards. This is one of the hardest and most important steps.

  • Keep your kids out of the drama and back-and-forth (even older kids). This will pay off over and over as you navigate this time.
  • Use the chart below to determine how you would like to get information. For each situation below, fill in the communication method that sets you up to be successful. Then follow it!

Communication options: In person, email, phone, text, parenting app

  • Disconnect from each other on social media.


  • If you’ve been trying but the communication just isn’t working, remind yourself that you can only control your You can still choose high road even when your spouse / ex doesn’t. Continue to set the stage for respectful communication by modeling it.
  • When you struggle with a choice (and you will, we all do!) try the 10-10-10 method: pause and ask yourself how you’ll feel about this situation in 10 minutes, 10 weeks, and in ten years. Does that influence your decision?
  • Before responding, ask yourself:
    • Would I show this to my lawyer?
    • To my child?
    • To a judge?
    • Should I send this now or walk away for five minutes?

Finally, be kind to yourself as you establish your new normal. Breaking old patterns and creating new ones takes effort, but it’s worth it! Transformation often happens when you realize you’ve done something you thought you couldn’t. You can get through this divorce and come out better and stronger on the other side. 💪🏼 💝