A break-up is often one of the hardest things an individual will go through during their lifetime – and when children are involved, it can be even more difficult. Communicating during a break-up is not only important for your own mental health and well-being, but essential to ensure you can properly care for your children. Below we outline the importance of communication during a break-up.
In a recent study from Direct Line, 41% of parents who decided to stay together for their children didn’t tell their partner they were considering separation. Although communicating these feelings can be difficult, and we may be afraid of creating conflict, it’s best to have everything out in the open. Rather than stringing a partner along, and making a bad situation worse, transparency – and communication – is the only real way forward.
During a break-up, if the two individuals involved in the relationship fail to communicate properly, they may spend the rest of their lives wondering what went wrong. This can have a seriously negative effect on an individual’s mental health. If the couple is able to communicate effectively and explain why the relationship didn’t work for them (e.g. not enough emotional support) then the individuals can work on this moving forward and avoid this mistake in their next relationship.
Couples who decide to stay together for their children’s sake can remain together for years longer than they would otherwise. During these years, it is likely that arguments may occur and the relationship may turn toxic. This can be very harmful for a child to experience. During a break-up, it is therefore very important to communicate both with your child and ex-partner to ensure your child isn’t forced to choose sides or is harmed by the separation.
If you have a shared bank account, or other important policies that involve your partner, without proper communication you will be unable to organise your finances properly – which may result in you having to deal with long-term financial problems.
If you are currently going through a break-up and would like to improve communication with your ex-partner, the below tips may help…
Often during a break-up, as it is an emotional time, ex-partners can begin discussions by being very defensive and throwing accusations at each other. Before you start communicating, remind yourself that you are not perfect and be prepared to own up to the mistakes you have made. This honesty will hopefully encourage your partner to be more honest in turn, bringing you both closer to truly understanding each other.
Rather than stating a list of things your partner did wrong, carefully explain to them how their actions made you feel. For example, phrases such as “You never helped me clean up, which made me feel like you didn’t value my time” will help your partner understand why you were upset by their actions and help them see things from your point of view.
If you are communicating with your child about the break-up, ensure you sit the child down and tell them together. This will ensure you put on a united front and help the child to feel comfortable with the situation, as they will not feel like they have to choose between their parents.
Even if the individual you are separating with is not the biological parent of your child, you should still inform the child of the break-up together. Even if you haven’t been together for a substantial amount of time, it’s likely that your child will have grown attached to your partner and would be confused by their sudden departure.
No matter how long you have been with your partner, or whether or not you have children together, effective communication is vital. Communication will help your break-up to be as healthy as possible, and enable you to protect the mental well-being of yourself and those around you. A break-up is a difficult time, but it can be managed to make it as pain-free as possible.