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7 Ways to Communicate With Your Ex

Learn What Works and What Doesn't


Like it or not, you will need to communicate with your ex until your children turn 18, at the very least.  Therefore, it’s important to identify the methods of communication that work best for the two of you – as well as those forms of communication you’ll want to avoid, because they push one another's buttons.  The following methods of communication are listed in order of "best" to "worst."  As you read through them, try to identify some changes you can make to improve your own communication with your ex:

1. Direct Communication

This is the best way to communicate with your ex, because it minimizes miscommunication and allows you to express your ideas directly.  In addition, because direct communication usually takes place in person, it allows you to experience your ex’s response immediately, rather than through another person or another medium.

2. Through Phone Calls

It’s common for coparents to communicate at least some of the time through phone calls, because phone calls offer a quick and easy way to convey information.  However, you will also want to set up some guidelines for communicating over the phone with your ex, so that you're not inundated with late-night phone calls or non-emergency interruptions at work.

3. Through Email

Email is usually a quick and easy way to communicate with your ex.  However, if your ex attempts to engage you in an argument through email, or writes offenses messages just to get you upset, you will need to establish some boundaries for communicating with one another.

4. Through Text Messages

Similarly, text messages can prove to be a convenient way to contact one another, or they can be used in an attempt to control and intimidate the other person.  If necessary, create some texting rules with your ex and explain what types of messages you’ll respond to, and what types of messages he/she can expect you to ignore.

5. Through Your Lawyer

It’s often necessary for coparents to communicate some degree of information through their lawyers, especially when they’re in the middle of negotiating a child custody or visitation agreement.  However, it is generally ineffective to get into the habit of relying solely on your lawyer to communicate information to your ex when the two of you are trying to raise your children together.

6. Through Family Members

Try to avoid communicating with one another though family members and/or friends.  If necessary, kindly explain to a would-be messenger that you’d prefer that your ex communicate with you directly, and end the conversation there. 

7. Through Your Children

This is the least effective way to communicate with your ex, and it’s also the method of communication that’s guaranteed to cause the most problems.  Even if your ex is resorting to this type of communication, demonstrate your own integrity by refusing to use your children as pawns.  In addition, if necessary, encourage your children to tell the other parent themselves that they’d rather not be put in the middle in this way. 

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