Forging a friendship with an ex-spouse

Divorces are painful both emotionally and financially, and the experience can take a toll on any family, especially when children are involved. Staying friends with an ex-spouse can often be a way of easing this pain, but the situation is not right for everyone, explains Lauren Mackler in a recent column for the Huffington Post.

For couples without children, a friendship can be doomed if one spouse still feels rejected or still harbors romantic feelings for the other. Guilt, frustration, resentment and other feelings can easily sink a platonic friendship between ex-lovers.

“Examine your motives for wanting to stay friends,” Mackler advises. “Hidden agendas such as financial or material gain, fear of being alone, appearing desirable to others or relieving guilt will ultimately contaminate a friendship.”

When children are in the picture, the desire to preserve some form of a respectful relationship between ex-spouses is often greater. To handle the emotional toll this evolving relationship will take, Mackler suggests seeking the help of a therapist or life coach. This professional can help exes develop co-parenting and communication plans.

According to CNN, adhering to certain ground rules can help preserve a friendship with an ex-spouse. For starters, the news source advises that individuals allow for a mourning period and keep the relationship platonic.