Managing relationships

Tips for managing your relationship with your ex-spouse or ex-partner

Each year an estimated 240,000 children in the UK experience the separation of their parents. Overall, more than one in three children will see their parents split up before they reach their 16th birthday.

  • Your relationship may have ended but your role as parents has not. It can be helpful, especially in the early stages of separation, to behave with a business-like attitude. Avoid conversations that encourage conflict.
  • Don’t spend time and energy trying to control your ex or the situation. Just be the best parent you can and support your children.
  • Try to address issues instead of hanging on to anger and hurt. Moving forward is important for you and your children. If you struggle to do so, find some help.
  • Whatever your feelings about your ex-partner, talk to them respectfully as the parent of your children. When discussing issues, avoid blame.
  • Practice restraint and avoid reacting when angry. Listen to each other’s opinions and ideas before responding.
  • Instead of springing a discussion on your ex, let them know beforehand that you want to discuss something. Ask to arrange a time that is mutually convenient.
  • Avoid using handovers as a time to discuss issues with your ex.It may be best to phone or send an email or ask to arrange a time to talk.
  • Do not have heated arguments in front of your children. Consider the best times for phone conversations and make sure children cannot hear them.
  • Follow up agreements or details of conversations in writing. A written follow up can minimise misunderstandings about what was said or agreed.