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Are you respectfully falling out of your relationship?

Joanne Michelle

I recently saw a post on an online forum from a young adult whose parents divorced when he was not quite a teenager.

He shared how he felt during his parents’ divorce. He felt like he was in the middle of their divorce that seemed to drag on for years and years. His parents fought constantly when he was a young child and he was always brought into their issues, their difference, and their arguments. And now as a young adult he is still in the middle – it’s as if he still needs to choose sides.

How is that healthy?

Do you find yourself and your ex-spouse doing the same?

This young man goes on to say both parents continue to put the other one down to him. Going through the divorce he became their source of communication. He went on and begged to not let children become involve in the hatred and disrespect his parents had for each other.

Going through a divorce is not only emotionally hard for both parents, but it’s just as difficult for your children. If you cannot respectfully fall out of a relationship because of what your ex-spouse did, or what you expected or did, then you need to fall out of the relationship respectfully for your children.

This young man was so brave to express how he was feeling. It can be so difficult for children… are they supposed to choose? Of course not. They shouldn’t have to choose.

Parents can find themselves in this behaviour and not even realise.

Be mindful of the way you communicate with your ex-spouse and take time before responding – this will allow you to notice your actions, your reactions and your behaviour. It’s so important for peace within you and for your children.

Divorce is tough and it’s really important to understand your emotions – all of them.

When you approach your children about their other parent is it from a place of love or anger? Can you stop yourself before your children become involved?

You need to respect not only yourself while going through a break-up but for your children.

If you behave in a disrespectful way, how will your children behave when they find love and fall out of love? How will they know how to respectfully move forward from their ex? If you don’t show the love and care now, your children might mimic your behaviour and the cycle could continue.

Remember to not use your children in the crossfire.

Seek professional help if you are finding yourself using your children or your children are stuck in the crossfire. If you’re unsure how your children are coping, think about the last time you communicated with their other parent – was it respectful? Did your children communicate to you in a way which makes you think they are stuck in the crossfire?

Ask yourself the following:

  • Do you talk ill of your children’s other parent to your children?
  • Do you question their motives, what they are up to constantly to your children?
  • Do you use your children as a messenger because you find it hard to communicate with their other parent?
  • Do you argue with your ex-spouse in front of your children?
  • Are you asking your children things about them, putting your children on the spot?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, you may need to consider professional assistance to work through this. Mediation is a great source of working out these issues, check out Relationship Australia for more information.

A lot of the time when we behave in this way, we maybe holding on resentment, anger, sadness, worry from the break-up. You need to heal from your break-up to break free from this behaviour. Children are our future and they deserve the best example from their parents.


Joanne Michelle

Joanne is Founder of Joanne Michelle and is a certified Health Coach and Divorcee who has set up Canberra’s first one-on-one break-up coaching program; offering health and wellness advice and practical techniques to help provide much needed support to women after their break-up or divorce. Joanne’s mission is to support and EMPOWER women to rediscover their identity after their break-up or divorce. With lack of support during her own personal experience, Joanne wanted to ensure women have the much needed support on offer. Going through a break-up or divorce can often be a mentally and emotionally devastating time, not to mention stressful. With this in mind, Joanne is now providing a coaching service to support women after their break-up. Joanne is caring and approachable, and knows first-hand, life doesn’t end once you divorce. For more information, please visit www.joannemichelle.com.au or email [email protected] More about the Author