How to Partner with Your Coparent

Divorce and separation can have a negative impact on your child, especially when the conflict continues after the breakup. But there several ways you can parent with your ex in a positive and constructive way.

Plan with Purpose

One of the most important things to do with a coparent is to plan with purpose. Because you have a child together, you will have to plan how to parent as well as how you share custody.

Children generally do better with consistent environments and rules, so it’s important to decide early on a shared set of rules, including when bedtime is, what punishments will be, what is off-limits, and so on. Setting a schedule can also help make things easier for all involved. Try to agree on a custody situation that benefits everyone, even though that may be difficult. In the long run, your child will benefit from knowing which parent they will be with at what time.

Communicate with Care

How and when you communicate with your former spouse matters, especially when it comes to raising your children. The one thing that you never want to do is use your child as a messenger. For one, that puts your child in a stressful, awkward situation. Instead, it’s important to communicate one-on-one with your ex about your child and their needs.

Try adapting a business-like tone, imagining your ex as a work colleague. That gives you a bit of distance while also keeping your interactions positive and respectful. You should try and keep your communications focused solely on your child, so that you don’t bring up any hurt feelings or contentious subjects.

Heal Your Own Emotional Wounds

One of the best ways to develop a healthy relationship with your ex-spouse so that you can parent as a team is by healing your own emotional wounds. No matter the reason you are separated or divorced from your ex, the breakup of a relationship can have a negative impact on your mental health. Stress, depression, anxiety, or anger are all normal things that come out of the breakup of one of most important relationships in your life. But the last thing you want to do is take out those negative emotions on your child or use your child as a way to vent your emotions about your ex.

Talking with friends can help to sort out your feelings, or you might seek professional help in the form of a therapist or therapy group for solo parents so you can work on healing yourself in a positive way. One result of your healing is you will be better equipped to interact and coparent with your ex.

By employing these strategies, you will be able to partner with your coparent in way that is positive and constructive, which will make you and your child happier in the end.

3 Simple Things You Can Do to Move on After a Divorce

Yes, divorce is difficult. But once they make peace with the process, most people agree that life after a divorce is much better than trying to coexist with someone who no longer wants to be in your life. The negative feelings that come with a divorce may seem never-ending, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Here are three steps you can take to reach it more quickly and move on.

Allow Yourself to Grieve

Even if you're the one who wanted the divorce, the process still marks the end of a relationship that played a large role in your life. You can expect your divorce to trigger the same stages of grief that the death of a loved one or another difficult life event would. The process is normal and necessary, so you'll need to let yourself experience it. Although you'll want to make sure you do so in a constructive way, you'll do yourself a favor if you let out your anger and tears, even when they arrive unexpectedly. Trying to control and fight the process only makes it take longer.

Deep Clean

If you're still living in the marital home, it's likely full of reminders. If you moved out, you probably took things with you that you ultimately won't need or want. You should deep clean your home and remove the clutter of personal items that cause you emotional pain. Get rid of things that remind you of your ex, rearrange the furniture and freshen things up with a new coat of paint. Doing this allows you to claim space for yourself that you're no longer sharing with another person or unpleasant memories of them.

Reach Out

Divorce can make you want to pull the covers over your head and stay in bed all day, but it's important that you reach out. There are compelling reasons to spend time with your family and good friends. Doing so gives you a safe place to vent your feelings and serves as a reminder that there is still plenty of love in your life. Make plans with the people who make you feel good and let them work their magic on you.

Following these tips for moving on after your divorce can help make things a little easier. The process isn't a simple one, however, so don't be too hard on yourself if your divorce is taking a bigger toll than expected. Do what you can to help yourself and lean on your loved ones when you need them. If you feel you need more support, consider getting the help of a therapist. Individual and group therapy are great ways to process your feelings so you can move on to a happier life in a healthy way.

Importance of Group Therapy & How It Can Help

There's often a negative connotation associated with group therapy sessions. Unfortunately, it's led to a lot of false views about what they're really like. The truth is, they can actually be the best place to be if you've had struggles in your life and need a little help getting back on track. While it is true that sometimes certain jobs or government programs require people to go to support group meetings, people can also go on the recommendation of a doctor, church leader or on their own. No matter whose recommendation sent you to group therapy, there are four reasons they can be very important.

No Prejudice

Often, people's problems can come with a rash of judgments and misunderstandings of what the person is going through, whatever their case may be. People in your support group have all been where you are, and they are all on the same journey you're on. Getting a chance to hear these people open up and be honest about their issues can help you do the same, letting you get started on your own path to a better place. The best feeling people get during this process is when they truly know they aren't alone.

Financial Reasons

Attending group sessions are far more affordable than individual therapy. Therapy in a group setting allows you to be more efficient with getting care and won’t hit your pockets as much as individual therapy. Group therapy fees can range form $45-80 whereas individual can range from $110-$200 (depending on your area). Those fees reflect out of pocket costs. Group therapy is covered by most insurance that cover behavioral or mental health and just require you to pay your copay fees.

Learning More About Yourself

As Dr. David Susman points out in this blog article, things you learn in support groups can help you better understand your own self and be more aware of what leads to different struggles. It can be a time of reflection and perhaps a time to think of how things like spiritualism and inner peace may benefit you. Often, people come to group support meetings not expecting much, but they leave with knowledge they might never have dreamed of getting.

An Opportunity to Help Others

As you stay in a support group and see yourself start to take control of your life again, you'll find that, along with addressing your problems, you'll eventually get to help others. Fewer things are as rewarding, or make you feel you've accomplished as much, as being able to say you were a friend who guided someone else to a better place. Often, people's struggles can lead them to try to hide themselves away from the world. By being where you can help others, you'll find yourself comfortable as part of a crowd once again.

The bottom line is group support networks are not punishment at all for what you've been through, but instead they are here to bring change in ways you probably didn't think was possible. Sometimes, being connected with a group of strangers is exactly the way to bring your problems to the front and hear new perspectives on them. More likely than not, you'll come away with new emotional, spiritual and even financial support than you ever had before.

The path of recovery can be hard at times, and it’s essential to create or join a group therapy network. See how we can help you in your personal journey to better mental health.

3 Common Challenges That Come from Combining Households

When it comes to building a relationship, most don’t realize how deep the challenge goes. You’re doing more than just spending time with another person. You are, step by step, creating something completely new with them.

Moving in with a partner or new spouse can be one of the most challenging transitions in life. Along with adjusting to the changes that come with giving up some of your solo-living habits, you will also be getting used to living with somebody new and dealing with the transitional issues that come along with that change.

Here is some practical advice on how to navigate the challenges that come when combining households.

Get on the Same Page About Finances

Financial disagreements are the most common source of conflict in many relationships. You can take steps to reduce the chances of money issues causing havoc in your household if you take the time to devise a solid budget plan from the start.

It’s wise to acknowledge, up front, that you probably don’t want to have this conversation. According to Marriage Name Change, “Even with all the financial advice out there, marriages are still strained due to fights over money. There are many reasons for this but the truth is many married couples today do not want to listen to vital advice on finance.”

Even so, money issues are one of the leading causes of divorce. If you want to maintain your relationship, you’ll need to have this discussion sooner or later.

When planning your budget, you will want to account for every dollar in and every dollar out. You will also need to discuss how the incoming money will be divided between household expenses and individual spending money.

When taking the time to devise an everyday budget, be sure to write some financial goals down on paper so that you have something to strive for. Lastly, you will need to determine who will be responsible for paying the bills.

Compromise on Material Belongings

It can be challenging to combine households because it means that somebody will likely have to give up some of their stuff if everything is going to fit in one home. The important rule to follow is to be willing to compromise on what belongings to keep and what to get rid of.

All Storage Online explains that “adapting your lifestyle to fit with someone else’s is a learning process that requires a lot of compromise – key to a happy marriage. So before you begin the merge, a helpful tip is to have a conversation with your partner and decide what to keep and what to either toss or place in storage.”

Just remember that at the end of the day, these are only material items that you are debating about.

Divide Chores Early On

Once you have the budget settled and household items organized, it will be time to decide how to handle the everyday routines of cohabitation. Part of this routine involves establishing the expectations of responsibility around the home.

Successful relationships have set guidelines regarding who will be in charge of specific household-maintenance responsibilities. Chores to consider include cleaning, laundry, yard work and basic maintenance. By agreeing to the division of labor from the beginning, you can avoid arguments down the road. Remember, in the case that something goes wrong in your marriage, it is your lifestyle that impacts certain decisions. Make sure you are spending adequate amounts of time with your children and with each other. Make sure you are splitting duties and working together to instill good habits in each other as well as in your children. It will lead to greater happiness later on.

Although this life transition is full of challenges and meaningful discussions, it can also be incredibly rewarding if it’s executed with the right intentions. With a little teamwork, willingness to compromise and sensitivity, you can ensure that you get off to the best possible start in your new life together.