A Letter to the “EX”
© Dr Bill Nodrick 1999
Your assignment is to write, BUT NOT NECESSARILY TO
MAIL, a letter
to your prior spouse.
Conflict that lingers after the breakdown of a relationship can be very
damaging to the children involved. Often the anger and hurt that remain are so
intense that the children’s needs are overlooked.
You have no obligation to your
children to remain as a couple with your prior spouse. However, you do have an
obligation to continue to parent your children. Effective co-parenting is what
protects your children from the potentially enduring wounds of family breakdown.
This requires a functional co-parenting relationship.
The purpose of your letter is to lay
a foundation for effective co-parenting that separates the ‘couple’ issues
from your joint, and continuing responsibilities as the children’s biological
Part A (below) outlines concerns
that are typically at issue. Part B is a condensed version of Part A that you
can use (if you wish) to help you organize your letter. In your letter, include
only the points that apply to your situation. Feel free to add, delete, or
re-order any points as you see fit.
the breakdown wasn’t their fault,
we won’t be getting back together,
we will all cherish the memories of the good times we shared together,
we will always continue to co-parent them to the best of our ability.
I want you to
know that I am truly sorry for my part…
Reading/study > share
information. Communication problem history > decision to write (too NB)
When relationship ended > intense
emotions > hid shattering of dreams and sadness for the death of the family
as we knew it
Parental conflict > damaging to kids.
Both love kids. Neither would knowingly hurt them. Effective co-parenting
Shielded from badmouthing; kept out of middle; told “not your fault”;
told “we won’t reunite”; told “fond memories are OK”; and told,
“we’ll continue to co-parent”.
Suggest/request methods to
Sorry for my part. Reinforce:
Separating couple issues from parenting responsibilities and kids needs.