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Beware of all-or-nothing thinking post-divorce

There are very few things that are truly black or white in this world. In fact, much of life is shades and nuances and must be interpreted that way for an easier passage.

Such is also true with co-parents struggling to get the relationship right. In truth, a co-parenting relationship is an organic thing that might appear effortless some days and on others, become the last straw.

The key is to be open-minded and flexible enough to adapt to the realities of your situation without overreacting and throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

All-or-nothing thinking is a communication hazard

You are no more an angel than your ex is a devil. You both are human and susceptible to all of the foibles as the rest of humanity. Maybe you have a big heart but can still be incredibly petty. Your ex might let slights roll off his back yet always need to have the last word.

But when you are co-parenting, the two of you have to be able to communicate civilly through at least one medium — and it doesn't have to be face-to-face. But in the realm of the children's best interests, you must resolve to park your vendettas and agendas at the door.

Stress is polarizing

Firefighters, police, those in the military and in certain medical professions thrive under stressful conditions. The rest of us typically lead lives that attempt to thwart stress and agitation.

But if you are stressed when you have to transfer the kids to your ex, your demeanor and affect will likely show it. This, in turn, can set off a chain reaction of negative interactions that may have been your default communication style with your ex at the end of your marriage.

It's time to break that mold and discover what works better. Accept that not every encounter will be seamless and smiling. Aim for civil in each interaction, and anything else is gravy.

Change your pattern

You and your ex undoubtedly know just how to push one another's buttons. The goal now is to avoid these destructive patterns that don't lead to anything positive.

Avoid certain trigger words like "never" and "always." These black-and-white terms indicate you've slipped back into all-or-nothing thinking.

Sometimes you may learn that what worked for the two of you in the past is no longer viable. That's OK, people and situations change over time. What's important now is developing a workable solution going forward. Failing to reach accord could mean having to revisit the custody matters in the Georgia family law courts.

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