Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Small Exercise in Civility Goes a Long Way

In my first posting to this blog, I said that "You don't have to like an ex, you just have to be civil." I occasionally forget to practice this advice when I bring up the past--another thing to avoid, but today I followed my advice. My ex called from New York and asked if I could search through his business files for an important document. Instead of telling him I wasn't his secretary or mother, I went ahead and searched through his files.

I really wanted to tell him that our separation means that I am not there for him and that he relinquished his rights to ask for help, but I bit my tongue. I spent a few minutes assisting him because I knew he had no else to help him . It is in these small instances that I can maintain some level of civility and prove that I am capable of being a bigger person than my ex for all his pettiness.

In following this advice, I put money in my relationship bank account and now have a little credit for some future date where I may not be as civil. For example, when I need my ex to pay his share of a future medical expense for one of the kids and he says no way, I have some leverage to convince him to listen to me. A little civility reduces the risk of my ex hanging up the phone. Being civil in little ways builds a bridge to the times when talking is not so easy.

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