How to Treat Your Ex Like a Business Partner & Choose Cooperation Over Conflict

We recently invited Behavior Analyst, Chris Messina, to sit down with us and discuss the benefits of co-parents treating their relationship like a business partnership. We know, we know—it sounds difficult and a bit far-fetched, but in truth, business partnerships and co-parenting relationships have some undeniable similarities.

If you’re thinking that these two relationships couldn’t be on further ends of the spectrum, Chris challenged viewers to consider the following similarities:

Business partners share common interests and goals.

Just as business partners share common interests and goals which they mutually hope to see succeed, so do you and your co-parent. Co-parents’ have a common interest in promoting their children’s happiness and well-being. The business goals of co-parents revolve around the desire to see their “product” raised in a way that accomplishes health, happiness, well-roundedness, and independence.

Business partners discuss important matters without allowing personal feelings to interfere or de-rail the success of the greater goal.

This is a change that will take time, effort, and a lot of patience. However, if co-parents can learn how to communicate in a way that promotes productive thought and idea-sharing without allowing emotions to dictate the interaction, it tends to be a win-win for all involved.

When co-parents have a conversation about their children without emotions clouding judgement, they’re able to focus strictly on the children’s particular issues without letting personal animosity or past grievances interfere with the ability to agree on matters that are in the best interests of the children. In this type of partnership, co-parents do not become consumed with matters of the past, personal feelings or grievances towards one another, criticism of each other’s lives, or anything outside of the scope of their children.

Business partners remember why they’re in partnership, stay focused, and are willing to do whatever it takes.

We all know it’s easy to allow conversations with co-parents to veer off track when we learn or hear of something that irks or hurts us. However, the focus of any interaction or communication should always be on the children, and the children alone. In a business co-parenting partnership, when the parents need to interact, they focus strictly on the needs of the children and such things as schedules, school, behavioral concerns, important updates, and topics about the children. Ideally, details about personal life matters that are not relevant to the conversation or the child do not get discussed.

If you’re convinced that there are in fact similarities between these two relationships, and that you and your ex may be better suited viewing your interactions through the lens of a business partnership, you’ll want to start working towards the next step—creating a viable business plan. This requires you to practice honesty, self-assessment, goal-casting, and setting boundaries. To learn more about what Chris suggests when creating your co-parenting business plan, you can listen to her full interview on our Modern Family Matters podcast here.