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Her Blog

Think back: have you ever been so furious with your spouse or ex that you’ve fired off a nasty SMS, shot off a ranty email or left an angry voicemail?

Well, you’re definitely not alone.

Truth is, emotions are a very hard beast to tame at the best of times – but especially so when you’re heartbroken, confused or angry. The key? Understanding that it’s a (very normal) process… and you will come out the other side.

The 7 Stages of a Breakup

Emotions are driven by numerous chemical reactions in your body. They’re designed to help you survive, process and deal with a new reality, and navigate your way through seven different stages of a breakup, according to the team at She Knows.

Stage 1. Shock: “What the hell just happened?”

Stage 2. Denial: “This is so not happening.”

Stage 3. Isolation: “I just want to sit in this all by myself.”

Stage 4. Anger: “I hate you for breaking my heart!”

Stage 5. Bargaining: “What will it take to get him/her back?”

Stage 6. Depression: “I will never get over him/her.”

Stage 7. Acceptance: “I understand why I was with him/her, why I’m not now, and that I will be better than just OK.”

The good news: you will make it out the other side of Stage 7.

The bad news: it takes a good six stages (and a decent amount of time) to get your emotions functioning properly again after a breakup. So yep, that’s plenty of time to get yourself into trouble if you don’t know how to manage the way you communicate.

Why tread carefully?

Firstly, it’s important to be aware that emotions can cloud your judgment throughout a difficult relationship, breakup, separation or divorce.

Plus, emotions can weigh in very heavily on your desire to unleash verbally (or in writing) just to get a point across— without first considering the consequence.

Unfortunately, when you communicate in the heat of the moment the idea that, one day, you could be cross-examined in courtroom about that colourful SMS you’re about to hit send on is far from your mind.

Know this: communication with a spouse or ex can come back to bite you through the separation or divorce process (if that’s where your relationship is headed).

We’re talking defamation, incrimination, or as a judgment on your character. No, thank you! You’re smarter than that.

So, here’s the long and the short of it: don’t hand your spouse or ex anything they could use against you — because there’s a good chance they will.

Communicate with confidence

If you do one thing today, do yourself a favour and watch this video Communicating with Confidence by Caroline Goyder. Okay, it’s directed at those looking to gain more confidence expressing themselves socially – but her techniques can also be used to help you get clarity before communicating with your spouse or ex.

When you’re faced with a situation (any situation, really) that requires you to contact, speak with or respond to your spouse or ex, Caroline suggests preparing yourself by breathing low and slow, building your inner confidence and remembering that sometimes you may be speaking on behalf of someone else (let’s say your children in the case of a separation or divorce). How would they wish to be heard?

The secret of good communicating

When communicating with your spouse or ex, it’s all about taking breaths!

No matter if you’re sending an SMS, email, posting on social media, speaking on the phone, or face to face – it’s all the same – it’s communicating. So what does taking breaths have to do with it?

As Caroline says, “We breathe our thoughts.” All our out-breaths are used for words (speaking!). Our in-breaths, for thought.

Picture this: if there are loving and positive thoughts on the in-breath, loving and positive words and tones flow on the out-breath. So, you know exactly where I’m going with this when it comes to upset and angry thoughts. Right?

The Romans knew this “breath” secret best. In Latin, the two words inspiration and respiration have the same root. “They knew that our breath was thought,” Caroline says.

Spoiler alert!

“Because we speak on the out-breath all you have to think about is the in-breath. And, the simplest way to think about the in-breath? Close. Your. Mouth.”

Who would have thought? All you need to do to be able to control those horribly complicated, upset or sometimes revenge-filled thoughts that you wish to verbalise to your spouse or ex, is to shut your mouth (not forever, promise). Take time with your breath and thoughts before acting (or reacting!).

That said, I’d now like to share these 7 tips to help you protect yourself when it comes to communicating with your spouse or ex.

7 Ways To Make Your Communication Safe
  1. Words Matter

Always be careful with what you put in writing. Be prepared that what you do put in writing can come back to haunt you. Even if your relationship is amicable today, things can change from one day to the next… even from one SMS to the next.

  1. Trust Nobody

I’m sort of joking, but it pays to be particularly mindful of your correspondence with your spouse or ex, your in-laws, and your friends (they may choose sides – and quite possibly, not yours!).

  1. Hit Pause

Think twice (and then think again) each and every time you pick up your phone to send an SMS or email. Take a little extra time than normal before you respond to any correspondence. Make a rule to sleep on it— the further removed you are from the heat of the moment, the clearer your head becomes.

  1. Think Like A Spy

Be careful what you say, even when it’s not in writing. Are your phone calls being recorded without your permission? Are ‘your’ friends yours or your ex’s? As hard as it is, do your best to manage your emotions and language when speaking with your spouse, ex, in-laws or friends.

  1. But Don’t Get Carried Away

Check the legal requirements in your state before you start recording phone calls. In most cases, you are required by law to make the other party aware that the phone conversation will be recorded and seek their permission. If phone recordings are used as evidence in a court situation, the opposing lawyer will have access to that evidence and could possibly cross-examine you about it too.

  1. Stop Over-Sharing

Keep your documenting private. Your ex doesn’t need to know you’re collecting information, tracking your interactions or keeping a diary. If he or she knows these documents exist, they could have them subpoenaed at a later date during your case.

  1. Think About Your Shrink

If you see a counsellor/psychologist while going through divorce, be aware that everything you tell them goes on file. And, there is a possibility that their files can be subpoenaed during your court case, if you go down that road. Your counsellor/ psychologist can also be summonsed to appear on the stand to answer questions based on their professional opinion. My suggestion: ask your legal representative or lawyer if there are ways to legally protect yourself when seeking support and therapy.

For now though: take a step back. Take a little more time to breathe IN. And, do your best to be considerate of the future, your children and the sort of relationship you want with your spouse or ex down the track.

And, if you need any more convincing: there’s a good possibility that if you can consciously reduce the amount of emotion and tension in your side of the conversation, it can help curb the incidences of unfavourable language directed back at you by your spouse or ex (fingers crossed). You’ll feel more empowered in general – and, yes, things should run just that little bit smoother for you.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

For more support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on testing communication situations, techniques you use to best communicate with your spouse or ex, and ways you refrain from saying something you might regret. Let me know in the comments below.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo


Her Blog

When my happily ever after ended, I had more rude awakenings than Lady Gaga has costume changes. One of these realizations? Just how entangled my soon-to-be-ex husband and my tech worlds had become in only a few short years.

Throughout my marriage there was no hesitation to share mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, cars (with GPS), emails, usernames and passwords. It was all part and parcel of doing life as a team, after all. But when I realized just how much of my personal info my ex could get his hands on, I felt even more vulnerable.

Times have changed

Back in the day, we built relationships in person 一 not via text message. We actually had to muscle up the courage (and the time) to meet face to face. There was limited or no internet. House phones were attached to the wall; mobile phones were the size of bricks. There were no computers under the bonnet of cars, let alone in a small box on the dash instructing you on how to drive from A to B. Bring back memories? My children now refer to it as “the olden days”! Gee, thanks, kids!

Technological advancements have changed the face of dating and relationships, in good and not-so-good ways. Yes, it’s easier and faster to invite someone out (and book a fancy dinner reservation), but! It’s also easier for a partner or ex to infringe on your privacy and personal safety.

The two sides of tech

Love it or hate it, you can’t argue: technology enhances and improves our lives in so many amazing ways. But in the wrong hands, like a disgruntled spouse or ex, and technology can be used as a tool to control and monitor.

Let’s not shy away from what this is: domestic abuse. The abuse doesn’t have to be physical to have a devastating effect, and controlling behavior is unacceptable in any form. This is, unfortunately, a worldwide problem.

One in four Australian women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. In the US, one in three women experience intimate partner violence, while in the UK there were two million adults who were victims of domestic abuse in the last year alone. Yes the stats show us that more women than men are impacted by domestic violence – but, let’s not forget that men can be victims too. (Here you can find more information on what constitutes family and domestic abuse.)

If you’re experiencing family or domestic abuse, contact authorities or support agencies in your local area or state immediately (and keep a record of all incidences and reports made for future use). Or, at the very least, reach out to family or friends who can provide you with support.

Whether you’re in a volatile situation or you’re looking to pre-empt any privacy issues, there are plenty of ways to reclaim your power.

Let’s say, you’re concerned about an email from your lawyer being intercepted by your partner or ex, a bank statement being opened without permission, or you are worried about being physically tracked and interrogated here’s how to protect yourself.

Nine steps to ex-proof your tech

1. Start with your computer

How scary is this: your spouse or ex could be spying on you through your computer right now. Yep, anyone can install a program on your computer that logs everything you type into it (check out keylogger surveillance technology). Apartment searches, password changes, emails… they can access it all. Uninstall the program, and the person who installed it will likely be notified, so for sensitive searches, like a new home or correspondence with a lawyer, consider logging in at the library, internet cafe or community centre. And always, always, always empty your computer’s recycle bin before shutting down the computer.

IMPORTANT: Turn off iCloud sharing on all of the devices you use. 

Plus, see that little camera on your computer? Cover it with a sticker: it can be hacked and used like a peephole. No thanks!

2. Erase your history

Ah, if only the not-so-nice memories of your relationship could be so quickly erased as your internet activity. Clear your browser’s ‘history’ and caches after each log on so your ex can’t see that search you just made for ‘how to get a divorce’. Don’t know how? Google “how to clear your history and caches for X browser” – on a computer that your partner or ex is not potentially monitoring.

3. Safeguard your email

Hate to tell you this, but if your ex knows you well enough, they’re going to guess your email password… and could get access to all that important incoming and outgoing mail. So no pet/children names, no birthdays, no ‘maidenname123’; it’s time to think like a spy and go for a random password. Now, change it often. If you’re really concerned, set up a new email address (Gmail has free ones), choose an address that doesn’t contain your name, and only access it on public computers (don’t forget to logout!).

Make it a habit of deleting e-mails from the “Sent” or “Outbox” in addition to your “Inbox” and then also delete the e-mails from the “Deleted Items” folder. In Gmail, delete email from All Mail. However, before you do, print or forward on to a legal representative any emails that should be formally documented.

4. Rethink your phone

Phone bills: no one likes them at the best of times, especially if they’re being used by your partner or ex to track who you’re contacting. If possible, get a PO Box or redirect your mail to a safer location so that your mobile phone bill can be sent directly to you. Keep change for a payphone should you need it and contact your local domestic violence hotline to learn about donation programs that provide new mobile phones and/or prepaid phone cards to survivors of abuse.

Did your partner sort out your phone for you? Consider turning it off when not in use; they could be using it as a tracking device. And check the settings: turn location services off when you don’t need it.

5. Get savvy with social media

It’s amazing what you can find out about someone just via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Review and update your privacy settings frequently and make sure to change your password periodically. Avoid tagging where you’ve been or checking into locations… you don’t want your spouse or ex to work out your daily routine.

6. Protect your passwords

Never, ever, ever store your passwords, in hard form on paper or in your internet browser. Don’t use the same password across different channels, and again, don’t make them obvious (using both letters and numbers helps, too).

7. Hide your movements

GPS trackers help parents keep track of their children, but these devices can also be misused to spy on other adults and placed everywhere from your car to your purse – so be aware. Your phone can be used as a tracking device, too, with tracking apps (including Find My Phone) monitored remotely. Visit a mobile specialist to check if there are any apps or tracking devices on your phone or tablet – and also check if the disarming of these app will notify the installer.

8. Shield your public records

There’s plenty of information available on most of us, thanks to government records and services. Google your name and you’ll see what I mean (and if you find anything that could help your spouse or ex track you, have it removed). File a request that the court, government, post office and others seal or restrict access to your info to protect your safety, and make sure you’re not listed in the white pages. Consider a PO Box for all your correspondence to keep your real address off the record.

9. Consider your kids

Unfortunately, it’s not just your devices that can be hijacked by your spouse or ex–it’s certainly possible for them to use your kids’ tech to get information on you or to track your movements. For example, if your child’s tablet is linked to your account, your ex could be accessing your messages. The camera can be hacked (try the sticker trick again) and they can also have tracking apps installed. Consider taking all the devices in your household to a computer specialist (like the Genius Bar for Apple products) to ensure your privacy is protected.

It’s a lot, I know, but taking these steps will go miles towards keeping you safe.

For more information, check out these resources:

Relationships Australia – Australia

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – USA

Centre for Relationship Abuse Awareness – Canada

National Domestic Violence Helpline – UK

I truly hope this information aids those who are facing difficult times in their relationship and have privacy or safety concerns. Remember: always document each and every incident.

Once you’ve taken the steps above, I’ve got something else that will help you on your journey.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

Now available on the Australian App Store and Google Play (coming soon to USA and UK markets).

For more support, you can download my e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks for free, right now. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now to help you go in the right direction faster, and with less pain.

If you have any other suggestions for securing your technology do let me know in the comments below!

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo