When a relationship ends, it's usually because there was a big situation that was not able to be handled. Sometimes the relationship started off healthy and then something catastrophic happened which made both parties or one party want to file for the divorce. Usually, it can make a lot of emotions arise which can then lead to bitterness and badmouthing the other party.
Bad mouthing the ex to the buddies at the gym or to a girlfriend on a weekend getaway isn't going to do much damage to anyone, but this particular method of coping can do more damage than you might expect; particularly if there are children involved.
Many marriages that end in divorce involve children. Not in the sense that they are at fault or responsible for any of the decisions that will need to be made throughout the process, but that their life is affected. What they once had; they will no longer have. They are attempting to cope with something that a lot of adults have a difficult time dealing with appropriately. It's extremely important that parents going through a divorce do everything they possibly can to make coping with the divorce easier on their children.
What's the Most Important Thing Parents Can Do to Make Divorce Easier For Their Children?
Never badmouth your ex. Your ex (a.k.a. horrible, repugnant, disappointing spouse) is their parent. When you badmouth your ex, you are badmouthing one of the two most important and loved people in their small worlds. From the child's perspective, the two people they love the most in the world are suddenly giving the impression that their other parent isn't worth loving or respecting. Sometimes it can even leave children feeling that they have to choose one or the other or they risk losing the love of both of their parents and that leaves them in a vulnerable state of mind.
Talking negatively about your ex can make dealing with the divorce more difficult for your children. It can also have lasting effects. Being bitter about the past is simply not a healthy option. The healthiest way to deal with the ending of a relationship that has the potential to get nasty during the divorce proceedings is to try to keep the big picture in mind. Try to remember that you love your children more than you hate your ex and they need you to make every effort to avoid letting things get nasty.