Dealing with an ex-spouse after divorce can be very difficult, especially when there are negative feelings involved. The situation is worse when you have kids with your ex, as the children’s best interests should always come first and you are the primary role model for your children. It is important to form a amicable relationship with your ex as co-parents, which is easier said than done.
Below are a few tips for dealing with a difficult ex-spouse, especially in cases involving child custody and visitation.
Avoid Negative Intimacy
A difficult ex-spouse knows how to press your buttons or cause drama. However, every time you get into a spat with your ex, you are giving them exactly what they want: your undivided attention. This unhealthy dynamic is often referred to as “negative intimacy.” The key to avoiding this relationship with your ex is learning to respond rather than react. You do not need to be at your ex’s beck and call 24/7. When you receive that urgent voicemail or e-mail, don’t immediately react by shooting off a heated retort. Listen to what your ex has to say and then decide if the message deserves a response. You don’t need to swing at every pitch your ex throws.
Keep Meetings Impersonal
Face-to-face contact with your ex has the most potential for conflict. Where possible, try to limit your communication to e-mails, faxes and voicemails. While phone conversations and in-person meetings are inevitable, keep your conversations brief and focused to the matter at hand. When it’s within your power, don’t expose your children to negative interactions with your ex-spouse.
Put the Children First
Never put the children in the middle of issues with your ex-spouse. Even when your kids express negative or angry feelings towards your ex, listen to their thoughts and help them explore their emotions. If you can’t make positive statements about your ex, at least offer neutral ones. And never openly criticize your ex in front of your kids. Remember, no child wants to compare their parents or choose one parent over the other. They just want permission to love both of you.
Focus on You, Not Your Ex
Dealing with a difficult ex is undoubtedly frustrating and emotionally draining. But continuing to talk about your ex-spouse with friends or thinking up ways to retaliate only keeps your ex in the front of your mind – something your divorce was meant to eliminate! Focus on you and your children, not your ex. If possible, seek professional supports especially when your ex is being extremely difficult. A good counselor or therapist can help you gain clarity and emotionally disconnect from your ex-spouse’s drama.
Dissolution of marriage and post-divorce can be a difficult and trying time for you as well as the entire family. If you are facing divorce or have other family law needs, the DiPietro legal team is here to help.
Contact our family law attorneys online today or call (888) 530-4374 to schedule a consultation with a caring professional.