Dealing With Your Ex And Your Divorce
- 1. Dealing With An Ex Who Is Difficult
- 2. Dealing With An Ex After Divorce
- 3. Dealing With An Ex When They Move On
- 4. Setting Boundaries With An Ex After Divorce
- 5. Healthy Relationships With Your Ex And Your Kids
- 6. Dealing With An Ex Who Is A Narcissist
The best thing you and your soon-to-be-ex can do is reach an agreement about your divorce in order to get a cheap, easy, uncontested divorce that you can do online for a few hundred bucks.
However, if your ex is a nightmare, you could end up spending a fortune going back and forward with lawyers before you can get them to eventually sign. Then, even when you do reach an agreement, you can end up returning to the courts time and time again because they are not sticking to the terms of your divorce.
You cannot change them, but what you can do is change how you deal with them to better manage them and minimize the impact they have on you as you move forward without them.
Dealing With An Ex Who Is Difficult
All too often couples experience the same conflicts with their ex that originally led to divorce. The constant arguments, reactive behavior leading to emotional upsets, old patterns of dependency and the barrage of destructive barbs aimed at destroying self-esteem and deepening raw hurts. To truly be divorced you must put forth great effort and build inner resilience that will help you as you sever your connections to your ex. Then you must design your new life in a way that will facilitate that new relationship.
Perhaps in the future, when you have cut all the psychological ties to your ex that held you back and prevented you from creating a new life for yourself, you may be able to ease these rules. But not yet and not now. The past is in the past and you must move on and let go of these behaviors as they will not serve you well going forward.
My Ex Wants To Keep Fighting
If your ex wants to keep the fight going, understand that they are only doing this to provoke a reaction from you. If you react then you must care and then they must still be able to influence or control you in some way. Your marriage has taught you that your ex will seldom behave in the way you wish and you will never change their behavior – so why think divorce will be any different?
The only way to break this cycle is to change the rules. You don't need to care, so don't. You don't need to respond, so don't. You don't need to react, so don't. You don't need to listen to their opinions on you and how you live your life, so don't. And if they cross the line and are threatening or abusive then call the police – that's their job.
Break free of that cycle and it will have no power over you.
My Ex Wants Me To Be Responsible For Them
The stress of divorce, the massive changes, insecurity and uncertainty, can make your ex behave in an immature, childish manner. But that's not your problem – it's theirs. The days of you taking care of them and looking after them are over. You are not their parent. They may want you to fall into this role and take responsibility for them, but that's not a game you are going to play. Your responsibility is to yourself and any children you have.
My Ex Won't Let It Go
If you are trying to cope with an ex who just won't let it lie then you have our sympathies because that is exhausting! As the more sensible ex, you can feel trapped in a surreal life largely not of your own making. It is clear this person has nothing better to do with their time than to make your life hell.
A great injustice has befallen them and they won't stop until everyone on Earth know that it was YOU in the wrong, not them! (Sigh!) Of course in doing so they show everyone what a nightmare they must have been to live with and totally get why you had to divorce them.
My Ex Is Playing The Victim
The danger is that while they are playing the victim card, they can have a negative impact on your shared relationships and responsibilities, in particular, your children. Not only will they be causing great emotional and psychological distress to your children whilst on this crusade, but they might start introducing narratives of how you are an unfit parent, the children should not be left with you and you are in some way a shady character.
If your ex wants to play this game then you need to act fast. You need to get your lawyer to assert your rights and have as much as you can documented before their story can take hold. You cannot add fuel to the fire by confronting them as they will be desperately looking for any sort of evidence they can to prove what an awful person you are.
Be calm, stick to the facts, don't get caught up in ‘he said, she said' remember people love a drama and your divorce is great gossip. Simply state that it is a shame things turned out the way they have, you know they are very upset but you hope in time you can both move on and find happiness and that your priority right now is caring for your children. As long as you are being the sensible one, it will show them up as the not-so-sensible one and help to discredit any accusations they make against you.
Dealing With An Ex After Divorce
After divorce, you may be able to walk away and never see that person ever again. You may have to have some contact with them over division of assets. But if you have children together then this person is going to be in your life forever and you are going to have to deal with them in a healthy way.
Dealing With An Ex For The Sake Of Your Children
Communicating and dealing with your ex after divorce is a given when you have children together. But how do you handle this new relationship with your ex without slipping back into the same old habits of interacting with each other?
You have to learn to build a new relationship and that's not easy and may indeed take some time. This person is no longer your spouse, but solely the mother or father of your child and disrespecting them is the same as disrespecting your child. You have to let go of your own ego and hurt for their sake.
Dealing With An Ex As You Move On
Your divorce decree is only one step in moving into a new life following divorce. It's no more than paperwork as the real divorce happens when you are able to cut the psychological, mental and physical ties that still bind you to your ex.
Acceptance of the situation is key. Whether you wanted the divorce or your ex did, you have to accept you are now divorced and that this person is no longer your spouse. You have to discover who you are as a single person and rebuild your confidence after all the emotional turmoil you have been through.
Once that process is complete, you can deal with your ex as you would anyone else. You can even have a friendly relationship if that is possible, but your feelings are not invested in what that person says or does. You are independent and if they cannot accept that then you increase the distance between you until they do get it.
You cannot be their strength and stay, emotional punch-bag, life-coach, bank and they cannot be yours. You are no longer married and that dynamic is not appropriate. You do not want to regress to these behaviors as it will only cause you pain and suffering. Learn to handle life yourself and reach out to your friends and family when you need support, not them or theirs.
You are not a wife or husband to that person any longer so do not exhibit any behavior that mimics that role. All too often we continue to act or relate to our exes as though we are still in that relationship. Don't do it. If they need support or someone to talk to about personal issues, they need to contact a friend and not rely on you. You aren't there to assist them as you did when you had been their spouse. You are not their partner anymore and not their friend either, at least not in the immediate aftermath.
You will be much more successful in healing yourself and moving on if you have established boundaries and created an atmosphere that keeps you physically and mentally separate from your ex. The work of healing your emotional wounds and of learning acceptance and forgiveness for yourself demands all your attention. No longer squander your time on your ex after divorce. It's all about you right now, and you have an exciting and wonderful future in front of you.
Dealing With An Ex When They Move On
It's one thing you moving on, but what when your ex moves on before you are ready for them to? Whether infidelity was part of the reason you divorced or whether this is a new relationship entirely, seeing your spouse with someone who is not you will be tough.
How to deal with your ex-husband and his girlfriend? How to cope seeing you ex-wife in the arms of another man? How to handle someone else in what used to be your bed and your home? There's no escaping the emotions you will feel the first time it happens, no matter your feelings towards your ex. It's odd and it will take time for you to get used to, but you will.
Cutting The Emotional Ties To Your Ex
Fundamentally it's all about cutting the emotional ties to your spouse and accepting that your marriage really is over. Divorce may be entirely your idea, your wish and you are happy that it has happened, but detaching from your spouse completely is a process that will take as long as it needs to take until you finally have that closure.
The process of acknowledging that the marriage is over with no hope or wish for it to continue is the path to acceptance. Acceptance allows you to live in a way that grants freedom from the past. It means residing in the present and the future. It takes time and effort but before you can perform this work, you must put in place fresh rules that will lay the groundwork for a completely new relationship with your former spouse. These guidelines are there to protect you from any further pain.
Create a dynamic that will help, not hinder the progress towards true independence. Resist the temptation to stay connected to your ex such as texts to see what they are up to or insisting they come over to pick up something that could easily be posted. You must reclaim your time, your space, your life after divorce and identify yourself as someone other than their ex.
Learn To Be OK With Your Ex's Happiness
This is for your own good.
The last thing you want to be is the kind of person who can only be happy if their ex is unhappy. Basking in your ex's pain when you should be pursuing your own happiness will make you a sad and bitter person. The pain from your divorce will haunt you forever if you cannot let your ex go.
No-one expects you to be delighted if your ex finds love, but for the sake of your own happiness you have to practice being ok with it. Don't let your raw emotions take over. Calm down, get used to the idea, detach yourself from the situation and eventually it won't bother you, at least not as much.
Like it or not, your ex is an independent person who can date whoever they want to. It's not your business. Just as it's not their business who you choose to have a relationship with. But transitioning to that place isn't going to happen overnight and you just need to be patient with yourself and your ex. Ultimately though, you are going to have to learn to be ok with it.
Setting Boundaries With An Ex After Divorce
After a divorce you must create a new an environment that supports you. You must build a new structure that empowers you versus disempowering you. And this means setting boundaries with your ex.
Why You Need To Create A New Environment
If you want to lose weight you clear out all the junk food in your house, grab a friend to join the gym with and encourage each other to keep going. If you want to stop smoking you don't stock up on cigarettes just incase someone drops by and needs one. If you want to save money you don't sign up for new credit cards and arrange a shopping spree with your friends. Why? Because that would be crazy! You need to set up your environment to support your goals otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure.
If you set up your home, finances and life in a way that allows your ex to easily walk back in and assume the role of marital spouse, then don't be surprised when they do that! If you allow your ex to come and go as they please in your house, have an opinion on everything you do and even drop by for a booty call when they're lonely, then they will. By not establishing boundaries you have told them that's ok. So if that's not what you want, stop creating an environment that allows for that to happen.
If you give your ex a key to your house you are saying to them it is ok for you to use this to enter my house whenever you feel like it. Is that what you want? If other people come to your house do they help themselves to the contents of your refrigerator, flick through your mail or grab your tv remote? So why does your ex think they can? It's because you have not said they can't. You've not established new boundaries.
Protecting Your Boundaries
Of course it's not about the tv remote, it's about the fact that they think it's ok to grab your tv remote. They don't respect that this is ‘your' home not ‘our' home. They would not behave like that in someone else's home so it's entirely about the level of comfort they still feel in your relationship that is no longer appropriate.
You need to ask yourself, have they not come to terms with the divorce and are still emotionally attached to you? In which case you are doing them no favors by indulging them. Or are they asserting dominance? Do they think they still view you as ‘theirs' and everything you have is also theirs? Or are they trying to control you in some way? None of this is good and you cannot allow it to become OK. You must challenge this behavior and not find excuses to enable it.
Your ex will either learn to respect your boundaries or will come at you with excuses as to why it's ok. They might just be really, really worried that you cannot possibly cope without them managing every little detail in your life because you are so stupid you will surely fall apart without their wisdom (yeah right). Or if that doesn't work, they will try to worm their way back into your emotions with ‘I can't live without you', ‘maybe we made a mistake' until they get you thinking that maybe you do want them back and once they feel needed they can decide ‘no they don't want to get back after all' and leave you hanging.
If you are not setting the boundaries over what is acceptable and what is not, you are allowing your ex to take advantage of you anytime they want. Don't be a sucker! They haven't changed, they just need something and they know they can get it from you. Remember, they're your ex, they know what buttons to press and remember, they're your ex, you don't want them in your life!
Setting Firm Boundaries With An Ex
In the early days your ex will want to test those boundaries to see what your reaction will be and how much they can get away with. Will you still do favors for them? Can they get you to change your plans? How much leverage will the kids give them? Even though you have a custody agreement in place, can you change it, just this once, to help them out with something?
If your ex is a decent person then maybe you can be flexible because you know favors will be returned. But if you know it's a one-way street and they are taking advantage of you, then you cannot play this game. You will be the one who gets burnt and your kids will suffer through inconsistent parenting by your ex. If you have a plan, stick to the plan. Do not tolerate them being late, not turning up or changing their plans at the last minute. Always have the phrase, ‘that's not really OK with me' ready to fire off. And if it isn't alright with you, speak up and say so.
Healthy Relationships With Your Ex And Your Kids
You and your ex have kids together, therefore you must remain in contact with one another on a regular basis. You know you have to break the cycle of arguing with your ex for the sake of your kids. It's not fair to put them through this misery. You are their parent and your job is to care and support them.
Dealing With Co-Parenting
You need a rational approach to dissolving an old family dynamic and creating a new family dynamic, despite your feelings over the divorce. There is so much at stake with regard to your children that it is worth stepping back and trying to set boundaries in as intelligent a way as possible.
It might not be easy and you have to allow for you and your ex making mistakes when trying to work out what’s the best way forward. The kids are not pawns in this game and you should not be making threats of them never seeing the other parent again because your ex has erred in some way. As a parent, the fear of parental alienation after a divorce is devastating and may force them to act in a way that they wouldn’t normally. If there is a genuine issue over the safety and wellbeing of your child when they are in your ex’s custody then go back to court and deal with it seriously. But do not throw threats around just because you’re mad and want to hurt them. This is your child’s parent. Threatening that relationship devastates them so don’t do it.
If you, your ex and your children are having problems coming to terms with the new family dynamic then you want to make use of family counseling services. It is crucial that you reach a point where your kids feel safe, secure and happy. And it is crucial that you and your ex are able to be the best parents you can, without feeling impeded by the other’s agenda.
You and your ex will co-parent well if you can create a level of consistency between your house and theirs. If one parent is the disciplinarian whereas the other is ‘anything goes’ you are asking for disaster. If there are rules over homework in one house but the other is a fun house you are just causing problems for your kids. If you and your ex can agree on house rules that are the same in both your houses, you will give your kids a level of stability that will help them recover from the divorce.
Dealing With New Relationships
Co-parenting is going OK, but then something changes. You or your ex meet someone new, fall in love and then there’s another person in this dynamic. But hold on, they also have kids from a previous relationship and then you suddenly have this new, blended family to deal with.
You maybe don’t like your ex’s new partner and don’t want them around your kids or perhaps your kids think they are wonderful and you’re struggling to deal with that. The kids of your new flame may hate you and resent you for stopping their mom and dad getting back together. Your kids have these other kids to deal with. Maybe they all get along and they really love and value having step-siblings or maybe they don’t. Maybe one of the new kids is mean to one of your kids and this causes you to lose it.
The most important people in this situation are the kids. The adults need to check their own egos at the door and focus on ensuring the kids feel safe, secure and loved. That means things move at their pace and in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Carefully managed, kids will soon get used to the idea and come around to the new person in their parent’s life.
You have to lead by example. You don’t have to be best friends with this person but you must be polite, courteous and not bitch about them in front of the kids. Give them the opportunity to earn your trust. Agree with your ex that they have to display appropriate behavior around your kids. Your kids shouldn’t be hearing bad language or see someone get drunk and straddle their parent when their parent should be spending quality time with them.
Ensure that there are healthy boundaries. This person has to respect the rules you and your ex have set out for the kids. If the rule is no candy after dinner then they can’t be sneaking them candy after dinner in an attempt to get the kids to like them. Certain things such as bathing your children are completely out of the question. Also, it’s not their job to discipline your child, it’s your ex’s and you have to be clear about that and all other rules with your ex prior to any meeting with a new partner.
With the adults putting boundaries in place it should make things easier for the kids as they try to cope with this new relationship. That said you need to realize that your children may not be angels. They may be struggling to come to terms with this new person ‘stealing’ their parent from them and may play up, act rudely or play you off against them to try and bring their parents back together again – think The Parent Trap.
Listen intently to what your children are telling you. Put them first. Give them the love, support and security they need to cope with your divorce and the changes that follow. If your ex can do the same then your children will really benefit, but if they won’t, all you can do is ensure you are giving your children what they need. As they get older they can judge their other parent’s behavior for themselves, but that’s not a fire you should be fueling. Your only focus is doing what is best for them.
Dealing With An Ex Who Is A Narcissist
And you can swap out narcissist for any expletive you choose!
There is a reason why this person is your ex and no matter how reasonable you are or easy you make things for them, they are still going to behave like a moron because that’s just who they are. They will argue the sky is green just because you said it was blue. They are a total nightmare and God help the next person who ends up with them!
Yet, you still have to deal with them – ARGH!
You must always keep in mind this person wants your attention, they want to drive you crazy, they want to keep you hanging around waiting on them, they don’t respect you. You have to devise a strategy to get what you need from them without them realizing they are being helpful. Allow them to ‘be the hero’ through your gritted teeth for the sake of getting things done so you can move on without them.
Ensure that you are keeping communication to an absolute minimum. Only contact them for things that are absolutely necessary such as the kids or legal matters. But do not send messages through the children. Keep them out of it. Be respectful in your communications but if they start to speak to you in inappropriate ways, stop the conversation and hang up or perhaps walk away. Your ex will eventually understand that these are the rules. You will talk with each other in courteous way and you will not tolerate anything else or the conversation is over.
Keep your conversations highly impersonal and to the point. Protect your own privacy. Do not discuss your fears, concerns or any personal issues with them because that just maintains the emotional tie between the two of you. Don’t talk about anything that opens the door to any mind games, emotional blackmail or psychological entanglements. Maintain it business-like.
Remember they are trying to suck you into their narcissistic fantasy world, where they are either the victim or the martyr and you are their aggressor. They need you to feed their ego and make them feel special. The fact that you are now divorced and no longer consider them to be the center of the universe makes them resents you. Don’t fall for any of these games.
You are finally divorced from your narcissist and no longer do you have to endure the day-to-day abuse, the passive aggressive mind games, or perhaps the constant attempts to make you look like the bad guy. Letting go of a narcissist is tricky. The narcissist is completely self-centered and self-serving but incredibly charming. They need to be right, they need to be admired by others whilst behind closed doors will criticize you for not meeting their standards. The narcissist may undermine you with your close friends and even with your children, all the while looking sincere and generating good will among the community.
But you don’t need to care. You divorced them. You don’t need to pretend to be sincere, because you are sincere. People eventually see through narcissists because they are not authentic, you are. If anyone wants to believe you are the devil incarnate and this person is wonderful, then let them. You don’t need them in your life and they need to learn a life lesson that your ex will only be too glad to teach them!
Keep things straightforward, simple and to the point. When they learn that they are not going to get any attention from you, they will stop looking for it from you and move onto the next person. Get what you need and get out in the quickest time possible!
Do not feed the pigeons!
Doing Your Difficult Ex A Favor
In divorce disagreements cost money. The cheapest way to get divorced is to come to an agreement between yourselves and get an online divorce for a few hundred bucks. If you need help sorting out some difficult family arrangements then a mediated divorce can be arranged for under £1000. If you need legal agreements in place you we can help you find an affordable divorce attorney in your area.
All these things will save your difficult ex thousands of dollars so make sure you tell them what a huge favor you are doing being so reasonable and by continuing to be such an …. annoyance, they are costing money that they could be spending on themselves!