HOW TO MANAGE YOUR ANTAGONISTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH AN EX?

Ugly divorces have a tendency to create ugly ex spouses for a variety of reasons and everyone involved ends up suffering. Sadly the ones who suffer the most are the kids who become the pawns in the battle to inflict pain where it really hurts the most.

When you have lived with someone for a number of years you get a pretty good idea of how to push each others buttons, add to the mix the anger and resentment that builds throughout the divorce process and you have the perfect mix to create hell in each others lives. At the time it sure feels like you just want to rip their heart out but perhaps its’ time for you to consider a much sweeter revenge.

This involves doing what might seem to be completely counter intuitive, and not necessarily easy, however if what you are doing now isn’t working then it’s time to do something different to avoid arousing more animosity or hostility.

We often fall in a pattern in the way we interact with our ex partners which often leads to things just going around and around in circles and consistently ending up with both parties feeling angry and resentful.

Here are a few strategies for you to consider implementing to interrupt the pattern you have been running and keep in mind that the only person you have any control over is yourself. If you need to kick the cat, yell and scream, call him every name in the book you can think of then go for it when you get home, slam doors or whatever it is you need to do and then let it go.

  • For your kids sake and for your own well-being more than anything else it’s important to learn to keep the emotion out of the conversation and focus only the outcome
  • Treat this relationship as you would with a business associate or the bank manager
  • Email to make an appointment to discuss a particular issue.
  • Always keep in mind the bigger picture, set an intention before you go so you know exactly what you want to achieve and stick to the agenda
  • Meet in a neutral location where other people are around to better help manage thing getting out of control
  • If things look like getting ugly, quietly get up and leave.
  • Phone calls and text messages need to be managed. The meaning behind text messages has the potential to be completely misconstrued.
  • If your kids come home with stories about something that is causing you or them some concern, once again detail the information in an email and ask for verification without making accusations. And ask your ex for help to resolve the situation stating that you want an outcome that is in the best interest of the kids – (remember too that kids can be very manipulative and play both sides so getting the facts around a situation is important)
  • There are going to be social occasions involving your children where both parents will be required to attend and being polite and friendly at all times is important – THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU!
  • Coming to some agreement around sharing holidays is not always easy given work schedules and other commitments – do your best to make them as workable as possible and if you are going to be   on your own make some arrangements so you make the most of the break rather than feeling lost and lonely without the kids around especially at times like Christmas.

If you are reading this and thinking what the hell, there is no way my ex would agree to this.  I get that, stand your ground, give it a go and see what happens. Taking the emotion out of any interaction that might involve conflict keeps things on a very level playing field and with an agenda and an outcome that needs to be reached you are training yourself and your ex on what to expect with all future communications.

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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