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How to minimize the negative effects of a difficult ex

Divorce is difficult enough when both spouses are on the same page and agree on how the marriage should be ended. Too often, divorce is caused by domestic violence, infidelity or financial struggles that you do not foresee when you say your vows.

If you have children together, it will not matter if you are married or divorced: You will be forced to interact for the rest of your lives. This makes it extremely important that you learn to co-exist peacefully and get along for the sake of your children. Throughout your marriage, you have likely learned that you cannot control another person's actions, so how do you handle an ex that is negative and destructive to you?

Focus on where you agree

If you are working on a co-parenting plan or determining how to raise your children, then you probably agree on some things. Focus on the things you agree on rather than those you disagree on. Start with those details, and move on to the rest once you have established common ground with your ex.

Never make your children choose

Your children love both of you. They do not want to have to choose who to live with, where they spend their free time or which parent they love the most. Too often parents get caught in a cycle of bad-mouthing the ex in front of the kids, which can be very upsetting to them. Never use your children as a pawn against your ex or put them in the middle of an argument. If you do not allow your ex to control you through your children, you take power back in the situation.

Stay on topic when you meet

If you are meeting to discuss issues of parenting, do not go off on a tangent about all the things your spouse did wrong when you were together. Now is not the time to air your dirty laundry and get all your hurt feelings out about the things that went wrong in your relationship.

Deal with your own anger

Your ex may use your hurt feelings and anger to control you as much as possible. The sooner you put those feelings to rest, the more control you have over the relationship. Work on your own anger, betrayal and hurt through whatever means you choose to approach your ex calmly and without emotion.

When it will not stop

If you are dealing with a difficult divorce from an angry ex and want to make sure you and your children are protected, we encourage you to contact an attorney immediately to aid you and protect your rights throughout the divorce process.

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