I hate my ex! Strong words, honest feelings. As you are going through the divorce process and even when it is over, you can be left with some very intense feelings. While this is all perfectly natural, and can even be expected, hating your ex can have a terrible impact on your psychological well-being. And, too often children get caught in the crossfire of the rage and anger, and wind up hurt themselves.
I have helped clients through the drama of the divorce process and helped them transition into their post-divorce lives. You will experience a myriad of emotions and will be very relieved when it is over. As you take small steps forward you will start to feel better.
However, these feelings may resurface if you are a parent. After all, you will need to work with your ex to now co-parent with your children. This can be especially hard because, well…there are reasons you are divorced, and yet you still have to work together.
What these problems may look like:
- My ex is bitter now that I am getting remarried.
- My ex only communicates with me through the children.
- My ex never spends time with our children.
- My ex is suing me for more money.
- My ex loves his new children more than ours.
- My ex did not send my child support payment.
- My ex says mean things about me to our children.
- My ex never brings the children to my home on time.
Yes, each of these scenarios may seem all too familiar to your life. And I am sure you want to stop the drama…now. But, it takes two to tango, which in this case means your ex will also need to learn to be nice. You can lead by example in this situation by only allowing yourself to take the high road. What this can look like:
- Send simple emails to your ex with schedules. This may take some coordination on your part and you may have to be organized a few weeks in advance. This allows your ex to know the schedule and it will not have to go through the children.
- Make sure you are the one who tells your ex any big news. For instance, if you are getting remarried, communicate this, even if only through an email or text. This way they hear it from you and do not react for the first time in front of the kids.
- Communication is key, so make sure to implement a system of keeping your ex up-to-date with report cards, medical appointments, and extracurricular events that involve your children. This can include soccer games, parent-teacher conferences, and class trips. Being proactive in this manner will show your co-parent that you want to be in touch for the benefit of the children.
This type of communication will not necessary stop your ex from doing certain things. For instance, if your issue is that your ex spends too much time with his/her new children or is suing you for money – kindness may not help there, but at least make sure that you are taking the high road as much as possible. Any issues that you cannot resolve directly with your ex, consider retaining an attorney, to help protect you legally with a written court order.