4 ways to deal with a difficult ex-spouse

Marriage can be all sorts of rewarding, but divorce is often the exact opposite. While marriage comes with its own set of frustrations, divorce is a whole new ball game. This is particularly true when your ex chooses to be difficult rather than working with you on important issues like child custody, child support or alimony. Financial issues are typically touchy after a divorce, and there is little you can do if your ex decides they want to punish you. You can only control the way you act, so the following tips can help you deal with a difficult ex.

1. Keep it professional rather than personal

You have many personal feelings mixed in, but once the marriage is over, it is often more productive to treat your interactions as a professional transaction rather than a personal one. You may do better discussing issues over the phone or through email rather than face to face to avoid conflicts.

2. Identify your own role in the problem

While your ex may be difficult, it is likely that some of your preconceived notions about him or her bleed into your interactions. Do your best to identify your own role in the problem, and stop a former spouse from pushing the buttons that cause you to get emotional quickly. Give in occasionally on something your ex wants to keep things calm.

3. Never use your children as weapons

Your spouse may be doing his or her best to make your life miserable, but chances are good they still love your children. It is easy to use your kids and their emotions as a weapon against the other parent, but it is never good for your children. Try not to bring your kids into the conversation unless you have a legitimate concern about how they are treated.

Your interaction with your children should also never require them to make a choice between two parents. This causes serious negative emotions that can affect them well into adulthood.

4. See a professional

As you are caught up in the cycle of anger, guilt and shame, it is often hard to separate your appropriate feelings from those tied to the disappointment of your divorce. Seeing a professional therapist can help you to weed out what is important and what you need to let go of, and guide you to forgive your ex to minimize his or her control over your feelings.

Get someone in your corner

Divorce is particularly difficult when one party decides to make it harder on the other. If you are going through a divorce, you may benefit from speaking to an attorney immediately.

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