Once I realized that I could not control my ex in any way, shape or form but I could control myself I found peace with our history and the future.
Marital spats that turn into domestic war games are one of the rationales used in determining that divorce is the answer. It would seem logical that a divorce would stop the insatiable fighting, right?
As it turns out the fighting will usually continue long after the divorce, which is not only annoying but also exhausting! What is more annoying is there is some sort of twisted idea that no matter the marital status, or lack thereof, between the two of you, determines that winning an argument is an accomplishment.
No one wins a fight. Doesn’t matter who has the last word, the better argument or smoking gun evidence. No one emerges from a quarrel being of higher value, smarter or superior to the other. The result is not an ending but a link to the next post-marital duel – a never-ending drama that even Shonda Rhymes would not be clever enough to create.
There may be a misunderstanding that every fight produces at least one winner and one loser; however, as it turns out every post-divorce domestic dispute produces more losers than winners and the kidlets feel that backlash more than you immediately recognize.
So, what do you do when the ex wants to pull the boxing gloves on and climb into the ring with you? Do you simply bow out and take one for the team? Do you make like a doormat allowing your ex long-term partner to walk all over you? Do you knock yourself out and give them the non-existent “win”?
Never do yourself the disservice of playing possum to your Ex. Rather than going toe to toe with a foe that is overly concerned with winning take yourself to a higher level and defeat them once and for all. (Yes, I just contradicted myself and you will understand why here, shortly.)
Let’s count down the ways to disarm your irrational ex and win every time.
6. Check your emotions regardless of theirs. It’s programmed that fights get emotional – that’s what makes them fights. What you may not realize is that your opponent knows that once you have lost your mind you are more willing to submit to their demands and opinions by just giving up. Once you lose your temper you “lose”. Control yourself and you will take away the power you have given them over you.
5. Don’t name call. This is how those tempers flare up! If you don’t have feelings for the ex then what does their opinion of you matter? Let them show their character by spewing nasty names of nonsense your way. If you don’t believe the names they use then they shouldn’t bother you.
4. Keep the opinions of others and family out of it! This means if your brother doesn’t care for the former spouse you don’t need to bring it up. If the fight is regarding family members then there shouldn’t be a fight because you and your ex cannot control others, no matter how much you want to. So, if the ex is coming in hot in your direction because of another family member hose the situation down before it starts. No point in discussing, much less fighting, over that which you can’t control.
3. Evaluate your expectations. There is no doubt that conversations are inevitable with the ex because of the children. Being married you likely had expectations of your spouse and usually, those expectations were in your favor. That should be one of the first things you let go of once you are divorced. If things didn’t go your way while married what do you think the chances are they will once split? Don’t go into any type of communication with your ex expecting they will, all of a sudden, see things your way now that you are detached. Be open minded that you will continue to not appreciate what your former lover has to say and accept it – after all, you can’t control them, only you.
2. Do not recruit alliances. It is tempting to start recruiting in the name of your army. Let’s agree that nothing says “get defensive” like, “Well, your sister agrees with me.” Let’s be honest, you are not building alliances and armies because you have a good point or a strong argument, rather, you are attempting to overpower your ex with former friends and family members that they have enjoyed. You’re being a jackass, quite honestly. And likely, you gave a story that made it easy to take your side, which is hardly a tactic of integrity during conflicts. It’s not as though you are going to change the mind of your ex by building up your forces, which you can’t use anyway. If you are going to engage with your ex, do it with respect for yourself.
1. Do not include the kids. Remember, the kids didn’t ask for any part of the divorce let alone the marriage. You and your ex brought them into it and therefore it is your job to keep them protected from the negative and volatile emotions you and your ex have for one another. As if that wasn’t enough, you really should be fostering relationships with your ex providing they have the ability to be a parent that tries to do the best they can. Being a parent and being a partner are two entirely different roles. Maybe your ex sucked at being your partner that doesn’t, necessarily, default them as a lousy parent. Before you extend your opinion to your impressionable children ask yourself if you are speaking as an ex or a parent.
You won’t hear me tell you, or anyone else, that these are easy things to remember. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t struggle to bite my tongue when I became the most defensive. Once I realized that I could not control my ex in any way, shape or form but I could control myself I found peace with our history and the future. Sure, there are those in the family that “side” with him or see his perspective and that is fine. We all need to have that support system but we choose our support system. I chose the ones that supported my development, not my problems. Who did you choose for you; since you can’t choose for your ex?