You’ve been through the divorce process, the paperwork is signed and it’s final. Time to move forward and put all that behind you, right? Not always! If your ex hasn’t been able to navigate the divorce in an emotionally healthy manner you may see a continuation of conflict long after the divorce is final.
An unreasonable ex-spouse, if intent, can cause life for you and your children to be miserable. Child visitation, child support, and following divorce decree orders are just a few tools at your ex’s disposal when it comes to prolonging conflict after divorce.
You may be unable to control their behavior but you can control your response to the behavior. Taking a proactive stance when dealing with an unreasonable ex will lessen the stress brought on by any irrational manipulations.
How to Protect Yourself From an Unreasonable Ex:
Don’t engage in the conflict.
Engaging in the conflict only feeds the conflict. If demands are made and you defend yourself, you are playing the game and should expect an escalation of the conflict. If you receive nasty emails, threats of “taking the children away,” or anything that causes you concern and stress, don’t respond.
No response from you will stop your ex in their tracks. If they have no one to play with, the game is over.
Don’t give in out of fear.
No one knows you better than your ex. That gives them ammunition to use against you. They know your weaknesses and fears and will push those buttons in an attempt to get what they want. There is no more powerful tool at their disposal when it comes to controlling you than your own fears.
Here is one way to view the situation when they do something that causes you fear. Their manipulations and attempts to control you by causing anxiety in you are a reflection of just how afraid they are of you.
Don’t allow THEIR fear to get the best of you and derail your ability to rebuild your life after divorce.
Don’t concern yourself with what is said.
Words can wound and you can expect an unreasonable ex to use their words. They will tell anyone who will listen negative things about your character and behaviors. It is only human to want to defend yourself when lies are being spread but, it won’t put a stop to the lies. And, lashing out certainly won’t make you look like the reasonable of the two of you.
The most effective response you can give to an ex who vilifies and maligns you to others is compassion. Mean people are hurting people. The anger your ex displays toward you is an indication of how much pain they are in. Showing compassion instead of striking back enables you to rise above THEIR pain and regain power in your life.
Don’t give in to guilt.
If the divorce was your idea you may feel quite a bit of guilt and angst over your decision. If, however, your decision to divorce was in your best interest you don’t want to allow those feelings of guilt to hold you back from moving forward.
It isn’t easy to hear how a decision you made hurt another person. Your ex can easily draw you into their pain by expressing the negative impact your decision had on them, how “nothing will ever be OK again.” An ex who brings their pain to you isn’t attempting to gain sympathy, they are attempting to cause you to feel the same pain they feel. You hurt them, they want you to hurt!
Guilt is the result of not doing something instead of doing something wrong. If you put a full-faith attempt in saving your marriage before deciding to divorce, you’ve done nothing wrong. You have nothing to feel guilty about!
Show your ex compassion, once again, but don’t give in to feelings of guilt or shame because you aren’t responsible for their pain.
The main focus of an unreasonable ex is to keep you engaged in a relationship that has legally ended. To disengage and move on with your life you will need to recognize certain behaviors for what they are, attempts to pull you back into a relationship you’ve already decided was not right for you.
FAQs About An Unreasonable Ex:
Why does my ex continue to create conflict even after divorce?
Your ex continues to create conflict even after divorce because he has not been able to handle his divorce emotionally. Men struggle with accepting divorce and moving on in a healthy manner.
Can my ex make my life miserable after divorce?
Your ex can make life miserable for you and your children even after divorce. Many former spouses use litigation over child support, visitation and other trivial matters to make your life miserable.
How do I avoid conflict with my ex?
Remain calm, don’t react, and be brief with your ex if you want to avoid conflict. If your ex is successful in making you react and argue with him, consider yourself drawn into his trap. If you refuse to play the game, there will be nothing for him to pester you anymore. If he persists with his games, consider involving a third party for communication on your behalf or your legal options.
Why does my ex still cause fear in me?
Restrict direct communication, consider legal options, and get help from family and friends to talk to him on your behalf, if he is still out to manipulate and control you. Don’t panic and don’t let him stop you from rebuilding your life after divorce.
What to do when your ex spreads lies about you?
If your ex is spreading lies about you, it means he is angry, frustrated and in pain after divorce. Don’t lose your calm and be compassionate about it.
Why does my ex always express pain over divorce?
Your ex is not trying to gain sympathy when keeps on talking to you about how much pain he feels over divorce, he is doing it because he wants you to feel the same pain.
Should I feel guilt over ending my divorce?
You should not feel guilt over saving your life by ending your divorce. Guilt should be felt when you do something wrong—not when you are trying to have a better future.