A divorce is one of the most difficult things you will go through in your life. Ending a marriage and saying goodbye to the person you vowed to spend the rest of your life with isn’t easy. When most people get divorced, their feelings go from sadness to anger several times a day. If you and your spouse have children together, it can make the whole situation even more difficult.
If your spouse is doing everything possible to make the divorce difficult, it is up to you to know how to handle it. You cannot control what your soon-to-be-ex does and says, but you can control how you react. There are a few tips that you should follow so you know how to deal with a difficult spouse during divorce without losing your mind.
#1 Keep Conversations As Impersonal As Possible
Now that you have decided to get divorced, there is no point in hashing your problems out every time you speak to your soon-to-be-ex. If you need to communicate, texting or email are the best options. Not only will this avoid a conversation that you don’t want to deal with, but your children won’t be able to hear the two of you arguing.
If there is no way around a face-to-face meeting, stick to business only. If you let your anger or sadness get to you, it will come out during the meeting, and nothing will ever get accomplished.
Whether it is through text, email, or in person, all conversations should be business only and as impersonal as possible.
#2 Create a Script For Negotiation Meetings
If you have to sit down with your ex to negotiate the terms of the divorce, whether on the phone, with a mediator, or in private, take some time first to write down some thoughts. It should contain what you do want to say and what you don’t. If you stick to your script, there is less chance that the conversation will turn into another fight. The only way you are going to be able to handle pressing matters is to avoid arguing. If you have a script in front of you, it will be easier to avoid a fight.
#3 Try To Find Common Ground
Compromise can be difficult when you are going through a divorce. When you are hurt or angry, your instinct will be to lash out at your soon-to-be ex-spouse and make things as difficult for them as possible. This is a mistake. The only thing that this will accomplish is stalling the divorce proceedings, and it will take even longer for you to be able to move on with your life.
It will be best for you if you can try to find common ground with your spouse so that you can iron out the details of the divorce as quickly as possible.
#4 Watch What You Say In Front Of Your Children
As difficult as your divorce is for you, it will be much harder on your children. Your children had both parents in the home one day, and suddenly their lives are turned upside down, going back and forth from your house to your soon-to-be ex’s house. They will be very fragile for a while, and it is up to you to make sure that they know as little as possible.
As mentioned earlier, it is best to communicate with your spouse through email or text, so the children don’t need to hear you fight. When talking to friends or family members regarding the divorce, make sure that your children can’t hear you. The last thing you want is for them to hear you talking about their parent. This will only cause your children to become angry or confused.
#5 NEVER Ask Your Children To Take Sides
The biggest mistake you can make with your children during a divorce is to ask your children to take sides. This is unhealthy for everyone. It is essential that you and your soon-to-be-ex don’t expect this from them. When you are negotiating the details of the divorce, it is important that you let your spouse know that you are not going to force the kids to take sides and ask your spouse to do the same. Make sure they understand that you aren’t making this request for yourself; you are doing it for the kids.
#6 Lean On Your Friends and Family Members, And Not Your Soon-To-Be Ex
When you have a bad day or something unrelated to the divorce is bothering you, don’t turn to your soon-to-be-ex for advice or comfort. If you were married for a while, you might want to turn to them out of habit, but it is a mistake. This will only cause confusion, and it can make the divorce that much more difficult. It is essential that you understand that your spouse is no longer your go-to person. If you need advice or help, break the habit and seek comfort or advice from someone else.
#7 Understand That Being Willing To Compromise Isn’t a Sign Of Weakness
The easiest and least painful divorces are those where the couple is willing to compromise. It is not uncommon to want to show that you are strong when dealing with your soon-to-be-ex. The last thing you want is for them to walk all over you. However, you should understand that being willing to compromise isn’t a sign of weakness. You don’t need to make every conversation confrontational. You should definitely keep your guard up but be willing to compromise. This isn’t a sign of weakness; it is a sign of maturity.
#8 Limit Your Availability
If you are not around to be attacked, berated, or criticized by your soon-to-be-ex, the attacks cannot happen. The best way to avoid this is to limit your availability. The best way to do this is to set boundaries from the very beginning. Let your soon-to-be-ex know that your conversations will be limited to discussions to keep the divorce on schedule and about co-parenting your children. Make sure they understand that things have changed from the very beginning, and you expect them to respect the boundaries you have set for yourself. If your spouse doesn’t respect your boundaries, it is up to you to stick to them. For example, if your spouse asks to meet you for dinner to discuss the divorce, you should suggest doing it during your next mediation appointment. If you are trying to negotiate the divorce among yourselves, tell your ex to email you with their thoughts. If you start going to dinner with your ex, it will just create confusion.
#9 Work Toward Forgiveness
If your spouse hurt you terribly during the marriage, the last thing you want is to forgive them; however, trying to forgive will benefit everyone involved. Rather than lashing out during the divorce and trying to take them for everything they have, things will be more amicable.
Forgiveness is never easy; if necessary, seek counseling.
#10 Control Your Reactions
You cannot stop your ex from calling or texting to start a fight. If you are in mediation, you cannot stop them from lashing out at you. You can, however, control how you react. When your ex starts a fight with you, they are doing so, hoping that you will fight back. This won’t get you anywhere. The best thing that you can do is control the way you react. If your ex starts yelling on the phone, ask them to call you back when they aren’t so angry and hang up the phone. Now that you are getting a divorce, it isn’t your responsibility to fix things. Even if your ex cannot behave positively, you can.
#11 Document Everything
When it is time to go to court, most divorces turn into he-said, she-said situations. The best thing you can do from the day you decide you want a divorce is to document everything. Try to communicate through text or email so that you will have records of every conversation. This will give you the evidence that you need later when your spouse makes accusations or denies saying certain things.
You should also keep a clear record of the time your spouse spends with your children. If they are late picking up or dropping off, write it down. If they cancel their visit or don’t allow yours, make sure that it is documented. All of the information can help you greatly when it is time to go to mediation or in front of a judge. Documenting everything is especially important if your spouse is being vindictive.
Divorce is never easy, and if your soon-to-be-ex is being difficult, it will just make the whole process even worse. If your spouse cannot be the mature one, you need to. Don’t engage with them unless absolutely necessary, and if they start to argue, shut it down immediately. Even if this means walking out of a meeting, do it. Yelling, arguing, and blame won’t make things any easier.
Your main concern should be yourself and your children. Dealing with a difficult spouse during a divorce is never easy, but if you follow the tips listed above, you can protect yourself and your children