Tips for Dealing With Difficult Exes

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When people with children divorce, they have the illusion that their exes are out of their lives, never to influence them again. They soon find themselves mistaken.

Some are mystified by how much influence their ex spouses have over their lives. After all, they got a divorce to remove the other person from their lives. Transitioning into a co-parenting relationship is difficult, especially if one of the parents is uncooperative. Here are some tips to help you define your relationship with your ex.

  1. Define the co-parenting relationship. Write down your perception of what the mutual expectations of the children should be, such as expectations of academic performance and of personal hygiene.
  2. Schedule a meeting with your ex in a neutral environment, such as a coffee shop. Discuss your expectations, negotiate differences, and agree to disagree on whatever you are unable to negotiate.
  3. Stick to the subject. If your ex is not done grieving the loss of your marriage, you may encounter a lot of anger, resentment towards you and your present spouse, and resistance to co-parenting.
  4. End conversations politely but firmly when your ex refuses to stay on the parenting at hand.
  5. Acknowledge the parental importance of your ex to both your ex him/herself, and to your children. Reinforce his/her unshakeable role and meaning in the children’s lives.
  6. Express gratitude for his/her love and parenting of the children.
  7. Even though your present spouse may be involved in most of the decisions in your household, do not ‘rub it in’ to your ex’s face, especially if he/she is still having a hard time accepting your divorce. It’s your private matter.

As always, remember the above tips will help you do what is in the best interest of your children.

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