Coping With Your Ex-Partner

Submitted By Benjamin Yates:

The first stage

Dealing with your ex-partner is one of the hardest parts of divorcing or separating, how do you do it?

Seeing or talking to your ex-partner may bring out negative emotions such as anger, remorse, pain or guilt.

You may have to deal with your ex at various stages: at the point of separation; as the divorce goes through; and in the longer term.

During the first stage, you may feel numb. This is not the best time to think rationally. Wait until the pain and hurt subsides before making important decisions about the future.

The second stage

During the second stage, you may have to:

  • settle finances and the home
  • divide the assets
  • co-parent the children
  • maintain contacts with family and friends

The long term

In the long-term, you may find you:

  • remain on good terms
  • cannot deal with each other at first then become friends again later
  • stay in contact but remain hostile to each other
  • communicate ONLY through lawyers or third parties
  • break right away and have no further contact.

Different people and situations mean different choices ‘ decide what is right for you.

Dealing with your emotions

Identify your emotions and deal with them yourself, or through friends or a counsellor ‘ don’t focus your anger and disappointment on to your ex. Don’t continue manipulative or destructive patterns from the marriage, or relationship, such as sulking, sneering, shouting, crying, pleading. Make a new start ‘ communicate as an independent adult. ‘Assertive’ doesn’t mean demanding, bullying, or aggressive ‘ it is telling the other clearly, confidently and firmly what you need, or want. If they get upset or angry, try to stay calm. You may worry about your ex, but try not to interfere in their new life.

Think about your ex’s needs and feelings ‘ for instance, you may want to talk over what went wrong but they may not wish to. Resist the urge to constantly visit. If you can, staying on polite terms, it is easier for both of you, for your friends, family and for the children. If your ex left you for someone else, or has found a new partner since, don’t bury your jealously ‘ face up to it and overcome it.

If dealing with your ex is too stressful, speak to a trained counsellor or therapist.

Your Questions Answered

How do I stop my ex from coming to the house?

Be firm and assertive. Don’t accept weak excuses. Offer to post items that your ex has ‘forgotten’. Insist on meeting away from your home. Don’t invite your ex to come indoors.

How do I control my emotions in front of my ex?

Don’t dwell on your hurt or guilt before meetings. Meet in a semi public place, such as a park or a pub. At the first sign of anger, recrimination, accusation or emotional blackmail make to leave. Use control techniques such as deep breathing or counting to ten before speaking.

Why does my ex keep phoning me?

Your ex doesn’t want to let go or can’t accept that it’s really over. Help them, by being firm and calm. Don’t try to be too kind, don’t become emotional and be prepared to ring off if they prolong a call. In extreme cases, change you number and make it ex-directory.

How will my ex manage without me?

Perfectly well eventually. Accept your ex is an independent adult. You are nobody’s crutch. In the long-term, encouraging their independence will probably be your best gift to your ex.

Next steps

  • Stop making demands.
  • Don’t hang on.
  • Fight your jealousy
  • Work at being friends in the long-term.
  • Seek counselling help if you need to.

Need to know

  • don’t transfer feelings on to your ex
  • adopt new styles of communication
  • be assertive and calm
  • don’t act out of guilt
  • meet on neutral ground such as a park, pub, cafe or a neutral friend’s home.

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