You have probably had enough of dealing with your partner’s drama. You may not like the person you become when you are confronted with the high emotion that causes a conversation to escalate into an argument and an argument to explode into a fight. In fact, now that you have decided your marriage is over, you may be looking forward to the time when you have limited contact with him or her.
Nevertheless, you may have to face the fact that your situation may not completely absolve you of interactions with your high-conflict ex. If you work together, share assets or have children, you may have no choice but to deal with your volatile partner from time to time. Although it may take some practice, there are ways that you can communicate with your ex without losing your dignity.
Protecting your peace of mind
Whether by phone, through emails or texts, or in person, communicating with your ex may feel next to impossible. Your former partner’s overly emotional response may raise your emotions, too, making it difficult to reach an agreement about anything. However, you may want to try some tricks others have learned when dealing with a high-conflict ex, including:
- Stick to the facts. Do not express your feelings, share your emotions, try to offer advice or give a lecture.
- Learn to recognize when your ex is goading you into an argument and accept the fact that it is not worth fighting a battle you will never win.
- Keep all communications with your ex brief and straight to the point.
- Do not hit “send” until you have taken the time to read and revise what you have written.
- Remain unemotional. Never use threats, sarcasm or exaggeration, which includes sending messages in all-caps or with multiple exclamation points.
- State your position and end the conversation instead of replying to your spouse’s emotional responses. Often, the safest rule of thumb is to comply with the court order or to follow your attorney’s advice.
If your marriage has put you in the habit of participating in long, emotional confrontations with your spouse, it may be difficult to break that habit. You may have to speak with a counselor, learn to journal or find another way to deal with the tension your former partner creates. You should also keep your health in mind, since constant conflict can result in dangerous medical issues.
You can also take advantage of other resources, such as speaking with your attorney about your rights in your unique situation. In fact, you may want to obtain information about protective orders or other ways to handle a former spouse who creates unrest in your life.