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How to Deal with a Difficult Ex-Spouse

Divorce can often bring out the worst in people, and disputes can arise in divorce cases out of anger and resentment. However, you do not necessarily have to give into the difficult situations created by a challenging and affronted ex-spouse. While it may feel impossible to navigate the contentious situations that your ex-spouse is creating, you can take steps to deal with your ex by recognizing the elements of his or her high-conflict personality and responding appropriately. Our Illinois divorce lawyers are here to help you, and we can speak with you today about your circumstances. In the meantime, the following are tips for dealing with a difficult ex-spouse during and after your divorce.

Recognize the “Character Traps” in Divorce

According to an article in Psychology Today, the stressors of divorce and other personality factors can lead to certain types of “character traps.” It is important to determine whether your ex-spouse falls into one of these categories as you are navigating the best way to respond to provocations or other difficult behaviors from your ex. Those character traps include the following:

  • “The victim,” who insists that they have been wronged and that you have hurt them;
  • “The control freak,” who continues to act controlling and may engage in gaslighting as the divorce process moves on and even once the divorce is finalized;
  • “The narcissist,” who will continue to show the same narcissistic tendencies once you file for divorce as she or he showed during the marriage; and
  • “The avenger,” who wants to “win” at the divorce at all costs.

Understanding your ex’s personality type, and whether your ex-spouse has a high-conflict personality, can help you to anticipate behavioral tactics and to plan in advance for dealing with them.

Limit Your Interactions With Your Ex

If you share minor children with your ex, completely avoiding any kind of contact or communication may be impossible since you may need to co-parent. Yet as much as you can, it is important to try to avoid interactions with your difficult ex-spouse. If you are not co-parenting and do not share minor children, you may be able to avoid all contact. If you are co-parenting, you can use apps and other forms of electronic communication to limit your interactions and to control when you must access or respond to communications.

Avoid Raising Disputes From the Marriage

When you are communicating or interacting with your ex, it is important to avoid bringing up any disputes that occurred in the marriage if they are not relevant to your divorce case. You will likely increase the tension.

Focus on Yourself and Your Children

You should do everything you can to avoid allowing your ex-spouse to become the focus of your attention during the divorce and after your divorce is finalized. If you share minor children with your ex-spouse, focus on your children and their needs. If you do not have any children with your ex, it is important to recognize that your needs come before his or hers. 

Contact Our Illinois Divorce Lawyers

If you need assistance with your divorce, especially when you are dealing with a difficult ex, an experienced and compassionate Illinois divorce lawyer at our firm can assist you. Contact the Law Office of Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd, today for more information.

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