Do you get frustrated when you see divorce stories in the media that appear to be a happy haze of smiles, speedy and amicably resolved issues, happy coparenting and even mentions of post divorce big family meals to celebrate? Meanwhile, you seem to be experiencing the divorce from hell, with an ex who just won’t cooperate on any of the issues you need to sort out. Although it can sometimes feel like banging your head against a brick wall, there are some ways to try and improve the cooperation so that you can get what you require to move along to a steadier and calmer state of affairs.
If your ex is making a big deal about certain issues, it is probably not because the issue is that important to them, but because they want to wind you up and get a reaction and basically control you in order to get back in the driving seat. If they can get you upset, to rant and scream, cry or talk to everyone in your friends circle, they feel like they have won that little battle. So, one way around this is to be as calm as possible, even if inside you feel like imploding. If they say they will be giving less financial support, just say, “ok, can you give me all the details in writing”. If they say they can’t have your children for the weekend at the last minute, say, “that’s fine, I will re-organise and we’re glad you let us know in advance”. This calm outlook will mean that they are not getting the tried and tested reaction from you. Over time, they may get bored of trying to get you to fire back, the game won’t be so entertaining, and they will learn to cooperate a little more.
If there is a continued and repeated pattern of uncooperative behaviour, rather than keep worrying about your ex’s issues and what is going to happen next to throw a spanner in the works, concentrate on you. Put the energy that you would be wasting going over what they are up to/what they are planning/what they are thinking into making your life and support systems as strong and successful as possible. In doing so, the next time something happens that threatens to shake your foundations, you will feel secure enough to ride it out. If your children can see that you are modelling a good parental role, it will not matter so much if they hear otherwise from your ex or are fed lies in order to try and get them on ‘the other side’. Spending quality time together, talking freely, sharing emotions, setting a good work ethic, and providing a nurturing home environment can allow you to feel more confident if your ex starts to try to undermine you by making things difficult for you.
If you feel infinitely frustrated that you feel like the overall parent for not only your children but also your ex and all of his parental duties too, you need to take a step back and realise that a lot of it is not under your control, and you will not be able to change a lot of the circumstances. Work out a way of keeping yourself calm and happy inwardly, even when everything is a little fraught with your ex, because you and your thoughts are actually the only things that you have full control over.