Jekyll and Hyde: Dealing With The Ex

By DadsDivorce.com reader Big D

Note: This is part 1 of a two-part article on how to deal with your ex-wife. Part 2 gives divorce advice for men on dealing with real-life divorce problems.

There are times when your ex-wife might seem like she has an alter ego. Some might say she is bipolar, others schizophrenic, while others might say she is just nuts!

I am sure you know what I am talking about; one day you receive a hate-filled email indicating that you are the worst father in the history of the world then 24 hours later you receive a nice email asking your opinion on whether or not the children should wear blue or red for the school photos.

So how do you deal with this up and down behavior?

When Things Are Good

From my own experience, this situation happens a few times a year. I always am taken back when my ex-wife is nice; it always make me think that something big is going to occur. The few times that it has, it has left a mark.

So, what should you do and how should you act when your ex is nice? From my experience, you should remain the same. What exactly does this mean? What does this look like? Shouldn’t you take advantage of the situation and try to get something during the time she’s acting nice?

What this means is that you need to do nothing outside of what you normally do. What you can do is a little joy dance when there is a nice email, instead of hitting the wall after a bad email.

This looks like you are being polite, direct, respectful, and just getting the job done in emails. When there needs to be tact, be tactful. When there needs to be gratitude, show gratitude. Don’t go overboard and don’t try to slip something in when she is in a good mood. That did not work when you were married and it will not work now!

You should not take advantage of the situation for many reasons. First, you have no idea why she is in a good mood. Second, you might be getting set up and for you to try something would be falling into her ploy. Third, there is no way that your attempts at getting something while she is in a good mood will be completed by the time she “flips” to the bad mood side of town.

 

When Things Are Bad

This is where most of us live. Our ex-wives have obviously nothing better to do but try and make our lives a living hell. It’s not like the last few years of married life weren’t hellish enough, or that the divorce process wasn’t a living hell, but now she continues to be a royal pain in the you know what.

So, what do you do? My suggestion here will look very similar to when things are going good. You remain the constant rock that you were during the marriage, and if you were not constant during marriage, now is the time to learn!

No matter what the situation is, you becoming evil, vindictive or angry will just cause things to get worse well before they can get better. Everything you say can and most likely will come back to haunt you. Just like you educated your 13-year-old on their behavior when using Facebook, texting, at the movies, etc., you need to take your own advice here.

  • If you are called names, just ignore it.
  • If you are told you are a bad father, ignore it.
  • If you are told that you spend more time with your new girlfriend or wife instead of your children because you are so selfish, ignore it.
  • If you are giving ultimatums about anything children related, ignore the threats and just handle the situation.

To be honest, as a chronic “do-gooder” there is so much joy in watching my ex-wife try and get a rise out of me and all I do is act calm, cool, and collected. The roles reverse and the power is all mine. Give it a try!

 

Note: This is part 1 of a two-part article on how to deal with your ex-wife. Part 2 gives divorce advice for men on dealing with real-life divorce problems.

Read about more real-life divorce experiences and divorce advice for men in our series Divorce Survival Training.

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