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How to handle an angry ex during divorce

Posted on January 23, 2019

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that tensions can get high during divorce. While some relationships can slowly come to an end, there are still many that reach a tumultuous peak — resulting in outbursts of anger.

You’re going to have a lot on your mind if you decide to get a divorce, or if your partner suddenly announces their intention to divorce. Having to deal with outbursts of anger from your ex is just another thing to worry about.

So what’s the best way to handle a confrontational and upset ex in order to keep your divorce as stress free as possible?

Create a plan around communication

Depending on the circumstances, meeting your ex for a face-to-face discussion might not be the best idea. Using phone, text or email to communicate won’t guarantee smooth sailing either, but it’s less likely to explode into a heated argument. These are also forms of communications where you can easily back away if it gets tense.

Communicating by email is also useful for establishing a paper trail of who has said what and avoiding any potential misunderstandings.

Another thing to consider is meeting in public places like coffee shops where things are less likely to get heated and there are witnesses.

Manage boundaries

If you do meet with your ex, have a plan for managing the conversation. This might include bringing a friend or family member, which should help deter your ex from getting overly heated.

It may also be necessary to talk openly about boundaries with your ex as well. Make it clear that you need your space and that you won’t accept them making unexpected visits or bothering you on a regular basis.  This may include verbal boundaries and at the first sign of things getting heated you remove yourself from the conversation. Another option is to exclude certain words from the conversation, name calling for example may not be tolerated, or avoiding certain topics all together in order to keep the conversation productive.

An effective method to avoid conflict is to use “I” Statements rather than “You” Statements, for example, “I feel hurt when you call me names and would appreciate it if you stop” comes across less argumentative than “You always call me names and I won’t tolerate it”.

Keep your cool

Here’s the elephant in the room: What if the majority of the anger is coming from you? Or what if you are escalating the conversation every time by yelling or swearing back at them twice as loudly?

It’s very easy to point fingers and blame others for a situation. This comes so naturally that we might not even realize that the drama and anger is flowing mostly from ourselves.

It’s understandable to be angry, upset, embarrassed or frustrated, but unloading your feelings on your ex and escalating the situation won’t help.

Besides bitterness and anger can be contagious; your kids might get a taste of that and have more trouble coming to terms with their new living conditions as a result.

Want to learn more?

If you’re interested in learning more about divorce and what you can expect, feel free to stop by Epstein & Associates for a quick chat. We offer a free initial consultation so that you can get a sense of what it would be like working with us before you commit. We’re looking forward to meeting you!


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