How To Have A Good Divorce, Even When You Have A High-Conflict Ex

good divorce with high conflict ex

Worried that you’re doomed to a miserable split? Don’t despair! Learn how to achieve a good divorce with a high conflict ex by taking these 5 steps to disengage from conflict.

Practice divorce self-care. Diligently adhering to a self-care routine will calm your nervous system and make it easier for you to manage divorce drama. Here’s a partial – but mandatory – list of items you need in your divorce self-care toolbox: regular bedtime; proper diet; medical and dental check-ups as needed; exercise; stress management techniques such as mindfulness meditation. Other self-care items you may want to consider include: therapy, divorce coaching, and hobbies. 

Implement a communication protocol. Forget trying to reason with your angry ex, or waste time defending your position. In fact, doing either of these things will likely invite more chaos, since high-conflict personalities love to debate, especially via email and text. Minimize drama by following an effective communication procedure: be concise, informative (no opinions or parenting advice), neutral in tone, and firm (no waffling). You can’t control what your ex writes to you, but you can control the way you respond.

Keep and respect boundaries. High-conflict personalities don’t like boundaries, so you may need to be vigilant about maintaining them. But doing your part to create space between you and your ex will help you disengage from conflict. This starts with accepting that you don’t get to know everything that goes on in your ex’s home (the exception to this is if you suspect child endangerment), nor do you have the right to tell your former spouse how to run their home. You do have the right to implement your own rules, limit the amount of contact you have with your ex, and enforce the court order. 

Consider parallel parenting. Successful co-parenting requires good communication, problem-solving skills, and flexibility – traits that high-conflict personalities generally lack. If attempts to co-parent with your difficult ex just create more conflict, consider parallel parenting. That means syncing households is no longer the goal; maintaining “parallel” households is. Having different house rules, separate birthday parties, and minimal communication will help you stay sane and decrease conflict.

Focus on life beyond divorce. Wondering how to have a good divorce? Stop focusing on it! If you obsess about the legal process, co-parenting complications, and all of your ex’s flaws, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Redirect your energy and map out this next chapter of your life. What really matters to you? What do you want to accomplish? Are your actions lining up with your goals? Treating divorce as an opportunity for growth will help you take your power back so you can move on.

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