Divorce in North Carolina is no laughing matter, but once the dust settles, it can be a relief to be free of a negative relationship. If you live with a controlling, difficult or abusive spouse, leaving the relationship may free you up to be happier than ever before. Once you have married someone and particularly if you have children together, you may have to deal with them for the rest of your life. Family Life gives some tips on how to deal with a difficult ex without holding onto responsibility for their feelings.

First, spouses should keep all meetings as impersonal as possible. While you shared a very personal relationship for a long time, moving forward there is no need to bring personal feelings into the equation. If the emotions are messy and one spouse is angry, the other spouse is likely to suffer. if you feel threatened or unsafe around your ex, you can request emails, texts or voicemails to handle issues with your children.

Second, it is a good idea to stick to a script when dealing with a difficult negotiation. Take time to think through what you are feeling and write it down before you begin the conversation. If you have dealt with your spouse’s negative antics for years, you can anticipate what they will say to push your buttons and hurt you. Planning ahead allows you to avoid an instinctive, emotional reaction.

Third, acknowledge when you both agree on something. With a divorce, it is easy to focus on all the things you disagree about and the things that make you angry. When something works in your favor and you both feel the same about a situation, you both deserve validation and acknowledgment for working it out.

Finally, it may benefit you to speak to a divorce or family law attorney when dealing with a difficult spouse. This is even more important if the ex makes you feel threatened in any way.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.