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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Top Ten Action Tips for Getting Along with Your Ex!



Sending Ricin to Blackmail Hubby Won't Solve Your Problems!

So have you heard about the Texas actress, Shannon Guess Richardson, in Texas who was arrested after sending a ricin-laced letter to the president?  Turns out she and hubby are divorcing, and she was trying to set him up and make him look bad.  Guess she wasn't a very believable actress, huh?  OBVIOUSLY, she didn't read my last post…although, I posted after the letters had been sent.  If she had read and heeded the advice, she wouldn't be in jail now.  A news commentator asked if she was crazy or something, and the answer, of course, is YES!  The emotional upheavals of divorce can make you do crazy things!   So that, combined with the fact that one of my readers, Jason Ratner, made some specific responses/suggestions, caused me to reconsider putting together a list not about the emotional and internal responses of dealing with your ex, but a few practical interactive tips for those times when you are negotiating or trying to get on top of that difficult relationship. 

1)           In all your communications, stick to specific issues dispassionately…don’t chase rabbits or explanations and go into long self defenses.

2)          A friend’s wise advice to me was to put things into a win-win situation, where I sought what I needed by also offering what my ex needed in exchange.  (Having a good support group of wise friends can be very helpful!)

3)          Document everything…time of meeting, topic discussed, inappropriate actions suffered, keep hard copies or duplicate files of every email sent and received or text messages, and, if possible, also every voice mail.  In addition, you should document agreements not kept and court orders not honored.  Make copies of any checks written/received and consider registered mail for items sent.

4)          Develop a tough skin, don’t let the person get to you…they know your buttons and will push them.  Time to rewire!  Remain calm and direct, save your venting for afterwards with a friend or out in the wilderness where you can shout or cry to your heart’s content.

5)          Be clear, firm and insistent on specifics, in a timely fashion.  For instance, let her know several weeks ahead that you expect to be with the children on Father’s Day/Mother's Day and will pick them up at a certain time.  If there are objections, sometimes a simple, “nonetheless, I expect to pick them up at that time,” can go a long way. 

6)          Sometimes a copy of the court orders can be helpful.  In the scenario just mentioned, you can send a copy of the relevant documentation with the appropriate passage highlighted.

7)          When the other person responds well, express appreciation, and even find a way to reciprocate to help reinforce the kind of relationship you are seeking to develop.

8)          When the other person makes demands that ARE within appropriate bounds, respond in a positive way, such as, “yes, of course you can pick the children up at 7:00…it is important for the kids to have time with you, too.”

9)          In cases of high emotions, it may be best to set boundaries in terms of communications, sticking only to letters, emails and voice mails rather than direct interactions, lest you fuel the emotional firestorm between you.

10)       With a particularly abusive or invasive ex, it is a good idea to always arrange any necessary meetings or child drop offs at neutral locations, and bring a witness with you….they may be less likely to cause problems publicly.

And if nothing else works, there do seem to be some extreme cases, in which you may need to move to another town and simply start a new life as the only way to be away from the issues of dealing with your ex as often as you do.  Bottom line, it just is NOT an easy thing to deal with, and each situation is different.  Pick up tips from others who have dealt with it in the past, and hang on…for this, too, will pass!

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