How to cope if your ex won't cooperate

 

Unfortunately, there are some ex-partners who seem to want to block every attempt you make to communicate in a healthy way.

They may be busy every time you want to speak, refuse to return phone calls or answer emails. They may continue to use your children as messengers in spite of you asking them not to, and share information and opinions with your children that are completely inappropriate.

The reality is that not all parents are able to put the needs of their children above their own. That may be because of unresolved anger or guilt, or because of their inability to come to terms with what's happened. In some cases, it may be due to a mental health issue or addiction, or you may be breaking away from a violent or abusive relationship.

If communication has completely broken down, then you could consider talking to a third party. If your ex has a friend or family member whom they respect, ask them if they will act as an intermediary.

If that doesn't work, then you could consider trying a mediation service or, as a last resort, you may need to speak to your solicitor. But whatever course of action you take, remember that it's your children's needs that need to come first.

In some situations a parent's behaviour can be very upsetting for a child and it might be tempting to share your frustration and anger with them. But remember that putting children in the position of taking sides is damaging to them. And when you put down their other parent, you're also criticising a part of them.

Even if your partner is trying to get them on their side, it's essential that you don't retaliate but maintain a neutral position. Continue to tell your children that you love them and this is a difficult time for everyone.

You can say that mum and dad don't agree on the best way to handle things and that's why you don't do things the same. But make sure they know that they're still loved and wanted by both of you.

By doing this you are leaving the door open for your child to build, or rebuild a good relationship with their other parent rather than risking losing them for ever.

  • Get more information about talking to your ex from the Relate guide, Helping Your Children Cope with Your Divorce, by Paula Hall, from the Relate online bookstore
  • Chat about how coping strategies if your ex won't cooperate

 

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Last updated: 13-Jul-2012 at 10:27 AM