You weren’t happy in your marriage – and neither was your spouse. Despite the fact that you agreed you’d be better off as co-parents and friends, your ex now acts like they hate you. It’s negatively affecting your co-parenting relationship and making your divorce unnecessarily difficult.
The worst part is that you’re not even sure why there’s so much animosity coming from that direction. Not understanding the cause of your co-parent’s anger makes it hard to accept and harder to work around.
Here are some possibilities
You really can’t understand your ex’s feelings or motivations until you get them to talk to you, but here are some potential causes for their ire (and what to do about them):
- They’re scared about the future: This can be particularly true when a couple shares children together. Maybe the current parenting and visitation plan has them worried that they’ll gradually lose touch with the kids. Reassuring your co-parent that they’re still “family” to your kids and welcome in their lives can relieve their stress and anxiety.
- They feel shut out of your social group: Did you get “custody” of all the mutual friendships in your divorce? If your spouse didn’t have an independent social life, they may believe that you’ve said things to distance people from them. You can avoid this problem by encouraging your joint friends to reach out to your ex (and never disparaging them to others).
- They feel unfairly treated: Did you make assumptions about the division of marital property? What about assumptions about custody and support? If your ex feels like you didn’t give them a voice in these things, that can create a lot of resentment – particularly if they’re more passive-aggressive than assertive. You may be able to rectify the situation by approaching them about the terms of your divorce and asking for their input.
Every divorce is different. There’s no harm in trying to get on better terms with your co-parent, especially when you’re going to be in each other’s lives for a while. Sometimes, legal guidance can help you figure out the best path to take toward your goals.