Maybe you’ve long been aware of how aggressive and angry your spouse can become when they’re unhappy – or maybe you’re just now seeing this side of them since you asked for a divorce.
Either way, dealing with a difficult spouse during your divorce can be incredibly challenging. Aside from just making the entire divorce process unnecessarily hard and disruptive, your spouse’s belligerence and lack of cooperation can make you want to throw up your hands and just give them whatever they want – but that only hurts you in the end. Consider these tips as you seek to preserve your peace of mind until your divorce is over.
Stay calm, even when you’re being antagonized
It may be clear that your spouse wants to hurt you – but don’t try to “fight fire with fire.” Retaliatory actions will only escalate the conflict. Plus, if you have to ask the court to intervene and put a stop to your spouse’s behavior, you don’t want to look equally guilty of being on the attack.
Learn how to take all the satisfaction out of their antics
If you’re already anticipating your spouse’s verbal attacks, you may want to try practicing the “grey rock” method of handling emotionally abusive people. This method essentially teaches you to be so unresponsive and (on the surface) unengaged with whatever is happening that it destroys the abuser’s motivation to continue their assault. It’s hard for them to create drama when the other party (you) just doesn’t seem to care.
Prioritize your safety above all
Boundaries are important when you’re dealing with a spouse whose behavior has become unpredictable or outright volatile. Insist that all meetings take place either in public or in the presence of others. Tell your spouse that all communication can be routed through your attorney, email or text. Not only does that keep them at a distance, but it allows you to maintain a record of what was said (which could be useful later if the issue goes to court).
Most people hope that their divorces can be relatively civil, especially if their marriage has been unhappy for a while. However, some people just can’t bring themselves to behave like adults in these situations. If your spouse falls into that category, seeking legal guidance proactively can help.