How to Improve Your Relationship with Your Ex

January 23, 2012

in Relationships

Just DivorcedWhenever I write about the good relationship I have with my ex, I receive praise from readers and my social media followers. People comment on my blog about their frustration of not having the same. Many ask how they can get to a good place with their ex as well. I appreciate the praise and understand the aggravation these people experience, but it takes two people to be successful in any relationship. My ex deserves equal credit in the state of our relationship.

For those who are geniunely making an effort and are not successful in redefining a relationship with an ex, I have some important advice:

  • You can’t control another individual.
  • Be at peace with the effort you continue to make.
  • Conduct yourself in a way you can be proud of.
  • Emotionally detach to reduce his/her affect on you.
  • Focus on what you can control.

I wish I had magic fairy dust to make an angry ex change. I could distribute to those in hostile relationships with their former spouses, but I don’t have any special powder to share. Hopefully if you follow the advice your ex will eventually make the changes necessary to repair the damage between the two of you. It is possible.

Since you can’t force a positive outcome with your ex, try embracing the negative experience and the unsuccessful relationship; something good can come out of it. For example:

  • You know what traits to look for in a partner.
  • You probably won’t find yourself in a similar situation, whether it is dating or marriage, again.
  • While there is strife between the two of you, you are happier than you were married to him/her (an educated guess).
I recommend making a list of 10 positive things that are a result of the relationship ending. It will help bring about a peace in you and hopefully you won’t be looking to your former partner to change, but rather, you will see the situation differently.
I hope this helps.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Brett Minor January 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm

You’re right. It really is not that difficult. And for the people who have problem ex’s, they still have a choice about how to respond. My ex and I do just fine.
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Naked Girl in a Dress January 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Self control can be a difficult thing. I think tempers flare and situations escalate as a result. It’s a terrible cycle and never leads to a long-term, positive solution for all. I believe with exhibiting good behavior in the face of bad, you can bring about change. Not always, but it can happen quite often.

Glad you have a good relationship as well.

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Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Photography Blog January 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I love the tips that you’ve shared. I haven’t had much reason to stay in touch with exes (no kids), but I can think of many people that could use these tips PLUS they can be applied to any relationship that comes to an end or changes.
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Naked Girl in a Dress January 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm

These tips can be used for relationships that end, regardless of the circumstances (marriage, kids, etc). Thanks for recognizing that.

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Jana January 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I think it can also be a phase in the divorce process to have hostility towards your ex-partner. I’m about a year out of my husband leaving me, and I’m in an angry phase right now, and have been here for about 3 months. Probably a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’re still not divorced (for no lack of my trying to speed the process along, but he’s dragged his feet on some of the steps). I’m not an angry type of person and was hardly angry at all in the weeks following our split, so I think this is something that is temporary and will pass. But allowing myself to feel this now and acknowledge that it’s normal, makes more sense to me than denying the ugly emotions or feeling flawed because I’m in the midst of this phase.

But…I have put some boundaries on my interactions with my ex so it doesn’t get ugly. I don’t express anger in front of the kids, I don’t write him emails when I’m feeling particularly upset, and I haven’t been seeing him in person during this period. I also have some close friends who are a ‘sounding board’ for those moments when I’m not at my best.

It’s wearying to be angry and unhappy. But I do think it’s improving, albeit slowly.
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Brett Minor January 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I agree with you there. While I have no issues now, there was an angry time, when we both avoided each other.
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Naked Girl in a Dress January 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

There is certainly a time that is difficult, but getting through the tough spot and finding you way to a more amicable co-existence is key. It really is best for everyone.

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Jana,

There is definitely an anger phase. Please don’t think I didn’t experience that or that you shouldn’t have your time with that emotion. I wrote to this anger in summer 2010 on my blog. What I maintained then, and I have since the divorce, is that we never had irreparable damage to our relationship in those tense phases (yes, more than one). If you stay mindful of keeping it from escalating too much, you will be okay. It already sounds like you are accomplishing this. I think you are on the right path; you aren’t denying how you feel, but keeping it in check so that it isn’t too damaging long term.

Hang in there.

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lisat April 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I watch Reba and wish my ex and I could be like that, but then I take a sip of wine and remind myself this it’s TV! A girl can dream of peach and forgiveness even when it won’t come her way. Thanks for the tips!
lisat recently posted..50 Ways to Leave Your HusbandMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

People think I am amazing for the relationship we have, but the reality is I could not have what I do with him if he didn’t want to cooperate. Don’t beat yourself about something you will most likely not get from you ex; just adjust your own outlook. Also, I like “peach” better. It sounds good–”peach and forgiveness.” :)

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lisat April 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Thanks, naked girl!
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lisat April 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

oops I meant peace not ‘peach’
lisat recently posted..50 Ways to Leave Your HusbandMy Profile

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Alice Koko May 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

I would like to start with saying,I feel like home, when I read about others going through divorce and sharing their stories. Its not only me being emotional wreck anymore, there are others who share the pain. First phase was the worse; meltdowns, mixed up priorities,don`t know where is my place anymore, grasping freedom like teenager, hanging in the air.. Confusions , many of them. Guilt, blame, WHY ME? Instead of regular anger,I had death fear from my ex. After few months of that I started re-building myself. Now I am on path of focusing on myself and my career and absolutely “off the market”. I have never been happier in my life,Ha!
About communication with ex – I distance him from effecting my emotions, I have sopped playing blame game and try to hold good posture and not give in manipulations. If I get frustrated I wind out my head before speaking. Many lessons learned along the way and one of them is to not let toxic and sick people influence my life!

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