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Post-Divorce Tips that Can Make Your Life Easier
By Susie and Otto Collins

Jon always tries to be a nice guy-- even with his ex-wife Carol. He generally says "yes" to whatever request that she makes of him.

Whether it's a change in the child care arrangements they've made or a leaky faucet that needs fixing, Jon is always willing to help out.

After all, he doesn't want there to be any more tension than is already there. He wants his kids to see that a couple can break up and still be friends.

The trouble is, Jon isn't always able to actually do some of the things that he promises Carol he'll do. His job and his own home care keep him very busy.

Now that his parents are both older, they need his help more than ever before.

Jon means to get to the things on Carol's "to do" list, but this doesn't always happen. When Jon doesn't come through on what he's agreed to do, Carol gets angry.

So despite what Jon feels are his best efforts, the kids aren't protected from arguments and tension between their parents after all.

If you've gone through a divorce and you still have regular contact with your ex, you might be going through similarly difficult situations.

You may pride yourself in being an easy-going and nice person. You want whatever relationship you now have with your ex to be smooth and peaceful.

In order for this to happen, it might seem that you have to work extra hard and be especially amenable to whatever your ex wants.

Like Jon, you may be doing this mainly for the sake of your children.  Or, you might harbor a little bit of hope that you and your ex will one day get back together again.

As backwards as it might sound, we advise you to STOP being the "good guy" or the "good woman" with your ex so much of the time.

We certainly don't encourage you to be intentionally mean, insensitive or obstinate with your ex.

At the same time, we want you to be aware that your efforts to be nice all of the time and even to please your ex are undoubtedly going to backfire.

You could wake up one day with a whole load of resentment because you feel as if you've been bending over backwards for your ex. Maybe you
even feel taken advantage of.

You could stir up even more anger and irritation in your ex when you can't follow through on some-- or most-- of the promises that you've made.

You could realize that your ex is more dependent on you for particular things than you'd like him or her to be.

You could recognize that you are saying "yes" to just about anything your ex asks of you because you want to win him or her back.

Your reasons for being nice to your ex may be completely sincere. There is nothing necessarily wrong with being helpful and kind to someone with whom you used to share your life.

We urge you to explore what is motivating you to say "yes" to your ex's requests.

Give yourself permission to say "no" when you truly don't want to-- or can't-- do something for him or her.

Is it ever okay to do something nice for my ex?

We do NOT want to indicate that we think it's never a good idea for exes to help one another out.

Especially when you both are adjusting to being single parents, there are times when you can really use assistance in some form or another.

What we we do recommend is that you think it over before you respond to a call for help from your ex.

Depending on the kind of relationship that you now have with one another, you two might create some
agreements about what you're willing to do for one another and what you're not.

For example, Jon is more than willing to be there for Carol if it's something that directly involves their kids. This is a priority for Jon.

He would like Carol to find some other person to take care of her home repair crises, however.

Some weeks, Jon feels like a professional-- though unpaid-- handyman between the clogged toilets, leaky faucets, full gutters, and squeaky doors that need to be fixed at his house, his parents' house and also Carol's house.

It is exhausting!

Go within yourself and get clear about what you are comfortable being called upon to do and what you are no longer willing to do.

You can choose to communicate that list to your ex or to just know this for yourself and answer accordingly as specific requests are made.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to interacting with your ex after a divorce.

What is most important is for you to know
what makes sense and feels right for you at any given time and be willing to stand by that.

For more help making your decision, click here to sign up for Susie and Otto's FREE mini-course: "5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Deciding Whether to Stay in or Leave a Relationship."


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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email

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