Ex-partners can sometimes be the most difficult people to deal with in your life, especially if the relationship ended on sour terms. But whether you broke up last month or five years ago, there are things you can do to make this relationship more manageable and less stressful in your life. The following 7 ways to deal with your ex-partner will get you started on your way to making peace with one of the most important people in your life.
1) You may never resolve issues
There are some situations where there may be unresolved issues. For example, you may have trouble forgiving your ex for something he or she did, or you may never agree on who should have custody of your children. However, in many cases, it is possible to work through these issues and create a healthy relationship. If you continue to see your ex in public and are concerned about what others think, ask him or her out for coffee just as friends.
You can also consider counseling together. It’s also important to realize that other people might not understand why you’re getting along so well after breaking up—but that doesn’t mean you aren’t working things out. Many couples do reconcile after a breakup—and it’s not uncommon for them to remain close friends even if they don’t end up getting back together. The important thing is that you both are able to find closure from your previous relationship. The goal isn’t necessarily for everyone else to get along, but rather for both of you to move forward in life happily.
2) It’s okay to be angry
Everyone has a right to feel hurt and angry when someone they love has decided that they’re no longer interested in spending time together. However, it’s important to remember that badmouthing your ex-partner or trying to sabotage their life is not going to make you feel better; in fact, it will probably make you feel worse. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, try practicing acceptance and self-love by taking care of yourself.
Do things that make you happy, spend time with friends who support you, and focus on moving forward. It may take some time before you can truly forgive your ex-partner for breaking up with you, but learning how to deal with your anger constructively is an important part of letting go.
3) Get support from friends
If you’re dealing with your ex, it’s important that you have a good network of friends and family who support you. If your ex is particularly destructive or abusive, go ahead and remove him or her from your life—the truth is, if he or she had enough respect for you to end things in a way that works for both of you, there wouldn’t be any bad blood at all. But if they can’t do that, don’t let them drag you down as well.
Make sure you have people around you who are willing to help pick up the pieces when things get rough. You might also consider talking to a professional counselor; some places even offer free sessions. A therapist will be able to walk you through some of these steps while helping you manage your feelings during what may be an emotionally difficult time.
4) Have a good therapist
As you’re probably already aware, breakups are difficult. Getting through them is a challenge, but if you have a good therapist and a support system of friends and family, it can be easier. A therapist can help you get clarity on your emotions surrounding your breakup and also help give you confidence in knowing that it will pass (or at least help decrease your anxiety during those stormy days).
An outside perspective can really help with coping! And, yes, therapy is expensive—but it’s worth every penny. If you don’t have access to a therapist or can’t afford one, there are other ways to cope besides turning to unhealthy habits like drinking or smoking pot: Take up an activity like yoga or meditation; go for walks; volunteer for a cause that inspires you; spend time with friends and family who love and support you.
5) Remember it’s not about you
This is tough, because you probably have a lot of feelings right now that are all about you. You might feel sad or lonely, like nobody will ever love you again. Or you might be angry, and blame your ex for things not working out.
Remember: your breakup doesn’t have anything to do with you being a bad person or your ex being a bad person; it just didn’t work out between two people who loved each other once upon a time. If you can remember that, it will help make dealing with your breakup a little easier. If you need help moving on from your past relationship, try these tips for getting over an ex.
6) Keep boundaries clear
Remember that you are a separate person from your ex. This can be hard when you used to share finances, living space, pets, children or anything else. Set boundaries around what is and isn’t acceptable for your ex. If he wants something that crosses one of those lines, let him know firmly and kindly that it’s not possible. For example, if he asks to borrow money from you again, tell him no and don’t explain why—he doesn’t need to know why you won’t lend him money again. He may get angry about it in the moment but will appreciate your honesty later on.
7) Talk less and listen more
It’s easy to think you’re doing a good job at communicating when you hear yourself speaking, but if your ex doesn’t say anything in response, it might mean that what you just said was too much for them.
The truth is that men and women have different communication styles; learn to adapt your style and think about how your partner communicates before firing off another helpful comment. You may be tempted to try talking more as a way of saying I’m still here!—but listen instead. There are many ways to show love without words.