Tips for divorcing a high-conflict partner

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2023 | Divorce

All divorces have the potential to be difficult, but those that involve a high degree of conflict or animosity can be especially challenging to navigate. If you are in this situation, know there are ways to make this process easier.

Manage your expectations

If your ex has a high-conflict personality, it will likely be fruitless to expect them to change, take accountability or see things from your point of view. Hoping they will be reasonable or cooperative can also be a mistake. 

Instead, you can focus on what you can change and control: your behaviors and responses. You can also work with an attorney who has an outside perspective and can guide you through divorce-related matters without skewed expectations.

Minimize direct interactions

Often, people in relationships involving a lot of conflict wind up in highly emotional exchanges. Even brief interactions can trigger fights, manipulation and blaming. You can avoid many of these situations by limiting your direct interactions as much as possible.

For example, instead of packing up your house with your ex, you might send your best friend or show up when you know your ex will not be there. If you share custody of children, you could arrange pickups and dropoffs in a public place or time it with school pickups and dropoffs.

Further, if you do need to communicate with each other, you can do so in writing or through your attorney.

Set and enforce boundaries

Boundaries are crucial for people in high-conflict divorces. Setting them is wise; enforcing them is vital. 

Some boundaries that can help you feel safe emotionally and physically might include:

  • Refraining from entering each other’s homes
  • Focusing on what you are going to do rather than telling them what they should do
  • Excusing yourself from interactions that could or have become heated
  • Communicating only through writing or with other people present

These boundaries can help you protect yourself and your well-being.

Divorcing someone who is quick to anger, irrational or blaming you for everything is undoubtedly difficult. However, these tips can make it easier to end a contentious marriage and focus on building a better future.