How do you handle the holidays when you also have to deal with a difficult ex-wife who isn't too agreeable? The answers just might surprise you. Like so many people, my husband's visitation schedule with his daughter included alternating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day every other year. You know, odd years would be Christmas Eve until 11:00am Christmas morning; even years it would be the opposite. Except, not once did it work that way. At least not on the years that we were supposed to have his daughter for Christmas morning. There was always a last minute call, usually from his daughter, that they were still opening presents and she was going to be late. Eventually, his ex asked to modify the agreement from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Can't say that worked much better, but it was closer.
This can be frustrating to say the least. So, what are an ex-husband and stepmother to do when dealing with this type of behavior? Read on to learn the Do's and Don'ts of dealing with a difficult ex so that you and your family can have the best holiday ever, even if the kids come to your house later than expected.
1. Do focus on enjoying your holiday and the time you do have.
This behavior really is about the ex and not about you. Sure, it may seem like she's deliberately trying to ruin your holiday, and maybe she is, but whether or not she’s successful is up to you.
2. Don't try to get even.
Anything you do in an effort to "get back" will only negatively impact your holiday and your children/stepchildren. As difficult as it may be, taking the high road will always result in a happier and more peaceful holiday.
3. Do show support and interest in how the children spent their time.
Christmas is about the kids. Let them know how happy you are for them and the things that they enjoyed while with their mother.
4. Don't repeatedly call your ex for "status" on when she's planning to drop of the kids.
This will only serve to annoy her, and very possibly end up in extending the delay, or even resulting in her refusal to allow the children to come over at all. If she continues to flagrantly violate the agreement, you may want to consider discussing legal ramifications with your attorney. But, don't be surprised if you have little recourse.
5. Do focus on the extra quality time you have with your husband.
No matter what, she can't take that away from you. Your happiness is the best "payback" of all.
6. Don't put the kids in the middle.
The disagreement is between your husband and his ex and has nothing to do with the kids. Lead by good example. This isn't a time to have them relay messages to their mother, or in anyway make your frustration with her known.
Finally, remember that the holidays are rough for everyone. It's possible that the ex's fear of being alone is driving this bad behavior. Whether or not she initiated the divorce, being alone at the holidays can be painful. It's not easy, but if you follow the above suggestions, you just might find the holidays are filled with peace, happiness, and joyful, lasting memories, despite having to share the kids with a difficult ex.
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