Lisa has had her fair share of relationships and loves sharing advice with the rest of the world.
So, you’ve met a wonderful man or woman who is everything that you ever dreamed of. You realize that this is someone that makes you want to settle down and spend the rest of your life with them. They also have an amazing child or children that you have bonded with and have grown to love like your own. There’s just one problem—there is significant drama between them and the other parent and it's starting to cause conflicts in your relationship with your spouse and their children. In this article, I want to give you tips on how to better deal with this very common issue, especially if you are on the brink of giving up.
1. Make Sure Your Spouse Knows Exactly How You Feel
This is the most important tip because if your spouse doesn't think you have a problem with the drama going on, they may not think there is a need to do anything about it. So, make sure that you have a serious talk with your spouse about how you feel and how you feel you have been treated. Has the other parent been disrespecting you, spreading lies, or saying negative things about you to the children? These are definitely issues that happen and need to be addressed by your spouse. Let your spouse know that the only reason you are coming to them to even speak about it is because you want to make things work them. Your spouse's reaction to this will determine if the relationship is worth staying in and fight for. So, before you try anything else, make sure you have a heart to heart conversation with your significant other.
2. Be Strategic and Not Emotional When Dealing With the Other Parent
All the tips that I present in this article will help you to operate from a more strategic standpoint instead of an emotional one. Chances are the man or woman you love has been on an emotional roller coaster with the other parent that is difficult for them to get off of because their feelings are deeply involved, and that is understandable. The last thing that needs to be added to the situation is another emotional adult making decisions based on how they feel. When you are being emotional, you sometimes do things in the moment and are not thinking about long-term effects. Being strategic is the exact opposite because you tend to think of how your actions are going to affect things in the long run and how they are going to influence everyone involved. In the game of chess, one of the most strategic games in existence, every move is carefully thought out before executed. You have to plan out your moves so that you are still protected and able to reach your objective.
By you being strategic with your advice and actions, you are able to assist your spouse in coming up with well thought out, planned, and strategic solutions to their problems with the other parent.
3. Be a Coach and Not a Player in Their Game
No matter how much you try to stay out of the mess and keep opinions to yourself, your spouse still may want your guidance and assistance with managing the matter. If you want to give the most help you can to get your significant other through the drama with the other parent, it is better to be in a position where you can be on the outside looking in. As the saying goes, “coaches don’t play.” It is more of an advantage for the coach to be able to step back and look at what both sides are doing and advise and direct their team based on those observations. A coach would not be able to do their job as effectively if they are a player among many in the game. They are able to determine the outcome of the game without getting dirty or hurt in the process. The coach is also never a target of the other players in the game on the other team.
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4. No Contact, No Conflict (Limit Interactions With the Other Parent)
If you are reading this article, you have probably tried many times to communicate with and maybe even befriend the other parent to no avail. Sometimes a person is just indifferent towards you, and that really isn’t a problem. Usually in that situation, the individual is not really causing problems with you, because they truly have no negative or positive feelings towards you. The issue is when the person has negative feelings towards you and you are trying your best to be accepted by them. In my opinion, this gives them too much power and control. When it comes to baby mama/daddy drama, power and control is what they are striving for. They are trying to hang on to what little they can control by being dramatic and getting some type of energy from your spouse and you. Some even think that if they can cause enough problems with you, they will eventually ruin their exes relationship.
The solution to this problem is to limit your interactions with the other parent. This will give them no ammo to use in order to stir up chaos with you. Ways you can limit your interactions are:
- Do not answer the phone when the other parent calls.
- When your spouse is on the phone with them, do not purposely make your voice heard in the background.
- Do not go with your spouse when they pick up the kids from the other parent.
- If you do go with them, do not get out of the car or go up to their home in order to be seen.
- If you are in the same room or house with them for some reason (family function, birthday, funeral, etc.), it’s ok to speak and be respectful, but keep your conversations to the bare minimum.
- Even if they are starting to be nice to you, continue to limit your interactions with them because they have already shown what they are capable of.
Many times the other parent wants everyone to think that you and the spouse are the problem and you are the ones that are starting the drama, but if you remove yourself from interactions as much as possible, if the drama continues everyone will be able to see who the true culprit is, or the other parent will be forced to quit because they have nothing to feed the drama with.
5. Keep Giving the Children Unconditional Love
This doesn’t need a big explanation. If you have a good relationship with the children, continue to nurture your bond with them and do not let the matter between the adults interfere with that. Even if the other parent talks negative about you, in the long run, the child will see what the truth is. It is also important not to discuss the other parent with the children either in a negative or positive way. If the other parent loves drama, they will find a way to turn that into an argument. Remember that the children are innocent and do not deserve to be punished because their parents do not get along anymore.
6. Be Supportive (Not Controlling) of Your Spouse or Move On
Many times when our loved ones are going through problems, we want to do something about it and make things better. Unfortunately, there are just some situations that we are not going to have any power to control. The only person you are able to control in the situation is yourself. Picture this scenario: Your spouse is doing time in prison. There is nothing that you can do to get them out or change the conditions that they are in. The only thing you can do is be supportive of them. You can not change the day to day operations of the prison they are in or control anything in the facility, but you can be that support system that your spouse needs to keep them going while they are doing their time. So, be supportive of your spouse while they go through all the ups and downs of their co-parenting situation. Give them support without trying to be in the driver's seat and control anyone or anything. Just because they are your spouse does not mean you now have to take on an issue that involves another adult that they are attached to by their own choices.
But, in some situations that are hopeless, you have to just come to terms with the fact that this is an unfortunate circumstance that they helped to create for themselves and the best thing for you to do is move on. Using the same prison scenario, there are times when you start to realize what your spouse may have done in order to get themselves where they are. You definitely may want to decide to move on if you start to realize that your spouse is also contributing to the drama. If they want to make a relationship work with anyone they are going to have to learn how to minimize the drama the best they know how on their end before getting involved with anyone else.
So, if your spouse is doing the best they can to decrease any conflicts or confusion and the other parent is still being difficult, continue to be that support system that your spouse is definitely going to want and need. But, if it is a despairing situation and/or your spouse is contributing to the drama, its best to exercise the control you do have and remove yourself from the relationship.