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          How to Settle a Dispute with the Ex in Your Life

          January 22, 2003

          Whether you’re the new husband/wife, the ex, or the spouse caught in the middle, Dr. Phil says that you have a responsibility to resolve the conflict — especially if children are involved.
          • If you are the person who has the existing relationship with the ex and he/she is in conflict with your current partner, it’s your job to fix the situation. You can’t stand on the sidelines. Get in the game and be the objective one.
          • Understand that if your ex is less than cooperative, it doesn’t release you of your responsibility as a spouse and/or parent to stand in between the feuding parties and resolve the conflict.
          • If there are children involved in the situation, stop being selfish and start putting your children’s interests ahead of your own. You have a responsibility to work things out for their sake. Make a life decision at a heart level to take the high road and not let your children pay the price for your dispute. 
          • Resolve to make the important decisions in your life by first weighing the impact your choices will have on your children.
          • Agree on a plan that allows you, your ex and your new spouse to exist as co-allies of your children. 
          • Know that you don’t have to like the other person in order to end the battle. What is important is that you treat the adult figures in your child’s life with dignity and respect. If you demean a child’s parent or stepparent, you are hurting him/her by venting your anger at the child’s expense.
          • As angry as you may be because of the feud, understand that it makes no difference who is right and who is wrong. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Do you want to be right or do you want to have well-adjusted children?
          • If you find it hard to let go of the dispute and want to continue laying blame, ask yourself why you stay plugged into the fight. Why are you willing to spend so much life energy on it? What is the victory you hope to achieve?
          • Focus on making changes in your life that can lesson the tension in the situation. Whether that means avoiding verbal arguments, resisting the urge to meddle or do things that you know will “push buttons,” you owe it to yourself and/or your children. 
          • Search your heart and forgive yourself and the individuals you have been having the dispute with for everything that has transpired. You can’t release the anger and move forward unless you forgive yourself and each other. Remember that forgiveness is a conscious choice, not a feeling that sweeps over you. Make that choice.
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