- Credit: Elusive Magazine
BY: ALINA BERDICHEVSKY
In low-lit wine bars across town, my girlfriends have been spilling stories of late about rueful ex-wives and partners that crush their fledging relationships quicker than a speeding truck.
I have heard of vengeful exes excluding men from their children’s birthday parties, the ruin of overseas trips, otherwise assertive men cave to ridiculous demands, and young kids used for leverage to get whatever she wants.
Sure, men are equally capable of absurd behaviour, but this post is about your love life and your new beau.
Imagine that a bloke of valour, humour and great taste has finally graced your life – and over long dinners, weekend getaways and starry-eyed confessions, you’ll learn that he’s a Libra, works in tech and is a divorced father of three adorable kids.
Hopeful that he could be The One, you’re undeterred by this familial disclosure, seeing yourself as his progeny’s enthusiastic new best friend, who takes them for granola while their father surfs.
You’re a ‘gals gal’ too, so their mother shouldn’t be in issue… In fact you’re sure she’ll be thrilled that her consciously-uncoupled baby-daddy is bumping skins with as cool a partner as yourself.
However, you’ll learn the truth could be much different, as their situation is more War of The Roses than Ashton-era Bruce and Demi. This is a love story, but it may not have a happy ending.
It begins insidiously enough. She will change plans at the last minute when it’s meant to be ‘her’ weekend with the kids – and drop them to him at the doorstep when you’re about to set foot for the Barossa Valley. Wanting to be a good dad, he’ll likely bite the bullet and promise you a feeble rain-check.
His kids now know about you – and now so does his ex-wife, because what will now ensue is a likely barrage of text messages from the jilted ex (which is how she sees herself). You are torn between the sisterhood, him, and your own happiness (“How did I get in the middle of this s***-storm!?” you ask yourself).
If you’re lucky (and I mean that facetiously), the flood of texts and emails will be directed solely at him, infusing guilt, manipulation and control into most of your new partner’s daily affairs. If you’re not, she will also target you, through both text messages, unannounced appearances and especially the kids’ frosty attitude toward you.
While it’s hard to tell at first how much of this is just his version of events, the truth is, there are some ex partners, both male and female intent on making life difficult.
Here’s 5 things to ensure you protect your boundaries and nip your man’s unfinished business in the butt:
# 1. See beneath the act
Let’s get to the core motivations here – this woman is hurting. Sure, she can also be a sociopathic narcissist (because what sane woman would behave like that), but at the core, she feels rejected and dismissed by the man she once loved and to whom she bears children.
Pain and heartbreak can make the most stoic of us do some maddening things, and it looks like this femme is set on extracting revenge now that she sees him happy.
When you realise that the motivation is attention through hurting, you can appeal to the humanity in her, rather than focus on the ‘crazy’ and open up to conversations that heal.
#2. Discover your lesson
Quantum physics and many spiritual teaching state that we attract situations and events into our lives that help make us better people on the other side. However, even if you don’t believe such fatalistic concepts, just use this as a lesson anyway! I promise it will be a much more noble path than bitching, venting, getting pissed off and giving her all power to ruin your relationship.
When you buy into this drama and make it your own, it achieves this hurting woman’s aim to weaken your new romantic unit. However, if you use this strange new development in your life as a catalyst for stillness, grace, detachment and spiritual strength, you can diffuse and disarm her strategies – and be a better partner, friend and care-giver in the process.
# 3. Have that conversation
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the barrage of emails, texts, threats and unannounced visits, it’s important to assert your boundaries – both with him and his ex partner.
Perhaps this woman just want to talk and this is her desperate attempt in reaching out? Perhaps due to the pain of the breakup she is hoping to get closure with him – through you? Or perhaps, she is feeling just plain vindictive and it out on the warpath to destruction of anything he now holds dear.
Either way, figure out what you can do to soothe her soul and calm her down, then go out and do it! Take her call or even grab a coffee if you’re comfortable and reassure her so she doesn’t see you as a threat if reasoning has value. Just keep your own cards close to your chest and don’t be drawn into an argument.
If she is venting aimlessly and aggressively, simply block her number and she will run out of steam. If it’s your partner with the boundary issue, here’s my next point.
#4. Empower him
The bigger pain in this situation is not really how the ex behaves – but how your man responds to her… and this is where Mr Perfect can fall from grace. Is he sticking up for you, asserting himself, or being complicit in taking her crap?
A lot of fathers feel guilty as they are the ones who ‘break up the family’ and leave the home, irrespective of whether the woman was hurtful, critical, negative and crushed his spirit in a myriad of ways.
Yet you can see that he’s not doing his children, himself or your new, healthy relationship any favours by being a spineless doormat. He’s only feeding his ex’s entitlement and making you both an open target for more boundary crossing in the future.
If it’s early days, gently see if he’s open to suggestions and let him know what you honestly observe. Reinforce his strength, fatherhood, goodness and integrity, as he may be having a hard time seeing that side of himself after her emotional put downs. Remind him that he’s ultimately a good man and needn’t feel guilty for being happy with you. And surely if he’s happy and confident, he can be the best dad he can be too.
Tread carefully and know that even if he defensive at first, the right thing will let itself be known in the future.
#5. If a normal conversation fails…
Have a distant conversation with her. I’m serious. Recent advances in brain-computer interfaces are turning the science fantasy of transmitting thoughts directly from one brain to another into reality.
So, with science behind you, imagine your best self and her best self sitting down for a talk. Ask her what she needs and how she feels. Tell her your side. Keep talking until there is resolution and peace.
Brain waves change according to the cognitive processes that the brain is currently working through and are characterised by the time-frequency pattern of the up and down states (oscillations) – which means you’ll both feel it.If you’re stuck, consult a trained professional (like myself ;)) to undertake this process with you. It’s unusual, but extremely powerful.
#6. Take care of yourself
At the end of the day, you must know that this is their business, their karma to resolve – so get involved as least as possible.
After all, so far you’ve been nothing but gracious, powerful, supportive and strong. Now you need to sit back and let it play out. Enjoy your time with your man and trust that life has a funny way of moving upwards, away from what doesn’t serve it.
In your mind, keep your standards high – and if he’s a strong man, he will meet you there in due course. The less energy you feed it, the more you fall away.
Every relationship has their struggle, so this may as well be yours. Just know that either way, you’ll thrive because of it.
Alina Berdichevsky – Writer and spiritual stylist
A confidante to some of Australia’s most powerful identities, Alina Berdichevsky has been offering advice, support and gentle reality checks to clients for 11 years. A certified Life Coach and Master Neuro-Linguistic Programming + Hypnotherapy, as well as practitioner of EFT, personal branding and guided meditation, Alina has been featured in CLEO, Cosmopolitan, Madison, Body & Soul, and was recently on Weekend Sunrise with Dr Karl for a Valentine’s Day exclusive. She runs the blog www.reviewedbyab.com, focused on sharing up and coming artists, creatives and thought leaders in the fashion, art, lifestyle and technology space.