4 Effective Ways To Deal With The Ex-Wife

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4 Effective Ways To Deal With The Ex-Wife

Since lifetime marriage is no longer a thing, and since the vast majority of you men are either divorced or will end up divorced someday, learning to deal with an ex-wife is a critical and necessary skill for long-term happiness, and a required one for the modern day man.

-By Caleb Jones

It’s common for me to see guys experience all kinds of regular drama and conflict with their ex-wives, particularly if children are involved. It’s become a societal norm. In contrast, I’ve been divorced almost a decade, and I’m proud to report that I’ve experienced exactly zero ex-wife drama since my divorced was finalized so many years ago. Both of my kids are now happy, high-functioning adults. And of course, I’m blissfully unmarried living the Alpha Male 2.0 life. Win, win, and win.

Today I’m going to give you four simple steps to use so that your new life of divorced-guy freedom and happiness won’t be disrupted by semi-regular conflict with the that woman who now seethes with hatred at the very mention of your name (you know, that woman you stupidly married because she Wasn’t Like The Rest™).

As I’ve talked about before, your post-divorce period will be the happiest in your life. (Until you stupidly get monogamously remarried again that is, which sadly and statistically most of you guys will do after your first divorce. Gotta love that Societal Programming!) There’s no point in disrupting your post-divorce happiness by involving yourself in useless drama with the ex-wife.

I’m going to start with the hardest step.
1. Emotionally accept that your kids will be raised “wrong” when they’re with their mother, and that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

If your ex-wife is doing something truly horrible and/or illegal, like she’s physically abusing your kids or doing hard drugs in front of them, then obviously you need to contact both the police and your attorney and do your best to get your kids away from her.

But that’s the rare exception to the rule. Assuming your ex-wife is not a monster, but rather the typical irrational woman, you need to accept that while your kids are over at your ex-wife’s place, they will be subjected to parenting that you really, really won’t agree with. This could be all kinds of things...

Maybe she’ll expose your kids to a stupid boyfriend you really don’t like.
Maybe she’ll feed your kids food you really think they shouldn’t be eating.
Maybe she’ll badmouth you constantly in front of your kids or lie to them about you.
Maybe she’ll often lose her temper, and scream and yell at your kids inappropriately.
Maybe she won’t help your kids with their homework when they need it.
Maybe she’ll kiss the kids’ asses, and shower them with money or gifts when they don’t deserve it, or let them watch TV or play video games way too often.

On and on, I’m sure you and I could come up with 100 more items to add to this list...and it doesn’t matter.

You need to emotionally accept two things:
1. This will happen every time your kids go over there.
2. There is nothing you can do to stop it.

I mean seriously, what are you going to do? Are you going to go all Alpha Male 1.0, storm over to your ex-wife’s place, bang on her door, and scream at her for 30 minutes about how she should help the kids with their homework more? (Men have actually done this.)

Even if you do such a stupid thing, will that work? Will your ex-wife, who already hates you and blames the divorce on you, suddenly say, “Ah yes, he has a really good point. I shall now help my kids with their homework whenever they need it. I’m so glad he came over here and screamed at me. I really needed that.”
Yeah right.
Are you going to hire an attorney, pay him $35,000 when all the dust settles, and go after your ex-wife in court to stop her from feeding your kids too many Twinkies? (Men have actually done this.) Do you have a spare $35,000 lying around? Going to court takes a massive amount of time too. Do you have that kind of free time in your schedule on top of your work, parenting, fitness, dating life, and everything else?

Here’s the most important question: Will it make you happy to go to war against your ex-wife, even if you think you have a good reason?

The answer is no. Doing these things will set a near-permanent source of unhappiness in your life that will hover over everything else you do like a dark rain cloud. I have seen men, guys who were otherwise intelligent and/or successful, suffer years upon years, if not decades of constant unhappiness because they chose to go to war against their ex-wives for non-extreme behaviors like the ones I listed above.

As I describe in detail in my book, the goal of life is long-term, consistent happiness. This is impossible if you chose, and yes it is a choice, to blow your stack every time your ex-wife parents your kids in a way you disagree.

If you want to be happy, you just need to be a man, suck it up, and accept it. I know it’s not easy. I know it doesn’t sound “Alpha.” But it works. If you want to be happy, that is.

My kids’ mom is a decent person. Yet, over the last decade, she has parented my kinds in ways I completely, 100% disagree. You know what? That’s tough shit for me. I’m not going to suffer constant unhappiness because of it. I’m not going to go to war, nor take the time out of my busy schedule to constantly call her or text her to straighten her out (and she wouldn’t even if I did).

Years ago I had to accept that if I truly wanted to be happy, the ex would be parenting my kids in ways I disagree, that there was nothing I could do about it, and that it was up to me to take up the parenting slack and be a positive role model for my kids. My kids turned out pretty great, so this worked. It will work for you too.
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2. Don’t argue with your ex-wife. It’s a complete waste of time and will just piss you of for literally no reason.
This is a corollary to the above. There is no point in arguing with your ex-wife, about anything. I know a lot of divorced men and women, and I know very well how they think and act. Thus, keep in mind several things:

1. She likely hates you, or at least strongly resents you.

2. She likely blames the entire divorce on you, and likely takes very little (if any) personal responsibility for it.

3. If her current life is shitty in any way (with money, or with men, or with her weight, or whatever), she likely blames this on you too. This is because she likely and inaccurately romanticizes how good your marriage was before you screwed it all up and caused the divorce.

4. Damn near 100% of her friends and family agree with her regarding her opinion of you and of the divorce (whether it’s accurate or not) and these people reinforce this belief in her on a regular basis.

5. If you have kids together, she likely enjoys using the kids as weapons against you.

6. Unless she’s doing something truly horrible and illegal like physically abusing the children, you have no legal recourse against her, and she knows it.

7. Because she was born with a vagina and you weren’t, the family court system automatically favors her over you, and she likely knows this too.

Given the above seven items, she has literally no reason whatsoever to pay any attention to anything you say or threaten on any topic, including and especially your kids. She has no reason to take you seriously no matter how right or angry you are. So you scream your head off (either verbally, or over email, or over texts, or whatever) and start telling her to stop doing X or start doing Y or else, and she just laughs. She doesn’t have to do shit, and she knows it. You have no power over her.

Thus, arguing with your ex-wife, about anything, will accomplish only one thing: piss you off and make you unhappy. Seriously dude, that’s all it will do. Now if you’re a drama queen and kinda like being unhappy (and I know some of you guys fall into this category!), then by all means, scream your head off and argue with this woman all you like. But if you want to be happy, make a policy that you won’t argue with her, ever. If she starts being unreasonable or bitchy, just end the conversation and move on. Consider it a soft next.
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3. Cut off all contact if necessary.
It’s true that you don’t have power over her any more because you’re now divorced, but hidden beauty of this is that it swings both ways. She doesn’t have any power over you either. (Assuming you’re keeping up on child support and alimony payments of course; otherwise because of our very fair legal system, she can snap her fingers and have you thrown in jail. When I say “power” here I’m talking about power outside of financial matters.)

When you were married, her power over your life was vast and mighty. She controlled your financial life (even if indirectly), she controlled your sex life, including when you had sex and who you had it with, she controlled where you lived, and largely what you did day-to-day, just like she was your little overlord. This is why women want to get married so badly. They love having a little guy (i.e. the walking wallet) to boss around.

More importantly, when you were married and she was screaming at you, you had to take it. You lived together full time, so soft nexting wasn’t even an option. She was your only source of sex and the mother of your children, so you had to put up with her drama and bullshit, at least to some degree.

But now that you’re divorced, she doesn’t have this power over you any more. If she starts bitching at you now, you can just hang up the phone on her with a smile on your face and get back to your amazing life. If she starts emailing you, Facebooking you, or texting you, you can just delete her messages and block her. Problem solved.

Yes, I did this years ago. Shortly after the divorce we would still talk on the phone, but every time we did she would eventually end up screaming at me. So I just stopped taking her calls. We went to email instead. This worked fine for a while, until she started bitching there too. I stopped using email and went to texting, where the messages are shorter. Soon she started getting dramatic over texts, so I just stopped all communication. This entire process took about a year and a half; in retrospect I should have just cut off all contact as soon as the divorce was final.

Any required communication we needed for pickup and dropoffs for the kids was done through a third party, usually my mom (who got along with my ex-wife just fine; my mom is a sweet lady). Usually even this wasn’t necessary because we would do things at the same time and place every week. Also remember that once your kids have their own cell phones, there’s no need to go through the ex-wife as a middleman for scheduling purposes.

If there are children involved, of course there will be unusual times where you and your ex-wife have to communicate. That’s fine. About two years ago my kids' mom and I had to talk over the phone for about 30 minutes regarding some decisions we had to make about my daughter’s school. It was the first time we had actually spoken in many years. During the conversation she was cold, and clearly not excited to have to talk to me, but there was no drama. We were both adults and had a productive conversation.

In other words, it worked. I’ve seen other guys who do this experience the same thing I did, in that eventually (and it takes a while) the ex-wife gets accustomed to not communicating to you, and it actually helps calm her down. You want your ex-wife to be calm, because this means she’ll be a better mother to your kids. Win, win.

4. Be the example for your kids.
It’s your job as a father to make up for the deficiencies of their mother (if there are any). If their mom has a huge temper and blows up at your kids, you need to calm, cool, and happy with your children. If their mom is disorganized, you need to be very organized and make sure your kids see this. If their mom is a floozy and goes around sleeping with a bunch of guys, or worse, has a serial monogamy parade in front of your kids, showing them one boyfriend after the next, you need to have your women far, far away from your kids so they experience some stability and consistency.

You get the idea. Whatever the problem is, you must be the example for your kids that they don’t see from their mother. This will not only help your kids, but it will be emotionally helpful for you, knowing that you’re picking up the slack left by the other parent.

To be clear, I’ve said before that the best way to raise kids are by a mom and a dad who live together and like each other. If you can pull that off, that’s great. If you can do that within an open marriage, swinger marriage, OLTR marriage, or similar, that’s even better. But open or monogamous, the odds of you and your baby momma staying together for 20+ years to raise all those kids are quite low, and getting lower every year.

The next least-bad option for raising kids is by a mom and a dad who don’t live together but get along with each other just fine. The third least-bad option is the most common one these days and is what I have described above, where there’s a mom and a dad who live apart and don't get along. Under that scenario, your job is to keep ex-wife drama to a minimum (or zero) and to be the best damn dad you can be within the time frames you actually have with your kids.

(If you were curious, the fourth and worst option for raising kids is when kids are raised by one parent while the other one is pretty much gone, like the entire generation of kids being raised by single mothers today. Society is just now starting to feel the effects of millions of people being raised by single moms now entering adulthood, and it’s going to get much worse.)

Having ex-wife drama not only saps your own happiness, but it’s bad for your kids, who are already at a disadvantage in life by not having a mom and dad who live together and like each other. So do it for yourself, but also do it for your kids (if you have any).

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This article was originally published on January 4, 2016
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  • TheUpgrade 2018-06-27 19:45:49

    I wish my husband would have read this article before we thought it was a good idea to fight his ex in court over shared parenting and child support.  The flood gates have been opened and 7 years later she still continues to fight through attorneys and court.  It is literally a never ending financial battle, and a source of conflict between my husband and myself.  Even when he engages in a "soft next", she retaliates with her attorney over any little thing she can!  This is tiring...I see no end in sight.

  • bernoulieffect 2018-01-13 17:26:51

    This is a helpful and refreshing read. I found my divorce to be liberating from a little tyrant that I provided EVERYTHING for over the last 12 years. I have a son whom I love and that made getting divorced a very hard thing to do. But the courts where I am are fair and recognize the fathers role, you are automatically granted 50/50 custody in my state and you dont pay alimony for more than half of the duration of the marriage. In dealing with my ex wife at first I did engage in the "your not doing the right thing by our child alpha 1.0' thing. Coparenting sessions, she wasn't interested in attending. I soft next her all the time. I am living a great life. I see my son weekly. I am his dad. He rejects her programming because he knows who is giving him the feelings of support and love that he needs. I am firm with him, and I am fun with him. We keep routine and he and I are close. He is 5 so its important I stay close for him. That leads to problems with the ex. So what I did was called the police, got reports when there was a problem. Had my lawyer take her back to court. Got more time with him son. She got a restraining order against me (they give them out for showing up in my state), and I had my lawyer make her look like the liar she is. I never got upset, I never got emotional (I cried in my private time for the stress this was causing my son), but I never got mad at her. I just used each situation to get what I wanted and transfer the power. She is a good mom, and my son is very well taken care of with her, I never worry about that. The main point is forget the games, use each incident to document and then hire a lawyer and be done with it. Now its to the point where I dont need to interact with her unless my son wants us all to go to dinner. I say I have the best situation (given the situation) in that I am running my life the right way and making sure that I stay as the role model for my son. Of course it was all my fault for the divorce, and of course it was the greatest marriage ever, yeah right!! But I never got upset or vowed revenge, I just no contact, and I dont respond to things that are not relevant, and I soft next her whenever she looks to start drama. The goal is to be happy and enjoy your life. I find that on the week that I dont have my son, I can travel, I can go out, I can be a refreshed parent and be the best for my son. When marriage has you to the point of knowing that its not going to move (because people dont change) and the other person does not want to join you in partnership, its time to dump the lazy partner and go solo. Best move I ever made. (My mother told me not to marry my ex wife, I should have listened to my mother).....  

  • Michelle 2018-01-01 13:12:42

    I'd like to know what advice you give to the men who chose to live a double life with another woman while working as a consultant on a long term project who had a pregnant wife at home.  And then when the wife found out about the other woman and proceeded to want to leave the marriage because that was in the best interest of her and their infant child (after all, the husband was only home 6 days a month on extended weekends) yet the husband threatened to commit suicide if she left?  Your article makes it sound like men are never at fault for post divorce issues.  What about those ex husbands who then decided to introduce the woman they chose to run off with to their small children when they didn't even have the decency to want to tell their children together with their mom that the parents were getting a divorce?  Please enlighten me with your answer as you seem to be such an expert on how men are to deal with their ex wives yet it is these men that choose to put their own needs above those of their families or better yet the needs of their SEX life over the needs of the children; instead of choosing to be at home and helping with a newborn, it's more important to be at the bar with their lover in hopes they will get laid that night.  These men should quite frankly have to take sh-t from their ex wives due to the ever ending crap they have put their faimilies through. Yes, the children are the ones who are suffer the most but for those men that have no issues running up bar tabs and taking lavish vacas with their lovers yet can't pay child support then the ex wife has ever right to be pissed, especially those that are working jobs to support their children.  Would absolutely love to hear your "expert" opinion you have about this population of men!

  • Steve 2017-12-15 15:17:03

    Hi, I stumbled across this thread today. I realise it's a couple of years old so not sure if this will get read but I thought I would add my experience from England what every man and boy should be taught and realise is that you are a beast of burden owned by the women that bore you. when you enter into a contract you trade one thing of value with another party who has something of value to trade. the marriage contact has been totally destroyed by governments over many years to the point where any man who enters into it deserves everything he gets. He has his father to thank for his ignorance or he is totally to blame for ignoring his fathers advice. I have 2 great son's and despite being their stay at home carer, had to spend 3 years in family court to get equal contact. you cannot and never will make an unhappy person happy. Any man who stays in a relationship where he gets screamed at for helping his wife needs his head examining! when my ex had her temper tantrums I would hug and pacify her. When I grew tired of it and started to laugh at her that's when she would go for me. And I didn't tell anyone and thought I was a failure at being a husband. It was the biggest relief to get out apart from not getting to see my kids. the op is correct, nothing you bring up about her poor parenting skills are of any importance of the judge. The children are hers. Your labour is hers. These laws were created by men to appease women. if you don't like it be the best parent the children have when they see you. It drives the other parent crazy. I never spoke to my ex after our divorce. My texts are to the point. When we have to go to appointments together she has her say. As soon as I open my mouth she starts getting verbally aggressive and I get threatened with having to leave. the kids see this and remember that they will make up their own minds and won't want to be around the emotional vampire that creates dramas every day. they want to be somewhere safe, emotionally stable, having fun and chilling out with you. non married men heed the warnings of what you risk by putting her ring on your finger. It might as well be through your nose!

  • Dan 2017-10-29 20:28:33

    Wow! Very accurate! I've been married 20 years and divorced for 6 months and have 2 grown kids (over 18). Problem is she is actively involved in parental alienation and we still own a home that's currently on the market and contains the equity I need to move on with my life. She's dragging her feet everytime I need to discuss the house status. Not sure how to handle this because I've already learned that texting is the best form of communication but its slow and gives her more opportunity to drag her feet... I'm considering putting my kids in the middle to get her to take action by telling them how her non-cooperation will affect their college money and future living arrangements.

  • Neil 2017-04-22 21:51:08

    I think the main post addresses your concerns. Some women are going to be more combative than others, and your daughter will put the pieces together on how her mother interacts both with her, and you, as time goes on. This might not be until teens or adulthood; something you have a gentle influence on but no real control; you can only control you and to that effect, you don't need to call the mother out on lies every time she lies. If you are in front of the children you laugh it off and refuse to engage, if you are not in front of children you still laugh it off and refuse to engage. If you call a woman out on lies each time you will have a busy and pointless existence. Read and re-read the main post because I went through the same process and I come back to it and realise how accurate and valid everything there is.

  • Bryan 2017-04-22 14:45:29

    While I agree with many of the things you say, there is one bugging me the most... Here’s the most important question: Will it make you happy to go to war against your ex-wife, even if you think you have a good reason? If I stay silent and never call her off on her lies and deception my kids will believe I am the cheater and the liar, when the truth is, I divorced her because she was sleeping around.  The whole town knows about this. I am sure my kids know about this at a certain extent also, a day after we separated she started bringing a friend "over" to sleep in the house. I do not have to "just live with it" because its not the truth.  She has taken me to court many times for stupid things because I have called her out in many of her lies.  I know she hates me, I know my oldest is really confused on how to live her own life because of the things she has said.  She has abused her emotionally and physically, just as she did with me, and yet, she still doesn't know who to believe at this point. I tried getting the police involved, but my daughter covered everything up (she said its her mother after all) and i ended up being the jerk. But if I do not stand up for myself, my kids will hate me for things I never did.  The way I see it, its the truth what will set me free eventually.  I still will have to pay for lawyers every time she takes me to court but it is worth it.  Every time the case gets dismissed and there is one less lawyer she can use because she lies to all of them.

  • Kevin 2017-03-26 17:29:52

    BD, thanks for the Written Word... I totally agree with all you say on this subject. I remarried several years after my first wife passed away: we had 2 kids. My comments here are all on wifey #2. After about 6yrs of fairly good relations (so I thought anyways) she cheated with a few of my oldest sons friends!! Its been 7yrs now since the divorce. It was nasty. Cost me about $90, 000 (cash/savings gone, empty house, lawyer fees etc). We have a son (14 now). I'm lucky to have 50/50 custody. But OMG, the hell I live with is still ridiculous. The first few years, I did argue, for "all the right reasons" of course. But it just made things worse. Yes, she blames me for her adulterous behaviors, go figure... I guess going to work so she could stay home with the kid was reason to stray (?) Now, after several $k in lawyer fees discussing how I have no right or control of her bitchy attitude issues, I have done as you say. I ignore her. It has somewhat slowed her down, but I still deal with it. We have to see each other at school and sporting events. Since I don't answer her calls or txt msgs, she resorts to quick criticisms about my haircuts or the clothes I wear while passing in parking lots. Luckily, I could care less what she thinks. Funny thing is she's put on 30+ lbs!! I feel much better since letting go and realizing, as you say, that I have no control over what she says or does, and that she really has no control over me anymore either. My advise to add to your comments, is when you have to see and deal with the ex (as I do at the school/sporting events) is to have a friend or family member with you. Exs DO lie alot, so having a witness is a good idea. More so, it seems to downgrade the topic of her criticisms. To all current good Dads out there: hang in there, pray, and learn from your past mistakes...good luck.

  • isityourself 2016-11-21 22:47:56

    Terrific article and some very insightful replies. I am going through a lengthy separation in Europe with the children and their mother moving back to their home country. Lately as the date draws to a close, I've been quite sad at the prospect of losing my wife and children, and experiencing the full gamut of emotions every minute; I've noticed that I've been exhibiting awful, clingy interactions with my ex-wife. This article is grounding and reassuring; I've been able to step back and see both how amicable the situation has been going (no hysteria, no shouting, unlimited access, very modest child support) and take a deep breath. Unconsciously I've been putting parts of the suggestions into place as a reaction and now I can do so for the all of them. Thank you.

  • JonShaft 2016-09-01 11:34:22

    This is the best advice ever. My personal story: After my wife left me, this strumpet, the ex wife,  asked if I would "help her move". I told her "go to hell".  I was so angry.  She had been planning to leave me and move out for months. She had the nerve to ask me to help her move? WTF?  Of course, it was all "my fault". After the ex wife left, I started dating multiple ladies. I got into a serious relationship with one, and my ex-wife found out. She went buck wild. It actually impacted my single life, due to my acting like a male eunuch bitch.  She would still ask me for money, outside of what I was giving her with support. She was evicted multiple times, and I still helped...like a true male bitch. The more I helped, the worse she treated me. It also impacted my dating with other females. Tip: Females can sense when you have drama, even if you never mention it. They will bounce by asking for "space". A person revelation hit: Ignore her drama. Stop rewarding bad behavior. Create a drama free zone. Focus on improving me, and continue to work on dat mission. Once I started doing that, she started with all sorts of drama. Blowing my phone needing money.  She was testing me. So, I just blocked and deleted her from my phone, and removed her from my life. Peace and tranquility ensued. Things started to come into focus. My relationship with my kids is fantastic. We always have a great time together.  We talk on a regular basis, and the conversations are always upbeat and positive. I encourage for them to continue to reach out to me, and they do. However, in retrospect, I conditioned the ex-wife to treat me that way. Women will treat you EXACTLY how you look at yourself. This holds true for ALL WOMEN. This is to include your moms, sister, daughter, wife, gumar, or whatever.  If you see yourself as a high value male, they will show up accordingly. If you show up as needy, desperate, and weak, they will run right over your ass.  And, if you are very controlling, drill sgt, Alpha 1.0 male, they will scheme to get away from you. Being emotionally centered, focused on your mission, and not giving any fucks; will keep them around, and they will fight just to get into your bedroom. Women are hard wired to attempt to earn the attention of a TRUE Alpha 2.0 male. They cant resist it....even your ex wife. The moral to the story: Black Dragon is dead on correct. Let go of the negative energy, aka DRAMA, of the ex wife, the kids will follow the positive energy that you create as a man. Peace, Jon Shaft

  • Dawson Stone 2016-01-14 00:06:26

    donnie demarco's comment is spot on. I couldn't agree more. There are things you can control and things you cannot control. Simply focus on the ones you can control. My ex-wife moved away with my daughter without my permission when she was 1 1/2 years old making it very expensive and difficult to see my daughter. I explored legal options but they would almost certainly not yield the results I wanted and cost a fortune. So I flew every 2-3 weeks to see my daughter until I could find a job in her city and then I moved. I NEVER complained to my ex-wife about it. I have never uttered a bad word about my ex to my daughter. When my daughter says negative things about her mom, I re-direct her and get her to focus on the positive things about her mom. I NEVER pile on.

    1. Emotionally accept that your kids will be raised “wrong” when they’re with their mother, and that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
    I look at this a different way. In a normal family with two parents in the same home, when an issue comes up (can the child have a sleep over, get a car, date someone, etc.) both parents have to basically pretend to agree even if they don't. When you are divorced you don't have to do this. I have a completely different parenting style than my ex-wife and my daughter experiences both. She is able to discern which is healthier without me having to say a thing. The net result of all of this is she sees me as an even keel, happy, well adjusted, fair-minded person because of how I treat her, her mom and others. Not surprisingly she emulates me and not her mom. Just be the best version of yourself and resist the urge to be petty and combative. Everyone loses when you do that. @Doubter Terrible idea. Flaunting your new hot gf to your ex makes you look like an asshole. To your kids. To your friends. To everyone. Have a great life and you won't feel the need to rub it in anyone's face.

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-09 10:53:00

    my mentor sat me down and told me in no uncertain terms that my kids were watching me and that my son was going to be the man I showed him I was and my daughter was going to marry a man like me – who did I want this man to be?
    Fantastic. And accurate.

  • Doubter 2016-01-08 21:08:27

    What a great article with some fantastic advice. Women are women and it's never their fault, which means it has to be yours, as the man. The three best things about being divorced: - New pussy, - Being able to hang up on your ex when she inevitably starts yelling at you or trying to manipulate you, - The look on her face when she sees you with that hot blonde 10 years younger than her.

  • Cheesetrader 2016-01-08 14:19:14

    Superb post, BD - had to unlurk to comment Having lived thru a divorce of my own - yes!  Yes to all the above - esp #2.  My ex was quite good at little passive/aggressive moves which still piss me off - but I let them slide and take them as a badge that I'm doing it right.  If she wasn't annoyed with mean, that'd me she wasn't regretting her decision....one of her favorite moves is to never, ever say my name - so I make sure to say hers whenever we communicate. About #4 - the best advice I got when the divorce went down was about the kids - my mentor sat me down and told me in no uncertain terms that my kids were watching me and that my son was going to be the man I showed him I was and my daughter was going to marry a man like me - who did I want this man to be? That has served me well....to this day. The only thing I add - if possible, write your own divorce agreement.  1 - it was surprisingly therapeutic.  2 - you'll find yourself not giving as much of a fuck about a lot of the petty crap  3 - you'll save a TON of money.  Just be sure to run it by a lawyer when all done - and cover all contingencies for child expenditures - from school lunches to college tuition - and get it in writing.   Thanks, BD - which I had read this 10 years ago

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-08 09:53:28

    this is a woman who not only took away my livelihood (along with her parents), but attempted a DNA test, pyschological examination, talked badly about me to my boys, started a new business with exactly the same products, and now refuses any supervised contact.
    I already said above that if she refusing to let you see your kids at all (which is illegal in most Western countries) then some legal action on your part may be required. But that's the only item in the above list that is relevant. Everything else I would let go. As a matter of fact, a few of those things have happened to me in other contexts, and guess what? I let them go. It works.

  • Tom 2016-01-08 01:59:17

    I don't see any advice relevant to me on your blog or anywhere else suggesting how to deal with extreme cases like mine, so I think you are only looking at your own experience and expecting ex's to be on a scale of normality. You have to keep in mind this is a woman who not only took away my livelihood (along with her parents), but attempted a DNA test, pyschological examination, talked badly about me to my boys, started a new business with exactly the same products, and now refuses any supervised contact. What do you expect me to do? Let it happen so I don't see my boys? Or fight for them? Or try and send her flowers and get put in prison? I think you are not who you really say you are with the comment you have just posted. And I said I "was" suicidal. And how does that back up your point? So genius, what would you do in my situation? Considering you don't know that many facts, you are making an ass out of yourself. And considering you've never been in my position, you are judging purely from someone who has had a normal ex compared to mine, who actually wanted you to have a relationship with your children. We are in a different league my friend, and my question of "what would you do" is mostly rhetoric because quite frankly you don't have a clue.

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-07 17:09:06

    build on the strength I have to thrive and if I have to, win my kids in court in the coming 2 years, even if it means 2 days per week after all is said and done. Did the Romans give up when the Carthiginians destroyed every army they threw at them until, facing utter defeat, Scipio defeated him just a short distance from the gates of Rome. And also when Aetius who stopped the Huns when they were so close to destroying Rome and the whole of the West? No. So why should I? Or any other man?
    And that attitude is the exact opposite of what I'm advocating. You are not the Romans. That analogy is ridiculous. You are an individual man who only gets one brief life on this Earth, and then its all gone forever. If you want to waste a massive portion of that life being miserable, then that's your decision, but I would never do such a thing. The fact you were depressed and suicidal adds fuel to my argument. But like I said, it's your life.

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-07 17:04:46

    Donnie. Best comment ever. Thank you.

  • Tom 2016-01-07 14:27:12

    Wow Donnie that's a really moving story. I'll be honest, it's these stories that make me dig in so that I will not be that guy who accepts that he will hardly ever see his kids, just because that's what she wants (as I've heard very similar stories and still do). I put vision, purpose and energy everyday into my belief system and thought patterns that I see them as much as I desire to, as I can't accept being that dad that has to go off and wait a decade before he gets a normal relationship with them. I'm lucky in the sense that they will never move away from where I am on the south coast of England, and even if it takes a year or two (or more), I'm in this 110% to ensure I maintain financially and mentally (although I lost my way with these youtube videos, I've been suicidal and took myself right to the edge of depression) and build on the strength I have to thrive and if I have to, win my kids in court in the coming 2 years, even if it means 2 days per week after all is said and done. Did the Romans give up when the Carthiginians destroyed every army they threw at them until, facing utter defeat, Scipio defeated him just a short distance from the gates of Rome. And also when Aetius who stopped the Huns when they were so close to destroying Rome and the whole of the West? No. So why should I? Or any other man? I did screw up talking badly about her on video (60 altogether), but I've not said anything to the kids yet, so it will remain that way, and of course in hindsight they will never see these videos, so thanks for reinforcing that golden piece of advice about not talking badly about her to them. Thanks again.

  • donnie demarco 2016-01-07 12:34:40

    For those of you wondering how these strategies can benefit the kids:  My parents divorced when I was 7, under extremely belligerent circumstances.  As expected, the courts gave full custody to my mom, and she did everything she could to limit visitation with my father (at worst, we wouldn't see him for months, and in the best of times we still could only see him twice per month).  During this entire time, my mother talked non-stop shit about my father, and I was too young to separate fact from fiction. In response, my father did exactly what BD describes in this article.  He focused on building the life he wanted.  He moved back in with my grandparents (my dad was blue collar and couldn't afford rent + alimony + child support for two kids).  He saved up his money and bought another house, remarried a wonderful woman, and had two more kids.  He NEVER ONCE uttered a bad word to me about my mother or the divorce, despite how much it hurt him to see his kids not truly understand who he was. Over the years, I slowly learned to understand the good man that my father is, and today I (and my younger sister) have a wonderful relationship with him (as well as our stepmother).  His strength and vision paid off. Do not let petty ass shit bring you down.  Be strong.  The kids WILL RECOGNIZE IT, and love you more for it in the end.  

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-07 09:51:45

    Why would a man who knows the score even want to start a family today?
    Biology and Societal Programming, both of which are much stronger than logic.

  • BlindIo 2016-01-07 02:50:38

    Why would a man who knows the score even want to start a family today?

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-06 16:45:18

    just to point out I only just read your article today after I had already done this, so it’s not a case of not following your advice.
    I know. I probably didn't state that well.
    And if you consider that she stole a profitable business which I didn’t consent to, I’m not going to let that lie. I have tried setting up other businesses since but this is the one I was really good at, so I will build it from scratch and if it happens to knock her business (that she stole from me) out of orbit, so be it. It’s not me going to war, just reclaiming what is mine.
    It is indeed going to war. I would have let it go and started a new business. Within 6-18 months I would have been making plenty of money again. My book describes the concept of replaceability of income in detail.
    And doing nothing, or just living a mediocre life without purpose and vision (which this business gives and will give me) is not acceptable.
    Obviously that is not my advice. I agree with the rest of what you said though.
    I don’t know how extreme that actually is. I don’t have any stats to back it up, but it was implied by what tom said(though he did something to trigger it), and a friend of mine had something very similar happen, where the ex wife moved out of state with the kids. And, once out of state, filed for no visitation rights in her new jurisdiction.
    That is extreme. It's also the very odd exception to the rule. It's also illegal.
    That said, where do you draw the line? One day a month, all good, enjoy the time you have. Never, start fighting it in court?
    Where you draw the line is up to you. Some guys would be very happy with one day a month. Others with every other weekend. Others need to see their kids 50% of the time. As in all negotiations, start with more than what you want, and settle on something as close to what you want as you can, within unfair, anti-man family court limitations. If you don't get exactly what you want, tough shit, be a good dad, and move on with your life. Just remember I said "not exactly what you want," not "never see your kids ever," which is an extreme and unusual scenario. Moreover, no man in the modern era and in the Western world should expect to see his kids exactly as much as he wants in the long-term. The divorce rate is too high and the courts favor women too much. Men should accept this reality before they even have any kids. (I did.)

  • Parade 2016-01-06 15:49:14

    I don't know how extreme that actually is. I don't have any stats to back it up, but it was implied by what tom said(though he did something to trigger it), and a friend of mine had something very similar happen, where the ex wife moved out of state with the kids. And, once out of state, filed for no visitation rights in her new jurisdiction. That said, where do you draw the line? One day a month, all good, enjoy the time you have. Never, start fighting it in court?

  • Tom 2016-01-06 15:06:15

    I know I screwed up with posting stupid videos about how angry I am, but at the same time it was therapeutic and in a sense I'm glad she found them. And just to point out I only just read your article today after I had already done this, so it's not a case of not following your advice. The damage is already done, but at the same time I'm not a believer in just giving up or accepting that we will be at war for 10 years. I will focus on creating an amazing life regardless of how much I see my kids and what she does between now and when they are old enough to visit me, otherwise I am feeding into her power over me via the kids (used as a weapon). And if you consider that she stole a profitable business which I didn't consent to, I'm not going to let that lie. I have tried setting up other businesses since but this is the one I was really good at, so I will build it from scratch and if it happens to knock her business (that she stole from me) out of orbit, so be it. It's not me going to war, just reclaiming what is mine. And doing nothing, or just living a mediocre life without purpose and vision (which this business gives and will give me) is not acceptable. I will no longer base my happiness on whether I see my children, but detach, know they are always there and be here for them when they are ready, and know that they will always know I was here for them even though their mother didn't allow us to see each other that much (and only under supervision for however long this is going to be now). Relying on any external stimulus for happiness is the source of much suffering, which is what I have been under for the last year or more and FYI we had been separated for 1 year before I introduced another woman to the boys, and we were getting on fine for that year. She is obviously suffering a lot to want to try and impose so much suffering on me, so I feel sorry for her for this, and I believe strongly in karma. As long as I focus on creating an amazing life for myself, she can't cause me any unhappiness or have any power over me not being happy. And I will create an amazing life through love, not hate. But it is her hate that will be her eventual undoing, and I will simply be there to pick up the pieces that remain, including ensuring my boys start on a path of abundance, one that I have already taken. And hope that she has done a reasonable job up until this point. Giving other people power over my happiness is no longer an option. And since I can't contact her directly any more, it will be a war of attrition. Who can stay the standoff the longest while I have all this time and energy to create a successful life, while she has to contend with ageing parents who will gradually be unable to help with childcare and increasingly demanding boys who will want more and more from life whereby she has to divide time between her business and them, not an issue I will face, is easy to answer. Plus I get to travel, enjoy multiple partners and spend winters away. I have my legacy, they have my name (although she tried to change that) and I have amazing memories to enjoy and hold close to my heart if I do miss them. And I know for a fact they will want to be part of my life when they are older, and admittedly will want us to get on, which I am also still open to, so the war is her choice but I am ready for peace when she is. I keep telling myself I already forgive her, for I release myself from this burden and weight. I've learned to tame my thoughts and instantly stop any negativity about her or the situation if they come up, and focus purely on creating abundance now. Ideally, the path is to get on with your ex, but if this isn't possible and you have no control over it, focus on what you do have control over, because you can only change the root, not the cause. And just accept that everything will be fine in the end, like I have. T

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-06 14:04:21

    are you recommending you just accept whatever terms she gives you for seeing your kids even if they’re blatantly bad?
    Yes, provided: A) you can see your kids regularly and B) trying to modify what she desires would cost you thousands of dollars and years in court.
    For example, if your ex wife said ‘no visitation with your kids, supervised or not’ you’d say ‘ok’ and be the best absent parent ever?
    Not only is that an extreme scenario, but it would be illegal for a woman to demand and long-term enforce such a thing. As I've always said, if you have to use extreme, crazy hypotheticals to prove your point, you probably don't have a valid point.

  • donnie demarco 2016-01-06 13:54:42

    From the woman's point of view, a breakup is always the man's fault.  In her world (which includes all of her family, her girlfriends, and beta orbiters), you are either a piece of shit bastard who didn't do everything right (if you were alpha) or a worthless pussy who "just didn't get her" (if you were beta). Handling this phenomenon is similar to handling rejection.  Don't devote any further thought to her (aside from the necessary stuff, like logistics with the kids), and continue to focus all of your energy on building the life you want. The problems with going to war/getting back at her are a) it's super obvious to the entire world that you are butthurt, and b) getting back at her will NOT make you happy. The true payoff comes years later, when you are loving life and have completely forgotten about her, and then happen to bump into her walking down the street while you have a hot babe on your arm and she's dragging her new beta bf around.  That will put a smile on your face.  You could also start sleeping with her friends, that works too.  Or her mom, that's even better  ;P

  • Parade 2016-01-06 12:32:02

    Maybe not so applicable to Tom, and definitely not to me, since I'm not married, but are you recommending you just accept whatever terms she gives you for seeing your kids even if they're blatantly bad? For example, if your ex wife said 'no visitation with your kids, supervised or not' you'd say 'ok' and be the best absent parent ever?

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-06 10:20:55

    Tom, you're doing exactly the opposite of what I recommend. I realize you're not going to change your mind at this point, but this comment is mostly for other guys reading even though I'm talking to you. You chose to go to war against your ex. You'll now be at war with her for a decade or more (until your youngest child turns 18). You've pretty much guaranteed that until then, you won't be consistently happy. That's an unacceptable price in my opinion. I would have let it all go and just moved on. I would have been a great example to my kids during the time I was allowed to have them, and leave it at that. Any damage she would have caused me during the divorce or marriage (which you admitted was your fault, good on you there) I would have chalked up to a learning experience not to repeat, rather than something I needed to spend years of my life and thousands of my hard-earned dollars punishing her for. She's going to be a very unhappy bitch regardless of what you do. No"getting back at her" is required, trust me. No need to go to war (if you desire long-term happiness, that is).

  • Tom 2016-01-06 08:20:17

    Hi Nice post. However there are strong cases of narcissistic women ie. my ex who don't want me to have anything to do with my 2 boys just because I introduced them to another woman over 1 year ago. Since then I have had to take her to court to get access back, and had to pay for that access via a contact centre under supervision. Then recently I posted some videos on Youtube about it all and contact was immediately stopped by court. Now I have to enter a 2nd round of court hearings just to see them again, and she is even refusing supervised contact until the next hearing. Keep in mind that this is a woman, who along with her family stole our joint business from under my nose while I was caught napping just after the scenario with the other woman (took my eye off the ball) and we also owned a house together which I have gone to court to get back my share (I stupidly signed it off to her). So while she wants me to kill myself, I have no hope of ever getting on with her. The only method I have is to be even more successful with a new business (current plan) and then get the best solicitor in the world to exact more time with my boys. And although it sounds harsh, ensure her business suffers so she then relies on me financially and I have leverage over her. If I contact her directly now she can put me in prison, and I can't get within 100 metres of her address without having the police come and arrest me (just from posting some honest videos on Youtube) so for the next  few years it really is a battle of power - who has the most resources to win decision making power over how much time I have with my boys. One I am sure I will win, but since there is no rationalising with a narcissistic control freak, is the only way. Please share if you can think of another. Appreciated T

  • JE 2016-01-06 05:22:34

    @Parade   Yeah, for me the portion that stood out was:

    The important thing was that she had assigned the wrong motivation to my actions, and getting that misconception out of the way kept this from being stored away in the “why I hate him” pile of bad deeds."
    Oh man.  If ever there was a written indication that one has bought into the dramatic female frame, believing what she says rather than what she does, this would be it.  Were I cleaning a room, and the person who shares it cleaned their half without being asked, my first reaction would not be "FUCK YOU," followed by a dramatic blow up. When would you ever want to get angry at someone for making chores easier? Logical Answer- Never. Emotional answer- when there are issues totally unrelated to the blow-up in question that are unresolved. I don't know the entire situation, so I won't speculate as to what it is, but there is something more there for sure. Most brutal of all is that he has named it the "laundry story," indicating he has ear-marked it as a telling breakthrough in the ongoing dialogue with his wife.  In reality, she was offering a flimsy excuse that his logical mind took as truth and subsequently reframed as "successful communication." @Joe In the future, such a outburst should be met with a blank face (perhaps coupled with even the slightest of grins), followed with complete removal of oneself from the situation, and NEVER BRING IT UP LATER. If she wants to offer an unsolicited apology after-the-fact, you can passively accept it and quickly move on. She likely knows she was being petulant.  Discussing it as if it were a legitimate issue that needs to be "communicated" is giving it way too high of regard.  As BD has stated so many times- "It's Drama."    

  • Parade 2016-01-05 19:28:06

    “Hey self, go help” So I went over and started folding some of my t-shirts. My wife then got very angry and started yelling at me. This of course I found very confusing. Once everyone calmed down I asked why she got angry.
    I'm going to leave the rest alone, but this really stood out to me as a "wtf are you thinking dude" moment. She got angry because you folded clothes. Not only that, but instead of acting like an adult and, I dunno, asking you to fold the other laundry she got upset enough where you had to wait for her to calm down. The important thing here is not "I should help more" or "she had the wrong motivation" it's that she felt like she could get upset about you folding clothes. And there was no resolution to it other than you took almost all the blame on yourself. "I should help out more". If that's not perfectly crafted to be in opposition to what this blog stands for, I'm not sure what is.

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-05 16:59:17

    For about six months, yes, give your marriage a very strong effort and do your absolute best to make it work. But if you're "trying like hell" for 6 months, 12 months, or years, and she's still an unhappy bitch, it's time to file the divorce papers and get the hell out of there. She has no interest in changing and you're wasting your life staying with her at that point.

  • Joe Richards 2016-01-05 10:03:20

    Another great article by Black Dragon. I'd say if you get divorced follow this advice.  But I also want to say TRY LIKE HELL NOT TO GET DIVORCED! That doesn't mean you have to kowtow to your wife, that's actually the worst way to get her respect. But you do have to learn to work through your problems. If possible, after you've made up from a fight, or during the make up try to figure out what went wrong. I'm going to tell my laundry story now.  We had two or three young kids at the time and my wife was starting to fold some laundry. I thought to myself. "Hey self, go help" So I went over and started folding some of my t-shirts. My wife then got very angry and started yelling at me. This of course I found very confusing. Once everyone calmed down I asked why she got angry. She said it was because I was only worried about my own stuff and she could tell because I was just folding my own shirts. I replied that was because I definitely knew who's they were and how to fold them. She also expressed her thought that I wasn't doing enough to help.  So she learned that I was trying to help as best I could and I learned that I should try to help out more. The important thing was that she had assigned the wrong motivation to my actions, and getting that misconception out of the way kept this from being stored away in the "why I hate him" pile of bad deeds. Other guys tell me their wives won't let them revisit issues. So, not sure if this will work for you, but when they say "marriage depends on communication" and "marriage is work", it's these kind of events I think they are talking about. I've got a full post on my thoughts on marriage. Yes it's a scary place, but it can be great once you get the kinks worked out.  See my article here: https://wisdomdistillery.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/my-thoughts-on-marriage/  

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-05 09:31:04

    I don’t know if BD takes requests, but I’d love a post of the new Star Wars movie.
    Already posted. Here.

  • Blackdragon 2016-01-05 09:30:09

    I will never have an ex-wife because I’m not getting married.
    Lots of guys stay that but still end up married once they cross over into their 40s, so we'll see...

  • It-Began-In-Africa 2016-01-05 07:14:47

    Great post as usual BlackD and happy 2016 to you and your family! Just to add that badmouthing the ex (especially in front of the kids) is never a great idea. Most times this feels fully justified, but once indulged on, it can easily spiral into a bad habit with unwanted consequences. Well done to NaughtyNinja above. All the lessons you have spelled are usually taught at life's school of hard knocks, so many brothers are lucky to pick up these here without going to the actual school.

  • Anthony 2016-01-05 05:19:12

    BD, Thanks to your blog, I will never have an ex-wife because I'm not getting married. I learned enough from having an ex-girlfriend. I'm just glad I didn't get that chick pregnant or tied the knot.

  • BA 2016-01-04 09:39:30

    2. She likely blames the entire divorce on you, and likely takes very little (if any) personal responsibility for it. The entire list is accurate but this one was the biggest surprise to me after my divorce.  While I was reflecting on what I did wrong & what I could do to prevent problems in future relationships; she blamed me 100% for the break-up of our marriage.  I was shocked.  Now, 2 years later, I hear from my grandson that the divorce was because of 'minor issues that could have been talked about and worked through.'  She's still lying to herself. Fortunately, my kids are grown so I don't have to deal with her. Very good post.  Please keep it up.

  • Arthur 2016-01-04 09:35:12

    I don't know if BD takes requests, but I'd love a post of the new Star Wars movie. I've heard all sorts of debate about it and I'd be interested in BD's perspective on it.

  • NaughtyNinja 2016-01-04 08:23:12

    I needed this article 2 years ago. As someone who has lived almost everything described here, I can attest to the validity of the points BD makes. I fought my ex for years, mainly trying to get to 50% custody of my two boys. She always refused to give me additional parenting time, and like a fool I engaged in arguing with her. This only resulted in everyone being miserable. I finally grew a pair and started investigating lawyers to fight for my equal parenting time, but she beat me to it and filed for sole custody and to move out of the state with my kids. Fortunately I learned all the points BD makes, put in the time and money to build a powerful case against her, and the legal system worked this time. I've enjoyed 50% parenting time for the past year, no longer engage the ex in her BS, and me and the boys are the happiest we've ever been.

  • doclove 2016-01-04 07:13:04

    I hope my response is the first comment. Even though this is not relevant to me as I have no children and plan to have none, and I have never been married an do not ever plan to marry, I think this is a wonderful article of advice. As you might say and I certainly do say, there is always at least a 1% chance I or any man will marry and at least a 2% chance of having children either by legitimate children through marriage or bastards by baby momma drama. I would also like to say that I think your rules also apply to men who have never been married, but have bastards through their baby momma drama queens. This is why I do not advocate for men to marry and to not have children, and advise them to remain childless and single. It is very difficult to keep one's cool if one's life is being destroyed financially or legally(think criminal charges such as must arrest laws for any domestic abuse the wife or baby momma or live in girlfriend say  the husband, baby daddy or live in boyfriend did be it true or false) especially if it is unjustified. It is even more difficult when it happens to one's,  children. Hell, it is hard enough to not say something harsh back when being bad-mouthed and even harder when she doesn't raise them right with the examples you provided above such as being too indulgent or not helping the children etc.This is where most men fall down and fail to some degree if not a great degree. It is easier to walk away when there are no children and this is difficult enough. Yet most Western men and in particular American men prefer to be abused and are pussy whooped and are stupid. Although we Western and in particular American men deserve the abuse as a collective for failing to defend ourselves, we as individual men can escape with less harm if we have the plenty of wisdom, discipline and good sense as well as a little luck. I know I can.

  • Matt T. 2016-01-04 06:15:40

    Great post, as usual, BD. I've got a remedy for children of divorced parents entering society. As a child of divorced parents (fourth, worst option) where my Dad spent 5% of his time with me every other weekend, I know what it feels like to be abandoned by my father. I'm 30 years old now, and I've had all kinds of resentment towards my Mom, Dad, and the world. What's worse is that I sucked up super-hard to any father-figure I met like a manager, boss, or mentor. I felt lonely and depressed 95% of the time since "no one loved me". On the positive side, I'm taking psychoanalysis, which really helps me develop connection skills to one person, my analyst. In my case, my analyst is a man in his 50s - a father figure of sorts. I've been in it for 2 years now, and it has changed my life for the better. I have improved my relationship with my parents, and my Dad and I talk a lot more now. I feel less resentful to Dad, Mom, and the world. I still feel lonely and depressed at times, but it's much less often and getting better every week. It's a gradual process that usually takes 3-6 years, but psychoanalysis is a potential cure for children of divorced parents who feel left out, cold, or worthless in life.