How to Move on from a Vindictive Ex-Spouse

While the pain of a divorce is traumatic enough, it becomes even more stressful when ex-spouses cannot seem to let go of their emotions, stress and even guilt. As a result, the tenuous relationship that remains becomes toxic. If this situation happens to you, there are some things you can do to move on.
Here are some signs that your ex-spouse is being vindictive:

  • Your ex-spouse badgers you with questions about who you are seeing or will even step up if you are seen with someone else and berate you in front of the person
  • Your ex talks negatively about you toward your children and tries to turn them against you
  • Anything bad that happens to your ex is your fault and you will hear about it, as will everyone else
  • If a child’s need or desire cannot be met, it is your fault
  • The ex-spouse refuses to attend any function where you will be in attendance, including family weddings or sporting events involving the children
  • Your ex sends emails to mutual friends about your alleged bad behavior
  • Your ex constantly calls you or leaves messages at your workplace or creates disturbances to try to get you into trouble — or even fired


To cope with an ex-spouse who is behaving poorly, you need to distance yourself from the individual, ignore bad behavior unless it is threatening, and remain positive about yourself and your future. Here are a few suggestions:

1.     Open a separate bank account

2.     Change your password on any internet sites or accounts that your ex knows about

3.     Close any joint credit card accounts

4.     Return any property that belongs to the ex-spouse

5.     Do not stop positive contact with your children — continue with and obey all visitation orders, do not make negative comments about your ex to your children or anyone else, and ignore any disparaging emails or phone calls.

6.     Do not retaliate, even if your ex vandalizes your home or engages in other offensive conduct

7.     Continue to attend family functions, and musical or sporting events involving your children

8.     Let your children know you no longer want to hear about your ex-spouse unless there is an emergency

9.     Exercise, get rest, go for a run or bike ride and stay in touch with friends

10.  Consider counseling for yourself if you feel depressed

11.  Suggest individual counseling for your ex-spouse but do not press the matter

12.  If necessary, get an injunction if your spouse is vandalizing your home or car, interrupting you at work or threatening you

Trying to reason with someone who is behaving irrationally or who cares little for your needs or emotions is difficult, but time often heals wounds. In some cases where spouses have cheated and initiated the breakup, the vindictive behavior is a response to their guilt over ruining or ending the marriage. In some cases, friends or family members may even intervene with your ex and encourage him or her to move on with their own life.

Retain The Law Offices of Omar Gastellum

For any thorough representation in any divorce matter, including post-divorce issues, contact us at our offices located in Los Angeles, Miami and New York. Our dedicated attorneys will not only give you the legal representation your case demands but the empathy and understanding you need when a marriage dissolves. Call us today to discuss any of your divorce questions and issues.