5 Tips for Avoiding and Defusing Arguments with a Difficult Spouse


Arguments are inevitable in most divorces. The end of a relationship that was intended to last a lifetime brings up painful and difficult-to-control feelings. However, avoiding arguments is in everyone’s best interest—especially if you have children. If your spouse has a tendency to pick fights or bring up past wrongs during a discussion, it’s up to you to avoid or defuse disagreements.

1. Reschedule the Discussion

Anger dissipates with time. If you can tell your spouse is in the mood to argue with you, redirect and tell him you’re willing to discuss it at another time—“I see you want to talk about Jake’s pickup time on your days. Can we talk about it after I drop him off at soccer at 5?” While he may find something else to fight about by that time, you have a better chance at a calm and reasonable discussion.

2. Ignore Efforts to Change the Topic

When what begins as a simple conversation about divorce paperwork or the kids’ school schedule always turns into a screaming match about how you and your spouse have wronged each other over the years, you have to focus on staying on topic. This is difficult when you’re being attacked, so you’ll need to keep your willpower strong and practice redirecting: “I’d prefer to figure out how we can balance the kids’ school pickups, can we focus on that?”

3. Do Not Respond to Personal Attacks

A spouse who is looking for a fight will go to any length to get it. After being married, your spouse likely knows your weak spots and will go after them if you refuse to engage in arguments. The harder you resist his efforts to argue, the lower he may reach with his insults. Above everything else, do not engage. 

If you fail to provide the wanted response—feeling hurt and lashing out—he will eventually stop. To avoid responding to these attacks, you may need to discuss things with someone you trust after a fight. Whether you turn to a parent, a trusted friend, or a therapist, make sure you can hash out these insults and your feelings.

4. Discuss Only What You Must

Arguments often arise during the most unexpected moments; if you’re feeling kind and you ask your spouse how his day was, you could be treated to a barrage of insults about how the divorce is ruining his life. Any disclosure of recent purchases or trips could be used to fuel his accusations of you misusing his spousal or child support. Discuss only what you absolutely have to talk about with your spouse. Any extra information can be used against you in an argument.

5. Remember That Being Right Isn’t the Goal

One of the most difficult things to do in an argument is to listen to lies or half-truths about yourself. Even if it goes against every instinct you have, resist the urge to correct your spouse’s accusations about your dating life, parenting, work habits, spending habits, and personal life. Unless his lies directly harm you—for example, if they damage your reputation at work or turn your children against you—do not respond. In situations where your spouse’s lies can cause actual damage, you’re better off asking your lawyer about your options.

An already-difficult divorce can become even more emotionally draining when you have a spouse who wants to goad you into an argument. At Indiana Divorce Lawyers, we understand. Let us ease your burden by helping you navigate through the legal side of things. That way, you can spend less time arguing with your soon-to-be-ex, and more time focusing on building your new future! Click here to schedule your initial consultation.

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Indiana Divorce Lawyers, Pastrana LLC

At Indiana Divorce Lawyers, we look at how divorce affects you on every level. We don’t believe in a dry, stoic approach that handles the legal aspects of divorce while leaving you alone to address the complicated emotions and growth that you’re bound to experience. The end of your marriage is a new beginning for you, and we’re ready to walk you through every step.

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