Your Ex: Ass or Asset?

Ex spouse

You sacrificed your dreams, goals, and happiness for his success, and to better your family life. What he did in return was ignore and belittle your sacrifices while pretending you never really mattered.

Yes, your ex is an ass…

You forgave him for his indiscretion, choosing to minimize rather than make a big deal of it. Forgiving seemed easier than breaking up the family. What he did in return was more acts of indiscretion and blame you: “If you were more attentive, this would never have happened”.

Yes, your ex is an ass…

Although you could have had a glorious career, you stayed home to raise the kids so he could bring home the bacon for you to fry up in a pan. Often, you were too exhausted with the kids to sex him up enthusiastically, but you gave your best anyway. What he gave you in return were comments on not being good enough.

Yes, your ex is an ass…

You are managing on your own, the best you can, still raising your kids. He is obligated to pay child support. What he gives you in return is lip about why you don’t deserve any child support, skipping some payments to fund vacations with his girlfriend.

Yes, your ex is an ass…

You try and teach your teenage son to be a responsible young man who respects women and follows your rules. Your son doesn’t like your rules and calls his dad to complain. What you get from your ex in return is his support for your son, agreeing that your rules are irrational and ridiculous.

Yes, your ex is an ass…

You hold your tongue about his idiotic behavior while in the presence of your kids. You don’t want them to be more damaged than you feel they already are. In return, he tells your kids what a terrible mother you are, always thinking about yourself first and them last.

Yes, your ex is an ass…

You try to have an adult conversation with him about the kids’ holiday plans, hoping to make arrangements that are fair to the two of you while beneficial for them. What he gives you in return are reasons the kids should spend all the holidays with him because you are always an emotional train wreck during the holidays.

Yes, your ex is an ass…

You know you have been the primary caregiver for the kids: doctor, dental, play dates, homework, etc. What he gives you in return is VIP seating in his new play as “Mr. Mom”. You see right through the façade: yet another strategy to drag you back into court to reduce his child support payments.

Yes, your ex is an ass…

When it’s his custody week, you ask him first to take the kids to an event that happens to fall on his day. He says “No!” What he does in return is go over your head to directly invite the kids to a fun weekend at his sister’s daughter’s pool party. Naturally, the kids want to go…How can you say, “No!”?

Yes, your ex is an ass…

When it’s your custody week and the kids want a visit with dad, you allow them, respecting the importance of access to dad for their well-being. What he does in return is forbade the kids from seeing you during his custody time.

Yes, your ex is an ass…

But WHY is your ex an ass…?

Does he just have a hopeless character defect that will NEVER be fixed?

Is he just emotionally messed-up from his upbringing?

Or… are you – unknowingly – attracting ass-like behavior from him because of who you say he is?

Just sit with that question for a moment… ……… ……… ……… ……… ….

Okay, your moment is up.

This may be a hard pill to swallow, but consider this notion:

Who you say someone is, is how that someone shows up in your life. For example, bring to mind now that someone who you say is thoughtful and loving towards you. What is your experience like with that person? How about that someone who you say is funny. What is your experience like with that person? And what about that someone who you say is a good listener. What is your experience like with that person?

Now bring to mind that someone who you say is selfish. What is your experience like with that person? How about that someone who you say is verbally abusive. What is your experience like with that person? And what about that someone who you say never listens. What is your experience like?

Most likely, the experience you have with these “someones” and your response in the relationship with them matches who you say they are.

Your experience with your ex (and others) is based on the Three Laws of Performance articulated in the book by the same name (authors Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan).

SIDE NOTE: Just to be clear, a “law” is not an idea. It is “a statement of fact, deduced from observation to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present.” A law is neutral, unapologetic, consistent, reliable, and shows no favoritism. Think about the law of gravity in this respect. If you go to the rooftop of any building and jump, you are going to hit the ground. Doesn’t matter if you are a good person or a bad person, rich or poor, right or wrong. The law is impartial!

That first law of performance is expressed as follows:

“How people perform correlates to how situations occur to them.”

What in the heck does this mean and how in the world does it relate to your ex?

Let’s look at this law rewritten for our topic:

“How you interact [with your ex] matches the meaning you give to who he is.

 I know what you’re thinking (‘cuz I had the same thought):

“Oh, so you’re saying I’M THE BLAME for his behavior? It’s MY FAULT he is an ass…?

No…not really.

Most likely, if your ex is an ass…you are not keeping to yourself how he occurs to you. Most likely, you have told and continue to tell family, social media friends, and co-workers what an ass he is. And, honestly you likely communicate with him just like he is…an ass (go back and check your text messages, emails and phone conversations for clues). Few keep to themselves the asinine behaviors of those in our lives and treat them opposite the way we experience them.

What I am saying is that he is an ass because that’s who you say he is to you. He isn’t that way with everyone. He really isn’t.

In other words, ass is the description you have given to his behavior and actions and ass is loaded with meaning. Since ass is the meaning you give to his behavior and actions, he constantly acts that way to you. And, he always will for as long as you label him “ass”.

At all times and under all circumstances, we have the power to transform the quality of our lives. – Werner Erhard

BUT! There is good news. You ready?

YOU have the power to re-describe him. YOU have the pen to re-write your future experience with him.


I said YOU have the power to re-write your future experience with him!

“Not possible. He is such a pain…” you say.

I hear yah.

However, if you desire to reach for a pain-free, drama-free experience with him, the shift YOU MAKE will make all of the difference.

What does this mean for you?

This means you:

  • are no longer the victim of his behavior
  • don’t have to be all tied up in knots every time you see him or talk to him or receive his text messages
  • are in the driver’s seat choosing whether the interaction with him will be sour or sweet
  • don’t have to focus on the “what has been” and “what is” reality of your experiences with him
  • get to create a new reality that serves you!
  • GET TO BE FREE…free to cultivate a life that makes you feel good, self-confident, and successful no matter what he does (or doesn’t do, or says or doesn’t say)

How do you do this?

Good question.

You do it by invoking the 3rd Law of Performance:

Future-based language transforms how situations occur to people

Let’s look at this law rewritten for our topic:

Declaring a positive future relationship with your ex will dramatically alter your experience with him.

Here are 7 declarative, future-based statements that can transform how your ex occurs to you and therefore transform your experience with him:

  1. I RECALL one reason I married him in the first place and it is________. I LOOK FORWARD to a new reason to stay in good communication with him and it is____________.
  2. I RELEASE him from the expectation that he is responsible for meeting my needs.
  3. I GIVE THANKS that now I am free to ______________ (grow my hair; buy that car; take that course; own my credit, etc.)
  4. I ACKNOWLEDGE he isn’t perfect and neither am I and that imperfection is acceptable in this life.
  5. I GIVE UP blaming him for what he did/did not do, say, provide.
  6. I CALL him “former” spouse now rather than “ex”
  7. I VALUE the opportunity to grow happier, healthier and more self-confident every time I experience my former spouse.

Indeed, your former spouse is not an ass…

He is your ASSET.

Use this asset to create an experience that is productive and live a life that makes you happy.

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