Never bad-mouth the ex, buddy

I have a friend, let’s call him Dudley.

He went through an especially bitter divorce, replete with multiple attorneys and years of firefight skirmishes with the ex-wife over custody of their two boys and a girl. It was a kind of ugliness that takes your breath away, making you question marriage, procreation, or life in general.

Lawyers will tell you that anyone who wants to take your money and your children is not a friend. Dudley took that counsel to heart. The point is, after Dudley lost much of his money and a good deal of access to his children, he took to bad-mouthing the ex any chance he could.

Dumb move.

His children grew to resent his unsparing attacks on their mother. The ex got wind of the criticisms and made the interactions between her and Dudley extra excruciating.

A divorced person I once met said you say nothing critical to the ex about how he or she is raising the kid unless something illegal, immoral, or dangerous is going on. Life's too short for endless combat.

Great advice. Too bad Dudley – and so many divorced folks – have a hard time following it.