Thursday, 6 May 2010


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I thought the X Factor would be an appropriate title for an election night entry to this blog. However, I anticipate that you will already have visited your local polling station to place an X against the name of your favourite candidate. Accordingly what I really want to talk about is something else: the ex-factor.

It never ceases to please me when I hear about how well some people get on following their divorce, in some cases even when the proceedings themselves had been fraught or even hostile.

Conversely I can be re-consulted by people months or years after their divorce when an issue arises usually concerning child maintenance or contact.

Bewildered, my client complains that they used to get on with their ex but suddenly communication has become difficult and he or she is now behaving in a ridiculous manner. Careful probing invariably reveals an innocent trigger on one or the other’s part; perhaps a new relationship, a house-move, a different job even a hair cut or weight–loss. Jealousy, competitiveness, bitterness and envy can all come sweeping to the fore and nobody knows when.

The truth is that you may have been married to your ex but that was in the past. You don’t know them now. You have no idea where they have got to emotionally, whether they have moved on or if they are locked steadfastly in the past or somewhere in between. Never, ever assume that, at the same pace, you have both reached the same place or even planet. Assume anything and you assume at your peril.

Remember even if you don’t think you have the X Factor, there may be the ex to factor.

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