The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


What happens when there is ongoing conflict and hostility?

A percentage of divorced couples maintain a high level of conflict and hostility after the divorce. Frequently, this involves disputes over co-parenting. Such ongoing hostility is very psychologically costly, especially for the children. Sometimes continued hostility leads to disengagement between the non-custodial parent (generally the father) and the children. Increased hostility can also keep the partners overly involved with each other. In fact, some researchers believe that ongoing conflict reflects the partners’ inability to accept the end of the relationship, as if it is better to have negative contact than none at all. In both cases, ongoing hostility is harmful for all involved, and divorced couples benefit by finding ways to reduce hostility and to resolve conflict in healthier ways.


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