How to manage the dynamics of a conflict between parents when their child is involved?
There's a conflict between a mother (a major character) and her ex-husband (an antagonist) during the rising action of my story. He grows jealous, possessive and very persistent over the fact she's building a relationship with the protagonist. He can't get over it.
However, the antagonist gained custody of their only daughter and is a very good father to her. The poor child simply can't understand that good parents can also be bad romantic partners to each other.
So we've got a scene where we have an antagonist father dealing massive psychological damage to his ex-wife, an ex-wife doing her best to shield herself from it, a protagonist trying to comfort her, and a child growing very desperate to dispel the conflict by trying to have them get along.
My question is, how can this conflict be permanently solved in a way that doesn't destroy the reader's Willing Suspension of Disbelief AND avoids the child crossing the Despair Event Horizon? How can the child contribute positively to the conflict?
- The antagonist never bothers with his ex-wife and the protag anymore;
- The antagonist and the daughter stay together and preserve their parental relationship;
- The protag and his girlfriend continue growing their romantic relationship.
Here are some relevant features of my story:
- Violence is never used; conflicts must be dealt with in psychological ways.
- This specific conflict doesn't immediately lead to the climax; there are some more rising actions before it gets triggered.
- The protag and his romantic partner must keep nurturing their relationship, no matter what happens.