Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! Often lack of boundaries is a trait that leads to divorce, (cheating, lying) so it isn’t surprising that I speak to a high number of divorcees, who have issues with their exes even after divorce around boundaries. We all would like to believe that we and our exes, and their and our future new partners, will all live in a world of civility, BBQ’s and brilliant co parenting. Sadly as humans we are not very well equipped to live in this divorce Utopia, and as it only takes one person to not show respect to the other it’s often something we can’t even control. My best advice to those newly divorced are to set very strict boundaries, very early on and no matter what to stick to them. Draw a line in the sand and never allow your ex to cross that line again. You may think this sounds harsh, but let us remember you both chose to divorce, you spent thousands of dollars proving the point, and then finalizing it that you no longer are married, no longer a couple, no longer wish to be a part of each others life. You don’t really get to continue to milk your ex for the parts of the marriage you still enjoy.
Money- You are no longer entitled to take additional non court ordered money from your spouse, if you are continuing to do this of your own free will, that’s up to you, but it sets you up for further on going entanglement, control tactics and manipulation by the ex with no boundaries. This is why the court decides who gets what financial support and for how long. It is in everyone’s best interest to stick to this, the sooner all parties are financially independent of each other the better for everyone involved.
Sex- I have said this again and will continue to say it, do not have sex with your ex, almost guaranteed your ex is using this as a manipulation play. It hinders you both from moving on, and can often dis-rail new healthy relationships with new partners. Boundaries includes respect, that as you are no longer married you do not get to use each other for sex.
Space- This one is a huge issue among newly divorced, especially if one person gets to stay in the marital home as part of the settlement.Your living space is no longer communal, no ex has the right to show up, let themselves in, break in, trespass or re-enter an exes home, even if they used to live in it. Part of a healthy new divorce life is make yourself feel safe and at home, in your separate new houses. No one should have to feel that their ex may just show up, or come home to find their house has been entered by the other ex spouse. It’s highly abnormal to even want to do this after a divorce. It shows a huge lack of boundaries and zero respect for the others personal space. It also is often done by exes who can’t let go, who are jealous of new relationships, who are angry, bitter or overall dysfunctional to try to control the situation.
Objects- The marriage settlement usually does a pretty good job at spelling out, who is entitled to what household objects after a divorce. Once the settlement is signed and the objects initially moved, that is it. There is zero reason for either person to carry on fighting, arguing, asking or in extreme cases breaking in and stealing things from the other person. These are household objects, if you need plates, go buy your own plates, coffee table , go buy a new one, what ever it is there is no reason except control, and and a very unhealthy level of inability to not be able to move forward as a divorcee.
Communication- Respect each others personal electronics, calls, emails, texts should be kept to a minimum and solely about children, or court orders being carried out.You ex is no longer your partner and to harass them via smart phone or calls demanding anything is far beyond what any divorced person, should have to deal with. If your car breaks down, call AAA or a friend, your ex is trying to build a new better life, they do not need to be at their ex spouses beck and call.
Exes can cause havoc, to you new life, your new relationships, and can be very detrimental to the entire process of moving on in a healthy positive fashion. It really is best to set strict non moving boundaries in communication, and personal space and interaction. No one can focus all energy on building a new better life, when their old life- in the form of an unruly, unhappy ex, is constantly trying to control and manipulate them still. Be civil, communicate where your boundaries are, and if the ex continues to not respect them, totally disengage all contact with them, until they fully understand that what you say you fully mean. No one wants to really have to be like this, but in my experience the more you appease, a certain type of ex you only prolong the divorce healing journey, and make their behavior even more inappropriate by enabling it to continue. All divorcee have ultimately the same goal, future happiness, without their ex, so you really do need to start as you go on, fully understanding that divorce is a forever separation, of two people who couldn’t find happiness together, it is in both parties best interest to understand this, and move on as quickly as possible.