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How to establish boundaries with an ex after divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2020 | Child Custody, Divorce

In an ideal world, divorced parents would be able to seamlessly transition from their roles as spouses to co-parents as soon as they signed the divorce papers. Unfortunately, that’s usually not how it works. While you want to communicate and work together with your ex to raise the children you share, you also want to sever ties with them so that you can both start your next chapter.

As you navigate the new terrain of divorce, creating boundaries with your ex-spouse is vital for your mental health and setting up your co-parenting relationship for long-term success. Here are a few essential ground rules to consider adopting for your new relationship with your ex:

Accept your new role

Perhaps one of the more challenging boundaries to establish after divorce is asserting that you are no longer in the spouse or friend role. While you can still have an amicable relationship with your ex in time, it should look drastically different than your relationship in your marriage.

Your former husband or wife shouldn’t still be coming to you for personal advice or support, and vice versa. These can be hard ties to break, but it’s essential for allowing your both to heal and move on.

Keep communications brief

It’s a good idea to keep any communications with your ex business-like and impersonal following your divorce. Unless it’s to discuss your kids, you should aim to keep plenty of emotional and physical distance from your ex to maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Getting too involved in your ex’s personal life can be painful or even lead to conflict if you learn something you don’t like. Placing boundaries around your communication will allow you both the freedom to live your new lives.

Treat one another with respect

Another important boundary to have following your divorce is not tolerating anything other than respectful treatment from your ex-spouse. If you have lingering resentments or an incredibly hostile ex, this can be easier said than done.

If your ex attempts to reopen old wounds or exhibit disrespect towards you, the best thing you can do is remove yourself from the conversation. Let your ex know that you won’t work with them until you receive the treatment you deserve.

Establishing boundaries after divorce takes a great deal of hard work and discipline, but it will be worth it for you and your family’s well-being. In time, you and your ex will adjust to your new roles in each other’s lives.


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