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How to Set Boundaries with Your Ex

Boundaries are a survival mechanism that you and your ex should have in place before moving forward with any semblance of a post-divorce relationship. Without these, it is impossible to move on with life and heal from the wounds caused by your divorce. To help you better set boundaries with one another, here are some tips.

1. Do difficult communications via email or through another non-threatening channel. 

You both know there will be situations that arise where it’s best if you’re not in the same room with one another. These intense feelings of animosity — frequently present in the early stages when the breakup is still raw — usually subside with time, but only if you give them the proper distance to dissipate. Therefore, consider avoiding face-to-face confrontation for however long is necessary and going with a “safer” route like email or text message. Since emotions are harder to convey through these modes of communication, it should be easier to avoid misunderstandings.

2. Never leave things up for negotiation. 

If you ever hope to move on with the kind of life you deserve, you have to start living it no matter what the other person says. This is easy when there are no children involved. It gets more challenging when there are. Still, don’t ask permission to do things that are well within your right as a parent to do. Just be open and go through with it. 

3. Be willing to take as well as you give. 

If you’re going to live life by the standard set forth in number two, then you have to be prepared to take the same behaviors in reverse. If anything, you should expect it because that means your ex is moving along with their lives as well. The key, however, is in a paraphrase of a previous statement: as long as it is “well within their right as a parent to do,” it shouldn’t concern you enough to fight about it.

4. Show respect without capitulation. 

If your ex does have something to say about a decision that you make, weigh the statement against his past behaviors and the previous attitude he has displayed involving your divorce. Your ex isn’t always wrong just because they’re your ex. If you find that they are wrong, you can respect what they have to say without responding to it in a manner that encourages conflict. Do this, and they will, in time, likely reciprocate.

5. Don’t allow your child to run roughshod over you. 

By being a strong and decisive parent, your ex, and your child, will grow to respect you more. As a result your ex is less likely to challenge the boundaries you have put in place.

What were some boundaries that you had to set with your ex after the divorce? Sound off in the comments section.

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