In my post last week on boundaries, I said I would post about creating healthy boundaries with your ex-spouse. So I’m re-posting from a previous blog post that gives some examples of what healthy boundaries look like. These boundaries may not be applicable for you if the relationship with your ex is amicable. But for those dealing with a difficult ex-spouse, I hope these are helpful. Many of them apply to my own personal situation. (I’m using “he” for simplicity in each example).
1. Discuss only issues relating to the children with your ex-spouse. If he diverts the conversation to past events or other personal matters, steer it back toward matters of the children.
2. Use e-mail and texting if face to face discussions or personal phone calls are confrontational. Do not argue in front of the children.
3. Keep your meeting places public when possible. If you’re swapping children from your home and expect conflict, don’t allow your ex-spouse to come into your home.
4. Make sure your ex-spouse is clear on your expectations. Put it in writing and provide support for what you’re asking, if needed. For example, when my stepson was younger, he suffered terribly with allergies. I took him for allergy testing and it was determined he was allergic to cigarette smoke but we knew my husband’s ex-wife and her husband smoked around him constantly. We provided a prescription note from the doctor that requested there be no smoking around my stepson.
5. Don’t allow verbal abuse of any kind – toward you or the children. If the conversation gets emotionally charged, tell your ex-spouse you will hang up unless the matter can be discussed calmly.
6. Separate issues of child support and visitation. If your ex-spouse is late or delinquent on child support, don’t deny visitation. However, follow through with the court process regarding current payments.
7. Learn to recognize manipulative behavior and don’t allow it to influence your relationship with your ex.
Boundaries can be set and then adjusted, as necessary, in your relationship They give you the freedom to allow healthy interaction without fear of being taken advantange of or manipulated. But it is our responsibility to set boundaries that work for us without alienating our ex spouse in the process.
What boundaries do you set with your ex-spouse? Leave a comment if you’re willing to share your success with others.