Everything you do during your divorce sets the stage for the future of your relationship – and that means now is the time to set boundaries with your ex-spouse. The last thing you want is to let your ex continue to rule your life once you’ve separated… or worse, to be accused of having Divorced Husband Syndrome (more on that later).
But how do you set boundaries with your ex, and how do you ensure he or she sticks to them?
How to Set Boundaries With Your Ex
When it comes to setting boundaries with your ex, you’ll most likely need them in five areas:
You don’t have to give your ex any more money than what the court orders in child support and alimony. He or she isn’t entitled to just take it, either. The court will even decide exactly how long alimony changes hands.
You can choose to keep sharing your money with your ex – that’s totally up to you – but you need to know that the court sets these boundaries for you, and it’s usually in everyone’s best interests to stick to them. Remember that the sooner you’re financially independent from one another, the better off you’ll be.
What to say if your ex wants to cross the line: “I’m sorry. The court has determined the amount of money that changes hands, and I can’t help you further.”
Boundaries With Your Ex: Sex
If there’s one thing that almost guarantees a messy divorce, it’s sex between the divorcing couple (or sex with someone else who isn’t part of the divorce). It’ll stop both of you from moving on properly, and this is one of the most important boundaries you can set.
What to say if your ex wants to cross the line: “That’s not a good idea for either of us. We need to avoid physical contact so we can both process things in a healthy way.”
Pro tip: Don’t start a relationship with someone else until you’re completely divorced. That means no romantic entanglements until after you have your signed divorce decree in your hand. You don’t have to wait for the ink to dry… but the ink does have to be on there.
Boundaries With Your Ex: Space
When one of you still lives in your marital home, the space boundary can be a tough one – but it’s incredibly important to remember that once one of you moves out, it becomes the other party’s personal space (even if you still own it).
Neither you nor your ex has the right to just show up and let yourselves in. The purpose of setting up this boundary is so that you and your ex both can feel safe and “at home.”
What to say if your ex wants to cross the line: “This is my personal space now. Please don’t come in uninvited again.”
Boundaries With Your Ex: Communication
It’s normal to want to turn to your ex when you’re hurting – it’s what you did the whole time you were married. But when you’re going through a divorce, it’s best (and healthiest) to limit your communication to topics like the kids or court orders you need to carry out. You’re not “partners” anymore, and it’s better for everyone if you keep things all business.
What to say if your ex wants to cross the line: “We are both trying to move on, and we are no longer ‘partners.’ It’s better if you talk to someone else who isn’t involved in the divorce.”
What is Divorced Husband Syndrome (or Divorced Wife Syndrome)?
Divorced Husband Syndrome, which isn’t an actual syndrome, refers to the practice of putting an ex first, even though the divorce is long over. It can also involve pairing up with the ex to give gifts, helping the ex out of sticky situations, or remaining extremely close friends against the wishes of one or both new spouses. The bottom line: It’s a relationship between two former partners where the boundary lines aren’t clear or they’re completely nonexistent.
Do You Need to Talk to a Stockton Divorce Lawyer?
If you’re thinking about divorce, of if your ex has already filed, we can help you.
Call us at (209) 989-4425 or get in touch with us online to talk to a lawyer who can help today. We’ll help you with every aspect of your divorce, from child custody and child support to alimony and property division. We can also refer you to a divorce therapist who can help you work through the emotions you’re experiencing and begin setting boundaries with your ex.