Setting Boundaries After Your Divorce

Setting boundaries with your ex-spouse is best when trying to move on after divorce while still fostering a respectful relationship for one another. Setting boundaries after divorce gives you time and space to grieve your losses and start healing. Here are some key points to consider while creating boundaries after your divorce.

divorced couple talking about boundaries

Understand Why You Need Boundaries

There are dozens of situations that will change after your divorce, and while it may seem awkward, setting boundaries of how you both will interact and communicate with each other will make it much easier in the long-run. Boundaries will help you both to navigate the kind of relationship you want to have after the divorce is final. Consider the following questions while establishing boundaries with your ex,

  • How often do you want to communicate?

  • What's the best form of communication for you?

  • How will you handle family engagements with their family in a way that's comfortable for you and your child(ren)?

  • How will child(ren) drop off and pick-up be handled?

If healthy boundaries can give you and your ex-spouse the space you need to move forward. However, if you feel that you and your spouse did not have a healthy relationship, professional help may be needed in order to establish boundaries that will best help you move on from your ex.

rules for after a divorce

Establish Ground Rules

Whether you have children or not, there are a few rules that are universal in dealing with an ex-spouse. As divorced individuals, you are not longer entangled in each others lives and are entitled to privacy about your personal life. Questions such as who you're seeing or where you're going should only be answered if you're comfortable doing so. If not, establish ground rules on how much of your new personal life you're willing to share with your ex.

Physical boundaries, such as your home, can provide must needed space between you and your ex-spouse. Ground rules for your physical space are just as important as any other boundaries you may feel you need. While in your residence, you're ex-spouse should be considered a guest, not an occupant, and needs to respect the boundaries you've put in place.

Both you and your ex-spouse need to understand that these ground rules are not indented to hurt anyone, but rather help you both adjust to roles other than Husband and Wife while still maintaining a relationship.

communicating via phone after a divorce

Find Healthy Means of Communication

Healthy means of communication are important when it comes to creating boundaries after your divorce. If you share child(ren), agree to not use your them as messengers as well as keep your conversations about each other positive and respectful around them. Set ground rules for how and when the two of you will talk to each other as well as how the conversation should go. Let your ex know you will speak to one another in respectful ways or the conversation is over.

Limit the boundaries of communication to what you're comfortable with. If your ex-spouse is calling you constantly, establish that you would rather communicate via email or only certain hours of the day via text or short phone call. If your communication tends to end in arguments or high emotions, let your ex know that communication will be limited to only what is necessary for the kids or legal matters.

divorced couple using a mediator

Don't Be Scared To Ask For Help

Sometimes, there's a fine line between too relaxed and too rigid and it can be difficult to find the right boundaries for you and your ex-spouse. One might want boundaries more strict/relaxed than the other and raising children together can complicate boundaries further. If you’re struggling to figure out what boundaries you need or find an agreement, get a third party involved. A therapist, relationship counselor, or court mediator can help you figure out boundaries that work for everyone involved.

Remember, healthy boundaries benefit everyone. It is not selfish or mean to set boundaries that best help you heal. You do not have to do things to make your ex-spouse happy and should meet your own needs first. The good news is that you can do all of this and still be a good person and parent.

Need more divorce advice? Check out our blog.

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