Establishing Boundaries with Your Ex
It’s Friday night and your children are with your ex for the night. It should be a nice quiet, relaxing evening, or maybe a great time to tackle that organization project? Possibly even a date night?! Instead, you’ve already burnt your own dinner because your ex has called you 14 times
already with mindless questions about the kids. “Blake doesn’t want to eat chicken nuggets, what do I do? Can you just talk to him for a minute and see if you can talk him into eating?” “Kara had a potty training accident, what do I do? Can you bring over more clothes?” “Cole refuses to do his homework, what do I do?” Your quiet night alone has turned into YOU still doing the
bulk of the parenting, when you just want to scream, “You’re their parent too!” to your ex. How can you set up boundaries to avoid arguments and
resentment regarding your parenting time while away from the kids?
Let’s face it, it’s not that you don’t love being a parent to your children.
It’s just that you went through this divorce that (maybe) you didn’t
necessarily want, then (maybe) you had to argue a bit over custody, and now
that everything is settling you are trying to make lemonade from your lemons
and actually enjoy your “free time.” You might also start to wonder whether
all those calls are because your spouse is being needy or if they are trying
to keep you from enjoying your kid-free time. You and your ex have children
together; therefore, you must be in contact with one another on a regular
basis. This also means that you should establish boundaries.
Hopefully you have created an environment that supports you, perhaps you need
to do ask your ex to do the same. Ask your ex to expand their network, reach
out to siblings, parents, friends, etc. A network of people they can call
before coming running to you first. Encourage your ex to evaluate how often
and why they are calling you. If it’s multiple times during their custody visits
maybe you need to give a specific number of times that you can be called, so
your ex should evaluate how important the call is. There are several areas
where boundaries may need to be established. Maybe you’ve had a fairly
amiable divorce and your spouse still walks in freely into your home
unannounced? It is best to lay down ground rules that said they are to knock
on the front door just like any other house, now rather than in a sticky
situation later. You can rest assured that setting boundaries, and
maintaining the proper space between you and your ex (children or no
children), is a healthy way to divorce with integrity. Setting boundaries
will help you to feel more in control of your new life.
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