Regardless of why you got divorced, boundaries are Key to help build a peaceful and grounded future for yourself. It is even more so important if you have children together. Since you have no control over what your ex might do, you want to establish what boundaries are important for you so you can stay true to yourself. The first question most women ask me, is how do I really know what the right boundaries for me are? My answer to that is to get to know your external and internal necessary boundaries. Our external boundaries protect us from being taken advantage of or imposed upon by our ex. Our internal boundaries protect us from ourselves, where we wouldn’t allow ourselves to do too much for our ex.
Although boundaries really vary for each individual person, here are some that I thought would be important for you think about and ideally implement.
Effective communication is key to every relationship, including the relationship with your ex-spouse. For most of my clients this is a huge trigger point. They react strongly saying something along the lines: ”If we would have been able to communicate we might have not gotten to this point!”, or “How do you expect me to communicate with him/her, there is no one home to listen!” However, my belief is that even if you were unable to effectively communicate during your marriage it doesn’t mean that you can’t start doing so now. Focus on yourself only and learn how to express what you want and need clearly, so you can avoid confusion and misunderstandings. Stay away from pointing fingers at your ex, criticizing and judging. Just focus on how you feel and what you need and express your feelings and thoughts calmly.
When not to communicate with your ex:
You might have had a really hard day and then came home to a leak or your boiler breaking down. You feel exhausted and drained and are about to break down and cry and feel the need to reach out to your ex for help. This is when you should NOT be communicating what you want, since you are in crises mode and are thinking emotionally. You want to make sure to maintain solid boundaries and reaching out at inappropriate times will blur them greatly.
The week after I got separated, I got my very first credit card. I never had one under my name since my ex wanted to be in control. I also enrolled in driving lessons, (I know I was late in the game), since he never wanted me to drive. My goal was to get myself as independent as possible, emotionally and financially. I set out to look for job opportunities (I had been a stay at home mom), and found a great opportunity. The sooner you become financially and emotionally independent from your ex the better. Even if you are getting maintenance and child support that is court ordered you want to work towards your own independence. The more dependent you are the more your ex will feel in control over your life, which is not something you want him to have.
It is hard to let go, especially if you were married for a while and shared a beautiful home with ex. As hard as it is however, it is important that you learn to let go and not hold on to things that will keep you in your past. Regardless of how attached you might be to some things, if the court has decided that it belongs to your ex, it is time to let go. Don’t hold onto things, as it means that you are holding on to your past and it will just keep causing conflict and issues between you and your ex.
It might be hard for you to transition into living your life independently and allowing your ex to live his, but you want to do whatever it takes to stay out of his/her business. Keep conversation cordial, but respect their boundary of privacy. Don’t question them about their dating life, or what that did this past weekend. You are no longer a couple and what he/she does really doesn’t concern you.
I know some of these boundaries may be harder than others to implement, but remember you and your ex are no longer a couple and the sooner you establish healthy boundaries the sooner you will learn to live your own independent life. Turn the focus on yourself and let go of what was and could have been.
If you are struggling and feel overwhelmed and alone, feel free to reach out for your complimentary “Unleash your power” complementary session. Click here to schedule your appointment.