When you go through a divorce, you and your ex are no longer a “we”. You and the kids are a “we”. Your ex and the kids are a “we”, but you and your ex are no longer a “we”. Despite that, you’re raising kids together which means that your lives aren’t completely separate from each other. This is a giant grey area that needs to be talked about.
What boundaries are acceptable after a divorce?
Before you can create your boundaries, you need to know who you’re dealing with. If your ex is the type of person who tries to work his or her way into your life constantly, your boundaries may be a little stiffer than if you have an ex who wants to have their own life separate from yours.
When creating boundaries, keep the kids the main focus. If you were the one that moved after a divorce and the kids want to show Mom or Dad their new room, that’s a great way to make the kid’s transition post-divorce easier. That doesn’t mean your ex is coming in for dinner and making him/herself at home. It simply means your kids want both parents involved in their life and their life now consists of 2 homes.
Be reasonable and flexible with your boundaries. If you’re not using a communication system with your ex, texting may not be enough. Some situations require a longer message and email is needed. If you’re absolutely not comfortable with your ex having your email address, set up an email address that you will use with your ex (it’s free and takes approximately 90 seconds).
Communicate your boundaries positively. There’s a difference between saying, “These are my boundaries and I expect you to stick with them” and saying, “In an effort to more positively co-parent, I’ve found that these best practices have worked with other co-parents, let me know your thoughts”. Which do you think your ex is more willing to be open to?
Finally, focus on you and your life with your children. Many co-parents are so focused on their ex that they miss out on time with their kids. Set boundaries for yourself! Notice your thoughts on a daily basis and if most of your thoughts revolve around your ex, then work to make some changes to that.
Overall, boundaries in life are a good thing if used well. In co-parenting, the boundaries you create can either open a positive working relationship or completely shut the other person down. Be realistic, positive, and open because even though it is your life and you are divorced from your ex - you are still raising kids together and that means they’re a part of your life forever.
Let me know your thoughts! What boundaries have worked with you? How do you follow through with them?