A couple who has shared a part of their life through a marriage have often achieved a high level of intimacy that is so normal it becomes subconscious. Once a marriage ends in divorce, former spouses have a difficult time finding ways to communicate effectively without making each other uncomfortable. Certain discussions that are acceptable during marriage may become unacceptable after a divorce. Establishing post-divorce boundaries is necessary to avoid arguments, prevent issues with co-parenting, and help both parties move on emotionally. Determining how to establish post-divorce boundaries is never an easy task, but it is important to establish boundaries immediately after the divorce (or during the separation) and stick to them at all times.
Create a New Support System
During a marriage, couples usually turn to each other first and foremost with good or bad news. Once a divorce is finalized it is not good to continue the practice of calling your ex-spouse to discuss every problem you have or to laugh about a movie you recently saw. Continuing to turn to your former spouse gives the impression that intimacy still exists between you and can cause problems in both of your futures. Instead of leaning on your former spouse for support, reach out to other friends and family members. While it is hard to get out of a habit that was established over many years, eventually turning to people other than your former spouse will become second nature.
Discourage Unscheduled Visits
After living in a home together for years or decades, once a divorce settlement specifies that only one of the adults should remain living in the marital home, it is not appropriate for the other spouse to stop by unannounced. Though the former spouse may consider the property to be his or her home, that is no longer the case. If an ex-spouse is constantly dropping by the house, letting him or herself in, and behaving as if the home is still communal property, it is important to confront him or her about this behavior. When words alone will not stop your ex, invest in new locks and a new security system.
Respect Your Ex’s Privacy and Expect the Same
In a society in which most adults utilize social media, telephones with GPS, and other things that allow others to stay aware of the activity of others, it is tempting to find out what your ex-spouse is doing after the divorce. It is important to remember that quietly monitoring your ex’s social media, watching his or her movements, and continuing to access email accounts using passwords you know makes it hard for either party to truly move on. Also, continuing to watch what your ex-spouse is doing in private could cause you to overlook it if he or she begins doing the same thing to you. Once the divorce is over, give your former spouse some space, and request that he or she gives you the same courtesy. Neither person can move on if both are still spending large chunks of their time worrying about the actions of the other.
When to Seek Advice
Divorces are not always resolved amicably and sometimes, once the settlement is finalized, a former spouse refuses to move on. If you are having your attempts to set boundaries disregarded, it may be time to consider getting outside help. The divorce attorneys at Vayman and Teitelbaum understand what it is like to deal with an ex-spouse who refuses to respect post-divorce boundaries. Contact us today and schedule a consultation at one of our four offices conveniently located in the Atlanta metro area so that we can help you with your unique situation.