What are Unhealthy Boundaries with Your Ex?

jealous ex-boyfriend

Your ex-spouse may attempt to come between you and any new relationship by repeatedly calling you and interfering. They may even use the children as pawns in their game. Such confining and possessive behaviour is detrimental to the other one’s health and wellbeing.

To go through the process of divorce is a difficult undertaking that is frequently chaotic, bitter and bewildering. Both of the divorcing spouses are carrying a great deal of emotional and financial baggage. This impacts psychologically and emotionally on their children who are caught in the middle and feel helpless – and often guilty!

If you or your Ex keep tabs on each other, blur the boundaries, connect romantically or sexually, try to selfishly influence one another; if you check up on each other or manipulate or misbehave towards each other, you, your personal rules and your future plans will be violated. To avoid unhealthy limits, you and your ex-spouse must have time and space apart to reflect and heal from your hurtful marital experiences.

The Unhealthy Boundaries with Your Ex Are: 

 1.      Attempting to Engage in Romantic or Sexual Acts with You 

A red flag should be raised if your ex-spouse attempts to reminisce about former dates, romantic undertakings, or sexual interactions with you. That behaviour is attempting to keep you from going forward in your life.

It’s especially troublesome if you’re already in a relationship with another person.

There’s nothing wrong with remaining friends with your ex-spouse. But, if you start to feel that they’re behaving with malicious intent, it is preferable that you take a step back and impose some strict but realistic boundaries.

2.     Keeping a Close Eye on You 

If your ex-spouse’s requests information about you and your personal activities from mutual acquaintances, it is an inappropriate breach of your boundaries.

Aside from showing blatant disregard for your privacy, they may exploit the information they gather from mutual connections to their advantage.

Constant visits to your home and your social media platforms are also signs of a shaky situation between you and others.

Social Media

The person may attempt to message you, leave comments on your postings, or engage in other interactions with you and you will probably feel really uncomfortable about their predatorial behaviour. Occasionally, ex-spouses go to extreme measures, such as stalking their ex-partner.

3.     Children are Being Used as Pawns and are Being Manipulated 

Following a divorce, parents devise a co-parenting method and timetable to guarantee that their children continue to grow up with both parents in their lives. Your ex-spouse, on the other hand, may choose to ignore this agreement out of animosity.

It is possible that your ex-spouse would refuse to honor your visiting rights and will prevent you from seeing your children. More to the point, they may even restrict you from engaging with them via phone calls, text messages, or social media platforms.

You may even be insulted or spoken negatively of by your ex-spouse in front of your children in some situations. Ultimately, the goal of this activity is to make your children dislike you and favor the other parens. This frequently results in the youngsters experiencing tension and other negative feelings.

4.     Sarcastic Updates on Child Support and Alimony Payments

In the event of divorce, financial responsibilities such as alimony, which is a court-ordered sum of money usually paid monthly to an ex spouse over a set number of years, and child support may be required. The recipients of these benefits sometimes perceive themselves as being allowed to spend those funds in any way they see fit.

Several instances have been reported in which the recipents have given sarcastic updates on how they intend to use the support money. “My new partner wanted to express his gratitude for the down payment on his new car that you made possible!”  or “Now I can afford that boob job I always wanted” might be a few examples.

Such irresponsible and biting comments can easily cause fear and even unbridled rage, or other psychological concerns in the mind of the paying ex spouse.

Several Ways to Fix the Unhealthy Boundaries with Your Ex:

1.     Accept the Changes that Occurred as a Result of the Divorce 

After divorce, you are no longer legally married so you’re not husband and wife. In addition to the change in your status, several additional changes occur. For example, your responsibilities and motivation will shift: you can’t rely on your Ex for guidance, companionship, intimacy, or other personal needs.

Understandably, some people find it difficult to accept these changes, especially if the divorce was unexpected or a hostile split-up. Some people may have withdrawal symptoms. It is necessary, however, to put in the required effort toward accepting these adjustments and moving on with your new life.

Failure or refusal to do so, will only result in more suffering on both sides.

2.     Avoid Making Contact with One Another

To avoid further contact with your ex-spouse, you should discontinue any communication with them on social media, via phone conversations and texts, and, if at all possible, with your shared acquaintances and your ex-spouse’s family.

It’s up to you and your ex-spouse to choose when you are both emotionally ready to resume communication.

This will provide you with the opportunity to think about your previous relationship as well as the space to process your feelings. You should be concentrating on your recovery at this stage. It is okay to be sad about the lost relationship and what it used to be, but you must do everything in your power to re-orient yourself.

Even if your marriage was short-lived, the time you have now will be invaluable in helping you to prioritize your life going forward. You are free to pursue other interests and activities. You can shape your destiny, recognize your value, and reclaim your feeling of self, fitting in and belonging.

3.     Communicate Openly and Honestly

After re-establishing contact with your ex-spouse, you must participate in an honest and open conversation about your respective parenting and communication styles. Discuss what you are comfortable with and what makes you uncomfortable.

This may contain information such as when and where you may reach them, the frequency with which you communicate with each other, and so on.

Consistency is essential in this type of communication. You may find that you need to create new limits, negotiate regulations, or even eliminate certain norms as time progresses. It is critical to draw attention to the fact that a boundary has been crossed and to discuss it quickly to avoid any resentment or a repetition of the occurrence.

If there are children involved, it is a good idea to include them in this communication process. Allow them to determine their boundaries when it comes to co-parenting. Make it clear that they should be forthcoming with their thoughts, ideas, and personal experiences.

4.     Interact with Some Old Friends while Also Establishing New Relationships 

Marriage, especially when children are involved, is a time-consuming way of life. It engulfs the majority of your day, and your thoughts are continuously focused on your children’s activities. As a result, you have less time for other people and other activities, which is understandable.

Meeting together with old friends and rekindling old friendships may be quite beneficial in the avoidance of harmful boundary formation. It can help by diverting your attention away from the divorce and the emotions associated with it.

Invitations to parties are welcome, as are your get-togethers with the people you care about; the wonderful positive energy that will surround you at these events will inevitably rub off on you.

Furthermore, developing new relationships can be advantageous in its own right. Divorce support groups, which are intended to aid people in their recovery after a divorce, are offered around the country. Being in the company of others who have gone through similar experiences might help you feel less alone.

You have a larger and more effective support network as a result of the presence of old and new friends. They can assist you in navigating your life after divorce. Likewise, instead of feeling alone, you might seek their companionship and guidance.

5.     Do not Engage in a New Relationship Right Away 

Although it may be tempting to start looking for a new partner right away after a divorce, you must first take the time to consider whether or not you are ready to enter another relationship.

If you still have unresolved difficulties with your ex-partner, it would be unfair to your future relationship. You may be unconsciously looking for a rebound to avoid feeling lonely or to get revenge on your ex-spouse.

In light of all of the circumstances, you may choose to wait until you have resolved the legal and financial issues of your divorce before beginning a new romantic relationship. Conflict and tension with a new partner will be avoided as a result of doing so.

Additionally, if you are still thinking and talking about your ex-spouse, it is possible that entering into a new relationship might not be the greatest decision at that moment.

6.     Respect for Each Other’s New Relationships is Essential

You will eventually realize that you are once again prepared to commit. The same may be said for your ex spouse. The very least you could both do now is to show respect to the new individuals who have entered your lives, both for your own sake, for your Ex’s and for your new crush.

When there are youngsters around, this can be a little more difficult. They may require a bit longer time to acclimatize to and warm up to a potential stepparent. It is therefore much more important for you and your ex-spouse to appreciate each other’s new relationships for your children to respect them as a result of your divorce.

7.     Take Into Consideration Going to Therapy

Couple Therapy
Couple Therapy

In addition to the issues mentioned above, some people find it difficult to accept the significant changes that divorce brings about in their life. In certain cases, this issue is brought on by a lack of appropriate coping skills and techniques, which presents itself in negative attitudes and behaviors.

A therapist will assist you in going through your ideas and sorting through your emotional responses. They are qualified to provide you with counsel and guidance as you navigate your way through your thoughts. It is their responsibility to provide you with coping mechanisms and to empower you while you recover.

Therapy is a highly stigmatized practice, not to mention that it may be prohibitively costly and inaccessible to many, which is why many people choose not to attend appointments. Therapy, on the other hand, is a fantastic alternative for both you and your ex-spouse’s emotional well-being.

8.     Co-parenting Should Be Seen as a Business Arrangement

If you or your ex-spouse are unable to maintain a good relationship, consider co-parenting as a commercial venture – the goal and vision of which are purely focused on the well-being of your children.

Put another way, you and your ex-spouse are business partners who have a shared goal: to raise your children in the most beneficial environment possible.

Think about how you would treat a business colleague or anybody else in a professional setting. You would communicate with each other courteously and respectfully. Perhaps you would ask them for a brief get-together to soften the sharp edges of your new roles in life –  apart – but that relaxed meeting would be within the strictures of distancing yourself from anything personal except conversation bout the kids.

You would work together to resolve concerns about your children in the most time efficient and emotionally calm manner using logic and common sense instead of anger and resentment.

9.     Remove Each Other From Your Lives Permanently

This option may only be practical for couples who do not have children together. If things aren’t simply working out and looking up for both of you, it could be wise to end your relationship with each other altogether. Further strife and suffering on both sides are avoided as a result of this agreement.

Final Thoughts on What are Unhealthy Boundaries with Your Ex? 

When a couple gets divorced, it’s crucial to establish boundaries, especially if the couple has children. Your children may also become embroiled in the tug-of-war in which you and your ex-spouse are engaged.

Only after an acceptable time of complete (at least physical) distancing can you converse openly and honestly to set appropriate boundaries and ground rules for your relationship.

If you’re still having a tough time – after all that – you should consider support groups and counseling which are also highly beneficial options for anyone going through a problematic time.

Read More: 

Inappropriate Friendships When Married: 6 Signs To Look Out For


Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, and she is the Editor of Lifestyle Divorce. Patricia’s worked as the Practice Manager at an International Divorce and Family law firm for over 15 years. She is a qualified Counsellor, and she has had many counselling sessions with people considering or going through a divorce.

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