I know you probably have a hard time admitting to yourself that you have unhealthy boundaries with ex-wife. After all, you used to be MARRIED.
How could you NOT be close to her? How could you ever completely let go of her?
Those are all valid questions. But, you forgot to ask yourself the most important one:
What would be best for my mental health? How will my decisions regarding my ex-wife impact other areas of my life? How do I set healthy boundaries?
You will find the answers to all these questions in the following paragraphs.
13 Types Of Unhealthy Boundaries With Ex-Wife
Wondering if you have unhealthy boundaries with ex-wife? Check out the 13 toxic behaviors below to be clear:
1. Anger is pointless.
The destruction of divorce is real. One partner usually blames the other for the problems that led to it. But, addressing the issue isn’t the same as constant fighting.
When you want to solve the problem, you don’t care about being right. You only want peace in the marriage again.
But, if you argue only for the sake of arguing, that’s something you need to fix.
Why? Two reasons:
1. Whatever issues made you separate don’t even matter now. You already made up your mind that divorce was your only option.
2. Since you aren’t together anymore, as guilty as the other person is, you can’t play the blame game anymore.
That’s an obvious example of unhealthy boundaries with ex-wife. If your angry outbursts happen too often, that’s even outright emotional abuse.
It doesn’t matter whose fault it is anymore. What’s done is done.
2. Jealousy won’t bring her back.
Do you meddle with your ex-wife’s new partner or vice versa?
If so, let me remind you that you decided to end things. You signed the divorce papers. You don’t owe each other any explanations anymore.
I know it’s hard to ignore your spouse while you’re separated and to watch them be with someone else, but you both made your choice TO SEPARATE.
Of course, it’s going to hurt, but that doesn’t mean that you have any right to openly complain about it.
Suffer in silence… until it doesn’t hurt anymore. Trust me, acts of jealousy aren’t good for either of you.
Instead of getting angry, try finding a new girlfriend yourself. But, make sure that it’s not an unhealthy rebound relationship. You should like her for HER.
3. We weren’t made for only one love story.
If you allow your ex-wife too much space in your head, things are bound to get ugly.
You need to convince yourself that she’s in your past now. Learn to appreciate the memories without letting them control you.
If you focus on what you had with her, you’ll never allow yourself to see someone else as an ideal new girlfriend.
Do you know how much time you might waste if you keep holding onto it?
What if your ideal person is right under your nose, but you can’t see them because you’re stuck somewhere you no longer belong?
Think about that for a while.
4. Away from the eyes, away from the heart…
Well, not really… but constant chatting isn’t going to help either!
How do you ever expect to move on from your ex-wife if you talk to each other all the time?
The more you talk, the harder it will be for you to find someone else. You may have divorced for a good reason, but (I assume) there are probably years full of love behind you.
No matter how much they hurt you, it’s not easy to forget someone you’ve lived with for so long.
Do your heart a favor and stop talking to them more than you should. Call them only if you REALLY need to, but otherwise, stay away.
Sometimes, you might unconsciously search for valid reasons to reach out to them (which is a sign of unhealthy attachment!), so I would advise you to pay attention to that.
Every time you feel tempted, ask yourself: ”But do I need to do this? Can’t I solve this on my own?”
Trust me, the further they are away from you, the faster you will heal.
5. If you can’t kill the connection, at least don’t deepen it.
Your ex-wife has been with you through thick and thin. Understandably, she’s the first person you’d like to call in times of need.
However, ACTING on that wish is quite a different thing.
If you keep reaching out to her, you won’t ever get her out of your head. You need to learn how to stay away from her and rely on other people.
When someone helps you deal with a problem, you get attached to them. It’s only natural. So, you can imagine what a problem that is when your EX-WIFE is in the picture.
No matter how tempting it is to call her, solve your issue on your own. It’s not fair to drag her into your world again.
She’ll probably be glad to help you, and then you’ll create a never-ending cycle of a toxic relationship.
Yes, that would be toxic. If you think that being that close to your ex-wife is normal and cute, think again.
6. Leave the past in the past.
Chatting with your ex-wife is bad enough, but if your conversations revolve around your past, that’s a recipe for disaster!
If, for some reason, you have to stay in touch, stick to lighter topics. Small talk, throw in a joke or two, or simply deal with the stuff you need to solve together.
The shorter the visits, the better because there’s no need to stir up memories of past happiness.
If you keep reminding yourselves of how good it was, it’s only going to be harder to let go.
Treating them as a stranger is even more awkward if you’ve ended on good terms, but that’s precisely why you have to be careful.
You divorced for a reason. In your eyes, it was obviously unforgivable. Don’t let love blind you.
Just because you love someone doesn’t mean they’re the right person for you.
I know that’s the biggest lesson I learned, and I hope it’ll help you, too!
7. Sex isn’t always ‘just sex.’
To you, sex might seem harmless and fun, but if you’re doing it with your ex-wife, it’s anything BUT.
This is someone you used to live with, someone you genuinely loved. It’s impossible to just turn your emotions off.
If anything, they can only become stronger. When you’re already emotionally attached to someone, physical intimacy brings you closer together.
Don’t play this game. If you want to be with her, you shouldn’t have signed the papers in the first place. Satisfy your sexual desire elsewhere…unless this isn’t about sexual desire at all…
Be honest with yourself about what you want. Only then will you be able to do something about it.
8. Abandon your old roles.
So, let me get this straight. You decided to divorce each other, yet you still act like husband and wife?
That is THE definition of unhealthy boundaries with ex-wife.
If you both agreed on separation, you can’t have the same demands as when you were together.
Before, you were two individuals involved together. You both had wants and needs the other person had to take into consideration. That’s what partnership is all about.
What you have to realize is that this is no longer a partnership. You acting as if it is is a toxic trait you need to work on.
You may have legally divorced your ex-wife, but you still need to work on the mental separation.
9. If someone decides to leave you, let them…
It can’t get worse than this. If you are so hung up on your ex-wife (or vice versa) that you use the court to stay close to them, you really need to do some soul searching.
This isn’t only about you. You are actually affecting the life of another human being.
You refuse to disengage from her and ruin her chance at happiness due to your selfish love. Yes, I’m sorry, but if you genuinely loved her, you wouldn’t treat her this way.
If you see that she’s doing fine without you, then cut her off. You can use the legal system against her as much you’d like, but that will only create resentment.
In a desire to keep her close, you’ll only drive her further away. Is that what you really want?
On the other hand, if you want some sort of revenge, isn’t it better to use your time to build a happier life for yourself? Why waste your time on a ruined relationship?
Whatever your reasons are, the person who will be hurt the most, in the end, is YOU!
10. Your children aren’t toys.
Is there a nastier example of unhealthy boundaries with ex-wife than using your co-parenting relationship to get back at each other?
Maybe you’re talking negatively about her all the time and turning your kids against her. Or maybe she’s seeking child support and alimony not for her kids’ sake but out of anger?
Do you even realize what you’re doing? Instead of being a good and loving parent, you see your children as pawns in a game of revenge.
Remember – they exist for you to LOVE.
If you’re still resentful towards your ex-wife, why not talk to her about it? If it’s too awkward, there’s always a trusted friend, family member, or even a therapist.
But, please, leave the kids out of it. Don’t give them trauma. Even if they’re not fully aware of what’s going on, it has an impact on them.
Divorce is hard enough for them. Don’t make it even harder.
11. Be a good parent… for a good reason.
You’re using your own children again, but this time, in a more “loving” manner.
What does that mean?
Well, basically, you treat them well for all the wrong reasons.
You don’t really care about raising them properly. You don’t care about being a good parent. You care about being BETTER than the other parent.
It’s all a competition to you. You don’t know any other way to take out your anger on your ex-wife.
Actions don’t matter. Motives do. Treat your children well not out of resentment but out of love.
The world didn’t come to an end. It was only your marriage that ended. Your little ones still need you.
12. You are responsible for your own happiness.
Yes, your ex-wife may have ruined your marriage, but she didn’t ruin your whole life.
What you need to understand is this:
Other people aren’t responsible for your happiness.
When they hurt you, they ARE to blame, but YOU are responsible for your own recovery.
You won’t accomplish anything by blaming your ex-wife. You will only feed your negative feelings until they drive you insane.
It’s understandable if you’re angry. You have every right to be angry. But, that’s not the emotion that deserves your full attention.
Choose love. Choose self-care. Choose self-improvement.
A victim mentality never gets you anywhere. It only adds to your misery.
13. We all deserve our peace.
Divorcing your wife = staying out of her personal life.
That means you can’t keep showing up to her workplace or sending her toxic texts . You can’t go through her stuff or stalk her social media accounts.
She may have been yours, but she isn’t anymore, and you have to respect her choice.
You both lead new lives now. What’s going on in hers shouldn’t concern you anymore.
So, the next time you start acting possessively, checking her Instagram following list, or asking around about her new boyfriend, ask yourself this question:
Why am I wasting my time doing this for someone who doesn’t care about me anymore?
Nothing you do is going to change anything. These unhealthy boundaries with ex-wife can only make yourself more miserable.
How Do You Set Boundaries With Ex-Wife?
If you want to fix unhealthy boundaries with ex-wife, take a look at the following tips:
1. Change your mindset.
This is the most important step. You need to sit down and feel your emotions. Cry your heart out if you must because keeping it inside won’t help you.
But, if you allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable, you’ll be able to see things more clearly.
You’ll be able to admit that your marriage is history now. You are only an EX-HUSBAND to her, and there’s no point in going back to your old life.
You aren’t together anymore, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Obsessing over the old times can only bring you pain. It’s time to stop reopening the same old wound.
2. Say what’s on your mind.
You can’t just make up boundaries in your head. Since they concern your ex-wife, you have to actually let her know what you want and need.
She’s not a mind reader. She can’t respect your boundaries unless you clearly state them.
What are you okay with in regards to her? What could you never accept?
Think about that for a bit, and then give her a call. But, also keep in mind that two should play this game. Ask her about her own boundaries.
Maybe your new girlfriend is a bad stepmom to her children. When a stepparent is a negative influence, you can’t blame your ex-spouse for interfering.
If you happen to have a blended family, make sure to remember that the children aren’t only yours. Your ex, too, has the right to make the decisions.
Communication is key. Nothing good ever comes out of anger or passive-aggressive behavior.
For the first time, be honest with each other about your needs (all the while keeping a distance!), and you will finally be able to maintain a healthy relationship.
3. Don’t get too close…
You might think that being friendly with your ex-spouse in the post-divorce period is the mature thing to do, but you’re looking at it the wrong way…
Yes, not arguing when you get together IS mature, but this is more about your mental health than your maturity. You have to do what’s right for YOU.
Each time you get closer to your former spouse, you will be more connected to each other, and it will be all the harder to get over her.
So, if you really must stay in touch, forget about your past relationship. Imagine that the person standing in front of you is a neighbor you barely know.
Talk about what you have to talk about and move on with your lives. Trust me, that’s best for your own well-being.
Stop Revisiting The Past
Have you finally admitted to yourself that you have unhealthy boundaries with ex-wife? Are you ready to set new boundaries and take better care of your mental health?
I know that old habits die hard, but you need to take control of your own life, which means letting go of the past.
It might be easier said than done, but you can start by refusing to look back. By this, I don’t mean ”You can’t think about it” but rather ”When you think about it, don’t act on it.”
You are stronger than you think you are.