How Do I Cut Ties With Ex?


cut-ties-with-exGetting a divorce or court order is only one step in moving into a new life after divorce or break up.  The real divorce from any relationship is the cutting of the emotion, mental and physical ties that bind you to your ex.  How do you cut ties with ex?

Acceptance is the answer.  The real work is in the acceptance of your new place in life.  This acceptance is mandatory and will entail being able to cut ties with ex. Acceptance comes from acknowledging that your marriage or relationship is over with no hope or wish for it to continue. Acceptance allows you to live in a way that reveals a freedom from the past. It means living in the present and the future. It takes work, but before you can do this work, you must put in place new rules that will lay the groundwork for a completely new relationship with your former husband or parent to your children. These rules are there to protect you from any further hurts or upsets. You must build a new structure that empowers you instead of disempowering you.

These ground rules are meant to protect you and prevent any situations that could lead to an upset. The less you have to do with your ex, the better. That is not to say that you cannot have a relationship with your ex, but it has to be radically different from the one you had while married or together. There are women and men who cannot have their exes in their lives for any reason other than the children. Their emotional ties to their exes are still strong, and they need to isolate themselves in order to break those ties. Others will have the ability to accept their new life and still have regular and more complex contact with their exes.  Either way setting ground rules that determine the nature of this new relationship is important.

After 28 years of working with clients separating from their exes I find that the rules originally found in The Real Divorce: Cutting the Emotional Ties that Bind, by Shelley Stile, May 06, 2008 a composite of what I tell my clients and what these rules might include:

Communicate with your ex via writing and/or brief phone calls. Keep all communication limited to only what is necessary for the kids or legal matters.

When an upset is looming or when your ex starts to speak to you in inappropriate ways, stop the conversation and hang up or walk away. Let your ex know this new ground rule: you will speak to one another in respectful ways and will not tolerate anything else or the conversation is over.

Ensure that your home is just that: your home. It is not a place to hang out with the kids. It is not your exes’ home. When he or she is in your house make certain they realizes that they are a houseguest like any other.

Keep your conversations highly impersonal and to the point. Protect your privacy. Do not discuss your fears, concerns, or personal issues, because that only maintains the emotional tie between the two of you. Don’t talk about anything that opens the door to more connections or emotional entanglements. Keep it business-like.

use you two are friends, not family members. Always insist that the subject of your ex is forbidden.

Do not involve the children in any communication between the two of you. Don’t send messages through the kids. Keep your children protected.

Stay out of each other’s lives. You don’t need to know where your ex goes, what your ex does, what your ex is thinking, or whom your ex is seeing… and your ex doesn’t need to know those things about you either.

Don’t look to your ex for advice or support. This might be the hardest tie to break. Handle it yourself by getting support from friends or family. You aren’t married or together anymore, and you will only be left disappointed.

Consider your child support or your alimony as your money and not a gift from him or an obligation. Your money, no matter how it is acquired, is your money. The courts determined that support, and it doesn’t give your ex the right to comment upon or berate you about finances. If you are experiencing any problems with support checks, take it to your family lawyer. Never beg or put yourself in an inferior position. Keep your true financial position to yourself.

Be careful of maintaining relationships with your exes’ family. Blood is thicker than water. If you have developed a friendship with a member of your exes’ family, make certain it is because you are not a spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend anymore, so do not exhibit any behavior that mimics that role. All too often, people continue to do things or relate in ways to their exes that were part of their former relationship. If your ex needs support or someone to talk to about personal matters, they need to call a friend and not you. You are not there to assist them as you did when you were together. You are not together and not their friend either, at least not right now, if ever.  Cut ties with ex and begin your new life with determination.

Contact Stacey Balduf, Esq. to help guide you in making the best choices for your future.  What you set up now will affect your life’s journey for a long time to come.

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