Issues with the Ex
So was visiting with a friend the other day, and we were
talking some about one of the big issues that arises after a divorce: the issue of boundaries. Sometimes, an ex will assume he/she is
welcome to just walk into the house, especially if it was the house that he/she
had lived in previous to the divorce.
And it is hard sometimes for the individual to figure out how to handle
that, especially if the ex is a very forceful type individual.
Even once inside the door, sometimes behavior can be very
odd…..the visitor may try to look into other rooms, or sit uncomfortably close,
or overstay the welcome you extended.
There is on word for this whole thing:
awkward. Very awkward. Especially if there are kids around who are
witnessing the whole thing….how do you ask the kids’ mom or dad to leave,
without appearing to be mean or vengeful?
In some cases, divorced individuals do okay with this area,
they are able to talk to each other, discuss appropriate and appropriate
behaviors and boundaries to abide by.
But in many cases, there is often one person who is not able to willing
to discuss these things rationally, and take everything personally and behave
inappropriately. So what do you do?
If you aren’t able to discuss these boundary issues, then a
good next step is to define for yourself what you are comfortable with, and
write it down. Then take that
information and include it in a letter or email to your ex (keep a copy for
your own records, by the way). The
advantage of this is you don’t have to try to outshout them or get diverted
from what you are expressing while providing clear guidelines you are willing
to use. But some ex’s still don’t
respect the request, what do you do, then?
Some immediately jump to court and file restraining orders….which often
creates a hostile situation and only provides “protection” after the fact……in
other words, if they show up, you can call the police, but the police aren’t
going to post a guard 24/7 to keep them from showing up.
Instead, I suggested an alternative to my friend, a woman
with two children at home. My first
thought was for her to always be out on the porch when he arrives, and simply
do the discussion out there. That often
can settle the difficulty. However, some
people don’t let that discourage them….they are insistent about entering the
home. Another option could be to walk to
the car and stand outside the car door, talking only through the window and
thus, blocking their exit from the vehicle.
Again, not everybody responds even to that. So, another option would be to have a
supporting individual present when the ex comes by (realizing that often it is
necessary for them to come to return the kids).
If you are a woman, asking a tall and muscular male friend to be there
can be a good discouragement to some men (although some would pick fights
instead). Finally, if the problem occurs
when children are returning from the other parent’s home, an alternative
solution would be to arrange the pickup and drop-off at a neutral place…..”just
bring them to the mall….I’ll meet you at such and so a place.” (And you can explain a bit to the children in
age appropriate information that you just want your home to be your private
space….just don’t run down the ex while you explain.) Or, if it isn’t a matter of children and the
person refuses to cease, then perhaps one call to the police to report a
trespasser would be enough to discourage their behavior.
Bottom line: this is
all very stupid. Nobody should even HAVE
to try to figure out how to handle these things. But some people just like to keep things
stirred up. Others like to “have their
cake and eat it, too” thinking that they should be free to come and go as they
please. So if this is you, good luck…it
can be a very troublesome problem. Over
time, though, the problem will probably fade and resolve itself as your ex
finds other things to do with his/her time than snoop around your house. By the way, if you have dealt with this
yourself, and have some other good ideas to suggest, feel free to add comments
to this blog.
TL:dr Ideas for
handling a difficult ex.