Hi, I'm Nicole Myers, Licensed Professional Counselor. If you would like to know more about me or my colleagues, please check out our introductions available in video, audio, and text.
The question I'm going to be answering at this time: Is it okay to end all contact with my ex or his/her family after the divorce is finalized?
This question requires a very simple yes or no question, to begin with. Do you have children with this person? If you have children with this person, you will not be able to fully end all contact with your ex-partner. If you don't have any children with that person, once you've finalized your separation of finances, you'll never ever have to speak to them again and there should be no more contact needed.
So, let's assume you have kids. Kind of changes the whole ball game here and actually makes you still have to have some interaction. Clearly, if you're asking yourself this question, you really want to not have to interact with your ex-partner anymore. This is a very normal tendency for somebody facing the challenge of divorce and the challenge of moving on into recovering and starting a new life. So, what you want to consider is what do your children need? And, what do you need to focus on in order to meet your needs and their needs?
There are ways to deal with how you interact with your ex-partner such as, how much interaction do you need to have? Sometimes people choose to have interaction only by e-mail or text message, therefore, anything you say to each other is recorded and you have time to alter it and make it sound more politically correct; I know that term is overused but politically correct is a great way to be when you're dealing with somebody that you no longer like. It also helps you focus on what was the purpose of the e-mail or the text. Sometimes people get diarrhea of the mouth when they are getting upset and it is easy to become upset when you have to stand face-to-face and speak to the person directly. So, if you use e-mail or text and you can have someone else review it before you share with them; that can help limit your interaction with that person.
You can also choose how to set boundaries with your ex-significant other such as why are you talking to this person? Probably if you two continue to talk, you need to schedule who is going to take your children to games, to school. Who gets the children at different times for different activities? So, these are things that will continue to need to be discussed. If your child needs to go to the doctor for something, the other parent has every right and responsibility to be aware of that. Sending them a simple text, or e-mail, about that, can really help out. If you feel you must talk to that person, write out what you want to say to them; here is what we're talking about, we're talking about our child's doctor appointment. All other stuff can wait until another discussion or it may be irrelevant to caring for your child.
In other words, if you have children with your ex-significant other, you will not be able to completely stop talking to him or her, or their family, perhaps but you will be able to limit the interactions that you need to continue to experience.
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