We’ve often discussed the importance of boundaries and why you should have them in every relationship. But today we want to focus on setting boundaries with your ex, which is a must if you want to protect your mental and emotional well-being after a breakup. Many people don’t think that they need to set limits with their exes, but that’s wrong. When a relationship ends, you need to give yourselves the space to mourn what you had so you can heal and start moving forward.
Navigating different situations that come after the breakup can be challenging, and boundaries will help a lot with that. Not to mention they will allow you to pursue whatever kind of relationship you still want to have after you become exes. To help you with that process, here are the essential steps you should take when setting boundaries with an ex.
5 Steps to Set Boundaries with Your Ex:
1. Talk about it:
When you’re ready to have a chat with your ex about boundaries, that’s exactly where you need to start. You can’t expect them to just know what your limits are and you can’t guess what their limits are either. So, you should both sit down and talk about it like adults.
If having a healthy conversation is not possible, you should still communicate your boundaries and make them crystal clear. Whether that’s via phone call, instant messaging, or e-mail, you should let them know what you will and won’t tolerate.
They’ll have to eventually oblige and consider your boundaries if they want to keep in touch. But, if they intend to disappear in nature and never show you their face again; then it’s okay if they don’t even want to talk or come to any type of agreement.
2. Make sure the consequences are clear:
Setting the boundaries is the first step, the second one is making sure that your ex understands the consequences of crossing them. This is, of course, assuming that you ended things on good enough terms and that both of you hope to have some kind of friendly relationship down the line.
The limits you set are meant to protect you, so you can’t allow your ex to cross them without consequence. Let them know how serious this is to you by explaining what it means if they ignore your boundaries and what you’ll do in return. Tell them that crossing your boundaries could mean that they would be jeopardizing the chance of being in your life or having any kind of contact with you.
3. Decide with a clear mind if you’re ready for such a friendship:
The boundaries you set with your ex should help you heal and navigate the process of the breakup. That’s why it’s a good idea to focus on the things that will make it easier for you to move on, at first.
Is it hard for you to talk about the feelings that the breakup created or mourn the relationship properly? If so, limiting the communication between you and your ex is the healthy thing to do. Does it bring you pain to see them even on social media? If the answer is yes, try not to see each other too often or agree to block each other on social media for some time.
This can help you heal a little more and decide in your right mind if you want to keep in touch after you process the breakup. These are just examples, but you can see how you should set boundaries based on the pain you’re feeling or based on how difficult the breakup was.
4. Agree to let go of any bad blood:
If either of you is still holding onto any grudges, there’s no way you can move on, not even with boundaries. You both have to agree to let go of the bad blood and keep the past in the past. The relationship ended and you have to accept that.
Leading up to the breakup, we’re sure you had a lot of conversations and that was the time to hash things out. Moving on and getting closure can be very difficult if you keep that thorn on your side. Setting boundaries is a great opportunity to focus on what matters most; carrying on.
5. Ignore the judgment:
People don’t always understand when exes stay in touch after a breakup. However, no one can understand the bond you share, only you two would. If you had a good relationship that had to come to an end and you want to help each other through it with the hopes of being friends, that’s perfectly fine.
There’s a certain stigma around exes being friends or still having love for one another. A lot of people will frown upon it and they will question it. Remember you’re doing this for yourself, though, so the only thing that matters is what you think. If at any point you decide that staying in touch no longer serves you, that’s fine too. But it’s your choice!
Setting boundaries with an ex is not the most comfortable process because you’re redefining a relationship that’s over. However, if you plan on being friends down the line, boundaries will help preserve that possibility.
Now while we taught you all about the process of how to go about setting boundaries with an ex, you’ll have to come up with the boundaries themselves on your own depending on your wants and preferences. Here you’ll find a list of possible boundaries to set with an ex to inspire you.
Just make sure to take it seriously and promise to respect each other’s boundaries. Otherwise, they won’t work!