During and after a divorce, emotions run high. It can sometimes be difficult for one spouse to let go of the other and the marriage. Even if both people agree to the divorce, old conflicts, hurts and resentments can continue to plague your relationship. Sometimes the healthiest thing to do to help everyone move on is to limit contact with your ex as much as possible. This is sometimes easier said than done, but if you are both patient and persistent you might eventually help your ex to see that holding onto you is not productive.
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Clearly express to your ex-wife that you either wish to have no contact or limited contact with her. This conversation should not be long and should not include the discussion of any other issues between the two of you such as children, property or legal issues. Speak calmly and without anger, but be clear and direct. It is important for her to hear specifically that you do not wish to have any further contact. It could be that it has not occurred to her that you do not wish to speak to her at all. Give her an opportunity to hear your request and hopefully change her behaviour as a result.
Limit any necessary communication with your ex-wife to phone calls or e-mails only. In-person meetings tend to be filled with high emotions and conflict. Plus, it is more difficult to end an in-person meeting than it is to hang up a phone. If necessary, set a limit on the number of phone calls or e-mails you are willing to respond to in any given week. Stick to the limit you set as much as possible.
Establish subjects appropriate for discussion and subjects you are no longer willing to discuss. When you speak with your ex-wife on the phone or by e-mail, limit your communication only to those subjects. Do not engage in conversations about old conflicts, the reasons for your divorce or conversations about reconciliation if you are clear about moving on. The more you can stick to clear and direct communication about only essential subjects, the more likely it is she will eventually move on and limit her communication with you.
Change your phone number, e-mail address and social networking screen names if necessary. If you have children in common with your ex-wife, she will obviously need a way to contact you. Provide her with a phone number where you can be reached, but change your e-mail address and social networking screen names. If you do not have children, however, and there is no reason to have continued contact with her, it might be worth changing all of your contact information in order to limit her access to you.
File a restraining order, order for protection or anti-harassment order. Restraining and protection orders require you to prove to a judge that you have legitimate reason to fear physical harm from your ex-wife. If that is not the case, you might instead be able to file an anti-harassment order if you can prove a pattern of unwanted communication and contact. Check with your local county courthouse for forms and more information. All of these orders require you to appear before a judge and to officially serve your ex-wife with the legal paperwork. A judge, if your order is granted, can specify what kinds of contact your ex-wife is allowed or not allowed to have with you.
Tips and warnings
- Stay calm. If you keep the anger, hurt and frustration out of your voice and instead stick to calm and clear conversations that do not last too long, you will be demonstrating to your ex-wife that you are not going to be baited into arguments or long emotional conversations.
- If you change your phone number, e-mail address or other contact information, make certain to ask your family and friends not to share your new information with your ex-wife.
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