Dear Coleen

Since my divorce came through in the summer, I’ve been trying to find a way to have an appropriate relationship with my ex. It’s almost too good in that he’s always on the phone or messaging me – it’s like we haven’t broken up, but without the sex part.

It was a mutual decision to split up, although probably more his doing really as he was going through a bit of a midlife crisis and just wasn’t there for me or our two kids.

He’s done his best to sort his life out – he’s been having therapy and he’s a lot more focused on work, which is good as he runs his own business.

The thing is, I’m over it and I really want to move on with my own life.

It’s not like I never want to see him again or be friends, but I feel he relies on me being there for him and I think I need to cut the cord.

How do I get through to him that we can’t be as close as we were before the divorce and that I need to rebuild my life without him?

We obviously need to speak about arrangements for our sons and of course I still love and care about him, but I haven’t gone through all this pain and heartache to be in the same situation, but just living apart.

I’d be grateful for your advice.

Coleen says

The next time he calls about anything other than your sons, say very clearly that you can’t engage in any other conversation because it’s important to start building new lives and not be so reliant on each other.

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It’s going to be hard for each of you to move on if you’re living in each other’s pockets.

If you’ve read my column over the years, you’ll know I was in a similar situation with my first husband after we divorced. We carried on chatting to each other all the time like we’d never separated and it wasn’t until my new partner spoke up and explained it was having an impact on him that we realised we had to reassess things.

Of course it’s hard to create that distance when you know someone so well and you’re used to depending on each other for all kinds of things, but you have to start weaning yourself off the relationship.

Focus on the children and how best to co-parent them. It sounds as though it’s the right decision for both of you, but it’s just taking a bit of time to work out how to be with each other, and this is something he (and you) could work through in therapy.

And perhaps once you have been able to move on independently, you can go back to a closer friendship.





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