What DO I, and what do I NOT, owe my ex?

by Rod Smith

I get an inordinate amount of mail from men and women about the difficulties of how to treat a former husband or wife. Here are some guidelines:

What do you owe your ex?

1. Common courtesy as offered to all other people – no more, no less.
2. Respectful interactions pertaining to the children.
3. Efficiency and reliability regarding the children and visits.
4. Absolute care and protection of the children whom you co-parent.
5. Respectful return of phone calls, emails, and messages regarding shared child concerns.
6. Efficient paying of accounts as prescribed by the terms of the divorce (school fees, medical bills, etc.).
7. Common courtesy expressed toward any new significant other.

What you do NOT owe your ex?

1. Intimacy or sex of any kind (conversational, physical, emotional).
2. Financial assistance other than specified by the terms of the divorce.
3. Time alone. In cases of severe mistreatment you may insist on the presence of a third party for all necessary interactions.
4. Explanations of how, where, or with whom you spend your time.
5. Anything “extra” in terms of birthdays or holidays because of your shared history.
6. Any form of so-called “closure.” The divorce IS the closure.
7. Any platform to hurt or abuse you.

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