If you’re divorced with kids, it’s hard not to remain enmeshed with your ex-spouse.
I’ve been living apart from my ex-husband for seven years now. I have my own apartment and he has his. I live in a two-bedroom place. My ex has a one-bedroom apartment. Still, my ex and I remain a part of each other’s lives because we have two children together.
Our kids live with me most of the time, sharing one of the bedrooms in my place. The problem is, my ex-husband only has one bed in his apartment, so our children have nowhere to sleep when they’re at his place.
His apartment is also always dirty. The kids hate going over to their father’s place because it’s such a hovel.
This makes splitting custody difficult.
My ex and I still need to share the responsibility of bringing up our sons. In the present setup, this is difficult to do.
Because I don’t want our children to suffer, I decided to let my ex-husband stay at my place on his nights with our sons. When my ex is at my apartment with our children, I stay at my boyfriend’s.
Our sons are happy. They get to remain full-time in a home that’s clean. And of course, they actually have beds to sleep on.
While this has created more stability and contentment for our children, it’s been incredibly annoying for me.
I don’t like my ex being in my house — even if I’m not there. He’s messy and, well, he’s my ex-husband. When he leaves, I have to clean up after him.
It’s just like being married to him again.
But even more irksome has been him having a copy of my house key. That’s why I recently asked for it back.
If you can believe it, my ex got angry about this.
Unfortunately, even when you’re divorced from someone you have kids with, you can remain enmeshed in each other’s lives.
Why my ex had a copy of my house key.
First off, it might seem crazy that I even let my ex sleep at my place on his nights with our kids. I permit this for the reason I explained above.
But as a result, I let my ex have a copy of my house key. At first, this seemed convenient.
He’d have a way to get in and out of my place when he was with our children. The problem was, he abused this privilege. He used this key to get into my place even when he wasn’t with the kids.
I’d hear the key turning in the door and suddenly I’d realize my ex had popped by for a visit. Sometimes he showed up when my boyfriend was around.
As you can imagine, my boyfriend hated this. It was uncomfortable for me as well.
My ex has terrible boundaries. Hence, we’re divorced.
Here he was, acting like we were still married!
Finally, I decided I was sick of it and asked for my house key back.
My ex-husband got angry about it, claiming that giving back my house key would cause a terrible inconvenience for him. I had to really stand my ground.
But this just shows how hard it is to not remain emotionally and even physically entangled with your ex-spouse even after your divorce.
Slowly, I’m taking back everything that is mine from my ex-husband.
My purpose in writing about this is to show just that: how difficult it is to disentangle yourself from your ex-spouse when you have children together. Sure, my ex-husband and I split up our possessions when we separated and set up our own households.
Because of our children, though, our lives remain enmeshed.
Little by little, I’m taking back everything that’s mine from my ex though. For example, a few months ago, I booted him out of my bedroom.
Let me explain.
My ex was sleeping in my bed when he was at my place. Sure, this was only on his nights with our children.
It’s not like I was present when he slept in my bed. Still, it’s my bed! He’s my EX-husband.
I told him that he had to sleep on the couch from now on. He got angry about that, too.
He made me feel guilty about how uncomfortable it would be for him to sleep on the couch. It doesn’t seem to click that he shouldn’t be at my house at all!
He should have his own setup for the kids when he’s in charge of them. He should be receiving them in his own home.
I’ve dealt with the issue of my ex in my bed. Then I realized I wanted my house key back, too.
I’m learning to put my foot down even more.
My next step will be to tell my ex that he can’t stay in my apartment even on his nights with our children. He’s just going to have to buy a couple of inflatable mattresses for our sons to sleep on at his place.
He’s also going to have to clean up his apartment for them. I can’t handle him in my space anymore! Our enmeshed relationship is driving me insane.
Luckily, our children are getting older. A little untidiness in their father’s space won’t phase them as much. Maybe they can even help their father clean his mess up.
At least with my kids sleeping at their dad’s place on his nights, this will be an opportunity for my ex and me to become less involved in each other’s lives.
It will be another step toward creating more autonomy in my own life.
Wish me luck. I am sure my ex will also get angry about this.
What do you think of this situation? Please let me know in the comments.