Divorce is often not a completely mutual decision. One spouse may still have strong feelings for the other. Sometimes those feelings manifest themselves in a need to control the other person or know what they're doing.

If you have an estranged spouse like that, it's essential to set clear boundaries with your ex as soon as possible. If you have children together, you can't just cut off all communication. However, you can still set boundaries within that co-parenting relationship. There are some areas in particular where you can no longer be involved with your ex if he or she has a problem with boundaries -- no matter how inconvenient it may be for you.


It's essential not to accept money from your ex outside of the spousal and child support agreements. Nothing gives someone control over you like taking his or her money, even as a loan, no matter how willingly they offer it.


If you own or rent your own home after you break up, your ex isn't entitled to show up or walk in whenever he or she pleases. When one spouse is still living in the family home and the other spouse is still on the title, however, it can be more difficult to keep that person out. Legally, it's that person's home too. That's why it's important to separate yourself financially from your spouse as soon as possible when it comes to housing.


Unless you have children together, once the divorce is final, you shouldn't need to communicate with your ex. You must work out all of your property division in the divorce. You shouldn't still be fighting over who gets the gym equipment or the armoire. If you have a co-parent with boundary issues, you may need to minimize face-to-face and even phone conversations. Don't stray into other areas and rehash old memories (good or bad). Needless to say, "sex with the ex" can create serious boundary confusion.

New Boyfriends/Girlfriends

This is where a controlling ex with boundary issues can cause real trouble. You need to make it clear that your ex is not to harass or visit your new significant other and shouldn't even talk to that person unless you're present. If you have children, he or she may reasonably want to meet someone who is now in their lives, but that doesn't give your ex the right to interfere in your relationship.

If you're having trouble with an ex who can't seem to let go and you can't resolve the issue alone, talk with your division of property issues. There may be court actions you can take that will help both of you move on.