Breaking up is hard to do. For some, the boundaries are clearly defined. After the relationship has ended, we return all their stuff, hide their profile on social media, and hope we don’t have to run into them again. Then, there are those breakups where doing this isn’t so easy. There are also situations where it’s incredibly difficult to entirely remove them from your space, like when you have children together or are in the same friendship circles. Then, there are those situations where the relationship didn’t end on the worst note, but you know that you can’t be more than friends. This is when the lines get blurry. No matter what situation you’re in with your ex following a breakup, it’s essential that you set clear boundaries. Here are six critical breakup boundaries.
It’s ok to block them.
This may seem like an extreme measure for some, but it’s ok to block your ex if you need to, especially if you find yourself obsessing over their profile. You may need that separation, at least for some time. When you block them on social media, it is easier to clear your mind of reminders of them and resist reaching out to them when you don’t need to. Reaching out on social media can be so tempting because of ease of access, but it can be dangerous if you’re trying to stay away from your ex. You may feel the urge to unblock and reach out to them, but keeping that distance will help you in the long run.
Give yourself time to process the breakup.
It’s vital that you give yourself time without your ex. Do what you can to create as much space as possible between you, even if it’s only for a short time. No, this doesn’t have to be a forever thing, but it will give you time to grieve and heal. If it’s impossible to be out of your ex’s life completely, like when you have kids together, try your best to limit time with them. Discussions that you have should only be about the kids and their needs. Only reach out to them when it’s really necessary. You very well so may want to remain friends, and maybe even can, it’s still vital that you have time to process what happened.
Avoid social situations they will also be a part of.
This is incredibly difficult when you have many the same friends, but it’s essential that you have some space from them in social settings. Seeing your ex, there may be a considerable trigger and cause you to relapse. It’s hard seeing your ex in an environment like this. You may witness them flirting with someone else or awkwardly avoiding you as much as possible, which will only make matters tenser for each party. Avoid social situations, at least for now, while you’re still processing the breakup.
Now when it comes to other social invitations, don’t be afraid to say yes. Sometimes, being around other people and talking to new people can be incredibly liberating. Permit yourself to enjoy your singleness.
Discuss the boundaries with your ex.
Talk to your ex about the boundaries that you want and need set. Doing this is extremely important in the healing and moving on process. Discuss what is ok and what’s not ok. It’s especially crucial that you also hear them out on what their boundaries are. You will both need to be comfortable with things when it comes to your new normal. Make sure this is something you have a real conversation about too. This requires more time than just a few back and forth texts.
Turn to your close friends.
Even the healthiest people have setbacks. You may set good boundaries with your ex and still find yourself backsliding. It’s easy to want to go backward in these moments, reach out to them, or get back with them. This is when enlisting the trust of a close friend, or relative can help. They will stand as a tremendous support and help you to stay strong. It’s important that this is someone who you can turn to frequently. This is the kind of person that can help you take your mind off your partner and focus on the good. They will tell you why it’s not a good idea to send that good morning text or respond to that DM. It’s also ok if this isn’t just one person. Sometimes, a circle of friends can be helpful here. There is nothing more valuable than having friends who will remind you to stick to your boundaries. It counts in the end.
Trust the process.
It is incredibly difficult getting through a breakup, but it's a lot easier when you trust the process. Understand that there is a reason you're not together and that may be for the better. When you're feeling weak about it, turn to someone that you enjoy spending time with, or something you enjoy spending time doing. It helps to do things and spend time with people that will take your mind off of the breakup. Know that you are not alone in this and that believing that this is part of God's larger plan can propel you forward.
It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to set boundaries after a breakup. Don’t shy away from discussing what matters to you post-breakup. The shift from lovers to friends can be very difficult, and what things may look like will be different for each person. It’s complicated for sure, but the boundaries you establish do matter. You will feel so much better once you have time to clear your mind, get in the right headspace, and move forward. When you and your ex take time to draw a line in the sand, you can begin the transition to the healthiest place possible.