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How should I handle this?

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dlmos posted 6/12/2013 12:55 PM

So I've been trying to set firm boundries with the ex and need some help. She is still all over the place emotionally about the fact I'm moving on and has a tendancy to send strings of emotional texts. I just handle these with crickets but it's the other areas I'm not sure what the appropriate way of setting the boundry is.

Example: Last night I was on the phone with my GF at 9:40pm and she starts calling...repeatedly. Then when I dont answer she starts texting me saying I need to call her cause it's about DD's room. I finally called her to find out what must be an emergency with DD only to find out it is NOT an emergency... She is worried there might be mold in the closet causing DD to have a cough (she was with me the lsat day/night and does have a decent cough, but I suspect allergies). She starts to ramble, so I cut her off and ask her to get to the point becasue I'm on the phone. This sets her off but she does a quick run through and there is no mold to worry about, most likely a rat in the attic dead she will need to find and remove. I call GF back and she is aggrivated the ex is calling for nothing and I can't blame her. Honestly I tend to be far to patient as well and if I had not been on the phone I normally would have let her ramble...

So what is the best way to set this new boundry with the ex that anything beyond kids and finances? I told her already once but I don't think she heard or possibly even understood what I meant (she was crying at the time...). I think if I just ignore everthing (like a random text about ants she sent me this morning) she will just end up pissed and have no clue why. I do understand that's not really my problem... but as this is a new boundry should I send her a text spelling it out and then go with crickets for good?

I just don't want this to be a recurring issue because she doesn't "get it". I want to set the line, move on and focus on my own life.

Also I think there is a strong possibility that I am to patient in general but that is an issue of it's own.

Nature_Girl posted 6/12/2013 13:03 PM

Well, technically she was calling you about a kid-related subject. I think where the boundary was crossed in this instance was the time of day (night, actually) that she initiated contact & then called. I think in addition to the standard "kids 'n finances" guideline, this woman also needs a time frame put forth for allowable contact. Such as, she cannot call after 9:00 pm unless there is a verifiable emergency, such as the house is on fire with the kids still in it, or one of the kids is bleeding/has a broken bone, or the neighborhood is being evacuated due to a toxic leak and she is unable to drive because she's drunk or her car is in the shop and no neighbors will take the kids so if you don't come over immediately & evacuate the kids they'll all die.

There's really no reason for her to be calling you for non-emergency kid-related subjects after 9:00 (or whatever time you deem appropriate). I've had to set a time schedule for allowable phone calls w/ STBX. It's the only way.

dlmos posted 6/12/2013 13:05 PM

It's also worth noting that in the past I have been around for whatever she needs: fixing a toilet at the house, answering questions. She also tends to text random crap a lot and while I dont engage in a conversation I'm always nice and acknowledge. I have ben far to helpful and accessible so this is a big shift in our interactions.

dlmos posted 6/12/2013 13:08 PM

So how did you "set" the boundries, did you spell it out in a email or text?

Nature_Girl posted 6/12/2013 13:11 PM

It is perfectly reasonable for you to set up some boundaries with her for your new relationship with her. She needs to understand that you are no longer going to be "there" for her, she needs to make her own way in the world. You should let her know that there are professionals out there she should call for dead rodent removal, mold & fungus remediation, and even plumbers. Or she could/should pick up a few "fix it yourself" books & figure out how to get stuff done on her own. Your job now is to co-parent, not co-manage her house.

ajsmom posted 6/12/2013 13:11 PM

So she turned a house issue into a kid issue based on the said issue being in DD's room which, as it turns out, wasn't really the story (if I followed you correctly).

She's a crafty one for sure.

Seeing she wasn't in the "right mind" when you spelled out your boundaries before, TALK to her about it. Let her know that you're available 24/7 when anything URGENT happens to the kids on her time, otherwise she is to email you with anything else.

You should also make it clear to her that home issues are hers to deal with. You will no longer be available to help out on that.

Then the hard part. Stick with YOUR boundary.


Nature_Girl posted 6/12/2013 13:13 PM

The phone call boundary had to go through my lawyer since STBX refused to cooperate with my attempts to resolve things via email.

In your case I suggest you try email because you can print emails out easily. They are a little more "official" than text.

thenon-goddess posted 6/12/2013 13:33 PM

I don't think you tell her, you show her. The next time she calls repeatedly and it's not an emergency, cut the call very short. Tell her to call a mold removal service (or whatever) and you'll see her _____________ when you exchange the kids.

That might have been kid related, in a round about way, but really it was related to HER home and is an issue that SHE needs to address. If there is mold in the closet, that is up to her to deal with, not you. She should open up the phone book (google works too!) and look for information on mold and mold removal. I'm not sure how you fit into that equation at all.

lieshurt posted 6/12/2013 13:45 PM

Then when I dont answer she starts texting me saying I need to call her cause it's about DD's room.

Is there anything about this statement that screams "I must talk to you right now" Or "It's an emergency"? No, not at all. You have to work on retraining your way of thinking and your need to accommodate your exwife.

It isn't necessary for her to text you everytime she needs to discuss something. A lot of your correspondence could be handled through email. I'd give her specific guidelines for when she should be texting you vs email and keep the phone calls to a minimum. She's going to keep doing this as long as you allow her to, so you need to stick to your guns and not respond to her when it's not necessary.

cayc posted 6/12/2013 13:49 PM

I don't think you tell her, you show her.

Yes this. You change your behavior and force her to adapt.

When I still had a few ties to xWH and had to contact him, I would merely send 1 line. "XYZ is happening. I expect you to do ABC by this TIME/DATE."

Funny, but he always did it. I'd get fulsome replies, but I got what I wanted with no fuss, no muss.

Quite frankly, if your DD is having an emergency at 10pm at night, your wife should be calling 911, not you. And if it's not a 911 call? Then it's not an emergency.

So there is an example of a game plan. She calls/texts. Cut off her explanation with "if this is an emergency you need to call 911" and then hang up. If it truly is an emergency, then she will. And if it isn't ... she'll learn that calling you doesn't get her anywhere.

Or, "what's the problem?" gets you a longwinded answer to which you respond "I'm not hearing a problem here, good bye" and hang up.

You've conditioned her to expect you to jump when she asks. It's like dog training. You've got to reestablish the rules by how you treat her.

tesla posted 6/12/2013 15:49 PM

I had to do this by showing the fool what I wanted. That meant that I always let his calls go to vm. If there was no message, there was no return call. If he left a cryptic message, I texted to inquire what he needed. It was never something relevant or important and I would tell him that. It took a two week long mantrum...but he leaves me alone now.

dlmos posted 6/12/2013 19:30 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone! I meant to reply earlier but that work thing keeps getting in the way.

I've been sticking to crickets in the meantime but I think that I will go with a short email just to lay out what the appropriate time and reasons for calling are. I'm sure that's going to piss her off to some extent but at least that way in the future I can just point back to the email.

Either way I won't be answering the phone at all hours or responding to texts about anything not involving kids/finances and actual emergencies.

Dark Inertia posted 6/12/2013 19:40 PM

It's also worth noting that in the past I have been around for whatever she needs: fixing a toilet at the house, answering questions.

If you haven't already I think you should probably nip this as well. It encourages unhealthy boundaries, and I think puts you in an awkward position when developing future relationships.

dlmos posted 6/12/2013 19:49 PM

That's really what I'm wanting to do. Just set a solid, healthy boundary as clearly as possible and start moving on.

kernel posted 6/12/2013 20:26 PM

I've been sticking to crickets in the meantime but I think that I will go with a short email just to lay out what the appropriate time and reasons for calling are.

Then YOU have to stick to your boundaries. Crickets unless it's truly kids/finances/emergency. She can let Google be her KISA like the rest of us.

gonnabe2016 posted 6/12/2013 20:41 PM

Dlmos, if it isn't about your kids, then it isn't your problem. Tell her to call a plumber. Tell her that "google is her friend." Stop acknowledging her 'random' texts.


dlmos posted 6/12/2013 22:57 PM

So I'm keeping up the crickets and after her saying she doesn't want to see pics of me and the GF on FB I unfriended her (I only had added her back to share pics of the kids but its not worth the trouble). So here is the letter I came up with and would like to get some opinions on it before I send it. I didn't make any refs to the GF because this is about me and xWW and I don't want her to 1) get all pissy with the GF...2) think there is any hope for "us" if things with the GF don't work out.

"I know that you still see me as someone you can call when you have a problem or just want to share something happening with the kids or in your day, but I canít be that person anymore. I am ready to move on with my life and you need to build your own life separately from me. I will always be available 24/7 if you have an emergency but if itís not an emergency you canít call or text me late in the evening anymore. If you do need to talk to me about something involving the kids or something financial please keep it to a reasonable time. I hope that we can always be workable in regards to the children, visitation etcÖ but I canít be someone for you to look to for support or companionship."

Griefstricken25 posted 6/13/2013 00:07 AM

I would add "I will be available 24/7 if you have an emergency WITH the CHILDREN". Honestly, if the kids are with you, and she has an emergency, she needs to find other people to call (firefighters, police, family, friends).

Griefstricken25 posted 6/13/2013 00:34 AM

And personally, if it's not an emergency, I would tell her to stick to email only. I would ask her to not text or call anymore.

GabyBaby posted 6/13/2013 00:55 AM

I agree that you should specify emergencies related to the kids ONLY.

I also think that you should specify a time (8-9pm) as the cutoff for non-emergency calls. "Late into the evening" leaves it up to her to decide what's late and what isn't.

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