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On the benefits of total separation from our ex partners
Over the last 18 months of picking myself up from a quite calamitous break up, and subsequently speaking to hundreds of people here and local friends in similar situations, I can honestly say the thing that will help you keep your sanity the most is an almost total physical, legal and emotional separation from your ex partner.

Yes, you have children, yes you still need to parent and communicate. But you don’t need to do anything else and if you want to really heal, being away from that ex is the way to do it, regardless of what feelings you may still have.

This means:
  • Not being facebook friends. In fact, it means blocking them so they can’t stalk you. The same goes for all social media
  • Not having any financial links, no shared bank accounts, credit cards, bills or savings
  • Having a written agreement (legally binding or not) with regard to child care, financial support, living arrangements
  • Not speaking to each other for any reason other than the children, and keeping that to a minimum required to keep them safe and happy
  • Not engaging at all with unreasonable demands or questions. Things like “Don’t take my kids there”,  “Don’t let my kids meet XX”, “Don’t do this, don’t do that”. Just flat out ignore these, you are not endangering your children, you get to choose what they do on their time with you
  • Not respond to anything other than a genuine emergency (serious illness of the children) faster than 24 hours
  • Essentially having everything already decided in advance so you keep communication to a minimum
  • Get rid of everything you can that you bought together. Sell it, get something new or second hand to replace it. I really mean everything, plates, mugs, cups, cutlery, sofa, bed, the lot
  • Get rid of any photographs or mementos you bought each other, old love letters, marriage photographs
  • If you have any of their stuff they still want but you're being used as cheap storage, box it all up at least and seal it. put it behind the sofa or in the back room. Better still, get it out the house somehow.
  • Let the kids keep a picture of your ex in their room, but lose every other image of them from your home or devices
  • Change their name in your phone to "Children mother" or similar.
  • Refer to your ex as "The children mum" or "their mum", not My ex, or 'Sandra'
  • Arrange drop offs and hand overs through a third party / at school

I had a great deal of trouble doing this, then, because my ex was trying to get legal aid, a legal thing ended with there being a restraining order against me for 12 months and I couldn’t speak to her. This was a huge gift to me it turns out. Any time I wanted to send an angry text, every time she wanted to wind me up about something, it couldn’t happen.

Time and time again I read here about guys being pulled around by the heart strings, their penis or just out of habit of supporting someone emotionally and financially, unable to move on with their lives and truly become their own person.

Quick example, one woman I’ve seen for a few dates, she’s divorced, after 20 years, but they have a key to each others house, share a bank account and borrow each others cars as well as leaning on each other hugely for emotional support. Other than not having sex, what’s the damned difference after separating?

Be brief, polite & businesslike in all of your communication, you can set the tone for how things should be, they can be as angry or fast as they like, if you remain consistent it will bring their communication inline with yours.

Couple of good resources:
"The life changing magic of tidying up"
"The Minimalists" - (watch their documentary on Netflix, read their books)

This is all about momentum. Start with one thing on day 1 if you need to, 2 things on day 2, 3 on the third etc. Keep going until there is nothing in your life but things you believe to be useful or beautiful. Make sure they bring you joy.

Any thoughts or improvements to this? I'll update it as a guide if it's useful
I think that’s a pretty good summary of how best to do things. The difficulty is of course that pulling away and fully separating as far as possible, especially for those people who didn’t instigate the separation, can emotionally be very difficult. But as with any relationship, you have to discipline yourself to accept when it’s over and keep your distance to allow you to move on properly.

I would add to the list the need to recognise that the relationship you now have with your ex is now only as someone who is the other parent of your child, and everything must be seen in those terms. Change their contact details on your phone so instead of their name it now says “Xxx’s mother”.
Tomato: I couldn't agree more, my first relationship post separation was scuppered because I was too close to my then STBXW, she had a key, I used her car on occasion, we met for tea etc. I was trying to cushion the blow for her but it was a foothold for me into something more stable than being all alone.

After that I had the 'Purge'...

Her remaining clothes and possessions removed, keys taken off her (I'm in the old family home), every ornament she bought, bedding and some furniture removed or changed, every single photograph of her removed, every file, letter and keepsake removed. The computer was purged of digital photographs (loaded onto a hard drive for my daughter, sealed and put in a safe), about five photos of my ex with my mum and grandma I kept as I have few photos of them, I keep them in a sealed red envelope that says 'photo of family members with ex wife on them'. Divorce pursued and completed, clean break done, facebook blocked. Now about to change her phone ID to XXXX's mum!!

All accounts severed, even the pet insurance. I had to threaten her with an NMO at one point and even now she suggests going to the theatre or for a meal, I still sometimes give her too much voice in the affairs of my daughter and it is a struggle to keep them out sometimes.

It is important that the clean break is emotional, as well as financial...
Absolutely true and heres why

In my early twenties I got engaged to the love of my life, we were kids and living it up so it was never going anywhere but hey, we were kids. It ended badly, she slept with her boss, we argued for 6 months and then I left. I saw her 3 years later and we greeted like old long lost friends, couldnt talk fast enough about our families, jobs, relationships. It was amazing and we still have a yearly text to catch up.

I split from my current ex about 3 years ago and because we are still in each others lives [because of daughter] things have just gone from bad to worse. I truly believe we'd be amicable now.

People who stay friends with their ex are Psychopaths, its true I read it on the internet.
Mr Sandman. You posted, "Her remaining clothes and possessions removed ..." Might seem a dumb question. I'm in the family home and there's still a lot of her stuff in drawers and cupboards. What did you do to 'remove' the stuff? Insist she collected it? Dump it?
The least you can do with all her stuff is box it all up and seal it. Next best is putting those boxes in storage. Even better is delivering them to her family. Best is delivering to her.

Get it all out.

I even changed the cutlery and mugs.
Hi Tam. Thanks. It seems almost an act of spite or despair but I think I'm at that point.

LATER. Made a start. Moved a large proportion of the stuff into a cupboard in one room. The trouble is it's not just 'hers' it's a kind of ours because of all the memories. It's a previous life that looking back starts to look like a dream or another world.
Very good advice right there. If it was up to me i would never see my ex let alone have to have any contact with her as she and her boyfriend are just toxic.

However the fact we have 2 children means that it is impossible. She is Jekyll and Hyde depending on if she wants something or if her BF is home from offshore. Almost immediately i found it easy to deal with which maybe says a lot about the marriage and where it was at that stage and she would often be foul and abusive to me. Even to the point of one day throwing a punch and a headbutt before spitting at me. The best thing i found was to smile, lap it up and be nice as it seemed to annoy her even more.

The kids are the most important thing in any separation. One thing that did and still does help is to have an output for any hassle and/or ex related stress. Mine is martial arts and running as it is was a time to switch off and allow myself to come back down which works for me.

So on top of the advice above i would add that you need to find an output to settle and calm you and vent your frustration however you do that is up to you but it is definitely worth doing as it saves any arguments. After all, even if you ex wants to argue she will soon get bored when you don't argue back or even reply to any messages provoking and attack.
The financial side is one of the biggest advantages longer term for your own mental health. I'll never tolerate another womans frivolous spending ever again. You want it, you go pay for it.

My personality is one of someone who could live like a beach bum and save up. Its the rampant consumerist keeping up with the Jones I can't stand especially on cars and kids.
Some of the best self made individuals I've met in my life grew up with nothing.

A lot of women seem to think paying for everything and giving everything to your children makes the child appreciate them. It has the opposite effect from what I've seen. They just end up having entitled, unappreciative children when they are older who don't value anything.
(08-11-2018, 08:16 PM)Tamagoto Wrote: The least you can do with all her stuff is box it all up and seal it. Next best is putting those boxes in storage. Even better is delivering them to her family. Best is delivering to her.

Get it all out.

I even changed the cutlery and mugs.

That's proper bad ass separation skills right there - even I didn't think of that - granted my stuff is just plain white stuff from IKEA. Also - you will need to do regular sweeps right? Even yesterday I was sorting the old tech drawer out and ended up with a bag of crap to leave in the garage for her, including her old notepad who, my 15 YO daughter informed me 'that's what mummy used to look at porn on, older man porn'.....

(08-12-2018, 12:22 PM)Jim Wrote: Hi Tam. Thanks. It seems almost an act of spite or despair but I think I'm at that point.

LATER. Made a start. Moved a large proportion of the stuff into a cupboard in one room. The trouble is it's not just 'hers' it's a kind of ours because of all the memories. It's a previous life that looking back starts to look like a dream or another world.

Jim - Sorry, but for you there is no more 'ours', it's over!

Anything that is hers is her property, just box it up, seal it and put it in the garage for her to collect, or drop it off somewhere for her. If its joint stuff, think photos, wedding albums, keepsakes from trips away then its now valueless tat, its emotional as hell to stick it in a box, but once its done its done and you can tell her to either collect it for her to pour over or take it to the dump. You will feel better for it.

That old world, that other world doesn't exist any more and is holding you back.

Imagine the shock of my first proper girlfriend after my wife and I split, when she came back to my house and on the third or fourth visit realised 'my' house was full of my exes stuff, she said to me it doesn't feel like you've separated....

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