What Should Communication Boundaries Look Like with Your Ex?
- Kris Swiatocho, Cliff Young
- 2017 23 Feb
EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
My ex and I (never married) have been split for some time; however, we share a two-year-old child. I heard my ex is expecting a child and to be wed soon (not from his mouth), but recently he's been contacting me a lot via phone and text. For the most part we get along very well and have great conversations but is it wrong that:
1. He's yet to be open and honest with me about his fiancé and unborn child?
2. Since he's courting to get married and/or expecting a child shouldn't we not be talking for hours on a daily basis when it's not even about the child we share?
It’s wonderful you can communicate and get along with your ex since you will forever share that bond of your child, and it’s so important for them to have a mother and a father who loves them.
I am curious though as to the tone of conversations you had with your ex while you were still together, especially after the birth of your child. Were there talks about getting married or just continuing to live together? Was he thrilled to be a father or seeking ways to get out? Was he open and honest then?
Your ex is supposedly getting married to the mother of his second child out of wedlock and having long random conversations with the mother of his first.
I get the impression the father of your child may not have been totally forthright (and obviously fully committed) then and may not be honest to you, his fiancé and himself now. This may just be a tendency for him to get what he wants without a commitment.
He obviously sees you a close friend due to the regularity and length of the calls you share with him, but it may just be an avoidance of having to discuss real issues with his latest girlfriend. You could be providing him with that female conversation (and companionship) he desires without the accountability or additional strings attached.
At some point during your next conversation, you need to inquire about his current dating status and verify if he is indeed getting married. As you would want to know everything about someone who is babysitting your child for a night, you should want to know even more about a woman who may have an even larger role in your child’s life.
All this to say, you are wise to question your ex-boyfriend’s motive and to seek more information about the person your child might be spending time with in the future.
My first thoughts are he feels safe right now. When any of my guy-friends start to date someone they become flirty, touchy, more open, more talkative, to me. When this first happened I was young. I thought “oh, they like me” and well that was good; I mean, I would love to fall in love with one of my guy friends. A friend who I have shared things with, served together in ministry, traveled together on mission trips with our church, attending social functions, etc. But what I quickly found out was because they felt safe (dating someone else) they felt they could flirt with other girls, since these women knew they were off the market. And to be honest, I am not even sure if these guys know that they do this. Yet, I continue to see this among my guy-friends.
I get it, and I realize that guys and gals would like to be able to share more, hug more, tell the opposite sex more about their inner issues, struggles, etc. But if you engage in this, you are traveling along boundaries that are designed for someone you are dating and will eventually marry. In other words, if you are going down this path with a guy-friend, instead of someone you’re dating, then someone will eventually get hurt if the feelings are not mutual. And if the feelings are mutual, then you certainly don’t want to be involved with someone who continues to date someone other than you.
Clearly this is going beyond a friendship type situation. I still hear in your voice some hurt, jealously and confusion. Why didn’t he marry you? You have his child too? Why weren’t you good enough? What does she have?
While you have not shared anything about your faith, or your relationship with God, this would be my first word of guidance. You don’t know for sure he is going to marry her, and to be honest you shouldn’t care. He has gotten another woman pregnant, outside of marriage. That should be a huge red flag to you that he hasn’t grown and = isn’t the right man for you. And while the new communication is flattering, it may have brought back some old feelings and desires of your heart. But remember, he hasn’t been truthful with you about his current situation. Continuing this communication will only lead to more heartache.
God says you are worth more. Your value is NOT in this man or in ANY man but in our heavenly Father.
So what to do? Be direct and ask him about what’s going on. Also tell him that this new attention to you is not being fair to his girlfriend nor to you and that’s it’s confusing. It’s actually a form of adultery (But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Proverbs 6:32) and it’s wrong. And while you have enjoyed talking, especially because you do want to have a decent relationship with your child's father, the boundaries have been broken in what is healthy between friends. His pattern says he will continue to do this. He needs the Lord in his life, and you both need wise counsel and the support of a Bible teaching church.
I know it’s hard, believe me I know. But choosing the right relationships in your life, romantic or friendship, lead to greater life while the wrong ones will only bring you down.
I’ll leave you with this verse,
“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” -Proverbs 10:17
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of four books.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.
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Publication date: February 23, 2017