If your marriage was toxic, it’s likely your co-parenting relationship will also be. Yet, having children together means you need to continue communicating and working together for years to come.
Setting clear boundaries is crucial to protect yourself. Remember, your ex knows your vulnerabilities and how to exploit them better than anyone. Here are some options to consider:
Limit your communication channels
Consider blocking them from your social media and even your phone so they cannot get at you when they feel like it. You cannot block them altogether. You just need to erect a few hurdles to slow things down and give them time to think before saying something hurtful.
A parenting app or a group chat where a third party acts as some kind of control could work.
Enable them to communicate with your child without involving you
If your child is old enough to have a phone, your ex can ring or message them directly. If not, and they need to call via your phone, set a specific time for this each night. Or agree that your child will initiate the calls.
Choose a safe place for custody transfers
Seeing your ex waiting outside your house or inside your workplace could make you feel vulnerable. A neutral public space is often safer as most people behave better when they know others can see them.
Alternatively, you could avoid a direct exchange altogether by using an intermediary. For example, you drop the child at school, and your ex picks them up there. Or your ex drops them off at their mom’s, and you pick them up from there.
Your ex might complain such measures are unnecessary. Yet if they make you feel safer, they are wise. Setting clear boundaries will benefit your child, too, as reducing the chance of parental conflict should make co-parenting easier.