Dear Coleen: He can’t seem to accept we’re no longer married

Dear Coleen

I got divorced from my husband of 10 years before Christmas. We’d been slowly drifting apart for a while – there was no sexual chemistry and we became more like friends.

He also changed over the past two years and was barely ever at home, preferring to go out with his friends. He was also away on football trips most weekends. It was tough for me as we have two children together.

Since he moved out and we divorced, he’s been in contact a lot. He says he still wants to look after me but, although I want him to look after his kids, I don’t want him feeling like he has any responsibility towards me.

He admits he’s struggled since moving out and also admitted he’d had a bit of a mid-life crisis during our marriage and that he wants to make it up to me. He’s also dropped many hints that he still loves me.

The thing is, I’ve moved on and I’m looking forward to a new life, but it’s hard when my ex is always hanging around. I’ve told him I love him, but only as a friend and that we’ll never be more than friends and co-parents.

I don’t want to upset him, but I feel I need to get my message across once and for all – he’s just not hearing it.

Coleen says

He doesn’t want to hear it! I get it though, because I was in a similar ­situation. When a divorce is ­pretty amicable, you’re still friends and you share children, it’s harder to break the ties. When I divorced my first husband, we carried on for quite a long time as if we were still together, chatting frequently on the phone. But it had an impact on my new relationship, so I had to make a choice.

I explained to my ex that we couldn’t be in each other’s lives so much and he understood. But when you know each other so well and are very comfortable with each other, it’s a really hard habit to break.

So I’d explain to your ex that you need to put some boundaries in place and you only want to talk to him when it concerns your children.

You probably can be mates again once some time has passed and you’ve both made inroads into creating new lives for yourselves.

Focus on the kids – they will also prefer a routine they understand. It may confuse them to see their parents together all the time when you’re living in different houses and they’ve been told you’re no longer married.

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