I have never been close to my ex’s family. Now that we are separated, his mom and sister are dropping by without calling. We have never been close. In the past they always talked with my ex, never with me. It’s great that they want to spend time with the kids, but they can’t just drop by and expect me to drop everything. Can they?
– How Do I Deal with My Ex’s Family?
Dear How do I Deal,
You have found yourself in an awkward situation which must feel very uncomfortable for you. You have a right, and an obligation to yourself to create a boundary around this.
Have a quick conversation with them individually. Let them know how glad you are that they want to be in the kid’s lives. You must state your boundary, you are not comfortable with people just dropping by. Ask them to call or text before their visit, and wait to hear from you. You don’t have to share the reasons for this, though you may if you’d like to. If you feel the need to share a why, (and you don’t have too!), share your I statements. “I like to be prepared for guests. I want to be able to give you my full attention. I can’t do that if you just drop by.” They may counter with something similar to “I am coming to see you, no need to prepare for me,” or “I’ll just take a minute.” You can let them know, that while you appreciate their point of view, you know they care enough about you and your feelings to honor your request.
After sharing your preference with them, if they continue to drop in without calling, you have the right to stop them in their tracks at the front door. Put yourself first!! When people don’t respect your boundaries, you still need to enforce them. Simply tell them it’s not a good time. You can suggest an alternate time to get together, but don’t give in.
Good luck. You deserve to respected and to have your boundaries respected.