Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,
Even if we fall out of love it does not change the fact that bonds do form over the years, although they can be distinctly different than the ones we started with. Therefore, can you still count on each other after divorce?
For instance, if one was married for over a decade, some bonds were formed. If an ex calls you and is in a crisis, should you be there for him/her?
Ex in need
No, this idea is false and an assumption. Once the bonds of marriage are severed there is no obligation between ex’s besides the legal ones defined in the divorce. There usually are reasons people separated in the first place and boundaries need to be clearly defined or people will just keep playing the same old games.
Often the decisions that people make create the crisis they find themselves in. If your ex is in a bind, and it is of their own making, then it would show poor boundaries to rescue them. If kids are involved and the situation is bad enough, sometimes the children may need to change primary caretakers. This still maintains the boundaries that the divorce created.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: I think that obligation is the wrong word to use when speaking of commitments to exes. There can often be a continued sense of caring, because not every divorce ends badly. Sometimes, two people just realize they shouldn’t be married. They can still be the best of friends, or even business associates. They simply no longer share an intimate home base.
I think the question of whether or not to come to the aid of an ex is completely up to the situation at hand and the people involved. There is no hard or fast rule. If you have a manipulative ex who is causing a rift in your current relationship by intruding on your time, then screw ’em. Any destructive games should most certainly end with the divorce. But if an ex is genuinely in need and you are an appropriate person for them to turn to, for heaven’s sake, help them out. You would help any other friend. Does your ex have cooties?
Some of us divorce with a bad taste in our mouths and want to make that clean break. Some of us don’t.
Quite honestly, unless there are bad feelings for damned good reasons, it is always best to maintain good relations with an ex. If you burn too many bridges in this life, you can come to the end of it marooned on an island with no way off.