His ongoing divorce is hurting our relationship

We chat at 1 p.m.

My boyfriend of eight months is going through a divorce. I knew from day one that he was married and divorcing his wife so that isn't an issue. My concern is that he and his ex still have a lot of contact with each other and it's always hostile. I understand divorces can get messy and that there are a lot of hurt feelings when it comes to ending a marriage, but I am starting to get fed up with it. They argue constantly. She calls him frequently and it always ends up in a fight and it ruins his entire day. They both have lawyers and have been to court and arbitration but won't settle.

I have told my boyfriend that it makes me uncomfortable, and have asked him that when it comes to the divorce, they deal with it through their lawyers. He always agrees but still answers her calls and texts and will stop everything to talk to her. They share dogs, and I know how much he loves them and I don't want him to lose them.

I understand that they need to stay in contact to arrange when they meet to exchange the dogs, but it goes beyond that. They do not have a set schedule and any time one or the other asks for them, it turns into a fight. I know he loves me and has no interest in getting back together with her but he still has so much anger toward her. He tells me how much happier he is now, but he won't move past the hate and anger. I am worried that he will never let go and that he likes the drama of the situation. I love him and we have plans for me to move into his house when my lease is up. Any advice on how to help him move past this?

– So much conflict


You can't dictate the terms of his divorce, but you can set boundaries for yourself. You can make it clear that you have expectations for cohabitation and your own happiness. You want peace. You like routine. You do not want to be a witness to his conflict all night.

Tell him what you require – which seems to start with him setting a schedule for the dogs. Maybe you can also set some guidelines for when and where he can take those angry calls. He shouldn't be bringing them into your time together. They're not fun to watch, and you no longer want to be his divorce audience. Supporting him doesn't mean you have to allow his conflict to take over your space.

I know you want to move in, but I'm not sure you should until you know he understands. He should be taking steps to make the house comfortable for you. He should be asking you about those boundaries. If he's not ready to do any of that, the move-in is premature.

Talk about how things will change. Don't move in until you're sure he wants them to.

– Meredith

Readers? What expectations are reasonable here?