Article written by Gary Direnfeld
Walking through a Haunted House on Halloween night is one thing. Living in one is a different story. Unfortunately, cohabiting with an Ex may be the reality of many newly separated couples.
Given the shaky economy and cost of housing, cohabiting post separation is far more common than you might expect. The thing is, how do two people who want less of each other continue to share a home? Additionally, what does this mean for any children involved?
Cohabiting post-separation isn't necessarily a choice. More often than not, it is a set of circumstances that create this outcome. If you find yourself in this situation, there are many things to consider.
One important consideration when living with your Ex is how responsibilities will be shared. This includes care and maintenance of the home, food, and cleaning. The best way to approach these matters is to treat each other as you would a roommate. Do your own grocery shopping, cook your own meals, clean up after yourselves, and maybe even assign a job list that splits larger tasks around the house.
Cohabiting with your Ex when Kids are Involved:
When children are involved, living with your Ex may be even more challenging. One way to approach this would be to live an "as if" life. In other words, act as if you are already living separately. This might mean establishing a parenting schedule, handling any issues that arise based on who is responsible at that specific time. This doesn't need to be carved in stone, but getting the kids used to your arrangement will help them adjust when you finally start living apart.
Cohabiting & Privacy:
Other than sharing responsibilities, privacy is also a major consideration when living with your Ex. Put simply, both of you should do your best to respect the other's space as sacred and private. This becomes increasingly important if and when you face the introduction of new romantic partners.
The dating scene can be tough enough without involving your Ex. To avoid any prickly issues and so to not create conflict or confusion for kids involved, it is best to keep romantic encounters out of the house. If this isn't possible, careful planning can help ensure that these situations are faced with full privacy.
Depending on the relationship you have with your Ex, the ideal situation would be for both of you to give an opportunity for the other to have total privacy. This can be achieved by staying with friends or family. You may even consider taking yourself and any children out for the night. This can help facilitate the children's adjustment to time alone with each parent.
Living with your Ex isn't ideal. But sometimes we have to accept and just relax in the mess. If kids are involved, the degree parents can make these arrangements work teaches stress management and resiliency. If you are struggling to live peacefully, seek legal assistance to develop an enforceable plan.
Scary? It doesn’t have to be.