Divorcing and Still Under the Same Roof

I want a divorce, but my husband does not. With the economy the way it is, we can’t afford to sell our house and start fresh. Any suggestions for how to cope with the situation where you have to still live with a soon-to-be ex-partner?

There are many people who are in the process of divorce or separation but who, for a variety of reasons, need to still live under the same roof. It’s not easy, but it is important to try to establish some ground rules so you can make the situation tolerable. This is particularly important to do if you have children living with you, who will undoubtedly feel the tension and be confused if mommy and daddy are splitting up but still living together.

In a divorce, you need to shift your relationship with your husband from one of a romantic partner to one of a business partner.

If possible, have a conversation where you acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and invite him to help discuss ways that you can make your living arrangements more tolerable. Since it’s your decision to end the relationship, be prepared to hear about his pain and sadness and allow him to feel heard by you. Resist the temptation to rebut his feelings or rationalize your decision so he’ll agree with you. The purpose here is to help clear the air. Letting him feel heard and understood by you will go a long way towards building the kind of cooperation and goodwill you’ll need if you have to continue to live together.

Determine what changes you might need to make in your physical space so you both can have some more emotional space.

If you can, do what you can so you can sleep separately and, ideally, each has a designated space that is private and off-limits to the other. Get creative around your schedules so that you don’t need to be bumping into each other all the time. In keeping with your new business-like relationship, set meeting times so you can fine-tune and improve your living situation. Agree on what topics are fair game (ie children, household chores) and what topics are not (ie new relationships). Recognize that it’s not easy for either of you, but with a bit of teamwork and strong communication skills, you can make the most of a difficult situation.

Divorce and Separation: Being On Your Own Again

“How do I get used to being alone and not so addicted to trying to find a new mate?”

When you’re in pain at the end of a relationship, it can be so tempting to just find someone quickly to fill that void. We torture ourselves with thoughts of “I’m going to be alone forever!” ringing in our ears. Particularly if your former spouse has already moved on with someone else, some people go even more all out to get their next relationship so they can “keep up” with or prove something to their ex.

But you’re wise to notice how strong your drive is right now to find a new partner and to ask how you can get used to being alone. With about 50% of marriages ending in divorce, the statistics are even grimmer for second and third marriages! Unless you take the time to stop and as honestly as you can reflect on what went off the rails in your first marriage, you’re setting yourself up for a scenario where history may repeat itself in future relationships.

Here are some tips to help you in this transition period!

1. Date Yourself First

Treat yourself with the love, respect, and appreciation that you would like to have in a romantic relationship. Little love gestures like giving yourself flowers or lighting candles for dinner add up to a lot in terms of setting the stage for new love.

2. Identify What You Want

Extract all the wisdom from your divorce by identifying what didn’t work in your relationship. Make a list of the characteristics and dynamics that didn’t serve you well, e.g. “My ex was close-minded.” Ask yourself what you do want instead of a new partner and write that down, “My partner is open-minded.” You’ll end up with a much clearer idea of what you do want in a relationship.

3. Indulge In Your Passions

Give yourself time to devote yourself to your passions. Indulging in them not only fills up your emotional reserve tank, but it gives you the opportunity to connect with other people who share that same passion.

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