|When most women split with their spouses, sharing anything — especially the house they built as a couple — can be a nightmare. But with financial woes and the stress of selling a house in a tough economy, some divorced couples have no other choice than to co-exist with their former loved ones. If you’re one of the “lucky” few, don’t panic. Here’s some advice to help you get through this uncomfortable time.
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He’s no longer your friend or husband, so don’t treat him like one. “Limit all contact and discussions with each other to necessary matters only,” writes Genevieve Clapp, Ph.D., in her book Divorce and New Beginnings: A complete guide to recovery, solo parenting, co-parenting, and stepfamilies. Arrange times to discuss important matters, but respect his privacy and avoid asking personal questions (for example, “Who are you going out with tonight?”). Limit your contact to what you can handle.
Don’t Rely On Him
So what if he washed the dishes when you were married? Don’t expect him to do it now that you’re separated. “Falling into these familiar patterns will keep you in a state of limbo,” Clapp writes, “no longer a part of your old world but unable to enter a new one.” Instead, do things independently.
Develop a “Parenting Plan”
It’s important to separate your job as a parent from your rocky relationship with your ex, writes Lois Gold, family mediator and author of The Healthy Divorce: Keys to ending your marriage while preserving your emotional well-being. Create a routine together, establishing who the “parent in charge” is every night and what responsibilities that includes. Maintaining stability will help your children through this difficult transition — and help save your sanity.
Check the Hostility at the Door
The marriage may be ruined, but you’re stuck in the same house with your spouse for the time being. “The key,” Gold writes, “is to separate how you feel about your spouse from how you act.” It may be difficult, but fighting with each other will only make living together worse. Discussing your emotional baggage with a good friend or counselor is essential.
Schedule Time For Yourself
Avoid being alone at home with your ex. Make plans with a friend to stay over once a week so you aren’t forced to fill lonely time with your former spouse. The less time you spend together, the better you’ll feel.