Welcome back and thank you for joining us again for the wrap up on this discussion about living together after divorce. Due to the difficulties in our nation’s economy in recent years, a number of divorced couples have chosen to continue living together after their divorces. It’s called cohabitation after divorce. This isn’t because they want to, but rather because they aren’t in the financial position to live independently. Neither can afford to live alone. And while it’s not a perfect set up by any means, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. So if this sounds like your situation, here are a few things you can do to make it less stressful for everyone.
It can be hard to let go of a spouse. Years of living together, making a home together, raising children, living life as a couple. These things can be difficult to move on from, even if neither of you was very happy while you were together. Part of this is habit, certainly, but part of it is also due to emotional attachments.
Here is the kicker though. When a couple divorces, usually they part ways. This makes getting over the emotional attachment to your former spouse easier. But when you continue to live together —same person, same home, same routine— it can feel like nothing has changed. Tt has though, and the sooner you remember that, the easier this is going to be.
Your spouse is no longer your spouse. The two of you may have agreed to maintain a friendship after the divorce (which will go a long way towards making cohabitation after divorce easier for both of you), but friends are not the same as a married couple. You can no longer think of your ex as your life partner, and you can no longer treat them as if your emotional needs are their business. Because they’re not.
So seek out some therapy, or a good friend to talk to when things get rough. But don’t sit down with your ex and hope for a compassionate listening ear and a long supportive hug. That ship has sailed.
When your spouse was your spouse, you shared a lot of intimacy that you probably took for granted. Things like leaving your underwear on the bathroom floor, roaming around the house in the morning with very little clothing on, or even walking into the bathroom to get something while they were in the shower. Things that most married couples do without giving it a second thought.
However you are no longer married. And if you want to heal and move on in a timely manner, despite the living arrangements that you are both forced to endure, you need to establish some boundaries. You need to think of your ex as a roommate. Not your ‘best buddy from college roommate’, but rather the dorm roommate you didn’t choose and had to live with for a time.
Be polite. Be helpful. Do the chores that you both agreed were yours, and respect your ex’s privacy. However, remember that they are no longer your partner, and no longer your lover. So put on some pants, put a lock on your bedroom door and make a point of never, ever giving in to the urge to snoop through their things while they’re out. After all, boundaries go both ways.
We hope this has been helpful to you, and that you are both able to adjust to this new situation that life has thrown your way, with a minimum of struggle. With some work, cohabitation after divorce is possible. So good luck and remember: it won’t last forever! If you happen to have any other questions about divorce or how to make it work, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. We are here to help you.