05 Dec “I’m still living with my ex even though we are getting divorced. I’m finding it really difficult”
Living in the marital home with your ex after you separate is a common situation. It can take some time to work out the financial agreement so living together is sometimes the only option until this is resolved.
It can be tough especially if the separation isn’t amicable. It will be made worse if you have kids involved and also if one of you has moved on with a new partner. Living together under these circumstances will not easy however there are some things you can do to make things easier.
Sara’s tips to help you cope better when you are living with your ex:
- Keep focused on keeping the divorce paperwork moving so there are as few delays as possible. Do as much as you can to get your papers completed accurately and on time. Work with your lawyer or mediator to keep the process flowing. If your ex appears to be stalling then speak to your lawyer to get some advice on how to get things moving faster. Don’t give up – there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you have to keep focused on it.
- It’s important to create your own private space at home where you can be on your own. You will experience a lot of different emotions going through your Divorce Journey and it’s important to have the time and space to deal with them. Put your personal stamp on your space by moving furniture around so it looks different to how it was before and put up photos or favourite things around the room. This will make it feel more cosy and welcoming to you, even if the atmosphere in the home is frosty.
- Limit your time at home when possible, although this will be trickier if you have kids. Keep yourself busy and spend time with people that keep you feeling good about yourself. It’s better to be out and about instead of being somewhere that you don’t feel welcome. However if you have children and you need to be at home then try and work out a schedule with your ex that means you limit the time you are both at home at the same time.
- Make sure you have a good Divorce Support Team to support you so that you don’t feel isolated. Even though you are living in the house with your ex it can be lonely, especially if tensions run high. Find yourself a good lawyer or mediator that you can talk to comfortably about your legal case. You may need a financial advisor to help you plan for the future. It’s also important to have a way to deal with your emotions. You have to keep them separate from your legal case as otherwise it can get heated and costly. So find a positive friend who is not emotionally involved in your situation who you can talk to, or a Divorce Coach (like me!) or a therapist.
- Avoid confrontation and develop a strategy for dealing with arguments before they get heated. Keep conversations with your ex light and avoid contentious issues. You can deal with these via email when you are calm and can think things through properly.
Moving on with a new partner
If you have moved on with a new partner never bring them to the home as this could cause huge problems. However much you may feel justified in moving on it is not appropriate to bring your them back. It may be tempting to show your ex how great your new partner is and even to use them to upset your ex or make them jealous. However you must take the upper ground and just keep your personal life away from the marital home.
You have the rest of your life to spend with this new person if you choose to. Have some respect for your marriage and yourself and keep your old life and your new life separate for now. It may also cause your problems with your divorce proceedings and you want to keep them smooth and easy at this time for all concerned.
Living together with your ex and your kids
If you have kids at home then don’t argue in front of them. It’s not healthy for children to be involved in the details of your divorce and your issues with each other. They need to know that you both love them and that the divorce is not their fault. It will be a difficult time for them to adjust to all the changes happening in their lives.
You are their parent and need to be strong and a good role model for them. If you can be balanced and positive then they will find it easier to cope. It’s their home too. Divorce does not need to damage children if it is handled in the right way. They will take their lead from you, so think about this carefully and set a good example for them.
A Final Thought
Remember this is the beginning of a fresh start for you and whilst it can be daunting it is also exciting as you have the opportunity to redesign your life the way you want it. Don’t look back, there is no point. From now on it’s onwards and upwards…