Unfortunately, in these times of recession, more and more couples are having to stay living in the same house, even though they’ve split up and may be going through a divorce.
This can increase the stress of going through a divorce to unbearable levels.
There are a few things you can do to try and make sharing a house more bearable.
Firstly, set some boundaries. Think about what really isn’t acceptable to you and sit down together to share your thoughts and decide what the boundaries are. Some of the things you may want to consider are:
Agree who will do what so that the children have a routine. Agree equal division of babysitting (evenings and weekends) so that you both get some ‘me’ time. Don’t argue in front of the children and don’t expect them to take sides. You are both still their parents and it is not fair to ask them to choose.
Division of Labour
Agree to keep the house clean and tidy and to do equal shares of household chores (including gardening and diy). If you are trying to sell the house this is especially important.
Use of space in the house
Some couples live totally separately, dividing the rooms between them and even having separate cupboards and fridges in the kitchen and timetables for the use of the kitchen and bathroom. If there are no children involved this is OK as long as you both agree it. When there are children it is better to try to continue to use the house as before and just have separate bedrooms.
How often will you both go out? Do you want to know if each other are dating again? Do you invite friends to the house?
If you have to share a house it will be easier if you show each other respect. Don’t bring dates home and don’t roll in late/drunk and wake the other one up. If you know something really annoys the other don’t do it. Silly little things can be blown up out of all proportion and increase the stress of the situation.
If you have difficulty in agreeing these things it may be worth considering mediation.
It is important to try and move on with your life. Make sure that you have at least one and preferably two nights a week where you can have some ‘me’ time. Make sure you get away from the house and the stresses of the situation for at least a couple of hours. Join a club or an exercise class, go to the cinema, go to night school and learn something new or meet up with a friend. The important thing is that you have some time to yourself, time to relax.
Try and find a divorce recovery workshop: DRW (Divorce Recovery Workshop) charge £40-£70 for the workshop (all 6 weeks); a fantastic resource for anyone going through a divorce.
There are bound to be times when you get angry or upset, after all divorce is one of the most stressful things you can experience in life. Find some coping techniques for dealing with these emotions. Think about what triggers these feelings. Once you start to notice the triggers you will have more control. When you feel yourself getting into a ‘state’ take some deep breaths and think about being calm. There are several NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) techniques that can help you to take control of your emotions and deal with difficult situations. It may well help to work with an NLP Practitioner. There are also lots of self-help books you can read to help you.
If it is something your ex does that upsets you then talk to them about it and set some boundaries about it.
If you have to share a house it will be easier and less stressful for you both if you can do so amicably.