is it possible to separate and be friends?

(17 Posts)
STIDW Thu 23-May-13 23:32:18

Yes it is possible to separate and remain friends, or at least civil. However in my experience separated spouses/partners need to distance themselves, establish autonomy and separate their finances and lives. I doubt that living in the same property long term would work, although in our case we did share some holidays and continue to share birthdays and Christmases and our children are now 26 and 29!

typographicerrors Thu 23-May-13 21:41:35

I separated from my partner in January but we are still living in the same house while we sort out our affairs. We have two children. Life got very very difficult for a while but it has got better and we can talk, discuss and be civil to each other. I think we have ben extremely lucky in that our relationship was not right for a while and we had both worked at that for some time, so although the way it ended (my decision, someone else involved) was pretty ugly and difficult, ultimately I think we both know that we had tried for a long time and still not managed to make it work. I think we are very lucky, but we have also been very reasonable with each other over the last few months.

Its inevitably going to be a hard situation; the well being of the kids has to come first, and if you can both agree on that common interest then it does help to keep you focused on doing the right thing. I do think you both have to make concessions that push you beyond the ideal - but in giving some ground (as long as that is reciprocated) some of the time then it can help.

In short, I think it is possible to remain, or become, good friends, but it takes time and a lot of tolerance and respect on both sides.

cjel Sun 28-Apr-13 19:13:37

I know a family where the parents have lived in the same house for about 20yrs after they have split. The house was big enough they both liked the lifestyle, and childcare was shared. They had sperate holidays with the children.

vole3 Sun 07-Apr-13 06:22:54

OP, if the decision to split is mutual, nobody else involved on either side, with great effort co-operation, rather than friendship, is the order of the first few months / years and may evolve into friendship again.

However, if the decision is unilateral and unexpected, then the above is the more likely scenario.

He is (with)holding the truth of the situation to boost his appearances to those outside. Don't be afraid to tell RL friends and family that he has left you and DC and it came completely out of the blue as you will need those friends and family to support you.

vole3 Sun 07-Apr-13 06:12:32

'D' H
You have chosen to deceive me for a period of 5 years whilst you had your affairs with 2 women I thought were family 'friends' and work colleagues, even to the point they were 'aunties' to DS.

You made me sound like the unreasonable one for protesting when I felt unhappy and excluded by these friendships.

You allowed me to bear the financial burden for the family long after your work became secure, always saying you earned considerably less than you did, whilst buying your women and yourself fripperies with the money you 'borrowed for petrol'.

Encouraged a house move and extending the mortgage to make a fresh start, isolating me from supportive neighbours and friendships, knowing you weren't committed to me and our son and dropped the bombshell of 'I'm moving into the spare room as I need my space' a month after moving.

Neglected me and my emotional / physical needs as 'you needed your space' (NB he had suffered a head injury so this appeared a reasonable request at the time due to this, the actual reason you hid).

Have caused me great personal anguish, loss of self-esteem, financial hardship, mental stress of being a full time working single parent in the attempt to keep things together for the last 2 years for our DS who was only 4 when you walked out.

You want to be friends?

I don't treat my friends like that, and nobody who treats me that way is a 'friend'.

Unfortunately I will have to have dealings with you until either you, I or DS is no more, so get out on your motorbike as often as you can.

Viviennemary Fri 05-Apr-13 19:25:23

Some people do seem to manage the staying friends and some don't. I don't think I would be able to. It sounds to me if your DH is not absolutely sure about splitting up. You sound really unhappy and it's not surprising. Are you hoping you can become a couple again. I agree that a period of hating each other can often happen after a split and even last for years and years.

KateDillington Fri 05-Apr-13 12:24:30

My STBex husband and I are civil on the surface.

However, I think that the very nature of separating means that a process of utterly hating each other is probably very normal.

Perhaps sometime after that, you may return to some sort of civility/friendship.

I suspect it's a long process.

Milly22 Thu 04-Apr-13 22:28:29

Looks like your H wants his cake and eat it. He's quite happy to move back to his mum's and gets to play pretend at happy families. For the possibilities of being 'flatmates' would that mean sharing all parental duties, possibility of you going back to work and not doing your marital duties for him? Sorry, sounds like he hasn't grown up yet! I'm currently going through a divorce due to mutually losing interest in each other and arguing too often. We have 2 dc and since getting the solicitors involved and discussing arrangements we're agreeing to do the best for the children. I don't really know if we getting on because of the children or if we're better at being friends. Only time will tell.

justthewayiam Thu 04-Apr-13 18:52:55

Hello 2anddone. Lots of people can advise you. Ive no doubt you love your husband and you want him to stay as the alternative is frightening and bewildering. You will be fearing for your childrens hearts been broken and will put up with hell just to make it all ok again. You will be hoping as I was that your husband is going through a mid life crisis and decide that he will come to his senses if you give him enough space and time. I would have made a pact with the D just to keep him with me as I was and still very much are in love with my husband. Take a deep breath and tell him if he wants to go then go. That was my doctors advice to me when I asked him to help me as I felt I was losing my mind. My husband left me and my 11 year old son Jan 2010 to live with a woman hed met at work, he came back end of Feb and I bent over backwards to recover our marriage. But he made it quite clear he didnt want to be here and after I went through sheer hell he left again for good Oct of the same year. My son and I didnt want him to go. After living alone for about a month it was clear he was going back to her as I thought he would. They had a planned for a baby soon after and my heart breaks a little more every day. I have never restricted access as I have made everything as easy as possible for my son which was the right thing to do even though im dying inside. I prefer not to see him when he picks up and drops off our beautiful boy as its hard to realise hes not mine anymore. Ive never seen them together and never want to. Be brave, think of your children, think of you because hes probably not giving you a moments thought. Im sorry the truth hurts. Justthewayiam

angel1976 Thu 04-Apr-13 12:18:37

2anddone My H 'announced' that our marriage was pretty much over in end Feb. We limped on for another 2.5 weeks while getting marriage counselling (he said he would try) but I knew his heart wasn't in it form day one but he wanted to avoid being seem as the 'bastard'. I think he gave up that right when he chose to walk out of his family to be honest! He moved out last weekend (there is someone he has an eye on at work). hmm

Despite me being in tears still most days, I am still very civil to him in front of the kids (when he comes sees them as he is waiting for their beds to be delivered next week) and we have a camping next weekend (luckily, we are 'glamping' and we have agreed on sleeping separately). We have a quick chat about the children, I will make him a cup of tea while he sorts out the children for bath/bed. But I can put up with this as it's only temporary. Once he gets the kids' bedroom sorted, we will arrange for access and that's it.

I don't think we will be 'friends' as such and that makes me sad of course as he used to be my best friend and some days, I still want to tell him stuff first. But I will always be civil in front of the kids as much as I can, they have done no wrong in this and only little (5 and 3). One day they will ask deeper questions but not at the moment. Also, I am trying to sort out our financial stuff and I want (with the help of my parents) buy him out but for that, I need to him to be amendable to certain conditions so I don't want things to get nasty between us.

You might not feel it yet as I felt like you in the early days. I also felt sick the day he moved out but also glad he did as it drew a line under all the uncertainty and stress. Best of luck!

meditrina Thu 04-Apr-13 10:09:51

Lots are friendly in front of the children. Some manage holidays, but it's hard work.

If you were still friends, then there's probably enough there to stick at it as a couple. This however does not apply to you at the moment.

Because he's left and you need to deal with it. This isn't a friendship scenario (yet), it's a separation and possible divorce. Prepare for all eventualities.

mummytime Thu 04-Apr-13 10:02:36

I do know couples who have split and are now "friendly".

BUT they have been apart for a while. Long enough for all the initial hurts and emotions to be worked through. You need to give yourself that time, and it will probably be years.

Assuming your DH was not your first love, just think back to that one and how long it took you to recover. All the nights you cried or moaned over letters. Even if it didn't happen to you think about friends who had on-off-on-off relationships.

2anddone Thu 04-Apr-13 08:40:37

So nobody has managed to stay friendly when separating, maybe I am just in shock but the fact the majority on both this thread and the relationships thread automatically suggests everyone ltb or is following 'the script' makes me sad

Numberlock Thu 04-Apr-13 07:48:11

Go on the holiday without him, start looking for evidence of the other woman, get legal advice and stop him coming to your home. He's taking the piss.

mummytime Thu 04-Apr-13 07:45:35

Post on relationships.

Sorry but this sounds a lot like part of "the script".

Please get some legal advice now, and be prepared for things to turn nasty in the relatively near future. At present he is not giving you space to deal with your shock/feelings; he is making you complicite in lying to your children, who may well sense something is different; he could also be painting himself as Mr Nice Guy, so when you ask him to do something in convenient, he can then blame everything on you; he will probably be seeing legal advice, preparing to break from you properly.

There is also most probably another woman (man?) somewhere.

meditrina Thu 04-Apr-13 07:43:29

It will make you unhappy in the long run if you settle for a "flatmates" scenario after he has actually left you. Now, marriages go through flat patches and can be revived. But right ow you don't seem to know what's on his mind, nor what his intentions are.

You aren't going to get a functioning marriage back by begging and pleading, or even just by acting as if it was all still OK in the magic hope it will be. Also, you don't want to set a precedent that he can opt in or out at will.

I think it is in your interests to get on with the separation, look happy, be amiable to him but restrict your contact to admin and child-focussed matters. Sleep separately on holiday, and talk to him in terms of it being co-parenting, not family life. Look into the legal/admin/financial options for permanent separation. Prepare yourself for all possible outcomes.

And take the time to realise which you really want in the long term. It might be him. But when you start thinking about all the possibilities, you might reach a different preferred option.

2anddone Thu 04-Apr-13 07:29:08

Dh left me and dc last Wednesday as he says he doesn't love me anymore. He is staying at his mums and coming here everyday to put the children to bed and have tea. The dc aged 4 and 7 don't know what's going on as they are used to him being home for tea but not in the mornings so for them at the moment nothing has changed.
I am able to put on a happy act while they are around as this came totally out of the blue, came home one day while dc were at school and he had packed bag and gone.
We are due to go on holiday tomorrow the 4 of us and we are still going. He hasn't decided if he wants to stay at his mums or come home but he knows he doesn't love me. I want him to come home as we get on so well its like nothing changed especially as we were never a huggy couple anyway. Is it possible to stay in the same house and live almost as room mates to save the dc the heartbreak of splitting up? Has anybody done this or am I clutching at straws?

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