Separated and living under the same roof. What do we need to put in place?

(8 Posts)
Kitttty Mon 10-Feb-14 08:33:49

Our marriage is over. I need to hang back for a least the next few months as my son completes his GCSEs. How do we sort our living arrangements to make this work? What are the potential flash points to be aware of?

nestornot Mon 10-Feb-14 13:17:49

Hi Kitttty. I don't have any wisdom to offer but I am in a broadly similar situation.

If the thread doesn't attract replies from people who can offer practical advice and experience, I'd be really happy to think some of this stuff through with you on here.

Our marriage has been over - by mutual consent - for several years and we've been coparenting under same roof (with separate bedrooms) for a few years. It isn't sustainable though and I want us to separate physically, get a divorce and to work out how we can best take care of the dc in a different way. H wants us to continue to coparent under same roof, but I'm clear this isn't the right thing for our family, so we have some tough times ahead as we work out the practicalities.

Have you got separate finances? (We don't, yet. We had loads of intertwined debt until recently but we could do with separating out our finances now).
Are you seeing a counsellor/mediator to help you work out the practical implications? (We've just started).
Do you have space for separate bedrooms?

We do a time-separation thing at the moment because we don't have other houses to go to, with one weekend each 'off' a month, one weekend as sole on-duty parent and then 2 weekends when we're together as a family. This has been good for us because our dc are youngish (8 and 11) and still want to pile in for family movie on saturday nights, etc, and because our separation has been relatively amicable. But the time away is proving to be really important for me - a way of reclaiming the bits of me that aren't mother or wife and helping me to be more independent...

We were thinking about 'nesting' until the dc are older - when the dc stay in the family home and the parents go elsewhere when they're not 'on duty' - and we may still try that.

I hope you get some more useful replies, but in the mean time, I'm here!

JacksonCrowther Mon 10-Feb-14 15:36:47

Hi, I'm also struggling with separation and not wanting to rot up DS1's GCSEs. In a perfect world DH would move out, but he's dragging his feet even on seeing a mediator and I'm not sure I can stand having him in the house much longer. Bit lost as to what to do, tbh

Amicus1966 Mon 10-Feb-14 19:21:35

I am also in the same position.
It's really hard but the alternative of forcing the DCs out of their family home into a rented tiny house is even worse so you feel like you are in limbo.

Kitttty Mon 10-Feb-14 21:17:47

nest - you sound like you almost have it sorted for now....how do you see the "nesting" idea working out ? would you then need to be running 3 properties? - and would you split your time 50/50? - Why do you see your current arrangements as not sustainable?

My H does not want us to separate - so in some ways this might get him used to the idea - or it might be the worst way to move through this.

nestornot Mon 10-Feb-14 22:41:44

Kit, it's been working-ish - for a while but only because so many other things have been happening that it wasn't a priority to split up 'properly'. (bereavement, chronic ill health, financial nightmares, etc...). We're not in a crisis now, so we have some energy left to think about our living arrangements.

I see the nesting arrangement as a temporary thing, partly because it would be so bloody expensive. Even a little bedsit would cost upwards of £500 pcm in my city, but I guess I could see if I could rent a room from a friend. A bit depressing to be contemplating that in my 40s, but hey...

The bit of reading I've done suggests that nesting can work as a transition but not so much in the long term, particularly if one of us finds a new partner. But I can see the benefits for the children: they're not the ones who have to move and their domestic set up has a degree of stability - at least physically. But I also wonder if it's not just pulling the plaster off slowly, rather than making a clean, if painful, change. Living completely separately would mean moving into a rented tiny house (as Amicus says), but I wonder if the clarity is better for everyone. I don't know.

You asked why the current arrangement is not sustainable. I don't want to live with h any more. I like him better when we're not sharing the same space and I think our current mode of cool civility with the odd eruption of anger is not a good model for the children. He's also a recovering addict and I can see warning signs of a return to the old ways.

I've heard a really useful analogy for my situation - and maybe the other posters too. It's like we're in a holding pattern above an airport, expending loads of fuel to keep the plane in the air but not landing for various reasons: afraid, perhaps, of what the terrain will be like when we land. But we're not moving anywhere...

H wants us to divorce but doesn't want us live separately because he's the child of a horrible divorce and doesn't want to replicate his childhood experiences for our children. He wants to be woven into the fabric of their daily lives, which is brilliant in one way... but I feel so claustrophobic. It seems that our current arrangement serves his emotional needs rather than the needs of the children (or me). I've been with him my whole adult life and I just don't think we're good for each other. It's horrible to feel that I'm the one wanting to "break up the family" but we both would like new partners in the future and I can't see how that would happen while we're still basically functioning as a married couple (albeit in a completely platonic and mechanistic way).

Having said all this, I am prepared to consider giving nesting a go for a while, even though the clean break is infinitely more appealing. Link here if you're interested. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201307/birds-nest-co-parenting-arrangements

smile to all of you for reading all this. Sorry you're going through this but it's really good not to feel so alone with it!

WholeNewProblem Tue 11-Feb-14 10:45:54

Watching with interest as I had thought of the 'alternating with another place to live' solution when my marriage looked very fragile a while back, but hadn't realised that it had a name.

Amicus1966 Tue 11-Feb-14 22:19:48

Wow. Have just read the link on nesting and it just looks so sensible.
The DCs suffer minimal disruption and costs are kept low.
Am seriously considering this option now.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now