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Does this sound crazy or might it actually work?!

(26 Posts)
ULoveIt Mon 14-Mar-16 22:02:13

Hi all! Got a bit of a strange dilemma that I would love some advice on if ya don't mind?! ;-)

Okay, so exDP and I split up earlier last year but remain very good buds indeed. In fact, that's why we split up as we were just good buds with no more shagging (boooo)! grin We have 3 kids that live with me full-time. Ex is currently living with his folks, as financially we just couldn't afford 2 separate houses. But he's round here all the time, mostly 3 evenings in a week after work and he usually stays over all weekend too. His parents house isn't roomy enough (or safe enough - it's currently a building site!) to have the kids so he just comes here.

The kids love having him here and he loves seeing them even more. And he and I actually genuinely love hanging out chatting shite and watching TV/movies/etc once they're in bed - we rub along very well together, so family time is always a pleasure, never a chore.

Unfortunately for ex, his folks have decided to sell up both their properties (their current abode where ex is staying and also their rental property) and move to the countryside to retire (livin' the dream)! So by the end of the year exDP will be out on his arse! I expect his folks can't wait! grin

So, to get to the point (I've never been very good at that!), we have been throwing different ideas for living situations into the ring. He suggested just moving back in, to save money and because he wants to do more 50-50 parenting, which would be great in some ways but I'm not so sure it's ideal, as it may confuse the kids and I don't want he or I to have to do the whole "leaving and moving out" thing again one day as it might upset them...

I go (almost) full time at work in May (have been doing part time since maternity leave ended last year) and he has just landed a new job for a little bit more money. However, since only our eldest is at school so far, there will be roughly 4 months where our two youngest kids are both in childcare until middle DC starts reception in September. It's gonna be a tight summer! Luckily for us, exPIL have said that, as their tenants are leaving their rental property (also in May), that exDP can stay there for a couple of months rent free until it sells. Result!

With the extra money we will soon have coming in, here's my idea: the family home will be the "base" and the kids home, (so that they don't have to shuttle between 2 properties and can stay where they know and love) and once PIL's rental has sold, me and ex will then rent a double room in a house-share (or at a stretch, a very cheap studio flat), which we would both use, taking turns to go between there and the family home, and also having family time on weekends. So an average week would look something like this:

Monday: ex with kids/me @ flat
Tuesday: ex with kids/me @ flat
Wednesday: me with kids/ex @ flat
Thursday: me with kids/ex @ flat
Friday: both with kids @ family home
Saturday: both with kids @ family home
Sunday: both with kids @ family home

Pros: This would enable us to parent 50-50, yet both have a life outside of work during the week, whilst retaining the lovely family thing we got going on at the weekends. The kids keep their home and their space will be sacred, as we would never bring any conquests back to the family home - only the flat. exDP wants to be more involved in the school/nursery run stuff and the selfish part of me would like time to have a life and a break for once. It would also be easier to dial this arrangement down, little by little in the future if ever either of us were to meet someone else (although exDP is adamant that he'll NEVER marry anyone now, only wants casual flings and definitely NO MORE KIDS, lol! Whereas I'm more optimistic than he is that someone might actually marry me one day)! grin

Cons: It might get confusing and we'll have to be organised to keep on top of everything. We will need to sort out 2 sets of clothes/cutlery/etc for both places. The sheets might need changing @ the flat 3 times a week! blush grin And worst of all, out ability to save money will be severely impacted for several years (although promotion prospects eventually look good for both of us, particularly him and we will only have one kid left in childcare come the Autumn). So things will be pretty tight until youngest DC starts school in a few years anyway.

So mumsnetters, is this worth trying over the next few years whilst the kids are still small? I'm secretly quite excited about it (and so is exDP) but are we being foolish here? Should we both maintain completely separate homes, but struggle with money and the bulk of childcare would still be on me? Or should he just move in so we can save lots more money, but can't have any separate private lives easily? I'm sure my idea is the best compromise but If there's anything we haven't thought of, please by all means drop me a line. Cheers!

mum2mum99 Mon 14-Mar-16 22:15:43

Why did you separate?

stitch10yearson Mon 14-Mar-16 22:18:47

I sort of stopped reading after you said you were very good buds.

You have three children together. You are good buds.. you have civilised conversations with each other. . what part of this situation am I missing? Why are you separated from each other? What possible good can come out of not being together? you dont shag? so what? a life together doesnt revolve around sex. It revolves around friendship and love and respect and laughter and kids even.
Sorry. I just dont get it.

HoppingForward Mon 14-Mar-16 22:19:26

How old are you both and why did you seperate?

MyKingdomForBrie Mon 14-Mar-16 22:22:47

It actually sounds like not a bad plan to me OP. Sheets - have your own quilt/pillows each and change the bottom sheet each time?

gamerchick Mon 14-Mar-16 22:25:41

And if either of you meet someone?

haveacupoftea Mon 14-Mar-16 22:27:01

It sounds like you still love each other. He doesn't want to marry anyone else or have kids with them for a reason!

HeddaGarbled Mon 14-Mar-16 22:53:47

This will all be hunky dory until one of you meets someone else they are serious about and then it will go massively tits up. And don't assume that someone will be you. He is enjoying shagging around now but you can't predict when he will fall for someone new whatever he says now. And then you won't be "dialling down", one of you will be in the rental full time and there's no guarantee that won't be you.

ohforfoxsake Mon 14-Mar-16 22:58:26

Funnily enough, I was talking about this the other day it's called 'nesting' and is popular in Sweden I believe (not sure how I know this, remember someone saying something). It's not beyond the bounds of possibility.

Justaboy Mon 14-Mar-16 22:58:46

Yes around four lines in i too wondered why did you split?

It dosen't seem that bad things between you so why not get back together?.

HeddaGarbled Mon 14-Mar-16 23:03:07

I assume they aren't together because her ex is enjoying all his casual flings.

ULoveIt Tue 15-Mar-16 00:31:00

Howdy - sorry for the late response - youngest DC woke up (teething) so that was fun!

To answer your most common question: we split up, simply because we realised that we had sort of stopped fancying each other and were living as room-mates rather than lovers. We did try to get the spark back, but as some of you well know, it's very tricky with kids. As we are both only in our 30's, we knew we couldn't go the rest of our lives celibate or just feeling awkward in the bedroom with each other. We discussed opening the relationship but felt it had the potential to cause all of us harm. We didn't want to get to the point of resenting or even hating each other out of frustration so we had to be very brave and call time. Luckily, it's as mutual as you are likely to find. And of course we still love each other to bits! But it makes no sense to keep flogging a dead horse (or not flogging anything, so to speak)! blush

We've both been with other people since we split and I have actually had more luck than him, despite him having more free time! (It's always easier for women, I think)! grin Of course neither of us can predict whether or not we'll get feelings for someone else - that may well happen at some point! But we like and respect each other enough as the mother and father of other's children, that they will always come first, over and above any subsequent relationships. That's not to say we'd entirely deny ourselves a shot either, but the potential love-interest would have to be pretty understanding! Ex says himself, that there are not a lot of women/men out there that would be able to tolerate our friendship/our set-up/our kids/etc. That much is true. But either of us found a someone understanding and special enough to get involved with this craziness then they would be welcomed into the fold with open arms! grin Neither of us would be difficult in any way...the kids will always come first.

This proposed situation is not meant to be forever but just to ease our kids into our co-parenting situation. The younger two are very young really (in fact youngest DC is only a year and a half). Middle DC is fairly rigid and struggles hugely with change, so this set routine might well benefit them the most. Oldest DC is more go-with-the-flow. Both of us want to be equally there for our kids until they are old enough to not care about us as much! Once they're older and want to hang out with their friends more and not go everywhere with mum and dad, the weekend family time would start dying down a bit. SO the weekends would eventually peter off to just one weekend day of family time and then eventually one day of family time every fortnight and then in further along the line, once every month and so-on. At that point, we'd be better able to accommodate changes in relationship statuses/better finances and so-on. But I don't know - perhaps we're being naive?

ohforfoxsake - I didn't know it was popular in Sweden - will have to check out some stories online!

ExDP and I are 100% wanting to put our (very young) kids first, so we won't do anything we think is detrimental. Do you really think it's unwise? At the moment it looks like the best of our options...

Slowtrain2dawn Tue 15-Mar-16 10:08:29

It sounds like a good plan to me with the children's needs at the heart of it. It is common in Sweden I think where 50/50 residency is the norm as pp said. Why should the children have to keep moving from mum to dad? Good luck with it all, you sound as though you have really thought it through.

Thistly Tue 15-Mar-16 10:38:21

But we like and respect each other enough

This is what is in your favour. If you both genuinely trust each other to do what is in the best interests of the family, go for it. Well done for thinking out of the box!

ohforfoxsake Tue 15-Mar-16 10:43:45

There's a useful book by Christina McGhee called Parenting Apart. It mentions it as a possible set up. My XH latched onto it thinking it was te perfect solution: he had his bachelor pad, would spend time with the kids in the family home and I, er, should just disappear off somewhere. Don't think he quite grasped it and needless to say it didn't happen.

Sounds like a really good solution for your family though. As long as you aren't the only one who cleans or changes the bedding in the 'other' home! wink

ULoveIt Tue 15-Mar-16 11:56:05

Thanks everyone! I think we might give it whirl and see how it goes!!!

And will I Amazon that book ohforfoxsake, cheers! Would have been a lot easier if your XH had been willing to share his precious bachelor pad! hmm

And as for the sheets, luckily he's more pernickity than I am so I should b grand there! grin I like MyKingdom's idea of each having our own duvet/pillows and then just dealing with the bed-sheet each time - saves a lot more hassle! wink

Fugghetaboutit Tue 15-Mar-16 12:11:07

My sister did this with her ex for a while because her son has sen and it was too much for him to go to different houses. Worked well until she met someone else

Sandbrook Tue 15-Mar-16 12:39:04

Sounds like you've got everything covered and most importantly respect each other.
It's unusual but very effective in keeping the kids in a routine.
I wish you the very best with it

Cabrinha Tue 15-Mar-16 12:56:16

It could work, the most likely thing to upset the apple cart though is future (serious) partners.

Fast forward and you're seeing someone and have been for some time, and you want to live together.

He's unlikely to agree to moving out of his home (with you) to the flat whilst your ex moves in. You have an incentive - your kids. A future partner won't - and is v unlikely to accept leaving their home!

I would just be sure to discuss with your ex that this is a temporary arrangement, and discuss what could happen in the future.

TempusEedjit Tue 15-Mar-16 14:24:34

My DH and his ex did the nesting arrangement for the first year post-split. As pp said it gets tricky when serious partners arrive on the scene, not just because of the new partner potentially feeling uncomfortable about it, but as time goes on it doesn't feel "right" somehow to be sharing your living space with your ex and being surrounded by their things etc whilst building a future with someone else. Appreciate it might be the norm in Sweden but this isn't Sweden and people's expectations are different.

As a transition period it might be worth a shot. You'll need to set some strict ground rules between you though - little things like coming back to the house for your time with the kids and finding the washing up needs doing or the place isn't as tidy as you left it can turn things sour pretty quickly.

arsenaltilidie Tue 15-Mar-16 15:15:58

Why don't you just get it over and done with and separate. Truthfully speaking you are only delaying the inevitible.

Both of you are being very naive, once you meet other people, spending weekends together will naturally taper off.
Having his stuff around the house will feel intrusive.
Furthermore, it will confuse the children when you eventually decide to separate properly.

barnet Tue 15-Mar-16 15:54:09

It makes sense to me, particularly that the kids don't have to shuttle back and forth. I know someone who does this (norway), the kids are always at the centre of things when people split up here. I would suggest not swapping mid week though, but doing one week on, one week off. Easier to plan things, less tidying, less possibility of one party getting irritated by things left half done/messy at one of the houses. Also easier to plan school things/kids activities as you are thinking a whole week at a time.
Also if you could manage it, a 2 bedroom flat would work better. Or at the very least, two beds in the flat. Easier when you have company, a new girlfriend having to step over your girly stuff would be pretty hard...

Wuffleflump Tue 15-Mar-16 16:31:06

I live with my ex in a houseshare, with my new partner. We split up 7ish years ago after a LTR, never stopped living together (considered it, didn't happen, re-arranged room allocation within the house).

Ex and I will do activities just the two of us if partner isn't available or isn't interested in something we are. Ex has dated but no LTR. Partner is fine - we are now at the point of wanting to move out to our own space, but that's more because we've grown out of houseshare rather than trying to get rid of ex.

No kids, so not equivalent, but if you are good friends, there is no reason the principle of continuing to spend time together, or even live together, couldn't work, even with new partners in the picture.

It seems like you've already managed to handle something difficult through communication and being adults.

I don't see why either of the options you've mentioned will necessarily fail, and offer the possibility of more stability for kids, more independence for both of you, and housing of ex. Even if it's not forever, it offer benefits now. Try it!

MatildaTheCat Tue 15-Mar-16 17:59:18

Is there space to build a studio room/ home office type thing in your garden? The studio apartment sounds pretty grim and a house share even worse. It may be ok for a short while but I would bet that after a few weeks there will be niggles then fall outs.

I'm sure you've discussed your marriage and sorry, I know you didn't ask for advice on it but you have three very young DC and get on well other than a dwindling sex life of late? There would be very few marriages intact at all if everyone gave up at this point. Very few people claim to get on as well as you do...have you truly explored all the options here? It seems such a shame.

This solution seems messy and inconclusive to me.

CiaoVerona Tue 15-Mar-16 19:56:39

I'm gonna say no if you stay together easy as it sounds you'll delay either of you moving onto new relationships you'll also stay stuck in a pattern you'll find harder to get out of as you get older.

He'll never find his own place,if at some point you did meet someone you'd both have to work around him living at home.

You can co-parent,sadly you'll have to find a way to do this with two homes.

The only time Id suggest you stay together is if you intended on getting your marriage back on track usually when your at the point of no sex its very difficult too get it back.

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