Separated but living together to co-parent while i get on my feet? A healthy way to go about this...? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 04-15-2010, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After 3 years with my sons father i decided to finally call it quits...but right as i was getting ready to do so he found out he had to be relocated to keep his job, after already being away on jobs for 8 months. With only 30 days notice.

So instead of finding a well thought out way to separate i was thrown into deciding whether to move in with my parents or make the move with him so he could be with our son until we figure things out. Neither of which were ideal for me. I had the luxury of being able to stay home with my child for the past 2 years and it is something that is so important to me, i decided to make the move so i could continue to do so. While it was not a mutual choice to break up (we were never married) it is not what the father wanted but he is taking well. He sleeps separately on an air mattress in the living room (one bedroom apt) and my feelings towards him have been more of a friend/brother/roomate for a very long time now.

He agreed to go to therapy to figure out how we can co-parent and live together in a healthy way for our son while i go to school so it will be possible for me to support myself. For a lot of people this living situation may spell disaster but really....it's basically been this way since 2 years ago right after Van was born, this time it's just a concrete 'we're not in a relationship' that has been addressed.

I guess i am just looking for some hope that this has been done and that two people can remain friends and amicably come to deal with issues like custody, etc while still living together. I am trying to keep everyones best interest in mind. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as well as any resources to check out.

Thanks so much!
Christina
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#2 of 17 Old 04-15-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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We tried, but ultimately it was a disaster.

Our circumstances were very different from yours, however. We chose to try to live together more because of timing (it was just a few weeks away from ds's birthday and Christmas), and of course, finances. He left me for a girlfriend from 25 years ago that he'd been having an affair with, which I didn't know about until d-day. Like a said, very different story.

Still, we were always friends. And for the time he and the ex-gf weren't together (they took a hiatus while she decided what to do about her marriage) it worked well with him and I living together yet apart in the same house. It was remarkably tension free and there was very much an environment of mutual cooperation and care.

That however went down the tubes once she announced to him that she'd indeed left her husband. My ex and she immediately plunged in to a relationship, *while he was still living with me*. This did not at all sit well with me and even though I made it clear to him, he refused to not see her. He tried to be discreet but that was a joke. I felt trapped because I didn't want to tell the kids before Christmas and birthdays, and it was utter HELL.

Finally I couldn't take it any more and told him to leave.

All that to say that if the lines of communication between you are very very clear and there is a certain level of trust and respect, I suppose it *could* be possible. I would caution though about the message it sends to your child- the situation could be confusing to her- jmho.

Happy single mama of Girlchild (10) and Boychild (9).
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#3 of 17 Old 04-15-2010, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so sorry to hear that you had to be put through all of that. Unforetunately stories like yours seem common when i hear of other splits...mostly in result of male stupidity/bad taste. My heart certainly does ache for all those single mamas who were thrust into it rather than being able to choose, all of my single mama friends are this case.

In efforts to avoid disaster, we have both agreed to not enter any relationships while we are still living together. I don't think will be very hard for us because the very last thing i would like to do is get involved with someone, i prefer being alone. Which is one of the reasons i am separating. As for him, not only does he never really have the chance to meet other women at the moment but i have a feeling that it will take him awhile to swallow our situation and i believe the last thing he would do as well is enter into another relationship.

Addressing how we explain our status to other and the fact he wants to keep it from his family for awhile is my current problem.
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#4 of 17 Old 04-16-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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I've known a few people that lived together long-term while sorting out the logistics...one couple until she could finish school, another until they could afford separate apartments. My own situation, we lived together for 6 months after my decision. I don't know about those other couples...but I know for us, it was possible because neither of us were dating or had any desire to date. We made clear boundaries (I moved to the basement pull-out couch). And we continued things as normal on the surface. Meals together and I helped STBX to increase his every day child-care duties so that we all got more comfortable with him doing those things. It helped I think.

BUT---it was frustrating. If I didn't have a move-out date it would have been harder to keep the peace. As it was, we never did fight. In 9 years together, we never really fought. We disagreed, but we were both pretty careful about being civil and we both worked hard to maintain that through the most stressful months after the decision. The pay-off is a comfortable flexibility now.

Long term, moving with a STBX when he transfered...I'd have a much harder time doing that. It could be done, but it would be difficult. You're early on in your decision, and I know that for me, I felt guilty and wanted to make things as easy as possible. It's too bad you don't have more time to put between you and your decision before having to decide. Could you move into your own place in that town? You'd have to get at least part time work most likely. But could you do that? Just get a little studio or efficiency apartment near him so that you both have your own space?

Explaining to others: discretely tell people that you're separated officially and just figuring things out right now. Word spreads and people will understand.

Explaining to family: I guess telling his family is his own thing, but you'll need to tell them something eventually. Maybe he'll feel more like confiding in people in a few weeks.

It took me several months to really come out in the open about our situation. We told our parents, but not siblings initially. Then gradually, one person at a time until it was out in the open. I was surprised that even when I thought we were public, we'd still run into relatives and friends that hadn't heard. It wasn't easy to tell people in the first several months. Each person was reliving the decision a little bit. And that was me--the person who made the decision!! I can imagine that the other person it must hurt even more. Give him a few weeks. He'll probably be more comfortable talking about it soon.

Good luck! Hope everything works out for the best!!
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#5 of 17 Old 04-16-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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so, you've chosen to end the relationship. he is disappointed about that, but has agreed to continue supporting you financially, including giving up his bedroom to you while he sleeps on an air mattress in the living room? so you can be a sahm and go to school . . . this is going to go on for how long? what about him being free to move on? what happens when either one of you wants to start dating someone else, while living together?

i'm not saying it's bad or anything, if it's working for you guys and your little one, that's great. but it may be working for you a lot better than it's working for him. don't be surprised if he wakes up one morning and realizes, "hey, i'm really getting the short end of the stick here," and tells you to move out.
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#6 of 17 Old 04-16-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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so, you've chosen to end the relationship. he is disappointed about that, but has agreed to continue supporting you financially, including giving up his bedroom to you while he sleeps on an air mattress in the living room? so you can be a sahm and go to school . . . this is going to go on for how long? what about him being free to move on? what happens when either one of you wants to start dating someone else, while living together?

i'm not saying it's bad or anything, if it's working for you guys and your little one, that's great. but it may be working for you a lot better than it's working for him. don't be surprised if he wakes up one morning and realizes, "hey, i'm really getting the short end of the stick here," and tells you to move out.

This is what I was thinking, but afraid to say it. Thank you DoubleDutch.
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#7 of 17 Old 04-16-2010, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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RollerCoasterMama - thanks for all the advice!

To address your reply Double Dutch, i actually look back on my original post and i must have been in a good place yesterday and wanting to keep it short and sweet...it's not really a piece of cake living with STBX(?) (can someone please educate me on the single mama acronyms). Opposite of RollerCoasterMama...we tend to argue quite a bit- one of the reasons for the split and why i'd prefer to move out for a healthier environment for our child.

He has actually slept on the couch since our son was born. Reasons being that he was afraid to co-sleep since he sleeps very heavily, he is a larger guy and takes up a lot of room and my son also rolls all over the place, he is a very loud snorer, he didn't ever want to wake up to our son crying and really he just wanted to be able to fall asleep to the tv every nite. Sleeping separately is nothing new to us and i like it better that way. Now the problem with him on the air mattress in the living room is due mostly to him coming here and picking out a one bedroom apartment when i had asked him to find a place with two bedrooms for us. (This is an example of the problems we have with him making decisions that do not involve both of us). I offered to sleep on the couch but since i still co-sleep he said he'd take the living room.

Your concerns are those i have thought about. He knew this split was a long time coming but since it is officially fresh and he seems to be dealing with it well but i do worry about him resenting me at some point and becoming angry. Right now i think he wants to offer me going to school and staying at home for as long as he can because i think he believes the longer i stay the more willing i would be to reconcile. Which is not going to happen.

While he is a great provider and works hard for his pay check, he does absolutely nothing else. The wedge has slowly been driven since shortly after my son was born (and i thought thrown into it he would 'man-up' for lack of better terminology) and he kept his man-child attitude which i somewhat attribute to meeting him freshly out of mommy's house at the age of 23. I being extremely independent and him being extremely co-dependent was a problem from the start that i hoped time would help but it never did and being a new mother with no help, besides financially, was a tough road emotionally for me. He would come home from work and sit and watch tv until he passed out. Never assisting or spending time with our son. I asked to go to therapy ages ago but he refused. It wasn't until recently (jan) when he started taking Lexapro did this improve coupled with the fact that i told him how miserable i was....that he offered to go but it's too late for me. I had hoped from the beginning i could make it work but this situation has worn me - once a very positive person- into an angry,depressed, resentful one.

Up until 2 weeks ago he had been working away for 8 months and we would see him once a month. While it was a physical separation due to work it came at a time when it was good for both of us and made me realize i couldn't continue on in the relationship. We didn't quite have time to discuss the logistics of me going to school and how long we would live together because he was still working long hours away, trying to find a place for us, i had to pack up our house alone and downsize everything. So it ended up being "okay, fine i'll go and we'll figure it out later" because i felt guilty but now i see that it was a big mistake.

As for moving on, i'm very happy to be alone. For him, he's in no way ready but i'd actually welcome it for him because it would make it easier for me. I don't really know how to say it without coming off as cold hearted. The only reason him moving on would bother me was that it would involve figures being around my son that i am not familiar with...i don't think i am ready for that. We both agreed not to see anyone as long as we are living together.

But the more i think about it and now that i am down here, i feel like we are both getting the short end of the stick. I am losing my sanity. He is starting to hold money and our new car (that i can't drive yet because he bought a stick shift)over my head....including ocassionally that if i leave he'll sue me for custody and i fear when he does tell his (crazy) mother of the split this will turn real ugly. I cry nearly everyday because while it seems like i have a good deal with him supporting me and sending me to school...the trade off is that i have to continue living here and being miserable. I know other single moms who have had it tougher and had no choice but to work full time because the dude skipped out and i should be so thankful that i have shelter and a roof over my head while being able to raise my child how i wish.

I think i am trying so hard not to be the bad guy that i have put all my emotions/mental happiness aside for the past 2 years that now i'm starting to crumble. I didn't want to have to consider moving back in with my parents because my father is laid off and no one else in the house works (mom,brother, sister) and i do not want to be another burden but i just don't know anymore. It's so hard to think about what is the right decision.

Gosh, i'm sorry for all this blabber. I lost all my friends a long time ago because i was the first to have a child and i don't really have much of an outlet for all of this. I believe i am starting to get severely depressed but don't want to tell him because then he'll turn it around and tell me that i'm unfit as a mother. (In the past he has stated how since i'm uneducated - no college- that i could never get a job to support our son therefore he would get custody. Which is know is BS, but he acts like i've never worked a day in my life which before i had my son i was a workaholic since the age of 15. I'm 26 now)
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#8 of 17 Old 04-16-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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it really doesn't sound like a good situation. your emotional wellbeing is important - why not get out? if you apply for school, you will get grants and you would be offered student loans as well. you would also qualify for all kinds of other assistance, and you could file for child support. you won't lose custody to someone who has done squat to be involved in his child's life (if he even bothers to seek custody, which he probably won't - it's probably just a threat to try to keep you living with him). you can make it financially, without him, as a student mama.

being in school will also give you a great way to make friends and build that support network. you might also meet other moms through playgroups or parenting groups like attachment parenting international (which does have a group in st louis). i know you said you are independent, but we mothers need each other - it's good for us to have a circle so that we can take turns being supportive and being supported. i think you would be much happier on your own.
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#9 of 17 Old 04-16-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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Gosh, i'm sorry for all this blabber. I lost all my friends a long time ago because i was the first to have a child and i don't really have much of an outlet for all of this. I believe i am starting to get severely depressed but don't want to tell him because then he'll turn it around and tell me that i'm unfit as a mother. (In the past he has stated how since i'm uneducated - no college- that i could never get a job to support our son therefore he would get custody. Which is know is BS, but he acts like i've never worked a day in my life which before i had my son i was a workaholic since the age of 15. I'm 26 now)
The bolded, along with the fact that he moved all of you away from your family (It doesnt matter if it was for work) AND you worry about his mother getting involved if you choose to leave and hes holding things like money over your head, leads me to beleive hes being emotionally abusive to you. I might not know what Im talkin about at all, but thats my gut reaction from reading your latest post.

mama, to you and your baby.
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#10 of 17 Old 04-16-2010, 10:04 PM
 
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"Right now i think he wants to offer me going to school and staying at home for as long as he can because i think he believes the longer i stay the more willing i would be to reconcile. Which is not going to happen."

If you really think this is how he feels, then it's not honorable for you to stay and accept 100% financial support from him. Leave, get a job, and get yourself settled in the place that you want to be.

As you are not married, it's worth considering - if you leave and don't ask for support, is he just going to disappear from your life and leave you with full custody of your son? If you can get any kind of help at all from your parents to bridge the gap between leaving and starting to earn money, it might be worth trying it to see what will happen. If he pursues visitation, you can always file for support. If he is content to fade away, well, there might come a time when you are very glad of that.

College is a great goal. A happy, financially independent home for you and your son needs to come first.
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#11 of 17 Old 04-17-2010, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the support ladies.

As of now we have talked and i will stay here until the end of summer to save money then move in with my parents back home to go to school full time.

I'm sure i'll be on these boards more often now.
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#12 of 17 Old 05-17-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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he sounds like my ex. i feel you. we lived together for a while too, but i'm glad i moved out. we have a much better coparenting/friendship now because of it. that's not to say you can't make it work - i've thought about it many times. i'd want like...a 3 br house though, for that. haha.

(sort of) single mama to one hearts.gif7/21/07. student, breastfeeding advocate, writer 

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#13 of 17 Old 05-17-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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my stbx has mentioned this. he left me for a co-worker. i'm a sahm and his income can't support our current home (that's on the market now) and a love shack for him and her,
i told him i won't allow her over and since she also left a mate, she doesn't have a place either - though rumor has it she's trying to move in with another guy she's seeing.

dd1 has already mentioned life is nicer with him gone. and honestly it is less stressful now that we know the reason why he was so grumpy. he had blamed it on his workload

i agree with others, if there's no 3rd party. co-living could work, but having children makes it more complicated


i'm also had to deal with this and a move. stbx started the affair while he was transfered to a new position and i was left with a newborn selling our old home (we were apart 1 month). i would have prefered he left me when the affair started and i was still living in our old town so that i would have a support system, instead of being in a new town, with a new baby and a cheating man

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#14 of 17 Old 05-18-2010, 04:26 PM
 
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This was my circumstance as well. It was right before Christmas and we decided to sell the house and I could take the equity (of course, before the market imploded) to purchase a smaller home for me and the 3 children. The ONLY stipulation I had was that his new GF did not invade my home or my childrens lives. No calls to the house, no visits, etc. It last about 4 weeks and even though it was right before Xmas I felt like he had backed me into a corner. I didn't ask for much and even that he couldn't respect. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. It has only gotten worse over the years, depending of course on who is letting whisper into his ear.

Good luck, but I think the quicker the break is made the better.
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#15 of 17 Old 05-20-2010, 10:24 AM
 
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Indiefolklore,

I sympathize with the position you are in. My H and I have actually discussed doing a similar thing - he feels he could make enough money to support two households - allowing me to stay home - if we moved back to where he is from. (This is not something we are talking about now - but it has come up in the past.)

I hesitated to do so. I felt like if we moved away together - I would never be able to move back to where my family is or to an area I would like to live in. I am not sure if that would be the case, but I know moving young children away from a parent can be difficult legally. Actually, now, I am so desperate to have some "peace" away from living with him, I would probably seriously consider doing this.

Anyway, it sounds as if you have things planned out as well as you can under the circumstances.

I can mention a couple of books that might be helpful: Joshua Coleman's Impterfect Harmony. The majority of this book focuses on staying together for the sake of the children - and holding onto your relationship. But, he maintains, that even if you can't work things out, it might be better to stay under the same roof. In the latter portion of the book, he discusses different types of in-house separations. You might find it interesting.

The other is Should I Stay or Go (Lee Raffel). It is about something termed controlled separation. The reviews on this book are quite mixed, but I did pick up a cheap copy. I haven't read yet - but did notice that there seems to be some information on separating while still being under same roof.

I think people can make this work IF they both exercise the right maturity and respect parameters - VERY difficult unless both are in same agreement of separating.

As an aside - I did stay under the same roof for 5 months with a partner who emotionally abondoned the relationship (former marriage). I was desperate to hold onto him and our marriage. I put myself in a very demeaning and emotionally harmful situation. I know this is not your situation - or even my current one - but it might be worth mentioning.

Finally, I thank those of you who responded candidly to this post. I need to re-look at what I am expecting of my H - while I may be fine with an in-house separation, I need to be respectful that it may not work for him. Your replies are helping me to take a look in the mirror - thanks!
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#16 of 17 Old 05-20-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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We did this for a few months while STBX was trying to figure out where he wanted to move, find and apartment, etc. Since it was short-lived, it was actually ok, though we really tried to use it to practice being separate. We slept in separate rooms, we started practicing taking turns with DD rather than doing things all together (e.g I'd take her on Sat and he'd take her on Sun). In some ways, that was helpful, so that when he actually moved out it wasn't so sudden. But it could never have been long term - it would have been impossible for me (or him) to start to see ourselves independently while still living in the same house, sharing everything, and basically still being a family in many regards.

All of this sucks, and it's hard, but you will get through it. I think if you can keep this arrangement short term and keep making moves to be in a position to be in different places in the very near future, it will be ok. But definitely not a healthy solution for any of you long term. Hang in there, mama.
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#17 of 17 Old 05-21-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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i'm not saying it's bad or anything, if it's working for you guys and your little one, that's great. but it may be working for you a lot better than it's working for him. don't be surprised if he wakes up one morning and realizes, "hey, i'm really getting the short end of the stick here," and tells you to move out.
I am not disputing this may be the case - I have certainly reflected on this as it might apply to my own situation one day.

But, as Indie has pointed out, it is not "bliss" for her.

And I did want to mention - he IS getting something: he is under the same roof with his child - gets to be an integral part of his life. He has the comfort of knowing that the child's mother is caring for him most of the time. For some men, these things are really important. I've even known of stories in which the father financially supports family to extent mom can stay home - even though they are in separate homes. So, these things may not be important to him. But if they are, it might be "fair" trade-off for the immediate present. Just thought it worth mentioning.
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