"separated" under the same roof? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 03-07-2011, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi--I'm a long-time mdc mama but this is my first visit to this section. I find myself about to become a single mama after many years of marriage.


Since I have been a sahm for many years, I now need to go back to school before I can hope to earn any livable wage. I'm looking forward to that part, actually and always planned to go back to a career when the kids were grown.


Here is the dilema: In the meantime, (until I am employable) we cannot afford two separate households, so we consider ourselves living separately under the same roof.


I want to move forward with a legal separation sooner rather than later. We are certainly to be divorced and I'd like the legal designation rather than living in the sort of limbo I feel we've been in for the past 6 months or so.


We own a home, and aside from my present lack of income, selling right now would create a loss and we'd like to avoid doing that if possible. So, we're considering sharing the house even after divorce. Another huge consideration is my son--having access to both parents and not having to move from his home would be a really good thing, of course.


I'd like to hear from anyone who's been separated/divorced yet continued as...roommates.


I'm hoping this will be better for the kids, but I can see a point in the future (like when stbx and I start dating others) where problems may arise. And of course, we'd need to spell out the 'rules' for if/when one of us wanted to sell or move out.


If you've done this, what issues do I need to consider? Why might this be a great idea? Why might it be a horrible idea?


I'd love to hear any btdt advice. Thanks so much!

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#2 of 11 Old 03-07-2011, 10:47 AM
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Similar situation here, for years now.


Good things: I have been able to earn a fair amount of credit hours while still having a lot of time for my kids. It's been a middle-of-the-road approach.


Bad things: It's not good enough for really ending the relationship. This is different for everyone. I had separated from my partner, and had him move back in b/c of bad money issues. It has not been evil, but it is stunting my growth on this earth. I get fatter all the time, am often depressed and still engage too often in power struggles about our respective egos.


It could have worked better if we'd done it a lot sooner, rather than after we'd destroyed each other psychologically several times over. Now we're slowly turning into a crappy old not-really-married couple, so I'm going to go ahead and move out even though things are overall pretty OK.


There's a concept at work in these situation that is upsetting... A succinct phrase implies the idea of not being able to access other relationships because something is in the way. It starts with a synonym for 'rooster' and ends with a word that is either an impediment, or a common child's toy. Whoever PMs me first with the answer wins an imaginary coupon for an imaginary housecleaning.

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#3 of 11 Old 03-07-2011, 01:50 PM
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Hi, I'm doing this too (sort of). In our situation, we have a half-finished house on the property, so he's going to go live in that while I continue to live in the other house. We're going to split the kids 50/50, so when he's home from the North Slope they'll live with him and then they'll live with me otherwise. We wrote a contract (still have to get it notarized) detailing what both parties will be responsible for and what happens if one wants to move out of state/sell the house/etc.


My thoughts: any way you could turn the house into a sort of duplex? That way you both get your own space. What if one person wants to start dating again? How are you going to work that out? What if he signed the house over to you and you paid him back for it? Or vice versa?


Just things I thought about in my situation... Good luck :)

Mom to two fabulous boys! Ds1 (9 yrs) & ds2 (7 yrs)
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#4 of 11 Old 03-07-2011, 02:42 PM
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its not always better for the kidlets.  I have a friend who had to do this for a month or two until other arrangements were made. It caused a boatload of stress because they argued as much as ever and the stress was, well, you could cut it with a knife.  Eventually, friend's wife moved out.  It could  be with time, it would have eased but they changed it instead because it was not viable.


Another online friend still lives in the same house as her ex hubby and it is not the greatest but its okay and they have been doing it for several years. It really all depends on so many factors.


My best advice is to clearly and in writing specify how its going to work from dating to what the kids are told to who is responsible for housecleaning and kid care...


best of luck in a tough situation.

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#5 of 11 Old 03-08-2011, 02:03 PM
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I am newly in a very similar situation, so I don't really have any insight. But because I am just going through this, I have so much to say about it, forgive me if I ramble...


We have five kids together. We just moved to a house that had been two units in the past, but was converted back to one house since then. So basically, there's a kitchen attached to a bedroom upstairs, next to a full bath. Right now my two older boys are in that room (not using the kitchen).


We are trying to figure out what the best arrangements would be. We are splitting time with the kids - this month due to my work schedule we are just doing what works. Starting April, I will have them (alternating weeks) Saturday to Tuesday/Sunday to Tuesday. The days I don't have them, I am scheduled to take call 2 days for another midwife and stay at a friends cottage on her property close to the clients.


I want him to leave while I have the kids, for lots of reasons. But he doesn't have an option to go anywhere. Especially because there is an apartment upstairs.


Ultimately, we both know he will wind up with the house - whenever that is. (And at some point I will also have my own house. Which makes me nervous, because they will be older and I'm concerned that they will choose their life over "going to my moms" for the weekend. I am concerned their perspective will be that I left them.) Right now, I feel like a guest visiting my kids, I don't feel settled or at home. If the apartment was mine, I'd have my own space to settle into, but then where would he go when I am there with the kids?


It bothers me that he doesn't leave. It doesn't feel balanced, like we both have 50/50. I feel like the kids will see it as me leaving half the time, and him getting to be there all the time. I feel like I won't have them for all my time, because he's still "around". I feel like there is a simple answer, that I am just overlooking or not seeing because I am still *feeling* so much, and its hard to make actual decisions.


Anyway, probably no help to you...but I do hope you can find something that works.



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#6 of 11 Old 03-08-2011, 02:39 PM
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My state requires a year of physical separation prior to divorce, and the couple cannot live in the same house. Just something to consider.


I would not want to live w/ my ex under any circumstances.

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#7 of 11 Old 03-10-2011, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your responses.


I'm starting to see this as a temporary arrangement already (a year  maybe?) Unless of course, I win the lottery or something eyesroll.gif


So many things to figure out--one step at a time, I guess.


Peace to you all.



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#8 of 11 Old 03-10-2011, 04:46 PM
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We are in a very similar situation.  I think whether it works and for how long depends on the details and personalities involved.


In our case, our financial situation just took a huge nosedive (not related to the divorce) and we couldn't imagine affording two residences before on our incomes, so now it's pretty well clinched that we're going to make this work.


I'm thinking of him as a roommate, as the guy downstairs who uses the kitchen and helps with the kids, though I've always been the primary parent.  So far that is feeling surprisingly comfortable to me.


We have a split-level; the downstairs could be turned into an apartment and we just took some steps to tie up the worst loose ends on a few undone home improvement projects down there.  We now have two working bathrooms so we can maintain privacy.  The "kitchen" is actually our laundry room, but can be turned into a kitchen when the time comes.  My thought is that if we are eventually dating other people, we will need our own completely contained living spaces - bathroom and kitchen included.  The trick will be separating the laundry, but we can cross that bridge then; it can certainly be done if we have the $$.


Also he hasn't moved his bed downstairs yet, but will very soon, as agreed (for now he's in the kids' room).  I moved into my own room (after cosleeping for 12+ years!) so we have our own sleeping/private areas where the kids can come but we leave each other alone.  That seems to be working well.  I think having private/quiet space away from each other is probably key to making this work.


We already had a reasonably good routine for splitting the housework and "nights out" without the kids, and that will continue.  We weren't arguing about those things.  I think couples who fight a lot won't manage under the same roof.  It really all depends on your personalities, relationship, situation, etc.


My feeling is that, in our case at least, all options kind of rot, so let's start with the one that feels least traumatic for all.  We both want to be with the kids 100%, we want to continue homeschooling, and other than hurt feelings over the divorce request, we are pretty amicable. 


Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you want to talk privately.  I don't know anyone else who has tried this.

- homeschooling mom to three teens and a preteen
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#9 of 11 Old 03-11-2011, 11:22 AM
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I'm considering this also as it would allow me to save up enough money to pay STBX his half of the equity.  The difficulty for me becomes the fact that I pay the mortgage and the majority of expenses, so I don't like that he would continue to be entitled to half of that equity, (he does pay some towards household expenses).  Yet, he's not agreeable to paying just "rent" here.  So I'm not sure how you would work out the equity/mortgage side of things if you are in that situation.


I also just want to be away from him - part of why I want the separation is b/c I can't stand being around him, so having him live with me almost defeats the purpose in many ways.


I will be watching this thread though!

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#10 of 11 Old 03-19-2011, 08:40 PM
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Xp and i have been living this way, as roommates, for many months. He is moving out in about 2 months though. When this arrangement seems to be working (ie. we're not fighting) we've entertained continuing on like this until dd is older, but we have acknowledged that we can't really move on emotionally while we're doing this, and we'll run the risk of turning a fairly amicable situation into an animus one.


Some of the ways that it works/is good:


While a lot of the same issues come up (we are, after all, the same people), i definitley have an easier time letting things go b/c there's an end in sight-- everything isn't compounded by me trying to figure out ways to cope for a lifetime with him as my partner. Instead i can focus on trying to appreciate things i like about him as a friend and father, and look forward to the opportunity to meet someone with whom I'm truly compatible. 


Dd still gets to see mama and daddy every morning, even if daddy sleeps in a separate room.(Having separate rooms has been crucial in making this arrangement work — I started to feel much better once we created that space). The hardest thing for me to accept about the failure of this relationship is that we will have to split dd. I will have a home, and he will have a home, but she won't have a stable home... she'll be shuffling back and forth. It's not fair to her. If you're living together as platonic housemates, that won't be your kids reality.


We're still splitting everything 50/50 — bills, groceries, rent, etc.


Some of the ways that it doesn't work:


Even though we've clearly established we're not together, this is a big fat gray area. When we're getting along, I sometimes find myself thinking "he's not so bad, maybe this could work." Of course, then he'll do or say something where I'm like "Oof, yeah.... not so much." But then I still have to share space with him. It's like you can let things go more because you're not attached to them in the same way, but they are still the same person with the same annoying/hurtful/infuriating behaviors, and you have to share space with them.  


It has been so long since I've been intimate with someone that I'm starting to go a little crazy. But there's zero chance of me meeting/dating/talking to with anyone while I'm living with XP. He even randomly met my chiropractor the other day — who happens to be an attractive but very attached male — and referred to me as his "girlfriend," because he "couldn't think of a better word." Serious jealousy issues.


He has started acting sort of... competitive. Like if she starts to cry, she may be crying for me but he won't hand her over. Or he'll get mad that I let her crawl into bed with me. I've always done 98% of the parenting, day and night. But now, it's like he still makes me to do all the work, but acts like I'm doing it to edge him out. I'm sure this will get worse once he moves out, b/c dd will continue to live with me b/c she's so young still, but when he's not living here, he'll have to make a specific effort to spend time with his daughter, and that'll be a good thing. and i may have to do more b/c he's not here, but at least i won't be working around him. which is also a good thing. 


I don't know, I guess that's all I got. I think whether this will work for you will depend on your unique dynamic with your stbx, why you guys are splitting, the age of your kids, all of it. I read somewhere that if you can live together and not fight, you should, for the kids. But if you can't get along, it's better for the kids if you live separatley. Me and xp hardly fight these days... but we're still not happy, not fulfilled, not the people we could be if we weren't living together. And I don't think that's good for dd either. 


Hope this helped some. Good luck! 



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#11 of 11 Old 03-20-2011, 09:20 AM
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I was homeschooling my kids when I separated from ex, and I had no way to provide for them without going to school first. We also own a house together. I found an apartment in a subsidized housing community, got on food stamps and medicaid, and lived on child support. He lives in the house. Our apartment is not huge, but it's clean and safe, and everything works. And it's my space. I got to move on, and I don't think I could have done that if I had to still live with my ex. When I decided to leave him, it was because my happiness and wholeness as a person is a priority- and has to be, for my kids to be healthy. If I felt like it was possible to achieve that with ex, I would have stayed with him.  So for me, leaving had to trump keeping up the lifestyle we were used to. I think you have to ask yourself what changes you are trying to make in your life by divorcing, and whether those changes can be made while you live with your ex.

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