When people decide to separate, one person doesn’t just move out the next day. That would be ideal, wouldn’t it? Because most people who decide to separate feel like they need space and desperately need to be away from their spouse (hence the term, separation.) But the reality is, because of all the uncertainty, as well as financial issues, there is a period of time when a couple is living in the same house while separated, and it is beyond difficult.
Fortunately for some, it’s only a few weeks before one person gets their own place. For others, it can take months or years before they begin living apart. I have a friend who lived in the same house with her ex while separated for 4 years!! I can’t even imagine.
Usually during this time, one of the people is sleeping in a different room, there are no conversations between the couple, things seem almost creepy, like you are living with a stranger, and everyone is walking on eggshells. It’s a very stressful, uncomfortable environment. And think of what a toll that probably takes on the kids!
Here is a comment I received from a guy seeking advice, who is living in the same house while separated from his wife:
Things have been tense at the house to say the least. My (soon to be ex) and I will either not talk at all or when we do it doesn’t go well. Now we are trying to hammer out a parenting plan to determine how to split up our daughter’s time so one of us can move out.
Last night we had the first therapy session together since she served me. We were supposed to focus on our daughter and it turned into a fight of who can hurt who more. She sat there with a smile on her face and laughing at me as she got a rise out of me. I couldn’t take it. I declared her the victor as I walked out of the room. The therapist basically came out with, “are you two surprised about where you are?” We both agreed we are not. But it was just too much to take in.
One thing I tried to bring up is how I feel she doesn’t spend that much quality time with our daughter. She disappears on the weekends. Weekdays she drives her back and forth to school, but she gives our daughter her iPad and then she talks on the phone for the trip to and from school. How is that quality??
Then she says she puts her to bed every night. No… she doesn’t. A good portion of the time, (note I won’t say all the time) I put her to bed because she says she’s just too tired to do it. There is way too much
tension, emotion, hurt, pain…
I told her this last week that I wanted to move out because I am tired of the tension. I am also tired of just going up to my room (moved out of bedroom to office on an air mattress) and staying there. I feel trapped when she is in the house. When I get home I try to keep things normal. Come home, cook dinner, play with my daughter. But once my daughter goes to bed, I go hide in my room because I don’t want to deal with the tension and stress. I have gone out on occasion because I feel I can’t just stay in there and I want to get out and do something. But it is tough every day. Has anyone else been through anything like this?
To answer your question, yes! Me, and probably everyone else reading this.
I hate to give this kind of advice, but you almost just have to say “it is what it is” for right now. Living in the same house while separated is really, really hard. The good news is, it isn’t forever, and both you and your ex are taking steps to each get to a better place in life.
A couple things:
She doesn’t spend quality time with our daughter
Unfortunately, that is really out of your control. When you get separated, you don’t get a say in how your ex chooses to raise your child. I know it can be frustrating and infuriating, but that’s just reality. Focus on raising your daughter the best you can. That is what you can control. What your wife chooses to do is HER business.
I’m tired of just going up to my room
Then why do you keep doing it? No one is forcing you. I like your idea of going out. You are free to do whatever you’d like. In fact, I think seeing friends and having a good time will help you balance the unhappiness in your life a little bit. I’m not saying go out every night, get drunk and pick up women. I’m suggesting that you enjoy being social and leaning on your friends. That to me is a lot more appealing than being isolated in the guest room.
Like I said before, living in the same house while separated really can be torturous. But, it will end. Just be polite to your ex as best you can, not just for your daughter’s sake, but for YOUR sake. People always feel better about themselves when they take the high road. Remember that. Best wishes!