Living Apart but Together
Why do couples continue to live together even though they are separated or considering divorce? Some couples find that they want ‘space’ from each other and decide to live together (stay in their current home) while they start marriage counseling or wait for the divorce to go through.
This decision is based on many variables. Sometimes the couple can’t decide who should leave the home or they may want their children to remain in their current school district.
Some couples have a sizeable home with a substantial mortgage payment. They decide to share the home and live in separate bedrooms until they decide to divorce or reconcile their differences. Others just want to try giving each other space while continuing to work on their conflicts in their marriage counseling sessions.
Depending on the emotional temperature and /or level of safety within the relationship, living together can be a viable option for some couples. Many times ongoing misunderstandings or miscommunication leads to unreconcilable differences. When couples feel like roommates and are unhappy they may consider marriage counseling or divorce.
How can couples live together while working on their marriage? If you are considering this option you will benefit from a relationship/marriage counselor. There are several areas that if addressed in therapy, will provide you with a more positive outcome whether you decide to divorce or renew your relationship.
First of all, while living together but separated, is important to establish clear boundaries. A marriage counselor can help you to clarify some of the following boundaries:
- Financial: Who will pay the bills and who will pay for legal and/or marriage counseling fees? In some states it is important to separate the joint finances. This means that joint bank accounts should be closed and the parties should also stop accumulating joint or marital debts.
- Relationship: what are the rules about dating or becoming emotionally involved through social media with others? How to explain the situation to the children and/or family and friends? In some states you must be living in separate bedrooms without sexual intimacy to be considered ‘separated’.
If you are considering a separation or divorce remaining in the same house may be an option for you.
According to an article by Second Saturday ‘In many states, your date of separation has legal implications. If you and your spouse are still living in the same house for economic or family reasons, proving that you are really separated can be tricky. Here is a checklist of what you should do if you and he are still living together but separate.’
Checklist: Living Separately Under the Same Roof
So, its best to check with your state of residence for guidelines about separation. Find an experienced marriage counselor to help you to work through the challenges until you reach a final decision about your marriage.
My husband and I are separating, but we think we may end up remaining living in the same house, as you said, to make things easier on the children. I think you’re right that working with a relationship coach would do well in helping us establish boundaries and ensure that we don’t fall into harmful conflicts that could make things worse for our kids. Establishing whether or not we can bring dates home, for sure, will be a very important thing to establish, and having a mediator there during that discussion will help a lot.