During a breakup, many couples face the prospect of living under the same roof for some time – often for financial reasons.
Your home, once a place of comfort and rest from the outside world, can become a place of anger and tension; a place where you can no longer relax. This can put a big strain on the whole family and your children will feel the effects of this unhappy atmosphere.
But there are some simple things you can do to help make the situation more tolerable. The first thing is to acknowledge the stress that you’re both under and make a plan to manage the situation so that everyone feels a little bit better.
It may be helpful to agree to limit your conversations to practical matters. Agree a time and place for the more difficult conversations that can arise from breaking up. Keeping these two areas separate will help you to maintain a calm environment for yourselves and your children.
Consider how you will share your parenting responsibilities. Taking it in turns to be the parent ‘on duty’ at weekends and the evenings gives you both a chance to have time off. It also gives you a chance to test out possible parenting arrangements for when you live apart.
It may not be practical to divide up your home into separate areas but it’s important to respect each other’s privacy. Look for opportunities to go out and give each other some space – consider staying with friends or family occasionally, if this is practical. Time apart from each other gives you a chance to relax, feel normal and recharge your batteries. Make sure you both get a chance to do this from time to time.
You may be happy to continue managing the household chores in the same way as before. However, if you do want to make changes, try to avoid misunderstandings by making sure you both understand what you are each expected to do.