15 Survival Tips For Living Together During Divorce
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15 Survival Tips For Living Together During Divorce

Divorce specialist Natalie Maximets
Natalie Maximets is a certified life transformation coach with expertise in mindfulness and sustainability. She is a published author focused on the most progressive solutions in the field of Psychology. Natalie helps people go through fundamental life challenges, such as divorce, and build an entirely new life by reframing their personal narrative.

Can divorced couples live together? Living together after divorce, or during the proceedings, often becomes quite tough, especially when the fact of separation is inevitable. If you're facing similar circumstances now, you should definitely take good care of yourself to ensure a better future when the pain is over. It's true – ending a marriage is tough and consumes a lot of energy. It's a soul-sucking experience to separate from a person who was an integral part of your life for so long. And it's normal to grieve for some time, digesting all the hardships you've been through and all the great memories you shared together. Nevertheless, thinking about the future is no less important than reflecting on your past. After all, life's not going to end after divorce – so take care of your well-being now! What does this mean, though, precisely?

You need a good survival plan to live through the difficult times until you finally part ways. Although it might seem impossible to think straight when you're overwhelmed with the negative emotions caused by cohabitation and divorce, think strategically. Living together while divorcing could become borderline unbearable if you don't come up with a set of rules to regulate how you live together. Even if you are living together simply because there is no other way out, it won't last forever. So why ruin your mood even more, especially if children are involved? Here are 15 tips on how to beat the various troubles you might be facing with your former partner. They will place you as the hero of your own journey to a better future! But before we start, there's one important thing that you should take into account if you want to build a wise and fruitful communication plan with your ex-spouse.

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Divorcing/divorced but living together? Stay mindful!
No matter how hard it is to be living together during divorce, always stay mindful! Always remember that "this too shall pass". So follow these tips to make your life as vibrant as possible under circumstances that you may, at the moment, be unable to change.

Survival Kit for Those Who Have to Divorce but Stay Together

Tip 1. Avoid Conflicts as Much as Possible

If you are divorced and living in the same house, things can get especially nerve-wracking if you can't stand each other anymore. Even if your divorce is amicable, there could well be lots of arguing, as this likely contributed to the split. Hostile relations make things even worse, so avoid overt conflicts with your ex-partner. Keeping conflicts to a minimum is an important part of self-care, because there is no person more responsible for your well-being than yourself. So refusing to unload negative emotions on your partner is, in a way, expressing love towards yourself. In other words, the more you focus on the things you need right now, the more attention you take away from your unsuccessful marriage. Just remember that the more love you provide yourself with, the easier your divorce will be. There are things we cannot change; it's crucial to find the most optimal way through. Even if it seems unnatural to find inner peace instead of arguing, it is key to your emotional well-being.

Remember, disputes with your ex are likely to evoke quarrels; they almost never solve anything. So shouting matches won't help. However, keeping calm will definitely make living easier! Try mindfulness meditation daily, or even more, to put yourself in a tranquil state of mind. Two specific styles that have caught on these days are Self-Compassion Meditation and Train of Thought Meditation.

Limiting conversations to facts only, without adding judgmental comments or coming off as needy, will make your life so much easier! Don't bother trying to insult your ex-partner, especially if children are involved. You might also want to use the BIFF model created by Bill Eddy - be Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm. If you find enough strength not to start an ugly conversation with your ex-spouse and stick to the facts instead, you'll keep conflicts at a minimum. In the long run, this benefit will replace the frustration you might feel from not releasing judgmental comments.

Tip 2. Don't Get Angry in Response

This tip will come in handy if your ex-spouse brings aggression to the table. Remaining silent while they blow off steam could literally save your day. Moreover, when they calm down, you'll be able to decide whether you'd like to talk it out, or just skip the interaction if you know that it will lead nowhere. To manage your anger, try counting up to 10 and taking a series of slow, deep breaths. This will help you to mentally withdraw from the emotionally charged situation.

Remember, you're not alone! According to the American Psychological Association, between 40 and 50 percent of marriages break apart in the U.S. And many of those people are living in the same house while divorcing. You share your plight with all of them, so why not try out divorce group therapy? There are many individuals who will totally understand how bad it feels to split up with someone who was once so special – and then remain under the same roof with this person! The resentment is palpable. Make sure to use their personal experiences to enhance your own well-being!

Tip 3. Stop Overreacting

It's perfectly normal to feel outraged when you're living together while divorcing – but avoid overreactions. You'll feel so much better if your head is clear and you are able to think straight. Keeping cool will allow you to restore your inner strength faster, and also ensure a safe environment for your children, if you have them. It's essential to realize that you have to separate from your ex-partner both mentally and emotionally, because the divorce is already taking place. So, protect your personal boundaries and don't let your former spouse violate them. You're no longer a couple, and as such it is time to understand that each of you has to start a new life; the quicker you separate, the better.

Building "escape routes" can also help you out whenever your ex is entangling you in an unpleasant conversation. To get away from this conversation, prepare a set of quick subject-changers to redirect your former spouse's attention to another topic. If you don't want to talk, come up with decent conversation-enders that will explain why you don't want to talk about this. Be honest.

Tip 4. Spend Less Time Together

Although sleeping in the same bed can seem awkward when you're going through the hardships of ending a marriage, some couples still do it, for differing reasons. Whatever they may be, you're at great risk of losing sleep quality. Moreover, sleeping in the same bed could confuse your children if you've already told them that their parents are splitting up. So consider sleeping in different beds or even a separate room, if possible. Getting divorced but still living together may be heartbreaking, so try to minimize the adverse effects this process may create.

If you have several rooms in your house, choose one and put all of your belongings there. If both of you take your personal things away from the "common area", it will reduce the chances that you'll have to talk again. This will help you separate from each other in a less painful manner. Moreover, if you're having privacy issues, consider putting a lock on your door to make sure that it's your space.

Tip 5. Minimize Your Communication

People who are divorced and living together often argue, and this form of cohabitation is far from comfortable. So, if you're still living under the same roof, keep your interactions to a minimum! You want shit to hit the fan as little as possible, so to speak. Even if, when you communicate, it's more or less friendly, keep in mind that it's essential to see each other less often. Why's that, you ask? No matter how well both of you are able to manage interactions, there was a reason which led to the divorce. In these cases, psychologists often suggest to focus more on building your new life. And communicating with your ex may well keep you from healing and moving on, especially if the interaction isn't fun anymore.

Use email or social media to discuss arrangements and make appointments. In this case, you won't have to go through shouting and screaming again and again. Furthermore, you'll have written evidence of the things you agreed upon, so if your ex-partner attempts to duck responsibility, you can simply copy and paste the message without having to start a big thing.

Try to do this in your relationship to make living together during divorce proceedings less toxic. Keeping your conversations formal will also help you avoid unnecessary communication with your ex. On the other hand, if you're craving a bit of chatter but your partner doesn't want to talk, it's probably better to stop trying. After all, the relationship is over, and there's nothing else to discuss besides your mutual responsibilities. Communication can be found with other people in your life, or new people.

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Tip 6. Avoid Meeting in Shared Spaces

Avoiding each other might do more good than bad in the long run, so don't be afraid to set boundaries if you feel that you can't tolerate interactions with your ex-spouse anymore. This kind of separation can prove crucial when the partners are forced to live in the same house during a painful divorce.

If the relationship with your ex is unbearable, try dividing the house. This means that you will no longer be in the same place at the same time. Decide when each of you will be in the kitchen, the living room, and other shared spaces, and don't break these limitations once you've set them.

Tip 7. Stay at Home Less Often

Staying out of your ex-partner's way may be a great solution no matter what other people think about it. Even if you've managed to make your cohabitation after divorce quite tolerable, you might be still losing energy due to enormous stress. Remember that your well-being is the most important thing, so make it a priority. Do your best to redirect your attention to your hobbies and stay at home as little as you can.

First off, being around less will be a welcome distraction from the hardships you're going through at the moment. Secondly, it will refill your inner tank of emotions and help you fight depression, if you're suffering from any form of it. Go to a dance class or the gym, attend a meditation workshop, or talk to a close friend over a cup of coffee. The key thing is to get yourself out of the house if it feels like a dreary space. Please note that you shouldn't keep silent if your partner poses a threat to your well-being or life. Get local support; for instance, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline if your partner has physically injured you or abused you emotionally.

Tip 8. Don't Bring Your New Partner to the House

Living in same house during divorce, but getting involved with someone else? Avoid bringing this person to your current place before you or your ex-partner moves out. It will be much safer to keep your new romantic relationship a secret until you get all the papers ready. Otherwise, you'll put both yourself and your new boyfriend or girlfriend at risk of a serious conflict with your ex, which could be detrimental to your new relationship. And if you know for sure that your former spouse is the jealous type, set up some extra protection on your phone so that your new love interest doesn't get dragged into things until the time comes.

You should also monitor who you tell about the divorce and your new relationship. Remember that some people have a habit of gossiping about other people's private issues, and there's a decent chance that your ex will find out from someone else. You should be twice as careful if you have kids, as certain information could get back to them and hurt their feelings. Even if you're sure that you can entrust people with this secret, think twice. You cannot predict their reactions. And as a matter of fact, you can't predict your reaction to their reaction either. Are you sure you're ready to deal with it? After all, you're especially vulnerable at the moment. However, if you're sure that you'll be able to defend your personal boundaries and get support – go ahead!

Tip 9. Have a Small Talk with Your Children

The time will come when you have to talk to your children about the divorce, and this is actually not something to be afraid of (if you do it right)! Most importantly, provide your kids with an age-appropriate explanation. In other words, spare your 5-year-old kid a long-winded, blame-ridden separation story, and avoid making comments about how you're just staying together for financial reasons. If you don't know how to tell the kids that you and your partner are no longer a couple, recollect their favorite children's story. Imagine that you and your wife or husband are the main characters. How would you describe the plot twists if it was your own story? Once you've imagined it, you'll find it easier to select an age-specific approach for your kid.

Don't forget that truth is better than lies – you just have to select the appropriate time and format of the story you're going to tell. Your children will notice the changes in the family relationship regardless. As a result, you have to give them the core truth, no matter how awkward it may be. Lying to your children can be detrimental to their mental health. Giving them hope may lead to more significant disappointment when they find out that it is false and that their parents will never be together again.

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Tip 10. Share Parenting Responsibilities and Consider Shared Residential Parenting

Even if you and your former spouse hate each other, this should not make its way towards your children. Take turns reading them a bedtime story instead of splitting these sorts of responsibilities. Don't be too hard on your kids, and make sure that they don't suffer from a lack of attention. You know, even the smallest details, like helping your children brush their teeth, have value! Make it crystal clear to your child that both Mom and Dad continue to be interested in him/her. Taking weekly responsibility shifts is often the most convenient way for parents to pay attention to their children, if they are living together while going through a divorce. So: school pickups and helping homework should not fall on the shoulders of just one parents. Both mother and father should perform similar duties for the child, so that the child feels loved by both of them.

You might want to make use of a calendar or another online tool to streamline your performance and avoid possible conflicts with your ex-spouse. Just schedule parental responsibilities on something like Google Calendar, or try a co-parenting app that puts the focus on your child's needs instead of spousal friction. By doing so, you and your ex-partner will achieve stability and predictability, two crucial criteria for your child, or children's, well-being. Did you know that children who take turns living with each parent after divorce are generally happier than the ones who stay at their mother's house all the time? This data might be a gamechanger if you're currently creating a parenting plan for the near future!

According to recent research by Linda Nielsen, kids who spend at least 35% of their time with both the mother and father tend to be happier. So, if you really care about your children's well-being, don't decide who they will stay with – share parenting responsibilities instead. It's much easier than you think!

Did you know that most of the children from the research mentioned above felt happier because the quality of the relationship with their fathers remained at a high level? On the contrary, the kids who stayed with their mothers after the divorce gradually lost the connection with their fathers, and the quality of their life suffered as a result. Furthermore, the research shows that parents who are divorcing don't even have to be super cooperative to maintain a good relationship with their children. The main thing for them is to stay neutral and avoid overt conflict that could hurt the kids and also avoid putting the blame on each other in front of children.The children who took part in Nielsen's study claim that this arrangement always served their key interests. On the contrary, the kids who stayed at their mother's house after the divorce felt that some of their important interests were neglected. Isn't it much fairer if both parents take care of the children when they finally get a divorce and stop living under the same roof? In situations where the parents support shared residential parenting, the child or children will not feel less loved by one of the parents, which is essential for their ability to build a stable relationship for the future.

As you can see, living together after divorce for children is not necessary; there are much better options to make everyone happy. Indeed, shared residential parenting families have presented a win-win strategy for both ex-partners and their kids. Please keep in mind that this plan will not work if your ex-spouse suffers from a mental illness, or might cause any kind of harm to the kids.

Tip 11. Treat Financial Arrangements Like Business Partners

No matter whether you are staying together for financial reasons or not, you'll have to make arrangements about ongoing expenses while you are living together after divorce. This might be difficult, due to the likely increase in tension between you and your ex. Nevertheless, you should sit and talk things through like business partners about who's going to pay for what expense. Otherwise, you might find yourself in an unpleasant situation where you bear too much financial responsibility, or where your partner accuses you of not providing enough money to pay the bills.

It is better to try and prevent any kind of financial disagreement, especially if you are getting divorced but staying together. Even if it is hard to talk to your former spouse, you have to openly discuss financial issues, especially if children are involved. You might maintain the financial status quo, or talk about significant changes – the key thing is not to keep silent. So, settle budgeting issues with your ex as early as possible, and make it as detailed and specific as you can.

Don't be afraid of being perceived as a penny pincher – there is nothing wrong with being precise when it comes to financial responsibilities after divorce. Remember, business partners talk about every single detail when making arrangements, so as to help the interests of their company and reach the fairest possible deal.

Additionally, you can keep track of your budget and double-check whether your ex is sticking to the agreements you made. In some cases, you might also need to rearrange the budget so that both of you find it appropriate and no one feels offended.

Tip 12. Interact in a Respectful Manner

If forced to communicate with your ex for whatever reasons, do it with decency. In other words, don't shout at your former partner or accuse them of the sins they've committed. Even if you're deeply hurt (which is almost inevitable during a divorce), show respect to yourself first and foremost. People who truly respect themselves rarely start big fusses. So stay mindful, take a deep breath and recollect the fact that you'll get away from it all as soon as all the arrangements come into force. Soon, you won't have to deal with these difficulties anymore. Showing cooperative behavior will be also useful if you're still hoping to make peace with your ex. Nobody knows whether it's possible, but you will boost your chances if you behave in a polite manner. If you do so, your ex-partner will see that you respect their choice, no matter how hard it is.

Don't forget that truth is better than lies – you just have to select the appropriate time and format of the story you're going to tell. Your children will notice the changes in the family relationship regardless. As a result, you have to give them the core truth, no matter how awkward it may be. Lying to your children can be detrimental to their mental health. Giving them hope may lead to more significant disappointment when they find out that it is false and that their parents will never be together again.

Tip 13. Understand the Differences that Exist

Couples living together after divorce should understand that differences between people's behavior exist. Some people are prone to voicing out more legal-driven arguments during divorce, while others make good use of arguments that are grounded in the relationship, and refer to mutual responsibility in a couple. Thus, some are likely to display much more emotions than others. When it comes to divorce, extroverts are likely to express lots of negative feelings due to the pain they are going through. On the contrary, introverts prefer to remain reserved. They tend to stay unemotional even if they feel deeply insulted.

This paradigm can be applied to numerous cases of divorcing couples that attempt to come to an agreement. Understanding the potentially great difference between two people can help you deal more smoothly with everyday challenges while ending a marriage.

Tip 14. Take Care of Your Mental Health

Those who are living together while getting divorced get hit with an extra dose of stress, even in amicable separations. This is why you should stay mindful and address your anxiety.

Adjusting your mindset might be hard work for you, but the result is definitely worth the effort! Plus, all you have to do is to stay aware of the fact that all your pain will pass. Firstly, repeat the mantra "it will be over soon" whenever you feel desperate. Even if you are living together while waiting for divorce, it is just a temporary state.

Secondly, try something like this: wear a bracelet on your wrist. It could come in handy if you feel that you can't take it anymore. Simply take it off one hand and put it on the other! Use this little routine whenever your divorce seems unbearable, to remind yourself that you should switch your attention from the present to the future.

Take the bracelet and say to yourself, "I am now on my way to freedom. I'm doing my best to get there. I will eventually move to my own space, so these issues won't matter anymore very, very soon." In other words, think more about your bright future instead of focusing on the current situation to keep calm.

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Tip 15. Practice Mindful Compassion

You can try sending compassion and love to your ex-spouse instead of getting overwhelmed with anger. Compassion a mindfulness-based practice that aims to replace your negative emotions with positive ones. It works best for people who feel particularly guilty, as well as those who are often confronted with their partner's anger and resentment.

You might be unlikely to succeed in practicing mindful compassion at first, but keep on trying to get good results. The practice might not work if you've only tried it a few times. However, if you persist, you will witness a major transformation inside your heart. Remember, hurt people hurt people, so learn to turn your pain into something productive.

This practice is not for everyone, but if you feel like trying it, take a deep breath, imagine your ex-partner, and send them good vibes in the form of white light, and wish them well. It's crucial to be sincere during this practice, which is challenging. But if you get into a state of ultimate love, you'll feel enormous relief. Agreeing to live together after divorce isn't easy but, hopefully, these tips will have you starring as the hero of your own success story. Go see a friend, get yourself a bar of chocolate, watch a movie, invite a coworker to eat out, go to the gym, take a calligraphy class or a painting lesson, attend an exhibition or a local concert.

After all, you deserve a chance to recharge your batteries and build your future the way you want, no matter how hard it may seem at first. And don't hesitate to end your cohabitation as soon as possible, because the arrangement prevents both of you from emotional separation.

There is life after divorce – so make it even better than it was before!


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