I have seen at least 5 articles lately about how “quarantining with my ex changed my life for the better” and while I am thrilled for them, I have had a very different experience. After speaking with a few of our awesome clients and listening to how challenging the last few months have been for them — I thought I’d weigh in and provide a few tips for navigating life when your ex is still living with you.
Make it about you — not your ex
I know, easier said than done. But, the best part about a breakup is how much you learn about yourself and in so doing, how alive it makes you feel. If you prioritize self-growth over resentment or anger, it makes for a way easier time. It isn’t just shifting your mindset, it actually changes how you walk through the world.
Get a post-pandemic plan in place
For some, money is a big reason why you’re still cohabitating. Others have kids and find that navigating distance learning during coronavirus times is easier in one household. Or maybe you guys find that it’s impossible to find a new place and get it furnished while the world is partially shut down. Regardless of the reason, I think we can all agree that this is not ideal and it can’t be permanent.
Since you’re stuck together anyhow (and assuming that your spouse can communicate in somewhat of a reasonable way), now is a good time to make plans for life after COVID-19. You can discuss a shared parenting plan, negotiate a division of property, talk about shared expenses, and get a plan in place for how you’ll handle the legal stuff associated with your split.
Get some ground rules in place
I don’t care who handled the biggest share of the household responsibilities before covid, you are no longer a couple and you both have to now pull your own weight. Each of you has your own stresses and responsibilities and needs help where you can get it.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries
I’m not just talking about physical boundaries — But speaking of: proceed with caution if you are going to get intimate — especially if you or your spouse are having a hard time getting over the other. But, by the same token, you’ve been married for how long? Totally understandable if emotions get mixed up in this complicated time. If it happens, it happens. Beating yourself up every day forever is awful. It happened, move on, set boundaries and if possible, say them aloud.
But back to boundaries. It’s so hard to set them and even harder sometimes to respect them. My hope for you (especially if you have kids together), is that when this is all over, you respect each other and wish the other well. And if breaking up in full heartful integrity is not in the cards, let’s aim for not hating each other. The best way to keep things civil is to avoid emotional triggers wherever possible (you know exactly what I am talking about) and respect each other’s space and stuff.
Whether your divorce is smooth sailing or rough waters, just remember — nothing is permanent. This too shall pass.