Cohabitation After Divorce: It’s Possible

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By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach & Co-Mediator
high conflict couple not speaking

Given the current state of the economy, it’s not surprising that more and more couples are choosing to continue living together even after they divorce. Cohabitation after divorce may seem like a strange even impossible concept for some former couples, but for others, it’s completely doable. The key is being diligent about certain things to ensure that the peace within the home is kept. Easier said than done? Not necessarily. Here are a few tips to make cohabitation after divorce manageable.

Keep Your Emotions in Check – Sharing a home with a person you are no longer married to can be challenging for your emotions. It’s easy to fall back into old patterns – patterns which were not healthy to begin with (hence the divorce). One of the most important factors in being able to cohabitate after divorce is to be able to keep those swirling emotions under wraps. If you’re not quite sure how to get a handle on your feelings, a divorce coach can help you to identify and manage your emotions effectively.

Create Ground Rules – If you don’t set up clear ground rules and define each person’s role within the household, cohabitation after divorce simply won’t work. Sit down together and divvy up responsibilities, both for household chores and financial matters (who will be responsible for paying for which bills) and set some rules that you will both have to live by (i.e. no bringing dates home). When everything is decided ahead of time and written down, it’s much harder to deviate.

Establish Boundaries – Remember, you’re no longer married. Just because you’re living together doesn’t mean you’ll be living the same way you once did. Separate beds, separate rooms, privacy and respect are all critical to making cohabitation after divorce a success. Figure out what you both feel comfortable with, clearly establish those boundaries and then stick to them.

Practice Roommate Etiquette – Maybe when you were husband and wife one of you picked up most of the slack on laundry or cooking. Now that you’re no longer married, you have to begin to view each other not as spouses, but as two people sharing a living space. Have respect for one another and practice the same basic etiquette you would with any other roommate. Pick up after yourself, respect each other’s property and adhere to the boundaries you’ve got in place.

Develop a Plan – For most former couples, cohabitation after divorce is a temporary arrangement. After all, you probably want to date again at some point, but doing so right under the nose of your former spouse won’t be comfortable for anyone. It’s important to develop a clear plan of how long this situation is going to work for both of you and create some specific goals to work toward, such as rebuilding your credit, placing the house on the market, etc.

Believe it or not, cohabitation after divorce is not impossible. If you and your former spouse are able to be civil (which, if you used mediation for your divorce, you probably are), can create and adhere to specific boundaries and are willing to make compromises along the way, living together after your divorce may be completely doable. Just remember to respect one another and to establish a timeline for when you’ll both be able to move forward with your lives again.

Feeling stuck and unable to let go of the past? Having a hard time establishing or sticking to those boundaries with your live-in ex? Give us a call. We can help you overcome those negative feelings and reclaim your life once and for all. (877) 732-6682

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Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach & Co-Mediator

Managing Partner and Certified Professional Coach Cheryl Dillon oversees Equitable Mediation’s Divorce Coaching practice area, serving clients in New Jersey, Illinois and nationwide. She uses her own first-hand experience through divorce, her formal training as a life coach and her more than 20 years of professional experience in human relations to help men and women transform the pain of their divorce into a catalyst for self-awareness, personal growth and the creation of a joyful and fulfilling new life. Her passion is helping those who are ready and willing to take action and who refuse to let their divorce define them. Cheryl can be reached at: (877) 732-6682. +Cheryl Dillon | G+

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