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How to live with your Ex
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How to live with your Ex

I originally posted this in the Divorce & Breakup forum ('cos that seemed more relevant), but after a week no-one has commented, so I thought I'd try again here...


I think I've finally been forced to realise that there really isn't any chance of my relationship with my wife being revived.  She told me months ago that she didn't want a relationship with me any more, and that she considered us separated, I think now I have to stop fighting to save our marriage and accept the end.

The problem here is that it isn't that easy.  We have 3 kids (9, 6, and 3), and we are both adamant that we will not live apart from our kids.  Which pretty much leaves us stuck living under the same roof.  Which is not a great situation for various reasons, including:

1.  I still love her and want to be in a relationship with her, and I don't know if I can let that go and not be in constant emtional pain spending much of my time in the company of someone who doesn't feel the same way about me.

2.  If she starts seeing someone else, even if she keeps it away from the home, it'll hurt me much more if I'm still around.

3.  When, and more crucially if, I ever get to a stage where I'm ready to see someone else, still living with my ex is going to be a pretty major barrier to being able to establish any new serious relationship.  Although right now I can't really conceive of ever wanting to see someone else, but I suppose the time may come.

Plus no doubt a whole bunch of other issues...


So, any views or thoughts?  Has anyone out there ever tried living with their ex?  Or do you know someone who has?  Did it work out?  How did it work?  
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Avatar_f_tn
I really do not think that living with your ex would work.What about your chidren, if you decide to date? Also what happens when mommy decides to date? if you are divorced, let her go and have visitation-rights it would be hard indeed to live with an ex .In the end I really do not think either one of you would be happy, and it would end up with you ot the other disliking each other or shall i say arguing with one another and worse   luck  jo
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145992_tn?1341348674
I agree sammy, it's going to get very hard and for the exact reasons you stated above.  Can you both possibly agree to joint custody?  You get them for a week and she gets them for a week or you can take them every weekend with a few weeks days?  I think this is the only way to go because there is too much tension when living with an ex, it will eventually end up really bad.  I lived with my ex-boyfriend for a few months after we broke up and it led to numerous fights when he would go out and have fun and I was left home wondering where he was and who he was with.  Eventually I had to tell him to leave and soon because I just couldn't take it any more.  I longed to be with him and he wasn't reciprocating that and I was just continuously being hurt and it was agony for me.  It didn't allow me to move on.  Finally he did move and even though it hurt, I was able to move forward with my life.  We didn't have kids together but he did have daughter that I did help take care of and it did hurt when I wasn't able to see her anymore but it's not the same as when you share your own children.  Good luck.
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13167_tn?1327197724
I think it's a spectacular idea,  and in fact,  one that many many couples have embraced.  There are a LOT of divorces that happen the first year the last child is in college. Parents who are dedicated to being parents decide to go the high road - and put parenting over their own romantic needs.

I applaud you for staying in there.

I do think a ground rule should be no dating.  If you're going to pull this thing off as parents of the kids,  dating is not appropriate - for either of you.

Second rule,  just be nice.  Just be nice.  She can manage to be nice to everyone else in her life,  she can manage to be nice to you.

Best wishes.  You're giving your kids the greatest gift you can - a father at home.
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184674_tn?1360864093
Could you maybe move out to a place very nearby?
That way, you and your ex wife can, for the most part, sort of maintain the same schedule with your children and see them hopefully as often as you'd please, and hopefully each day.
What I mean is, you could maybe pick them up each day after school and they could spend a few hours with you, and on certain nights they could stay the night or a few days.
If you lived a few blocks away, or less than say, 10 minutes away, then maybe even your children could decide for themselves when and where they want to stay, and for how long. Then if that's the case, you're just a few minutes away and it's no inconvenience for either you or your ex wife to maintain sensitivity to your kids' needs. And also the chances for you to get to see them each day is still pretty good.
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Avatar_m_tn
RockRose - thanks.  It's good to know we are not the only ones in the world considering this approach.  Not entirely sure about the no-dating rule, I don't think either of us want to be celibate for the next 10 years or more (our youngest is 3), but I've no idea how any alternative rule could work effectively.

AJH84 - well, if living together ever doesn't work out, moving out somewhere close, and organising things like you suggest, would be my next option.  It also avoids the need to maintain and pay for two houses big enough for all 3 kids to stay in (have you seen the prices of houses in the UK recently, even with the credit cruch???), which I couldn't afford, and I could keep my workshop and garage and old MG car where it all is now.
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Avatar_f_tn
Have you 2 considered counseling and maybe could make it work?  I think if you want to (both of you want to) live together for the kids, you should definitely do it.  The thing is that you have to work REALLY hard to be civil and make it a comfortable place for the kids.

If you are willing to work that hard and it would be, I am assuming REALLY hard, why not work on your relationship at the same time?  

One of the biggest mistakes of my life is divorcing my husband and we have thought of the reconcilation thing a gazillion times, but when you cross that divorce threashold, it's hard to go back across and make things better.

Bottom line, be SURE you want a divorce before you get a divorce.

I think it's great what you are trying.  My ex and I have actually discussed getting townhouses (flats in the UK, I am assuming), so that we could live next door - and even discussed sharing a house.  
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Avatar_m_tn
We are going to counselling on Monday.  I am still holding out some hope that we can rescue this relationship (there's more about this in my journal), but I have to accept that it may not happen, and if that is the case I am trying to think through what the implications are and what could happen.

I suspect that as long as we live in the same house I will be wanting and hoping the relationship can be rescued.  Continuing to live under one roof could be seen as extending that opportunity indefinitely (a good thing) or getting in the way of me moving on with my life (maybe less good), depending on my mood and point of view at that moment...
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Avatar_f_tn
That's good news on the counseling.  Listen to the counselor and be open that it might be a one way thing, but if there's any possible way to make it work, hang on.  You both obviously love your children, and part of me thinks that if she is willing to live with you "for the kids", she is still open to living with you - for you, too.

Hang in there.  It's hard when we take those vows, things get bumpy, and we don't know what to do.  

On a woman's perspective.....  we liked to be chased, so you might want to make sure you aren't too available - be kind, but make her think there might be a possibility that you don't need her.  I don't know your relationship, but most of my female friends are all about the chase....  

Anyway, I hope it works for you!
Racheal
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks Racheal.  I am hoping you're right about being open to live with me for me too - she does still say some things that would suggest that.  I'm getting mixed messages from her at times, and I guess I tend to hang on to the positive ones and try to ignore the less optimistic ones.

Interesting perspective about making myself not too "available", leaving a bit of the chase in there.  I've read something similar elsewhere; also someone who is desperately chasing and hanging on can seem a bit needy, a bit clingy, a bit pathetic, and that is not exactly attractive.  So I have tried to give the impression that I could cope without her, I don't NEED her, I just WANT her, and that I would survive, and eventually thrive, if it was all over.  I have noticed that at times I have withdrawn a bit, she's come after me a bit.  But I'm not sure my behaviour most of the time lives up to that message!  I may need to put a bit more work into that - it makes sense...
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Avatar_f_tn
RIGHT ON - It's a different feeling to feel wanted than needed.  I have a good feeling on this for you.  Don't be too stand-offish, but I think you are going to be on the right track.

I have been divorced for 5+ years, and when my ex even LOOKS like he might start dating again, it drives me INSANE!   He and I have discussed the cohabitating thing a million times, and my son (9) would love it.  It's scary to me to put myself out there - so I know exactly how you feel.  

Let me know how it's going.  Let the chase begin!

Hey, idea....this weekend, go to a park or something for awhile and don't mention where you are going, etc., ...see how she reacts.   That will be some good insight.  

Rach

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145992_tn?1341348674
I agree, she's so used to you being the weekend babysitter.  Switch it up a bit.  Even if you have nothing to do, pretend like you do.  She will wonder what, where and who you are with.  Let her understand that one woman's trash is another woman's treasure.  The thoughts of you perhaps moving on from her may make her face reality and see what she is in jeopardy of losing.  That was very good advice.
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Avatar_f_tn
SO???  How did it go?  Did you let her chase you this weekend???   :)
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Avatar_m_tn
This weekend wasn't the opportunity - she was away in another city visiting an old friend of hers from university.

Given the way our counselling session yesterday went, it's coming home to me (again) that I'm probably deluding myself that there's any realistic hope of re-igniting her love for me (more details on my Journal, I'm not going to repeat it all here).  Sooner or later I'm going to have to admit to myself it is over, and focus on moving on rather than on fixing this relationship.  Still not sure I'm quite ready to do that yet.

Maybe if I move out she'll realise what she's missing.  Maybe she'll just let me go.  Maybe she'll realise what she's missing but because she is stubborn (sorry, determined, which is actually a trait I like in her) she will just let me go anyway - the most likely outcome I would guess.  I'll never find out if I don't move out - but I don't want to move out, because I don't want to be living under a different roof to my 3 kids.  I will not accept being a part-time dad.  I certainly don't want to move out without at least trying to live all together, to see if we can make it work, for the sake of the kids; but maybe the best chance of us getting back together would be if I did move out, give her some space, see how she reacts.  If I do move out, hoping it may be our last chance to get back together, then I'll have blown my opportunity to try and live together for the kids if it doesn't work out - it's a high-risk strategy (and one that, I admit, is more likely to fail than succeed).  Now I REALLY don't know what to do...
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Avatar_f_tn
I am so sorry!  The main thing to remember is that you are trying to do the right thing.  Absence does make the heart grow fonder, I suppose!  

Believe me, I understand "stubborn women"...ahem...my ex says that about me, too.   In my case, I have been stubborn with him because I have been afraid of opening myself up....big mistake.  I wish a million times that I had let my guard down a little.

My advice to you would be to think of yourself a little bit more.  I know you want to be there for your kids, and absolutely you should do what's best for them, but if you are miserable and heart broken, they will know it.  

Would your wife talk honestly with your kids with you and see what they think about it (not living in the same roof) and what's possibly coming up next?  

I feel for you.  Divorce is NEVER easy and it's harder on the kids - if we all think about how much WE hurt and then think that it IS harder on the kids, just imagine....  It breaks my heart for my son to hurt like that - so I definitely understand your fight to keep it together.  

Hang in there!  :)
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Avatar_n_tn
I am currently living the same situation that you are, but my ex has decided it is ok for him to date other women (but he doesn't bring them home). That bothers me to no end and I am constantly in agony- and I've told him this numerous times, yet it still doesn't seem to bother him. It's obvious he doesn't care, but here I am still living with him. We have a 3 yr old daughter together and he wants to live together for a few more years with her being so young. He really thinks it is too hard on her to live separately. But, it is becoming too hard for me to watch him go out and be on the phone texting constantly. I am almost feel useless to my daughter from being so depressed. Moving out isnt an easy option when I cannot afford to live on my own.
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Avatar_m_tn
I really feel your difficulty, lostinlove27.

It's been almost a year since this post started, and my (ex?)-wife and I are still sharing a home.  For a couple of months at the beginning of the year we tried getting together again, but it didn't work out, and for the last 6 months we've been in separate rooms, but we still carry out the rest of our lives together - eat together, watch telly in the evening together, parent together, even go out to the cinema or for a meal sometimes together.

I haven't been seeing anyone else.  For a couple of months she was seeing someone else, and I did find that very painful, so I know how you feel.  She's stopped seeing him now, so it's a bit easier at the moment.  Unfortunately, if you choose to try sharing a home but have agreed that you are separated and not living there as a married couple, I think this is something you have to put up with, however horrible and painful you may find it.  If you are separated, then they are free to pursue whatever emotional and/or physical relationships they want to.  However painful it may be for you, you no longer have any say in their dating behaviour.  The only thing you have control over is how you choose to react to it.  If you choose to continue to share a home while he is doing this, remember, that's your choice to do so.

I don't know how honest and open he is being with you about what is going on with his dating.  I know, for me, I wanted my ex to be honest about when she was going to visit him, and not lie to me and pretend she was spending the evening with one of her female friends - I'd realise anyway, but it would be even more painful to me if I knew she was lying to me and seeing him behind my back.  She told me his first name (well, it was better than having me only able to refer to him as "your f***-buddy"!), but very little else.  I can't deny that I was insanely curious about the details, but if I had known more I would have probably ended up feeling even worse, so it's probably best that I didn't.

If you are going to continue sharing a home with your ex, I'd suggest you discuss agreeing some basic ground rules, or codes of behaviour, about dating.  Even though you may not want to start dating again yourself, make sure these codes apply both ways.  You may want to go with something similar to what I an my ex have been doing (i.e. letting each other know when you will be out with a date, and not lying about where you're going and who you're seeing), whether you tell you ex the name of anyone you're dating, more detail or less.  Probably best to agree never to bring a date back to the home you are sharing, or only to do so if the other one AND your daughter are away.

Whatever happens this is going to be horrible and painful for you.  Moving out, or having him move out, may not make that pain any more bearable, but has a number of other negative consequences.

I don't know how long it is possible to make an arrangement like this last.  Like I said, I've only been doing this 6 months, and it's a lot easier at the moment now she's not seeing someone else.  But I think it's worth trying.

Ultimately he and/or you will probably want to form a more serious relationship with someone new, move in together, so obviously you won't be able to continue sharing a home then.  Even sharing a home now is a real inhibitor to dating (how many people are happy to date someone who is still living with their ex?  How easy is it to date if you can never bring them back to your place?).  Our approach is just to say that we'll cross that bridge when we come to it; for now, I have no interest in dating anyone else, and my ex is (apparently) not interested in any more than a casual relationship.

Good luck, be strong, and go and see a counsellor from time to time - it will help you deal with the emotions that come up when your husband is dating.
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