Managing a Long Break Up
Damage during a long break up
Many couples find that even though they have decided to break up they 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, is now a place of anger and tension; you feel you can’t relax whilst you’re in the house together. This can put a big strain on the whole family. Unfortunately, children are affected by this unhappy atmosphere too.
But there are some simple things you could do to make the situation tolerable. The first thing to do is to acknowledge the stress that you’re both under and then decide what you could do to manage the situation so that everyone feels a little bit better. Here are some ideas of how to reduce stress during separation and divorce:
You may find it helpful to agree to confine everyday conversations to practical matters. Agree a time and a place for discussing the more difficult conversations arising from breaking up. Keeping these two areas separate will help you to maintain a calm environment for yourselves and your child.
Consider how you will share your responsibilities as a parent. 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 your child once you are living apart.
Personal time and space
It may not be practical for you to divide up your home into ‘his‘ and ‘her’ areas but try to respect each other’s privacy. Look for opportunities to go out and give each other some space. You may, for example, be able to stay with friends or family occasionally. Periods apart from each other give you a chance to relax, feel normal and recharge your batteries. Make sure you get equal chances to do this; it may not feel fair if only one of you is going away at weekends or is going out most nights of the week.
You may be happy to continue managing the household chores in the same way as before. If you do want to make any changes, make sure that you both understand what you are each expected to do to avoid misunderstandings.
The Parent Connection offer extensive help and advice on children caught in the middle whilst separating.