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Can you be "Separated but living together"?

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#1 Diormummy

Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:33 PM

Speaking to a good friend of mine, she has confided in me that she and her husband are separating. I can't lie and say it came as a shock but I was/am very upset for her sake. She went on that it was a mutual decision, etc.

However, she also said that they will still be living under one roof. Her husband will be moving into the spare room with his own bath & toilet. He would have to do his own washing, coming's and going's. The reason they want to stay living together is because they have a toddler, she is returning to study next month & could no way afford to move out. A major factor is that they both come from very strict family's, separation or divorce could lead them to be disowned from their families and looked down upon with in the family social circle.

In lieu of child support he will continue to pay all of the mortgage repayments, council rates, H&C insurance & 65% of the water, gas & electric bills. They each buy their own groceries & personal use items.

I know it's sounds good in theory but I worry that it will be so stressful in practice.

I suggested they see a lawyer & get the arrangements down on paper, but she said there is no need for that(?). I know she has this bit of hope that they can reconcile with the help of counseling.
WDYT? Can it work successfully?

Edited by Diormummy, 25 January 2011 - 12:48 PM.

#2 Accidental

Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:40 PM

Theoretically this could work fine, as long as they both stick to the agreement and respect each others boundaries. Good fences make good neighbours, and all that....
That said, it really depends on the personalities of the individuals. The fact that the decision is in essence being forced upon your friend for financial reasons could make it far harder as she may begin to feel trapped, and her husband would still be in a position of advantage over her, and therefore be more able to dictate his terms in the arrangement.

#3 misshavok

Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:44 PM

It can work. My parents do this, they separated probably around 10 years ago now but still live together. A bit of a different situation though, I'll try and get back on EB to write a better description later.

#4 Cinzia

Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:45 PM

I have a girlfriend who is currently in this exact situation.  They have 4 children together and feel it is best for them.  The children know that Mum and Dad are not together anymore ( Mum has a new partner ) however both parents are available to the children and do support each others seperate lives.

So far it has worked well for them.  I would think it would depend on why your marriage ended in teh first place - if there was any anger or resentment on either side it would be very nasty indeed.

#5 KimminyCricket

Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:45 PM

The parents of a boyfriend from highschool did that and it seemed to work well for them (8 years at the time we were dating).  They simply couldn't afford to financially separate and they both wanted to be there for the kids.  They had separate bedrooms, a strict schedule for looking after the kids and pretty much lived like housemates.

Somehow they managed not to fight...

That would be mu biggest concern - that the couple would fight constantly.  However if they can manage NOT to fight it could work...

#6 BugBiEz

Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:52 PM

I've seen it work with one of my mothers friends, they have a very loving family environment for their child to grow up in. It was more like a share house atmophere. It did however get alittle strainge when they began to date people (about 3 or 4 years down the track) and eventually when she hit her teens the dad moved out (only down the street laughing2.gif) and got married.

So it can work, but I could imagin it's alot of putting your feeling aside and putting the "families: first

#7 **Xena**

Posted 25 January 2011 - 01:02 PM

I think it can work if both members of the couple have the same expectations. One of my best friends' parents managed to successfully do this for ten years. It can however make it harder to move on with someone else, especially if one partner is still emotionally invested in the relationship that used to exist when the other one is ready to move on with someone new.

#8 happi_losti

Posted 25 January 2011 - 01:11 PM

it can work but it depends on the individuals in the relationship.

my god parents did this for about 10yrs after they 'seperated' and even after they divorced for the sake of raising children together and financial ease. he only moved out when he found the next love of his life. they treated each other like housemates basically.

#9 KimminyCricket

Posted 25 January 2011 - 01:49 PM

Completely OT but Xena you are one agile girl!  Awesome sig  biggrin.gif

#10 mumsy26

Posted 25 January 2011 - 02:01 PM

My IL's did this for one year. MIL seemed to think it worked, but that was because she was over FIL. FIL, on the other hand, was still clinging on to the hope that they could reconcile and living 'together' made it basically impossible for him to accept that the relationship was over.

I would be worried for your friend if she is hoping to reconcile. This kind of situation could be very painful for her, especially if her DH has moved on. Then what happens if her DH gets a girlfriend etc.... it can get pretty messy if one party is still emotionally involved.

#11 Catolyn

Posted 25 January 2011 - 02:43 PM

QUOTE (Diormummy @ 25/01/2011, 12:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A major factor is that they both come from very strict family's, separation or divorce could lead them to be disowned from their families and looked down upon with in the family social circle.

Are they going to keep up the charade of happy families around their relatives? Won't that be terribly confusing for the child? Will they ever be allowed to declare they're separated to the family? It doesn't sound like a solution when you factor that in.

#12 miriams

Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:00 PM

I used to babysit for a couple that did this. He was a history teacher and she was an artist. I felt sorry for him .He had a very sad face and she openly dated other guys in front of him . I don't know why they had the arrangement they did. Perhaps he had cheated on her in the past but I never saw him dating anyone. He would go to music concerts though (hence me being called in to babysit) Anyway, eventually I think he either kicked her out or they agreed on seperate accommodation and she came and cried to my mum wondering how she was going to afford living on her own  rolleyes.gif They had the loveliest little girl and she was very confused  and silent while they were living together but became the happiest, brightest little thing after they officially split (her dad got custody).

#13 Guest_tigerdog_*

Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:04 PM

A lot of people are forced to do this, due to the high cost of housing.  Centrelink even acknowledge it as a necessary type of living arrangement for people whose other options are limited by circumstance.

#14 **Xena**

Posted 25 January 2011 - 03:37 PM

Thanks kimminy original.gif

#15 hiddensecrets

Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:11 PM

I am doing it now.

Ex has his own room but we have to share a bathroom so we timetable it (me at night for showers, him in the morning).  We each have our own tv and things like that.  Cooking and washing is separated.  If I am sick he cares for the kids, I care for myself and vice versa (unless he is working then its all me).  We are free to date/see other people as long as we are respectful of the other person, but so far this isnt an issue.  There are no sexual relations what so ever  sick.gif

The reason we are doing it is because of DD1 and her neurological condition.  Its degenerative and already requires a lot of work (therapies, tube feeding etc).  Because its fatal neither of us thought it was fair to deprive either parent, or DD1, of having constant interaction.  It also looks like DD2 has special needs, and requires a fair bit of therapy so its best if we work together.  DS also needs us.

We are moving to QLD and will continue to be separated under one roof for finance purposes, and for the care of the children.  For now this seems to be working for us.

Centrelink are aware of our separated under one roof status and they deem us a single couple that are working together for the sake of our children, especially our special needs child.  We have social workers at DD1's hospital that are willing to testify its in her best interest, as well as ours (Apparently its fairly normal for children with special needs to have parents separated but living together....this came from the social worker).  I have my own bank account, as does he, we split the bills (50/50) and DH is paying me child support for as long as he can in the way of paying for bills as well (private agreement).  We do our shopping separately.  Household stuff is a his and mine thing unless its for the kids then we split it.  All our friends and family see us as separated and treat us as such.  its the best scenario for our children, especially DD1, and we are doing very well as just friends.  We fight much less  laugh.gif

If it works for them, why not......if they are good enough friends it can work really well as a "house mate" situation.

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