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Breaking Up, Co-Parenting & and Living Under the Same Roof During a Pandemic

The pandemic has surely changed things; however, while everything around us seemingly came to a grinding to a halt, our everyday lives in our homes have continued to move forward. With everyone forced to stay indoors, this amped up stressors that most were already struggling with.

As of now, everything is slow moving as it pertains to separation and divorce proceedings, and for many couples dealing with a breakup, they are unable to move out – whether it’s a financial issue or otherwise.

People are being forced to embark on a breakup journey and co-parenting while being entirely unable to escape each other.

Divorcing family trying to divide child custody
It’s a complicated situation to deal with at any point, but the current climate of the world makes it an even more tenuous state of affairs. Which begs the question, how can you deal with a breakup, figure out how to co-parent, and live under the same roof with someone you don’t want to be with.

The Relationship

You have agreed to terminate your relationship, but you still have to work together to ensure your children feel safe, secure, and loved. Even though you have decided it is time to end your relationship, you need to continue working on the relationship. Typically, separating parents fall into one of three categories – cooperative, conflicted, or parallel.

  • Cooperative parenting. The parents are flexible in terms of compromise and communication and work together for the benefit of the children.
  • Conflicted parenting. The parents often argue with each other in relation to parenting and may do so in front of the children.
  • Parallel parenting. The parents don’t communicate with each other, the children exist in two spheres that are disconnected from each other.

Since you’re under the same roof, you run the risk of conflicted parenting because you cannot get space from the breakup. Cooperative parenting is obviously the ideal outcome, and with both coparents living under the same roof, you have an opportunity to work on making it happen. For those who are not emotionally able to yet cooperatively parent, a good alternative is parallel parenting because this will keep your children insulated from conflict, negative feelings or thoughts about your co-parent.

Routine & Conflict

Sit down with each other to create a routine. Who will do what when, where, how, and with who? This is going to help transition to when you do live under two roofs because a routine minimizes miscommunication, provided both co-parents with the space to heal and minimizes children’s anxieties regarding what to expect on a day to day basis.

Set Boundaries

Set some boundaries. You can divide the home if necessary, take turns with the bedroom, and split the chores. There should be rules about guests, appointments, and absolutely everything involving your children. Living under the same roof as your ex can negatively influence your mental health so the better you are at managing routine and anxiety, the healthier you will feel. You might walk away with a new friendship.

Often, parents forced to share a roof during a breakup feel resentful and angry about the situation. It is almost impossible to avoid arguing altogether, but the key is to ensure you do so where your children cannot see or hear you.

Breakups tend to result in urgency. There’s an urgency to heal and move on and it’s difficult to do that when you’re living under the same roof. Be patient. It might seem awful right now, but this is a temporary situation and you can both come out the other side stronger together to the benefit of your children. You didn’t ask for this, but neither did they.