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Am I a free agent if separated under the one roof?

Many couples separate under the one roof resorting to separate bedrooms and live like flat-mates as they can’t financially support two properties.

So where do you stand when it comes to dating whilst you are still under the same roof as your ex?

Is it cheating?

Well technically yes, as you are still married living in the family home.

So, does that mean you have to stay celibate during your separation, not able to seek love and intimacy that you have lacked in your relationship with your ex for months or possibly years?

Well, it all depends on how you both set the ground rules for separation under the one roof. There are so many things to consider;

Do you both agree dating is OK as long as you don’t bring the date back to the family home?

What about the kids, what will the impact be if their parents start dating openly, how confusing will

it be for them to see the two people they love the most in the world cheating on each other?

What behaviours is it teaching the children for their own future relationships, that their happiness is more important than hurting someone they are supposed to love?

What if one of you really doesn’t want the separation and has just agreed to give you space in the hope of reconciliation?

What will it do to the self-worth of the one feeling discarded, rejected and abandoned in the relationship?

Will it cause conflict in the household as tensions rise due to coping with separation as well as the speed at which one person moves on?

It is important to have healthy communication on how separation will work under the same roof so that the conflict and damage endured is minimised for both you and the children.

Separation is a phase that requires healing, closure and transitioning to the new family structure. To bring new people into the mix, only creates havoc, hurt and pain. If you are the one who has instigated the separation you may have accepted the relationship has no future and are ready to start a new life. The person who is still reeling from the news that you want to leave needs time to adjust as they may be in shock, denial and be angry that their world is being turned upside down.

Financial settlement negotiations can be severely impacted if a new love interest is sought during separation impacting your long-term financial security & stability. Your ex may want to punish you financially for the pain caused by cheating, rejection and abandonment.

The damage may occur to your new relationship too. Some couples have been separated under the one roof and one person starts dating in secret creating a parallel life to jump into. They not only lie to their ex, their children but also the new person they start dating creating a web of lies. The new person is being told that the couple have agreed to separate under the one roof awaiting financial settlement so they can go their separate ways. Most often this is in a one income family so the new person believes the lies. It can be years down the track amidst an argument that it is accidently leaked “I left my wife and children for you” whereby the new love is crushed to discover their relationship was built on infidelity and this spirals into the demise of the new relationship.

What ever decisions are made can have ramifications on the relationships with the new partner, relationships with the kids and the coparenting relationship.

In our haste to create a new life whilst under the same roof, we can wreak havoc for many years to come.

Author - Cheryl Duffy, Divorce Coach, Mediator & Author

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