Being a couple in the middle of a divorce is difficult at any time. The issues include having to share access to your children, the costs of running two households instead of one and the emotional decisions involved in moving forward. If life isn’t hard enough, and now the world is dealing with the consequences of Covid19. This crisis has already changed many lives. Concern and uncertainty around things like, employment, the duration of the virus, essential travel and what that means, easing stress on children, and so on.
What is a couple to do? Being separated just adds another level of complexity for ex-couples. But desperate times calls for desperate yet much needed measures.
This is an example of how one couple have worked together and put their family needs first. Now we realise this may not be the answer for every couple but a suggest of how others are coping.
Robert and Jill were married for 12 years and have a seven-year-old son. Four months ago the couple separated and Robert moved out of the family home. The couple share custody of their son and are committed to his best interest.
Three weeks ago, they decide if the country went into lockdown there was too much uncertainty around access to their son and the risk was disheartening. ‘If the government lock us down like what has occurred to the people in Italy, one of us may not be able to see our son’ said Jill. ‘Then what if we loose our jobs, the expenses of running two household was stressing us out.’
Even though their separation has been difficult and communication tough, they decided that neither one of them, wanted to take the risk of not seeing their son for weeks leading to months. The uncertainty is too much at a moment like this. It feels like a game of Russian roulette and they are not prepared to miss out on seeing their son.
The couple has now moved back in together. It wasn’t an easy move but it was what was best for them. The thought that they could support each other What’s important is that, they pre planed and decided on how things are going to work out between them.
Jill has stayed in her room, Robert is in the spare room. Jill has the lounge room and Robert has converted the garage into a temporary ‘men’s shed’.
In regards to responsibility for their son, they have remained the same. Jill looks after him 50% of the time and Robert the other 50%. They spend time with their son just as they would if they were separated. The person who normally would care for him cooks his dinner and plays with him etc.
They take turns in using the kitchen.
They know that if one of them loose their job the other is there to support till the storm ends. They are showing an example of understanding and how kindness matters. You may have your differences, and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you have to like the person to work with the person for your best interests.
This leads me to add in a few tips for anyone who may face a similar situation at home;
- Try to compromise just like how you would be expected during your divorce process.
- Keep your distance, and know each other’s weaknesses. This way you don’t fall into a trap of misery and eternal arguments. It gives you the space you wanted in the first place.
- Look at the best interest of your children, they may need your company the most at this time.
- Keep yourself occupied doing the things you love, your hobby at home, or chatting with your friends or working from home. You will not be burdened with time to check up on what your ex is up to.
- Keep things organized and work on a schedule so that it doesn’t coincide with your ex partners’ and you both don’t put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
- Take care of yourself, meditate and exercise so you are in a good mood.
When life throws you lemons, sometimes you just have to learn to make a lemonade. Till the waves die down and the storm ends, hang in there. Your stronger than you think.