Going through a divorce is hard enough in itself during normal times, especially when both parties are living under the same roof. Add having to isolate with your ex, work from home and home-school to the equation and it’s a whole different ballgame. So what can you do to try and make things a bit easier for everybody?
The key is communication and being clear about your expectations. Sit down with your ex to try and see if the two of you can figure out what the ‘new normal’ looks like for you as a family in a calm manner. Avoid inflammatory language and pick the right time to talk. You may even want to try and agree a regular day and time to talk to your ex, away from the children. Remember, every family’s circumstances are different and this means you need to work out what is right for you. We appreciate that this may not always be possible as this will depend on your ex’s co-operation but if you are able to communicate about lockdown restrictions, boundaries, matters involving the children, the family’s finances, household chores etc., it will make things a lot easier for you, and your children.
Practice ‘spousal distancing’. Give each other space. Even those in happy relationships need time alone. Perhaps you and your ex could agree a routine for using the bathroom or kitchen to try and avoid the two of you being on top of each other and therefore reduce the potential for conflict. You could even agree a routine whereby you both spend time alone with the children at home, whilst the other goes out for their daily exercise, or vice versa.
Keep your children out of conflict. Your children may already be anxious as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the prospect of their parents divorcing can leave them feeling even more overwhelmed and emotionally sensitive. Avoid having discussions with your ex about matters concerning your separation in your children’s presence. This avoids the risk of exposing your children to a heated discussion with your ex. Instead, try and agree with your ex how the two of you will support the children. Try and reach a common consensus on how you will talk to them together about your decision to separate and help them cope.
Look to the future. Remember, there will be brighter days. Covid-19 has taken over our lives but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.