Hey Bestie: My wife and I are separated but we are having to live in the same house because neither of us can afford to move out. Meanwhile, there’s a woman at work I’d like to ask out but bringing her home to my house could start World War Three. Is dating out of order when you’re still living with your ex-wife?
When couples separate, there seems to be three distinct communication categories: the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
Typically, the reason behind the decision to separate and ultimately divorce is what can lead to one of these categories.
Cheating usually falls within the downright ugly, extremely hurt emotions falls into the bad and citing ‘growing apart’ as the reason for separation and divorce often leads to the good category of communication.
One of the most important things to stress is the ability to carry on a mature conversation with your former partner – especially around certain topics.
Living together and dating new partners are two such conversations where a level of relationship maturity is ideal.
"You might be completely correct in your assessment that this might start World War III."
The Australian Institute of Family Studies reports that the average duration of marriage is 12 years with roughly two per cent of all marriages ending in divorce each year.
In 2020, one in seven Australians continued to live with an ex-partner – and if you fall into the millennial category, the statistic of remaining under the same roof shifts from roughly 15 per cent to 26 per cent citing financial reasons such as wanting to save money on housing costs or even to avoid a costly move.
If you’ve made the choice to remain in the same house, I would hope that some conversations have been had about rules, boundaries, and respect about the new ways of living as peacefully as possible apart-yet-together in the same house.
Dating ideally is not out-of-order when you are still living with your ex if you have had the chance to talk to your ex about the new partner and wanting to bring them home.
You might create mutually beneficial rules such as: bring your new partner home Monday, Wednesday or Friday and the ex will avoid the house on those days until a specific time, or avoid certain areas of the house.
Or, if the communication category for the both of you falls under “‘the good”, then this probably will non-issue when discussed.
If, however, your communication category is the “downright ugly”, you might be completely correct in your assessment that this might start World War III.
Personally, I would avoid springing the news on your ex by simply showing up with your new partner unannounced.
Common courtesy and respect go a long way in establishing a new normal for both of your lives.
Best to have the conversation (and maybe even revisit the conversation) before progressing to that next step because after all, everyone deserves to have a great relationship.