Divorced and Living Together

Updated on May 27, 2011
K.K. asks from San Diego, CA
12 answers

Is it possible to be divorced and live together with out a problem? My parents have been divorced for months now, after 26 yrs of marriage. Sadly though, they couldn't afford to go on their own ways without selling their home first (my childhood home). The house is now sold and they have a few weeks to move out. Whoever said divorce is much easier on those who are older than the young ones was seriously lying. I'm 27 yrs old and this is devastates me, reality is setting in and its such heart break. Just to think that I won't have a home to go back to when i go visit my parents, to know that strangers will be living in the house where I grew up in, to know that my parents are going separate ways and not know of one another, EVER, is really hard for me. My mother has a place to go to but my father has no idea, he doesn't even have a job. It scares me and worries me to not know where he will end up. Unfortunately i can't bring him to my home, I live out of town and he will never consider it. He's never once visit me the whole three years i've been here. Anyway, it breaks my heart that my dad and my mom worked so hard for the house they just sold, they saved for 10 years before buying the house to pay 60 percent of it in cash. So, I ask, like a little kid...why can't they just live together and remain divorce. I know, its impossible. But divorced and living together they were "ok" they were about their own business. The first time my mother filed for divorced and put the house for sale didn't really get to me, because everything was the same back home, my bedroom, living under the same roof etc etc. But now, after a year, that reality is setting in, that in just a few weeks everything will be gone (it feels like it), is killing me. I just want to cry somewhere, but can't, I want to close my eyes and not see reality.
this isn't really a question but just letting-it-out sorta thing. I am very sad and i'm almost afraid to ask my mom why it's so hard to stay together divorced.

What can I do next?

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answers from Elkhart on

You sound like you are in a lot of pain and my heart goes out to you. I don't have a lot of experience with divorce so forgive me if I go with a little logic. What is the point of getting a divorce if you are still going to live together when you don't have to? I understand not being able to separate for financial reasons but once the house is sold that isn't a strong issue. Is it possible that you are focusing on the house going rather than the marriage? I am not judging you because I still dream of the house I grew up in and left when I was 14; over thirty-five years ago. I also still sigh just driving over the state line when I'm in my home state which I left at the same time. Since then I have moved enough to realize a house is just nails and wood. They don't hold the memories, we do. Well I hope I didn't get this all wrong and if I did I apologize. Parental relationships are hard even when they stay together.

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answers from Austin on

I am sorry that you are having to go through this.

This is hard for everyone and as you said, even though you are an adult you want your family to stay together.

In reality, your parents have their own lives, their own needs.
The are still young and are allowed to find happiness. Obviously together, they are not happy.

Don't you want them to be the happiest and best they can be?

Things change and we have to learn what our new normal is going to be. My home is not the building we are in or the house I grew up in, it is when me, my husband and daughter are here together.

My parents were divorced when I was young, and it was devastating, but when I look back I realized they were terribly unhappy. That does not diminish the love they had for me and their fondness for THOSE memories.

But now they have found their happiness in other ways.
My father moved to a totally new place for a while, it was exciting to see how he changed his attitudes. He was more content and settled.

My mother became more active in the community, she started a business, she found new friends, she travels (my father hates traveling) she is now remarried after 18 years of being single.

My father was remarried 2 times, his wife is an amazing woman and has been a very special addition to our family, his 2nd wife is also an amazing woman and still in our lives.

When they are happy, it makes me happy.

Your father is going through a difficult time. he may be confused, he may be stunned, but he is probably a strong man and is going to find a new strength. He can take his portion of the sale of the house and maybe find a nice condo, or a small home.

I encourage you to go to a therapist and talk out all of your TRUE feelings.. They are there bubbling under the surface and soon are going to begin showing themselves in all sorts of surprising ways. This is normal and good, but be sure others around you are aware of your feelings not being directed at them..

I am sending you a big hug and I promise, it will get better.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My parents sold the farm that I and my three siblings had grown up on once we were all adults. I remember that feeling of not having a "home to go back to" when I would visit them. But, they created a new home, and made us feel welcome there, too. Within two years of them moving, my mom was killed by a drunk driver. I realized then that "home" is not the house you live in, but the people you love. Be there for them as they go through this change. It's not easy for them, either.

Is it the divorce that is hardest for you, or that your "home" will be gone? They each will find a new place to live and you will be welcomed there. Yes, it will be different, but it will be there. They have their own lives to live, as you do. They aren't obligated to live it the way you want them to, as you don't need to live your life the way they may want you to.

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answers from Hartford on

Why would you want your parents to stay together while divorced? It's not your mother's responsibility to look after your father any longer or to worry about him any more. They divorced for a reason... supposedly because they would be happier apart from each other at this point in their lives. Sure, they worked hard to earn the home and the family but it's not like all of that is lost. The house is just a house and it served its purpose. With a divorced and unhappy former couple in it, it's bound to have some negative energy in it. Clearly they were NOT okay living there together and divorced or they would have remained married to let things keep going on.

Your father is an adult and he'll figure out what to do. He has to. He's got no choice. He needs to put on his big boy tighty whities and find a job, find a place to stay, and act like a f*ing adult. Don't victimize/infantilize your dad in this, okay? There was a divorce for a reason.

They both deserve the chance to move on in their lives and not have to worry about holding your hand through it. It's been happening for a long time and you've known about it, but ignored it by your own admission... so now they've both moved on and accepted it. I would take a cue from them.

No one is saying that you can't be sad. It's always sad when a marriage ends and it becomes officially official and there's no turning back. But it's not up to you, and it sounds like it's been a long time coming,

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answers from Detroit on

I am sorry you are going through this. However, they are adults too with their own needs and it's not fair to expect them to continue to live together if they no longer wish to be married, just so they can stay in the same house. My father died suddenly from a heart attack 7 years ago, leaving my mother alone with our childhood home (my brother and I were grown and gone). She decided to put it on the market later that year. I was devastated, I just wanted her to stay in it - I had fantasies about us moving back in with her to help take care of it and just holding onto it forever. But she had her mind made up, the house sold, and she sold it at a good time too, just before the market crashed (any longer and she would not have been able to get the money she could have gotten for it). She had a new condo built for herself and she was happier there than she ever could have been in the old house. It might have been the house we grew up in that held all our memories, but for her it had just become a burden and she was ready to move on. We could not expect her to just stay there for our sakes. When my husband and I reach retirement age, we would like to move back to MA and get a place on Cape Cod - which will mean no longer living in the home that our daughter is growing up in but we need to do what is right for us for the time we have left.

I remember once years ago I felt bad that I couldn't make it home for Christmas (I was living out of state at that time) and I was telling my dad about it, and he said not to worry. He told me that I couldn't put that much emphasis on being around for the holidays because eventually he would be gone, my mom would be gone, and I would have to live my own life as an adult with my own family. Sounds cold, but really, he was right. Both my parents are deceased now (my mom just passed away from cancer last year) and I am married with a child of my own, and my own house, and I am building a life as the grown-up now for my daughter.
It's been hard, feeling like my childhood is really over, and you really can't go back or go home again, but that's just the way life is - which is what I think my dad was trying to say, telling me to start living my life as an adult rather than a college kid that always expects to be able to come back home and have everything stay the same. Nothing ever stays the same. And your parents have raised their children and now they need to do what is right for them.

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answers from Boston on

I know that you're sad and have to work through your grief, but try to see it through your parents' eyes. Would you like to be divorced from your husband and still have to live with him? Part of divorce is that the unhappy couple can set themselves free and move on. I bet they suffered through a lot of miserable, empty years to stay together until you were an adult. You may never know the truth about what happened and when, how long they put up a facade but couldn't stand each other, etc. Your parents now have a chance to find happiness, either alone or with someone, in the last phase of their lives. They deserve that as much as you deserve to be happy in your own marriage. It's not right to expect them to put your happiness and memories first - I bet they did that for a long time and now it's time for them to put themselves first. Allow yourself to grieve as this is definitely a loss for you and I'm not trying to minimize that, but please don't burden them with these thoughts. I'm sure that after 26 years, a couple has good reason to walk away from their marriage. Trust them, forgive them, and support them.

FWIW, my husband and I will probably split up when our youngest is out of the house (barring some kind of crisis like a medical issue or some miracle like him becoming a totally different person). At that point, we will have been married 22 years with trouble starting 3 years in, and I would never tell my kids what happened or when. I would hope that if we do eventually go our separate ways, our kids will be able to trust that we tried our hardest and made the best decisions we could on their behalf and did what we thought was best for them for 2 decades even though we (my husband and I) were not super happy for long periods of time.

Anyway, best of luck to you and your parents as you all move forward.

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answers from Dallas on

They are not happy together, hence the divorce. Think about this way, they were miserable enough in eacothers presence to end a 26 year life together. Why should two people who are miserable enough to divorce, want to remain in the same home together? The divorce signifies they no longer desire and can't have a life together, or near eachother. They wouldn't be any less miserable "living together. I very highly doubt they were really OK just living together. It almost never works like that.

What you are asking of them (living together), is so YOUR dream, your ideals, your image of their marriage, remains intact. For them, it's already done. I'm so sorry to be this harsh, but they should be allowed to handle this however they need to. They have decided their lives need to be separate, and you don't get a say in that.

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answers from Philadelphia on

You can I'm doing it for financial reasons...but will stop as soon a it sells....BUT to want your parents to put their lives on hold eternally for you is extremely selfish....sorry I understand your sad...but my parents are doing what you want....and yea I can go back to the house I grew up in and see my parents together...but I wsh more than anything they'd both move on and find love...Love is a great thing and they'll never break theri old habts lving together...they'll stay in the same routine, same comfort zone and never be forced to experience ew things, potentially meet someone....I;m sorry but your post seems all about you and not the hardships your parents are going through...you should be there for them and help them move and encourge them...and let them know you're ok with it and want them to be happy!
I may be being harsh but only because it hit a nerve...you're wishing for what I get sad about...I wish for my parents to be happy and move on and find love and you're wishing your parents stay fake and together for setiment reasons?

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answers from Portland on

I think I understand. When my parents talked about getting a divorce when I was in my 40's I cried. I was so relieved when they decided not to get divorced. They were so unhappy living together, I was surprised they didn't divorce.

If they have the courage to get a divorce why would they then choose to live together? It might help understand better if you're able to understand why they divorced.

I think it's so painful for adult children because he does shatter the illusion of a happy family. As children we literally depended on your parents for our survival. That sense is still hidden away in our mind. Yes, we know we will survive as adults but the fear comes out once we hear the words divorce.

My parents have been dead for 10 or so years. I still miss them and sometimes feel anxious because they aren't here anymore. Divorce is a bit like a death. It's the death of a couple and an intact family and life as we know it.

Just as with death we need to be gentle with ourselves and allow ourselves time to grieve. Watch a sad movie and cry. Crying does help me release so much of the tension that makes me so unhappy.

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answers from San Francisco on

Your sentiments are the reason I want to stay with my husband even after my kids are gone, and am willing to do what it takes. I always want them to have a "home" to come back to. (I also don't think there is a wealth of amazing single men out there just waiting for me to nab them.)

I'm sorry, it's sad.

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answers from Washington DC on

My husband and his ex-wife lived together for almost a year after they were divorced...they each had their own rooms and did their own thing - they were adults about - there no kids so they didn't have much to fight over....

good luck!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Maybe there's just something in the water around here but what you're describing happens a LOT! Her upstairs, him downstairs......idk why but it seems to work for some people. Kind of like "I don't hate you, I just don't want to be accountable to you anymore" type of arrangement.

So....I guess the bottom line is would THEY want to do that? If not, then it's probably best if they do go their separate ways. I know it's hard...I read something recently about grown children having a much harder time with their parents divorcing, so I'm sure you're not alone.

2 moms found this helpful
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