Written By: Veralynn Morris
COVID19 hit the world like a brick wall. One day, things were pretty normal, and then the next day, everything had changed.
This has left a lot of people wondering about what happens next. And this is especially true if they were looking into, just starting, in the midst of, or just ending the divorce process.
Over the next several weeks, we’re going to take a look at different topics related to divorce in the context of COVID19. Hopefully you’ve managed to get through this far. The tips presented here are meant to answer some of your questions, as well as provide support for you during this time.
Stuck with Your Spouse
Even in a healthy relationship, being together a lot can cause a certain amount of friction in the relationship. Being in close contact with anyone for any significant length of time is, understandably, going to lead to some disagreements. Most of this stems from people’s inherent need for privacy or lack there of, which is hard to manage in close quarters.
For couples who were looking to divorce, being in quarantine together is not ideal. You wanted to separate from this person for a reason.
Even though the main COVID19 shelter-in-place orders are no longer in effect, you may still be stuck living with that person due to financial hardships, your process coming to a screeching halt, or any number of other reasons.
Here are some ways you can stay sane while still living with that person you’d really like to get away from.
1. Communication is key
As in any relationship, communication is important. Even though you don’t want to be around this person, the situation necessitates it. So, set boundaries. Let them know what you need in terms of help around the house, time to yourself, and taking care of any children. Not having boundaries with your partner makes it easy for arguments and overstepping to occur.
Additionally, make sure you deal with them in a more business-like manner, rather than an emotional one. Right now, you’re in a business situation. The goal is to remain cordial enough to coexist. Arguing or belittling each other is not the way to go. Even if your partner is not cordial, take the high road. Be polite, yet firm and walk away when you need to to avoid a confrontation.
Although difficult, communicating in an open way, or choosing to leave when an argument seems imminent, is the best course of action. It will help keep peace in the house and limit undue stress on yourself or your other family members.
2. Set clear, consistent routines
The easiest way to maintain calm in the household is for you to establish routines. These routines can include setting rotations for when you and your partner help with the kids schooling or other activities. It also means understanding what each of you is responsible for as far as the general household work. Having that conversation will lessen the likelihood of arguments later on.
If your partner won’t agree to this type of arrangement, it might be up to you to make some amount of sacrifice in your daily life to avoid them. Either way, you are acting in the best interest of your household, regardless of what your partner does or does not do.
3. Claim your space
This builds off the previous two points. Communicate to your partner, and your kids, what your space is going to be. Make it a comfortable space for you where you can get away from your partner if needed.
Having a designated “safe space” is also important for your mental health. This COVID19 crisis is stressful for everyone and even more so if you live with someone you don’t care for anymore. So find the time to do things for you. Meditate, read, just sit, and allow yourself to unwind physically and mentally.
4. Know it won’t last forever.
Eventually, life will go back to being more normal. You’ll have more opportunity to interact in person with friends and family. You’ll be able to move your divorce forward and move out. There are lots of positives on the horizon. Even if it feels hopeless now, remember that the situation is temporary and your outlook, positive or negative, will impact how you react to it.
But also be kind to yourself. It’s not possible to be positive all the time. Feel negative for a while. Then remind yourself that this too will pass, and keep going.
5. Expect divorce proceedings to take longer.
Because everything shut down, the courts are extremely behind on reviewing cases. They’re catching up, but it takes time. Additionally, many courtrooms are not open as things have moved to a virtual space due to COVID19.
If you know this ahead of time, you won’t feel as bad when the process drags on. Also, if it’s taking so long you just can’t stand it, consider mediation. Mediation is often a faster and less expensive route than taking your divorce to court. If your partner is willing to attend mediation, it’s a possibility you have to move things forward.
You will get through this. It’s a tough situation. Utilizing these tips will hopefully make it a little easier to get through the rest of this crisis and move forward into a better future for yourself and your family.
I utilized several great sources in putting this post together. After reading them, I compiled them into my own idea of the advice that seemed to be shared across the board. If you’re interested in getting more details, please consider taking a look at the following resources.
6 Strategies For Survival: Cohabitation In The Time Of COVID-19
Divorce and Coronavirus: Does it Make Sense to Wait?
Going Through A Divorce? Here’s How To Survive The Lockdown While Living Under One Roof
Quarantined with Your Ex: How do You Cope When You Live with Someone You Despise?
“Stay at Home” Orders: A Living Hell For Victims of Domestic Violence