There’s been a flood of celebrity separations this summer, and while the news is saddening, the ex-couples aren’t doing so badly. In fact, some of them are actually still living under the same roof.
The most harrowing split so far has no doubt been Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who made the decision to part ways on their 10-year anniversary. However, while they may be splitting up emotionally, they will physically remain very close. According to Vogue, the ex-couple has decided to keep living in their 8,800-square-foot Los Angeles estate for the sake of keeping their children’s lives relatively the same.
While you might think that’s plenty of room to keep their lives separate for the most part, they’ve also chosen to live together in the same rental property in Atlanta while Garner finishes filming Miracles from Heaven. True, Affleck may be crashing in the guesthouse, but the continued attempts at cohabitating are clear. The couple is obviously intent on focusing their love and attention on their three children and making sure their divorce doesn’t have too much of a negative impact on them.
This living together after divorcing may sound like a much easier thing to pull off if you’re a celebrity with tons of money, but it’s actually happening a lot more often in everyday households. Divorce lawyers are making note of the trend and saying it sometimes has more to do with financial difficulties than protecting the kids. According to HG.org, “Rather than take a big loss on the house, ex-spouses are deciding to jump from marriage partners to roommates, hoping that the economy and the housing market will turn around and they can sell the home sooner rather than later.” Naturally, unless the couple splits truly amicably (and let’s face it, how often does that really happen?), this causes some added tension, especially when your kids start asking questions.
While I understand why financially it may be difficult to uproot immediately, I have to assume this living together would be similarly awkward for one’s kids. Eventually someone will start dating, your kids will wonder why you don’t kiss anymore but still watch Modern Family together, and household responsibilities will get confusing. All in all, unless there hadn’t been love but only friendship for a long while leading up to the split, I can’t imagine the scenario ending well.
That said, life post-divorce has been evolving significantly in recent years, especially with over half the country ending up there at one point or another. Working through a divorce amicably is not only good for your kids but also good for everyone’s emotional well-being. If that means continuing to live together for a period of time post-divorce, then by all means.
One couple who tried living separately for a time found living together — or “nesting,” as it’s properly called — while not always ideal, was much better for everyone involved. An associate professor of family medicine at Ohio State University explains the motivation: “Allowing kids to stay put in their house instead of uprooting them every couple days can minimize the psychological injury of divorce and give a sense of normalcy at home.” Now all the family lives together in the same Victorian house, including ex-wife Alison’s partner, Shari. While there are occasional conflicts, the ex-couple approaches them differently now that they’ve had some emotional space.
Communal custody and 50/50 splits are definitely not an answer for everyone, but it is changing the dimensions of divorce, giving couples more room to define their boundaries.