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Sheltering in Place When You're Not On The Same Page


Even in the best of times, getting divorced is awful. But being cooped up with someone you no longer want to be with is a painful and possibly combustible situation.

If you're waiting for the courts' decree and find yourself quarantined with your spouse and kids, hang in. While it is vitally important for everyone in the house to remain emotionally and physically healthy, you can only be responsible for yourself and children. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that:

  • Practice your self-care first. As the flight attendants say, put the oxygen mask on you first. You'll be more resilient, remain healthy, and be better able to support your children. Even if you need to get up at dawn to have a bit of alone time to meditate, stretch, or whatever it takes to have a few minutes of privacy and well being, you can do it, and you're worth it.

  • When you need to process your emotions, rely on a trusted friend, coach, or therapist to help you. Do this privately, away from your children and your spouse. It's your time to manage your emotions.

  • Help your children process their feelings. They're going through everything you're going through. Take time to listen, acknowledge their concerns, do what you can to reassure them, and give plenty of hugs.

  • Permit yourself to let go of things that create anxiety and tension. You don't need any more angst. Unmade beds, a few dishes in the sink do not reflect on you. Your plate is full. (Look on the bright side, unmade beds make it quicker to hop in for a nap)

  • Set boundaries around work/school time, playtime, alone time for yourself and children, and keep them. Order, schedules, routines keep everyone on the same page. Boundaries are your friends.

  • Use clear and direct communications to establish expectations with both your children and spouse about chores, shared responsibilities, and COVID-19 precautions.

  • Everyone in the house needs space. You can create a schedule enabling each person to have alone time in a specific room. If space is not available, pass out earphones to develop a sense of privacy and lessen noise.

Remember, you are in the home stretch. How you get through this will have a lasting influence on how you'll emerge and start your new life. You got this.


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