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Quarantined with Your Ex: How do You Cope When You Live with Someone You Despise?

Many people who go through divorces well think to themselves that if only their spouse and themselves could have some time together to talk through their issues that a reconciliation would be possible. We all get caught up in our day-to-day activities yeah it seems like we are busier now more than ever. These activities may not even be all that important and we may tend to lose focus on our relationships in order to engage in activities that are not all that important in the long run. Even our marriage relationship is one that we can Take for granted during certain time periods.

Something that I have figured out when it comes to Texas divorce cases is that you may, as a person who was considering divorce, consider your spouse to be an ex-spouse even if you have not gone through a divorce as of yet. There is a certain amount of emotion That plays into when you feel like your marriage is over. While your marriage may very much still be legal and valid, it may be the case that you have emotionally finished the marriage. 

Let's assume that you were going through a divorce in the early spring when the COVID-19 pandemic came across our area. To one extent or another, our lives as we knew them came to a halt during this time period. It does not matter if we were going through a divorce most of the family law courts in Southeast Texas closed for periods of time and have only since been able to reopen in order to allow for the normal proceeding of legal matters. 

In the meantime, what can you do to ensure that, If you are living with a spouse with whom you are not on the best terms with, you can Make it out of this time period with your sanity intact? That is a reasonable question to ask and one that I would like to offer my thoughts on today in this blog post. While your particular circumstances will be unique to you and your spouse, I think I have some general advice that can be beneficial to you. 

Set your boundaries and do not back off 

When it comes to relationships of any kind, it is a good idea to always establish proper boundaries early on if at all possible. I think the quintessential boundary that is important to create between spouses is what you can and cannot say to that person That will push his or her buttons. Ideally, you and your spouse will be able to discuss a wide range of topics and be comfortable sharing her thoughts and feelings with one another. However, if you find yourselves in a circumstance where you are disagreeing with one another in matters both big and small you may want to talk through those issues directly with your spouse. 

Lucky for both of you, the pandemic and subsequent quarantines means that you have more time now than ever before in order to work on establishing boundaries both for the short term and long term. Many times, if we are attempting to salvage a relationship, we will back down on our boundaries and allow that other person to say things that we are not necessarily comfortable with. You may allow a spouse to be overly critical of you in some regards in order to show him or her that you are willing to here there are criticisms and take appropriate action. While this may be something that allows you to hear their true concerns, it can also cause you harm emotionally.

You should be clear with your spouse About what you believe to be appropriate conversation about the marital problems that you are having. It is important for you and your spouse to be able to share issues with one another and be able to respond appropriately to constructive criticism. If you allow your spouse to speak to you honestly but do not allow him to say things to you that are hurtful and over the line then you have a better chance at reaching a reconciliation point with him. 

The other side of the coin is that if you do not establish boundaries with your spouse it is unlikely that you ever will. Every married person, even those who are in functional marriages, know that there are certain topics and certain words that can be especially hurtful to a spouse. If you were to utter those words during argument it would either cause your spouse a great deal of pain Word would set him or her off and take the argument to a new level of anger and hostility. Most spouses want to avoid saying these words or encroaching on this subject matter. 

As a result, you probably should have established boundaries early in the marriage that would be able to dictate what subject matter were appropriate to discuss and what was out of bounds during an argument. If you and your spouse are the type that engage in nonproductive in a really hostile verbal fights, then this will be an especially smart time for you all to set up some appropriate boundaries. If not now, you will probably never find a better opportunity to do so. Even if you do not specifically walk through the issues that are giving your marriage the most problems you can at least set up the groundwork to do so at a later date by establishing boundaries.  

Plan ahead for your future and do not dwell in the present

If you believe that a divorce from your spouse is unavoidable and that is the direction that you are going to choose no matter what results from this quarantine then Talking things through with your spouse during this time period probably will not make much of a difference to your mindset. Sometimes in life, if you are anything like me, all the additional conversation and advice in the world could not get you to change from a position you are taking in regard to a certain subject. With that in mind, if you believe that a divorce from your spouse is necessary and in your best interests no degree of talking or counseling during this quarantine will likely cause you to change your mind. 

Finding yourself in this position means that you are much more likely to find happiness and contentment in the future rather than in the present. I would recommend that you embrace this reality and put your focus on your future rather than dwelling in the present discomfort of living with a spouse to whom you do not see a future with. Instead of focusing on a life that may feel trapped in neutral, or worse- in reverse, you should begin to plan for and contemplate what life could be like once your divorce is complete. 

What steps are you taking to prepare for your divorce from a logistical perspective? By this I mean, what are you doing to get ready for the actual steps of your divorce? Have you begun To interview family law attorneys who can represent you in the divorce? Do you know what qualities you are looking for in an attorney or what experience levels you would like to enter before? What about your goals in a family law case? 

Have you started to consider what you want to accomplish in your divorce? Every person who goes through divorce will find themselves in a unique circumstance. However, there are basically two components to every divorce. The first deals with child custody in the second deals with property division. You should begin to focus on these two areas and think about what your ideal circumstances would be and what you will do to ensure that you meet these goals. 

Thinking about these long-term subjects will accomplish two things. First of all, It will remove you from the toxic or at least unpleasant circumstances of your current life and allow you time to consider long term planning. So much of our time is spent fixated on the present that we have no opportunity to think about the future. By removing your mindset from the everyday drudgery of living with a soon to be ex-spouse you can prepare yourself for another phase of your life. 

In doing this, you can remove yourself from having to interact and possibly engage in negative conversation with your spouse. You may not be able to control your present circumstances but as long as you are having to live with your spouse if you can keep in mind that there are bigger goals in mind than simply making it through a pandemic then you will be better off. Generally speaking, maintaining a positive mindset is best for you, and if you have children is best for your kids as well. 

Focus on your kids and not on your spouse 

When I hear from people that they are stressed out about work or concerned about the pandemic or about any other topic I always think to myself if that person has kids, are they paying enough attention to the kids? Children are an interesting topic in the sense that we love our kids more than anything else on earth I can also take them for granted more readily than many other subjects. For example, these tough economic times may have caused you too to be concerned with the future of your job. However, I doubt very seriously that you were concerned for your children in the same way that you were concerned with your job. 

That doesn't mean you don't love your kids or that you love your job more than your kids. Not even close. However, our kids R such a big concern of ours that they almost transcend the normal concern that we have with other areas of our life like our marriage and our work. I would recommend that you put your focus on your kids right now and ensure that they're getting what they need during this pandemic rather than wrapping yourself up in worry over your own marital difficulties. 

Whatever your concerns are over the pandemic it is likely that your kids, depending on their age, have concerns that are just as valid and even more real. The benefit that you have as an adult is that you have context to this whole situation. We have a pretty good basis of knowledge that the pandemic, at least to the extent that we have seen thus far, is very unlikely to persist into the extended future. At some point, the situation will get better and some semblance of normalcy will return to our lives. We may not know when that is but we, I hope, are reasonably sure that it will return. 

On the other hand, your kids likely do not have the same perspective because of their age. You should reach out to your kids right now and be sure that you are giving them the attention that they need. I'm not only talking about the pandemic itself but in regard to their interests, relationships and in their schooling. Whenever this pandemic comes to an end you will have a stronger relationship with your kids, and you will not have focused all of your energy on negative subjects like an impending divorce. 

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. These consultations are a great opportunity for you to ask questions about your circumstances and to learn more about our law office. We take a great deal of pride in serving our community and represent clients throughout the family courts of Southeast Texas. Thank you for choosing to spend part of your day with us here on our blog and we hope that you will join us again soon. 


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