I read this article yesterday from the Wall Street Journal, written by Nona Sovich titled “Divorced and Sharing a Home.” Yes, you read the title correct; couples are divorcing and sharing a home, or really sharing two homes. The premise is to have shared 50/50 custody and each parent takes care of the kids in their marital home for a week, then the other parent steps in or switches places for a week and so on. In many of these cases the divorced couple has another “shared” space, typically a one-bedroom rental that the parent who is off for the week from the kids goes to. They believe this helps the children adjust by keeping them in their own home.
The benefits are supposed to be that the children get to stay in their home with both parents, albeit not at the same time. It is designed to give the kids stability during this difficult time, but ironically most therapists are not even on board with this since it seems confusing, especially for younger kids. The young kids cannot understand where mommy or daddy are all week.
All I can say is “Wow!” I do not need to be an expert to know that this will not work for the long haul. Advocates for it praise the concept saying that both economics and better parenting are leading people to think of divorce in new ways.
Apparently, this new-fangled arrangement is being called “nesting,” which sounds an awful lot like Gwyneth Paltrow’s “uncoupling” to me. In fact, the article points to a divorce attorney who claims she has seen an increase in nesting over the last year. “Parents are drawn to the ease of slipping out of their marriage without making hard choices about custody or selling the house.”
I am not a professional here, but does anyone see what’s wrong with this idea? It seems to me that the parents are just putting off the inevitable. Let’s all dance around the fact that mommy and daddy are divorced. Let’s protect the children from the reality that will have to smack them in the face eventually when the parents can no longer stand the insane arrangement.
Can you imagine dating someone who is divorced and you go to their one-bedroom apartment and find out that their ex also lives there every other week? That would make me steer clear from that person.
Seriously, why can’t these do-gooders do something good other than mess with a perfectly good divorce? Who the heck wants to be further tied, for however long, to the guy or gal you are divorcing? I mean, seriously, who? And, where do you keep all your personal stuff? Carry it back and forth each week? And please enlighten me as to how this benefits the children? It seems quite contradictory and confusing to me and I’m an adult. The benefit is for the parents. Mommy and daddy can now have two weeks off a month to live their life and screw someone else. Why not just stay together and have an open marriage?
Sharing the family home with your ex who you no longer are married to is just about the most insane idea I have heard in a long while.
Would love to hear your comments.
I read an interesting article in Sunday’s New York Post (Oct. 9) titled “50 Shades of Stray,” by Mackenzie Dawson. The writer discusses a largely held taboo, especially for women: how adult women are not supposed to run away from home or from their families, because if they do, “they risk losing everything.”
Sure this scenario does happen. I know of a family that had to deal with the mother running away and never returning, but it rarely happens. It’s usually the men who leave, while the women stay and make everything okay.
Let’s face it, mothers tend to be the worriers about all things children and especially when it comes to what their kids will eat if they aren’t home. I remember back when I was married, I would freeze dinners so my kids had food to heat up if I was working late or out for the evening. In fact, I still do that. So when a woman just ups and leaves the family, or decides she just wants to be the visitation parent in a divorced family, most people judge her harshly and consider her to be cuckoo. Men wanting the same thing don’t get the same type of judgement; they may get the label of being “selfish,” but most don’t think he’s off his rocker.
The article makes the contrast of how genre romance books like EL James novel 50 Shades of Gray, not so much romance as much as it is a book about sexual fantasies, has been trumped (pardon the political pun) by books that are about wives leaving their husbands, and kids. This would be fantasy of another kind, escapist.
Apparently these novels are popping up all over and creating quite a wave. Dawson discusses one book in particular, Leave Me by Gayle Forman. The protagonist of the book does leave, though not permanently, she kind of takes a “time-out” from her life. This genre is considered escape fantasy that does not involve sex. The real turn-ons in this genre are about having more time, attention for oneself, and the ability to focus. Having the ability to drop everything is an indulgence most of us, especially women, do not have.
The author of the book, Forman, was quoted in the Post article, and she concluded from many interviews with women that many women consider this sort of time-out from life and expectations to be the “real mommy porn.”
This had me thinking about women and divorce. As studies show, nearly 75 percent of divorces are initiated by women. It makes me wonder if this new genre of fiction has a correlation. Even though more and more men have picked up the slack at home, studies show that most of the household duties still tend to fall on the woman of the home. And, with nearly 50 percent of women in the labor force, the stress of “doing it all” does fall short.
As a working woman, with a house and kids, I can attest that my personal time is limited. However, when it is my weekend “alone” without kids, I find myself very busy doing all things I love to do. The weekend becomes about me, not them. It is refreshing, rejuvenating, and appreciated. I look forward to my daughter walking in the door after a peaceful, or indulgent weekend without her.
Perhaps this new genre of escapist fantasy will be good for marriages. For if we can indulge our secrets vicariously through a book or in the movies, maybe less women will feel the actual desire to leave their marriages.
Would love to hear your opinion. Can anyone relate?
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