If your relationship is on the verge of falling apart but you’re not ready – or able – to live in separate homes, having a trial separation in the same house is an option.
Trial separations under the same roof really aren’t that uncommon nowadays.
It’s actually a good way to find out how you really feel about each other and how it feels to live apart, without the stress and financial burden of one of you moving out.
If you’ve decided to try a trial separation in the same house, here are some tips to help it go as well as it possibly can!
10 Tips For a Successful Trial Separation in Same House
1. Write Down Some Rules You Both Agree On
It never feels good to draw up a contract over something as emotionally charged as a trial separation, but it’s the right thing to do.
You and your partner need to sit down together and agree on some ground rules.
This way, if anything you can’t agree on comes up, hopefully, you covered it in these rules and you can quickly make a decision and move in.
There are templates and trial separation contact services, but I don’t recommend taking it that far.
Simply writing down what you both expect from the other person during this separation should do.
2. Have Separate Sleeping Quarters
This one is a really important one, neither of you can expect to have intimacy during a separation that just totally changes the whole dynamic.
Sleep in separate rooms and don’t venture out and visit the other person during the night, no matter how much you ‘miss’ them!
If you’re short on space, this means one of you is going to have to sleep on the couch!
3. Divide the Household Expenses
When you’re both still living in the same house, you’ll have to come to an agreement on how to pay the bills and buy groceries.
You can either take turns paying for things or just continue doing it as usual and keep track of what each person spends.
It’s important that during this time you don’t try to take advantage of the other person financially.
This is just a trial separation, not a divorce!
4. Know Who Is Doing Which Chores
Things can get a little petty and out of control when it comes to chores.
After all, who wants to do chores when things are going well, let alone when things aren’t going well?
You may decide not to do anything for each other, or you may decide to just split chores down the middle.
However you do it, make sure it’s fair, and make sure the household keeps ticking over while you’re separated.
5. Be Mature About It
This shouldn’t have to be said, but it really does.
Some of the stories I’ve heard over the years about how grown adults behave when trying to live separate lives under the same roof are nothing short of shocking!
If you want this trial separation to work, you’re going to have to be mature about it.
There’s no room for pettiness, immaturity, or games.
This is about you both trying to work out if living apart is really what you want, so act like it.
6. Establish and Respect Each Other’s Boundaries
You may have rules about not going into each other’s rooms or not being in each other’s space, and that’s fine.
But you also need to respect each other’s boundaries when it comes to emotional and mental space.
If one person needs some time alone, the other person should just back off and give them the space they need.
You’re probably living under the same roof because you have to, I get that, but you can act like you’re not and give your partner freedom.
7. Put Your Children First
If you have children, they should always be your number one priority.
No matter what’s going on between you and your partner, never use them as pawns in whatever game you’re playing.
They shouldn’t have to see you two fighting or hear you say nasty things about each other.
Some couples do discuss the fact that they’re having a separation, while some don’t.
It’s really up to you if you decide to tell them or not. But either way, they’re the ones that need to come out of this with minimal disruption.
8. Set a Timeline for the Separation
A trial separation is just that, a trial.
You should set a timeline for it from the start, that way there’s an end goal in sight.
It could be anything from two weeks to six months, but make sure you both agree on it and stick to it.
This is not a permanent solution to your problems, it’s just a way to see if living apart is really what you want.
9. Don’t Use This Time to See Other People
A trial separation is not a license to go out and sleep with other people!
If you want to make this separation work, then you need to be faithful to each other.
You’re still technically in a relationship, even if you are living apart, so don’t do anything that would jeopardize that.
10. Talk Openly and Honestly About How It Went for You
At the end of your trial separation, you need to sit down with your partner and talk about how it went.
Be open and honest with each other about what you liked, didn’t like, and whether or not you think living apart is really the answer.
You may find that it was a good thing for you, or you may find that it just made things worse.
Either way, you need to communicate with each other about it.
It’s crucial that you don’t try and say what you think your partner wants to hear or do what will make them happy.
This is a drastic step you took, and if it means that splitting is the best thing for the two of you, that’s what you’re going to have to do.
Facing it together and being amicable about it is going to make the whole process about as easy as it can be.
Image credits – Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.