Danielle Staub is in somewhat of a pickle. After The Real Housewives of New Jersey pal married Marty Caffrey in May, things quickly went south. Just three months after the wedding the two were brawling — both filed for a restraining order against the other, and Marty filed for divorce last month.
Just one problem — and it's a major one. The two are still living under the same roof. Friends, you ask? Nope.
"He doesn’t sleep in the marital bed," she told Us Weekly. "We’re roommates for now. Or housemates I should say, not roommates. I feel like I have to close my doors … That part is uncomfortable, but it’s gotta be uncomfortable for him too. I just don’t know if he’s as uncomfortable as I am because it seems like he enjoys that in his life. Drama in his life is something that I was shocked to find out.”
Can you imagine this nightmare living situation? Another Housewife who had to put up with this was Bethenny Frankel, after her ex refused to move out of their shared SoHo apartment. Their divorce battle dragged on for years, but eventually, she sold that pad in a day with the help of Fredrik Eklund.
Having to live under the same roof as an ex can be a nightmare. Personal Space asked some experts on how you can survive the situation.
Lauren Eavarone, who offers sex therapy and relationship counseling in New York City, said, “Establishing boundaries will be a useful tool in maintaining sanity while also keeping the peace."
"Negotiate expectations regarding the new household arrangement," she advised. "Are you allowed to bring other romantic interests to the home? How are you both planning on dividing up bills based on the new ‘roommate’ set up? ... If the relationship is toxic, but the partners are for one reason or another bound to their current residence, consider coordinating your schedules so that the frequency of time spent together in the residence is kept to a minimum."
New York-based psychotherapist Jason Eric Ross said you cannot remain in limbo about your living situation.
"Make a plan for yourself," he said. "You need a timeline and expectations of how long you might be under that roof and how you want to conduct yourself. Planning is an active process and will prevent you from feeling like a victim, especially given your current circumstances. If you don't have anything to look forward to, you will feel hopeless and then focus on negativity.
It's also important to try not to let your frustrations escalate.
"People can go through some tough times financially, so you want to make sure you don't let your frustration escalate. Don't keep it all inside. Talk to others you trust and/or a professional ... Don't lose sight of the goal: Getting out. Sooner is better in this case. Dig deep and try to put your resentments aside. Be the bigger person. Your goal is to get out, not win a fight and lose a battle," he advised.
"That could include moving furniture, keeping different hours so you don't see each other as much, even thinking of them as a difficult relative you really do know how to cope with vs. your ex that you have ambivalent, hurt feelings towards," she added. "Treat your ex with courtesy and respect but keep your distance. Realize you are under the same roof temporarily and try to treat it like a bad vacation, or some other temporary disappointment that you will get out of soon enough."
As for the apartment, interior designer Francesco Bilotto agreed with Landes, saying the first thing to do in a situation like this is "to create a 'time management' calendar of rooms (like who gets the bathtub on Wednesday night and who gets to binge Netflix on Friday) plus reconfigure your everyday costs."
"Even if you’re sad or mad, you still should communicate and figure out a way to set new rules and boundaries between you both as roommates," he said. "From sharing the living room to the division of groceries, and especially the rules of the house when it comes to guests and any late night visitors. When it comes to delicate areas like the bathroom, especially in the mornings if you're stuck sharing just one, this is the time to invest in that gym membership if you haven't already showered before work.
"As for your home, create 'zones' that are more private and separated," Francesco added. He recommended "turning a bedroom (or if you're lucky to have a guest room) into a 'studio apartment' [or] dividing a smaller space in half with bookshelves or a strong huge folding screen. Also, get rid of any personal mementos from the past — think hotel living with minimal clutter and personality just until you both can move on. If you're not getting along, it's probably best to store items at separate storage location so no one goes Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale."
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