Rules about dating while separated

Marcy and Jim are among a growing number of long-married couples who decide to separate but continue to live together.There are a number of reasons that people do this: Economically, one or both might not be capable of supporting himself, the divorce itself might be too expensive, or they might not be emotionally ready to formally and permanently split.

They no longer wanted to be buried next to each other, but neither wanted to sell the adjoining plot to the other.

“In the end, we sold to someone else in the town, got a good price and divided the money equally," she says.

Ian and his former wife, Karen, continued to live in their spacious house for two years after they decided to divorce.

Now remarried, Ian says the arrangement was, on the whole, a success.

Given the spike in divorces after age 50 and grim economic realities for many of these people, potential cohabitors need to weigh the pros and cons of the arrangement.

If staying under one roof seems to be the most acceptable solution when divorce isn't feasible, at least in the near-term, it’s essential that the couple establish some ground rules so that cohabitating doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

(MORE: How to Tell Your Adult Children You're Divorcing) The Ties That Bind?

According to Tessina, the most common thing that keeps people together is money — or more to the point, the lack thereof.

"But until we could get over that hurdle, neither of us was going to budge from the house." (MORE: For the Sake of the Kids) Separated but Still Parents Some estranged baby boomers continue to live together “for the children,” even after they’ve flown the nest.

“We wanted the kids to feel they could come home for Christmas,” says Ian Kent, whose three children in their 20s have careers in Los Angeles, half a continent away from their suburban Chicago childhood home.

While some try to keep the arrangement under wraps, plenty of others are straightforward about it.

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