Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Separated but living in the same building

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | July 6, 2011 - 9:13AM

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

My husband and I are divorcing and he has rented a smaller apartment in our building so he can stay close to our 6-year-old son.  This is wonderful for our son but a little too close for comfort for me.  How can I set appropriate boundaries and ground rules so that I can get on with my life?


Separated But Not Enough

Dear SBNS,

Your divorce need not play out like episodes of 'Three's Company' or 'Real Housewives'; as in all things, aim to imitate Woody Allen's art rather than his life - grownup, sophisticated, and urbane even in the craziest of circumstances.

The same apartment building does not and should not mean the same apartment.  Your ex's convenient access to your child is wonderful but should not extend to convenient access to you.  You are entitled your own keys, groceries, and living space.  Depending on the restrictions in your custody agreement, your time with your child is still yours alone and his is still his alone whether he lives one floor away, one block away, or one ocean away. 

Don't ask the doorman about his dates and request that the doorman stay doormum about yours.  

Good luck and have I got a guy for you,

Ms. Demeanor

Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here.


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