The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

Thinking of divorce? One expert recommends a 'consorce'

Is it possible to stay together during your separation?

By Kristin Wong Dec 13, 2012 4:55PM

In recent years, researchers have been exploring the link between the economic downturn and the rate of divorce, and at least one study shows that divorce rates are lower during a recession. 

Photo: stevecoleimages/Getty ImagesMany couples decide to stay in an unhappy marriage rather than pay for a costly divorce and risk financial ruin. But one expert says he has a solution for couples who want to split but also want to "avoid the myriad costs of divorce." It's been dubbed a consorce, and essentially, it involves estranged couples cohabitating for the sake of their finances—and children.

More on MSN Living: Most common holiday arguments—and how to avoid them

In an article for Fox News, psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow writes:

"The idea of married couples deciding on a 'consorce,' rather than a divorce, is this: Why should a couple split up the family funds, maintain two dwellings, involve the courts in their lives, hire attorneys and cause each other months or years of suffering when they could simply agree that the romantic part of their marriage has ended and that they will remain married and live together as friends and partners, in order to maintain a level of consistency for their children?" 

Ablow goes so far as to suggest couples that can still sleep in the same bedroom "without sexual contact expected by either individual." 

The obvious issue with this arrangement is, if you're contemplating divorce, you probably want a separate life from your partner. But Ablow argues that it's beneficial to turn the marriage into a friendship and essentially become roommates. 

More on MSN Living: The biggest rocks of 2012

A consorce isn't an open marriage, either. Couples agree to adopt a "Don't ask; Don't tell" policy regarding their separate sex lives. 

Psychologically, Ablow says a consorce relieves couples from the pressure and expectation of being with their partner forever—romantically and sexually. 

"[Consorce] allows them to maintain their households and become very reliable partners to one another and very close friends," he writes. 

Obviously, this isn't a solution for every marital situation. 

But what do you think—if you were contemplating divorce, would you first try a consorce?

Photo: stevecoleimages/Getty Images

Bing: What time of year do divorce rates rise?

More Sex & Love on MSN Living:
10 places to meet a man for the holidays
7 strategies to divorce-proof marriages
The way to his heart after 1, 5 and 10 years of marriage
What does your engagement ring say about you

Subscribe to The Heart Beat


Dec 13, 2012 6:48PM
Sounds more civil than an expensive court battle but I bet a potential new BF or GF would have a hard time believing someone who said, "I live with my spouse and we sleep in the same bed, but we're not sexually active." If you and your spouse can remain friends and living under one roof with the kids is your number one priority, I say go for it (just don't expect to kick off a fantastic dating life on the side). I, for one, wanted to move on with my life after my divorce and I couldn't get out of there fast enough!
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage

  • Lies wives tell

    7 lies your wife tells you

    How to flag her little fibs. By Laura Tedesco

  • A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com // A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com (A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change. AFP Photo, ©Serg Zastavkin, shutterstock.com)

    Being the odd one out may make you more attractive

    A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change.

  • The Viceroy Anguilla

    Great getaways for a spring-summer honeymoon

    As a general rule, any island that offers great weather year-round is going to attract the most visitors in the winter (high season) when we’re all trying to escape the snow. Once summer rolls around, many islands see a sharp drop-off in tourism since many people have beach weather right in their own backyards.

  • Getty Images

    The top 10 complaints from unhappy husbands

    And how you can attack the issues together.

  • 25 wedding photo bombs

    25 wedding photo bombs

    A wedding is an exceptionally special day. Sometimes, an opportune photo flub makes the occasion even more memorable. Here are 25 awesome wedding photo bombs.

  • He takes you on nondrinking dates.

    7 signs he’s getting serious about you

    Somewhere between the first few butterfly-inducing dates and the committed-for-life stage, there’s the period of wondering if you’re both on the same page about how serious you feel about a future together. If you’re not quite at the point of "that talk" but you’re looking for a few clues you’re heading in that direction, here are some signs he’s in it for the long haul as your relationship progresses.

  • 'Have you tried online dating?'

    15 things single people are tired of hearing

    What’s that sound? It’s white noise blocking out the well-meaning person proclaiming groundbreaking news about where you can meet someone, asking why you’re still single, or bugging you about when you’re getting married already. Don’t be that person. Here are 15 annoying things all single people don’t want to hear.

  • 1. New Hair Color

    11 things to avoid the week before your wedding

    With just a few days left before the big day, you already have a mile-long checklist of to-dos—now meet the don’ts! From impromptu skin treatments to all-night movie marathons, here are 11 things to avoid at all costs.

  • 'It’s a Wonderful Life'

    13 movie romances we can learn from

    A new study shows that watching and discussing romantic films can drastically reduce your chance of divorce. These flicks more than fit the bill.

  • About you and someone else

    10 things he’ll never forget you said

    These seemingly innocent phrases still have the power to wound… big time.

  • He or she is the first one you want to tell

    6 signs your marriage will last a lifetime

    Making "I do" last forever is one of the biggest challenges you'll ever face—and it's normal to worry about how you'll do it. But, if your connection involves any of these things, rest assured that you're in it for the long run.

  • Simone Becchetti, Getty Images // Simone Becchetti, Getty Images (Simone Becchetti, Getty Images)

    Can you stay together after a marital affair?

    Ultimately, as hard as it may seem at the beginning, a marital affair can be a turning point.

buzzing now on msn living
The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner
relationship videos
editor's picks
the heart beat