Sunday, October 08, 2006

Beware of self-serving advice

Divorce -'s 8th Oct 2006 issue of its Sunday Times carried a story about how divorced couples find it necessary to continue living together in their public housing apartments in spite of their legal separation because selling out these days will incur negative equity.

I sympathise with them and if they can still live under the same roof, though not under the same arrangements as husband and wife, why not? This is not very uncommon if you have ever been overseas to study. Very often, you might end up sharing an apartment with the opposite sex, though of course, all of you have separate rooms. It is also not uncommon for some in the apartment, especially the ladies (and I am not type-casting anyone here) to cook for the guys and increasingly vice versa too. Coming back, this arrangement is doubly important if there are kids involved. Tearing a child's heart apart is the last thing anyone would want to do in spite of the hurt that others have caused.

So I bristled when the Propnex Realty's CEO Mohamed Ismail advised couples in such situation to cut their losses and move on. If the couples moved out, they will incur greater losses, not only financially, but get their kids involved emotionally too. I have come across many students who don't do well in school precisely because they are affected by broken homes. The sad thing is some of these students are quite bright but the emotional trauma and sense of confusion and loss over-rules it.

Mr Ismail's interest and advice are hardly difficult to fathom. However, if he wants to give such advice, he may as well jump into the Singapore River first before one or the other of his advisees do so as a result of increased financial trauma. Come on, Mr Ismail, I know you want to buy and sell houses, but surely not at the expense of others?

Besides, time is a great healer. If there is no 3rd party pushing for separate living arrangements, then over time, the relationship might just heal - so long as both couples keep in touch and Mr Ismail keeps away.

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Yasser said...

it is possible that quite the opposite happens too and the people just cant stand living together anymore. in that case, selling out even at a loss is better.

Lam Chun See said...

I recall the article saying that the estranged couple stay in the same house but sleep is separate rooms and don't speak to each other but communicate by notes. I believe that will 'tear apart the children's hearts' all the same.

Epilogos said...

Sadly, you are right. But I hope that for the children's sake, the ex-husband/ex-wife, who are still father and mother, and living under the same roof, will spare the young ones from their problems, even if a facade has to be maintained.