Helpful Advice on Why You Should Avoid Marriage Separation Until You've Exhausted All Your Other Options
When things just aren't going right in your marriage and you're tempted to separate for a little while to think things through and give each other some space to process - think again. Marriage separation isn't a helpful solution to resolve problems, in most cases, but is actually the first step on the road of divorce. Marriage problems can only be resolved together, not apart, so separating serves no purpose except to remove you from a negative situation temporarily. However, reluctance to return to an uncomfortable marriage can actually lead to a final dissolution, rather than a willingness to recommit and resolve your marriage issues.
If you truly want to resolve your issues and save your marriage, avoid marriage separation unless you've exhausted all other options. Before you try marriage separation, go through the Save My Marriage Today eCourse for ideas to help get your relationship back on track.
What is marriage separation?
The only way to resolve marriage issues is to be realistic about what's happening and where you are in the process of saving your marriage. Make no mistake: avoid marriage separation if possible, as it's just one step below divorce in consequence. Marriage separation rules vary from state to state. In some states, an informal marriage separation where both parties live in separate houses is enough to be considered a marriage separation. In other states, marriage separation procedures require that both parties live in separate houses and file court documents detailing how they intend to divide debt, mortgage payments and any child care questions that arise.
Can separation save a marriage?
Marriage separation can provide both parties with a much-needed outlet to escape a negative situation. However, marriage separation isn't a solution for your problems. Rather, it's an opportunity to evaluate your relationship and decide whether you want to work to resolve things or whether it's time to think about divorce. Unfortunately, surviving marriage separation is difficult. Once you're removed from the negative situation, the impetus to resolve the issues is never quite as strong as if you were still living with your loved one. By removing yourself from the every-day reality of your marriage, you make it more difficult to 'go back in' for a second round. Life without marriage begins to seem more and more attractive, because you want to avoid the conflict required to resolve the issues keeping you apart from your spouse. However, studies have shown that most divorced people aren't any happier than married people, so removing yourself from your marriage won't fix your problems - it may just provide you with a whole new set of reasons to be unhappy.
Coping with marriage separation.
If you want to try marriage separation to resolve your issues, MAKE IT TEMPORARY! Don't formalize your separation with court documents and don't sign a lease or buy a second property to establish a separate domicile. Once you've taken these steps, it's far too easy to stay apart and simply get a divorce rather than reunite and try again to save your marriage. Avoid marriage separation for longer than a few weeks or a month, as the distance that grows between you and your spouse may be too great to bridge when you come together to discuss your marriage problems.
While you're living apart, get separate checking accounts. Money is just something else to fight over, and it's much easier to be accountable for your own spending than to try to argue with your spouse about where money is going when there's already tension in your marriage. If you or your spouse doesn't make enough money to support their living situation, agree to share some expenses to make things even and make it possible for both of you to survive. Having a resentful spouse when you're trying to resolve marriage issues just makes things more difficult. Even though you're separated, you're still a team, and looking out for one another will help keep you in the perspective of resolving your issues and resuming your marriage.
Another important piece of marriage separation advice is to see each other regularly. If you cut off contact entirely for more than a few days, you'll grow apart from your spouse and neither of you will have the incentive to repair your marriage problems and save your marriage. Schedule dates, or even just spend time together reading or doing some normal, every-day activities.
Dealing with marriage separation is difficult. Surviving marriage separation and coming together again to save your marriage is unlikely at best, so the best option is to avoid marriage separation entirely. If you feel that you must separate temporarily, do what you can to maintain the ties and facilitate resolution of your marriage problems. The longer a marriage separation lasts, the less likely it is to succeed in the long run.
If you need more tips on surviving a marriage separation or want to learn some successful dispute resolution tips to avoid marriage separation entirely, check out the acclaimed Save My Marriage Today eCourse by Amy Waterman.