When your marriage is in crisis, it can be hard to know what to do next. You feel as though you've tried everything from couple’s therapy to dating one another again, but things at home just keep getting worse.
If you're at the end of your rope, a trial separation might be just what you need to save your marriage. Though it sounds counter-intuitive to keep yourselves together, separations, in some cases have proven helpful for couples and kept them together for longer.
How a Trial Separation Works:
Spend Some Time Apart
The old cliché states that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and if you've been battling your spouse on every possible front for months, a little fondness is exactly what you need. When you're away from one another, you can get out from under the daily grind, and the regular fights and take a good, hard look at all the things you actually miss about them when they aren't there. Everyone needs a little distance at times, and if your marriage has been rocky for a while, it might be difficult to see anything good about your spouse at all. Getting away from them, however, is a surefire reminder of the love you share.
Learn How Much You Appreciate Each Other
There are a lot of things you take for granted when you live with someone, especially over several years. He takes care of the yard work. She juggles picking the kids up from school. There's always someone to call in the middle of a crisis, and another set of hands to help deal with the messes that come from everyday life. By going through a trial separation, you may learn just how much you miss having that other person at your side--not to mention realizing the full extent of their appeal as a partner.
Give Yourself a Break
Sometimes separating can be just about you. It’s a time where you don’t have to constantly be thinking about others. Use your time away like a vacation, and do some internalizing of your own thoughts and feelings. It might be a chance to see how you really feel about your relationship and see where you are in your own life and what you want out of the marriage in the long run. Write down what you experience and use it as a guide for when you meet back up together.
Make it Legal
While you don't have to contact a divorce lawyer in order to figure out how to live in separate houses for a while, using a lawyer can help keep everything working to your advantage. You'll need to figure out finances, custody issues, and even physical custody of certain items: who is responsible for payments on your existing house or apartment? Who will the kids spend the most time with, and when? Is child support going to need to be assessed? What about the family pet? You will need a separation agreement.
If saving your marriage has started to feel impossible, don't throw in the towel just yet! Instead, give a trial separation a shot. If both of you are just relieved to be away from one another, you might learn something in the process.
On the other hand, if you miss each other more than anticipated, the time spent apart might be just the thing to keep you together for longer. Separations have often surprised couples with how much they actually give clarity to a relationship and you might find out some things about yourself you never knew.
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