For couples torn between thoughts of divorce and lingering hopes for reconciliation, seeking trial separation help or advice may offer hope. Get educated about life during a separation before taking the final plunge.
Trying Separation on for Size
Unlike a court-ordered or legal separation, a trial separation is exactly what it sounds like: an informal time apart between a married couple. Despite its informality, separating on a temporary basis typically works with both parties agreeing to certain conditions set forth in advance such as the ones in the following list.
- Living arrangements (husband, wife and children)
- Visitation schedules for couples with kids
- Length of separation
- Mandatory counseling sessions
- Pre-arranged date nights
- Financial arrangements
- Maintaining communication with each other and the children
After separation, couples reexamine their marriage and the way they feel about each other, their marital issues and possible solutions. At this point, couples usually make a decision regarding continued separation, reconciliation or initiating divorce proceedings. If both parties seem to be stuck in limbo, trial separation help from a marriage counselor or professional psychologist may help clear away the cobwebs.
Does Trial Separation Help or Hurt?
Over the years, professionals and couples who have been through the experience have voiced their opinions about the efficacy of trial separations. Like most all matters of great importance, opinions about separating often differ widely depending upon with whom you speak. While no all-encompassing answer exists, it's helpful for many couples to consider the downside as well as the upside of temporary breakups.
Some people adamantly insist that trial separation saved their marriage. Even though it seems contradictory to the goal of saving a relationship, there are occasions when trial separation becomes a proactive tool for mending a marriage in trouble. When the stress and struggles of life cause a breakdown in communication and trust, some time apart may reveal what's most important in the grand scheme of life as a couple. The list below highlights some of the common advantages of a temporary separation.
- Separating gives both parties time to cool down when anger is an issue.
- Both parties get a tantalizing taste of valuable "me time" which may fall by the wayside in an intense marriage.
- Like the old saying claims, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Separation can rekindle those dormant feelings of love.
- Being peacefully apart from one another can give both parties an opportunity to balance their perspectives.
- Deep introspection and soul-searching usually accompany a trial separation.
- There is life outside of your marriage and it's necessary for your sanity. Separating can bring you closer to the other people in your life leading to a happier you and a happier marriage.
- Sometimes being separated makes couples remember and appreciate their spouse's positive traits.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of negative aspects associated with separating for a trial period. When these disadvantages seem to outweigh the benefits, it might mean that divorce is imminent, but be sure to give the separation a fair chance before choosing to end the relationship for good. Developing a good awareness of the possible pitfalls a trial separation can bring also helps couples form a good attitude about the experience. Use the list below to become familiar with possible marriage separation disadvantages.
- A separation may increase existing feelings of distance between spouses.
- Agreeing to live apart may feel like a backward step or that you're giving up on the marriage.
- Separating can cause sadness, anxiety and depression.
- If children are a factor, they might experience confusion, fear and anxiety during the separation.
- Occasionally, one or both parties don't take the situation seriously which may affect the final outcome.
- Sometimes the exhilaration of freedom can cloud the issues and interfere with attempts to save the marriage.
- For some people, sudden and almost unlimited freedom makes them feel like they're on holiday and the real issues may fall through the cracks.
Even though separating is a far cry from divorce, it remains an upsetting and stressful process for many people. In order to stay focused enough to reap the intended benefits, seek trial separation help and support if unusual depression or sadness occurs.