Divorce rates and related trends in the US have fluctuated in the past decade and a half according to statistics. Divorce is not half as much of a taboo today as it once was. At the same time this makes it no less emotionally complicated, stressful and at times heart breaking.
Deciding to get a divorce can be a pretty huge decision. About as huge as deciding to get married, frankly speaking! For this reason, people sometimes opt for a legal separation before opting for an all out divorce.
What is the Point of a Separation?
There are times when a relationship is burdened by things other than the bond or relationship in and of its self. These could include financial stresses, interference from in-laws or relatives, poor communication or even a lack of space!
Alternatively, there may be times when even as adults we need a time out to pull back, take stock and see where we are going wrong so we can work on it. In such instances, a marriage may well be salvable. Separation is meant to give the couple in question the space they need to really determine what they want.
What if Reconnection and Reconciliation is on the Table?
If you feel that there is a chance that you and your partner may reconcile and reconnect, that’s brilliant. Staying positive is always a good thing. At the same time, you don’t want to damage the situation further. Here are some steps that will help your relationship heal during a period of separation.
Respect the Space
The first thing you need to do is respect the space. If you and your partner have separated it is for a reason. Reductively speaking; because you both need the time apart! Respect this and the space that you have agreed to take.
Do this for both yourself and the other involved. Do not try digging your way back into your partner’s life prematurely. This will likely only cause more quarrels and increase the rift between you too. Instead, respect the space agreed to, give them time and take the time you need. When it is time to reconcile you will.
Remain Open to Communication
There may be times when your partner wishes to communicate or connect with you over matters of import. This could be relating to your children, shared payments and even possible reconciliation. In any case, do not punish or push away your partner by closing off completely.
Remain open to communication and if your partner asks to connect with you on a bad day, politely excuse yourself and reschedule. Keeping those lines of communication open is important.
It would not be fair if your partner puts down conditions for the separation and you do not do the same. In many cases, it is not uncommon for one partner to oblige to the others wishes and needs in a lopsided manner.
Some examples include managing expenses for your partner even though they are effectively doing their own thing or being constantly emotionally available to them even though they aren’t to you.
Set down gentle boundaries. Don’t give more than you need to and respect yourself with the same devotion that you have respected your partner’s wishes. This will help you both.
Don’t Jump into another Relationship
If you’ve separated from your partner with reconciliation being one of the possibilities, you want to take the time you’ve got to sort yourself out. Jumping into another relationship is probably the last thing you need. Not only will this confuse matters by adding another element into your dilemma, it won’t send the right message if reconciliation is indeed on the table!
Hold up on dating again until you’re dead sure your previous marriage has dissolved completely.
Find the Right Support
Last but not least, it is important to find support when you’re going through something as emotionally trying as a separation. Though friends, family and other such confidants may help, you don’t want to tell the world about your separation when neither you nor your partner, know which way things will go.
What is more helpful is to look into professional support. Working with a couple therapist or marriage counselor, is a really good way to process and come to the point of clarity you need to. Apart from this a therapist could also help moderate discussions between you and your partner. Finally, a professional therapist will be bound by confidentiality so you can rest assured your personal struggles will not become fodder for table talk!
A separation is a delicate time, yet, if both individuals want the same thing and you put in the work, reconciliation can mean having a better and stronger relationship than you did to begin with!
If you’re looking for a counseling center in Palo Alto offering couple therapy and other services, just connect with us!