One of the greatest joys in life is getting married to the one you love. However, the utopian marital bliss can come to an end because of infidelity, financial strain, sexual incompatibility issues, falling out of love, abuse or any other differences. At such a time, couples who do not wish to divorce, opt for separation, to figure out the way forward. While separation is a likable preference, it is not devoid of challenges. It can lead to physical, psychological, emotional and even financial stress to the parties involved.
So how do you ensure you have a healthy marital separation?
The following are a few tips to keep you going through such a trying moment.
- Do not get into a new relationship
A common mistake that separated couples make is to misconstrue the new found freedom as the opportunity to date or start something new. Doing so, however, often ends up in more pain and hurt. For starters, it makes your spouse feel rejected, especially if you are the one who instigated the separation. Secondly, it is highly likely that you might be acting on a rebound and not ready for another emotional attachment. Besides, a new relationship even if it is a fling, will only end up complicating the chances of saving your marriage. The safest option, therefore, is to use the space and time wisely to see how you can salvage the marriage.
- Seek Legal Counsel
Contrary to what many separated couples think, seeking legal services can save a troubled marriage. Divorce attorneys, thanks to the many marriage-related cases they have handled, can prevent you from making costly financial and emotional mistakes. For instance, a Phoenix divorce lawyer can help you to make separation ground rules, draft the financial plans, offer legal counsel, and even advice you on how to handle the kids during this period. Fortunately, there are many affordable divorce lawyers in Phoenix and other states, whose services can prove priceless in such a case.
iii. Set a time frame
Since the primary aim of the separation is for the married couples to determine the fate of their marriage, it is prudent that they set a time frame on how long they should be apart. A predetermined timeline builds in the couples a sense of urgency, sincerity, and commitment to the process. An ideal separation period should be anywhere from three to six months. If it lasts longer than six months, it can transform into two undesirable separate lifestyles. Similarly, one to two months of separation is hardly enough time for the couples to get a clear picture of the way forward.
- Have in place clear guidelines and boundaries
What you do during the separation period can help to strengthen or complicate your marriage. For this reason, it is important that you set clear rules of what is acceptable to each of you and what isn’t. For instance is it ok to date other people? Will you remain intimate? Who will move out of the home? What belongings will the moving out partner carry? Will the partner have access to the home? If so, when? When will either spouse see the kids? As well as what will be the duties and responsibilities of each partner during the separation period? Such guidelines help to minimize separation anxiety and frustrations, giving both parties adequate time to identify the real issues bedeviling the marriage.
- Take up Marital or Couples Therapy
When your relationship is on the rocks, it is prudent that both of you take up marriage counseling, especially during the separation period. The counseling sessions offer the perfect opportunity for the couple to listen to, talk and communicate with each other in a productive manner. Furthermore, it helps the partners understand each other’s concerns and needs much better, subsequently boosting the reconciliation process.
- Reorganize your finances
Being apart means that the financial obligations have to change. For instance, the partner who moves out needs a place to stay and food to eat. Besides, he or she will have to travel occasionally to visit the kids. The spouses, therefore, should take the time to plan and budget for the new living arrangements, and also determine who will be responsible for which expenses. Furthermore, they need to decide how to handle the family’s money, and bank accounts, in a manner that does not overburden either party.
Even though going through a separation is tough for the couples and their kids, it can be the healthiest thing ever to happen to a marriage. All that the couples need to do is to view the process as nothing more than an extension of their relationship. The time apart often makes the partners understand and appreciate each other much better.