For couples considering a trial separation, their relationship is obviously in choppy waters. Wanting to live apart from your spouse, even temporarily, is a good indicator of the fact that you foresee divorce as a very real possibility. But is it the right choice?
Sometimes a separation can help you both to get your priorities in order, which will in turn allow you to work on saving your marriage. But usually not. Statistics show that separation tends to lead to divorce. So if this is the direction you are headed in, here are a few points to think about first.
Clarify your goals
If you and your spouse have agreed to a trial separation, you need to be very clear with each other about what it is that you’re hoping to achieve. Are you using this time to work on your marriage, to work on yourself, or to sample freedom and see if a divorce is the right solution for you?
Give some very serious thought to what it is you want out of this time before you pursue it. Once you have decided, commit to working towards that goal. Otherwise the separation is pointless, and will lead to almost certain divorce. Also, you should know going in that there is always a risk that the outcome may be something other than what you hoped for.
Be Completely Honest
This is critical. You can’t claim to be moving out in order to work on your relationship, when in fact you’re actually hoping to have more freedom to pursue an affair. You also can’t claim that time apart will help you to heal, when in reality, you’re simply trying to soften the blow of a pending divorce.
Be honest, both with yourself and with your spouse. If you want out, and you are completely unable to see your marriage as fixable, then go. But if you want to work on saving your marriage, then you need to focus on what is best for the relationship as a whole. Either way, you must be completely honest and upfront so as not to drag out a painful separation unnecessarily, or prolong the misery of a divorce. Honesty is always the best policy.
Consider All The Risks
Very few relationships survive a trial separation. Sometimes this is because that first taste of freedom is too hard to give up once you’ve had it. Sometimes it’s because the tables turn entirely – people leave hoping to work on their marriage but discover that being alone suits them better. Or worse, you end up discovering that you miss your spouse, but they’ve discovered during this time apart that they no longer want you back.
Trial separations are rarely easy, and often result in divorce. If you and your spouse are considering going your separate ways for a while, make sure that you think it through first. Talk it over and discuss what you both want out of the separation, both in the long term and in the short term. Then decide if you are willing to risk losing your relationship. Because, as history has proven time and again, this is a very likely outcome.