Contemplating a Trial Separation? Get Great Marriage-Saving Tips and Advice in My Free Newsletter Series!

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Welcome to my Save My Marriage Today Newsletter Series! If you are looking for effective, powerful tips and techniques to save your marriage from the verge of divorce and rebuild the love that you both once had - even if your partner doesn't want to - then read on!

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Amy Waterman
co-author of Save My Marriage Today!

 


Guidelines for a trial separation

By Andrew Rusbatch
Co-author of Save My Marriage Today

A couple I have been working with for a while decided to initiate a trial separation a couple of weeks ago, partly as a result of the immense pressure the both of them were feeling over unresolved issues in their marriage. When I heard of the nature of their split, I cringed.

It is a situation echoed by many other couples with marital difficulties who believe that a few weeks apart is going to help soften tempers and solve the issues that have been plaguing them.

I understand that the intentions are to reduce the tension and put things in perspective, but this doesn't stop the separation being a destructive force in the relationship.

When couples decide to separate I have a few rules that I like to encourage people to stick to:

  • The first is that a separation is never used as a way of wounding or punishing a partner. Anything that is done with this intention is not separating for the right reasons, and is going to cause more harm than benefit.

  • The second is that both of you are very clear about what you hope to achieve from the separation. Be very clear what your goals are, and make sure that these are communicated clearly to each other. In order to reinforce the seriousness of this rule, I encourage couples to write their goals and intentions down clearly on a piece of paper so that both of you are aware of what the goal is.

    If a separation is going to benefit a marriage and bring greater clarity to the situation, the goals need to be aligned to this intention. In the midst of the emotions surrounding a trial separation, it is also useful for clarity to be very clear that both of you understand why the separation is happening.
  • The third rule is that you both maintain contact at regular intervals, perhaps even schedule dates or meetings in which you can discuss any feelings you are having, how each of you feel things are going, and whether any progress is being made. Progress can be measured against the goals each of you will have written down. It is vital that you are able to maintain regular contact, as this will be more difficult once you are living in separate locations.

There are a number of other crucial guidelines that are necessary for a successful trial separation, and I outline these in my course. Trial separations are not about punishing your partner. They are not about escaping your partner either.

They are about alleviating the stress in a volatile situation, and giving each of you space and clarity to contemplate the most effective ways to move forward and resolve your marital issues.

I see too many couples using trial separations as ways of hurting each other, or using access as leverage to get their own way. You need to decide how a separation is going to bring you closer to fixing your issues. Are the two of you committed to resolving your conflict, or are you simply delaying the inevitable divorce?

Be very clear about what you want your trial separation to do if you feel this is the only course of action left to you. Following my guidelines about how to have a successful trial separation may be what saves your marriage.

 


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Amy Waterman
co-author of Save My Marriage Today!

 


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