A good number of authors or marriage counselors may have written lots of books or articles on separation. However, the dynamic nature of the marriage institution and the challenges involved in marriage can’t be exhausted in a single book or article. Hence the need for this post on separated but not divorced 7 painful pitfalls to avoid.
Marriage vows may end with this line ‘ till death do us part”. But, in reality, some marriages do not endure till death.
There are lots of challenges in a marriage that will make couples part ways temporarily (Separation), or in severe cases permanently (Divorce or legal separation).
These challenges may arise due to infidelity, deceit, incompatibility, financial pressure, emotional abuse, domestic violence, unmet expectations, etc.
Nonetheless, have any of these challenges become so overwhelming that you and your spouse have chosen Separation as the last resort? Here are 7 painful pitfalls to avoid when separated but not divorced.
- Not Legally Separated But Living Apart
- 7 Painful Pitfalls To Avoid When Separated But Not Divorced
- What Not To Do When You Are Separated
- What Is My Husband Thinking During Separation?
- What is my wife thinking during separation ?
- How To Rebuild Your Marriage During A Separation
- Does a Husband have to Support the Wife during Separation?
Not Legally Separated But Living Apart
Mrs. Briggs has been the breadwinner of her family for over 7 years of her marriage. Her husband on the other hand has been unsupportive and has chosen to make life miserable for her by wasting the family resources on women, alcohol, and gambling.
Despite all these, she truly loves her husband and desires that he changes his behavior, but she just couldn’t deal with the husband’s excesses anymore.
She decided to move out of the family home, so she will be able to reflect on the recent happenings in her marriage and decide on the next action to take.
In this case, she and her husband are not legally separated but living apart.
So, whether your situation is ‘my wife wants to separate should I move out?, or you’re staying separated and not divorcing, the fact remains that every separation becomes legal when couples reach a consensus regarding;
● Child custody and support.
● Spousal support.
● Allotment of properties.
Therefore, couples are not legally separated but living apart when they are yet to agree on the above conditions.
This entails that; they are not permitted to remarry, they are still legally bound to be faithful to each other, they will both share family responsibilities and they are also bound to look out for each other, even when they are living apart.
Related Post: How To Get Out Of The Pain Of Separation
7 Painful Pitfalls To Avoid When Separated But Not Divorced
Marriage brings together two people with different personalities and belief systems. Therefore, challenges are bound to arise in many marriages that will make couples contemplate separating or divorcing.
Furthermore, once separation becomes inevitable, a lot of couples feel hurt, depressed, angry, defensive, and impulsive; and therefore they tend to make mistakes that will affect them or their children in the long run.
With that being said, here are 7 Painful Pitfalls to avoid when separated but not divorced.
1. Holding on to past hurt:
I know that you feel hurt, betrayed, and angry with your spouse. After all, you never intended for a separation to happen between you two, you made a vow to go on this journey forever, but then life happened and you must let go of this bitterness you feel towards your spouse.
One of the separated but not divorced 7 painful pitfalls to avoid is not forgiving yourself and your spouse for all that has happened between you two, holding on to past hurt, and thereby making life miserable for your spouse by either denying him access to your children or by making the separation process difficult for your partner.
2. Moving out too quickly:
Being in a hurry to move out of your family home, when the differences between you and your partner are reconcilable is one of the Separated but not divorced 7 painful pitfalls to avoid.
By moving out of your home, you will be neglecting your children’s emotional needs and your partner will assume that you’ve given up on your marriage.
However, it becomes expedient to leave your home, when it becomes intolerable to stay with your spouse or when staying with your spouse becomes detrimental to your mental health.
3. Seeking advice from the wrong people:
Separation is an emotional and mental draining period in the life of couples.
It makes many vulnerable and confused. Friends, family members, or colleagues may take advantage of this vulnerability and dish out advice based on their personal experiences and sentiments.
However, you will end up being more confused when you listen to every divorce or separation advice; but you will be saving yourself from all these when you seek professional advice from a marriage counselor or your lawyer.
4. Involving a lawyer, when you’ve not talked things out:
Another separated but not divorced 7 painful pitfalls to avoid is seeking the intervention of a family lawyer, when you are yet to have a meaningful discussion with your spouse.
Yeah, some couples may not be on talking terms when they are separated, but they can seek the help of a mediator to help them talk about their problems and reach a meaningful agreement that will benefit both parties.
This will help the two parties realize their mistakes and become better partners in their future relationships.
Nevertheless, to avoid separated but not divorced legal issues, you should seek the advice of a family lawyer on the division of properties and financial responsibilities between you and your spouse.
5. Trading unnecessary blame:
This is not the perfect time to point accusing fingers or play the victim. This is the time to seek professional help, it is time to reflect and think of the way forward.
You will be making a grave mistake when you keep blaming your spouse for your plight, this will only make you more miserable.
6. Not having a Financial Roadmap:
You and your spouse may be separated, but this should be backed up with proper financial planning. Neglecting this will be a great mistake that will affect your children’s welfare and yours as well.
You should therefore come to an agreement with your spouse regarding child support, child custody, and every other financial responsibility that may arise in the future.
7. Keeping your children in the dark:
Your children are part of your lives and should be carried along on the recent happenings in their parents’ lives.
It will be devastating for them to hear about your separation from outsiders.
Therefore, you and your spouse should try as much as possible to make them understand the reason behind your action and also assure them of your love and support.
Related Post: Tips To Staying Strong While Separated or Divorced
What Not To Do When You Are Separated
There is no doubt that separation is an emotionally draining experience. It can be overwhelming for most couples who will probably have a thousand thoughts running through their minds.
Dealing with marriage separation pain might make you throw caution into the winds and engage in lots of activities or adventures that you never intended. Some of which might be traveling the world, taking alcoholic drinks, partying all night, etc.
Hence, before you tick all the boxes in your marriage separation checklist, here are some examples of what not to do when you are separated.
1. Stop carrying around emotional baggage.
There is no gainsaying the fact that separation will make you lose hold of your emotions.
There will be feelings of anger, guilt, resentment, fear, hatred, etc. However, do not become an emotional wreck, get your acts together and move ahead. Let go of these pains by talking to a friend or a professional or just by getting busy with a career or hobby.
2. Do not jump into a new relationship:
It’s going to be a lonely journey. Yeah, you will have lonely nights when you will long for someone to hold you in his/her arms, listen to your tirades, and comfort you when you cry.
However, your emotional state is not an excuse to jump into a new relationship. You have to give yourself time to heal and adjust to your new relationship status.
Give yourself time to reflect on the lessons you learned from your previous relationship. This will help you become better and stronger to deal with challenges that may arise in your future relationships.
Your current emotional state makes you vulnerable, and lots of men/women are waiting to take advantage of your vulnerability to hurt your feelings.
3. Do not deprive your children of the attention and care they desire:
Do not transfer the resentment you feel for your spouse to your children by depriving them of your love and attention.
Children are the ones affected mostly by their parent’s separation. If they are neglected, they will grow up to be withdrawn, abusive, or be commitment shy in their relationship with the opposite sex.
4. Do not Compromise (keep to the terms of the agreement):
A legal separation comes with a legal agreement regarding the custody of children, division of properties, and spousal support.
Therefore, do not compromise your stand, by asking for more or going beyond the terms of the agreement after separation.
5. Do not neglect your social life.
Separation is not a death sentence. Therefore, your social life shouldn’t be put on hold because you are separated from your spouse. Instead, you should try out new activities that will make you happy.
You never can tell, you might end up discovering a whole lot of things about yourself.
You can start by learning something new, changing your environment, or engaging in a volunteer service.
6. Do not be ignorant:
Be well informed by reading motivational books, and educational books on marriage, divorce, separation, parenting, etc.
Also, Join communities of like-minded people that will support you by sharing their experiences with you.
Related Post: How to Make My Husband Want Me More
What Is My Husband Thinking During Separation?
Separation creates a communication gap between couples. Suddenly, it feels like you know so little about your spouse’s activities and you keep wondering what is my husband thinking during separation?
Furthermore, lots of separated couples do not know how to act during separation because they do not know what is going on in their partner’s mind.
The truth is, you can never know all that is going on through your husband’s mind. You will only have a glimpse of what your husband is thinking during separation through his actions (That is, how he relates with you and your kids).
With that said, some of the things your husband may be thinking during separation include;
1. Financial responsibilities:
Is likely your husband will be the one shouldering most of the financial responsibilities like; child and spousal support. He will probably be thinking about these financial responsibilities, especially when he is not financially buoyant.
2. If you have moved on:
He will be wondering if you have moved on or still have some feelings left for him.
Most men do not let go easily during separation. Your husband sometimes will inquire from your kids or relations about all that has been happening in your life, just because he wants to know if you have moved on.
3. If he will be given a second chance:
Yeah, he will be contemplating if he will be given a second chance, especially if he’s the cause of the separation.
4. Will she be OK without me:
Over the years, you must have bonded with your spouse emotionally. You both must have overcome a lot of challenges together.
Therefore, during separation your husband might be thinking ” will she survive without me? Will my wife and kids be ok without me?
5. The guilt of not being closer to his kids:
The guilt of not being there in person to kiss the kids goodnight, tuck them in bed, read a lullaby to them, and hug them when they cry will be bothering him also.
Most men during separation feel like they are a failure. They think that they have disappointed their kids by not holding the family together.
During this period, his access to his children might be limited and this is a big concern to him.
On the other hand, as a husband wondering:
Related Post: How To Handle Constant Argument In Your Relationship
What is my wife thinking during separation ?
Below are some of the things going through her mind.
1. How to Adjust to the new normal:
A Lot has changed due to your separation from her. She no longer wakes up to behold your face. She’s probably forgotten the last time you both bonded sexually. She takes breakfast on the dining table while your seat is vacant.
All these are the new normals she will have to adjust to, and this also constitutes most of the thoughts going through her mind.
2. If you miss her:
Does he miss me? Is he thinking about me? Is there a new woman in his life? These are some of the thoughts going through her mind and it is also a positive sign during separation. It shows that she still loves you and is still interested in rebuilding your marriage.
3. If the separation was a fault of hers:
yeah, she will be wondering if she didn’t show enough commitment to the marriage or show you enough love. Some of the questions that might back up these thoughts include; did my marriage crash because of my actions? Did I give up too soon on my marriage? or does separation help or hurt a marriage?
4. If there is a possibility of rebuilding your marriage:
An optimistic wife will be hopeful that you both can rebuild your marriage and she will be thinking of ways to make that happen.
How To Rebuild Your Marriage During A Separation
One of the rules of separation in marriage is, “never say, never”. Yeah, never say that your marriage is done for or can’t be rebuilt again.
Just like there is a possibility to rebuild a house destroyed by a storm, so also a marriage destroyed by the storms of life can also be rebuilt.
Nonetheless, rebuilding your marriage requires mutual efforts and commitments from both partners.
Rebuilding your marriage is also a process, it won’t happen overnight and it requires you to follow some thoughtful steps.
Let’s call these steps the 5 R’s on how to rebuild your marriage during separation, they are;
● Retrace: Identify the bone of contention that led to the separation. By identifying this, you and your spouse will be able to retrace your steps and start rebuilding your marriage.
If it was your weakness or excesses that led to the separation, show that you are sorry by working on that weakness and improving daily. This will say a lot about your willingness to get back with your spouse
● Reconcile: Two wrongs cannot make a right.
You and your spouse must have dwelt on your wrongs for too long, however, it is time to make things right by reconciling your differences.
Start by sincerely apologizing to your spouse. If your spouse is not willing to listen to your apologies, do not give up; rather try other means of reaching out to her.
You can engage the help of a professional to help mediate between you two or you can talk to a friend or someone that your spouse listens to.
● Relearn: The next step after reconciling with your spouse is relearning about each other.
Research shows that 80% of separations are caused by partner’s misunderstanding each other.
A good number of separated couples know little or nothing about each other’s likes, dislikes, weaknesses, strengths, etc. This leads to lots of quarrels, strife, depression, dissatisfaction, and eventually a separation or divorce.
So, after reconciling with your spouse, assume that you both just started dating and commit to knowing and understanding each other.
You can decide to go on a date, an evening walk, engage in truth or dare games, etc.
Immerse yourselves in those activities that will help you both relax, let go of the tension and talk about yourselves.
● Reassure: Reassure your love for each other. Renew your commitment and vows to each other, do not focus on being a perfect wife or husband but rather be consistent with those little actions that will help improve communication, intimacy, and transparency between you and your spouse.
● Rise above your past: Yeah, leave the past where it belongs and live in the moment with your spouse.
Do not rub in your partner’s past failures or mistakes that led to the separation, rather be more concerned about his/her present efforts.
Related Post: Signs It’s Time To Give Up On The Marriage
Does a Husband have to Support the Wife during Separation?
Does a husband have to support the wife during separation?
I bet the above question is one of the myriads of questions going through your mind during separation.
However, supporting your wife during separation is a decision that will be determined by a family court after they have considered the following:
● Financial resources, earnings, and properties owned by you the respondent.
● A decent standard of living, one that can cater for both your needs and that of your spouse.
● Your ability to earn a living. That is if you and your spouse are strong health-wise to work.
● If your wife’s employment status was affected by your relationship. This implies that if your wife had no means of livelihood because she had to stay at home to take care of the kids or run the home, she will be entitled to spousal maintenance.
Furthermore, supporting your wife during separation depends on your financial capabilities and it is only the court that will approve how this spousal maintenance will be done.
The high rate of separation and divorce in the present society is a pointer that couples encounter many challenges in marriage.
That which was intended to last forever has been short-lived by overwhelming issues like domestic violence, adultery, deceit, financial pressure, etc.
Nevertheless, there are many lessons to be learned during this trying period that will help you to either save your marriage or become a better partner in your future relationships.
So, which of the separated but not divorced 7 painful pitfalls to avoid are you going to implement?