Posted on: 22 August 2017Share
When your marriage is strained, it can be tough to think clearly about what you want from the relationship. You may not be ready for divorce, but living in the same space might be too stressful. A trial separation can allow you to step back from the marriage and examine whether there's a chance for reconciliation or not. However, the following guidelines must exist so that your marriage has a fair chance.
Set a Time Limit
An endless period of separation can drag on for months until one of you makes the decision to finally leave the marriage. This can be counterproductive to the goals of a trial separation, which is to make clear decisions about where the marriage is headed. For that reason, it's vital to set a definite period of separation, at which time you can both choose to continue or part ways. Setting a time limit can give you a deep feeling of relief; you'll know that one way or another, the situation will be resolved before more years pass by.
You need to work with your spouse to come up with specific boundaries and rules about your separation so that both sides are comfortable. Will you definitely be living apart? Will you meet up once a week for a date? Will you communicate by phone? Knowing the rules and adhering to them can make your separation work.
Go into Couples Therapy
You might be planning to seek out your own individual therapy during this time to get a handle on what your own feelings, but couples therapy can also be smart during this time. For a while, you and your spouse have made attempts to solve things alone; having a professional's help may provide insight that you two need to come together again.
Don't Go on Dates
It is tempting to get excited about being away from someone who has been stressing you out so much, and releasing stress by dating other people may seem harmless and fun. However, keep in mind that when you're out with other people, you're clouding the issues that the separation is supposed to be making clearer. Introducing new people into the fold can end up causing hurt feelings and make your spouse think that you've already mentally checked out of the marriage. Any reconciliation at that point will be difficult.
After your trial separation, decisions about your marriage can be made more confidently. You might consult separation and divorce attorneys for advice before and after your separation to ensure you're protecting yourself legally throughout this time.