"Trial" Separations a Good Idea? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy "Trial" Separations a Good Idea?

First post here, although I've been lurking for a while now. I just wanted to hear from some people who have tried "trial" separations. How did they go? Did they help? Were you able to re-unite successfully or did they result in the end of the relationship? Etc, etc, etc.

The reason I'm considering the idea of a trial separation is that I feel utterly alone, depressed, numb and angry. The husband and I have been together for 12 years and married for eight. No kids. For years, we've lived almost as "room-mates" only. He sits at his end of the house on his computer. I sit at my end of the house on mine. We don't talk much at all, although when we do say a few words to each other it is about how his day was at work, his hobby, or him whinging that he is hungry and wants dinner, or him telling me that the dishes need doing or that he wants me to pay such and such bill today. (Yes, I'm a very slack "home-maker").

A few weeks ago, we sat down and had a discussion, initiated by me, about how things were going in the marriage for both of us. I thought the discussion was actually quite positive. We both remained calm (although he was initially upset). I think we both made an effort to really listen to the other person. The primary issues identified in the discussion were me feeling completely unsupported in an emotional sense and his feeling that because I do not keep the house tidy that I am showing disrespect for him.

The problem is that nothing much seems to have changed and I feel like I'm suffocating. I'm angry and/or depressed the majority of time and it's badly affecting how I generally communicate with him. In short, I'm treating him like crap and feel totally out of control. He seems to be avoiding me (hell, I can't blame him in a sense because I'm not nice to be around a lot of the time).

The way things are at the moment, I'm not being fair to him or myself, so I'm thinking about a trial separation for a while. Don't get me wrong, I don't want a divorce or anything. I just think that maybe if I leave the situation for a while, I might be able to get control of my behaviour. Maybe we could look at some couple's counselling or something. (I'm already in individual therapy). I don't know. Just feeling lost and confused and looking at doing what is right.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 10:51 AM
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Re: "Trial" Separations a Good Idea?

Being separated makes it a little easier to work on yourself, but its hard to work on your relationship while you are apart.

I could see the benefit of a week at a hotel or something in this case, but I wouldn't recommend a full separation.

Our reason for separating - the "main" one - was to help us stop fighting in front of our kids. We signed a six month lease and are clearly headed into month eight with no real end in sight.

You'll have TWO households to maintain - no more "divide and conquer" when it comes to house cleaning. You'll both be cooking your own dinners, doing your own dishes, etc.

Moving is a hassle too.

A lot of reasons - some practical - that I wouldn't recomemend anything more than a week apart.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 10:59 AM
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Re: "Trial" Separations a Good Idea?

I agree with nice777guy. A short term break, for a week or even less is the best way to go. You have mentioned that you realize the mistakes you've been making. You don't have to move away to correct those, you can start correcting them today.

Also, the idea of couples counseling is a great idea too.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 12:53 PM
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Re: "Trial" Separations a Good Idea?

I personally know of only one trial separation that was in fact 'trial'.

All others are simply the first step towards divorce. Many people find the notion more palatable if they are already out the door.

In the case of my friend who left his wife due to her ignorance of him, and her outrageous college-girl behavior - she simply didn't think he'd actually do it. So once he did, she freaked out. She did a complete 180 and re-committed to the marriage. They were separated about 8 weeks, he had signed a six month lease, but only lived for 2 out of their home.

Her behavior is what you hope for when separating - but it is the exception, not the rule.

As NiceGuy clearly points out ... if improving your relationship is the goal, being apart and avoiding one another is a hell of way to go about it.

I'll also make a simple comment, if neither of you feel inclined to show 'respect' for the other whether it be emotional support, or a clean home - you have a very difficult road to travel.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 02:11 PM
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Re: "Trial" Separations a Good Idea?

Separations of any kind will only work, when both spouses know deep down they are doing it to try and work on the marriage, that is what it seems you want, I think more often than not, there is one spouse who isn't going to do it for that reason, and that is when it is doomed from the start, no matter how much ONE spouse wants to work on the marriage while separated, if the other isn't on the same level, then it will NEVER work..IMO
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 11:59 PM
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Re: "Trial" Separations a Good Idea?

You sound SO much like me! Except that you have been married longer than I've been alive! I've been married almost right at 2 years. Your post- I could have written it. I felt like I had written it.

That said, I don't know how to help But I just wanted to say that the way you are feeling.. that's me.. you aren't alone!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 12:02 AM
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Re: "Trial" Separations a Good Idea?

I want to also add that I don't believe a 'clean home' is a sign of respect!! Sure, staying tidy, clean up your own mess.. maybe help out each other when you are in a rush or for whatever reason.. but maintaining a 'clean home,' no.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 12:25 AM
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Re: "Trial" Separations a Good Idea?

My wife and I have been doing weekends apart for about a month and a half. This has the advantage of giving each of us time to be alone and find ourselves while the other cares for the kids. More recently we did a weekend together at home with another coming up this weekend.

I'm conflicted over the arrangement. On "my" weekends I feel that the time alone is great for me, and each time (I've had two) I advance in my work on myself, and find my center, as it were, in my approach to our marriage. I read the younger child a story by phone at bedtime and didn't feel disconnected at all.

At the same time, when she has "her" weekends (now at least three) they are longer and there is little or no communication. I don't think the kids have ever called her nor she them on these weekends. This leaves me with concerns that she's just wanting to be left alone in her fantasy world. A bit unfair, but still how I feel.

The good part - she has expressed concern, very briefly, that she doesn't want me to go or misses me when I'm off on "my" weekends. She usually does a 180 on this as soon as I'm home, though, which provides me with lots of confusion and hurt. It's not perfect, but these separations do seem to be doing the trick of making us each consider how we'd feel if we were really apart.

So if you want a trial separation, do it in small doses like this. Be apart, then see how you feel when back together after a couple of days.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: "Trial" Separations a Good Idea?

Thanks for all the responses, everyone. They'll give me something to think on as I try to work out what I should do.

I usually spend a night away from home every week anyway as I travel to the nearest city for doctor's appointments due to an ongoing health issue. He's been on holidays from work for the past month, so I've been spending an extra night or two there over the past few weeks. This time apart hasn't helped, but then again, I'm usually pretty focussed on the health stuff during this time.

I have a friend who's been hinting at me to come and stay with her so we can get stuck into some work that needs doing on her property. Might give her a call today and see if this coming week is a 'go-er' for getting the work done. The only problem is that she is not a fan of my husband at all, which might make things a little difficult.

It will certainly keep me busy for a few days though, and I'll hopefully be able to clear my head a little. Maybe give me a chance to think of some strategies that I'm willing to undertake to promote change and what I want from him as well. Maybe we didn't do that well enough in our last discussion.

It's just so hard because I'm really into the 'had enough and want to flee mode' at the moment. I think I just need to gather the strength to turn that around, but only if there is hope of change down the track. I can't live like this for much longer.
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