Trial Separation; how does it work??
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Considering Divorce or Separation If you're considering divorce or separation, this is the place to talk.

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Old 05-01-2013, 08:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Trial Separation; how does it work??

Hi,
My husband came to me last week and told me we should do a trial separation. Although we have had a very rough couple of years, it still hurts like hell. It's been a week now and I'm still in shock, I don't know what to do, how to act or what to expect.
Let me backtrack and tell you the story. If there are any guys out there, please give me your opinion from a male perspective.

H and I met when we were in college and married 4 years later after we graduated and found jobs...so we have been together a total of 23 years. When we moved to Dubai, the recession hit and we started having serious financial problems, his business was failing and we had a huge mortgage. A year into this situation, he started looking very depressed, he stopped talking to me and eventually told me he was extremely unhappy, that he has discovered that his values have changed (we are Muslim) and that he no longer believed in God. He said that he felt resentful that he has had to spend all this time in a lifestyle that didn't really suit who he "really was" and that he doesn't even know who he really is anymore. I tried desperately to get him to consider counseling but he adamantly refused.

We have had lots of ups and downs over the last 2 years, at times we would get a bit close then move away again, but overall, it's been hell for me. I was so distraught, confused, and hurt that I was going mad. Then at one point I snapped. I felt i was going to burn out unless I stopped trying and just tried to live my life and be happy. I started doing my own activities, made new friends and started a social life of my own, since he refused to be seen in public with me (because he does not want to be associated with a Muslim woman). I felt that the rational solution would be to leave. I have a good career, I am independent, I have a good support network and overall would eventually survive. But I still could not bring myself to say the word divorce or even separation. I knew that no matter what i still loved him deeply.

I'm mad that I have left it until he is the one who asked for the separation. Because of our dire financial straights, we are unable to move to separate homes, so we are still sharing the house.

I feel frantic since this happened. I cry daily just thinking that he doesn't want to be with me anymore. I have to stop myself from sending him messages or going to his room and trying to talk to him. I don't' know what to do. I told him again that a separation will not resolve our issues, we need counseling, we need help. But he seems to think that the only way to solve this is for him to "try living without me to see if it's worth the trouble of living with me!!!"

What do I do??? i know he has issues related to how his parents treated him as a child and many of those issues were projected on his feelings for me and his expectations of a spouse/marriage. I can't solve this and at this stage I feel i just want a divorce. I am way too tired to sit and wait for him to decide, go through all this pain just to have him say, yeah I discovered you're not worth the trouble, bye! I WANT A DIVORCE NOW SO I CAN MOVE ON, GRIEVE FOR A WHILE THEN MOVE ON.

My therapist thinks we still have a chance if he goes to counseling with me, but I know he won't. What should I do!
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

This is really tough and I am very sorry you are going through this. Can I ask, why wonīt he go to counselling? Would he consider going to a therapist on his own?
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

Hi Cora28,
I don't know why he won't consider marriage counseling. He was seeing a therapist. Not sure if he's still seeing her. I don't think she helped him, I think she made him more confused about what he wants from life.

I just don't know what I'm supposed to do now. I want to quit, but everyone is telling me to give it a try...how? He won't make a move to fix things, just wants to sit and talk it through with himself. I can't tolerate living in this "Suspense" I can't sit waiting for the hurt to hit me.

Am I being a coward. Should I hang in there hoping he will come back and try to fix things....it sounds so naive to think this could be a solution. Am I right to think this is naive?
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

Hi again

I think if your nearest and dearest are advising you to give it a try then maybe itīs worth it. However, you are in this relationship with your husband and no-one else. Only the two of you know whatīs really going on. In your shoes, I would continue to see your therapist and talk through everything.

I find it strange that your OH wonīt tell you his reasons for not going to counselling but maybe he just needs some space. It certainly sounds like he does from what youīre saying.

He wonīt go to counselling with you & you donīt want to have a trial separation incase you end up getting hurt. Itīs tough. As I see it, someone has to compromise otherwise your marriage isnīt going to survive What is your therapist advising you to do?
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

She says I have to convince him to come to therapy and if he won't there is nothing more I can do.

you are absolutely right tho about compromise. He is just so damn depressed and lost now that I think I can't expect him to work through this rationally and compromise, it will have to be me and I don't want to look back and regret that I try my absolute best before giving up!
thank you1 you have helped me a lot today
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

Would it help if you were to give him a time limit for the trial separation. How long are you prepared to stay in limbo? If you did give a time limit what would you do at the end of that time if he still will not make up his mind about wheher he wants to stay in the marriage or not.

I am sorry you are going through this.
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

Thanks Wiser! Yes, that is what I was thinking; a time limit so this doesn't look so vague and scary.

I don't know exactly how long, but not more than 6 months I guess. I need to figure out how to move forward. This is going to be really hard for me. I've been with him since I was 19 so never really lived on my own as an adult. there are so many things to think; financial, logistical, emotional, etc...

We live in Dubai and I don't want to go back to our home country, which is currently facing lots of political and economic challenges, so that makes it harder as well. I also think that i will need a long while to get over this and move on emotionally.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

I think Wiserīs suggestion of a trial separation with a time limit is a very good idea. I would do just that. Tell your OH that you will give him 6 months (or whatever you feel you can cope with) to decide and thatīs it. So easy to say but so hard to do... There is a thread on here with some guidlelines about trial separation and it is quite good.

I am sorry itīs come to this. I hope he seeks professional help and gets help with his depression. I wish you all the best, Sue.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

You asked for a male perspective, I'll give it to you. Your situation has several similarities with mine.

A year and a half ago my wife left me. I have a business and I too got into financial difficulties just like your husband did. During that period, my wife's career started to blossom which I helped build. She also started meeting new friends and built a new social circle just like yourself. One day she just came up to me and said that she just felt like our marriage was going no where and felt that it was best for us to live apart and to fix ourselves.

To be clear there was no other man involved. I hired the PI, did all the spying and came up empty handed. I had a real Walk Away Wife, not one who left for another man but one who just felt like the marriage she invested in for 14 years wasn't worth investing in anymore.

Nothing can bruise a man's ego more than not being able to provide for his wife. That is what a man should be doing in the first place. I did for the first ten years of our marriage, and we had practically zero issues. The problems started when my business started to go south. Her career was moving and she was helping out financially. But put together another three years of a losing business and there is only so much a person could take. I was the captain of the ship and the ship was sinking. I resented her for not staying on board to fix the boat, instead she felt that things were beyond repair and decided to abandon ship.

So going back to my perspective, I'm glad to hear you don't want to leave even though you know you could and survive. I suggest

1.talk to your husband and ask him what are his plans to fix the business. If he cannot, will he be able to throw in the towel and look for a job? How much can you help while he is going through this transition?

2. Avoid the temporary separation. In my opinion its the worst thing you can do because you start going your way and he will start going on his and it will become more difficult to reconcile. I am already a year and a half with this separation and living in limbo is the worst feeling to have.

3. Try to get him to a counselor. I know its difficult because he doesn't want to right now, but tell him that you have a meeting set up already and the session will be not to talk about your marriage but for him to talk about his feelings. Tell him he needs to air out his problems and issues. If he knows its for him, he might go. If your counselor is good, he/she will know what to do once your husband attends.

4. If he can't do either 1-3, then you hold your ground. I said my wife left because of the sinking ship. I hated her for not sticking around, but in retrospect, I also don't blame her for leaving. Who wants to be around a loser right? You shouldn't have to either. So if he still insists on doing nothing with his life and still demands on a trial separation, don't agree with him. Tell him to screw the trial separation and that you want out permanently. You know you can stand on your own, so don't be scared to do it. You will only waste your time with a trial separation isn't guided with a counselor.

The cards are stacked to your favor, you have the better hand. Learn to exert yourself more and make demands.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

Thank you so much Alpha, that really really helped.
I always had a feeling this couldn't possibly be separated from his money problems. His business is barely breaking even now, so maybe in the next 2-3 years he will start making money...maybe.
My career has taken off greatly recently, which I only thought was God's helping hand so we wont' have to beg. I never rubbed it in, I really cared about his feelings of frustration and anxiety because of the money. I would never ever have left because of money problems!

He has also made some new friends and according to him "people that the likes of me cannot get along with". I have been working in the UN and in various NGO's for 12 years and have friends from the whole GLOBE, so I don't understand what his problem is.


This feeling of resentment towards me scares me. his belief that I "robbed" him of the chance to go clubbing and having fun. I SWEAR even when we were in our early twenties, he always just wanted to sit home and watch TV. Even without drinking/clubbing, there is so much fun that can be had in life but he never wanted to. I can't fight this kind of resentment. All he sees now is someone who doesn't drink or wear a bikini as if that is the only way to enjoy life and without that he cannot tolerate living with me. At least that's what I'm hearing.

You are right though. I have already started planning to leave and in a few months i'm hoping to be able to move out!
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

It sounds like you are very educated and have a level head. Good. Learn to keep your cool in times like these especially when the emotions can run out of control. I would probably be in a better position now if I could have.

Your husband resenting you is definitely money related. His ego is bruised because he cannot provide properly and he is taking it out on you. I applaud that you are helping out financially without rubbing it into his face. My wife was the opposite. She hated the idea of helping out when money was tight for me and she was the one who had all the new friends and kept on going out while I just put the hours into the business.

Now while I believe all this stems financially, I would be on the lookout right now for another woman. Having all these new friends and never wanting you around doesn't sound too good. There could be someone else that is giving him attention.

And if you are truly unhappy, why wait several months to move out? Again you hold the cards here because you can survive.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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All my savings are in the house unfortunately. We need to wait for the price to go up sufficiently so we can sell and i can take out my savings. The market is going up now so hopefully only a few more months. In the meantime, I am sorting out a separate bank account, sorting out a separate residence visa (I currently have a "spouse" residency).

Most important of all, I'm going to condition myself emotionally. I hate that I have been sitting waiting for a miracle to happen, hoping that he will wake up one morning and appreciate that I have loved him and took care of our family with everything I got for 20 years. I need to stop that and focus on the emotional transition. It's very hard to disentangle yourself emotionally and I'm hoping that by the time the actual move happens, it won't hurt so much.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:10 AM   #13 (permalink)
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and there is no woman. There was someone at some point 2 years ago but that went away quickly and now I'm sure there is no one.
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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It won't be easy detaching after 20 years unless you truly hate your spouse, but it sounds like you are still in love with him. Most men don't realize how good they have it until their wife leaves them. If there is no woman involved like you mentioned, I can bet that your leaving will hit your husband like a brick. He may be throwing around trial separation now because his ego is bruised and possibly because he feels that you won't ever leave him. He thinks if anything, it will be him to do the leaving.

You'll know when its best to leave and waiting for Dubai real estate prices to appreciate may just be your subconscious telling you to give yourself more time to think it over and to hope that your husband does turn. You can pack your bags and get an apartment since you are earning. Sell the house later if you have to.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trial Separation; how does it work??

Hi Alpha,
You are right, to an extent, I'm still not ready to cut the cord irrevocably, but not to actually think it over, rather to take my time to disentangle slowly. In any case there are a few logistical issues that will take time to sort out before I can finalize a divorce... but in the meantime I am finding myself slowly getting more comfortable with the idea of being on my own.

Yesterday I went out to meet an old friend who is passing through Dubai and he brought a friend with him. I no longer wear my wedding ring and I could tell the guy really liked me. It felt gratifying to feel wanted- although I will not go down that road. But it made me feel like I do not need to be a doormat any longer.

I doubt he will realize anything other than his own vision of the "wrongs" the world did to him. I feel sorry for him more than anything, there is no anger left in me, but you cannot help someone not willing to help themselves.

You know, I keep going back to your perspective and today something struck me about your situation. Why do you believe your wife left, why do you say no one wants to be with a loser? let me give you a woman's perspective:
1- Your wife has stuck with you for 14 years, so she must love you and care about you
2- I hear a lot of anger directed at yourself. Is it possible that because you felt anger about not being able to support the family, you started directing this anger at her, in subtle ways. Is it possible that she wanted you to make her feel appreciated because she was helping out but you were too proud to tell her thank you. When I look back, one of the things that hurt me the most during our relationship is that he never ever showed me that he appreciated what I'm doing. When he was making loads of money and I still wanted to work (because I have too much mental energy to sit and twiddle my thumbs for one and I always felt I needed a plan B in case things didn't continue to be rosy). You know what he used to tell the kids when they asked me mom why don't you stay at home, he would say, oh she's just trying to entertain herself with work, in a very belittling tone!

if I hadn't insisted on being in the work market during those days of plenty, I would not have been able to move to a better paying job during the crisis. He never said thank you, he never showed that he appreciated that I was working 12 hour days when you include taking care of 3 children from a-z (his highness never participated in child care or housework).

are you sure you genuinely showed your wife that you appreciated what she was doing?

of course I don't know your wife but I just think it might be a case of her feeling unappreciated or unloved because you were in a bad spot yourself and unable to communicate positively with her. I could be totally wrong of course, but judging that you were married for so long, it seems to me she really cared.

Starting a new social life may have been her way of keeping sane and finding some support.

Just some thoughts to reflect on
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