Sometimes you just need a little time to yourself. Like when you have the house to yourself for a night or when you go on a weekend getaway with your friends and no kids. This kind of time to yourself is usually good because you come back feeling refreshed and recharged. So when you and your spouse are having problems you can’t help but wonder if a little space could be helpful there, too. It makes, sense, right? If having some space helps you in other areas of your life, maybe some space in your marriage can be helpful, too. Right? Well, the answer is…maybe.
Can Separation Be Good for your Marriage?
Whether or not separating is good for your marriage depends on a number of things. The biggest one is the reason behind why you want to separate. If you’re separating because you’re feeling like you’re on the edge in your marriage and you want to get calm and collected before you make an ultimate decision then separation is a useful tool to do that. It’s hard to know what divorce is really going to be like. In fact, a lot of of folks comment that if they knew how hard the divorce was going to be they wouldn’t have divorced in the first place. So separating gives you a chance to sort of try it out before you make a final decision that is hard to reverse. It helps you to see what splitting custody with the kids is really like, If your spouse really doesn’t help out as much as you think, and if you two really do argue all the time. Separation can provide you with an outside view on things like this.
Separation also helps you to collect your thoughts and think clearly. If you’re considering separating it’s usually because things aren’t going well in your marriage. So when you’re home with your spouse you can’t help but feel tense and angry. You also react to every little thing that your spouse does. So separating can help you to get your thoughts together, get some distance from the volatility and see what things are really like in your relationship.
When is Separation Bad for my Marriage?
Separating in your marriage is bad when you’re doing it to explore other relationships or because you’re mad and want to make your spouse pay. When you separate to explore other relationships those relationships will always be better than your marriage. Yep, it’s true. I can say that confidently because those new relationships don’t have the history that your marriage does. So whoever the new person is that you find will be exciting and fun and new. The feelings in that relationship won’t be weighed down by the history like you and your spouse have. And this will make your spouse seem like they’re same and boring and old. That’s not saying anything bad about your spouse. Because the new person you find will become old and boring over time, too. It wont’ take long, either until you start having a history of unpleasant things with that new person, too. So separating to try out new relationship is just exchanging one set of problems for new ones.
Separation is also bad for your marriage when you do it out of anger with your spouse. If you’re feeling mad at your spouse you can take a few hours or a couple days for both of you to cool down and come back together again. There’s no need to make a long-term separation. Plus, if you make a hasty decision and separate out of anger, you’ll calm down soon enough and realize that you just caused a big stir in your relationship over something that didn’t need that big of a response. Then you’ll have a lot of explaining to do every time you get together with friends or family.
About the Author:
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. He specializes in working with couples learn to communicate and overcome sexual difficulties.