For you to have searched for separation and divorce advice and separation counselling, you have either experienced a separation recently or are thinking about separating from your husband or partner.
I’m truly sorry for what you are experiencing, separation and divorce can be a daunting experience, a roller coaster of a ride, an emotional journey that can feel like there is no end in sight.
Help is at hand and you are in the right place for information, support and a community of women just like you who are experiencing separation.
Before we dive into the counselling aspects of separation let’s look at the definition of separation and answer a few questions you may have about your separation.
Note: I use the words marriage, relationships, husband and partner throughout this post interchangeably. The meanings remain the same in the context of separation between two people who have shared a life, a home, intimate relationships and may or may not have children.
What is Separation?
Separation is the first step toward finalising an intimate relationship.
What is Separation in Marriage?
Separation is the initial stage of a marriage or relationship breakdown. The couple cease to share a bedroom and cease any intimate contact, however, sometimes they still live in the same home.
Marriage separation is a harder decision for parents as their decision isn’t just a separation of husband and wife. The decision impacts the family unit as a whole, making their decision more of a family separation.
The separation process can be difficult, especially if you didn’t see it coming and had no say in the matter. It can change one day to the next, sometimes not for the best, however, I urge you to accept help with separation offered from family and friends. Their emotional support, shoulder to cry on or just a friendly ear to listen to you, will help you through this difficult time in your life.
How to Deal with Separation
Dealing with separation can vary from person to person. Some women feel ashamed of what is happening and don’t want to discuss it with anyone.
Coping with separation for other women differs with some coming out with all guns blazing, ready to take on whatever the separation process throws at them.
Some women experience depression and anxiety, what use to be simple and straightforward in life now seems so difficult and ends up in the too hard basket.
There can be a sense of hopelessness and you may even catch yourself thinking is it all worth it? I assured you it is, and you are, you will get through this, there is hope for a better future for you and your children if you have them.
The emotions and feelings you are experiencing are completely normal while you learn how to cope with separation. It’s a grieving process one that is similar to death. And when you think about it, there has been a death, a death of a relationship.
There are 7 steps to the grieving process in a relationship, they are
Don’t be surprised if you feel all 7 emotions in one day, I certainly did several times, it’s completely normal even though you may not feel that way!
Do you Need Separation Counselling?
You may feel like you are not coping, don’t want to face the world, and going to work is the last thing of your Top 10 List of things to do at this time.
It’s O.K. to ask for help, it’s a sign of strength not weakness that you want to reach out for some help.
Talking it over with a divorce coach, therapist or counsellor that is impartial and doesn’t know your circumstances is often comforting. There are no preconceived ideas, you are in a safe place and your sessions are 100% confidential. You can offload, be yourself and get the help you need.
You can book your free 15-minute session here with me to see if we are a good fit to work together. You have to be completely comfortable with me and also have to feel and can help and support you.
What to Do During A Separation
There are plenty of family and friends that have been through separation and divorce and will offer their advice on divorce and separation. At this stage just listen, there’s no need to take any concrete action and make huge decisions.
While there are no set rules for separation here are a few tips that will help you through your separation journey and look after number 1, you.
- Take it easy, be gentle with you. Take some time off if you can, just a few days to yourself.
- Grab a journal and write about how you are feeling, just get it all out, dump your thoughts on paper. Sit with someone you trust where you can be yourself and open up to what is really going on with you.
- Make time for you and create some form of ritual/routine that includes a shower, light make up and some coffee catch ups with the girls.
- Move into daily self-care, nurture you and decide what you really want in your life. Learn to fill yourself up from the inside out. This is the chance to shape your life the way you really want it to look, the way you’ve always wanted it to be.
- Get all those negative emotions out! Bash a pillow on your bed if you have to, scream, shout, write about your feelings and discuss them with a trusted friend or life coach. Get some separation counselling. Remember it’s healthy to feel what you are feeling. Write a letter to him, but don’t send it.
- Have your besties on speed dial, catch up with them as often as you need, at their home or yours if you are not feeling like socialising in cafés and restaurants. Spend as much time as you can in nature, the beach and bush walks. Or simply sit and lap up some Vitamin D from the sunshine.
- Acknowledge yourself for all the hard work you’ve dedicated to yourself. Doing so can create a better you, and life moving forward. Give yourself a gift of some sort to recognise this and celebrate. It could be an all-day spa indulgence to researching that overseas trip you’ve been promising yourself.
What Not To Do During A Separation
Whilst you are learning how to cope with separation here are a few tips on what not to do while going through a separation.
- Make any rash spur of the moment decisions. Take some time, sleep on a decision. As your emotions are all over the places at the moment you may not be thinking straight and might not make the right decision for your future.
- Contact him (yes, I know it’s hard, but DON’T). Contacting him just makes it harder on you. Now is not the time to add to your roller coaster of emotions.
- Push your real feelings aside and put them on hold. If you stuff your feelings down, you’ll either implode or explode, meaning don’t start binge drinking that can become really ugly or you can become emotionally numb where you may remain for quite some time.
- Wallow in self-pity, no it’s not the end of the world and yes you will fall in love again and meet “The one.” Take a little control of your life. Move a step closer to developing a positive aspect of your life each day that lights you up.
- Send the letter you write to him. Dig a hole in the ground, burn it and bury it. Don’t take any actions on other angry thoughts you might have had either.
- Include your ex in ANY of your future plans.
- Isolate yourself, Do – Accept the separation advice and help that’s offered and answer the phone to your besties. Note: you don’t have to accept all the advice, simply listen and then make a decision on what is best for you and your life.
Be surprised if you move through the 7 stages of grief slowly. You may experience moments of clarity and moments of despair from time-to-time but know that this is perfectly normal. Eyes forward and on the prize – your new life after separation and divorce!
Is Separation Good For A Marriage or Relationship?
When you enter a marriage or relationship separation it is generally the view of at least one of the parties that the separation is permanent. That’s not to say there are relationship reconciliations. I’ve been through a separation and reconciliation in a relationship myself.
Was the separation good for the relationship? As it has turned out, yes it was, however, this was after hours of listening and talking with my partner.
How to Reconcile A Marriage After Separation
Talking and listening over hours, if not days, are needed by both people in the marriage or a relationship if is going to survive into the future.
Discussions need to take place, grievances aired without blame and a plan for the future set in place.
Naturally plans also need to be flexible, you also need to agree upon open communication for your future life to thrive as a couple.
The real work lies in actual life circumstances and your reactions to them. The time of reconciliation is the time to work out if this happens, then…It has to be agreeable to you both, working through your differences in a positive light can bring you closer as a couple and give you strength within yourself too.
Time is also a factor. Quite some time (months) need to pass before a reconciliation can be considered. In this time you will develop an inner strength you can draw upon that will help with any discussion about getting back together.
You may decide you like your new life the way it is, or you may be open to the possibility of getting back together. Either way it costs you little to sit and listen.
A few years ago, after a few months of being separated from my partner, he approached me about the subject of getting back together. He believed as I did that we had spent 8 years of our lives together and did we really need to throw that away? Or, was there a chance that our relationship would work out if we got back together?
I’m happy to say it has worked out. Relationships are not always easy, however, they can work if you share common values, have good communication and of course love each other.
Legal advice on separation varies from country to country.
In Australia where I live a marital separation agreement only needs to be between the two people involved and is usually followed by one of the parties leaving the home.
There are no legal requirements to separate in Australia, although you may have to prove you and your partner or husband have separated when you consider a property settlement and divorce.
In the United States legal separation documents are required covering child custody, child support, alimony and may address the division of assets and debts. The legal separation agreement is filed with the courts.
Separate maintenance agreements address child support and custody and are contracts drawn up between the couple and are not approved by the courts.
Legal separation papers and filing for separation with the courts are only required in some areas of Canada.
At the time of separation contracts can be drawn up by the couple. The marriage separation agreement is legally binding and covers child custody and access, spousal and child support, and divisions of assets and debts. Both parties must voluntarily sign the legal separation agreement.
Legal separation documents are called separation petition in the U.K. It allows the parties to live apart due to adultery, religious reasons for not divorcing, have been married less than 1 year or simply need some time to see if you want to remain married.
If you are reading this post and your country isn’t covered above, a government department in your town will have the information you need about your marital separation agreement.