Separation is never easy. Although it does not have the same ramifications as divorce, legal separation allows married couples who no longer wish to live together a route of escape. If you are considering a legal separation, then you likely need one. Again, it’s important to understand that legal separation is not the same as a divorce, but it can and likely will create substantial changes in your daily life.
So how do you know it’s time for separation? What criteria can you use to judge your relationship? Two of the most common signs that it’s time for legal separation are increasing anger in the relationship and failed efforts to reconnect.
Anger Develops in the Relationship
A breakdown in communication often leads to divergent goals and conflicting desires. It may still be possible to address these issues and re-establish links through therapy. If you or your spouse, however, become noticeably angrier in daily interactions, then it’s time to consider separation. Anger limits your ability to communicate and sort through differences. Even if you are considering a divorce, a legal separation may give you and your spouse time to consider moving forward. Divorce is rarely easy, but fresh anger and frustration only make the process more difficult. A separation could be what you need in order to restore or amicably dissolve your marriage.
Living apart from your spouse gives you time to reflect and sort out your goals. It also gives your children a chance to adapt to new living arrangements. A house with two angry parents is never a good place for a child to develop and grow.
Therapy helps many couples address lingering issues in their relationships, develop new communication strategies, and strengthen marriages. However, a qualified therapist guiding you through the sessions can’t be the only one engaged in the process. If you or your partner cannot bring yourself, for whatever reason, to work together, then therapy will fail. Therapy also fails if you and your spouse have simply grown too far apart. No matter how good your intentions are, if you and your spouse have developed in conflicting ways, then therapy cannot change the altered dynamics of your relationship. Regardless of the reason, failing to resolve your issues in couples’ therapy is a clear sign that you and your partner should consider legal separation.
Legal separation doesn’t require animosity, although living with a spouse with whom you can no longer communicate often leads to strong emotions. You may discover that you can still be amicable with your spouse through therapy, but find that living together is detrimental to your evolving relationship. Separation offers a chance to regroup, consider, and find your equilibrium. It helps children adjust to new living arrangements, and gives both you and your children a chance to live with less conflict. When anger derails chances to talk and therapy does not help you address the problems in your marriage, it’s time to consider legal separation.