Thinking About Separating From Your Partner?

There are a few positive reasons for deciding to separate from a partner or spouse.

ONE. A separation can help a couple get off the fence about their relationship. If ambivalence has kept the relationship stalled, it’s in the doldrums, a separation can provide wind. It can be healthy, invigorating and useful.

TWO. A separation can provide space to sort out thoughts and feelings. Separation offers an environment to reflect without being pulled into usual patterns, disagreements, or entanglements.

THREE. Separation offers a chance to be alone, which tends to take us off autopilot. There we are in the silence of a location that used to include two people, and now there’s only one. Who are we then?

There are many ways to separate, depending on circumstances. Here are two.

Simple Separation

Separation can serve as a step towards divorce. It can be a way to let each other down easy, or at least easier. This kind of separation is a waiting period, a breather, a pause — which can be truly beneficial. After some clear downtime, the couple either gives the relationship another go, or more likely they begin divorce proceedings.

I did this with one of my marriages. My husband moved from California where we lived back to Washington, DC. I moved to a new residence in a nearby city. After time to acclimate to being alone, and having time to think and feel our way through things, we made the formal decision (long distance) to divorce.

Separating As Partners

Separating as partners is quite different than separation as a first step towards divorce. This second way has the potential to influence the outcome in significant ways.

Separating as partners is for the specific purpose of taking time apart to grow individually. The idea is that when both people are in better shape, they can make a clearer decision about the partnership. Any leaning toward divorce is temporarily taken off the table.

I meet with the couple to help them plan their separation. We talk specifics, such as what parameters would support them in getting the most out of time apart? For example, financial arrangements, who lives where, how to talk about it with others (exactly what to say), rules for contacting each other (emergencies/ questions), and fidelity/sex, and so on. We make sure they are on the same page about time apart.

I meet with the couple again at the six month mark. If more time is needed by either person, it is granted without question, up to a year. At the end of one year, we explore what has changed and how they want to move forward.

Separating as partners is an ideal way to clarify and unravel confusing patterns in an entangled marriage, as long as there are clear agreements about the separation.

When things crashed about four years into my relationship with Eric, I chose this way of separating, although we didn’t separate physically. (Most people with a marriage in trouble can’t do this, but the short story is that I was both able and willing.) While continuing to live together, I went on a mission for myself  (to find my loving self and bring that self into the partnership).

Only in retrospect did I realize what a change of heart it was for me not to care if Eric participated with me in reading books or doing classes. He was entirely off the hook. I let him know that I was heading into the wilderness to do my personal work. I asked nothing of him other than honest feedback, which he gave without hesitation.

What I learned during that next year was that my partnership with Eric wasn’t working because I hadn’t brought my real self to the partnership. Realizing that my true partner is my Inner Being, not another person, turned my marriage around.

(That’s a big subject, I know, and there’s so much more to say about that. My second book is all about this, and it’s written, waiting in line to be edited by a wonderful developmental editor. I’ll keep you posted.)

After three months of personal exploration, my relationship with Eric began to thrive. I felt encouraged. After six months, I had gotten to know myself in entirely new ways, and was expressing that into our relationship. After a year our relationship had changed completely, because I had changed. Eric responded to a new me.

Change yourself, change your relationship. That’s what I did.

It’s also what I teach others in sessions or classes for In Care of Relationships. It’s unreasonable (and not even logical) to expect individuals who have not learned how to partner with themselves to successfully partner with someone else.

If they do partner, the relationship won’t be based on love. It’ll be reactive and defensive, which creates a kind of circular misery, a sad and spinning pile of heartache, disappointment and failure. Logically speaking, how could a marriage where the two people don’t know themselves or aren’t being themselves be otherwise?

It takes one person to change a marriage.

My year of personal work taught me that to live a happy life, “know thyself and to thine own self be true.” (Shakespeare, Socrates)

To have a happy and productive partnership, we must bring our true self to it. When we hold hands with our true partner (our Inner Being) we are able to partner lovingly with another human. It’s a simple idea, though profound, and it makes all the difference.

My next blog will share guidelines about separating as well as questions to consider in planning a separation.

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Tags: , , ,

Trackback from your site.

Terri Crosby

Helping you create life-affirming, ever-evolving, happier relationships with those you love. Follow me on twitter at@TerriCrosby or read myblog.

Comments (3)

  • Avatar

    shiner

    |

    Well said and so very true in my experience.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Roy Dittman

    |

    Greetings Terri, I am enjoying your deeply considered writing and wisdom here in Downtown Tustin at the Lost Bean ! Big hugs to you and Mackenzie!🙏🌹🧘🏼‍♀️🌸💝

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Terri Crosby

      |

      Wow so nice to hear from you! It has been so long since we spoke! I hope things are going well for you. Mackenzie is in San Francisco these days but coming home for a Thanksgiving visit. Sending a hug over the miles!

      Reply

Leave a comment

Rise Up by Andra Day

What a great set of words for these oncoming days.

Rise Up

 
You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
Bring it to its feet
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
And we will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, oh, oh
We’ll rise
I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo
Rise Up lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

Read more

Rippling Abs, Anyone?

Rippling Abs, Anyone?

During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
 
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
 
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
 
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
 
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
 
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
 
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
 
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
 
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
 
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
 
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
 
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.
 

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

Read more

Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Sometimes we ask intimate partners to do for us what is actually ours to do.

We ask our partner to give us the reassurance, love or appreciation we feel is missing in ourselves, with the hope that they will give us what we’re asking for—and then we’ll feel better. They’ll take care of our problem.

But when they do give us what we’re asking for, it can never be enough, because we have insufficient context for what they’ve given. We haven’t build the inner foundation to receive it, hear it, welcome it, believe it. They try to help, but their love for us falls into our void, our black hole, our love bucket with no bottom.

As always, there’s hope. Check out the video below.

Terri Crosby. http://www.incareofrelationships.com/.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Read more

Get in touch

Terri Crosby

Talk to me