Types of Separation
I believe that the common understanding among people is that separation is the first step to breaking up. Most people only see one type of separation.
When people come to me for couples work, they are usually already separated in some form. They may already be in separate bedrooms or one on the couch or perhaps living with a family member or friend. There is usually a great degree of emotional distance from each other as well. I usually see at least one partner very upset because he or she feels so stuck and unhappy.
I have heard other partners and couples say, “We tried a separation and it didn’t work.”
In other words, they just took space from each other without any working goals on how to improve the pattern of how they relate to each other.
There is so much material on how to work on your marriage or relationship as well as how to divorce, but there is little on that limbo area in-between called separation.
In the following section of this site I have identified the types of separations that I have seen people take and I’ve named and defined them. The types include:
- In House Separation
- Trial Separation
- Brief Separation
- Pre-Divorce Separation
- Psychological Separation
- Therapeutic Separation
The type of separation you decide upon has everything to do with what you hope the separation will accomplish for you and your relationship. The type of separation you create will set expectations for what will happen next.
Agreeing Upon Terms and Goals For the Separation – The Most Important Part
Once you and your partner have selected a separation type that is going to work for your situation you will next need to agree on terms of the separation such as who is living where, doing what with family related items such as finances, children, household maintenance etc.
Finally, a separation without goals is like a ship without a destination – wandering aimlessly. Set some goals for the separation including communication goals as well as personal goals.
Taking Space – How to Use Separation to Explore the Future of Your Relationship
Available in paperback and ebook editions
Audio Course: How to Structure and Manage a Separation
Available for download or in CDs
The Separation Agreement
Available for download or as a hard copy