Divorce After 2 Years Separation: Does A Separation Have To End With A Divorce

I sometimes hear from wives whose husbands are either pressing for a separation or have left the home to begin one. Many times, the wife is against and never wanted the separation. She often sees it as the first step toward a divorce or the end of her marriage. I recently heard from someone who asked me "does a separation always end in divorce? Is there anything that I can do to make sure that mine doesn't?"

The answer to these questions depends upon the situation, but no, separations most certainly do not always end in divorces. In fact, I hear from many folks who have been able to turn things around and save the marriage even after the separation has gone on for a while. In the following article, I'm going to discuss which factors I think contribute to some couples staying together after a separation and some ending up getting a divorce.

Things Which Contribute To A Separation Ending In Divorce: I occasionally hear from people who, despite the efforts that they've made during their separation, ended up divorcing anyway. Although I rarely personally know the people or the circumstances involved, I'm typically able to see some common themes that run through these separations and eventual divorces.

Usually one or both of the spouses perceive that no meaningful or lasting change takes place. And so, one or both of the parties decide that it doesn't make sense to keep living like they are. So, they perceive it better to just go ahead and get a divorce. Sometimes, people tell me that they hoped the time and distance would make them appreciate or want their spouse more, but this sometimes doesn't happen because the spouse in question didn't allow for the time.

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Other times, the couple hasn't really set firm boundaries or come to clear understandings during the separation and, as a result, one or both of the parties began to see other people, which can sometimes mean that the marriage doesn't stand a fair chance because it doesn't have everyone's full attention or efforts. Or, another common scenario is that because of the fear and panic one of the spouse's feels, this causes them to focus on negative emotions and fears and to react badly to the separation and behave in a way that makes the other spouse glad to be away from them.

Things Which Contribute To A Separation Not Ending In A Divorce: On the other hand, the separated couples which I see working things out often approach things a little differently. One or both of them are often able to take a step back and attempt to focus on the positive (with an eye toward keeping things light rather than heavy.) And, typically they try to focus on positive rather than negative behaviors that are, understandably, based on fear and uncertainty. I'm not saying that any of this is easy, but couples who are able to do this often find that the time and distance actually helps them rather than hurts them.

Additionally, couples who are able to transition from a separation to saving the marriage often follow a workable plan or obtain some sort of help or guidance during it so that they find that their situation, and their marriage, is actually in better shape than it was before the separation. This gives them incentive to keep on going and to turn away from a divorce.

And usually, the couple is able to sit down and come to some guidelines and boundaries so that each person isn't just sort of feeling their way in an unfamiliar process. They might agree that they'll touch base weekly or not see other people while separated. What ever the boundaries they've set, it helps if both people can honor and agree to them.

To put it as simply as possible, separated couples who are able to avoid divorce often find some improvement in their situation that gives them the incentive to keep trying to make improvements and to ultimately think that divorcing is a mistake.

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Things That You Can Do If You're Separated And Don't Want This To End In Divorce: People often ask me what are some things that they can do to ensure that their separation doesn't ultimately lead to divorce. First, it helps to accept right from the beginning that you aren't going to be able to control what your spouse is thinking or feeling. So many people really try to shame, guilt, or strong arm their spouse into changing their mind before they allow time to do most of the work for them. This just keeps the negative feelings and perceptions going and it doesn't improve things. With that said, you can set up the circumstances so that improvements become more likely.

This is where you have more control than you might think. You have the ability to keep things positive and moving forward so that you see improvements rather than set backs. It helps that, to the extent that you can without appearing pushy, that you try to come up with some understandings and boundaries. Leaving things open ended or just saying you'll "wait and see" when neither of you know what this really means can leave room for misunderstandings, frustration, and resentment.

As best as you can, you want to set things up so that the environment and your relationship is conducive to seeing improvements. This sometimes means not clinging so tightly that you encourage negative perceptions where your spouse thinks that they need to avoid you or continue moving further away.

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It's interesting that many problems that we deal with in marriage, and life in general, come from people responding to hurt. What's even more interesting is that when we lash out at somebody, we justify that as O.K. After all, they hurt us first in some way. So it's O.K. for us but when our spouse, for example, lashes out at us, it's ohhhh so wrong.

You see, we think that our partner is a this, that and the other thing. They must be, look at what they said to us, but with what we said to them we say, "Well, what do you expect, I was mad."

We can see our partner as rude and even cruel but most likely they are reacting from a place of hurt and even resentment. When our spouse hurts us, we lash out. The lashing out probably feels malicious to them, just like it feels to us. Each of us see the other as a mean and cruel person, but we are both just responding to being hurt and we're trying to protect ourselves.

When our marriage is in trouble, one spouse or the other starts looking for help. They need some "save my marriage" advice that will work, and will work quickly. A relationship can be turned around at any time, even if only one person wants to save it. There are many things that you can do to get your marriage back on the road to happiness again, but to start, you need to realize that most of the damaging things that we say, and that are said to us, are based on being hurt and self-preservation.

Now, that's not a big revelation. Most us know that, but we forget this simple fact when we're fighting with our spouse and our marriage seems to be spinning out of control. If your marriage is in trouble, most likely the two of you seem to be fighting a lot(for some that's an understatement), and both of you are probably hurting each other with the things you say to each other, and you can't figure out what the problem is. You may even be thinking that the problem would be solved if your spouse would just stop being so mean and critical. Does this sound familiar?

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If YOU want to save your marriage, YOU need to stop this downward spiral. Fortunately, you can stop the hurting and start healing your relationship. When a fight starts and you begin lashing out at each other, you need to stop and remember where this is coming from. When you view your spouse's actions as a response to hurt, then you can begin to respond differently.

If a child asks for something and is told "no," and then the child says, "I hate you!" Is the child being mean? No, he or she is angry and hurt because they didn't get what they wanted. They are acting out of hurt and resentment, not from being mean. They are looking at the situation as, "You hurt me, so now I'm going to hurt you." Once you realize this, you can attack this situation differently(although punishment may still be in order). Instead of approaching the child with an attitude of, "Why you little...!" Instead, you can approach this child understanding that they feel hurt.

The principle is the same when it comes to your spouse. What would happen in your relationship if you saw attacks from your partner come from hurt and pain, not meanness and cruelty? If you can see your spouse as a person who is hurt and in pain, it is much easier to offer forgiveness and understanding. It's much easier to stop this downward spiral of hurt when coming from this point of view. Try to understand what the hurt or pain is that your spouse is experiencing and deal with that. Now you're dealing with the real issues behind your arguments and change can finally start to happen. When you're looking for some good "save your marriage advice," this is a great place to start.

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You thought that you were in this perfect marriage that will last forever. All of the sudden you find yourself in the marriage that seems to be hitting the rocks, and it seems like it just happened overnight. You love your partner and you believe that this marriage can be saved. After searching your heart you realize that lack of intimacy might be the problem.

Apparently, lack of intimacy in marriage is a common missing ingredient. For a marriage to be happy there must be a level of intimacy not only the physical but you must have a level of intimacy on the emotional level. Ask yourself this, "does my marriage suffer from a lack of intimacy?"

1. Are you open and transparent with your spouse?
2. Do you share and include or do you exclude and keep your emotions to yourself. If you exclude your spouse emotionally, then your marriage lacks intimacy.
3. Make sure that you're making every attempt to share your problems and worries with your spouse.

Some people find themselves worried and preoccupied with a certain situation. Instead of sharing with their spouse, they decide to try and deal with it on their own. If you find yourself excluding your spouse from sharing your problems you can understand how your spouse might feel left out of your life.

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Spouses can very easily sense when something is wrong and if you exclude them, they know that there is something wrong and start feeling bad because they imagine there is something bigger going on then there actually is.

Another way to create intimacy into your marriage so that you can save marriage is to make time for your marriage. In this day and age when a everyone is so busy we take our most important things for granted , you must decide to spend more time with our spouse. You don't want to find yourself being to busy with your career and focusing on raising your kids that you find your marriage just fizzled away..

Make sure that if you want to save your marriage that you're actively making time for your spouse and your marriage. Once in a while take an afternoon off and have some fun with your spouse. Plan a intimate date with your spouse and surprise her with a little gift. When your spouse realizes that you value them to the extent of changing your schedule to include them, you will begin to see an improved difference in your marriage.

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You are having problems with your marriage and nothing you have tried seems to work. What is your next step? Should you start looking through the phone book for a divorce lawyer? Do you work on getting your partner to go to marriage counseling with you? Do you have a session with a relationship coach? Do you just wait and hope that things will get better? With so many opinions and services available, how do you decide on the next best step for you?

Before you rush into a course of action, ask yourself a few key questions:

1. Is the way my partner and I have been working on our relationship helping?

If the way you and your partner are handling your relationship problems is not helping, then don't continue to use this method. The more damage that is done to a relationship, the harder it is to recover from. Try something different. If you don't know what to try, then it is certainly time to get help from someone who knows how to make things better.

2. Are there any immediate dangers to life or property if something is not done?

The time to separate is when staying together will do more harm than good. This is most obvious with a pattern of physical or emotional abuse. During the separation, it is important for the couple to continue to work on the relationship with an experienced marriage counselor. Although friends often recommend a lawyer rather than a counselor, most often people will leave one bad relationship just to have another unless they learn how to change their patterns.

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3. Is my partner willing to go to counseling with me?

If your spouse is willing, marriage counseling can help the two of you to discover the destructive pattern that you are involved in. You will practice together skills that are important for breaking out of that destructive pattern. The presence of a counselor will help you both to stay focused and keep from going off into other unproductive areas. The counselor will not take sides.

4. Does my spouse blame me entirely for the problems?

Fear can cause spouses to shut down and withdraw, deny, and blame. Don't continue to confront your spouse at this point. Arguing with an angry, stubborn, or withdrawn spouse is no more helpful than arguing with an angry, withdrawn, or stubborn child. Waiting for your spouse to open up or agree to counseling will keep you stuck. Work with a relationship coach on positive goals. This will decrease conflict, and improve your relationship. Coaches excel at getting people unstuck.

5. If my relationship could be improved, am I willing to work on it?

If the answer to this is "no," then you have no energy left for working on the relationship or you are looking for someone's permission to get out of the relationship. Some people attend counseling with the hope the counselor will recommend divorce. Do not use either counseling or coaching as a method to get you out of your marriage. Lawyers are better at that.

6. How long am I willing to live with this situation?

Can you continue with your relationship the way it is for 3 more months? for 3 years? Hope is important. It is what encourages us to take actions such as apply for a job, ask someone out on a date, or work on our marriage problems. Hope must be combined with learning and action in order to produce good results. Many people fall into the trap of believing that understanding, alone, brings a solution. Seeking endlessly to understand a problem is just another way to avoid taking effective action.

To summarize, marriage counseling is very good for working together with your partner. Relationship coaching is very good when your partner is not ready to work on things. The only person who can keep you stuck is you. The most risky thing to do is to continue waiting and hoping without taking action.

Saying or doing the wrong thing can actually cause your spouse to feel even more distant from you. You can make your spouse fall back in love with you, all over again.

You don't have to worry about whether your spouse is on the brink of asking you for a divorce. You can control the situation and use specific techniques to naturally make them fall hopelessly in love with you.

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