All relationships have their ups and downs and most couples face challenges in their relationship at different points along the way. This is quite normal. How these challenges are faced can make a difference to the future of the relationship and some but not all may be overcome.
For those trying their best to navigate through the difficult times, it can be uncomfortable to face the possibility that your relationship may have run its course and might need to end.
If you are not married and don’t have children, deciding your relationship may have come to an end may be much more straightforward. This is not the case for married people and/or those with children. Their decision-making is much more complicated and requires careful thought. (For tips on coping with relationship difficulty, see my blog – Tips For Coping With Relationship Difficulty.)
It is quite natural for couples who have been in a serious relationship to want to do all they can to make their relationship work. For them, an option is often to consider a trial separation. You and your partner will need to talk through the what, how and when of the trial separation arrangements.
A divorce consultant’s tips for a trial separation:
It is important for you and your partner to agree on the purpose of the proposed separation. Is it to provide you both with some space to help you focus on making your relationship work? Or, is it to see if living apart suits you both and that the relationship may need to come to an end? It would be helpful for you both to be on the same page with this if possible.
The length of time
How long do you wish the trial separation to last? Do you have a particular period in mind or perhaps you want to review things after a certain period of time? You and your partner will need to decide how best to approach this and how long the separation lasts will affect what other arrangements may need to be put in place – e.g. housing and financial considerations.
Contact with spouse
What contact do you intend to have with each other whilst you live apart? Will you limit contact to just issues in relation to children arrangements? Will you have date nights? Do you want your spouse to agree to attend marriage guidance counselling? Click here to find out details of your nearest Relate counselling service – here.
Whilst you live apart, you’ll need to decide where each of you and the children will live? Will one of you stay living in the family home? Where will the other partner live? With friends/relatives or perhaps in rented accommodation? You’ll need to agree how the practical arrangements will work and how the two sets of living arrangements will be funded.
What will you tell the children about Mum and Dad not living in the same house? Be careful not to involve them in adult issues. It is important for you to agree with your partner exactly what the children will and won’t be told. They do not need to know all the details and be careful not to lie or make any promises you don’t know you can keep.
You and your partner will need to decide how the financial arrangements will work during your separation. There could be additional costs to be considered regarding housing and general living expenses. You’ll need to decide how these costs are to be met. The longer the trial separation is to be, the more thought may need to be given to financial matters and costs.
If you want to find out how I might be able to help you with your trial separation or any other aspect of your relationship problem, please get in touch here – Email Rhiannon.
If you are considering separation but do not think a trial separation would be appropriate, please see the following blogs:
If you have found the tips in this blog useful then you will find lots more in my ebook “Tips for Coping with Divorce” which you can download here: free ebook.
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