Sunday, February 28, 2010
Distancing From Your Partner to Gain Closeness
"It doesn't make sense. How can a separation help our marriage." "How will you know if I have changed if we are not together?" "If we separate we might as well file for divorce." Separation can be frightening and many objections must be addressed before a couple is sufficiently comfortable in making this change.
Couples typically choose a separation to help them reduce tension and improve their ability to determine whether their is hope that their marriage can be mutually satisfying. Many couples separate in a destructive manner. These couples choose to separate because they are angry and end the separation quickly, often in one day!
In my ebook, Marital Separation: Establishing a Cooperative Relationship With Your Partner During a Marital Crisis, I detail how a separation can be useful to the couple trying to determine whether or not to divorce.
Separation can reduce tension. Tension surrounds couples when one partner is pursuing the other's commitment to the marriage, yet the ambivalent partner is uncertain whether or not to remain married. By creating distance, the ambivalent partner feels a sense of relief from being pressured for a decision.
Separation also removes time pressure. A separation should give the couple sufficient time to examine how their relationship has fallen short and to develop specific changes for improvement. That is in the long run, but in the short run, a separation affords the couple the opportunity to cooperate. It is often a challenge to finances, parenting and determining how to approach family and friends.
I find that couples who separate in a controlled (rather than emotional) manner find that a decision forms naturally if they allow sufficient time. Either a connection forms as they work through the process of separation or increasing emotional distance leads to an emotional (and eventually a legal) divorce.