Intentional Separation: the support you need 

While terminating a marriage can be challenging, it is at times the right choice to start a new life, it generally means you have to start from scratch and let go of many comforts that you had previously put into your life.

Many separations get caught up in anger and shame and focus on winning or beating their ex. For example, custody battles, huge settlements and alienating children, family and friends against the ex partner. The costs of these predatory separations financially cost between $12 000 to $20 000, and the costs to you and your loved ones mental and physical health is even greater. 

If you have been thinking about separating or even divorcing, then you should know what you will need to go forward with the move.

What is an intentional separation?

An intentional  separation means changing the direction of your partnership when you realise the current partnership  cannot continue in the direction it’s been going. The main goal of an intentional separation is to help either partner improve their health as the relationship is a threat to it. An intentional separation can make all the difference.

When is it the right time to separate?

I expand on it more in this article but in short

  1. Abuse
  2. Either or both partners can’t or won’t do the work to improve the relationship
  3. The future focus of either partner does not include the partnership 
  4. Ongoing blame and contempt of a partner 
  5. Betrayal where either partner continually refuses to do the work of improving the relationship  

Focus on the future that you want.

Separating is not easy. In many ways you are grieving and the future that you reasonably expected to happen. You will go through all the stages of grief in no certain order: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance and hope. 

You need people around you who will support you as you mourn with a clear understanding of what it’s like to grieve. 

Pick goals that align with who you are and want to be.

There are few things that will test your character as much as separation will. Remaining true to yourself the person you want to be should not be up for grabs. 

People invested in your life and not overwhelmed by momentary emotions

As much as you do not need people who will fix you or try to take over your life for you you will need support. 

I like using the “grief circle” as my explanation of this. When folks are grieving the people closest to the centre of the pain caused for the damage complain out while those further out support inwards. If you are further from the centre than the person you are talking to you support them without complaint and find someone further out to complain to. Why does this matter? Somehow with separation and divorce many lose track of this. Among your friends and family you need people who understand that nobody is more impacted by the situation in your relationship than you. Therefore it;s their job to support you. Not to complain or seek your support for their issues with your separation. 

You need friends, family and professionals who are willing to put you first where your separation is concerned. You may need to set this boundary with them. If you have to do that more than once my suggestion is you probably need new people. The people you need till have the following traits. 

  1. Calm 
  2. Non-Judgemental 
  3. Can listen without solutioning 
  4. Will hold you accountable to the next steps you decide to take 
  5. Keeps your secrets and respects your boundaries 
  6. Is definitely on your side and not working with your ex partner 
  7. Will not make your grief about them even if they are impacted by your separation

A plan that makes sense that you can stick to 

Sure you can fly by the seat of your pants or listen to your friends. Remember that they are not experts. Each area has different rules and laws regarding separation. You have needs while you are separated regarding your health whether it’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. I would suggest that creating that team will require experts in that area. At the least you need a lawyer, a counsellor and a good friend. Additionally I would suggest a mediator and a coach. I work with people going through separation  to help them craft this plan and put the right people in place. Take the time and make a plan before you start.