Can you be separated and live in the same house, seems an impossible task unless you know how to go about it. Trial separations happen in marriages, and contrary to popular belief they don’t always spell out the end of your relationship.
So, exactly what is a trial separation?
A trial separation means that two parties have decided to take a break in their relationship and to use their time apart to decide whether they want to continue working at the relationship.
This solitude can help you evaluate problems objectively, experience what life alone would be like, and get a taste of freedom. Sort of like an ‘On Hold’ button for marriage.
As the name implies, a trial separation usually involves living in separate living quarters. So, how to do a trial separation while living in the same house? Whether due to financial stipulations or family obligations, sometimes you don’t always have the option of leaving your shared home.
Here are some helpful guidelines for taking a break from marriage while living together and making it a success.
Common reasons for a trial separation in the same house
Trial separations for taking a break from marriage are more common than you think. Taking a break while living together can have its own advantages in a marriage.
Here are three of the most common reasons people decide to take a break from their relationships.
Extramarital affairs are a common cause for trial separation in the same house and sometimes even complete separation due to the devastation they bring.
Trust is the most difficult aspect of a relationship to rebuild.
Even if you do get back together at the end of your trial separation in the same house, it may be near impossible to get back the trust you once had for your partner.
Infidelity can also cause a once faithful partner to retaliate by cheating themselves.
Adultery is an almost immediate killer in relationships as it causes deep heartache and grief. Not only is this detrimental to both parties happiness, it can also fundamentally change your personality.
Feelings of anxiety, insignificance, and depression can fester. Grief associated with cheating can even trigger symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
So how to take a break in a relationship when you live together but are at odds with your partner.
Well, laying down some ground rules of communication could be a good start.
The hustle and bustle of having children at home and then suddenly gone off to college or getting married can leave parents feeling unneeded and plucked from their routine.
This is why many couples separate once their children leave home. Such a kind of trial separation while living together also happens when parents become so focused on raising their children that they forget to continue dating one another.
They forget that they are individuals, not just parents.
Drug and alcohol addictions can also garner distrust in a relationship and lead to couples living separate lives in the same house. Substance abuse encourages the following things that can push your relationship over the edge:
- poor spending
- instability both emotionally and financially
- rapid mood swings
- out-of-character behavior
At first, such couples may be separated but living in the same house and if the problem isn’t sorted out then they may decide to separate and live apart too.
How to have a trial separation in the same house or how to separate from spouse while living together
While many couples emotionally separate during this period, it doesn’t mean they have to separate physically. Trial separations commonly occur in the same house, especially when young children are present.
Here are some guidelines to follow to make your trial separation in the same house a success.
1. Establish truce and explain yourselves
Getting separated but living together by trial will do you no good if you spend the entire process arguing. An amicable separation under the same roof needs certain ground rules.
Agree for the length of the separation to call a truce, establish in house separation rules and put your bickering to the side. You also have to explain your reason for wanting to separate. Lay your issues bare whether you are living together while separated or not.
2. Set rules
There are several questions that should be considered as a part of your trial separation checklist.
- Would there be some trial separation boundaries?
- Are you going to be seeing other people during your separation?
- Are you still allowed to call or text one another during this time?
- How will you divide up finances or a shared vehicle?
- Are you planning on getting back together at the end of the separation, or are you simply waiting for one party to save up enough money to leave?
- Will you remain sexually intimate during your separation?
These are all ground rules you need to establish when you have a trial separation in the same house.
You can even have a proper in house separation agreement as part of the trial separation rules. For this, it is a good idea to sit down with a therapist to help you amicably discuss these rules without arguments or disagreements.
3. Create structure
A trial separation implies taking time apart from one another to figure things out and decide how you want to proceed with a relationship. So, how to live in the same house when separated?
This is where creating a structure for living separately in the same house comes into play.
You need to decide if you will be speaking to one another in the home or if you want to act cordially toward one another without actually spending time together.
Yes, you will be separated but living together with boundaries that need to be decided by both of you.
4. Consider children
Structure is especially important if the two of you have children together. Take the time to discuss whether you will be making decisions as separated parents or as a united front for a trial separation with kids.
If remaining united, you’ll want to maintain a routine in order to keep the child/children feeling safe and secure. This includes maintaining your schedule of who makes dinner, who picks your children up from school, and how you spend your Sunday nights together.
If you have made a routine of eating breakfast or dinner together as a family, keep doing so.
Cordially maintain a routine and be sensitive to the effect your relationship status may have on your children.
For example, how would seeing you bring a date home affect your child, should you decide that you are allowed to see other people during your trial separation? Always be mindful.
5. Set a timeline
After you have established why and how to live separated in the same house, you also need to ascertain until when? Setting a timeline is a great way to avoid unwanted surprises for your trial separation.
Decide together how much time you’re willing to give the trial separation and be adamant about coming back together at the end of this period to discuss the fate of your relationship.
This gives both parties an exact idea of the timeline.
6. Let it happen
You may find that at one point you were adamant about ending your relationship. But, as the trial separation goes on and you get a better idea of your life as a single, you may find you’re coming around to your partner more and more.
If you find that you begin sleeping in the same bed once more or spending your nights together – just enjoy it. There is no need to question every single aspect of your interactions. If you are going to stay together, it will be obvious.
A trial separation in the same house can work
If you are the one calling for the separation, be courteous and mindful of your partner knowing that you must still share a space together.
If you are on the opposite end and do not wish to separate, you should still show your partner respect by giving them the space they need to make their decision.
Also, if you are wondering how long a separation should last then bear in mind your comfort zones as individuals and as a couple for this to proceed.
A trial separation in the same house is possible, so long as you set the ground rules and show common courtesy to one another before you reconvene to make your decision.
Finally, if during the course of the trial separation one of you decides that these rules are not working or you would like to change the course you are on, communicate this to their partner in a healthy manner.