In your heart you know it’s been over for a while now, but the feeling is bubbling inside you that says it’s time to make it official. Marriage separation is never easy for either party, which is why it’s important to know the steps before you take them. Leaving your long-term partner may seem like a freeing experience at first, but there is a rush of emotion that follows that may not feel as liberating as you thought. On the other hand, if you are the one being left it carries a whole new weight of grief and resentment.
There are emotional, professional, respectful, and financial matters to take into consideration before you even voice your desire to separate from your partner. Here is the best marriage separation advice for men.
1. Be sure this is really what you want
Some men feel that they might be happier if they were single without actually thinking through the reality of leaving. The reality is that by initiating a separation from your marriage mate you may lose loved ones, friendships, and time with your children, and obviously partnership with your spouse.
Do you really want to leave your marriage mate or do you believe you could really be in love with the person again, should certain circumstances change? Narrow down whether you truly want to leave or if you would benefit from couples counseling.
2. Financial situations will change drastically
Men will likely experience a severe change in their financial situation. Many men end up in a better financial situation after their divorce than during their marriage. This is conditional, of course, on whether he pays alimony or child support and for how long. If you are paying alimony to your spouse or are issuing child support payments you may find your finances dwindling.
3. Statistical repercussions
Statistics show that men who go through a divorce or difficult separation are disposed to alcoholism, mental health triggers, weight gain, and a higher rate of suicide. Depression is commonly experienced by any individual going through a separation. A drastic change in lifestyle makes you feel unfamiliar with your own life and cause negative emotions to surface.
4. Unsure of who you are
Many men who have been in a long-term marriage and are now separating commonly feel a loss-of-self. You tied up who you were into your relationship. Now that you are without your partner you may feel confused about who you are and what your ideals are without this other person. This can either lead down a path of healthy self-discovery or a confused path of self-destruction.
5. The stages of grief
It is beneficial to become familiar with the stages of grief and to be prepared for them. It is also important to allow these stages to happen. Accept the loss of your relationship and go through these steps with a healthy attitude so that they do not take over your life.
- Denial: This starts off the stages of grief. Numbness or shock are common initial reactions to the sudden change in your relationship status. This is a form of shock that will subside.
- Anger and guilt: Could you have done more? Was there anything you could have said to keep your mate at your side, to make them stay in love with you, or for you to stay in love with them? Guilt for the pain caused during the separation to your ex, your children, and your friends and family may haunt you for some time.
- Depression: Looking back on your relationship ups and downs is common in these stages. This may result in sadness, loneliness, or depression.
- Acceptance and moving on: After you have mourned the loss of your relationship you will start to recover. You will find a new “normal” that makes you feel alive again.
Emotional turmoil is common after a separation, as is low self-esteem. Whether you ended your marriage or your partner left you, a lack of self-esteem is common after a separation. The life you thought you had built for yourself didn’t turn out and now you are starting over. This can be overwhelming and make you feel like a failure.
It is common for insecurities to mount at this point. It is because of this loss of self-esteem that some men end up throwing themselves into self-destructive behavior and empty relationships soon after a separation. In an effort to raise your self-worth you may find yourself leaning toward activities and people who you would never have associated with before.
7. Custody issues
You and your ex should have a length conversation regarding any children or assets you may have together. Using age-appropriate language, explain to your children that you are separating and how this change will be beneficial for everyone.
If possible, be civil with your ex, especially when it comes to your children. Do not use them as bargaining chips or keep them from your mate out of spite. Arrange it so that your children are still able to see both parents equally and reach out to them as much as possible. Ensure their schedules are interrupted as little as possible so that this new transition is as seamless as possible.
If you were the one who initiated your separation you may feel overwhelming relief once you are out of the marital home. While you may miss certain creature comforts or being able to be around your children every single day, you are also free of your destructive relationship. Take this as a positive step forward to becoming a more balanced, happier you.
Whether you’re looking to get back together or eventually divorce, separation is a difficult process. You will be riding a rollercoaster of emotions, from relief to anguish. This change may seem overwhelming at first, but learn to embrace this new chapter of your life. Use this time for self-discovery and finding out what kind of man you want to be from this point forward. Build up your self-respect, self-esteem, and family goals and you will find yourself a happier person.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.