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"Therapeutic" separation?

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ArableSands posted 8/4/2013 11:57 AM

Does anyone have experience with this? My WW is suggesting it, so that she can come at the relationship on an equal footing, after nearly 4 years of my controlling behaviour.

She seems committed to make this all work, but I am in uncharted waters and could use some insight. Thanks.

h0peless posted 8/4/2013 12:09 PM

I don't know that there is any nice way to say this but generally if a cheater wants to separate, it's because they want to continue their affair without your prying eyes messing everything up. Separation, especially one initiated by the cheater, is just a step towards divorce IMO.

ladies_first posted 8/4/2013 12:14 PM

Then the week of Aug 11 she takes off with our kids to visit her family on the East Coast in the U.S. for a week.

A week away is "therapeutic" enough. Any longer, and you're looking at true separation: and you'll know by her actions, not words, whether her goal is Divorce or Reconciliation.

And you are smart enough to realize that R is easier under the same roof.

ArableSands posted 8/4/2013 12:30 PM

I understand everyone's suspicions, but all of the evidence -- and there is a lot of it -- points towards my WW telling the truth.

Is there anyone here who can tell me something about therapeutic separation that's positive and useful? Or is this entire site going to lump all people, whether WS or BS, under a single, immutable profle?

I'm starting to get pissed off.

hurtbs posted 8/4/2013 12:44 PM

I don't know that there is any nice way to say this but generally if a cheater wants to separate, it's because they want to continue their affair without your prying eyes messing everything up.


Arable - we are not trying to be destructive here, we are simply laying out teh facts as we have experienced and seen on this site. I have been on SI for many years. For several years of them in reconciliation. I can tell you that I have seen maybe 1 or 2 instances where an A did not *physically* continue in the wake of separation but that was only when the two APs could not be together due to distance.

It is very, very rare that separation is good for a marriage. In fact, most MCs only recommend it in cases of overt abuse. I would be highly suspicious of a separation initiated by a WS.

[This message edited by hurtbs at 12:47 PM, August 4th (Sunday)]

PhantomLimb posted 8/4/2013 12:45 PM

We did it for about 10 days and it resulted in us splitting up for good. And my WS was the one who made that decision, I wanted R.

And he had taken the A underground during the separation.

We were both in IC during that time. And his IC was the one who recommended we split because he had taken the A underground and was continuing to lie to me. She suggested he own his decisions and stop dragging me along in false R.

Not making a generalization. That is an actual report from the trenches.

[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 12:46 PM, August 4th (Sunday)]

ladies_first posted 8/4/2013 12:46 PM

I'm starting to get pissed off.

I'd be pissed off, too, if my spouse wanted to separate after an affair; it would make me feel like being at home with me wasn't where s/he wanted to be.

ArableSands posted 8/4/2013 12:53 PM

The reason why the "A" (I hate calling it an "affair" -- it's goddamned CHEATING) isn't going to continue is because even while it was going on it was halting and had weird boundaries, and the other person was a distraction at best. My WW wanted to separate long before the "A" started, and she wanted to separate to find herself again, to approach our marriage as an equal once more, not for a permanent split.

Maybe SI isn't the right site for the support I'm seeking. My WW isn't typical, or near typical, of the waywards here, in a bunch of ways, and that just makes trying to find applicable wisdom pointless.

Despite the evidence, despite what my gut and my eyes are telling me, I'm told over and over again here that I'm wrong and the collective at SI is right.

And you're not trying to be destructive? Jesus.

ButterflyGirl posted 8/4/2013 13:03 PM

I don't really know much about "therapeutic separation," but I'm inclined to think that the only good separation after an affair is when the BS tells the wayward to get the hell out so the BS can heal and figure out what they want and give the WS a chance to get their shit together.

If I was a remorseful WS, I would want my BS around, proving to him how much I still want him, letting him know every day how sorry I am and am committed to healing myself and the marriage..

Sounds like she isn't sure she wants this marriage, and she wants to go and see her options..

Maybe you have been asking for some genuine remorse, and she just doesn't have it, and she's not up to putting the work in to fix this.

But you say you are sure and the signs and evidence are telling you that she's telling you the truth. What exactly is she saying about the separation that you think will be helpful to your marriage? Does she have a plan of action in place for what she is going to do with her time? What would be the rules for while you are separated?

And why can't she do any of her planned actions with you around to ensure she is keeping up her end of the bargain??

I'm sorry Arable, it really sounds like she wants freedom to do whatever she likes without having to answer to you.. And maybe afterwards she will realize the grass is greener in your yard, BUT YOU ARE NOT A PLAN B, and don't let her make you feel like one..


heartbroken_kk posted 8/4/2013 13:08 PM

Arable, you come here and give three sentences asking what appears to be a simple question.

We have seen a lot here. There is a joke about the "Wayward Handbook" because the same scenarios get played out over and over and over again by different people - it is just mind boggling how much all these stories have in common.

You can be pissed at us for applying our collective experiences to your situation, but isn't that actually what you are here for?

I don't know why you think your WW's affair - or cheating, as you call it - is so different. Why is she so different that she is not in fact acting out the same scenarios in the cheater's handbook? This is a straight question, not a dig.

My WH wanted a test separation. He called me controlling too. He used the separation to continue the A and start another one. He was addicted to getting validation outside our marriage, and being away from me and my prying eyes was the perfect solution for him.

Why are you so sure this "cheating" with this OM is the only wayward behavior of your WW? If she wanted a separation before this particular "cheating" my guess is that there is another affair prior to the one you know about.

But what do I know? I certainly don't know the particular details of your situation.

h0peless posted 8/4/2013 13:10 PM

Arable, I genuinely hope that you are right, that your wife and your marriage are the exceptions. Most of us here felt the same way. I've only been here for a little less than a year but I've seen it over and over. I felt the same way.

It would be really awesome if your WW actually was different, that the patterns have played out here thousands of times didn't apply in your case. I suppose that's possible, and I hope you are the one in a million exception. For me, no matter how different I though my WW was or my marriage was, it really wasn't that unique. The "different" and more benign sort of affair that she had with an old guy turned out to be pretty torrid and run of the mill, in spite of the "evidence" I found. Turns out she was lying through her teeth the whole time.

AS, we are not trying to hurt you worse than you're already hurting. We are not trying to add to your torment. We are just people who have seen this story play out thousands of times, in our own lives as well as in others, and we want to prepare you for what is most likely.

I really and truly hope your situation is the exception to the rule.

[This message edited by h0peless at 1:13 PM, August 4th (Sunday)]

ButterflyGirl posted 8/4/2013 13:13 PM

Well, I posted my previous response before reading your most recent response.

Sounds like she has tried to tell you she wants out for quite a while. And then she thought cheating on you would get you to finally let her go.

I guess my advice would be to LET HER GO. Don't let her continue this and start shifting the blame on to you (like you being "controlling" and whatnot). She should have just left you already if she didn't want this marriage. The betrayed is NEVER responsible for the affair, and that's because no matter what the betrayed might have done wrong, the wayward always had a chance to LEAVE before manipulating and lying and having an affair..

You deserve someone who loves you as much as you love them. You deserve better Arable. Maybe it's time to tell her "buh-bye" and start working on rebuilding your life without her..

Is there a reason she doesn't want to officially divorce you? Like money or insurance or social status or something? I would start looking at her motives here.. She shouldn't go fishing with a bunch of different poles, all while having you attached hook, line and sinker to one of them.. You deserve better..

More hugs..

ladies_first posted 8/4/2013 13:16 PM

"Therapeutic" separation?

Therapeutic for whom?

ArableSands, what do *you* want?

ArableSands posted 8/4/2013 13:21 PM

ButterflyGirl, thanks for the responses. As to your question:

She wants us to be together, to grow old together. She never wanted a divorce, she just wanted me to stop with the controlling (it's a long story, and she's right about my controlling behaviour, for the past 4 years) and she wants our family to stay together. She's owned the cheating 100%. She knows she was wrong. She knows it was stupid and destructive and pointless. She's asking for the separation so that she's not besieged by me all of the time. That's the exact word used by my IC -- I "besiege" my wife when I try to control her.

She does want the marriage, very much. She doesn't want the marriage if my controlling behaviour doesn't change. I get that.

ArableSands posted 8/4/2013 13:26 PM

I should also add that her use of the word "separation" isn't typical. She was never thinking of a legal separation. She wants us living under two different roofs, close to one another, so that the kids can come and go easily. No splitting of assets or other bits you'd find in a marriage. Just living space. Her phone and email will remain open to me, and she'll keep me informed as to where she is and when.

doggiemom12 posted 8/4/2013 13:35 PM

In most of your posts you do seem controlling and I have lived with a controlling man. All I wanted was to get away so I could think without him breathing down my neck.

Let her go. You can't hold on to someone who does not want to stay anyway. You need to give up control of her. Just do it and see what happens. How could it be worse than it is now?

Take care of your issues and get better. Things may work out - you never know. But they won't work out if you don't try something different.

realitybites posted 8/4/2013 13:38 PM

I think there are 2 people in a separation....obviously. You and your wife.

She has stated what she wants, what do you want?

"Therapeutic" would mean it is OK with both of you to basically take a "time out" with your marriage. One could possibly come back from being separated but for how long? What kind of time frame? What are the "rules" for both parties?

Or do you and she just want a break from each other to think about what you want? If so then I think it would be therapeutic for both of you to work on yourselves individually, finding a good IC for yourself would be important in my opinion to help you thru your own thoughts and feelings during this time.

Any separation however can lead to one or the other party deciding they don't want the marriage any more. Just because she is suggesting it, you may decide after awhile that you don't want to be married to her. It can work both ways.

Good luck to you with whatever you choose to do.

ladies_first posted 8/4/2013 13:43 PM

I should also add that her use of the word "separation" isn't typical. She was never thinking of a legal separation. She wants us living under two different roofs, close to one another, so that the kids can come and go easily. No splitting of assets or other bits you'd find in a marriage. Just living space. Her phone and email will remain open to me, and she'll keep me informed as to where she is and when.

ArableSands, gently, what do you want?

If a separation is jointly agreed upon, who will "control" the Reconciliation? Who drives the bus? Who sets the expectations?

ArableSands posted 8/4/2013 13:46 PM


I think we'll have the MC control the separation. I'll suggest it anyway.

What do I want? I want our marriage to work. I want to fix my bullshit controlling behaviours so I can go back to being who I was. I want my wife to fix her own shit that allowed her to transgress so destructively in our marriage.

Dreamboat posted 8/4/2013 14:11 PM

Have you asked your MC what he/she thinks about separation?

I would not attempt it unless your MC not only agrees but is also enthusiastic that it will help your M.

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