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Trial Seperation. Advice please?

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Shocked2believe posted 11/14/2013 06:24 AM

I'm not sure if I'm in the right frame of mind but need to get this out...... I'm very weary at the moment as I don't want to be that same person I was 2 months ago. Walking around like a mechanical robot just getting the day to day duties done. We're trying R but his heart is not entirely in it......

So I've been thinking about a trial seperation. Please could anyone who mayhave tried it or have advice on the pro's and cons of it. I also like to know what kind of boundaries would need to be put in place if it's only a trial seperation. I've got to think this one through thoroughly as I have two young children (5 and 3) who it will impact greatly.

I figure if my WS doesn't wish to reconcile after a specified amount of time (lets say 2 months) then I'll have been able to sort myself out in that time to get on without him. I'm really struggling with doing that whilst he's still in the house. Any advice will be greatly received from BSAs well as WS.

Don't know if I posted in correct b place, sorry!

[This message edited by Shocked2believe at 7:26 AM, November 14th (Thursday)]

MrsDoubtfire posted 11/14/2013 07:16 AM

Hmmmm- not sure what advice to offer but here's my story. A bit different I know....

My FWH kept walking out after arguments (this was before I knew about his A)and one day I got weary and told him not to come back! I said he has to sort his crap out before I would even think about him returning.

6 month later I get a call (anonymously) from his OW! Turns out I had just made it easier for him to f*** her!

I am not an advocate of trial S as, if one person has the attitude that my FWH had, they will use this as another excuse to 'blame' you and justify wayward acting out.. "See everyone? I said BS didn't really love me!"

Now it's not an excuse and they should own their own sh!t but if you're trying to R then I would say it might have the opposite effect to what you want (which is R?)

But- if he isn't remourseful then there's no point engaging with him so I would suggest a 180 and if you've had enough then ask him for a S pending D if he doesn't sort his ass out.. but do not offer him a trial S as it says (to me anyway) "Have a bit of freedom and then we might get back together!" and they hear "Go shag about for bit and then come back and play families!"

I might be a bit biased and I am sure you will get a positive reaction to a trial S but- for me- it backfired big style.

callmecrazy posted 11/14/2013 07:42 AM

It depends on you. If you want to stay with someone who doesnt work on the problem, then do not separate, but do figure out how to care for yourself within the set up. MrsDoubtfire said she made it easier on him. I see it as she let him show his true self and feelings. Many WS will blame the BS for their actions, it is important to remember this is not true. I went through pure hell trying to get my head straight after all the gaslighting and blameshifting I went through. I filed D so I could keep him away from me and saw how he would be bad (get caught not where he said or with the "friend") and then hed be all oh I want to be home with you and fix this...I called his bluff said move think he really wanted to move in, NO. It took 5 months of this before he came home and appears to be being good. Do I think its for me, not currently. Have I accepted this, Im working on it bc I have a 6 and 2 year old with him and I have made the choice to do what I think is in their best interest. So basically, dad doesnt openly treat us like crap and go spend the night w OW and dote on her kids now, so I will continue to work on things and hope that he will really work at being a family with us.

As for the kids, the separation was hard. However, me being a mess and trying to hide my despair daddy wasnt coming home was a worse option. I am happy with the separation, not sure if Im happy I called off the D yet, but "time can heal all things" we shall see.

((Shocked))I fully understand the robot stage.

dutchboy posted 11/14/2013 07:59 AM

My WW and I are two months into a trial separation. It was suggested by our therapist. As far as pros are concerned, there have been several. In our situation, the environment at home had become toxic emotionally. Not in the sense of constant knock down drag out fights but the same emotionally charged disagreements set on repeat. It was incredibly unhealthy emotionally and some physical effects were beginning to creep in. The separation has provided a reprieve from that. In hindsight, it has allowed us to recover emotionally and at least for me, allowed me to heal to the point where I have a better perspective on life and the relationship.

The separation has also provided the space needed to detach in a healthy way so that we can focus on the personal work that each of us need to do. It was apparent that unlesswe made changes (both of us) as individuals, we would be just be repeating the old relationship patterns and it was pretty clear that didn't work previously. This process of individual work is still ongoing but it is already paying dividends. This time has also allowed us to better understand our own needs and feelings instead of trying to control one another which had become a problem in our relationship.

Ultimately, I think the separation will allow us to revisit whether or not to continue the relationship with a better perspective and clearer heads.

With regard to cons, there is definitely a downside to separation. The logistics can be tough especially with children involved. We have two that ironically are the same ages as yours. We sought the guidance of our therapist and came up with an elaborate system that works about as well as these things can. We rented an apartment near our house and we basically have a schedule where we alternate who stays at the house with the kids (they never go to the apartmemt) and who stays at the apartment. We spend Sundays together as a family and the person not at the house comes over for dinner every orther night. This way, we never go more than 2 days withoutbseeing the kids. There have been questions from the 5 yr old but weve explained that our work schedules have changed which was a suggestion of the therapist. This approach requires two things we are fortunate to have: resources to support two households and being good co-parents which we are.

Another con is the intense emotions you feel especially initially. The fear, anger, pain, etc seem to pour out early on for both people and by design, you have to deal with those alone by and large. There is a grieving process as well over the "old" relationship and likely wothdrawal for the WS if they have really gone NC. This part is tough but working through those emotions does give a sense of peace or at least it did for me. My wife struggled with not getting her emotional needs met pre-A so this was especially tough for jer to go through.

The uncertainty of how things will work out is also tough to manage. I think this gets to the other posters comment about how the WS uses the time apart. Prior to the separation, I was in full detective mode and it was how I discovered the A in the first place. I had to arrive at a place (it took a while) where I've realized that I cant control the choices my wife makes but only how I will deal with them. She has to decide what she wants and arrange her life to get it which is precisely what I'm trying to do. If the only way that will choose not to cheat is when I am constantly looking over her shoulder then we don't need to be together. I have communicated my expectations and boundaries and she can make her own choices without me trying to control her. I realized the continued police work was about me and my fear of looking like a fool if an A was going on under my nose. All it really did was make me crazy and create more fear. If she chooses to continue seeing the OM then my choice in all this got a lot easier about what to do long term.

Sorry for the long reply and stray words below (writing on a kindle isn't easy). The bottom line is that the separation has served a useful purpose for me (wife may not agree fully) but it isn't easy. Of course nothing dealing with relationships or an A ever is. To make separation work, you must be able to work together on logistics, money, and kids. Hope this was helpful.

The uncertainty of how things will turn out becomes very real when you no longer live together and this also has to be dealt with. schedule where

Shocked2believe posted 11/14/2013 08:46 AM

Thank you for all the for your thoughts everyone.

Dutchboy: I see this is your first post and thank you for your reply. Could you please tell me how your 'trial' seperation is going? Did you give it a time frame? How are you and your WW feeling about R (if you even want to of course). Did you set up boundaries for the seperation? Also, at present all my WH did was have a EA with a co-worker who he's refused to give NC letter to as they are"just friends" and know where theur loyalties lie - she's also in a relationship but not married but planning on marrying this man *of only he knew, poor man* (although I'm still waiting to see whether more happened and my WH is of the opinion that I should get over it as he 'really didn't actually do anything THAT bad'). So am I going overboard because at this present time all I know is that it was a EA?

And as callmecrazy said: 'however me being a mess and trying to hide my despair of daddy not coming home was much worse' is very much the way I'm feeling at the moment. My eldest who is an extremely sensitive soul has not/is really struggling with it all and my youngest has just started showing signs too. Now my failure as a mother is absolutely mortifying!

I was just thinking about it all last night and wondered how I actually managed to get through the last 5 months as I can only remember small fragments of it. I asked a really good friend today what I was like and she just said it was like I had 'clocked out completely and was on autopilot'. I cannot do that to my children again! They are the biggest victims of a selfish and self absorbed person who couldn't be bothered about anything other than his own ego!

Please excuse typo's as typing on phone and predicitve text can really place some interesting words in.

dutchboy posted 11/14/2013 19:11 PM

This was my first post though I've read the forums regularly for several months and they've been indespensibly helpful as I am "gender challenged" when it comes to opening up about my feelings. The posts have been helpful in confirming I'm not nuts in what I've been feeling thru this situation.

As far as how the separation is going, you'd probably get a very different answer from my wife though I'm sure she sees some of the benefits. We were in a pursuer/avoided dynamic pre-separation so the lesser amt of contact has been difficult for her. While it has been difficult and I have questioned the decision at times, ultimately I believe that the end result if we had not separated would have been certain divorce or a resumption of the former unhealthy dynamic and eventual divorce. Our situation is unique (aren't they all) in that we are good co-parents and partners in household logistics. If that weren't the case, it would have been very different.

We do not have a set timeframe per se but this is clearly not a practical arrangement for either of us long term. We have recently instituted a weekly relationship talk and one of the things we'll discuss I'm sure is timeframe. If I had to guess, we'll be ready to make an informed decision about staying together in the next couple of months so it would be six months or less total.

As far as R is concerned, we are working on that in the sense that we are committed to examining the pre-A issues in the marriage and the affair as well as work on ourselves individually prior to making a decision. We're both in IC and have done MC and will revisit that before a final decision is made.

One thing I wanted to mention aboutt your last post: don't discount the fact that you're only dealing with an EA (you think). That aspect of my wife's A was as hard to accept as the PA which in our case didn't involve intercourse (feel like a sex ed teacher using that word). Its the same principle - getting a need met from someone of the opposite sec while keeping it a secret. It's no less hurtful in my opinion with the exception of the mental movies being PG.

As far as boundaries in the separation, we do have them primarily as it relates to contact with OM who conveniently works with my wife. As I stated in my earlier post, I have made myself clear on my expectations about that but I dropped the investigator role because of the negative effect it had on me. If I'm not what she wants then I can live with that and expect her to tell me as opposed to another man. If its still going on behind my back, its not me who's the fool and I figure I'll ultimately find out just like I did before. You definitely need to be clear about money and the childcare arrangement too.

Beat of luck. Separation isn't for everyone and I probably would not have gone that route absent a better alternative and if the home situation wasn't so unhealthy for me. I'm sure you'll make the best decision.

Shocked2believe posted 11/15/2013 01:28 AM

DB: you are absolutely right. I have got to get my head around not snooping and trying to 'catch' then out all the time. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen no matter how much I learn in the interim. Very difficult to let that go though.....

Thank you for your post as it's certainly food for thought.

You sound as though you've managed to find something of yourself and sort of know what you want and what's best for YOU! I'm still on this perilous journey unfortunately, as many of us on SI are. You definitely described my relationship to a T = pursuer/avoider. I truly wish you the best and would love to hear about your progress if you feel inclined to share.

WIgirl posted 11/15/2013 03:21 AM

Count me in this camp as well...Dutchboy, I really found your responses helpful. My WH and I are currently living overseas and moving back to the US in 2 weeks. He is insisting on moving into his own place when we get back. At first I fought it, but now I have really taken a step back and thought about how beaten down I am and am actually looking forward to it. In fact, I'd like to start right now , but moving logistics just make that too hard.

It sounds like you and your WW have come to a pretty good agreement. Our therapist also recommended the "birdnest" arrangement...I'm not sure how I feel about that yet.

My WH has broken NC more times than I can count now (but thank god they haven't been able to physically see each other)...and I am getting closer to being done with him, moving on. I will be interested to see how this all pans out once we're back in the states. I can live without him. It's not my preference, but I know I can do it.

hangingonin posted 11/15/2013 04:55 AM

Hi, not sure if this will be helpful but my partner (??ex-partner) & I have just split up after 4years of continued cheating on his behalf. He is living in short term accommodation at the moment & then moving into rented accommodation (6-12 month lease). Although we have separated we have decided to try & keep friends & go out with one another for coffee, lunch etc & see if we can get close again. Although I am unhappy about the split he needed it to sort 'his head' out & is no able to give me answers about why seeing other women started & why it then continued. The threat of him meeting someone else is very real, but this works both ways as I may meet someone else (although I am not looking for someone). Over the three years that I was aware of the 'sleeping around' I too continued to snoop etc. It is such a relief not to have to do this anymore. The first 2 weeks of separation, I was very scared & upset. This is my third week now & I feel that I am starting to become more like the 'old' me, before all of this started. Yes- I am still scared about what the future may bring, but for me the separation had to happen for us both to get some distance to sort ourselves out.
Sorry, I'm rambling now - not sure oif this helps, but it is a perspective.

dutchboy posted 11/15/2013 06:19 AM

The time apart has given me perspective on the respective roles we had previously played in our relationship and the fundamental personality differences that made the attraction so strong in the beginning but created conflict as the relationship matured. I realized how we were trying to control the other person (by very different methods) to make ourselves feel safe and "ok". It's been very tough to unwind some of those behaviors and thought processes.

When I think about that in the context of snooping, I realize that I cant control my wife's emotions nor her behaviors. My role is to focus on handling my own feelings and actions, clearly communicate boundaries, and give her space to do the same. It's similar to the AA adage (serenity prayer I think) of grant me the strength to control the things I can, leave the things I cant to God (or in this case my wife) and pray to know the difference. If the A continues and it's months before I find out, that's on her and I'll know exactly what my response will be.

realitybites posted 11/15/2013 06:57 AM

I think it is very rare to find a "controlled" separation. Except for dutchboy below I rarely hear or see one.

My take on what I went through is getting separated should be your last resort before a D. I personally feel it is more for the BS then the WS, meaning we already know the WS wants to go and see the OP and basically do what they want, the BS however has been blindsided and now needs to find a way to forge out their own life and personality once again. And I do agree with dutchboy in the fact that you need to unravel all of the bad coping mechanisms that have been in place between you and your spouse, my therapist used the analogy of thinking that you and your spouse are 2 spearate circles when you met, 2 different personalities. When you marry you intertwine these circles, but when the 2 circles are basically laying on top of each other it means one partner or the other has lost who they are and has no space for their own life and their own needs and wants.

A true separation in my mind is not worrying whether you 2 will date or "talk" or whatever, you have lost that, this is the point. Now working on only YOU and what you want and your needs will make you happy again, trust me. It also could become a problem for the WS if THEY ever want their marriage again because generally what happens is the BS starts to detach and become stronger and may not want to come back to the marriage. Thats the chance the WS takes as well in saying they want a separation.

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