- Marriage

I Am Not Sure What I Strive For In Terms Of My Marital Separation, Marriage, And Life

I can truly identify with most separated couples that I talk to and hear from. I remember feeling so lost and adrift during my own separation. It may sound dramatic, but I truly felt like I was without an anchor. Most of us are married for a relatively long period of time before our marital separation and some of us dated our spouse before we married him. This means that for some of our lives, we were used to sharing that same life with our spouse. Our routines revolved around him. Our identity is tied up in being his spouse. Feeling right about the world means having him in it.

This is why things can feel so wrong when you are newly-separated. I used to tell people that for a while there, I felt as if I was walking through life with one arm tied behind my back. This feeling can be even more discouraging when you want to save your marriage but you aren’t getting any positive feedback from your spouse. As a result, your gut, your heart, and your friends may be telling you that it’s in your best interest to move on. But this is easier said than done. If you’re having such a hard time dealing with the separation now, how hard is it going to be to deal with a divorce? Most of us are desperate to feel better, but we don’t know what we should wish for in order to make that happen.

Someone might say, “I am newly-separated and I am struggling. This surprises me somewhat because before I was married, I was extremely independent. So I’d hoped that I would fall back into this once I was separated and might even enjoy my freedom. This has not happened. Instead, I feel like I’m floundering. I really don’t know what to do with myself. I end up bugging my kids too much. My separated husband is still very distant. I’d desperately like to reconcile with him, but he’s giving me the vibe that this isn’t going to happen any time soon. Some of my friends are telling me that I need to turn my attention to myself and to other things. But this is very undesirable to me. I really want to just hope that my husband comes around, but maybe I am deluding myself. I want to hope and pray at night for what is going to make this better, but I don’t know what that is.”

I can totally identify with what you are saying. Every night, I say prayers also. When my husband and I were married, I would offer thanks that my family was safe and under the same roof. But during my separation, I could not say the same and it really broke my heart, so I would ask that my husband be safe under his own roof. In my experience, you really do have to break this down day by day. Sometimes, you even have to break the day up into tiny, manageable pieces.

The reason for this is that it is just impossible to see into the future. You can’t control what your husband will feel or what he might want. You only have control over yourself. That complicates things, but it also does allow some leeway over how you choose to move forward. For me, some days, I literally just had to hope for things not to get worse. That’s how bad it felt some days. Then other days, I would just hope for something to make that day better than the day before. After a while, I was actively taking inventory of what had improved. As a result, I was actively trying to take control over my days so that I could note improvement. This meant that suddenly I went out of my way to visit friends, do some charity work, and take some classes.

Eventually, I took some of my focus away from my marriage because my separated husband was not receptive to me at that time. I felt really sad and discouraged about that, but as I focused more on myself and on improving my own situation, my husband noticed this and it actually improved our reconciliation chances.

So as far as what to wish for, I think that you maybe just wish for the wisdom to take daily steps that are in your own best interest. Some days you may not be able to focus as much on your marriage because your husband will be distant. On those days, perhaps see extended family or friends. But always ask yourself what you are doing to move yourself forward or to make yourself feel better.

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