Ending your relationship with your spouse of many years can only be different, but a therapist once told me that sometimes it’s necessary. After all, not every woman in the real world lives like the ones in fairy tales, who get pampered, loved, and honored by their husbands. At the same time, not all men are seen as Prince Charming-material by their wives because they either cheat on them or harbor too many vices. When there are no longer petty quarrels but full-on yelling match in the house for months on end, it is often better to accept that separation is key to a peaceful life.
Of course, it is understandable if couples are still unsure whether they should split or not. Some of them have been together for years, so they have gotten so used to being each other’s crutch. Other unemployed individuals don’t want to separate from their working spouse because no one will support them financially. For this reason, if they somehow end up breaking up and not talking unless it’s for the kids, the adjustment period may turn into a depressive phase.
Nevertheless, in case the therapist’s clinic is the last place where you want to be right now, that’s okay. There are good alternative tactics that you can try to cope with your new situation.
Tip from Kathy Hardie-Williams, M.Ed, MS, NCC, LPC, LMFT: I believe that the key to strong and enduring relationships is the development of a strong sense of self.
Tell Yourself That It’s For The Best
The separation is the smartest decision that you and your better half can ever make. That is especially true if you and your spouse always fight, and you have lost your respect for each other. It is more reasonable to stay apart as well when your quarrels turn into physical squabble where you may come out with bruises.
I know that some people do not want to believe that. Martyrs tend to want to hold on to a failed relationship because they still hope that their spouse will change and that they can be a happy family again. Perhaps that’s true — maybe it can happen. However, you cannot get back together until you and your ex start seeing your mistakes and correcting them. For the meantime, therefore, you should keep on telling yourself that this separation is for the best interest of everyone.
Tip from Lisa Blum, PsyD: “Good secure bonding helps you be bolder in the world and feel more empowered.”
Talk To Your Loved Ones
It is rare for a married person to open up about the downside of their relationship in front of their friends or relatives. No matter how your spouse is treating you, it seems like a basic instinct to want to cover up their misgivings or mistakes as much as possible. Hence, even when you are always shouting at each other at home, you insist that everything’s going well when you meet your parents. If your friends talk about how perfect their marriage is, you try to boast about yours and lie through your teeth.
Once you decide to separate, though, you should open that emotional cap and let everything flow. Inform your loved ones about what has been happening to your relationship recently and why you split with your spouse. Cry on their shoulders if you are too shy to meet their eyes. What matters is that you no longer hide anything from the people who genuinely care for you, and they even know how to support you now. That is when healing begins, frankly speaking.
Tip from Mary Spease, PsyD: “If you need a break or reassurance or a timeout until tomorrow, ask for that.”
Unplug From Social Media
Chances are, your social media accounts are filled with photos and videos of you and your ex. You have sweet direct messages there, as well as lengthy posts about your “undying love” for each other. Some couples even share one profile because it is their way of showing everyone that they are united in everything.
One piece of advice? Try not to open any of your social media accounts right after the separation. There is a difference between facing your issues and becoming a masochist, you know. You can do the former by talking to your ex about how you can go forward after your split. However, you will hurt yourself more if you keep on looking at your old memories together online. Worse, you might stalk your estranged spouse’s social media accounts and either yearn for them or get jealous when you see their posts about being in pain or moving on.
Ending an unhealthy relationship is perhaps the most adult decision that two people involved in it can ever make. It can never be easy, yes, but it’s for the best. You have to let your loved ones know that your marriage has failed, and that can be difficult, too, but that’s what you need to do. It matters to stay away from social media and other things that can sway your decision as well.
Can you get back together? Of course! The time you spend apart from each other may help you realize that you are meant for one another. However, that realization may not take place if you are always fighting, so try to see your separation in a positive light.