Temporary Separation – A Way to Save Your Couple?
To get out of the conflict and take stock of one’s attachment to the other, temporary separation can be a step for the couple in crisis before returning to healthier bases… or a definitive separation.
The benefits of talking about a temporary separation
The terms of a temporary separation
A step towards the final separation?
“For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about leaving my husband, who is quite mute, with whom daily life has become dull, explains Catherine, 57. But I can’t bring myself to put an end to decades of living together. And when I think back to our first happy years, I no longer know where I am or what I should do.”
The Benefits of Talking About A Temporary Separation
Separating often seems the logical outcome when the couple’s bond has deteriorated or broken. Communication hardly exists anymore, or everyone hurts each other. But the simple fact of evoking a temporary separation can sometimes have virtuous effects, as explained by Emmanuel Ballet de Coquereaumont, psychotherapist and author of I Stop Being Bad in my Couple. “This recurring idea is Iin many relationships, it is possible to express a difficulty or suffering, to give a warning to the other and to open the dialogue on impasses. Talking about a separation puts the relationship in tension, allowing it to bounce back. This perspective “rewires” on what unites, provided that the link is strong enough not to want to lose the other.”
The Terms of a Temporary Separation
To separate on a trial basis is to run the risk of telling each other that the relationship has finally had its day, and that the problems are insoluble. Emmanuel Ballet de Coquereaumont advises setting a framework to give yourself a chance: “It is better to agree to separate for a short period, a few weeks at most, seeing each other regularly. Meeting once a week for a coffee or dinner together allows us to talk about what is happening (or not) in the relationship. The separation offers a breather and a time for reflection that is all the more useful when carried out together.
Other advice from the psychotherapist, perhaps more thorny: to live together after the separation to decide the couple’s future, with a contract whose terms obviously vary. It may be a question of stopping playing on jealousy, redistributing household chores, etc. “Returning to living together allows you to test the ability to change your relational mode, specifies Emmanuel Ballet de Coquereaumont. Are we able to change the way we are together? Do we want it enough? The couple should take the advantage of this period of crisis. They must try to build a real dialogue. It will certainly strength the relationship between them.
A Step Towards the Final Separation?
Obviously, continuing the dialogue during the temporary separation. Establishing a contract is supposed to be really two, to form an alliance to try to save the couple. “If one of the partners closes the door and refuses to change their behavior. So, it is necessary to consider a definitive separation, underlines the psychotherapist. Locked in for too long in operations, the partners run the risk that change is no longer possible. The temporary separation will have been an intermediate step. A way of taking the time, completely legitimate, of reflection for a final separation.
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