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Divorce and Separation

How to Handle Those Mixed "Marriage Breakup" Messages
By Susie and Otto Collins

"We're splitting up...I think," Elizabeth finds herself telling friends and family when they ask about how things are going between she and her husband Jared.

Since 3 months ago when Jared announced to Elizabeth that he doesn't love her anymore and he wants a divorce, life has felt chaotic and draining.

Elizabeth did not want to get a divorce, but she also did not (and does not) want to be in a loveless marriage with a partner who wants to leave.

Since Jared's crushing declaration, Elizabeth has come to accept the fact that she will soon be single again. She has researched attorneys and has even looked into getting an apartment.

The trouble now is that Jared seems to be backtracking on his decision to leave. He seems to have made no effort to proceed with getting a divorce or even moving out.

Some days Jared is even loving and affectionate with Elizabeth which confuses her even more.

When you've been with a partner for a period of time, it can sometimes be difficult to actually leave-- even if you are certain that it's time to split up.

On one level, you might have become so used to having this person in your life that the idea of moving out and not having that company, companionship and perhaps even intimacy is really painful.

This may even be the case if you and your mate argue, fight and/or are cold and distant with one another.

It might not even make sense to you why there is a hesitancy to leave when it's so clear that divorce is going to be best in the long-run.

On another level, there could very well be financial and logistical reasons why you haven't taken the steps to actually separate or file for a divorce.

Perhaps neither of you want to spring this kind of change on your kids right now and are waiting a little longer.

Or, maybe you simply don't have the money to pay for a divorce or for one of you to move out at this time.

Whatever the reason, if one or both of you have decided to breakup and-- besides making that decision-- nothing more has been done, it can create confusion and further pain.

Yes, of course, the hesitancy might give you two the opportunity to work through your challenges and rebuild your marriage. This is a possibility.

But if one or both of you are ready to divorce or separate and the two of you keep living as if you are contentedly married, a big mess can result.

Keep listening mostly to what you want to do next.
Elizabeth was initially grateful that Jared didn't rush out and file for divorce. This made her wonder if he was reconsidering his plan to leave.

As more weeks have passed without any action from him, however, Elizabeth has grown more and more confused.

She finds herself waiting to see how he treats her each evening before guessing what the future might hold. This has proven to be an emotional roller coaster!

Finally, a close friend asked Elizabeth what she wants to do. This friend suggested to Elizabeth that she listen to her own plan for the future and leave Jared's ever-changing moods out of the picture.

We highly recommend that you become clear about what you want. 

Listen most of all to yourself instead of trying to guess what your mate might want.

Even if your partner is verbally clear about what he or she wants to do, don't give over your power. While you cannot force your mate to stay married to you, you do have a lot of choices about your future.

If you are unsure about what you want, you might be feeling overwhelmed or conflicted. Try to take it day-by-day if you can.  Then, extend out from there.

For example, it might be upsetting to share a bedroom with your mate after hearing that he or she wants a divorce.

Honor how you feel and set up separate rooms for each of you. One of you might also have a friend or family member whom you could stay with until a more permanent situation is arranged.

Continue to check in with you and then make requests and create agreements with your partner that are in alignment with what you want.

Set goals and time frames that are specific and doable.
Once you know what you are ready to do, create a specific plan so that you don't feel stuck in a limbo of confusion and increasing pain.

Even if your partner was the one to initiate the breakup, if you are ready to take steps toward such a move, do so.

If it seems to you that you will be better able to heal and get your life back on track with the wheels of a separation or divorce in motion, write down specific goals and when you'd like to have those

You might decide to meet with an attorney to find out what needs to happen and how much it will all cost, for instance.

You may choose to tour apartments and get a better idea of what's available and within your budget. You might also look at your income and expenses to determine what your budget is.

All of these steps might feel scary and foreign to you. But the alternative-- staying in a marriage that both of you are ready to end-- may be confusing, painful and even stagnating.

The choice is truly up to you.


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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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