A Healing Separation is a structured time apart in which can help a couple heal a relationship that isn’t working. It can also help revitalize and renew a relationship that’s working. The Healing Separation is designed to transform the basis of a love relationship —moving it from neediness to health. A successful Healing Separation requires that both partners be committed to personal growth, and to creating healthier relationships with themselves and each other. Such a framework will allow them to carve out a new and more fulfilling relationship than they’ve known in the past.

The Healing Separation, like the old-style “trial separation,” which involves living apart for a while, with the decision as to whether or not to end the relationship put off until some future time. Unlike unplanned and unstructured separations, however, the Healing Separation is a working separation, in which you and your partner dedicate yourselves to investing in your own personal growth. If you can create a better relationship with yourself, that can allow different and healthier relationships with others.

Sometimes your work during a Healing Separation may be on “the old relationship,” and sometimes it may be on “the old you.” The Healing Separation is a creative way to strengthen both partners and build a new relationship without dissolving the partnership.

Each partner agrees to the following goals for this separation:

1. To provide time and emotional space outside of the love relationship so I can enhance my personal, social, spiritual, and emotional growth.

2. To better identify my needs, wants, and expectations of the love relationship.

3. To help me explore my basic relationship needs, and to help me determine if these needs can be met in this love relationship.

4. To experience the social, sexual, economic, and parental stresses which can occur when I have separated from my partner.

5. To allow me to determine if I can work through my process better apart than I can in the relationship.

6. To experience enough emotional distance so I can separate out my issues, which have become convoluted and mixed up together with my partner’s issues in our relationship.

7. To provide an environment to help our relationship heal, transform, evolve into a more loving and healthy relationship.

Some structure and awareness can help improve the chances of success of the healing separation. Unplanned and unstructured separations will most likely contribute to the ending of the relationship. This healing separation agreement attempts to provide structure and guidelines to help make the separation a more constructive and creative experience, and to greatly enhance the growth of the relationship rather than contributing to its demise.

Key Elements of the Healing Separation Agreement:

1. Length of separation (Most couples have a sense of how long a separation they’ll need or want. It may vary from a few weeks to six months or longer.)

2. Time to Be Spent Together (A healing separation ideally should include some quality time together on a regular basis creating a new relationship.)

3. Personal Growth Experiences (Ideally a healing separation would include as many personal growth experiences as feasible, practical, and helpful.)

4. Relationships and Involvements Outside of the Relationship (Ideally a joint decision and compromise should be made concerning social involvement.)

5. Living Arrangements (Experience has shown that the in-house separation, with both parties continuing to live in the family home, results in a less creative experience. It seems to dilute the separation experience and keeps both parties from experiencing as much personal growth as is possible with separate living arrangements. It may not give enough emotional space to the person who needs it.)

6. Financial Decisions (Some couples will decide to continue joint checking accounts, savings accounts, and payment of bills. Other couples will completely separate financial aspects of the relationship. If there’s any chance for [significant] disagreement, each person could take out half of the assets and open separate accounts.)

7. Motor Vehicles (It’s been suggested that ownership and titles not be changed until a decision has been made about the future of the love relationship.)

8. Children (It’s important when a couple does a Healing Separation to minimize the emotional trauma for the children involved.)

The above article contains excerpts from Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends, by Bruce Fisher, Ed.D. This positive relationship-healing concept was developed by the late marriage and family therapist, Bruce Fisher, Ed.D. of Boulder, Colorado. A complete description of the Healing Separation, along with a format for a couple’s agreement, appears as an appendix in the 1992 and 2000 editions of Bruce’s book, Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends. The original copy article of this was sent to us from: Smartmarriages® Smartmarriages.com Subject: Time/Healing Separation/Way We Love/Village – 9/16/03


Filed under: Separation and Divorce

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97 responses to “A HEALING SEPARATION With Goals

  1. My husband moved out and into our camping trailer in the back yard. My heart broke into a million pieces when this happened. He has major depression and says our relationship is making him physically sick. However, he is dealing with losing his job, major guilt about his adult children, and a number of other emotional issues, which have very little to do with US or our relationship. I’ve asked him to come back in the house; lets deal with this together. He says no, he doesn’t want his judgment clouded by the physical relationship.

    Personally, that sounds like a hurtful excuse to act like a single person and hide from his problems. I asked him to take the trailer and move off the property if he couldn’t move back in because it’s not fair to me for him to be right there but not there at the same time. We’re both in counseling over this now and our five year old seems to be the one paying the price as dad has shut him out. I’ve prayed my heart out… begged for wisdom and strength and just feel completely drained both physically and emotionally. Both my parents are passed and the friends I have are all married to his friends so I basically have NO one to talk to about this… any advice would be extremely appreciated.

    1. I am a 48 year old male, married for 20 years, together with my wife for 25 years. We separated about 14 months ago. We have two children, 12 and 14. The separation was her choice, and I have been going along with it, painfully, as I am honouring her need for space and our marriage. The separation was not due to infidelity or fighting or bickering, but growing apart. Luckily, we live just about 1 km from each other, both in 3 bedroom apartments, so our kids can spend equal time with each parent.

      I want so desparately to reunite, but just a week ago she said that she’s happier living without me. That was painful for me to hear. So very painful. The cause, she says, is that I wasn’t in tune with her needs over the past 4-5 years. She, admitedly would always put me and the kids first, and consider her needs last. That was a habit of hers her entire life, not “putting herself in the equation” when it came to family and friends. She discovered this habit of hers about a year and a half ago and prompted her decision to separate as a couple.

      I have spent a good many hours, many, many hours crying and trying to figure out what happened. I’ve been devastated and she has been living somewhat relieved. We have never talked about divorce, but living together doesn’t seem like an option at this point. In the first 6 months there was much resentment on both of our parts. Mine towards her for “leaving me”, and hers for me not being the supportive husband I should have been. I admit to that.

      This past year, as hard as it has been for me, I haven’t given up on life or my wife, and have made special effort to keep growing as a person and stay healthy, even in the lowest of times. It’s hard, so hard to keep up the motivation, but I’ve been doing it for 14 months now. Every day is a struggle for me, some more than others. I’m proud of myself for getting myself in the best shape I’ve been in probably 20 years, working toward my masters degree and continuing to be a great dad, which I always have been, I think. She and I both agree that we each are great parents to our kids.

      We’ve been seeing a therapist together off and on over the past 14 months and we are understanding each other better and better. We each have our own personal therapists as well, which has helped. And the way we interact together now is more positive than it has been in a couple of years. There’s still no love in her eyes coming from her though, which hurts. I see the indifference in her eyes toward me. She says she wishes she could push a button and feel in love with me again. She says she doesn’t know what the future holds for us. She says she doesn’t want to take off her wedding ring, even when I ask her to. (I guess I feel that would allow her to feel free and unfettered).

      She has said that she felt shackled by me when we were together. I believe that comes from me not supporting her and her dreams and wants like I should have been. I get it, and I have changed. I’m far from a shackle to her now, as I have spent so many hours, days, months reflecting on how I could have been a better husband and am so ready to be. I would give anything to have the chance to be that supportive husband again whom she talks about. I was for so many years, but in the last 4-5 years I wasn’t so much.

      I still don’t know where we’re going as a married couple. I’m being as patient as a human can be, I believe. When we see each other we often hug, and when we part she usually hugs and kisses me on the cheek. She hasn’t said she loves me since we separated, except for one time on the phone about a month ago. That really confused me. Mixed signals! I have many friends, I go out, don’t date, I work on myself, spend tons of time with my kids, which is good. She seems very content living in her own place. I’m happy to see her happy. I just wish more than anything that I could be a part of her happy life as a united couple.

      Most of our contact is a once or twice a week family get together, but I recon that’s mainly for the kids in her eyes. I look for glimmers of hope that she might miss me, but I don’t see it. Welcome to limbo land! That’s where I live. I heard once that a couple having difficulties should give it at least two years before even talking about giving up. I’m not sure what this means to any of you readers out there, but this is my story. Can anyone make sense of it? I’d sure love some insights from anyone. It’s not easy at all. I’m keeping the faith.

      1. Wow you must be a very strong individual. My separation has only been a week so far but is so very very painful as he has not shown up for the first couples counseling session and has refused to communicate with me in any way. Feel fortunate. I suppose that she is willing to communicate and at least share the parenting as it could be so much worse. Healing takes time and sometimes time is something we don’t want to give; sometimes it’s just not meant to be and no amount of time will “fix” things but the fact that you are working to get her, talking, and sharing children is a hopeful sign in my eyes, it’s more than what I have at this point.

        1. How long have you been married? I’m an American, by the way, living in Saigon. I’m not Vietnamese. I feel we are far from having a healed marriage. Maybe it will never happen, but I’m fighting the good fight. As you said, as hard as it is, you have to give him time. I’m not a religious person, but I have over the past year found great comfort in listening to Joel Olsteen podcasts. He has been integral in helping me stay strong for both myself and my marriage.

          May I ask too, do you know why your husband is feeling the way he is? I may be able to provide some insight on the way a male thinks.

    2. The first thing to do on this healing separation is examination of conscience. List all the good things and bad things that you have and weigh which are the things that you need you change and improve to make a good relationship stay. I had been married for 46 years and GOD is a part of our marriage. That’s how I made our marriage work.

  2. My depression triggered during engagement. I wanted to cancel the wedding because of the anxiety but the time was too short. I went ahead with the wedding. But since the wedding till date, I still struggle with depression. It has been the most painful challenge I have ever faced in life. The worst thing is that I have never enjoyed the marriage for one day and any time I remember that my depression started because of my marriage, it projects all the pain to my wife. She has been helpful and patient, but things have not been getting any better at all.

    This is a really challenging time of my life. Depression is a monster; its ruining my career, my social and spiritual life, and the worst thing is that it’s making me regret my marriage.

    I’ve suggested to my wife that we will need a healing separation so that I can work on my emotions and we can have a new beginning. Please, any advice out there will help.

    1. Alex, I would encourage you, and your wife if possible, to find a good Christian counselor. There is hope, but you must seek help. I believe that with a counselor’s help, you two can learn to work together on emotions, talk about feelings and grow closer. I also suggest you get a copy of How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich. They are Christian therapists who explore how our childhood shapes our relationships and what we can all learn to do about it. It’s very practical and very helpful.

      It is encouraging that your wife is supportive of you. I think it would be possible for you to learn to work with her on this problem, without a separation. You are married now; problems will always arise and we must learn to deal with them in relationship if we are in a relationship. Please don’t push your wife away.

    2. I’ve been married for 18 years and I went through the same thing as you. I still struggle with depression and I have questioned my marriage but the answer that always comes to me is that I would have this illness even if I wasn’t married. I have had to learn and my husband has had to learn that my illness is not a reflection of my marriage it is simply a disease that I have. For better or for worse as it goes and sometimes it is better and sometimes it’s not. Counting my blessings really helps but I don’t believe in pat answers. The truth is that it is a ton of work but it’s worth it. I guess you have to decide if your marriage is worth the effort. For me I realized that I’d rather be with my husband than without even with the depression. It helps if your spouse is educated about your illness and seeks the support she needs as one who cares for a person with a long term disability.

  3. My wife and me are living separated for last 8 months. There is no communication at all. I am living in different country. 2 years ago, we got separated for 3 months and I went back to her as I wasn’t able to live alone. But this time I don’t want to initiate as it will be a repeat of what I did earlier. I have a child and I have not seen her for this long. I may not deserve my wife (as she says it), but as a biological father to my child I want to see and live wiith my daughter. My question is… what does it mean if my wife did not even attempt to communicate with me for this long? I am confused. Why did she then not initiating a legal separation process? I want some one’s advice here. I am living a stupid and horrible life.

  4. Need advice. My wife separated from me last week for reconciliation for a year. All contact has been cut off with her. She wants us to work on ourselves during this time. She’s a counselor herself and has advised other married couples to do the same and they were successful in having a strong marriage.

    Now, she also wants us to go on dates with each other at some point. However, I work 700 miles away so from my readings I don’t see how this is feasible –how not having any contact will work. I looked into looking for jobs closer but haven’t found any. What should I do or should I accept that this is the end after 31 years?

  5. My husband of 15 yrs decided to move out to “find himself.” No plan, no commitment nor timeline for the separation. When I try to ask anything he fights me. I found out he was cheating days before that. I am so torn apart and when I ask him to give me his plan it falls on deaf ears.

    I am so frustrated. Though I am not much of a social person I went out tonight by myself, but it’s not easy.

    What do I do? We have a 13 year old son together who is currently living with me.

    1. Tumi, As I read what you wrote, I said to myself, “of course she’s ‘torn apart’ and ‘frustrated.'” Who wouldn’t be? How my heart goes out to you! I’m so very sorry you are suffering as you are. You ask what to do. Honestly, Tumi, that is very difficult to say. When your spouse is cheating, they are also lying, and evasive. They want to do what they want to do, and get away with it. Tragically, their deceit victimizes spouses and families like yourself and your son. Obviously, he is not considering that (or he doesn’t care). How I wish it weren’t so! I can only imagine how much more so, you wish the same.

      All you can do is what you can do. Your husband doesn’t want to be involved in a healing separation with goals, because right now the only goal he cares about is what pleases his desires. It’s so horrible that he views life this way and dumps these life style choices upon you. It’s so very wrong.

      So what you do is look up to God to be your husband right now and to eventually make right, that which is wrong –to redeem this mess somehow. Lean into the Lord to help you be the person and the mother that you are born to be. Help your son to see that he has one parent that will do all she can to live a life of integrity and do what she can to be there for him. He is at a very vulnerable age to go in a bad direction. Prayerfully, he will not choose to rebel because of the added confusing circumstances he is now having to handle.

      I encourage you not to date, because even though your husband is not acting like it, you are still married. Don’t add another wrong on top of what your husband is doing. And be careful not to bad mouth your husband to your son, because that will only cause more pain in his heart. He will feel conflicted because no matter how terrible your husband is acting, this guy (I don’t even want to call him a man, because a true “man” doesn’t do this) is still his earthly father. He sees the wrong your husband is doing, and prayerfully, he will not follow his example some day. Pray for him, live a life of love and integrity, and you will eventually reap seeds of reward.

      Also, work on your own issues. Grow as a person, to be a healthy woman in all ways, despite all that is happening. Put your eyes upon your own path (not envying others), and that of your son –to raise him to be a good man. Determine that this will not take you down. Find legitimate ways to laugh, work, and love your God and your son. And then as time goes on, you will be able to watch how God will bring you hope and help as you look to Him. May God help you in this mission.

    1. Read this article and the other ones concerning separation. Prayerfully, very prayerfully, glean from them what you can use.

  6. I’ve been married for 28 years to an emotionally abusive man. I’ve been working on myself and am stronger now, but I don’t want to live the rest of my life dodging his arrows of condescension, humiliation, and mind games. Would a healing separation help me? I’ve been speaking up to him about how hurt I am by what he says and how he says it. But it seems he will never change. I have not felt any romantic love for him for about 15 years, but I treat him kindly and never reject physical intimacy. I want to do God’s will and I believe God’s desire is NOT for me to be oppressed in my marriage.

  7. I recently found out my husband of five years has continued to be involved in a relationship that supposedly ended earlier this year. His drinking, gambling and explosive temper is also affecting our marriage. I’ve decided to separate, however, he is opposed to separation and I don’t feel he would try to make effort to benefit from it. I don’t want to divorce but I feel it’s unhealthy to live under these circumstances.

  8. My husband of 4 years, been together for 9 and I’ve had a very rough patch for the last 2 years. After having our daughter who is now 3 I became very ill. I don’t feel that he was supportive at all throughout or even now. He has a history of infidelity and I’ve forgiven and moved forward with him against my better judgement.

    I look at him and I feel hate, disgust and EXTREME DISAPPOINTMENT. He’s a mess of a person with a history of extreme depression, suicidal thoughts and to be honest lazy and demotivated. I don’t love him at all -in anyway and I know that. I suppose I’m here for my daughter as well for those in our lives. He suggested we try a trial separation, while living together. When I said how is this any different from what we are doing now he said he needed time to think about it.

    I personally feel that at this point it’s because his parents will be extremely disappointed in him so he cannot go back, as well as he has no where to go. Thankfully I can go back home with my little one, but I don’t want to do that for more than a year. I’m ambitious and career oriented so buying a home and starting over with my little one is very important.

    I know that it’s time to part ways as it’s now impacting my little angel. She drew a picture of her and I and she said mom, I drew a sad face for you. It’s time to go, but so many factors to weigh. In my heart I hate him, despite the fact that I know it’s not right. I don’t see a point in a trial separation because in my heart I don’t have love for him.

    What do I do? He has jaded me in so many ways and I’ve changed negatively as a person and don’t want to live whatever time I have left on this earth like that. Help.

  9. Hello – I can’t believe I came across this site. I have personal experience with a Healing Separation as my husband and I were recently going through exactly that. We’ve been married 30 years and found that we were just not doing well with communication and everything that goes with that (in my opinion good communication is the most important thing in a healthy relationship). We mutually agreed to separate and were both prepared for whatever would come of it.

    I found a sublet apartment closer to work with 4 months left on the lease. We decided 4 months was a good timeframe to go with. If we decided to remain separated after that time I would sign the lease for another year and we would go on with our lives separately.

    Well it became clear after 2 months that we just didn’t want to end our marriage so actively got into repairing it. We’ve been seeing a counsellor, which has helped us to re-establish open communication. It has helped us to learn to “nip in the bud” issues or old behaviors we don’t want to fall back into.

    I moved back into our home after the 4 months and we’re always mindful of what we almost lost. We’re very happy and plan on continuing to be.

    The downside to all of this is that our 2 adult daughters have not been very supportive. I think they think we’ve lost our marbles in a way. Oh well – we’ll see how they do after 30 years of marriage is what I say. And they too may be parents one day and realize that we’re human beings with our own lives to lead. All in all I really think our separation was the right thing to do for us.

  10. I’ve been with my husband for 20 years. We kind of grew up together. When I say that I mean we grew into adults together. We met when we were 17. There’s kids, financial issues, debt and anger. There’s lies, alcohol, pornography and resentment. I don’t think I’m an angel and no way is it one sided, but I want to hear from other people who have had success in separating with the purpose of rebuilding.

    I need space; I need to rebuild myself in a healthy environment. I want to be happy and healthy. I can’t do that here as it’s just toxic. Nothing is supported and if I do embark on something like a detox I talk about it first so everyone knows what’s going on or even to the point of a team sport it’s all good. But then I’m resented for taking time for myself or spending money.

    He doesn’t have too many opportunities for social things because he works early til late and weekends are usually family time and sports for the kids. I want to rebuild my relationship but I’m very afraid that I will break free and not want to come back. I think my husband knows this but I think he thinks I’m trapped here. I have no money, no family, no job, and kids that are dependent on me. I think he thinks if I leave I would never want to come back and that scares him.

    It scares me too but also excites me to the possibilities out there. Makes me feel guilty for talking like that. I’m afraid if I go that my husband won’t bother trying to work on our problems. I feel like he would just fill the void with more work. And that’s so hurtful. He blames me for not letting go of old issues, which is only partially true. He cheated, well didn’t get that far, and I let go of the cheating itself. It just caused trust and sex issues, which he doesn’t agree stemmed from that. Anyway I do want to hear from others that have repaired their relationships and are living back together.

    1. If you go into the “Save My Marriage” topic and go into the testimonies, you will see just a small representation of marriages that have been reconciled despite the fact that they looked like they would never go anywhere good again. Problems don’t have to stay forever, only if one or both spouses lose hope that there can be a journey back to loving each other again… learning how to handle their problems so they don’t run over the both of them. Please go through the testimonies found at http://host.agencysrvr.com/~marriage/about-us-2/save-my-marriage-testimonies-3/ so you can see that marriages can be rebuilt.

    1. I’m so sorry to say that obviously, you can’t. You can’t MAKE your spouse agree to follow these principles. This obviously says something in itself that your spouse is most likely thinking of breaking at least some of these guidelines in some way, or thinks that you will. That is sad… so, so sad. I hope that you can both come to some type of an agreement to work on the vows that you both made on your wedding day to honor your commitment to love and stay committed through the best and worse of times.

  11. I’m so thankful I found this page at 2:43am! I have been really struggling with my decision to separate from my husband of 12 years …But I know it’s what’s necessary for my to heal; he has put myself and our 4 children through quite a bit and it seems at times he’ll never change and although he’s doing OK now…it’s usually only a pattern that lasts no more than 3 weeks. I’ve been so stressed because I’m a stay at home mom with no job, but im praying for a job because I have to separate and this page has given me the exact outline I was looking for, when I relay WHAT TYPE of separation I’d like it to be. We both need serious healing and I believe this time apart will be just what we need! Although I’m afraid, I know God is with me (and everyone else in this desperate situation).

  12. The article really hit home for me as I hadn’t loved my wife unconditionally and didn’t recognize that she was also hurting from past relationships. Now I’m living separate from my wife due to a job, and sincerely coming into the knowledge of learning how to love as GOD intended. Unfortunately, my wife desires to move on from our marriage but I know GOD is able!

    The testimonies on this site have been encouraging, because this is the hardest thing to do, when you repent of your failures and GOD is changing your heart but your spouse still only sees your failures. I’m trying to love from a distance and continue to reach out to her but she continues to avoid my attempts. I realize now my decision to accept this position was selfish because I didn’t consider her feelings but never imagined it would lead to an apparent divorce. Even still, I’ll trust GOD for my direction, regardless of how hard it becomes I know my wife and my marriage are worth it.

  13. My husband and I got married in 2007. We have 3 children of 7, 5 and 1 years. In 2013 he filed for divorce saying he no longer loved me but 2 weeks later changed his mind. In January 2014 I discovered he was cheating on me with another woman. I became depressed, hurt and frustrated. The result of this was our youngest child. In April he decided to leave home on unstructured separation to date. And he is with the same woman. He doesn’t listen to anyone. He is bitter towards me and hardly supports the children. He has even stopped talking to me -he has become totally cold. What could the cold mean?

    He developed such hatred towards me and doesn’t want to have anything to do with me, so he says. He has little time for our children. Is cold towards me and has stopped talking to me. What could be the meaning of him not talking to me? What should I do because I want him back asap?

    1. Mrs Simutowe, Usually we say, happy wife, happy life. So you both quit making each other happy… WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO DO ABOUT IT? Have you ever seduced him? The secret dreams of most husbands usually doesn’t come to pass… Do you HONOR and REVERENCE HIM, or does he feel belittled? There is enough for you to win him back and keep him, “IF YOU DO IT”… IT’S UP TO YOU.

      1. Her husband is a cheater who is unrepentant. She should not seduce him. If the husband is having unsafe sex, she is risking her health. If her husband feels belittled he should have talked to his wife about this. Chasing after your husband that way won’t change him. Mrs. Simutowe you can only change yourself. Be strong for you and your children. You can pray for your husband, but until he decides to change and realized the wrong in his ways there is not much else you can do. Since his heart seems to be hardened to you right now maybe a third party can help, a counselor, family friend or clergy.

  14. I am having some issues with this #4 listed in the key elements during a separation. I may be reading it wrong but is this saying a relationship with someone else outside the marriage? I would never want to agree to her or I seeing someone else. Here is the statement
    4. Relationships and Involvements Outside of the Relationship (Ideally a joint decision and compromise should be made concerning social involvement, and romantic relationships outside of this relationship.)

    1. You’re right Stanley, that can be confusing… pulled apart from the entire text of what the author is saying, it looks like he is saying it would okay for romantic relationships to be pursued during separation if it is mutually agreed upon by both spouses –which I know is not the impression the author intended to give. Because of this, I took out the last part of that phrase, so no misunderstanding can occur. Thank you for pointing that out. I have no doubt that the author would have agreed with this minor deletion. Thank you for pointing this out to us. We appreciate it.

  15. My husband and I have agreed that I need some time away from the family. We love each other very much but I’m so burned out from caring for our teenage son with autism and possible other diagnoses. We have three children, 15, 14, and 6. We are both devoted parents and a devoted couple but right now I feel completely used up. I have been the main caregiver, advocate, healer, and manager of my son’s condition and I just don’t have the strength to go on. I am hoping to gain some support from this site for this healing journey. Thank you

    1. Genesis 2:24 It is hard. It would be harder without each other.

      May Gracious, loving God Almighty who has provided his Son our Savior Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirt, send you physical helpers, who will help you as you walk in the peace and power that is in Christ. You are loved and appreciated and you matter. Your union matters too. It matters to God, to your family, to the body of Christ and to the country. It matters to me! Love your sister in Christ, J.L. Smith

  16. My husband has moved out. He never forgives and says he wants a divorce after 4 months. He gives up too quickly and tried to use other women to make me jealous. He’s very rude, won’t answer the phone, and shows no respect for me.

  17. I am a 23 year old mother of 2 (1 biological, 1 step). My husband and I have been married for 4 years, our oldest girl (step) is 5 and we have primary custody she visits her mom every other weekend, our youngest girl is 2. My husband and I have been having problems for about a year. We found out that our oldest was being molested by her mother’s nephew. It completely broke us. She has had behavioral problems because of it, which is to be expected. Her mother has been brain washing her against me, so that now she believes the things her mother has told her. She makes up lies about me, which causes problems with my in laws. My husband always backs me but he’s started to blame some of our daughters issues with me ON ME…he says that I’m too strict sometimes and he will challenge me in front of her. This frustrates me because to me I feel like that is only validating the things her mother has said to her and making her dislike me more.

    That is just 1 piece of the problem….my husband is also very lazy. I do basically everything parenting wise by myself along with all the house work. I work full time, 40 hours a week from 8:30 to 5 Monday through Friday. I work 45 minutes from home…I leave my house every morning at 6:30 to get our 2 year old to daycare and our 5 year old to kindergarten. He never takes the kids, even though our youngests daycare is on his way to work…its 30 min out of the way for me. I also pick the kids up every evening, I never get home before 6:30….he’s always home by 4.

    He also has a problem with weed. He spends nearly $450 a month on it. This really bothers me because there are things I want done around the house that we can’t afford to do because of his selfish habit. I’m not necessarily against him smoking (he doesn’t do it in the house or when our kids are home – this is why he never picks them up) but I want him to limit his spending on it. When I bring it up he gets angry with me.

    We recently split, I’ve moved back in with my parents. I have our youngest daughter with me, he is taking care of our oldest. This is hard for me, I’ve raised her from the time she was an infant. We got into an argument and he busted the windshield on my car – this is the reason I decided we needed space. We’ve been arguing non stop for months. He would wake me up at 3 and 4 am to fight with me, causing our kids to wake up in the middle of it because he keep his voice down.

    He said he would support my decision for a trial separation, I want to work things out with him but now he’s pressuring me to move back home. I’ve only been out a week. How can I get it across to him that we need this space?

  18. While separation is an excellent method for one to examine the relationship fully, it also identifies an impasse or serious misunderstanding has surfaced. Either party may identify the ‘thorny’ issue but, before meaningful remedy may be considered each must understand the issue and its implications. Nothing by way of reconciliation should be commenced until it’s clear both parties wish to reunite.

    1. Back again, he says that he doesn’t see any problems and that I’m on a power trip. He said that he can tell I don’t love our oldest daughter because I moved out, and that he will never forgive me for loving them differently. I don’t; I love her as much as my youngest. But I have no legal right to her and I knew he wouldn’t let me take her with me. He is using her to try and bait me into coming back. He’s having her call me and ask me to come home. We have been spending time together, I’ll come over for a few hours on the weekend but he sleeps the whole time I’m there. He’s spending absolutely 0 time with our youngest daughter and she’s still afraid of him from the last fight when he busted my windshield. He’s upset that she’s scared of him and he’s blaming me.

      Also, he hasn’t done any house work since I left. The dishes are starting to get moldy in the sink. He’s spending all of the money we have in checking on going out to eat and drink with his brother. He’s acting like a bachelor instead of a man trying to save his marriage. He says “come home and I’ll start trying but I’m not until you’re back in this house”. I say no way, I put up with it long enough! I want to see some sort of proof that he loves me and wants our family. He’s giving me none. I’m torn, I don’t want to be stuck like this.

  19. A known person of my surrounding does not have any conjugal life with his wife. He’s stayed with his wife for the last 2 years with out physical relation, only with mental fights and talks. Now they want a 3 month separation to see whether they can live without each other or not. Now, the gal wants to stay with that boy before they get separated. The girl is basically a materialistic admirer. I want to know whether after few months is it possible to stay together or need a divorce.