Love is a top priority when thinking about entering into a long-term committed relationship. In fact, 88 percent of Americans report that love is the most important reason to consider getting married. We want to feel loved by, and be in love with, our partner.
Relationships are faced with more pressure than ever before. In addition to the long-standing stress of things like finances, life transitions and family dynamics, couples are also faced with challenges of emotional bonding and keeping intimacy alive.
We look to our partners for comfort, reassurance, and closeness and feel hurt when we are not experiencing that kind of connection in our relationship. Partners can find themselves stuck in unhealthy patterns of disconnect and, over time, start thinking that they are no longer meant to be together.
Separation Before Divorce
The American Psychological Association (APA) estimates that the divorce rate has remained steady, between 40 and 50 percent for couples in the United States.
As couples find their relationship is in distress, they may come to assume that things are over and cannot be healed or repaired. However, it may be reasonable and beneficial for couples to consider separation while discerning what step to take next in their marriage.
Some reports are starting to show that the trend of divorce may be on the decline, which could be attributed to factors such as:
- People waiting until they are older to get married
- Couples choosing to live together rather than marry
- Increase in couples participating in counseling together
Deciding on a Trial Separation
Trial separation can be an option for couples who are struggling in their relationship but unsure if divorce is the right next step to take. When partners are not getting along, they may choose to live in separate locations as they attempt to work through challenges they are experiencing within themselves and within the relationship.
Some people consider a trial separation to be a move of “one foot out of the door” and a stepping stone to divorce or the ultimate end of the relationship. Each couple is different and there are a variety of reasons for entering a trial separation. Divorce is not inevitable for these couples.
In fact, relationship counseling can be of significant benefit during this time when partners are living apart and can be somewhat removed from the unhealthy patterns they experienced with each other while living together.