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So what's a separation? I refused a long one

Tarnation Joe

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My wife told me to leave a week ago. I felt really bad about the fight that caused her to do that, so I left without saying anything about it.

She calls this a separation. She has said that she wants to preserve the marriage, but she wants a separation. I asked her when we could work on things and she said "Not now and not for a very long time."


I went to a counselor that told me that that was unreasonable. That it was passive aggressive and meant to punish me. I know her very well, and I can tell she is holding on to her anger, even fostering it. She is afraid of backing down, letting herself down. So she is hyping herself up for a long separation. And she has every advantage. She has her our bed, our children, our stuff. She has me to visit whenever she permits or me to babysit when she wants to go with her girls.


I asked her if she wanted a divorce. She said no. She keeps throwing in our conversations that divorce is still on the table. The kids are suffering terribly.


So I texted her today (because she wouldn't talk to me) that I wouldn't stand for a long separation. I said she must came back inside the marriage or give me a prompt divorce. I'm not playing chicken with her. If we're going to divorce, its better for the kids and for me to start it fast. If we are going to reunite, we need to give the kids continuity in meantime.


I know separation is about losing anger and working on problems. But she is intent on staying angry. She's a bit prone to psychotic episodes (nothing violent) and she is on a tear.


I give it 50/50 odds. But I can live either way. I know the marriage will be troubled even if we get back together, now or later. If she chooses divorce, I get out and the kids and I can start healing. If she chooses to come back inside the marriage, I will give her space and fresh air and devotion.


I know none of yall can judge the facts, but I wanted some feedback on separation. I know people go through really long ones, but I just can't see it. Either you are married or your are not, it seems to me.

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It sounds like you hurt her very badly. Have you apologized and done your bit to put it back together? If you haven't, you shouldn't expect her to want to work on the marriage. I would let her get over the worst of her anger, could take a year or so, and then try to put it back together. Most courts will give the kids to the mother, so be prepared for that. She could really punish you there if she wanted to. YOU left, the court would view that as abandonment, even if it truly wasn't (and in your case it wasn't at all). She made you leave so you would look bad in court. Not good. I wouldln't press for divorce right now if I were you. Let the dust settle for awhile (this will not happen quickly but it WILL happen) and then try to work it out.

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Is there a compromise you can reach - like maybe agreeing to the separation - IF she'll agree to see a marriage counselor weekly and follow the counselor's directives on working through things?


I have to agree with the counselor about the current situation - and separation as punishment is counterproductive to either a split, or to reconciliation. It sets a negative tone for the kids, and puts you in the position of being adversaries on a battlefield, not two people trying to figure out what's best for your family unit.

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