It merits saying up front that separation, physical or legal, does not always lead to divorce.
Sometimes separation can be a time of forgiveness and renewed commitment.
Many times, couples will separate in hopes of saving a marriage. After all, just getting distance from a painful, antagonistic situation can provide you with enough perspective to come back together weeks or months later and sort things out. The man, a newspaper reporter, left his wife in Boston and went on assignment in Russia for a year.
Their marriage had been on the rocks, but during the year apart, the two developed an e-mail correspondence that brought them new intimacy and understanding.
In a cooler moment, you may have made a more strategic deal, but you will not generally have the luxury of negotiating twice.
If you are separating, you should attend to the fine print of your future life now.
Finally, through therapy, she was able to take what she thought would be a short hiatus from the marriage.
A Dallas couple we know opted for a long-distance relationship as a means of gaining perspective.
You can date your spouse, even have sex with your spouse -- because as far as you are concerned, divorce is not in the cards. If you have filed for a fault divorce, you may lose grounds for divorce in your state if you date or have sexual relations with your spouse during a period of separation.
If separation is likely to be the first step in your journey to single status, we suggest you enter it seriously and formally -- with a signed agreement and full awareness of the potential errors, many of them impossible to reverse later on.
The man, who enjoys the city life in a Manhattan penthouse, runs a successful business and has pursued a series of monogamous relationships that fell apart, one by one, when he refused to commit to marriage. As the name implies, separation can be the first step along the journey to separate lives.
Not quite permanent or irrevocable, separation enables the two individuals to get a taste of what it would be like to exist apart -- to manage separate households, separate finances, and separate selves.