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How to Tell a Spouse You Want to Separate

by Lane Cummings

Going through marital difficulties is one of the most stressful experiences in life. It is a situation that can negatively impact your work life, your friendships and, most importantly, your children. Deciding to separate allows you and your spouse time to live apart, to reevaluate your relationship, and to do some clear thinking and ultimately decide if both of you want to get a divorce. Breaking the news to your spouse that you want to separate can be very tricky, as your spouse might feel as if you're demanding a divorce. However, approaching the matter strategically is one way to ensure an easier conversation.

Write down your reasons for wanting to separate. Perhaps you and your spouse fight too much, or there's a lack of trust or a general apathy toward one another. Don't censor yourself when you make this list. Be as thorough as possible.

Familiarize yourself with your list, so that all of your reasons are clear in your head when you talk to your spouse.

Set a time with your spouse to talk, preferably when the children are out of the house. Tell your spouse that you love him, but that you've been unhappy for a long time and would like to consider separating for a while. State your reasons.

Tell your spouse that you want a separation because you care about her and your kids, and you want to try being apart to see how the family fares. Tell your spouse how long you plan to separate for and what type of clarity you hope to gain from the separation, such as a sense of whether or not you want to stay together.

Discuss together the living arrangements, and decide collectively who will take care of the kids and what days and times.

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