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Trial Separation

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LifeDestroyer posted 10/19/2019 18:43 PM

My BH has asked for a trial separation. He needs to heal, and seeing his abuser each day will hinder that. While I do not want to leave at all, I know itís what he needs. I wish I could be a part of his healing, even if itís in the slightest way. Iím going to find an apartment, and he will stay in our home with our daughter. She does not need to be completely upended. She will already have so many changes going on in her tiny life. We have agreed on our days and tried to make it as fair as possible, but since Iím at the same school as her I know I will get to see her more often even if itís just for a few minutes. Unfortunately, he had to explain it all to her today. I was helping my dad move apartments today, and he sent me a text saying she asked if he was kicking me out. He told her that he is not kicking mommy out, that itís something that we both think is a good idea, and that she will now have a new room to decorate. Hearing those words cheered her up. We wanted that to be something that we both told her together, but you canít exactly predict when a child will ask you a surprising question.

I looked at one apartment today, but it is on the more expensive end for me. There is another one I will look at Wednesday after work. He hasnít given me a deadline to be out by, but I know I canít drag this out. I am extremely worried, we both are. Iím worried what it will do to our daughter. Iím worried that he will realize that he can and wants to live without me. Iím worried where my mind will go each day, especially the days I donít have her. Iím worried that this trial will turn into a definite. Iím worried that he wonít be able to see the change in me as it happens. He has already come up with some expectations/boundaries for us, which I have agreed to all. He has also said that we will set dates up where the two of us can talk about what is happening with us. He has also told me to look at this as an opportunity. If I asked him right now, R or D, he would say D. A trial separation will give us a possible chance at R, small chance, but still a chance. Itís really hard to see it as an opportunity, but I am trying.

He would like for there to be none to very little contact in the beginning. Basically just seeing each other when we drop off and pick up our daughter. That will be very hard for me. To see him and not be able to talk to him, to not send him a text or email, to not want to touch him when I see him. He didnít say how long the no contact will be for, but Iím guessing it will be a while. I know this is all because of the horrible choices I made. I know that everything I am worried about could have been prevented if I actually communicated with my husband. I know that our daughter will have to sleep in two different beds because her mommy was extremely selfish. I know that this possibly could have been avoided if I told the whole truth in the beginning instead of having my constant lies pulled out of me.

For those who have done a trial separation and hopefully moved back in to work on R, do you have any pointers? Do you have any tips to help our daughter through this? Do you have any suggestions for us when we do meet up to discuss our work?

ChangeMe1 posted 10/19/2019 19:20 PM

I'm sorry you find yourself at this point, I am separated from my wife.

Yes, your choices brought you here, and you need to do what is best and right for your husband, but your human and I'm sorry for you because this is going to hurt.

You need to prepare yourself for what you are going to experience, you already know you need to keep up working on yourself, to do your up most to put you husband first in the decisions you make while you are apart, but, you need to look after yourself as well.

But above all of that, you need to look out for your daughter. This will be confusing and hard for her, children are resilient it's true but depending on her age she will likely shift from seeming okay to confused to hurt to acting out and back round. She'll look for the best in the situation and not understand the worst.

Make sure you don't hide it from her, if she asks questions answer them honestly and age appropriately. Don't speak for your husband, don't tell her "Daddy thinks" or "Daddy needs" let him speak for himself if she asks. But do tell her the truth, kids see and hear more than we wish they would and if you lie or cover things her reality will be jarring between what she sees and hears and what you say.

Don't be tempted to go overboard when she's with you either, it's tempting to try to make time extra special to compensate, but children need routine and normality in their lives, and if you keep trying to go overboard you risk making her time with her dad harder.

But I warn you now, when your alone it's going to hurt like hell, use that to drive your own work, use it to look into yourself and double down on becoming someone you can look into the mirror at and love.

And if you drink at all, don't. Numbing won't help.

ibonnie posted 10/19/2019 19:27 PM

I wish I could be a part of his healing, even if itís in the slightest way.

Moving out and giving him the space he needs to process all of this IS being part of his healing, even if it doesn't feel like it. When you feel like it's too much for your to bear, just keep in mind that you're giving him what he asked for/needs right now.

LifeDestroyer posted 10/19/2019 19:38 PM

Make sure you don't hide it from her, if she asks questions answer them honestly and age appropriately.

She is 5 and 1/2. We have just told her that mommy hurt daddy's heart. She doesn't need to know what I did. I did tell her the other day that she shouldn't be getting upset with Daddy when she sees me upset. He said she has been doing that, asking him to apologize to me. I explained to her that I am the one that did the hurting, it's ok when I am sad, and that I'm trying to apologize to daddy.

warn you now, when your alone it's going to hurt like hell, use that to drive your own work, use it to look into yourself and double down on becoming someone you can look into the mirror at and love.
This is something that I am very worried about. I worry that I will get so consumed in feeling sad that I will stop myself from working on fixing my crap. I know I will be sulking for a bit, but hopefully I won't stay in that state.

feel like it's too much for your to bear, just keep in mind that you're giving him what he asked for/needs right now

This is what I have been telling myself now. I also remind myself that he is feeling what I'm feeling then doubled.

HardyRose posted 10/19/2019 19:49 PM

Also remind your daughter that Mummyís and Daddys relationship is different to her relationship with you both. And even if she hurts your heart you will not leave HER because mummyís and daughters and Daddyís and daughters stay together always - or however you think she will understand that there is nothing she can do that will make you not love her.

Tallgirl posted 10/20/2019 07:23 AM

I am a BS, my WH moved out at my request in May. He had been lying and I was already struggling I needed a break.

I did not want to talk to him. I did not help him. The pain needed to leave. Similar to your BH

It was both a relief and difficult.

Maybe some of my feelings or reactions can help you.

When my WH complained about living alone in a rental, I got angry, this was his choice.

When he texted too much, I got angry at the start. When he doesnít reach out, I get angry. I always think, is he cheating ? Doesnít he want to reconcile? Sadly anger is a theme.

I like knowing what he is doing.

When we saw each other at first, it was awkward. When we saw each other later, time out of the house was best.

Talking about the kids was easier than talking about us.

I am now comfortable with him not here. I have detached.

He knows he can live without me and I know the same.

We agreed not to date any one else. This is based on the couple, I regret this part sometimes. Let me be clear. I do not want to date anyone, I just donít like the restriction. I trapped myself.

He still doesnít step up, I have called him upset, he talks. If he was smarter, He would come over to comfort me. If your husband opens a door, walk through even if you are tired or doing laundry. Etc.

If I can say one thing more. Do not rely on texts to communicate, call or talk in person. Texting sucks. Lots of misunderstanding potential.

[This message edited by Tallgirl at 12:28 AM, October 24th (Thursday)]

landclark posted 10/20/2019 07:46 AM

Speaking purely from personal experience, and I would say this goes for both you and your husband.

1. Kids are resilient, sure, but some are more sensitive than others and can take this personally. While Iím not in the jump right to therapy group, you need to be very attuned to your daughter right now. I know thatís harder when youíre going through a lot yourself, but what happens now can have lasting affects on her. If you see her behavior change, if she is acting out of character, if she seems down or depressed, donít hesitate to get her some extra help. Admitting you need to get her extra help is not a failure on your part. I would even let her teacher know what is going on so she can help keep an eye on her.

2. Donít use her as your confidant. Donít talk to her about what youíre feeling or what youíve done more than you have too. More than is age appropriate. Sheís not your best friend. Not your therapist. Sheís your child. (Again, speaking from MY personal experience, Iím not saying you do or will do this, just something to be aware of.)

3. Assume anything you say about your husband in front of her will get back to him. Kids talk. Iím sure as a teacher you know this all too well.

4. Donít ask her to keep secrets. Itís not fair to her.

5. Same as above, assume everything you do will get back to your husband. If you introduce a new man, a ďfriendĒ, assume it will get back to him.

6. Donít grill her about your husband. It puts her in an awkward position.

7. Donít try to buy her affections or outdo your husband to be the more fun parent. Itís not a competition.

8. Be consistent. If Saturday night is your night, then Saturday night is your night. Donít change from week to week.

9. Donít insult your husband or imply that he threw you out without cause. Donít let your daughter make him the villain.

10. Donít let her get away with bad behavior simply because you feel bad. Sure, she needs grace right now, as do you and your BH, but youíre still the parent, responsible for guiding her in life.

As far as working with your husband, respect his boundaries. By doing as he has asked, you are helping his healing.

I wish you all the best of luck, truly.

LifeDestroyer posted 10/20/2019 08:17 AM

Tallgirl, how long did you plan your separation to last?

We told her teacher last week that there are things going on at home, and if she ever noticed anything with our daughter to please let us know. I also told the guidance counselor about some things, not the reason, and asked him to speak with her. She has gone to talk to him a couple of times and knows she can whenever she needs to.

My mom used me as her confidant my whole life. I learned WAY too much about her past and my dad's. She told me things that I will never forget. She had no problem bitching to me about my dad's transgressions, but she wouldn't dare to speak to my brother about his dad's abusive ways when they were married. Trust me, I will never do that to our daughter.

Oh our daughter talks alright! Nothing gets past her. She could be in another room and hear something we said, but God forbid she ever "listen" when we speak directly to her.

I won't be grilling her or try to manipulate her with toys. Again, that's something my mom did. I always felt that she bought our love. I am guilty of that now. Our daughter is ridiculously spoiled, 99% because of me. I have gotten better with it....I think. Well I had, but I've gone back a bit since all of this has happened.

I don't plan on taking any of his days away from him. He knows I will keep her if he has to work late or gets called in, but I won't take his days.

I have told her that this was my fault, that daddy didn't do anything wrong. I will continue to tell her that along with that I am working very hard to "make it up" to daddy.

I haven't been letting her get away with bad behavior. He's a big help with that. When he hears her talking back to me or raising her voice, he comes out here and sets her straight. He has never let her get away with treating me with disrespectfully. I know I will struggle with that when he's not with me.

landclark posted 10/20/2019 08:31 AM

She could be in another room and hear something we said, but God forbid she ever "listen" when we speak directly to her.

Ha ha. Yep. My son is 8 and same damn thing. Kids. Lol

Iím sorry you went through all that. I guess on the plus side it teaches us what not to do.

Crushed7 posted 10/20/2019 09:47 AM

For as hard as separation can be, it does give you both two things -- time without each other and chunks of time totally alone. Especially for the new "spare" time alone, use every bit you can to work on yourself. Regardless of what happens with your marriage, you'll need this. However, it can also be the thing that ends up saving your marriage.

My WS and I were separated for over a year starting at about 4 months post Dday. What she did with that time was absolutely instrumental in making R possible. She read. She reflected. She went to IC 2X a week. She added a faith-based IC 1X a week. In other words, she had the self-motivation to figure out why she had cheated, what character gap existed within and what she needed to do to be a healthier person. She changed. It wasn't all at once -- it was slowly, bit-by-bit, but as I evaluated things every few months it was apparent and I decided to give her and us more time.

If I asked him right now, R or D, he would say D.

That can change over time, so don't be too alarmed.

Immediately after Dday, my W and I went to a counselor who suggested IC for both of us and that we wait for 1 year before making any major decisions. I agreed and was hopeful that we might be able to work things through. By 4 months post Dday, I was solidly in the D camp. By 6 months, I saw some of the first signs of progress in my W, but I still was solidly D. At 1 year out, I was still leaning towards D, but I had seen enough progress to decide to postpone making a decision to D for 3 months. So I would review every three months and look at the progress in my W and in our marriage. I think it was close to 2 years out before I was leaning towards R. Yes, it took me that long. But my W did everything she could to work on her own healing and to do whatever she could to show me that she supported me and loved me regardless of how things turned out.

There are no guarantees of what your BH will do, but you control what you will do. Go heal. Show your BH love and respect, even when that means giving him space and losing some time with your daughter. Be patient. Be kind. Find deep empathy for the pain that you caused for him. At the absolute minimum, you will come out a fuller, healthier person.

Do you have any tips to help our daughter through this?

landclark has some excellent advice.

What your daughter needs right now is to be loved and to know that it isn't her fault. She then needs models of what a relationship should look like -- that what happened was wrong, that it's not OK to just rugsweep what happened, that apologizing is important, that rebuilding trust takes time, that spouses work their issues out together even when it can be messy, etc.

Do you have any suggestions for us when we do meet up to discuss our work?

First, understand that he needs to go through a process that will take a very long time. The rule of thumb is 2-5 years. Google "Stages of Grief" for an overview and know that he likely is currently in the anger stage and will be battling that for months.

Second, when he has something to say, listen. Listen intently not only with your ears, but with your eyes and your heart. It could be that he doesn't have much to say for a while. Or he might just vent some of the anger he is dealing with. But whatever he expresses is an insight into where he is at and an opportunity for you to be empathetic towards him.

Finally, share your own journey as you discover brokenness, experience guilt/shame, identify the roots of what allowed you to choose an A and take responsibility for how you'll act going forward. Those insights could very well be the seeds of allowing your BH to decide to give more time and to begin trying to rebuild trust with you.

leavingorbit posted 10/20/2019 11:24 AM

Hi, LD. My husband and I separated for ~2 months after our D-Day. We are madhatters, so there was more compromise in our situation. Hereís what I learned from our separation.

- Take care of yourself. Keep busy, stay present. I know that sounds contradictory, so I suppose it may make more sense to say ďstay present with your work.Ē Figure out your whys and fix them. Develop healthy hobbies and coping mechanisms. Work with your IC. Think about a support group such as CoDA. Try to get to know your emotional patterns and triggers as best you can. The present moment will feel really awful, especially at the start. It was minute to minute for me for the first couple of weeks and it took me awhile to see progress in the practices I implemented. It is slow. Work on being happy for yourself, which is so, so hard in a situation like this when you have caused so much pain and youíre dealing with a ton of shame. Prioritizing this will help you feel more capable and in turn offer much healthier interactions to your BS and daughter.

- I echo what others have said about consistency for your daughter. I would go a step further and suggest bringing up the idea of therapy for her with your BH. Our oldest son was 6 at the time of our separation and had just started kindergarten earlier in the year, which is such an awful experience for him and absolutely unfair. Having a therapist to help with the transition was invaluable, especially because we needed all the help we could get in entirely new territory. Neither of us was going to pretend we knew what to do. We went for ownership, consistency, and therapy. We spent time individually with our son and together as a family. This is NOT to suggest that your BS is somehow incapable of providing support or consistency. I personally am of the belief that we can all use extra help in new and painful circumstances.

- Support your husband. Follow what he asks for terms of your separation. Develop empathy, empathy, empathy. Slow down your pace and practice compassion. Dig in and practice more, sit in the feelings that you experience, then process them and avoid wallowing. I journaled pages and pages of quotes about compassion to help with this. Find your center as best you can and employ it, especially if your BH is flooding or you start to feel discouraged. I found a lot of hope in the idea of kindness and gentleness above all, that no matter what those things could not be taken away from me. That I could keep giving to my husband in whatever way he allowed.

- We agreed on six months to come to a decision about our marriage. For us, this was a way to assess progress (and six months should say how uncertain we were about our future, even though we both wanted to R). Iím not sure this is something you can suggest a conversation about yet, as itís ultimately up to your BS and what he needs to heal. For you, I would focus on improving yourself and supporting your BH as best you can.

- I would advise you to look out for mom guilt as best you can. Itís going to be major with the added reality of why the separation exists. Try to stay away from Disneyland Mom, and think more of developing a hobby that you and your daughter can work on together. I struggled sooo much with this at first- my boundaries sucked and our son was impacted by that. Itís something I constantly work on. We built some birdhouses. He and his dad went for bike rides.

Iím sorry you and your family are here. I had to focus on my deep selfishness and entitlement, figure out why I was like that, and then put that crap to bed. The putting it to bed part is an ongoing process for me. In our separation, I had to create a schedule and follow it, keep myself moving. Lots of days I wanted to give up. The shame was overwhelming. Then I realized that my husband wasnít divorcing me despite what I had done to him. Even if he eventually decided to, I was still me, and becoming better every day. I couldnít let that fear rule my life anymore. I could read books and garden. I could go for walks and collect flowers. I could breathe and feel my body, feel immense gratitude for being alive. We are in R now, but the time could always come that itís minute to minute.

Keep breathing. Strength.

JBWD posted 10/20/2019 12:46 PM

A very practical resource for ďidle timeĒ is my old standby- ďFeeling GoodĒ by David Burns. I find it particularly useful because this alone time is where racing thoughts will quickly snowball into pretty skewed distortions if you let them. The very proactive methods in this book enable you to quickly redirect those distortions and over time the self time will become productive complement to whateverís happening in IC.

LifeDestroyer posted 10/20/2019 17:39 PM

Shame and mom guilt are huge right now, almost overpowering.

Tallgirl posted 10/20/2019 18:14 PM

LD. We said it would be a three month separation. I had extreme anxiety at the idea of him moving back in. I felt panic.

He has stopped asking to move back. I am not ready. now The ask is one day a week. The Mc suggested this because we need to spend time together or we will detach.

He has done this a couple of times. He stayed all thanksgiving weekend because our son was home. It was not easy. We did share a bed and that was it. But having him here was ok.

His betrayal was significant. 10 years. our marriage was dysfunctional particularly in our communications. And he has foo issues. So a lot of crap. It is possible the separation will be permanent. This is because of his betrayal and our issues. Not the separation itself.

It has given me a break. I can see some things more clearly which is good. But it is a limbo and we canít do this for a lot longer.

[This message edited by Tallgirl at 6:15 PM, October 20th (Sunday)]

ChangeMe1 posted 10/20/2019 18:55 PM


You will get through this, it's hard, really hard, but the fact that your posting here when it's overwhelming means you recognise it and you can make choices.

Do something productive. Dishes, ironing, pay a bill. Just pick something easy that has to get done and do it.

Believe me, looking back at that moment later and realising you did something worthwhile with it is more positive than looking back and realising you sat in your shame and did nothing.

When you're calmer you can work on you. But try to always be doing something rather than wallowing.

LifeDestroyer posted 10/21/2019 07:04 AM

This weekend we helped my dad move apartments. I went over Saturday to help after checking out an apartment for myself. My BH took our daughter after having to explain to her that he's not kicking mommy out
After they were done, he asked if we needed any help. He walked up and down a bunch of steps to help out my dad. We then went back again yesterday to finish up. Before we left though, I broke down. I had been sad all morning, and then he made a comment that made me lose it.

He was cleaning his room and got the vacuum. He came out saying "it's a good thing we didn't get rid of the old one, now you won't have to buy one." My heart couldn't take it. I went to our room, shut the door and proceeded to cry into my pillow. He and our daughter were in the hall replacing the air filter. He then went into her room to play, I'm pretty sure he knew I was crying so he was trying to keep her distracted. Hearing her laugh made me cry even harder. Hearing him talk made me cry even harder. Realizing everything that will be missed, my pillow got pretty wet.

After crying for a bit, I tried to clean up and went back out. He asked if I just wanted to stay home and he goes help alone. I knew I needed to do something, so I told him no. While picking out clothes for her to wear, he was standing behind me saying he will need help with her clothes (what fits and not). He then asked if there was anything I wanted to say. I said "yes, I don't want to leave." I had to walk out because the tears started to come again. While moving boxes, I had to stop a few times to catch my breath because all I wanted to do was cry. I'm going my dad move apartments knowing I will be doing this for myself in a few weeks. I told my dad to save all of his box boxes so that I can use them.

Hopefully, I won't cry today at least during the day. The teacher across the hall knows there is something going on, a possible divorce. She doesn't know why. I just met her August when I started there. I'm not comfortable with telling her what I did. She just finished a divorce, and told me that if I ever need a break to go cry to just tell her so she can watch my class. That helps. The counselor also knows that a divorce is possible. He told me I can call him, he can come watch my class, and I can go cry in his room. My friend (one of 3 that knows what's going on) texted me the other day, but I never replied. She texted again yesterday, and this time I told her quickly about the trial separation and that I would call her another time because I would start crying now. I don't want to burden her with my shit even though I need to talk to someone.

I will say, I am very tired of having to fake it. I want to just sit and cry and yell at myself. Sometimes it's very hard to fake it at school. Someone will ask "did you have a good weekend" or "are you ok" and I can feel the giant lump forming my throat and the tears about to drop. I have to quickly give them an answer and walk away before they see me breakdown.

I know these are all things that my husband went through right after dday. I'm hoping he hasn't in a bit, hoping the constant breakdown has stopped for him.

ChangeMe1 posted 10/21/2019 07:15 AM


I know you hurting, the pain is obvious in your post. You need to think of your husband though. You are burdening him with you guilt and grief.

I get it, I truly do. In the run up to our separation I pleaded, I didn't want to go. I dragged my feet on finding somewhere to live. I moped.

What I should have done is focused on my wife's needs. None of that helped her. She needed me gone, and I should have gone. It was hard enough on her, she didn't need to bear my feelings to.

I'm not saying to be happy and care free. But take of yourself, don't ask him to, don't make it harder for him.

It's okay to be sad, but you need to accept this consequence of your previous choices and actions and focus on what is best for him right now you can process you later.

LifeDestroyer posted 10/21/2019 07:25 AM

I know my feelings shouldn't be his burden. I am trying to prevent that. It is hard considering we've been together for 17 years. I went into the room so they wouldn't see or hear me crying. I did not let them see me upset while at my dad's. I didn't ask to talk after she went to bed because I knew I would just start crying. When I see him upset, I ask if there is something I can do or if he wants to talk. He has always been able to read my face when I'm upset or trying to hide it to come off as being ok. As much as I want his shoulder right now, I know that I am the one who took it away.

[This message edited by LifeDestroyer at 8:06 AM, October 21st (Monday)]

Justsomelady posted 10/21/2019 08:06 AM

This doesnt sound like burdening to me, she had normal human feelings and she excused herself to cry and when asked answered him honestly.

Glad you have supportive people at work LD. This move feels insurmountable but it is the only path forward. You can do this.

NotSureAboutIt posted 10/21/2019 14:40 PM

Two years after DDay, my wife divorced me. We had been separated most of those two years. After we divorced she started dating. I did not. I had my daughter alternate weekends. I also looked after her when my Ex Wife wanted to go out. I continued to love her and show her I could be a better man. After two and a half years we remarried. It was extremely hard to be alone and know it was my fault. But her gift of a second chance made it all worthwhile. 26 years later we are pretty happy. Hang in there.

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