Why Separating in a Marriage or De Facto Relationship Is Hard To Do

If you are having trouble with a sibling or a parent (provided you are not in business with them or in a position of financial dependency) you can successfully avoid them for most of the year and even manage to come up with excuses for the big events in the family calendar.  You can sidle across the other side of the room at a wedding.  You can turn up late and leave early and make your way around the event without ever having to greet the disaffected other family member.  You can collude with other family members so they become your buffers and deflect the meet/greet or indeed any interaction from occurring.  Childish, but effective.  Name me a context in which we are not more likely to revert to childlike or childish behaviour than when we are interacting with our family members?  All those patterns of old re-emerge and all those survival techniques we learnt when we were but pups in the pack come to the fore.

These ostrich like behaviours will not serve you well however in your most intimate uncoupling.  Once the separation genie is out of the bottle, there is no going back, there are no easy solutions.  It is a difficult and painful process regardless of how many years you have been together, whether or not you have children and whether or not you have acquired assets.

Separating from someone whom you once professed to love is a difficult thing, even if you are the one seeking that separation.  It is not like the breakdown of any other type of relationship as you are more likely to have invested more and more likely to have truly exposed the inner you to the person whom you once loved and who loved you in return.  This was your most trusted allay and possibly the only person with whom you felt completely safe.  Exposing your fears or weakness was not a problem at the time as you were loved.  The concern, at the point of separation, is what the other person may do when angry enough and armed with that information.

Uncoupling a de facto couple or married couple is a difficult process which requires tact, sensitivity, time, application, care, attention and empathy.  It can be done well, with a commitment by both of you to constantly check negativity, ill will, and suspicion and instead lean towards creative outcomes that benefit more than the self in a future focused, family oriented manner.

When I witness a good divorce I am often reminded about the change in attitude developed by Nelson Mandela when he was incarcerated on Robben Island.  Instead of continuing to buck the system, fight the embodiment of white dominance in the guise of the guards and professing to be fighting the noble fight, he started an internal battle within himself.  Ultimately he won that internal conflict and through that, and the passage of much time, the external battle was also won. He could have remained the angry man who sought to overthrow a corrupt and immoral system and instead he chose to walk a long road towards dignity and leadership.  His transformation to inner freedom allowed him mastery over his situation.  A good divorce leans towards the light.  It does not allow bitterness, incriminations, jealousy, sarcasm or anger to fester.  Instead it fosters a focus on the future and a better outcome for all.  Just as Mandela did.

It is possible to see separation as an opportunity for growth and re-invigoration, rather than loss and despair.  That however, takes enormous commitment and a separating couple who both want to be on the same page whilst conversely are trying to exit each other’s intimate life.

The cynics may ask, if they can separate that well, why are they separating at all?  To which this high evolved, child focused couple are likely to reply, because we want a future together, apart.

If you would like advice specific to your situation, please contact our office to make an appointment on 9320 3900 or email [email protected].

The information in this blog does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by you. If you require advice specific to your situation you must contact Caroline Counsel Family Lawyers for legal advice.  The contents of this blog are relevant as at 4 April 2018.  We recommend you obtain specific advice relevant to you and your family’s situation.

By Caroline Counsel

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