The Turnaround Workshop for Troubled Marriages 800.650.9995

Marriage Help Articles

Living in Limbo: Surviving a Marriage Separation

Sign saying "Uncertainty Just Ahead" - navigating a marriage separation


If you are currently in a marriage separation, you may feel as though you are living in limbo. Life may be very different than it was in the recent past, and you may feel disconnected in many ways. Your daily routine has probably changed because your spouse is absent. You may find yourself dining alone. You may have the added responsibility of caring for children alone, or you may miss the presence of your children. If you have been married for a while, just sleeping alone can be disorienting.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of a marriage separation is not knowing when, or if, it will end. That uncertainty brings a unique kind of stress that can cloud everything in your life. If you are separated and experiencing the stress of living in limbo, be deliberate about creating or maintaining structure. Use a calendar. Make appointments and keep them. You may even want to make appointments with yourself to make sure you are taking care of you during this difficult time.

1. Take care of yourself physically.
Good nutrition, adequate rest and regular exercise can help reduce the stress you are feeling.
2. Stay busy mentally.
Could you benefit from time spent with a counselor or life coach? Is there a book you have been wanting to read or a class you’d like to take? Opportunities for positive personal growth will keep your mind occupied and may ultimately prepare you for reconciliation when the separation is over.
3. Give attention to your needs relationally.
Lean on family and friends, but don’t involve them in your marriage issues. Avoid bashing your spouse to these sympathetic listeners. When you are working toward reconciliation, you will need their support. It will be hard for them to be happy for you if all they hear are the negative things that led to your marriage separation.
4. Guard yourself emotionally.
Resist any temptation to be involved in another romantic relationship. No matter how lonely you feel, don’t run into someone else’s arms. You are still married, but you may be especially vulnerable right now. Don’t complicate your situation or behave in ways you may deeply regret later.
5. Feed yourself spiritually.
Maintain or develop a routine of quiet time to read, pray and nourish your spiritual self. Draw strength from your faith community.
6. Protect yourself financially and legally.
Seek counsel from advisors you trust when making important decisions. Maintain open communication with your spouse if at all possible to work out practical matters like paying bills.


If possible, arrange a meeting with your spouse and talk through a time frame for the separation. Discuss your goals for the time apart. This may be an ideal time to get professional help for your marriage. A seminar or workshop led by an experienced counselor, like the A New Beginning workshop, may help you clarify what needs to happen so that you and your spouse can live together again successfully. Click here for information about this resource, which has helped thousands of couples with marriages in crisis.

More reading:

Three Tips to Help Resolve Marriage Conflict

Emotional & Physical Costs of Divorce

Freebie! Click to download our free guide, "7 Steps to Unwavering Trust"!