Marital Separation, for any reason, is a stressful and lonely time and more couples than ever are having to cope with traveling spouses who are away for days, weeks and even months at a time.
Whether you are apart from your loved one because of travel, military service or because of marital problems the challenges are the same.
Not knowing when or even if you will be back together also pours heartache and emotional turmoil into the separation.
Fortunately there are several ways of coping with marriage separation that will make the time you are apart a little easier on the heart.
I know the last thing you feel like doing is going out, especially if your spouse was your main social partner, but one of the best ways of coping with marital separation is to be around other people.
Being social achieves two goals, it acts as a distraction from your loneliness and it gives you a vital connection to the world outside. If you are a stay at home spouse this social time away from your children is extra important.
Whether you leave the kids with Grandma for an afternoon shopping or hiking, book a babysitter for an evening meal and movie or just arrange for someone to watch them for a few hours while you have a coffee with a friend at their place, anything you do that gets you out of the home will help you to cope.
It is also a perfect opportunity to find help and support from friends who know you are feeling low, but do not know how to help you through this time. Use existing friends or support groups designed exactly for your situation and you will find willing ears and hearts to help you through.
Finding online marriage help is also a great way to reach out to others in similar situations.
By reaching out and asking for help from friends online and offline you allow them to feel like they are doing something worthwhile, whether by listening, giving you a shoulder or just giving you a chance to get in some serious retail therapy! It is also a great time to eat a tub of ice cream, bond with others and remember how to laugh a little.
In some cases a marital separation can be the perfect opportunity for couples to take a look at the relationship, without the distraction and emotional baggage of being near each other.
You can easily see the problems and the pitfalls your marriage may be facing, while appreciating the good times.
In fact, some of the strongest relationships are formed because the spouses have the opportunity to live apart for a time, as in the military families and even travel agents, so when they are together they treat each other as friends who appreciate and respect each other, not room mates who resent the fact they are dependant on each other as so many longer term couples do.
The thing to remember and hold onto is that a separation does not have to end in divorce; in many cases, it can prevent divorce by giving you the space you need to work through issues and learn how much you appreciate each other, especially when it comes to the little things that may have become taken for granted.
If marital problems caused your separation then use the time for self reflection, working through solutions to your marital crisis and remembering the reasons you got married in the first place.
When your spouse is suddenly out of the picture, children will also find it difficult to deal with the consequences of having one parent, especially if that parent is often tired, emotional and stressed.
No matter what the reason for your separation is it is important to talk with your kids about it. Spend quality time with your children, be honest with them, reassure them that they are loved by their parents just as much as they always were and that they are in no way responsible for your situation.
Talk to your children about their fears, arrange for them to have social interaction with others and make time to have fun with them on your own as well.
That way you create an special bond with your children, without trying to replace your spouse, they see a different side to you and learn that they can actually help you cope with a marital separation too.
Living alone when you are not used to it is often overwhelming and incredibly frightening. The simplest things can become the biggest challenges and time becomes your enemy as you try to be everything to everyone.
But by seeking the support of others, including your children, and using the time you have to see things from a different perspective you will find yourself coping with marital separation if not easily, then efficiently.
In the end, the better you cope with your separation, the better your relationship is likely to become, no matter what the circumstances.
With more than twenty years experience in the field, Elizabeth Davis is a well known and respected relationship adviser. Through her site she offers free, no-holds-barred counseling, friendship and support to anyone experiencing difficulties in their relationship. Let her help you to a life filled with the unconditional love and laughter you deserve.