The phenomenon of being "separated but together" is a new kind of normal, particularly for couples over age 50.
Often they have been married for 20 or more years and jointly own a home and other valuable assets, says Tina B.
It also differs from divorce because the marriage continues to exist after a legal separation.
Even when the divorce is amicable, as mine was over a decade ago, the massive weight of the realization that the world you had built with your soon-to-be-ex and the end of your journey with a person who at some point was the closest person in the world to you is downright smothering. Are we supposed to see each other a certain number of times a week? Or do you tell them that the marriage is over, no chance of being mended and that the paperwork is simply a formality? I recall going through that period, knowing full well that the marriage was over and that, indeed, the paperwork was just the final punctuation.
It's an awful, soul-crushing rollercoaster and every time someone sarcastically remarks how easy it is for people to get divorced or how so-and-so "just left their marriage," my head feels like it's about to explode. However when I would reveal to someone in whom I was potentially interested that I was separated, they invariably would shy away.
Related: Why I Love (and Respect) Cougars There is, though, an emotional purgatory most couples need to work their way through before the final decision to end a marriage is made: the separation. As much as I wanted to shout out "Hey, that's really, seriously [email protected]" I sort of understood where there was room for reasonable reticence on their part.
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