should we separate or stay together?

It's never easy to make the decision whether to stay together and try to work things out, or whether to separate. It's even harder when there are children involved. The beliefs we have will guide this decision to some extent. If we believe, for example, that children are always better off if their parents remain together, we will probably stay together no matter how miserable it makes us. If we believe that feelings cannot change, or that relationships should 'just work' without having learn good skills for communicating and working through conflict, we are unlikely to think it's possible for our relationship to improve. The facts are - children are always negatively affected when their parents are in high levels of conflict with each other that remain unresolved. It doesn't matter whether parents are separated or together for this to be the case. Children can do well after their parents have divorced, as long as they have a good relationship with each parent, know that their parents both love and care about them and put them first, and their parents are prepared to work cooperatively together to ensure this is the case. Even the best relationships need work - as things change so do the demands on couples. The skills we may have needed to manage one part of our lives (e.g. working as a team to be good parents and run a household together) may be inadquate for another stage in life (e.g. working out how to connect all over again after the children have moved out). The point is - it's important when making the decision to separate or try to make things work, to examine our underlying beliefs and assumptions about what's true and what's possible. New tools and skills for relationship can (and must!) be learned at all stages of life. Staying together may not mean problems will be resolved, nor that they will linger indefinitely. Perhaps a more meaningful question than "Should we separate or stay together?" may be "What are our challenges moving forward - for me as an individual, for us as a couple? Do we both want to work on these? What's the best way to work on these?" Separation or recommitting to each other may happen at the end rather than the beginning of this process.

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