April 1, 2011


Finding the Light in the Darkness of Marital Separation
by Denise Falcone

There is a misconception that being separated is a gentler alternative or preview to divorce, but it is often during this time when many powerful emotions take hold. These feelings can cause you to overreact. How can you stay calm and see things clearly when you are thrashing about in a sea of fear and uncertainty, pain and disappointment? In addition, you might feel guilty about disrupting everybody’s lives, especially if there are children.

Tapping into your anger—an inevitable response at the ending of a relationship—will give you some of your power back, but if misdirected and out of control, it can cause the most terrible arguments where no one is listening but the neighbors. And again, bear in mind the children. If you are holding on, fighting can be a way to stay connected. You and your spouse can get back to being close, a sad ritual we see time and time again.

Anger is a strong drug. It is intoxicating and can make you feel important and visible, especially when you feel invisible. It’s not a bad thing that you feel angry or have a need to express it. This is normal, but how you express it is what matters. How has the impact of this emotion affected you in the past? If you have been shamed or hurt by someone’s anger towards you, you might express your anger in a two-fold way: your past and your present. By not allowing yourself to be paralyzed by feelings of rage, you can deal with your own anger now.

Something happens when a woman stands up for herself in a focused and rational way. In losing the fear from her voice, she loses her status as shrew, scold, bitch, hothead, selfish-child, man-eater, and nag.

Meanwhile, feelings of sadness are waiting in the wings…

We often postpone feeling sad, sometimes forever, because this is the emotion that hurts so much and leaves us feeling so desperately lonely. It is so much easier to lash out and stay mad. It keeps the gnawing pain of loss away. Suddenly you find the keepsake trunk in your heart filled not with the realization of anticipated hopes and fantasies but with moth-eaten, shattered dreams. Still, your feelings of sadness are noble. They tell you who you are. Some of the best parts of us are created from our losses.

Breaking through your fury to embrace your feelings of sadness can help you find the courage to accept things for what they are. You can finally be set free from having to control things all the time, lest you fall apart. And then what? There you are!

Separating from someone in this way, instead of setting up camp in their aura and despising them, strengthens the soul and bestows upon you a renewed capacity for life. It sets the right tone for your children. You will have a goal that you will reach intact and you will find that goal is YOU.

Denise Falcone is the author of Void of Moon, The Emotional Journey Through Marital Separation. Her essays and short stories have appeared in Press Pause Moments Anthology, The Virtuous Mimicry, Blood Orange Review, J Journal, Wired Ruby, Kerouac’s Dog, and others.