Separated But Not Divorced: 7 Painful Pitfalls To Avoid

Last Updated on January 23, 2024 by Lori Pace

It may help to seek professional assistance if you have difficulty dealing with the past. This could also help you understand why your relationship with your spouse didn’t work out and help you manage future relationships better. So, avoid 7 painful pitfalls of separated but not divorced!

Pitfall 1 from Separated But Not Divorced: Way to Use Divorce Proceedings To Get Back To You

There is an instinctive desire to hurt someone else when they hurt us. It is easy to blame the other spouse and keep our anger and resentment. You can refuse to cooperate or extend negotiations to try to get the most from your spouse. You can spend a lot of money to try to get revenge or some satisfaction. But, in the end, what do you have?

It is not a good idea to hold onto past anger or resentment. This only makes it worse for the person holding them back. Although you may feel like you failed in your marriage, you can still be angry at your spouse. However, once you accept the idea of Legal Separation you should be constructive and make positive future decisions. Positive outlook is better than a negative.

It may help to seek professional assistance if you have difficulty dealing with the past. This could help you understand why your relationship with your spouse didn’t work out and help you manage future relationships better.

Separated But Not Divorced: 7 Painful Pitfalls To Avoid
Don’t let people define your needs!

Pitfall 2 from Separated But Not Divorced: Letting Other People Define And Prioritize Your Needs

Although people around us may be well-intentioned, they often give advice. However, sometimes the advice and information is not accurate or appropriate for your particular situation.

If you and your spouse have reached an agreement on the physical separation, and feel that it will not affect your future decisions, a written “interim” agreement can be used to outline the decision to live separately and how expenses will be covered. This agreement may include a preliminary parenting plan and child support calculations for a family with children. The interim parenting plan can be used as the Parenting Agreement in some cases and is included into the final Divorce Agreement.

Pitfall 3 from Separated But Not Divorced: Embarking On An Adversarial Process Without Considering Mediation First

People believe they must hire a lawyer to get a divorce. It is always a mystery to me why people think this way. Although they didn’t hire lawyers for marriage, they felt they needed to hire lawyers because they couldn’t live together anymore.

Many people feel that mediation will not work because they are unable to have a calm conversation and communicate with their spouse. They come to my office saying, “I don’t know how we can accomplish this. We can’t talk to each other without fighting.”

Most people find that mediation allows them to voice their concerns and needs. They can navigate the separation process and reach an agreement they both can live with thanks to the mediation. They may decide to consult with a lawyer or financial advisor to understand the consequences of their decisions. However, this is not a requirement. An adversarial process places other people in control over your family and your life. Mediation gives you control.

Pitfall 4: Not Thinking About The Family’s Finances As A Whole and Making Financial Commitments on Your Own

It is normal to think about your financial situation when you divorce. It is important to consider the whole family’s financial situation and create a plan that you and, if possible, your children can live on. Before making financial decisions, it’s best that you create budgets for each household.

You can’t decide on your own when it should be a decision between the two of you. A mediation process can help both sides to examine their incomes and expenses more closely and give them a better understanding of the challenges they would face when they separated.

Pitfall 5 from Separated But Not Divorced: Ignoring Your Own Physical And Emotional Health

Separated But Not Divorced: 7 Painful Pitfalls To Avoid
Pay attention to your own physical and emotional health!

It can be difficult to deal with an emotionally charged event like a divorce or separation. Our immune systems can be weakened when we are experiencing emotional stress. This makes us more susceptible to becoming sick. Sometimes we feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and sometimes unable to cope. It is crucial that we take care of ourselves during this time of high stress.

Pitfall 6: Involving Your Children In Your Disputes With Each Other and Losing Track of them

Although your spouse might not be consciously trying to harm or scare your children emotionally, it is a fact that they can be adversely affected by your disagreements with one another, regardless of their age. 

Having them included in your disputes would make your child feel like you want them to choose between the two of you. This would only put them in a tight spot, and would make them feel uncomfortable to be with one parent or the both of you. Mental health problems may also surface if you continue on doing this to your children.

It can be difficult for parents to ensure their children are safe and healthy, especially during such a challenging and stressful time. This does not mean we have to lie to our kids or create false situations.

Pitfall 7: Looking at Divorce Like The End of Your Life

Even though you will go through a hard time. You can also feel the stress and the anxiety about all the consequences of divorce.

Please, remember: A new day will dawn and new doors and opportunities will open up.

Of course, going through the roller coaster of feelings due to divorce is challenging. Sometimes, you feel like you can never be in any relationship and risk this happening again. But, it is too soon to make these decisions while you are still dealing with the tumult of the separation. 

What can you do to avoid Painful Pitfalls from Separated But Not Divorced?

1. Instead of using children as messengers, it is better to communicate our own messages to our parents, even if they are not present in person.

2. To avoid fighting in front of our children, we should make plans to discuss the matter with the other parent when they are not there.

3. It is best not to ask our children questions about the lives of other parents. They may feel uncomfortable and protective about the other parent. They do not want to be used as information sources.

4. Try to be united, at least in relation to decisions that affect the children. You can tell children that they will be informed if a difficult decision needs to be made.

5. Take it one step at a time, one decision at a time. You can also consider decide on your new living arrangements and the financial aspects of your divorce.

6. If you need to find a new job or new friends, it may be an excellent time to start networking.

7. If you have children, work on a well-planned parenting schedule that creates a structure for them that everyone can live with and adjust to.

These are some things you can also do to reduce stress and improve your health:


You can do exercise alone or with friends. It will amaze you how much more activity per week can make you feel healthier, both emotionally and physically.


It is possible to eat healthy, no matter how difficult it may seem. Although it takes some effort to resist the temptation of fast food, you’ll find that the effort is well worth it. Always have healthy snacks on hand, and whenever possible, opt for fresh food over prepackaged. You will not only be helping yourself but also setting an example for your children.

Join A Support Group

Support groups can be a great place to connect with others going through similar struggles and share your frustrations, anger, and sadness. You will also find that having a safe place to vent your emotions will prevent you from blaming family members and friends.

Spend Time With Friends

You can take a break from the divorcing process and enjoy the time with your friends, laughing and having fun. Go bowling, watch a movie, and talk about anything, except the divorce. Laughter is the best medicine.

Work With A Therapist

It can be very helpful to reach out to someone who can help with your situation. Therapy is not an indicator of weakness. It’s a sign that you care about yourself and want to feel stronger emotionally.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!