Sunday, November 27, 2016

It's Only Awkward...

separate (v) - to keep apart or divide, as by an intervening barrier or space

Even for those with a front row seat to our lives, it has come as quite a shock that Kirk and I have decided to separate.  To be honest, it even came as a shock to us.  It's not that we were unaware of the problems we need to work on.  Rather, the realization that we each need some space to become stronger individuals came seemingly out of nowhere.

As has always been the pattern in our marriage, the decision was confirmed as things quickly fell into place.  I was able to find a basement apartment only five minutes from home with a separate entrance and a private bathroom.  The landlord allowed me to paint, and I was able to turn my room into a home of sorts -- at least a home base that gives Kirk and me the division we have decided is best for now.

So why the public announcement?  Well, Kirk and I are already confusing our friends and family: attending parties together, sitting together in church, eating dinner together as a family most nights.  As we know it will become increasingly obvious to others that I am not living at home, we decided it was best to deal with the common questions up front.

Q: "If you are separated, why do you spend so much time together?"
A: Well, because we like each other.  Neither of us are angry about the problems we are working on.  What we have essentially done is taken a step back to something like the dating stage where we want to spend the time together that we can, but then go back to our own houses at the conclusion of the date.

Q: "Why did Andrea move out?"
A: This one is a little more complicated.  First, I'm the one who suggested that a separation might punctuate the importance of our need to make some adjustments before moving forward as a couple.  But mostly, we are putting our kids first.  This is the best way to minimize the logistical impact on the kids.  In fact, in the two weeks since our separation, we have been able to successfully maintain the kids' routine with very minor adjustments.

Q: "How are the kids?"
A: While I admit that it is too early to determine long-term effects, they appear stable and confident in the situation as it now stands.  We are encouraging honest communication on all sides and have tried to be as upfront with them as is appropriate.  Their well-being is at the forefront of every decision we make.

Q: "What is your plan?"
A: Our plan is to acknowledge honestly that we, like all couple, have problems.  We are going to start working individually on those issues that require personal attention and together on what we can.  We will seek help and support from friends, family, church leaders, and professionals as needed.  And we will mostly continue to do it quietly and privately as is our style.

Q: "How can I help?"
A: Treat us like a family, because we are one.  Treat us like a couple, because we are one.  Ask us questions if you need to know something.  Let us keep our lives private if you don't.  And remember what our friend Skyler says, "It's only awkward if you make it awkward."

Yes, we've separated.
Yes, it is really hard sometimes.
Yes, we'll reach out if we need it.

And yes, we're okay.

Also... Kirk says I am supposed to say he's awesome.  So...

Kirk's awesome.  :)