Should I stay with my partner or leave?

Separation is when you, or your partner, decide to stop being a couple. You do not need permission from your partner or from anyone else (such as a court) to separate. It is your choice.

Myth: Separating means that I have failed as a wife or partner.

In reality:

Separation from a partner is not a sign of personal failure; it is a sign that the relationship has changed, and you and your partner’s needs and aspirations for the relationship may have changed.

The breakdown of a marriage or relationship can be a long and traumatic process. So, deciding to leave can be difficult, even in an amicable separation, as the separation process can be emotionally draining and time-consuming.

However, making the decision to stay in a troubled relationship can be just as difficult as choosing to leave. Weighing up all the issues can be totally overwhelming, but ultimately you are the only one who can make the decision. It may be helpful to talk to someone you trust, or seek assistance from a counsellor to clarify your thoughts and sort out what you want to do. Whatever you decide, you are the only person who knows what is best for you, and this must be respected.

Consider carefully your legal, financial and housing situation, as well as you and your children’s safety when deciding whether to end a relationship.

For example:

  • If you have children, what will you tell them? What arrangements will you have to make for them?
  • What is your current financial situation? How will separating from your partner affect that? Are you eligible for government assistance from Centrelink?
  • Are you comfortable and safe where you are living? Do you need to find alternative housing?
  • Even if you are on good terms and able to negotiate directly with your partner, it is important that you know your legal rights and get good legal advice.

Getting support and information about your rights and options as early as possible can help you increase your control over the situation, and enable you to realistically plan for your future.

Where can I go for help?

If reading this article has raised issues for you, you can contact WIRE at any time between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Contact us here

In addition to the information on this site, you can download this 2012 WIRE Information Booklet (PDF) but please note that some resources in it will be out of date.

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