The decision to separate was facilitated when the woman was offered a job in Des Moines.
Indeed, the legal arrangements made for separation often cannot be renegotiated for the divorce; those who decide to let things go, believing they will have another chance at a fairer deal later, are sorely disappointed most of the time.
The man, who enjoys the city life in a Manhattan penthouse, runs a successful business and has pursued a series of monogamous relationships that fell apart, one by one, when he refused to commit to marriage. As the name implies, separation can be the first step along the journey to separate lives.
Not quite permanent or irrevocable, separation enables the two individuals to get a taste of what it would be like to exist apart -- to manage separate households, separate finances, and separate selves.
When they came back together after 12 months apart, they were ready to really commit to the relationship and even decided to start a family.
In other marriages, separation -- as opposed to divorce -- becomes a permanent way of life.