A separation might actually be able to save your marriage
A separation is often the first step toward a divorce.
It’s a way for many couples to begin the slow process of breaking up their marriage, the first step toward a gradual exit.
Separation doesn’t always have to mean the end though.
For many couples, separation can actually save their marriage.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, time apart can actually help couples find their way back to each other.
Here’s how separation might actually be able to save your marriage:
You Can Let Go of Your Anger
Happy couples don’t separate.
Most are pushed to the brink by fighting, stress, and anger when they finally decide to separate.
Attempting to work through problems when under this kind of stress and anger would be very difficult, if not impossible for most couples.
Separating allows couples to have the emotional and physical distance to view the situation more objectively.
They have time to cool off and let go of their anger so that they can get a fresh perspective on the situation and come back to each other with a new desire to work through their problems.
You Are Able to See Your Relationship from a New Perspective
When you aren’t fighting with your spouse everyday and becoming entangled in the web of emotions created, such as pride, anger, and ego, you are better able to view the relationship objectively.
This allows you to understand better what was working in your relationship and what wasn’t working.
Gaining an objective understanding of the state of your relationship is the first step toward understanding how to fix the problems and to build a stronger bond with your spouse.
You Have the Time to Work on Yourself
It takes two people to end a relationship, and both are responsible for the events that led to its demise.
Being apart from your spouse can give you the distance you need to understand the role you played in your relationship’s troubled history.
Separation is a great time to get individual therapy and to do some real work on yourself – both to understand how you can heal the relationship and to understand how you can be a better partner.
This will help you to have a happier relationship and to be a happier person.
You Get to Experience Being Alone
When you are fighting with your spouse all the time and feeling unhappy with your marriage, you may fantasize about being alone or dating other people.
Separation gives you the opportunity to see what it is really like to be single or to see other people.
Often, when a couple separates, this taste of freedom actually deepens their appreciation of one another.
Absence often makes the heart grow fonder, and separation often helps couples realize how much they really do want to save their marriage.
You Can Get to Know Your Spouse Again
When you live apart from your spouse, you get the opportunity to get to know him or her again, as if for the first time.
You may have spent months apart, developing new routines and a life without your partner.
Your perspective on the marriage may have changed significantly.
When you feel ready to start talking again, you may be surprised to learn new things about your partner. You may find out things you never knew before or you may find that you’re able to laugh together again, to have interesting conversations, or just have fun together.
The time apart may give you the space to find the spark that drew you together again.
While separation can give you the space to heal your marriage, it can also help to drive you further apart if you do not approach it thoughtfully.
Make sure you are taking the time to do work on yourself and your relationship and that you aren’t out partying all the time or trying to date a lot of new people.
Go to counseling together, as well as by yourself, and take as much time as you need to resolve your issues and to get to know one another once again.
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18 thoughts on “How a Separation Can Save Your Marriage”
Great article! I was separated for 3 months when I turned around my thoughts about going forward w/ the separation & impending divorce and see my role in the breakdown that I couldn’t see before. I also worked on myself while I had the time to be alone and became a better version of myself. My husband & I started dating each other and basically everything you stated in the article has happened for us. I would encourage anyone who starts the separation process to read this article and keep an open mind. But I would add that allowing each other to see other people can make a wedge between you …making it more difficult to find your way back to each other. Dating should be done once divorce is finalized.
hie, v ver in a relationship for 9years then v got married later after 1 year I got pregnant, I left the job. my husband started fighting with me. inlaws tortured me allot. After I delivered a baby girl the issues started increasing. my daughter was jus 2 months old, when my husband asked me to leave home as I do not earn. I left his house with my daughter and started staying with my mom and dad. now he is showing that he needs me but somewhere I feel he is fake. I love him very much. but don’t understand what to do.
I’m lost and don’t know what to do. I left my husband about 3 months ago. I left because of alot of reasons. The main reason was he was never home with me. He was always out drinking and blowing off steem. I would beg him to spend time with me. We hadn’t slept in the same bed for months. It was like having just a roommate. We had lost “us”. He always said it wasn’t me it was stress and he couldn’t handle what was going on in our life and home. Him and his mother couldn’t get a long and it was breaking his heart so he completely shut down. I felt all alone and abandoned. I didn’t feel loved or wanted. I needed him and he just wasn’t there. The other reason was because his mom and I didn’t get along. We lived together in her house. I had never felt like I was wanted there by her. I don’t know if that was the case, it was just how I felt. It seemed like everything i did was wrong or not good enough. She didn’t understand all my medical issues so she thought I was just lazy. Her and I would bikker all the time. The way I was feeling made me become bitter towards her. Just the littlest things would make us argue. Then it became way out of control. She would get mad at me and not speak to me for days and days. One time I counted and it was 9 days straight. It became to the point where she would just be mean. With me and my husband. The rude comments, going to her room not interactive with wither of us. He never felt like he could leave her all alone by herself. He was all she had. Which I do understand that. She is now fighting bone cancer. I don’t want to make him choose. That’s not fair to him. After I left he told me that he loved me and he needed me and wanted to be with me. We always ended up arguing over who did what to who. i let my hurt take over me.Then I told him I loved him and wanted to be with him and I wanted to come back home. He said that I had to call and ask his mom if I could come back, but I was too scared to. I just knew she would say no. I didn’t think she ever really wanted me there. We were talking, he’d stop by, go to dinner. I would send him texts telling him how much I loved him and was thinking about him. He said he needed that to reassure him. I got to were it felt good to do that again. I tried not to argue when he was in a bad mood. I thought we were headed in the right direction. Then all of a sudden he completely stopped trying again. I thought I did something. I really messed things up by leaving and giving up. I didn’t know why he just stopped returning my texts or not talking to me. I really thought he wanted me back and I really wanted him back. Then I found out that he met someone and started seeing her. People were sending me pics. And seeing him with someone through me over the edge. It broke my heart into a billion pieces. I lashed out on him. Said some mean things. I couldn’t take it. I was all planned to move to Kentucky to get away from it all. The night before I was supposed to leave I couldn’t go. I couldn’t leave him. I couldn’t loose him. It was 3 days before our court date to finalize our disilusion. I want to save our marriage. I don’t want to end my marriage. I love him so much. I should have never left. I went to him and told him all of this. It sent him in whirlwind. He didn’t know what to do. I know he still loved me. I told him everything was on my heart. I opened up completely. I’ve never let anyone see me that valnurable before. I didn’t even care. I just needed him to know. Begged him not to end our marriage. We talked all day yesterday. I called his mom and begged her to come back, she just wouldn’t give. Today was out court hearing. He decided not to go along with the dissolution. He filed for a legal separation instesd. Wanted to buy us more time. He said I got to be patient with him. Go at his pace. It really did break his heart when I left. I was so glad he didn’t just end it right there and then. He stopped it. Now I’m just scared that he will continue to see this girl too. I’m scared of him falling in love with her and not falling back “in” love with me. Is there still hope at saving our marriage? How do I make him fall back “in” love with me. The way it used to be.
I’m going through a separation right now, my husband moved out 5 days ago, what an emotional bomb for me and our two children. He has said that he wants to use this time apart to strengthen our marriage and work on ourselves. He has agreed to couples therapy (thankfully). I am terrified right now, almost in a paralyzed state. I am struggling to smile and being emotionally available for our children. I can do nothing but pray that this gets better, I do not want to be separated or divorced. I am soooo lost right now. This is not at all how I expected us to turn out, we’ve been together 17 years, married 12. Divorce was never supposed to be an option… I know the statistics about the effects on children, I know that separation MOST likely will lead to divorce, and I don’t want another man, I want my husband.
I love the article me and my Wife have been married for 8 years have two kids together and have had a lot of ups and downs.we have decided to separate and work on ourselves me I’m working on lies and the fact I cheated on the best thing in my life. My wife she want to let go of the pain I caused but feels like I’m holding her back. I’m trying to save our marriage and really wanting counseling. I love my wife so much and was blind because of all the fighting. I don’t want to lose her she means everything to me. But I’m so scared that if we separate she will never come back and it’s so hard because she has always been my anchor and has always been there for me. I know I need to do this for her to try and heal but letting her go I’m j other sure I’m strong enough.
I understand how you feel because I’m going through this same exact thing. Divorce was and is never an option. I love my wife unconditionally. I could never see myself Happy with someone else. We have 3 Amazing children whom I love dearly. I Hope I have the strength to make it through this Separation. I Pray everyday. More than I ever have in my Life. Guess If we Believe and Have Faith in God and Allow Him to work things will be fine. And our marriages restored.
I am going home to help my wife move into an apartment a few minutes away from our dream home. We have been together for 18 years and married for 13 years. We started with nothing and have built so much together including a gorgeous 7 year old that is scared about what is happening. We are both in individual therapy and start marriage counseling tomorrow. My heart is broken and so is my wife’s. We have issues to deal with and I was emotionally vacant from our marriage which I am learning is a result of the lack of respect and love i saw in my own parents marriage. I can’t lose her. My wife is responsible for all the good in my life. She has been my motivation to succeed in life. I’m so lost and lonely she is truly the most important person in the world to me. She says I need to work on myself so that she can begin to believe in me again. I will continue to work on my issues but am afraid the absence will put me out of sight and out of mind.
I’m sitting here.. In an empty movie theater.. Not wanting to go home because I’m a nobody to him at home. We havent been together as husband and wife since July 2014 though we live together. We are not separated. We just exist in the same house. There is no intimacy. No affection. No sex. No hand holding. Absolutely no physical contact. Yet he will play video games. Laugh with clients. I can’t get him to pay me any attention and when I ask him why, he says he doesn’t know. I’m separated in the same house. Is the most lonely existence ever. I’m at a loss. When do you give up? When does one say lonely and alone or alone with someone who doesn’t value your presence?
Thanks for your comment, Emma.
well, unfortunately, from what I just read, you’ve well and truly passed the point of ‘Enough is enough’.
I’ve been there myself and being totally alone in the same house as the person who is supposed to love (and obviously doesn’t) is a feeling many people will never understand. It’s heartbreaking on many levels and wrecks your life and head.
It’s time you sat down and started planning a new life and plan on how you’re going to exit this relationship.
It takes 2 people to make a relationship work and he’s not a party to your party.
Sometimes when one person decides to leave it can be a wake-up call for the other and sometimes it isn’t. The point is, you need change and fast.
Hi Emma, I too can relate to your situation. My husband and I have been together for 17 years and just over the last 2.5 years things have gone downhill and fast. I too feel separated from him in my own home. There has been no alone time, no intimacy, no sex since July of 2014 and I can’t even begin to count the number of times I stood in front of him with sexy lingerie on and got nothing, no response. It hurts like hell and I resent him for it. I feel sometimes that he thinks he’s the better parent too (we have an 11 yo daughter) because he can do all the fun stuff and neglect all the stuff that NEEDS to be done, like laundry and dishes, picking up after everyone, vacuuming, etc. I seriously think he could live in a pig sty and he wouldn’t care. Maybe I shouldn’t either but I’m not that kind of person. I was brought up as “a place for everything and everything in its place” and I happen to like a somewhat tidy house. One time I left something out on the counter for a week to see if it would be taken care of and it wasn’t because he said he knew I was testing him. I just don’t know when enough is enough or even if I can afford it on my own. Scared to death.
Emma,I too have a absolute similar situation as yours. I’m four months into my “separation”. It is terribly lonely. I would want nothing more than to have my relationship back. Despite him telling me he will always look after me ( I attempted to find more work and expressed wanting to move out,he refused me doing either), I can’t get him to even look my way or even have a conversation with me. Just last week I finally told him I need to either move forward with him or without. I can’t (even though I want him in my life as I love him dearly) live in limbo anymore. It’s not fair to me. I’ve done all I can to work with him, so now I’m working on me. I’m scared s***less, but it’s for my own good. I wish you well Emma xo
My husband and I are currently divorced. I keep reading all the articles on how separation is good and how it can help avoid divorce. I am struggling though. I really want to reconcile. I am willing to do anything. He says he loves me but doesn’t have romantic feelings for me any longer. We have decided to work on our friendship right now because ultimately we have to be friends for our son’s sake. My problem here is this: He is not closed off to rekindling the lost spark, but he is currently seeing someone else. He doesn’t feel he needs to stop seeing this woman. If the spark is rekindled – then he will make a decision about us. I guess my questions are these: Is this possible – to choose between his girlfriend and his wife after a separation? Can you really rekindle a relationship during separation when one spouse is seeing someone else? He says there is no competition between the two of us, but I feel there is. I should also mention that we have been together for 22.5 years. I feel so confused, lost, alone, empty.
A relationship, like any living thing, needs attention. It needs care, and thought, and support. Too often relationships fall apart because 1 or 2 people in in don’t give it this ongoing consideration (and that’s a terrible shame). One of the worlds better known commentators on marriage and relationships, Dr. John Gottman, says that less than 5% of divorcing couples seek marriage counselling. The irony is that research shows couples can be helped if they seek assistance in their relationship earlier.
The problem, of course, is when “trying to save a relationship”, couples often come at it too late. In these cases, when a separation happens it’s often just a “first step” towards the ensuing divorce. What your article does very nicely is highlight the importance of the individual in the relationship and having “healthy” time apart as a means of strengthening a relationship from early on.
Thanks for the post Sarah – (and Geek & Jock for putting up interesting articles).
Welcome to the site, David and thank you so much for your comments too.
Interesting statistic too that only 5% of couples seek help when they’re on the verge of a divorce – quite alarming really.
Why do you think that might be though? My gut feel is the relationship is in turmoil, negative emotions abound and neither party is in the right headspace to even think clearly or, for that matter, unable to contemplate a positive outcome due to the prevailing negativity.
What are your thoughts?
P.S Please do go attach your email address to a Gravatar too
I was really pleased to read the subject of this particular post, Geek, for several personal reasons. My parents are divorced now and growing up they really struggled with their relationship. Even as a wide-eyed kid I knew that something wasn’t going well in their world and sensed when there was tension in the air. It wasn’t positive for myself or for my brothers.
Initially when they chose to seperate we were understandably distraught. Reflecting back on it as an adult though, I now see how seperating and later, divorcing, allowed my parents to become more civil as people and much more effective as parents. They get along and are very friendly still to this day. Family functions and so on are always much happier now than they were back then!
Far too many blogs, posts and articles frame divorce and seperation in a negative light yet sometimes, as has been beautifully articulated by your post above, time apart can really put your relationship and the world as a whole into a much clearer light!
Yeah, still kinda sad to see a marriage end in divorce though.
While it’s common sense to end it if it simply isn’t working, people get married because of reason/s and I always hope there’s been enough energy into resolving. But, some good things just aren’t meant to last.
Absolutely true! My husband and I separated for 6mths and we have never had a better relationship than we do now! 3 years since the separation and we just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with a renewal of our vows! Great article
Hey there Bec – thanks so much for your comment. Great to see new people reading and letting us know their thoughts on our material.
And WOW, what a success story you've got to tell too!
What do you think was the No. 1 thing you valued most, from the seperation?
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