Signs Your Separation Could Lead to Reconciliation

Signs Your Separation Could Lead to Reconciliation

Going through difficult times in a marriage is almost inevitable at some point. When this happens, there are several ways of dealing with the situation.

Some couples try to tough it out and see if they can come through with their marriage intact, some choose to live apart during a trial separation period, and others head for the Maine divorce courts.

In the best-case scenario during a separation, spouses realize that they don’t want to break up or divorce and, instead, work through their issues and decide to reconcile.

Is separation a good idea when trying to save a marriage? If so, what are some of the signs that a separation period could lead to a reconciliation—or that it would be best to head for the divorce courts?

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Can separation save a marriage?

The decision to separate can be made by one spouse or mutually between both spouses—and may involve children or just the married couple.

Either way, separation usually leads to one of several outcomes:

  • The couple realizes that they want to stay together and reconcile
  • The couple realizes that they are better off without each other and decide to divorce
  • The couple is unsure about divorce or reconciliation and continue to live apart but remain married

If a couple can commit to working on their relationship and patiently overcoming their issues together during a separation period, there’s a good chance that it can save the marriage.

Many couples treat this time as a safe, cooling-off period after which they “fall back in love” and reconcile—but there is no “formula” for a successful separation.

Alternatively, separation may confirm the desire to “move on” either by one or both partners—and this usually results in a more permanent separation or divorce.

The average length of separation before reconciliation is around six to eight months. So, couples need to remain patient and committed to making changes in their relationship for the best chance of success.

How do you know if reconciliation is likely during separation?

Here are seven positive signs that the separation is working and could lead to a reconciliation between the spouses:

1.     You’re still communicating

Once couples cool off a little and the emotions die down, it’s a positive sign that the relationship has a future if calm, respectful, and reasonable communication begins soon afterward.

This is especially important if there are children in the marriage to care for. Children generally make it essential for parents to communicate regularly and should be treated as the priority.

2.     You’ve identified the problems that need to be fixed

Separations are usually sparked because of deep-seated issues that are not easily resolved. Sometimes, all the issues are not aired at the beginning, and these may come to light during communications during the separation period.

The two spouses need to identify all the problems and start considering ways to fix them. Most commonly, the problems include one or more of the following:

  • Infidelity
  • Weak commitment
  • Frequent conflicts
  • The loss of trust and love
  • Domestic violence
  • Lack of sexual intimacy
  • Financial issues
  • Work stress/commitments

3.     You miss each other while separated

It’s no surprise that missing each other’s company during a separation is a surefire sign that reconciliation is possible. Space, time, and distance can be a great healer in a relationship and often allow couples a new perspective.

Sometimes, spouses rediscover why they first fell in love, and they may start to focus again on the positive elements of the relationship rather than the negatives that drove them apart. If there are few such positives, a reunion may be unlikely.

4.     You manage to realign expectations

Sometimes, unmet expectations are the reason for a marriage breakup. One spouse has unrealistic expectations of the other, which (when not met) cause stress and anger.

For instance, a husband who simply expects his wife to do all of the cooking may be upset when she expects him to pitch in.

If each spouse’s expectations of the other can be realigned and compromises made, it can be a positive sign that the couple can give things another go.

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5.     You value each other’s support and companionship

Transitioning from married life to single life during a separation can bring home some harsh realities for spouses. Some do not adapt well to single life and only then realize how much they rely on their spouse for care, support, and companionship.

If these types of feelings are largely mutual, there is a good chance of the relationship being saved and the couple reuniting.

6.     You start spending more time together again

Another positive sign after an initial “cooling off” period during a separation is spending increasing amounts of time together again—not just because of the children but because you enjoy being in each other’s company.

This points to a strong underlying bond and the possibility for positive feelings to once again replace negative ones in the relationship.

7.     You notice positive changes in your spouse

Sometimes, a period of living alone sparks changes in people. They do things differently.

Perhaps they stop overeating and get themselves fit, stop drinking, take greater pride in their appearance, or become more communicative than before. Positive changes may be an indication to the other spouse that an effort is being made to impress them—or, in the worst-case scenario, someone else.

This could either point to a second chance for the marriage—or a potential divorce.

Common mistakes that make reconciliation unlikely after separation

Sometimes, spouses end up further away from each other than ever before during a separation.

This can be due to either or both spouses deciding that they’re better off without each other but it could also be down to mistakes made by either side—often due to the stress of the separation.

The most common mistakes made by partners during separations include:

  • Not giving the other spouse adequate space and time to think
  • Pressuring the other spouse to get back together too quickly
  • Spying on the other spouse due to a lack of trust
  • Engaging in the same conflicts because the underlying issues have not been resolved
  • One partner starts a short-term relationship with someone else
  • Taking relationship advice from the wrong sources
  • Being adversarial rather than conciliatory
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When to give up on separation

Even with the best efforts of both partners, separations can fail to reunite some couples.

After a separation period of some months, both partners should have a clearer understanding of their feelings towards each other.

If you want to get back together, why? Would it be out of love, devotion, respect, and the value you both get from your marriage?

If these feelings apply, there is hope for your marriage. If not, you may need to give up on separation and admit that you’d be better off apart—with a divorce or, at least, a more permanent separation.

If you need legal assistance during a separation or divorce in Maine, speak to an experienced family law attorney at The Maine Divorce Group during an initial consultation.

Call 207-230-6884 or contact us online to schedule a consult with one of our highly skilled family law attorneys today.

We serve many clients, just like you, across Maine in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, & Lincoln Counties.


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Divorce is a highly emotional and stressful experience for most people. But you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Having a strong divorce attorney in your corner can help ensure that you and your children walk away from this process with the best opportunities available for future success and happiness.