Separation always leads to divorce…NOT!

One type of separation does NOT fit all! If you’re thinking about separating, choose from the following menu:

One of the biggest myths about separation is that “they always end in divorce”. In over 30 years of working with couples I have come to realize that the most common misunderstanding among people is that they view separating as the first step to breaking up and only see one type of separation. I have come to realize that there are periods of separation throughout the life of a relationship for many couples. When people come to me for couples work, they are usually already separated in some form. They may already be in separate bedrooms or one on the couch or perhaps living with a family member or friend. There is usually a great degree of emotional distance from each other as well. I usually see at least one partner very upset because he or she feels so stuck and unhappy.

What I have done is to identify a “menu” of separations that I have seen people take and attempt to name and define them. This serves the purpose of opening up the entire idea of separation from a holding period to a period of active learning should you choose to learn.

Here is a list of the various types of separations available to couples. In my next blog, I will then go on to talk in more detail about an “In House Separation”.

Types of Separations

Physical Separations

In-house: partners remain in the same home with more space andadjust expectations for their relationship for a period of time.

Brief Separations or Time-outs: partners basically remain in the same home, adjust expectations for their relationships, and plan to spend time apart, usually less than three months (e.g., a weekend, week, a month).

Trial: one partner moves out of the home, expectations for the relationship are adjusted, and the future of the relationship is uncertain. Usually a time period for this type of separation is at least three months before a review time.

Pre divorce: at least one partner physically separates, often out of thehome, with the intention of ending the relationship.

Combination: of any or all of the above

Psychological Separations *must accompany any physical separation for change to occur

Individual Psychological Separation: focus on growth and development of your self (with or without a cooperating partner). This can be done with either a physical separation or with both partners remaining in the home.

Therapeutic (Relationship) Separation: both partners focus on self growth and changing the patterns in their relationship. This can be done with either a physical separation or with both partners remaining in the home.


For detailed descriptions of all types of separations with examples check out my book – Taking Space and the Couples Home Study Course – Step 4 CD: Workbook andSeparation Agreement forms

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Read Bob's comments on: How To Tell if You Should Get Back Together with an Ex in Women's Health online magazine 5/20/14

Book review from

5.0 out of 5 stars best book I have read in a long time, very thorough.

- Hannah Latta

This review is from: Taking Space: How To Use Separation To Explore The Future Of Your Relationship (Kindle Edition)

"This book is by far the best book I have read on the subject of separation. The author is extremely thorough in describing various scenarios of different couples, their conflict, type of separation, process of resolution or dissolution. It touches on how to talk to the children, goals during separation, how long to separate, and what kind of separation to use for different cases. I appreciate the depth and length the author went in sharing his experience in this book to help others."

Separation Advice