Brief Separations

A brief separation is short term, meaning that it lasts no more than a few months—usually less than three months and sometimes as little as a week or so—and involves one partner temporarily leaving the home.

  • A brief separation would best be described as taking space or a time-out. It means being on your own and having little or no contact or any type of physical connection with your partner for agreed-upon, short periods of time. I have seen brief separations in which one partner volunteers to spend a weekend or week with his or her parents, other family members, with friends, or alone, or in which partners take separate vacations to get some space from each other.
  • If you and your partner are in the middle of a serious conflict, or have just agreed on how to resolve a conflict and one or both of you are still feeling hurt and wounded, or the risk of continued or escalating conflict still exists, a brief physical separation can cool tempers and soothe the pain. Many partners and couples will naturally seek space and distance for a while during periods of conflict. This allows you to distance from the conflict, learn to detach and perhaps regain a better more grown up perspective of your partner and the area of conflict.
  • As soon as partners separate, the conflict usually subsides. Brief separations will also give each of you a sense of what it feels like to be apart. In fact, one or both of you may discover that you like to be alone from time to time and can make brief separations a part of your relationship arrangement.

Brief separations can be just what you need to obtain some perspective and make plans for the future.



Taking Space – How to Use Separation to Explore the Future of Your Relationship
Available in paperback and ebook editions

Audio Course: How to Structure and Manage a Separation
Available for download or in CDs

The Separation Agreement
Available for download or as a hard copy

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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."