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Are trial separations a good thing

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Marriage can be tough. For some couples issues can be worked through but for others there is little point in flogging a dead horse. If your marriage is leaving you less than inspired but you’re not sure which camp you fall into, then trial separation may be something you’re considering. But is it really a good idea?

What is a trial separation?

When couples aren’t sure whether or not their marriage is worth fighting for they might agree on a trial separation to help them work it out. Living apart for a length of time can give both parties some space to work out issues and to decide whether or not they’d like to make the separation a permanent arrangement. It is a big step that needs to be carefully considered before taking.


For many couples, a trial separation is the first step on the road to divorce. While the idea of getting divorced may have seemed like a massive event, once partners are no longer living together it becomes less of a stumbling block. This can be particularly true if one partner wants to leave while the other is desperate to save the marriage. In this case, a trial separation can just prolong the agony of splitting up.


It’s not all bad though. A trial separation can allow both partners to take a step back and appreciate what they’d be losing if they were to divorce. It also affords a sense of perspective and avoids discussions descending into arguments all the time. Many couple realise that they miss each other and want to be together so the marriage is worth saving.

Are trial separations a good thing

Meeting up

Each couple is different and while some will look on a trial separation as a way to find out if they should get divorced, others will see it as a way to rekindle a relationship. Whether or not you choose to meet each other during your separation, will largely depend on which camp you fall into. If it’s the former, then you may wish to steer clear of each other to give you an idea of what life would be like on your own. However, couples looking to rekindle a romance will probably want to organise a few dates where they can meet for a drink or a meal and talk things through.

Time frame

By their very nature, trial separations have to be temporary. Whether or not you go your separate ways at the end of it, you need to set a time frame in which to try and work out your differences. There is no ‘normal’ length of time for these things to last, but make it too short and you risk not being able to resolve all the issues by the agreed date. On the other hand, a length trial separation can just draw out the inevitable.


Trial separations can be particularly confusing for children to deal with. After all, if the grown ups aren’t sure what’s going to happen in the future, how are the kids supposed to make sense of it? While older teenagers will probably be able to grasp the situation better, it’s best to keep explanations simple for young children. Where possible, both parents should be there to tell the children together and answer any questions they might have. This will be a big change for them as well as you, so make sure you’re on hand to offer support and keep an eye out for unusual behaviour.

Trial separations can be a great tool for couples to take a step back to re-evaluate their relationship before moving forward together. However, they can be stressful and prolong an inevitable divorce. If you are considering a trial separation then it’s worth taking the time and effort to really think through your reasons for the sake of both partners.










About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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