Here’s what you need to know about getting back together after a separation. Reconciliation is common for many couples who have separated or divorced, but is it a good idea for you?
“My husband is desperately trying to reconcile our marriage after we separated,” said Lynda on Emotional Disconnection in Marriage. “I feel he has changed for the better, but I don’t know if men ever change from what he did. I feel so guilty that our daughter is split and she loves her daddy. But I don’t know if I ever could love him again. If we got back together I could possibly have the life I always wanted, and be able to stay home with my daughter and have more children. But how do I know if he would do everything all over again (mental and verbal abuse, an affair)? I wouldn’t want to put my daughter through that! And would I survive it the second time? Any advice or insight you might have about getting back together would be appreciated!”
There is no formula that will tell you if getting back together after separation is a good idea for you and your family. So how do you know if reconciliation is a better choice than staying apart and rebuilding a new life without your ex?
You must listen to that still small voice, and trust your intuition. Below are several things you need to consider before deciding if getting back together after separation is a good idea. This article was inspired by my many readers who don’t know how to decide or even start reconciling after a separation. You are not alone – and you may see yourself in their comments below. Reading through the situations of other women may help you see your marriage in a different light – and this may help you make a decision about getting back together after separation.
Research on Reconciliation After Separation
Research from the Personal Relationships journal shows that reconciliation after separation is surprisingly common. Ending a marriage or long-term relationship is difficult emotionally and socially, yet a high percentage of couples break up and then renew their relationship with the same person.
One study found that as many as 40% of the sample had reconciled after separating, with 75% of the respondents reporting at least two reconciliations with the same partner. Most separated couples think about reconciliation, and getting back together after separation is a healthy plan for some people.
But, is getting back together a good idea for you and your family? Here are a few things to consider about reconciliation after being separated….
How to Decide if You Should Reconcile With Your Husband
Try not to take anyone’s advice about whether you should reconcile after a separation.
Rather, focus on your own inner wisdom and true self. What do you really want to do? It’s scary to trust your intuition or gut feelings, but in the long run you are a better indicator of good decisions than all the advice in the world.
Here, I share a few thoughts about getting back together after a separation, inspired by my reader’s question about reconciliation after separation. Your situation is different, but the questions I pose may help you decide.
What caused the separation?
Some couples end their relationship because of unresolvable differences or conflicts that can’t be accepted. Others decide to get separated because they simply need time and space to think.
Consider the reason for your separation. Does getting back together make sense to you? If the point of separation was to take time and space to re-evaluate your marriage — and if you and your ex are both leaning towards getting back together — then perhaps reconciliation is a logical next step.
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Reconciliation is more complicated and sensitive than getting together in the first place. Rebuilding a marriage or relationship involves getting over a broken heart or disappointment in your ex-husband, which requires forgiveness and hard work. If you know your reconciliation will be rocky, consider seeing a counsellor who specializes in getting back together after a divorce or separation.
If your husband has a drinking problem, read How to Help an Alcoholic Husband.
Take a step away from your emotions
At this point, it’s important to take a deep breath and put your emotions aside. You may feel guilt, love, fear, hope, dread, confusion, anger, frustration, concern – you may feel like you’re drowning in an ocean of emotion! But your emotions shouldn’t make the “getting back together after separation” decision for you.
In Should You Try to Get Your Ex Back? 16 Questions to Ask Yourself I offer a list of healthy reasons to reconcile after a separation. The best reason for getting back together after separation is to assess whether something has changed in your relationship or marriage. How do you know if your ex-husband has changed? You date him.
Re-establish your relationship without formally getting back together
Who says reconciliation after separation means moving back in together? Why do you have to decide today or tomorrow to rebuild your marriage?
Use this time – the in-between time and space – to get to know your ex-husband again. Reconnect with him as if he were a new man and you were a new woman (because you’re both different, right? If neither have you have changed, then what’s the point of getting back together after separation?).
If your husband balks at, criticizes, or ridicules the idea of dating, then you’re one step closer to knowing if you should get back together.
Go slow – don’t let your husband push you into reconciling after a separation
Here are a few signs you should not reconcile after a separation:
- Your husband isn’t giving you time to think
- He is desperately trying to get back together
- He’s pushing you to move back in with him right away
- He’s jumping from one relationship to another
- External parties (in-laws, parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, etc) are pressuring you
- You’re getting back together out of desperation, guilt, or other unhealthy reasons
- You’re not being true to you if you get back together with your husband
- Your gut instincts are telling you not to reconcile with your husband
- You feel better and happier without your husband in the house
- You feel emotionally manipulated or controlled by him
- You like your life the way it is, without your ex-husband
Getting back together after separation is a big decision, and you need to take your time. I repeat my suggestion to date your ex-husband. If he doesn’t want to take six months to re-establish your relationship, then he’s not serious about building a strong foundation for your marriage.
Attach conditions to getting back together after separation
What do you want to see happen in your marriage, if you were to reconcile? You have the power to set conditions – you need to assert your strength and set the tone for the future of your marriage (or divorce). Stand up for yourself; don’t let your husband push you around.
Figure out what you want your new marriage to look and feel like, and tell your husband. Be specific and clear: I want to know I can trust you, so I want access to your phone, email, etc. Don’t be afraid to tell him what you want. If you’re scared to talk to your husband, then perhaps you should stop thinking about getting back together.
Get counseling – especially if your husband was abusive
In How to Know if Divorce is the Best Decision, I describe why counseling should not be a last resort, but rather a healthy step to take when problems first arise. If your husband abused you, then you absolutely definitely need to go to counseling as a couple.
Do not reconcile with a husband who abused you, but did not get help for it. Do not believe his words that he has changed! Believe his ACTIONS. How has his behavior changed? Is getting back together after separation a good idea for you, or are you running back to the same old problems?
Listen to your intuition
The most powerful source of wisdom and truth that still, small voice inside of you.
Maybe it’s intuition, or God, or the Universe….whatever you call it, it really is the best source of advice you could ever ask for. You need to get quiet and listen to it, for that voice will tell you what you need to know. That voice will tell you what the next step is. Get out of your head and away from your emotions, and connect with your inner self. Your still small voice knows what decision you need to make about getting back together with your husband.
Here are some questions to help you work through the decision process. Coming up with your own answers has a much greater effect than asking for advice.
- How did your marriage affect your behavior, thoughts and emotions?
- How did the separation or divorce affect your behavior, thoughts and emotions?
- How does reconciliation protect you from being vulnerable or hurt?
- What is the purpose of getting back together with your husband?
- What would it take to make your marriage painful enough that you would leave him for good?
Which path (reconciling with your husband and rebuilding your marriage, or proceeding with life without him) leads to more life, possibilities, and purpose?
Go where the life is. Find ways to clear noise and clutter of unhealthy attachments, bad relationships, unhappy people. Listen to the still small voice of God – of divine wisdom and power! Be quiet so you can hear. And, own up to the choices you’ve made and aren’t making. Don’t let past decisions ruin your future…you may grieve your loss, but you will be alive and growing a healthier future. You will be Blossoming.
In the comments section below, feel free to write the pros and cons of getting back together after separating with your husband. Take this opportunity to freewrite reasons you should and shouldn’t get back together with him.
Help for Getting Back Together After Separation
Marriage on the Mend: Healing Your Relationship After Crisis, Separation, or Divorce was written by Clint and Penny Bragg. They’re a married couple who knows what it means to get back together after a separation – and divorce – of 11 years. After their divorce and after living 3,000 miles from each other, they were remarried. That’s when the difficult work of restoration and rebuilding their marriage began.
The Braggs know that couples who reconcile after separation or divorce face a unique set of challenges, including unresolved arguments, poor communication habits, unforgiveness, and betrayed trust.
In Hope For the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed, Gary Chapman offers insights and hope for couples who have separated and wish they could be reconciled. When doors slam and angry words fly, when things just aren’t working out, and even when your spouse has abandoned your trust, there is hope.
I welcome your thoughts on getting back together after separation below, but I can’t offer relationship advice or counseling. Sometimes it helps to write about your experience, even if you don’t get feedback.
If financial problems are a factor in your separation – or your reconciliation – read How to Make a Difficult Decision in Your Life.
Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.
My prayer is that you make the right decision about getting back together separation, for both you and your family. May you go slow, listen to the still small voice, and make a decision that has positive consequences for the majority of your loved ones.