Therapists often recommend doing a trial separation from each other to see if absence can make the heart grow fonder for couples that are going through a lot of conflict.

But is this recommendation a good idea? Do trial separations really work?

In this podcast episode below, we discuss three reasons why trial separation may not be the best bet for your marriage.

Here’s why trying to heal through separation may backfire.

❌ Distancing from your partner doesn’t really give you the opportunity to do the work you need on the triggers that come up through living with your partner! When you work on your relationship, with IN your relationship, you really get to see to see in real time if things can get better, not through separating to see if things can get better.

❌Once you’ve opened the door and left, you’ve crossed the barrier to leaving. It’s much easier to stay apart once you’ve already got another place to go that might feel a lot more enjoyable than it is to currently live with your partner.

We’ve seen many couples come very close to reconciliation and the decision to mend the marriage only to get cold feet because they had a place to come back to.

❌ Self focused personal growth can often be self-ish. People need space but when the focus becomes all about “what I need” and “what’s best for me”, “my life”, “my goals” – The odds of reconciliation are much harder after the trial separation after that kind of time being spent alone.

✅ Real self growth is actually becoming more accepting of others, even when feeling like a partner may not be as developed as you are- becoming curious rather than feeling judgmental, like they are holding you back.

✅ The relationship work is the hard stuff! Self growth work can be very pleasurable as opposed to dealing with a spouse who is pushing your buttons, within your own home, that’s annoying and hard, but that’s the REAL work. If you can become introspective enough about why your spouse bothers you so much, you’ll realize how much childhood baggage you are bringing into your relationship and accomplish much more than a trial separation can give you.

✅ The marriage work to save your marriage doesn’t need to be long and arduous.

We offer short term intensive marriage retreats that are as short as two days to begin giving you the clarity you need about whether or not you should stay together.

🖐️ Find out what we did to fix our own marriage- Download our Free 60 Second Plan to a Happy & Healthy Marriage- what took us many years to figure out, we’ve distilled for you in 60 seconds.

🖐️ Come see us at our upcoming marriage intensive retreats, for a quick infusion of foundational marriage principles and actual tools that you can use at home to get through the difficulties that life throws at us!

With best wishes for your relationship success!

Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin

Shlomo & Rivka Slatkin

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin is an Imago relationship therapist and certified (master level) Imago workshop presenter with over 20 years of experience hosting couples therapy retreats in-person and online. Contact or