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8 Positive Signs During Separation and Steps to Reconcile

Relationships aren’t easy, and there will almost always be times when things aren’t going well between you. In this article, we’re going to look at the positive signs during a separation that you’re going to be able to reconcile with your partner.

We’re also going to look at the steps you can take to make reconciliation after a separation more likely. Separating when you still love each other is an opportunity for both of you to put effort into improving your relationship. If you follow these steps, you’ll have the best possible chance of having a happy, healthy relationship with your partner.

Reconciling After Separation: Can It Even Happen?

Reconciling with your partner or spouse after a separation isn’t guaranteed, but it is definitely possible. It’s important to understand that separating won’t fix a relationship on its own. It’s not the time apart that heals the problems between you. Instead, it’s what you do in that time that matters.

We’re going to look at the ways that you can help improve your chances of reuniting after separation, but these are all also things that will be helpful to you yourself. The tools we’re going to discuss here will be valuable in your future relationship, whether that’s with your current partner or with someone new if you don’t manage to reconcile.

What Is the Average Length of Separation Before Reconciliation?

While every relationship is different, it can be reassuring to know how other people have dealt with their separation and what the result was. On average, couples are separated for between six to eight months before they get back together1.

Remember that this is an average for other people and don’t try to set it as an expectation for your own relationship. You’re more likely to have a successful reconciliation and a happier relationship if you focus on what is right for both of you and ignore what the rest of the world wants, needs, or expects.

8 Positive Signs During Separation and How to Make Them Work

1. You stay in touch

you stay in touch

As I’ve already mentioned, time alone isn’t a magical solution to all of the problems in your relationship. Although a little bit of distance can help you to remember all of the things you loved about each other, you will still need to talk to rebuild that sense of connection.

One way to think about it is that you are trying to rebuild that sense of intimacy you used to have. To do this, you need to go through many of the same steps you did to build it in the first place. This means talking to each other, sharing confidences and experiences, and exchanging thoughts and feelings2.

All of this is only possible if you stay in touch. This might include phone calls, texts, or even meeting up for a conversation or a date.

What steps can I take?

Try to create a plan with your partner about how much communication you both want. It’s important that you strike the right balance between space and communication. Some couples will still want lots of contact, such as texting to say goodnight, as a way of keeping hope during separation.

Others might prefer to meet up once a week for an in-depth chat. Others might want to have a week or two of no contact first, to let their emotions settle down.

Whatever you decide on, making a plan is your first step toward working together as a couple and rebuilding your relationship.

2. You diagnose the problems in your relationship

We can only fix the things we know are broken. If you want to fix your relationship, you will need to make sure that you understand all of the aspects of it that aren’t working for one or both of you.

This links to our previous point about needing to communicate. You will probably know many of the aspects of your relationship that aren’t working well for you, but you will need to talk to your partner to know whether they were experiencing problems in other areas that you hadn’t noticed.

Often, this will mean being curious, honest, brave, and accepting. Conversations about the problems in your relationship can easily become a flashpoint, leading to arguments about who did what wrong and who was most to blame.

Instead, try to be curious about how your partner experienced the relationship and be honest about your own experiences. This is one of the benefits of a separation because you have the space to process the emotional fallout of these conversations.

What steps can I take?

Take some time to really think about the problems in your relationship from your perspective. Try to dig deep into what those problems mean for you. If you find yourself thinking constantly of minor irritations, try asking yourself what they mean to you. Journaling can be really helpful for this3.

For example, if he never did any housework or cooking, that might have left you feeling disrespected and pushed into a “traditional” female role. It’s that feeling of disrespect that represents the real threat to your relationship, not the dirty socks he assumed the laundry fairy would deal with.

Encourage him to do the same process, looking into what deeper problems he saw in your relationship. Acknowledge that you’re going to have a few very uncomfortable conversations as you try to explore and understand these problems from each other’s perspective and be grateful that you’re both willing to work on this.

3. You’re both committed to better communication

When a relationship breaks down, there are almost always some communication problems between you. You will both need to work on your communication skills if you want to correctly diagnose and fix the other issues.

You will also need to be able to talk about pretty much anything. Lots of the conversations you have during your separation will be about problems or things that are making one or both of you unhappy. This means being open to a lot of sad and uncomfortable discussions.

If you feel as though you can talk to your partner about anything, that’s a really positive sign during separation.

What steps can I take?

One huge step you can take to improve your chances of reconciling after separation is to work on your communication skills and find ways to both express yourself honestly and show your partner that you are listening to them and that you care about their feelings and experiences.

This means using I statements and active listening to allow honest conversations without either of you becoming defensive. Try to approach conversations as an opportunity to understand and be understood4. This is also a good start at getting you to feel like a team again.

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Learning to talk openly about things, especially when you know they’re likely to make your partner uncomfortable or even angry, isn’t easy. You might want to agree on rules and strategies for taking a break from conversations or ways to make sure that you both feel safe and heard during your conversations.

4. You flirt with each other

you flirt with each other

One of the sad things about a long-term relationship is that you can sometimes stop flirting with each other. The lighthearted teasing and the frisson of excitement are a little bit harder to come by when you wash each other’s underwear and have your own side of the bed.

When you’re going through a separation, you might find that some of that spark comes back. You don’t see each other every day and you are both a little bit uncertain about how the relationship is going to progress.

That uncertainty is uncomfortable and unhelpful in many ways, but it does help you to feel like flirting with each other again. And that flirting helps you to recognize that you do still find each other sexually attractive… and lets you feel sexually attractive yourselves.

What steps can I take?

It can feel awkward starting to flirt again during a separation, but it’s likely that you’re both feeling uncertain about what kinds of flirting are and are not ok. Be brave and take the first step by making a flirty comment. This lets him know that you’re ok with him flirting back.

5. You share your positive memories of each other

One of the strengths of a long-term relationship or marriage is that you have a long history together. This will include shared adventures, fun experiences, and times when you were able to rely on each other.

If you find yourselves sharing these kind and loving memories, it’s a reminder of everything you value about each other. It shows that you both still care about each other and reminds you that you can still have that kind of fun in the future.

If you notice that your partner keeps bringing up memories like this, he might be trying to encourage you to remember his positive qualities, which is yet another sign that he wants you guys to get through this as a couple.

What steps can I take?

It’s really helpful to bring up lots of these positive memories, especially when you’re talking to your partner. It’s also useful to spend some time before seeing them trying to think of fun things you did together. This will probably help you to see them in a more positive light and give you something fun to bring up.

This also tells them that you’re thinking nice thoughts about them when they’re not around, which can help them feel more secure in your feelings and your commitment to making this work.

You might want to bring pictures or mementos of happier times for the two of you to look at and discuss. Again, this can help create a positive bonding experience for you both.

6. You are both working on your own issues

If you are going through a separation, there’s a good chance that you are going to be experiencing a lot of emotional upheaval and stress. One of the strongest signs that your relationship might be able to survive the separation is if both you and your partner are taking this opportunity to work through your own problems as well as the ones between you.

We all come to every relationship with at least some baggage and expectations. If we’ve had bad relationships in the past, these might have given us insecurities. Even if we’ve had great relationships, we might still struggle because we have unrealistic expectations about other people.

Working through your own issues during a separation can help you to come back to your relationship refreshed and renewed.

Sometimes, you might think that you don’t need to work on your own issues, for example, if the separation happened because your partner cheated on you. That’s understandable. They are definitely the one in the wrong there. But it doesn’t mean that there’s no benefit to working through your personal problems as well.

Having your partner cheat on you or otherwise betray you is painful and it can bring up all kinds of deep-rooted fears about self-worth or rejection, for example. Dealing with those problems independently of the relationship is good for your mental and emotional health, and for the relationship between you.

What steps can I take?

The first step is to find yourself a great therapist or counselor. If you’re going to couples counseling, you might be able to have one-on-one counseling with the same person. Alternatively, you might want to see someone separately, especially if you’re dealing with something traumatic or deep-seated.

The most important thing you can do to get the most out of therapy is to find someone you feel safe with and who you can build a good relationship with5. If you don’t feel that way about your first therapist, it’s ok to look for another one.

You can also suggest to your partner that they seek therapy or support to work through some of their issues. This is often more convincing (and sounds less like blame or criticism) if you’ve already explained the work you’re doing and how it is helping.

Lots of guys will give up on therapy if they don’t like their first therapist, so make sure you explain that they should keep trying until they find someone they get on with. If you’ve taken a few tries to find the right fit, consider explaining that to them.

7. You talk about how you want your relationship to look in the future

you talk about how you want your relationship to look in the future

One of the clearest signs that you’re both committed to making your relationship work long-term is that you are talking clearly about the future and the way you want your relationship to grow and develop.

Talking about the future helps both of you to feel reassured that the other person still wants the relationship to work. It’s reassuring to know that you’re both thinking long-term, and it’s helpful to be sure that you’re both aiming for the same type of relationship. 

Talking about the future can also be helpful as you try to spot potential problems in your relationship that you haven’t yet noticed or dealt with. When you start talking about what you would like your relationship to look like in the future, he mentions something as a positive that you find upsetting.

For example, he might say that he’d love for you to go on holiday with your friends just like he does with his. That might help you realize that you actually resent him going on holiday with his friends and want your holidays to be together in the future. Once you’ve identified this mismatch in expectations, you can talk about it and try to find a solution.

What steps can I take?

Try to create an idea of what your ideal version of your current relationship looks like. How you do that will be up to you. You might want to pick out pictures of the pair of you from times when you felt the relationship was going well or you could imagine what your average day, week, month, and year would include.

Try to be positive about this. There will always be a few things that you might want to explicitly exclude, such as “and your friend Henry never comes in the house again,” but there shouldn’t be very many of those. Instead, try to think of things that you want, rather than the things that you don’t.

8. You start from a position of mutual respect

you start from a position of mutual respect

Nothing gives you a better start for a healthy relationship than a solid dose of mutual respect. When you respect your partner, you take them seriously and you recognize that their needs, interests, wants, and boundaries in your relationship are just as important as yours.

When you feel respected in your relationship, you know that your partner sees you as your own person, and treats you as important in your own right. This means that you can speak your mind without the risk of being belittled or put down.

If you’re going through a separation, it can be tempting to blame each other and let hurt and angry feelings take over. When you have a firm foundation of mutual respect, you’re not tempted by these kinds of destructive practices.

Instead, you fully understand that a relationship comes from both of you and that your partner’s position is likely to be just as valid as yours. If you can find and maintain that respect throughout your separation, it’s an incredibly positive sign that you’ll be able to reconcile effectively.

What steps can I take?

Make sure that you show your partner that you’re not just paying lip service to the idea that you respect them. Instead, you will need to show them with actions as well.

One of the most important things you can do is to recognize that their experiences and perceptions matter. When they bring up something that hurt them, treat those feelings of hurt as important. Even if you think that there’s another explanation or something else going on, deal with their hurt feelings as real and important first.

For example, if they tell you that they feel ignored when you go to work events because you prefer talking to your colleagues than to them, don’t say “I don’t prefer it. I just have to” That’s not treating their feelings with respect.

Instead, you could say “I’m really sorry you felt ignored. That was never my intention. In fact, I hated talking to my colleagues but I felt I had to because I was looking for that promotion. But, now that I think about it, I never explained that to you and I completely understand why you’d feel ignored and unimportant. I’m sorry”.


How often do separated couples reconcile?

It is incredibly difficult to get an accurate idea of how many couples who separate are actually able to reconcile and have a successful relationship. Some studies have found that only 50% of women who wanted to reconcile with their partner got divorced, but others found much less success6

What does a healthy separation look like?

A healthy separation is one where both people feel respected and safe, and where you are talking openly and honestly about the problems in your relationship and possible ways to fix them. There will also be a lot of affection and kindness in the way you treat each other.

Can separation fix a relationship?

Separation alone can’t fix a relationship, but it can provide the physical, mental, and emotional space needed for you to work through the deeper problems between you. Separation is a tool to make fixing a relationship easier rather than a fix itself.

Can love come back after separation?

Separation in a relationship can remove some of the day-to-day niggles and annoyances and make it easier for you to remember how much you both still love each other. It gives you space to show your affection and care for each other.


Being separated from your partner is painful and stressful, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship. If you separate with the intention to reconcile, it’s important that you have a plan to work through the problems that caused your relationship to break down in the first place.

Couples who do this have great chances of reconciling after separation.

How about you? Have you been able to reconcile after a separation, or did it just help you to realize that you were better off apart? Let me know in the comments below, and remember to share this article with someone who will find it interesting or useful.

Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.

6 Sources:
  1. Bloom, B. L., Hodges, W. F., & Caldwell, R. A. (1983). Marital Separation: The First Eight Months. Life-Span Developmental Psychology, 217–239.
  2. ‌Aron, A., Melinat, E., Aron, E. N., Vallone, R. D., & Bator, R. J. (1997). The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(4), 363–377.
  3. ‌Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing About Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process. Psychological Science, 8(3), 162–166.
  4. Fincham, F. D., & Beach, S. R. H. (2010). Of Memes and Marriage: Toward a Positive Relationship Science. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 2(1), 4–24.
  5. Clarkson, P. (2003). The therapeutic relationship (2nd ed.). Wiley.
  6. ‌Wineberg, H. (1994). Marital Reconciliation in the United States: Which Couples Are Successful? Journal of Marriage and the Family, 56(1), 80.

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