5 Tips For Couples Living Together Again After A Trial Separation

Couples often divorce after separation. How can you be different?

5 Tips For Couples Living Together Again After A Trial Separation Look Studios/Shutterstock

If you're going through a trial separation, you and your spouse have been having difficulties in your marriage you just can't seem to get past.

But perhaps in living with a trial separation, you began to realize that being apart from one another isn't what you want at all. Now, you've both decided to try and rebuild the relationship after making the difficult decision to live apart. 

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After several months of missing each other, you both conclude your relationship is worth saving. You want to try again... But now what?

How do you make sure that the reunion is a happy and healthy one? How can you address the issues that plagued your marriage before you separated?

Here are 5 tips for couples living together after a trial separation.

1. Give one another time to settle in.

Both of you may be apprehensive about sharing your lives again. After all, there may be ways you have changed during your separation.

Consider spending time getting to know each other again. While you may be excited about your newfound togetherness, remember that when you lived apart, you developed new routines and preferences.


Each of you may welcome space to be by yourselves as an addition to rediscovering one another during shared time together.

2. Be transparent.

You may be focused on how good it feels to be back together and hesitant to bring up topics that are difficult yet necessary to review.

Couples who take time to discuss finances, personal habits, and schedules create a realistic framework for their relationship.

This prevents unnecessary surprises or disappointments from assumptions that partners tend to make when they don’t talk things through.

RELATED: Why 'Living Apart' Can Actually Help Keep Your Marriage Together

3. Learn from the past and build a new foundation.

There were solid reasons why you decided to separate. Were there dealbreakers in the relationship?


Dealbreakers are areas of conflict that both partners can’t agree on. Affairs, abuse, and addiction to alcohol or drugs, and workaholism are some examples of dealbreakers.

If you come back together without consciously confronting what made your relationship rocky in the first place, you are likely to fall back into old destructive patterns.

Be clear about why you are getting back together and what you expect in this renewed partnership. In addition to examining what went wrong, address what went well in your relationship.

Did you share similar political outlets? Enjoy bands that were both your jam? Value each other’s dry sense of humor?

In coming back together, you can preserve what worked well between you while also highlighting the dynamics you need to change.


An experienced couples’ therapist can help you navigate these discussions and assist you in building a vision for the relationship based upon your current needs.

4. Forgive and move on.

Partners who want to build a secure and trusting relationship will assume responsibility for the damage they caused and make apologies as needed.

Oftentimes, it takes two to derail the relationship. Own up to the mistakes you made and admit how you are difficult when it comes to partnering.

Then, you can identify ways to help you both become easier to live with and love.

5. Consider your children.

Children of parents who are ambivalent about their relationship fare poorly, because ambiguity causes worry. If you're contemplating getting back together with your partner, be certain about your decision.


How did your kids react to you and your partner separating? If they managed to adjust and you have created stability for them, be aware that sharing the same home again may be stressful, as it involves more change.

Your children may be afraid their parents’ late-night arguments will resume; they may have made new friends they don’t want to leave behind; they may prefer one living arrangement and routine over another.

Honesty applies here, too. Listen to your children with compassion as you both talk about the adjustments they will face. Along with your partner, strategize ways to make the transition simpler and less stressful for all.


According to Marriage.com, 87 percent of couples end their relationship after separation. You and your partner are exceptional by investing time and energy to piece a relationship back together.

By being patient and transparent, clarifying expectations, making new agreements, and showing a willingness to forgive your partner for past mistakes, you can both create a relationship that is stronger than the one you left behind.

RELATED: The 5 'Golden Rules' Of A Trial Separation

Dr. Beth O’Brien is a licensed psychologist and PACT level-three couples' therapist, and has been in private practice in Colorado for 25 years. She assists couples with communication problems, intimacy concerns, betrayals, and affairs, and enhancing long-term relationships. Visit her website for contact information.