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What You Need to Know About Reconciling After a Separation

Reconciling or moving back in after a separation (or divorce) isn’t always an easy or clear decision. Getting back together is surprisingly common for many couples who have separated or divorced, but is reconciliation a good idea for you?

There isn’t an easy-to-follow formula that will tell you if getting back together after separation is a good idea for you and your family, especially if staying together because of the children is important to you. So how do you know if reconciliation after separation is better than rebuilding a new life without your ex?

Give yourself time to listen to your “inner voice” or gut instincts. Trust your intuition. If you’re a woman of faith, spend time with God. Remember that even though the Bible says God hates divorce does NOT mean you’re required to stay in an unhealthy or unloving marriage. If you’re a Christian and confused about reconciling or moving back in after separation, read What Does Jesus Say About Divorced Christians and Remarriage?

This article was inspired by one of my readers; her husband wants to move back in together after leaving her. You may see yourself in her situation, which may make it easier for you to decide about getting back together after separation.

“My husband is desperately trying to reconcile our marriage after we separated,” she says. “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 moving back in after separation would be appreciated!”

Research from the Personal Relationships journal shows that reconciliation after separation is quite common. Ending a marriage or long-term relationship is difficult emotionally and socially, and 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 good idea for some people.

But, is getting back together a good idea for you? Here are a few things to consider about reconciliation after being separated.

7 Things to Consider About Moving Back After Separation

Consider my ideas, but think carefully about your own situation, marriage, and future hopes and dreams. Never blindly take anyone’s advice about whether you should reconcile after a separation. Instead, focus on your own inner wisdom, true self, and guidance from God. It can feel scary to trust His still small voice – or your intuition or gut feelings – but you have to be the one who makes this decision.

Here, I share a few thoughts about moving back in after a separation, inspired by my reader’s comment. Your situation may be different, but the issues may be the same.

1. The cause of your 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. What has changed? 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.

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 cheated on you with someone from work, read When Your Husband Still Works With His Ex Affair Partner.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Don’t let your husband push or bully you into reconciling after a separation

Here are a few signs you should not move in after 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.

5. Attach conditions to getting back together

If you moved back in, what do you want to see happen in your marriage? After a separation is the best time to start fresh!

What You Need to Know About Reconciliation After Separation
What You Need to Know About Reconciliation After Separation

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.

6. Get counseling – especially if your husband was abusive

In How to Get Your Husband to Go to Marriage Counseling 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?

7. Listen to God’s still small voice

Take time to pray. Build your faith, get to know Jesus, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your heart and head. Don’t blindly follow pastors or fellow Christians who say that believers should never get divorced! Don’t let anyone guilt or push you into a marriage (or divorce) that you know isn’t healthy or good for you and your family.

What do you think? Your comments and stories are welcome below. Writing the pros and cons of reconciliation after separation can be a helpful way to gain clarity and insight into your marriage.

Help for Getting Back Together After Separation

separating and getting back together

Marriage on the Mend: Healing Your Relationship After Crisis, Separation, or Divorce was written by Clint and Penny Bragg, a married couple who moved back in together after separation – and a 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.

If financial problems are a factor in your separation – or your reconciliation – read How to Leave Your Husband When You Have No Money.

May you find peace, hope and love as you move forward in your life. May you be guided by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, the love of Jesus, and the grace of God.


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40 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About Reconciling After a Separation”

  1. This commentary is absolute nonsense. Believers should steer away. The author tries to sound biblical in her reasoning at times, but then goes totally against reconciliation because of what your inner-self speaks to you, but throws around the Holy-Spirit as sport. God’s voice is not “SMALL” by any means and He wants to heal you, your family and your marriage. If infidelity is a cause for troubles, yes, God provides a way out, but He is the author of forgiveness as well. Remember the father of all lies, Satan, wants to destroy you and your marriage. First, if you do not know God, through a relationship with Jesus Christ, as you Lord and savior, ask Christ to come into your life. If you are a believer, then put your marriage back into God’s hands and ask Him to heal your marriage! Get professional marriage counseling from a licensed therapist, or even seek a Christian Marriage Counselor (most pastors are ill-equipped for this). And if you are a believer ask your self this, “Do I feel God has released me from the covenant I made with Him and my spouse?”. If you have been separated and want to return back to the family/marriage home come to that determination through prayer, professional help, and the decision – together!

  2. We have been divorced for a year and 6months now and my husband couldnt get over it. He had several relationships since then. And asked be back frequently. But we never connected emotional..maybe a little at the beginning of our relationship. We were married for 17years. Our biggest problem as that i wasnt attrackted to him any more..because of our lsckmof emotional connection..and sex was a big issue. Now i felt sorry for him and guilty. So im back for3 weeks now but we agreed to only be friends at first…but now the physical is becoming a problem again even though we agreed to only be friends at first..He wants me to touch him and kiss him but i just cant get myself to do it from my heart. I dont think i ever will be able to be intimate with him again…as this was the problem from the start. And during our time apart i came to love someone very deeply -it didnt work out but i know hoe i felt and will never feel like that towards my ex…i feel so quilty and selfish but also that i will damadge myself if i do it out of pretence…i wanted to do the right thing by goetting back and i was very lonely as well….but my heart is not in it. All i feel is the pressure i felt when i first had to make the decission to divorce.
    My x is a good person and he loves me but i cant get my heart to change towards him and the idea of the other woman thats been intimate with him, puts me off…as well as the relationship that i had which was more intimate and passionate than me and my husband ever were.

  3. We have three kids,we separated I was the cheating one,one day she took a taxi and travelled 45 km to near where I stay I was with my last born at that time just the two of us,one day when I was with a friend whome she was visiting I heard by him that my wife came to collect stockvel money it was her opportunity to collect the money,the distance from where she was collecting money was 2km to my house rented not counting the 45km two taxis and to my place is 20 minutes by foot when I confronted her about it she said I should keep quiet it does not consern me what she does or where she goes we habe three kids I support them,one day she came to my house a week ago I gave her the chair to sit right after relaxing she says we can’t have sex she is involved in communicating with her ancestors she can’t have sex with me not that I wanted it or asked for it one month ago I got hit by a car near the robots I was coming out of a taxi I knew always I had to look out for cars approaching imidietely as I close the door behind me I hear voices screaming behind my back as I turn and move a step forward just one step I turn around to see the car as if I’m hugging someone near like two centimeters I tense my body I didn’t do it my body just stoodstill not moving then I got hit I sprung and landed on my feet all the cars stopped everyone asked me if I was alright I said I’m fine as I walk away I PRAY EVERYDAY AS I LEAVE THE HOUSE GOD IS ALIVE if I happened not to have seen that car a centimeter away it would have killed me I didn’t fall just because I saw it before it hit me my left arm and the wrist born were painful and very painful after one day I’m scared of hospitals as a child I was admitted to a hospital something to do with the bones i couldn’t move,I told here that ancestors don’t use whatsapp until 1 midnight on her last seen she tells me that I don’t have a say about that I accept and tell her to follow her heart she is the mother of my three kids I have to keep her sanity on the level by accepting everything she is doing on her life she tells me when she has already starteD it you can’t have a say on something that someone has made a decision about especially if they live alone she took all the garments and packed them to follow the dead worshiping, most husbands of these belivers come from that realm of rituals, my first born child”s mother I think she is speciall to me in many ways I remember her birthday I only stayed with her for 2 years I remember her birthday like it’s mine,but the wife whome I stayed with for more than ten years I can’t remember her birthday at one time she asked me if I knew her birthday I told her the date of my first wife, it has always been like this and I can’t do anything about it,she is married now my first wife but she never managed to give him a child she couldn’t conceive not anymore she is young 36 now, she only has our child a baby girl now 15 years old,she is a Christian,I’m too,I’m trying to build a bridge over troubled WATERS I’M NO ANGEL AT ALL BELIVE ME I STRONGLY BELIVE THAT MY EFFORTS TO BE A BETTER MAN WILL WORK OUT FOR ME MY CHILD AND HER I thought I had an idea about the true meaning of love no no no no I will die without the knowledge of it but I tell myself everyday that if I could just just humble myself I will be rich in love I’m too sensitive LORD I DONT NEED IT TAKE IT AWAY,things like these don’t require riches it requires guidance of the Bible it is a weapon THE BIBLE, LORD LET ME LIVE THIS LIFE THAT YOU LEFT FOR ME TO READ

  4. My wife has been having an affair since about March of this year. I just found out in the middle of June by checking her cell phone. She has told me she wants a divorce. We have been living separate for a few years because of her job and she would come home on weekends.We haven’t been getting along for a long time. A few weeks ago she sends a text asking ” Is it to late for her to come back” I didn’t respond. a few weeks later she called and said she was sorry and she had messed up and wanted to know if I still loved her and I told her I didnt know. She asked if we could meet and talk and I said yes. This past weekend I didnt hear anything from her and I would like to know If she does really want to get back together ? I think she is still seeing the same guy and probably spent labor day weekend with him.

    1. It sounds like she isn’t sure about her decision. Let God Guide you. Give her more time. If she really wants to restore your marriage she will continue to ask you if you can speak to her

  5. Oh my goodness best and most helpful article. I really needed guidance. We just divorced and I have only been out of the house for three weeks, but my ex and I are starting to see each other. We are taking it very slow. Not even sure if we will reconcile down the road. I am still hurt, lost, and confused, especially with his intensions.

  6. There are so many factors to weigh when you’re considering reconciling after a separation – as you well know! It’s a fine balance between listening to your heart, staying true to you, and using your intellect to make a wise decision.

    At this point, what do you think you would regret more in five years: reconciling and trying one more time, or giving up on the marriage and getting a divorce?

    Another consideration is the emotional health and physical safety of you and your family. Would reconciliation cause more harm than good? What is the trade-off of trying again?

    Only you can answer those questions – and sometimes the best way to untangle your thoughts and emotions is by writing. Answer these questions in your private journal, or here in the comments section. Work through your thoughts and feelings, and you will eventually find clarity!

    May hope, healing, and love be yours. May God give you wisdom and guidance, and may the peace that surpasses all understanding fill your heart…even if your decision is difficult.