If married and committed couples live apart for a while, can they successfully get back together? With the right support, the answer is often yes.
Many couples find they are able to regroup and reconcile after a separation. But getting back together doesn’t happen just because both parties want it. Hard work and positive intentions are definitely required of both parties.
Honesty is crucial. You and your partner must be open to looking closely at the issues that led you to separate in the first place. Whether the causes involved abuse, infidelity, addiction or something else, you must put your cards on the table – usually with an experienced marriage or couples counselor to guide you. Seeking the wisdom of a professional who can help you communicate with one another will encourage the fairness and intimacy you need to rebuild your relationship.
COMING BACK TOGETHER, STEP BY STEP
As you reunite, you will need to create a new and transparent relationship. If trust has eroded as a result of betrayals on one or both sides, then transparency is the only way to reestablish it. Begin by being open about finances, personal habits and schedules. Tell your partner where you’re going and who you will see. This will help calm fears and encourage a healing dialogue.
You will need to explore some difficult questions, too. These might include:
- Did you end the relationship, or did your partner? How do you feel about that now?
- During the time you were apart, did you talk openly about what went wrong? Were you able to make any progress toward understanding – or are you still stuck?
- Have you or your partner changed significantly during the separation? Have those changes brought you closer or farther apart?
- While you were living apart, did you keep track of each other’s lives? Or do you feel like you have no idea where the other one has been?
- What new skills or resources are you willing to use to make the relationship work now?
GIVING YOUR RELATIONSHIP A CHANCE
Being apart has a way of showing us what really matters and what doesn’t. We also learn what hurts and what helps. If you’re determined to put your marriage back together and your partner is too, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of success.
- ACCEPT PAST MISTAKES. This is a requirement for both of you. Each must be willing to acknowledge what he or she did to contribute to the breakup. Forgiveness, trust and openness are crucial ingredients in saving your relationship.
- PREPARE FOR CHANGE. Understand that the marriage cannot go back to where it was before. That will only lead to the same painful problems that drove you apart. Be ready to make substantial, lasting changes as individuals and as a couple. Speak openly about what you want and listen to the other’s wants with an open mind.
- ACKNOWLEDGE THE OTHER. Give your partner thanks and appreciation when s/he shows commitment to improving the relationship. Accept thanks when your partner does the same for you. Share your feelings, hopes and wishes – and your willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed together.
- BE PATIENT. Rebuilding after a separation takes time. Allow each other space and be tolerant as you work things out. When you are respectful with one another, you can think rationally and make the changes that need to be made. Remember your ultimate goal: to create a caring, supportive marriage that will sustain you both. With the right vision and commitment, it can happen.
NEED HELP REPAIRING YOUR MARRIAGE? CALL JANAE MUNDAY
Janae Munday, LCSW, a skilled marriage counselor in the Phoenix, Arizona area, has years of experience in helping married and committed couples create the relationships they really want. If you need help rebuilding trust and intimacy in your marriage, get in touch with Janae now.