Relationship On Hold: Do Trial Separations Really Work to Help Save a Relationship?


Sometimes a relationship will become so unstable that one of you will initiate a trial separation – or a “break” from one another. Although this isn’t necessarily a real break up, it sure still feels like one! This usually happens when one is unsure of a real break up but feels something still needs to be done.

Trial separations are a way of saying “we need time away from one another, just to clear our thoughts and re-evaluate the relationship.” Due to the nature of this ambiguous period, where rules suddenly isn’t as clear-cut as they used to be, it can be even more frustrating and nearly as heart-breaking as a real break up.

But do trial separations really work to help save a relationship?

The whole thing in itself is complicated. If you are in a trial separation, it would seem like you are in limbo because basically you can’t act as you normally would yet at the same time you still have feelings for each other and might even act like you’re still together. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it?

There are many reasons why people go for trial separations. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • They are playing it safe – As been mentioned, some just want to be sure they really are making the right decision in terms of who they want to be with. At the same time, they also want the security that in case “whatever” else doesn’t work out, they can still come back to this current relationship. Great for them, bad for you.
  • They want temporarily “single-hood” to experience something they feel can’t be experienced while in a relationship – this may be dating or seeing other people, making new friends, starting a new career/a business, a big project or change that would take up too much time with a relationship going on as well.
  • They want to test the bonds of the relationship and see how serious you REALLY are to them. This usually occurs when one wants commitment while the other doesn’t. As a way to “push” the other into one, they might initiate a trial separation.

What is most important for you understand from a trial separation is that this is the period where you “give each other space” and work on the problem areas which lead you both to this in the first place. Another reason for it is to ask yourself whether this is really the relationship you want to be in?

Remember: this could be an easy-out of a relationship that was doomed anyway or a time to fully start anew and create something that will really last.

Clearly, you’ll need to give your partner space, but make sure to be clear on the agreement of what you can and can’t do during this break. Remember to maintain open communication with your partner and be patient!

Is your relationship hopelessly doomed? Here’s a chance to save your relationship and re-ignite the passion.

About Author'

Ashley Kay is an dating and relationship expert who runs an online dating and relationship newsletter, she's also the founder of

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