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Healing Separations, Controlled Separations: Can they save marriages?

I was a toddler when the no-fault divorce revolution really got going, but I heard a lot about divorce and separation from a very early age. People used to separate for a time, to work on their marriage or just to find out what it would be like to be apart, and then get back together. Of course, many separations would start out with that idea, and then become permanent, and sometimes it looked like one spouse intended that all along. Nowadays, a marriage-saving separation is a pretty old-fashioned idea and separation generally means eventual divorce. With divorce laws now being "unilateral", an agreement to a temporary or conditional separation isn't legally binding, and the further apart people get, the more everything around them conspires to pull them further apart.


But some experts have been designing a more durable, productive form of the old model of "trial separation". I have seen an agreement about a "Healing Separation", and I've heard considerably more about "Controlled Separation". From reading the book by its inventor, Lee Raffel, and hearing her talk about it at a Smart Marriages conference, it sounds like a very promising model. I asked Smart Marriages founder Diane Sollee about it, and she said, "It has helped so many couples, and many therapists said they loved using it." Jen Abbas deJong has collected the stories of five couples who separated and reunited in stronger marriages.



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