Therapeutic Separation: A Betrayed Partner’s Perspective

I remember sitting on the other side of the Zoom screen on the night we discussed deal breakers and separation in the Boundaries Support group.  Honestly, I was mad that I had to be there discussing such a thing. In fact, I was a little too self-assured that I wouldn’t need the information being presented.  Looking back, I see that was only a defense mechanism for my fear.

Flash forward two months, and I found myself face-to-face with a second d-day. This one was much worse than the first discovery, and I was devastated and had no idea what to do. I knew what I needed to do, but I had no plan for how to make it happen. He had to leave for me to feel safe. He needed to leave, so he would know that I deserved more – I deserved fidelity in all forms. 

Separation, to me, had always been a path toward divorce.  I rarely heard of couples getting back together once separation was put into play. Now not only was I hurting from the discovery, but I was plagued by the thought of my marriage being over.  

A Dreaded but Needed Reality

In my confusion and fear, I reached out to my Hope Redefined coach. She introduced me to the concept of therapeutic separation. Victoria Priya defines this type of separation as “an intentional, planned, and predetermined period of time when a couple chooses to live separately in order to accomplish several goals.” I realized a separation didn’t have to be the first step toward divorce; it could be so much more.  

My coach emailed me a template to draw up my separation plan. I loved that it focused on goals for myself, my husband, and our relationship.  Both of us needed time apart to work on ourselves. I spent the next 48 hours drawing up the plan which covered the details of finances, living arrangements, children, faith community, vehicles, and outside relationships.  It even helped me create boundaries that needed to be in place during the separation like contacting one another, what I needed him to do for demonstrating recovery, and what I planned to do for my healing. 

The Benefits of a Therapeutic Separation

The separation agreement gave me safety and a voice, but it gave my husband hope and a plan.  It truly was a therapeutic time for both of us, and because he chose active recovery and sobriety during that separation, we could move forward. 

Separation doesn’t have to be the end. However, we all know that it takes both the husband and wife working hard to restore what has been lost.  While not every separation agreement ends in reconciliation, it could be the catalyst to healing for both you and your husband. 

*If you would like to speak to one of of the coaches at Hope Redefined to see if a therapeutic separation might be beneficial for your relationship, contact our coaching administrator, KK (

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