Marriage counselling is a valuable resource for couples experiencing relationship issues. It is a space where both partners can explore their emotions and work towards improving their communication and overall connection. Many couples might wonder if they should live separately while undergoing marriage counselling. In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question.

The decision to live separately during marriage counseling is a complex one, as many factors might influence the decision and the decision might have both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s discuss all of them in detail

The Advantages Of Living Separately During Marriage Counseling

  • It Gives Both Partners Space For Emotional Processing

Sometimes, when communication between partners breaks down, it can be emotionally overwhelming to be in the same space. In such situations, staying apart can help both partners feel emotionally calmer. It can also give both partners time to process feelings such as sadness, anger, and hurt that might arise as a result of relationship conflicts.

  • Reduced Conflict

When couples live together, there is a chance of smaller issues turning into bigger conflicts, leading to increased tensions. Living separately can sometimes, reduce this situation of tension and conflict and, in turn, create a calmer environment for addressing underlying issues during counseling sessions.

  • Space For Reflection

Living separately gives both partners time to reflect on the relationship dynamics and also reflect on their own needs from the relationship. Once both partners are clear about what they want from the relationship, they can set goals in counseling space accordingly. This clarity about the relationship can also motivate couples to build new foundations for their relationship.

  • Individual Growth

Living separately might allow both partners to focus on their personal growth and self-improvement. This can be valuable for addressing any individual issues or patterns of behaviour that may be contributing to relationship difficulties.

The Disadvantages Of Living Separately During Marriage Counseling

  • It Impacts The Effectiveness Of The Counselling Process

A lot of work in marriage counseling revolves around improving communication and interaction between the couple through homework exercises. But when couples live separately, they may miss out on opportunities to practice new communication skills. This might also make it challenging for the therapist to assess if the strategies discussed in sessions are effective in daily life situations. Thus, couples living separately might impact the overall effectiveness of the counselling process. 

  • Emotional Distance

Physical separation can sometimes lead to emotional distance as well. Couples may struggle to maintain a sense of connection and intimacy while living apart, which can be harmful to the goals of the counselling process.

  • Practical Challenges

Living apart might lead to practical challenges such as issues with schedules, managing shared responsibilities, etc. All these issues can add to issues in the counselling process

What To Consider While Living Separately During Counseling?

  1. Reflect on what both partners want to achieve by living apart. Is the goal to give each other some space or Is it to gain more clarity about the relationship? Having a common goal will help both partners
  2. Consider the issues that partners are facing in the relationship, as specific challenges facing the relationship play a significant role in determining whether living separately is beneficial. For some couples, distance may provide a needed reprieve, while for others, it may hinder progress.
  3. Some couples may choose to involve their therapist in the discussion. The therapist . can provide insights and recommendations based on their assessment of the situation and the dynamics observed during sessions.


In summary, the decision to live separately during marriage counseling is a complex one. While it can give both partners the time to reflect and work on individual issues, it can also create emotional distance and slow down the counseling process due to a lack of interaction between couples. Ultimately, the decision depends on the comfort and needs of both partners.


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  2. Counseling, A. (2014, June 2). Sometimes Fighting For Your Marriage Means Separating. Avenues Counseling.
  3. Counseling While Separated Might Just Save Your Relationship. (2019, September 13). Marriage Advice – Expert Marriage Tips & Advice.
  4. Roscioli, L. (2021, March 12). Living Apart Together: A Couples Counsellor On Living Separately from Your Partner. The Latch.
Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin