My wife asked for a separation a couple weeks ago in hopes we could do some healing apart to be able to work on us in the future.

Has anyone successfully used a separation to repair their marriage? What made it successful?
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My wife asked for a separation a couple weeks ago in hopes we could do some healing apart to be able to work on us in the future.

Has anyone successfully used a separation to repair their marriage? What made it successful?

I did leave on d-day after my wife’s confession.  I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I know I didn’t want to be anywhere near her. I was only gone for couple of days. I came back because my kids were upset that I was gone, and were very worried that we were going to divorce. I think you should do whatever your wife wants you to do. It’s no longer about you. It’s about her healing. If she needs to separate, then that is what you do. In my opinion, what you want is irrelevant.  I do think it is important that you tell her what you want though. If you don’t want to separate, you should definitely tell her that, but immediately follow that up with “but I will do whatever you need me to do. If you need to separate, then I will respect your wishes.”  

I am on the fence of the odds of reconciliation after a separation. I 100% believe the answer to that question is different for different people. Some people see the period of their spouses affair as a dark chapter in their marriage. Some, like me, see the marriage as dead, and look at reconciliation as the start of a new relationship.  We all have to find our own path through this nightmare. I personally believe that if I had separated form my wife and gotten my own place, the chances of me reconciling with her would have been greatly reduced. I also have read stories of people that feel the separation was needed, and it allowed the BS to heal with the biggest trigger they have (the WS) living with them. 

Sorry for the long non-answer. If your wife wants to separate, you should do it, and make it as easy as possible for her.  

Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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I feel like Keep already said it perfectly.  He said everything I was going to - but probably about 10 paragraphs shorter.  

I will reiterate one point he made though because i think it is VERY, VERY important.  Be VERY clear about what you want.  No matter how many times you've told your wife that you love her, value her, want to do whatever you can to regain her trust and love - it doesn't matter right now.  Even though she likely wants to believe you - your recent actions showed her something VERY, VERY different.  She feels like a fool for ever believing in you and the fear of trusting you again is likely sending her into daily (sometimes hourly) panic attacks.  

So while you absolutely MUST give her whatever she needs right now (space, time, etc.) you also must keep reminding her over and over that is because you are trying to honor her needs and wants (something you should have been doing all along) .  Remind her in words, actions and in every way possible that you still love her, that you are ashamed of what you've done and that you HOPE to have the opportunity to make it right with her.  But that you also know you have forfeit the right to expect anything (and you have - the sad, but honest truth.)

In the early days after DD, when I would waffle in my ability to see a path forward or despair of ever getting past it - sometimes my husband would just crumple and seem to accept it.  In his mind, he was reeling in shock and shame.  Once he'd had to look back at his justifications in the light of day, they didn't even make sense to him.  He couldn't believe what he'd done (he even said sometimes it felt like looking at the actions of a different person) - and my leaving him and him being left alone, humiliated and scorned by me and our daughter seemed like justice to him.  So when I'd melt down, he'd just fall into this little shell and say things like "You are right.   You deserve better.  I should just go. It's what I deserve, etc."  You know what I heard?  "This is too hard., You aren't worth fighting for.  I broke you and us, but now I want to slink away and lick my wounds rather than help you pick up the pieces."

Obviously that is not what he was feeling or meant - but it is DEFINITELY what I heard.  You need to reiterate over and over two things - that what SHE needs and wants it the single most important thing to you now (regardless of whether it helps or hurts you.)  If you can actually do this and sustain it... it will slowly begin to rebuild little tiny nuggets of trust.  They will be very, very small and will take a long time to build into anything substantial.  But being selfless after being so DEEPLY selfish is the ONLY way forward.  And one of the most powerful ways to show true repentance. 

The second thing you need to be unwavering about is that if if given the chance to reconcile YOU will do the the heavy lifting.  You will be the one to keep the faith when times are tough.  You will be the one who'll be willing to answer the same painful questions OVER AND OVER AND OVER (this WILL happen).  You will hold her when she cries as if her heart is breaking - even though it fills you with shame because you are the one who did it - because YOU want to be the one to help heal it.  

My heart aches for you both - because I know that when you were getting into this mess you had NO IDEA how hard it was going to be to climb back out of the hole you dug.  I thought I understood the pain of infidelity when friends experienced it.  I had NO CONCEPT.  It was life-altering in a way I couldn't conceive of before I'd experienced it. 

This will likely be one of the hardest things you will EVER experience in your life - and it will definitely be for your wife.  But, there is hope.  If you can dig deep and find the strength you SHOULD have found before to treasure you wife and your marriage, AND the wherewithal to face your own demons (whatever allowed you to get to the place where you thought an affair was a reasonable solution) - then there is a shot at rebuilding something that while not the same - can be beautiful in its own right.  Of course, there are no promises.  But there is a really good shot if you both really want it - and work for it.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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Has anyone successfully used a separation to repair their marriage? What made it successful?
I don't think that separation is used directly to repair a marriage.  It's used to create the environment where personal healing and growth can happen.  That's a requisite for marriage reconciliation as it's very difficult for the marriage to recover from such a devastating blow if both parties haven't yet become personally stable enough to work together at it.  My wife and I did not separate, but we also didn't make any strides in repairing the marriage until after a lot of personal healing had happened (8-9 months maybe).
Use this time to work on yourself.  You have your own thing to figure out.  In my opinion, separation can allow a WS to be selfish and go through some necessary things that are hard for a BS to see but would allow the WS to come back to marriage healing ready for it.  I've had a lot of healing, but it might have been better for me not to witness my wife's grief over the loss of her AP, her personal crisis where she didn't know herself or what she wanted, and even some of her healing which made me jealous a bit to see her becoming a happier healthier version of herself while I was not at my best.   
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My husband and I have been separated 22 days. We have been married 27 years and he has had multiple affairs mostly involving prostitutes. I felt like separation was my only choice. I had to give him a “kick in the pants” as he put it for him to realize I was serious this time. I read the book “Love Must Be Tough” by Dr. James Dobson on the recommendation from our counselor. That book helped me a lot to realize that I had to take a stand in order to make him realize his behavior was totally unacceptable. I also recommend the book “Taking Space: How to Use Separation to Explore the Future of Your Relationship” by Robert Buchicchio. The Taking Space book helped me define the terms of our “therapeutic and physical separation”.  He has rented an apartment for 3 months. So far, I think this separation has been the best thing for our relationship. We still spend time together but it whatever I feel comfortable with. It was a real wake up call to him. So far, we have made a lot of progress with the help of couples’s counseling and individual counseling and I must give credit to The Recovery Room podcast. The podcast has really been a help to me especially in the beginning when I felt so lost and hopeless. I am also a big fan of Tim’s book “ Affair Healing: A Recovery Manual for Betrayed Spouses. My husband and are following the 5 Steps outlined by Tim: Exposure, Reaction, Clarity, Cooperation, and Connection. Tim’s way of explaining each phase or step and suggestions on how to move through each step have been a lifesaver. This is our 3rd attempt at marriage counseling in our 27 year marriage and I finally feel we are making progress in identifying our problems and making progress toward a “new marriage” and a much better marriage. Sorry for the length of this post but I hope this helps someone out there. 

BS- female
Married 27 years, 2 college aged children 
DDay September 2019
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I think if your BS wants a separation it might be the best thing to happen for both your futures. Only if you both genuinely want to do the work and work things out.
My BS and I have resisted for the last two years to separate for different reasons (the kids, to try to work things out, etc.) We have been miserable the whole time. He doesn't want to wok on it and I can not work on it by myself. It has taken a big toll on every aspect of our life. I don't know how to help him and he doesn't want my help. The animosity is really bad on his part and my co dependency is to. 
I feel like we are stuck in limbo either in the 5th circle of hell (Anger) or in the 9th circle of hell (Treachery). It's no way to live. For any of us.
So if you can bring any relief to your BS by leaving then do it. Do anything she can verbalize. If she tells you that holding her is what she needs then do it, if she tells you that she needs to see more remorse then find it and show her. My BS does not want to give me any insight into what I can do to help him or the situation. 
I have failed miserably from all angles. My shame is through the roof and I don't know how to help him. He still feels I do not understand. His view of me has completely changed 180*. I will never be able to change that. The damage that I have done is of the damage that was created in the movie Deep Impact. 
You still have a chance, don't throw it away if you want your marriage. 
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