The very notion of "taking a break" from the one you love is often times misinterpreted as a somewhat cowardly way of ending the relationship without stating so bluntly for public consumption.In fact, what some refer to as one's "need for space from the partner" does appear to be a legitimate cry for just that -- ."Frankly I don't know how you can ask such a question! He should have shut the front door, leaving no forwarding address, and saying he'd be in touch in three months' time, and he should have left his girlfriend reeling, wondering whether the suggestion she'd made was right or not.And then he should have vanished from the face of the earth, like a spy, making absolutely certain that there was no way she could get in touch with him.Christine Northam, relationship counsellor for charity Relate, says 5 per cent of her clients consider trial separations.Penny Mansfield, director of relationship charity One Plus One, suggests the rich and the famous "have to account for themselves if they are going through a rough patch", which may lead to more trial separations.
A trial separation does not have to resemble a painfully lonesome leave of absence.Lisa, 39, a nurse, and Stephen, 42, a logistics manager, from Accrington, Lancashire, were blown apart by the sheer force of their rows, but happily resumed their 12-year marriage after their seven-month separation.But Jenny, 50, a medical sales executive, and her husband, bank worker Phil, 55, from Rochester, Kent, made their split permanent: they divorced earlier this year, without a shred of acrimony, after 28 years of marriage.A trusted mutual friend could have collected his post every week, or be his post restante.When my husband-to-be (although he didn't know that at the time) decided that he needed space to sort himself out by going to Canada for six months, I responded by not ringing or writing at all.At times, it can be a healthy option -- that is, of course, depending on how it is that one or both of the partners plan to spend their individual time apart. Take this opportunity to return to your partner with a fresh set of eyes and ears.