How Breaking Up Saved Our Marriage

How Breaking Up Saved Our Marriage | The New Classy

Jay and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary last month with a trip to Pigeon Forge, TN. Flashback to a year ago though, and I really didn’t think we would get to that anniversary milestone. In the summer of 2015, Jay and I broke up. We tried to continue to live together for a few months, but it just wasn’t working. We really needed some time apart. So, he moved out. And we didn’t reconcile until almost a year after the initial breakup and I really thought we were going to get a divorce.

How Breaking Up Saved Our Marriage

Marriage is work. Really. At least it has been for us. I think people who tell you that it isn’t are either putting on a good face or are very, very similar. Or maybe they have settled into complacency. Who knows? No one really knows what goes on in other people’s marriages except for them.

Jay and I are similar in some ways, but we are very different in others. He is an introvert and likes to stay at home. I am more of an extrovert and I love to travel and go to concerts and have fun. When we met, I worked in radio and attended at least one concert almost every weekend and he had never even been to one. It was hard for him to start going out more and it was hard for me to stay home. Our lives were quite an adjustment for each other.

I was also a bit more ambitious. I have worked 2 jobs or worked and went to school at the same time almost all of my adult life. Jay was content with one job and not necessarily climbing the corporate ladder. That’s not a bad thing – it’s just different from me. So, when I prioritized schooling or put in extra time at work, he felt like I was not giving him the time he needed. And when we needed more money and I worked an extra shift and he didn’t, I felt like he was expecting me to cover it.

Of course, it’s not as simple as what I have mentioned either. We had far more problems than this that needed attention. But, it can be really hard to get an accurate view of something when you are in it. Sometimes it takes removing yourself from the situation so that you can see the whole picture. So, that’s what we did. And even though it took almost a year, while we were apart we realized that there were things that we really loved about each other and that we really missed. And these things mattered and were worth working to save.

I think one of the main reasons that we were able to get back together was that we were kind to each other. We didn’t trash talk each other. I mean, I am not going to say we never talked about our problems with others {that’s what close friends are for} or that we were always even civil to each other, but I was very careful not to vent on the blog or on social media about our issues or to try to make him look bad. I see people do that all the time, and then when they get back together, I wonder how they feel about what was said about them. I know that I would have a hard time getting over it if Jay announced a bunch of private stuff about me all over the internet. So, I assumed he would feel the same and respected that.

While we were separated, he still came over and mowed my yard. He still helped with the household bills. We weren’t always polite to each other – it was a break up and we are humans, after all, but we really tried to be as kind as we could to each other. And I have been in some breakups where the guy ended up being a real jerk. Trust. But Jay was as kind as he could be. And I am sure that it was hard for him. I like to talk about problems. He is more quiet. So, when I try to talk and he doesn’t, it makes me mad. The lack of communication was definitely one of our problems. However, he has gotten better about communication over the years {especially this past year} and continues to work on it. So, I am trying to be more patient when it’s hard for him to talk about something.

I guess my point is that we are all different. There is no “perfect” match. But there are really great people that are worth putting the time in for. There are people worth searching for a halfway point or a way to compromise with. And I think Jay is one of those people. For me, it just took some time away from him to see that. I am not saying that it is for everyone, but breaking up was definitely the right thing for us.

How Breaking Up Saved Our Marriage | The New Classy

I wrote this post as part of the #MarchMarriageChallenge. Check out the rest of the posts in this series here.

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn is a full time travel and lifestyle blogger. Besides Cheap Is The New Classy, she also owns and writes for, an entertainment site. Her interests include traveling, home decor, DIY projects, organizing her home and enjoying a nice cup of coffee {or two}. She currently resides in North Carolina with her dog, Daisy.


  1. My husband and I never “bad mouth” each other. I hear people talk about their spouses and it makes me feel bad for them. No matter how I felt, I would never talk bad about him.

  2. I am glad you did what you needed in order to become closer to each other! Sometimes I think people divorce too soon before trying to work it out.

  3. robin Rue says:

    Glad to hear you guys were able to work it out. So many people are quick to give up.

  4. I’m so glad to hear you were able to work it out! I agree. I think anyone who says marriage isn’t work is a liar or a fool. Marriage is the HARDEST thing ever, but it’s so worth it.

  5. For us, I can honestly say that it hasn’t been hard. We will be celebrating our 44th anniversary in September. We are very similar in many many ways, and we are deeply committed to each other. Now, life in general…totally different ball of wax. We have gone through some really difficult times, but I believe that we are stronger because of those times, and we appreciate our blessings more each day.

    So glad that you both were willing to put in the work necessary to bring you back together and I hope that you have a life filled with love and happiness.

  6. Reesa Lewandowski says:

    I am so glad you guys have decided to make it work. I have so many friends who just threw in the towel at the sign of tough times!

  7. Jeni Hawkins says:

    I am so happy that you were able to do this. I know a few couples that have done this and it has worked.

  8. I love you sharing your truth! I think all marriages go through rough patch seasons, but I really appreciate it when couples make the effort to make it work. Sometimes separation is needed to get a clear vision of what is going on and how it can be fixed. There is a saying you don’t miss your water until your well runs dry and I believe sometimes you gotta miss your spouse to really appreciate all they are in your life. I am so glad you all are back together and celebrating! Happy Anniversary btw! 🙂 Cheers to many more years full of joy and hard work!

  9. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    Marriage is not as easy as you think it is before you get married. I will have to share this so my friends can join in the #MarchMarriageChallenge.

  10. First – Happy Anniversary. Second, I’m glad you two have figured out how to make it work. What’s important, IMO, is what works for the people in the marriage. As you said no one knows what goes on in anyone else’s relationship and that is how it should be. What works for you might not work for me and my husband and vice versa. Be happy, and keep working at that. Congratulations.

  11. I’m so glad to hear you were able to work thingsout! I agree, marriage is ongoing effort and work on both parts, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything…..

  12. I’m glad that you were able to save your marriage and are now celebrating 10 years. Marriage is a lot of work and they don’t always work out.

  13. It can be so hard when two people are so different from each other. Being able to work things out even though it took time is such an accomplishment. Happy Anniversary!

  14. There are times where separation really is the answer. Even just the time apart to cool down, refind yourself, and move forward from there. Doesn’t have to be the end, it can be the beginning of new.

  15. This is amazing. My husband and I had a rough patch not too long ago and it really taught us to be more aware of our relationship and put the work in.

  16. Jenna Wood says:

    I’ve heard similar stories from a few couples I know but I always worry that the temptations of being apart could also drive one another further apart. Then again if there are temptations strong enough to lure one away maybe they don’t belong with you in the first place.

  17. Thank you for sharing your story. A great reminder that marriage is a hard work and breaking up and giving each other space doesn’t mean the end of marriage.

  18. Dawn, I can totally relate! We broke up for about 6 months back in 2009, and it really saved our marriage. You make a lot of good points in your post! Marriage truly is hard work, and I’m happy that you and your husband were able to work it out 🙂 Thank you for joining in the #MarchMarriageChallenge this year!

  19. I see a lot of similarities in your relationship with mine. Your husband reminds me of a lot of my husband but I know he is like your husband caring and cares about he relationship and me. Thanks for sharing.

  20. I am so impressed that you worked it out. My husband left (20 years ago) for another woman and never looked back. Sure hope he is happy cuz I sure the heck am. Thanks for being so open, it may help others.