Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Separation and Break up

Facing a breakup or separation is never an easy thing. The emotional pain, not to mention legal ties as well as the hurdles of family separation can cause a lot of pain to the parties involved. While these life situations are often unavoidable, it is important to effectively manage them to avoid further damage. While the terms separation and break up are often used simultaneously, they have differences. 


This is a legally recognized termination of the cohabitation between spouses. In a separation, however, the dissolution of a marriage does not occur. As a result, the spouses cannot re-marry until a divorce is finalized as the marriage bond is still in place. In a scenario where children are involved, measures are taken to ensure the children are taken for. 

Types of separation include;

  • Mutual separation- This is a separation whereby both parties reach an agreement to separate.  
  • Contentious separation- This is a separation whereby one party does not want to separate or both parties do not agree on custody and property distribution. 


This is the end of an informal relationship between two lovers by other means other than death. It is not legally recognized and can either be mutual or contentious. A breakup signifies a definite end of a relationship. Breakups may be caused by factors such as incompatibility between couples, emotional abuse, physical abuse, cheating, and financial manipulation, just to name a few. The aftermath can be stressful for the parties involved. It is always advisable to seek help where immense stress and even depression occurs after a breakup. 

Similarities between Separation and Break up

  • Both relate to the end of a romantic relationship

Differences between Separation and Break up


Separation refers to a legally recognized termination of the cohabitation between spouses. On the other hand, a break up refers to the end of an informal relationship between two lovers. 

Legal ties

While separation is legally recognized, a break up is not legally recognized. 


A separation is a temporary termination of the cohabitation between spouses. On the other hand, a break up is a definite end of a relationship. 

Separation vs. Breakup: Comparison Table

Summary of Separation vs. Break up

Separation refers to the termination of the cohabitation between spouses. It is temporary and is legally recognized. On the other hand, a break up refers to the end of an informal relationship between two lovers. It is a definite end of a relationship and is not legally recognized. 

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References :

[0]D. Ivan Young. Break Up, Don't Break Down: A Relationship Manual for Surviving Breakups, Separation, and Divorce. D Ivan Young, 2010. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=xGVmUyfb6gEC&pg=PA113&dq=Difference+between+Separation+and+Break+up&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXkIezvvLnAhVQ2aQKHdhdAj4Q6AEIMDAB#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20Separation%20and%20Break%20up&f=false

[1]Fehily Rachel. Break up, Don't Crack up: A Positive Plan for your Separation or Divorce in Ireland. Orpen Press, 2012. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=5IyBDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT149&dq=Difference+between+Separation+and+Break+up&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXkIezvvLnAhVQ2aQKHdhdAj4Q6AEIQDAD#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20Separation%20and%20Break%20up&f=false

[2]Christopher Walker. A Guide Through Breaking Up Without Heartbreak: Using the Laws of Nature to Learn How to Let Go with Love. iUniverse, 2008. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=eqisilZWra0C&pg=PA12&dq=Difference+between+Separation+and+Break+up&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXkIezvvLnAhVQ2aQKHdhdAj4Q6AEIUTAF#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20Separation%20and%20Break%20up&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://www.needpix.com/photo/1767631/breakup-divorce-separation-couple-heartbreak-argument-split-break-unhappy

[4]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/familie-scheidung-trennung-ehe-3090056/

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