A four-factor model is proposed for understanding the separation process of couples living in urban communes. The factors influencing separation are considered to be contextual conduciveness, systemic strain, generalized beliefs, and precipitating events. Case studies of separating couples who were members of a larger sample living in communal households are presented to illustrate ways in which couples exhibited each of the above factors. Separation is seen as dependent on these factors, singly and in combination. The ways in which communal households deal with separation are also discussed.