My Husband Is Ignorning My Calls During Our Separation. How Should I Handle This?

By Leslie Cane:   I often hear from women who are struggling while they are in a martial separation.  Sometimes, things aren’t going as they had hoped and, since they are separated and don’t have unlimited access to their husband, they aren’t sure about how to handle these issues.  One very common issue is that of phone calls or communication.  Reaching out while you are separated can be hard enough.  But when your husband doesn’t respond as you had expected (or doesn’t respond at all) this can leave you wondering about your next step.

I recently heard from a wife who felt like her husband was ignoring her phone calls during a martial separation.  She said, in part: “for the first couple of days after we were separated, we talked on the phone regularly.  He even called me a couple of times.  But for the last few weeks, my husband has completely ignored my phone calls.  I leave messages.  I call during times that I know that he should be home.  But no matter when I call or what I say, he won’t pick up.  How am I supposed to respond to this? Does this mean that things have changed and that he’s distancing himself from me?  I was very worried that this was going to happen.  When my husband first asked for a separation, I was very reluctant because I suspected that his plan all along was to divorce me because he wasn’t really interested in saving the marriage.  His behavior and his ignoring my calls seems to be confirming that.  How can I find out why he’s ignoring me?  What’s the best way to handle this?”

There are many tricky issues such as this one that can come up during your separation.  Contact is a very common one.  Many wives in this situation intuitively know that how they handle this may well affect the outcome of the separation.  You can have some tough choices to make when you don’t want to keep calling and coming on too strongly, but you don’t want to just let your husband go.  And if you wait on him to call you, then you can really worry that the call is never going to come.  In the following article, I’ll offer some suggestions and considerations on how to handle it when your husband is ignoring your calls while you’re separated.

There Are Various Reasons That Husbands Ignore Your Calls During The Separation. Not All Of These Reasons Are Negative: Many wives will assume that their husband ignoring their phone calls mean that he doesn’t want to hear from them, that he’s sending a negative message, or that this is the first step of him completely distancing himself from his wife and from his marriage.  Sometimes, these assumptions may be at least somewhat accurate.  But, every husband who doesn’t immediately call his wife back during the separation has negative motivations.

Sometimes, the husband is just trying to take some time for himself and he wants some distance in order to be able to fully explore his feelings and thoughts.  (In fact, this is one reason that many husbands will give you for wanting a separation.) And often, when they feel that they aren’t getting this, they will do things to assert themselves or to make it more likely that they will get what they have asked for.  So, this is just one of many possibilities.

It can be a mistake to assume the worst or to allow your mind to immediately jump to the worst case scenario.  And usually when this happens, there’s a real risk that you will over reach, keep calling, and make things even worse.  I’ve had husbands in this situation tell me that that their wife’s insistence that he finally pay attention to her rose to an alarming level.  (I’ve even heard the word stalking used a time or two. This happened to me in my own situation when I was trying to save my marriage.)

This is an easy trap to fall into, but I’d recommend making every effort to avoid this if it’s at all possible.  I’ll discuss how right now.

How To Handle It When You’re Husband Is Ignoring Your Calls During The Separation: As I see it (and from my own experience,) you have two options.  You can continue to reach out in the hopes that he will eventually respond(at a risk, of course.)  Or, you can back off a little bit as a strategic decision.  It’s my experience that although backing off can feel just wrong, risky, and vulnerable, it actually has a much higher success rate.

The reason for this is that often backing off will give him more of that time and space that he was after. And it will create some mystery and suspense, which should place you in a more favorable light.  (In contrast, often continuing on with a strategy that hasn’t worked and continuing to call will put you in a more negative light.)

I know that even thinking about backing off can be difficult, but try to focus on the long term objective instead of the short term one.  The wife in this situation wanted to make one more call.  I got her to agree to this so long as in the next call, she alluded to the fact that she was going to be taking some time for herself and wouldn’t be in touch so much.  As such, she’d just wait to hear from him.

Many wives are very uncomfortable with backing off.  They feel that they need to know why their husband is avoiding them and ignoring their calls.  So many will ratchet up their calls, follow him, or arrange to demand answers face to face.  But I have to tell you that rarely do I see these methods work.  Instead, it usually makes the husband want to retreat even more.

Many wives tell me that, although they understand why I’m asking them to back off, they just aren’t sure that they can do it.  It goes against every instinct that they have because they worry that they can feel him slipping away.  If this rings true for you, see if taking some time away would help.  In my own case, I forced myself to leave town and this helped tremendously.  Or, if that’s not an option ask yourself what is the least that you can do and still feel like you’re in touch.  For example, maybe you can send only one quick text or email instead of continuing to call.  Maybe you will promise yourself  that you’ll give it one more day.  Whatever you can do to keep yourself from coming on too strong or panicking will usually give you a better result, at least in my opinion.

How do I know this?  Because I lived it.  I had to use this same strategy when I was separated from my own husband.  And looking back, I have to tell you that this was probably the only thing that would have worked.  If it helps, you can read more of that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

What Does It Mean When Your Husband Needs Time To Think?

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear from wives whose husbands have been asking for “time to think.” Sometimes, the husband is content to continue to live in the same home while the wife backs off a little bit and gives him some time on his own. But other times, the husband feels that he either needs to leave for a couple of days or separate and live apart while he is taking his thinking time.

I heard from a wife who said: “about three weeks ago, my husband came home and told me that he was moving out for a little while because he “needs time to think.” I asked him why he couldn’t think at our home. I told him that I would leave him alone and give him his space. Apparently, my offer wasn’t good enough because he still says that he needs to move out. I don’t even know what he is trying to accomplish. I wonder if this separation is just a precursor to him filing for divorce. My mom says he might just need some time to clear his head so he can come back home focused and ready to move on toward saving our marriage, but I don’t buy it. What does it mean when a husband asks for time to think? Does it mean he wants a divorce or he is never coming back? Because if that’s the case, I’m not letting him out the door.”

Sometimes a husbands wanting time to think is a request for just that. He only wants time on his own to evaluate some things and he doesn’t find this possible when you are together. Other times, a request for time may encompass something else entirely. I will discuss this more in the following article.

Sometimes A Request For Time To Think Doesn’t Have Any Hidden Meaning: Occasionally, a man is being completely honest with you when he asks for a short amount of time away to think. Some men take off on their own and others meet up with good friends to blow off some steam. This often happens at a time in their life where they are at a cross roads and are evaluating how they want to live their life from today forward. Sometimes, things other than your marriage brought this on. Maybe things have become challenging at work. Maybe they are dealing with a personal crisis.

Or, perhaps, your marriage has been struggling. No matter what has happened though, he’s often asking you for some time to evaluate his life. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing for you. Sometimes, once he’s alone and has some perspective, he realizes that you are not the problem. In fact, sometimes he realizes that you are what is right with his life and that you are the one who makes his other problems bearable. Of course, not every husband comes to this conclusion. Some report back that they either need more time or they want to separate or divorce, which leads me to my next point.

When A Husband’s Asking For Time Away Means That He Might Want A Permanent Change In Plans: As you might suspect, some men will tell you that they only want time to think, when they know full well that they have no intentions of coming back any time soon. They are wondering if they want to remain married and sometimes, they are trying to get a taste of freedom to determine if perhaps that want the separation to be a more permanent solution.

Wives often wonder why these husbands aren’t honest and won’t just admit that they what they are asking for isn’t really a little time, they are asking to live separate lives for a while because they are seriously thinking about taking a break, splitting up, or asking for a separation or divorce. The reasons that they aren’t honest vary, but most often, they know that you are going to try to talk them out of it and they want the time to think without your trying to influence or change their decision.

How To Handle It When Your Husband Asks For Time To Think: The wife in this situation was considering challenging her husband’s request. She suspected that he wasn’t being completely honest and she was scared to let him leave because she feared that he would never come back.

These are valid and real concerns. That’s why I always advocate trying to convince him to take his time away without leaving your home. Now, when you approach him about this, you must remain positive and make this sound like an attractive compromise. He mustn’t think that you are trying to deny him what he wants or that you are trying to control his wishes.

If you think he might resist, offer to stay with friends so that he can see that you sincere in giving him his time. Be upbeat and positive. Don’t overreact and act as if you know that your marriage might be in real trouble or over because this just validates his suspicions. Set it up so that he will think of you favorably (and then miss you) while he is taking his thinking time. Because if you can successfully do this, you drastically increase your chances that once you return home, he will be ready to work with you on saving your marriage since his time to think has inspired him to realize that you are not the real problem in his life and that he wants to save and improve what his right – which is his marriage with you.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know how to handle my husband’s request for time to think and eventually this lead to our separation.  I was able to save our marriage, but not without a lot of wasted time and torment.  If it helps, you can read about how I finally got it together on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

How To Make Your Husband Want To Come Back To You: The Right And Wrong Ways

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear for wives who are looking for the strategy or plan that is going to make their husband want to come back to them. Sometimes, the husband has abruptly left after a fight. Others have left after long struggles within the marriage and the departure doesn’t come as huge surprise. Others leave as part of a trial separation. Whatever the reason that he’s left, these wives want him back as soon as possible. They often don’t much care what they need to do in order to accomplish this. They are just tired of being without him.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband left me about four months ago. I’ve tried everything that I know to do in order to get him to come back. I’ve tried to appeal to his sense of obligation. I have tried to make him feel guilty. I have tried to make him jealous. I’ve tried to seduce him. I’ve tried to pretend that I just don’t care. But nothing works. Nothing makes him interested. He seems to tolerate me. He’s polite. He never declines to see or talk to me. But he never takes the initiative either. He seems to be perfectly happy to be apart from me for now. What can I do to make him want me back? Because I’m starting to give up hope.”

I know first hand that it’s very hard to maintain hope when he’s given you absolutely no encouragement. But, sometimes, you have to force yourself to hold out hope if you’re still intent on getting him back or on saving your marriage. Because as long as there’s hope, there’s a chance. I used to tell my friends that if I gave up, I would certainly fail because I was conceding defeat and I wasn’t about to do this. This is an individual decision, of course. And I didn’t know all of the details. But I do believe that before you give up, there are some things that you can try to do to encourage your husband to want you back. Notice that I said encourage. Because I don’t think you can “make” or “get” someone to do something genuine, nor should you want to. I’ll discuss this more below.

Give Him Enough Respect To Not Play Obvious Games: When the wife said that she’d tried everything to get her husband to want her back, I got a sinking feeling. Because often, when wives try multiple strategies, it gives off a vibe of desperation that husbands can sniff out almost effortlessly. As a result, he stops taking you seriously and you most definitely have a less than captive audience for your strategies.

Often, when you get to the point where you both know you’re playing every card you have, it’s time to just stop and be straightforward and stop playing games. Because he knows what you are doing. He’s expecting for you to continue on and he’s stopped paying attention. So how do you get his attention? By changing things up. By completely doing an about face. And by no longer trying to do things just to get a reaction so that he can actually take this process seriously.

Allow Him To Remember Your Relationship When It Was Effortless: When you get to the point where you feel rejected and he feels frustrated, it’s very easy for the spouse who left to see your relationship as problematic and getting worse. It can become difficult to remember when things were new, fresh, exciting, and easy. It can get to a point where your relationship feels like so much work, that he starts to wonder if this is all even worth it. He’ll start to wonder if people who are really meant to be together or who are really in love have to work this hard to keep it together.

So, it’s vital that you show him that his perceived difficulty can change. You want to remind him of the two people who use to seamlessly fit together and who can again one day.

Now, as you might expect, this might mean that you have to back off on the pressure that you’ve been applying. You might have to lower your expectations at first and have some patience. It’s so important to understand that the more you try to pressure and manipulate your husband, the more he is going to pull away from and discount you.

Honestly, one of the best things that you can do is to make yourself approachable and agreeable. You don’t want him to feel as if he has to be guarded to communicate with or interact with you. Nor do you want him to feel that he needs to brace himself for guilt, jealousy, or shame when he’s in your presence. If you remember nothing else from this article, remember that you want to elicit positive emotions rather than negative ones.

So to answer the question posed, instead of trying to “get” or “make” your husband want to come back to you, encourage him to want to come back by not playing games or attempting to manipulate him and by being patient as you show him how effortless and pleasurable your relationship can be. This may take time, but that is OK.

And, I’m not saying that you can’t flirt, be playful, and do what you know gets a response. But this shouldn’t be your only strategy meant only to get a quick response. It’s fine to allow a little flirting  to get your foot in the door. But once inside, you want to build something that is truly lasting so that you don’t have to deal with this issue again.

Unfortunately, I didn’t always do what I’ve just suggested to you.  And I made a huge mess of my marriage.  Not only did my husband not want to come back, but he was beginning to lose his patience with my strategies.  It wasn’t until I did a complete about face and tried a more straightforward strategy that I saw very positive results.  If it helps, you can read that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

My Spouse Says He Wants To Be Free, But Still Loves Me And Ultimately Wants To Be Together.

It can be very difficult when you know that your marriage is in trouble but your spouse is sending you mixed signals.  On the one hand, he may admitting that he isn’t happy, feels tied down, or might want a separation.  But on the other hand, he might be insisting that he still loves you and would like to stay together.   You can be unsure as to which part of his message you should be focusing on.  Is it more important that he wants a break or freedom from you?  Or that he still loves you?

Someone might say, “The other day, my husband and I were arguing, as usual.  Lately, we fight all of the time and it really bothers me.  My husband was angry and said that he feels very tied down with the way that things are going.  He says that coming home when he knows that there will be fights and tension brings him down.  He said that there are some nights where he desperately wants his freedom.  And then he admitted that he has thought about pursuing a separation.  Of course, this was upsetting so I started to cry.  And then after a little bit of my carrying on, my husband said that he still loved me and that ultimately, he hoped that we would end up together.  But he stressed that he just felt suffocated and unhappy right now.  I am not sure what to do with this information.  I am not sure if I believe that he still loves me.  Because if he did, he would not be talking about his freedom or separating.”

I’m not so sure about that, just based on my own experience. I know that I still loved my own husband very much (and I’m pretty sure that he still loved me,) but we separated all the same.  I did not want the separation, but my husband insisted upon it because things had started to deteriorate and he had a lower tolerance for this than I did.

Why You Should Focus On The Positive Things That Will Help You Save Your Marriage: If you are still invested in your marriage and want to save it, my suggestion is to focus on your husband’s assertion that he still loves you and ultimately wants to work things out.  I think that it is best to take him at his word.  Plus, placing your focus here allows you to hang onto some optimism, which may be very important in the days ahead.

I know first hand that it’s VERY easy to just focus on your husband’s unhappiness and the fact that he is pulling away, but when you do this, it’s is almost as if you attract more of that behavior.  Instead, you want to focus on the behavior that you actually want to see.  It’s like if you are on the verge of a car accident, you should not look toward whatever you might hit.  Instead, you look toward safety because whatever you are looking at, that is where your car is going to go.  So look at the love and the desire to ultimately work things out and that will be where you most likely go.

Making The Most Of Your Situation Right Now: Since your husband hasn’t yet made any efforts toward moving out, I’d try very hard to make the atmosphere between you and in your home as calm as is possible.  Don’t engage in fights and instead try to diffuse any tension that crops up.  Ask yourself why the fights keep happening.  Is there an issue that you haven’t worked through? Is there anger or resentment that just clouds the atmosphere?  Whatever it is, identify it and then try to remove it.  Because if you can improve your home situation, then your husband may no longer have a reason to want his freedom.  It is easier to avoid a separation if you can than to save your marriage once you are separated.

If you try everything and your husband still wants freedom or space, try not to panic. Just focus on improving things when you have the opportunity.  If your husband loves you and ultimately does want to be together, then he should eventually be receptive to your trying to improve things.

I know that this is difficult.  I struggled greatly when my husband pulled away and ultimately separated from me.  Some days required more patience than I’d ever had to muster before.  There were times where I was sure that I would end up divorced.  But I just took baby steps and worked with the little bit that I had.  Very slowly and gradually, we healed our marriage, which is a very different marriage today.  My husband no longer talks about space or unhappiness.  And I’m no longer constantly afraid that he wants out. (Because often removing the tension and troublesome issues will also remove a spouse’s desire for space or freedom.  And once this is gone, your insecurity and worry will also diminish.)  I know that it may be easier to focus on talks of “freedom” and “space” right now, but it’s more beneficial to you and your marriage to focus on the love and the fact that he would like to work things out.  If you can fix what is causing the tension, the need for freedom might end as well.

My husband certainly wanted his freedom from me before and during our separation.  However, once we improved our marriage and reconciled, this behavior stopped.  The key was removing the issues that were dividing us.  You can read more at http://isavedmymarriage.com

What Not To Do When Your Husband Leaves

by: leslie cane: I get quite a bit of correspondence asking for advice on how to handle it when you spouse leaves, especially when you want them to come back. It’s just as important to understand what you should not do in this situation. The reason for this is that doing and acting in the wrong way can make the job of getting them to come back home (or salvaging the relationship on any level) very difficult.

So, in the following article, I”m going to discuss the things which, in my opinion and personal experience, you should not do when your spouse leaves. Because avoiding some of these things will put you in a better position when you get to the point where you’re working on the things that you should do.

Avoid Trying To Show Your Spouse That They’re Wrong, Selfish, Or Crazy To Leave: Many people will resort to this strategy first. They will try to show their spouse that their decision to leave was a stupid or selfish one. They will basically attempt to get into a debate meant to show their spouse that his or her position is incorrect or self centered.

Frankly, some of the points that you want to make may well be valid. Some of your spouse’s perceptions may well be wrong and the act of leaving might very well be self centered. But, you aren’t likely to convince them of these things. Do you really think they are going to respond with “well, I hadn’t considered that. Let me pack my bags and return home immediately.”

No, they probably aren’t going to respond in this way at all. Instead, they are going to dig in and reaffirm their reasons for leaving in their own mind. Actually, usually arguing with them is only going to strengthen their commitment to their position. Not only that, but you run the risk of them seeing you as the person who is trying to keep them from getting what they want because you are not willing to meet them half way and to attempt to see things from his or her point of view.

Don’t Bombard Your Spouse With Obvious Pleas For Attention That Come Off As Negative: Sometimes, when we feel our spouse pulling away, our gut instinct is to want to do whatever is necessary to get their attention turned back our way. So we act in a way that is not typical of us. We call and text constantly. We try to manipulate their emotions in an attempt to elicit pity, guilt, or fear.

When this doesn’t work, the panic begins to set in and although we know that we shouldn’t, we ramp up our attempts to get his attention even more. We belittle ourselves. We play games. We engage him or take the complete opposite approach where we become subservient and make silly promises.

Your spouse can and will see through this. And when they do, they will often perceive you even more negatively than when this process started. You have to remember that you really should not be seeking any attention or any reaction. You want to get the right attention and the right reactions.

Don’t Forget Your Real Goal. Perception Is The Key: As I’ve alluded to, it’s so easy to allow the uncertainty of this to be your driving force. But always remember that your driving force should be to change his perceptions on his own. You want him to go from thinking that he’s better off without you than with you to thinking that perhaps he’s wrong about all of this. (This is a realization that he should make himself in order for it to “stick” and be lasting.)

The way to make him doubt his current plan is to show him that perhaps he was wrong about what he thought was true at the time. And, often what he thinks is that things are not going to change enough to make this a situation that he wants to remain in. This assumption might just be wrong. But that’s not the way he sees it, so you’re going to have to play the cards in your hand as they are.

And you will have to remember this each time you interact with him. Your goal really is not to get any reaction at all. It’s to begin to slowly change his perceptions of the situation and of you. So you need to show him the best side of yourself and of the relationship. And this often requires your not pushing so hard that he feels that he needs to pull away in response and in defense.

Show him the easy going, confident woman who just wants him to be happy and who wants a good relationship with him – no matter what that relationship ultimately turns out to be. Move very slowly with this. Gradual is better than dramatic because it slowly restores his trust in the marriage being something that he still wants. If you always remember what the goal really is, it becomes a little easier to control your actions.

When my husband left me, his mind was made up. He was going forward with moving out and then the divorce. Thankfully, I realized my tactics were not working and changed course. Eventually, I was able to not only restore my husband’s love, but save our marriage. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

My Husband Doesn’t Know If He Wants To Come Back

If you are separated and living apart (but are still invested in your marriage,) it is very understandable when you feel extremely impatient.  When I was separated, there were times when every day without my husband felt like torture.  I actually used to fixate and ruminate on this feeling.  So of course, when things start to look up between yourself and your husband, it is natural to begin to fantasize about his coming home.  Sometimes, you think about this so much that you flat out ask him if he will just come home.  Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t get the reaction that you’d hoped for.  There are times when he doesn’t say yes and he doesn’t say no.  He simply tells you that he isn’t sure.  This leaves you wondering where that might leave you in the future.  Should you just let go of your hopes or could this only be temporary?

Someone might say, “for almost six months, my husband acted as if he could barely stand to even talk to me.  Never mind the fact that he had moved out to avoid me and not fight with me.  Him not even bothering to check up on me that hurt the most.  I always wondered what he was doing or how he was, but it got to the point where I could not just call him up and ask about this, because he wouldn’t pick up my calls.  So I was absolutely thrilled when he started calling me and then not screening his calls anymore.  Even better, that lead to him asking me if we could meet a couple of times per week.  All of this is more than I ever dared to hope for. Then, when we started to spend time together, things got off to an awkward start. But eventually, we started to click and things improved pretty quickly.  After that, we really started connecting again.  This has been such a precious time for me because it is almost like when we were first dating.  I had very high hopes for a fast reconciliation. I just wanted to life our lives again and to forget about all of the pain with the separation.  But a good deal of time went by and my husband didn’t say anything about this.  Thankfully, we continued to see one another and to talk, but he made no mention of coming back home or of reconciling.  It killed me to have such a good time together and then to go home alone.  So one day I just couldn’t take it anymore and I blurted out ‘when are you coming back home?’  My husband looked at me like he was shocked at my outburst, and then he sighed and said that he wasn’t sure if he was ready for that yet.  I was pretty stunned because he’d seemed happy and content while we were spending time together.  Why would he be perfectly willing to be affectionate and to interact with me, but then not be sure if he wants to move back in?  Does this mean that there is no hope for a reconciliation?”

No, I definitely would not say that at all.  My husband and I moved very gradually when things began to gel between us again.  As much as I wanted for him to move back home, I was very very afraid of having our reconciliation efforts fail. I knew that if we tried to reconcile and then things went south, then I would have a very difficult (if not impossible) time ever convincing my husband to attempt another reconciliation.  So essentially, I knew that I only had once chance to make this work.  And I knew how lonely and miserable I was living alone.  But even so, I wanted to wait until I could be relatively sure that things would actually work out.

Your husband might be having a similar thought process right now.  He could just be cautious not to rush things so that the spell isn’t broken – since things seem to be going so well right now.

Believe me, I know how difficult it can be to continue to be patient when you what you want more than anything in the world is to not spend one more night alone.  But when I would have these thoughts, I’d tell myself that I’d rather continue on with things as they were (on good terms between us) than to risk my progress by rushing.  I just was not willing to go back to the time period where my husband was avoiding me, not returning my calls, and giving me very limited access to him.  I decided that I would rather wait than return to that.

Instead, I just tried to slant things so that my husband spent more and more time in our home.  I’d offer to make him dinner.  I’d ask him to fix things.  Eventually he spent the night.  Then this turned into him spending weekends.  It got to where he was staying for several days at a time.  Then he just moved back in, but there was nothing really official about it.  This took so much pressure off of the situation.  If we had a bad night together, he simply went back to his place, allowed things to cool off, and then we picked back up.  We were able to evaluate our “hot spots” and places where we still had work to do before we attempted a full on reconciliation. This gradual approach meant there was much less risk and pointed out where we could still make improvements before my husband moved back in full time.

I firmly believe that this gradual method is one reason that we are still together today.  So while I know that it’s tempting to push him to move back in as soon as possible, back off if he is showing resistance.  Instead, focus on the fact that things are going well and embrace a more gradual approach.  It decreases your risk and allows you to have a better chance of success in my experience.  There’s more about our reconciliation on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Indifference In Your Spouse: What Does It Mean For Your Marriage? How Do You Handle It?

People often contact me and tell me that their spouse has become “indifferent” to them or their marriage.  Needless to say, most people can’t help but notice this.  I often hear comments like: “my husband has become completely indifferent to me.  He’s no longer affectionate.  He mostly just ignores me.  It’s not as if we’re fighting or anything, it’s just as if he doesn’t seem to care whether I’m there or not.  It’s like I’m just any other person or acquaintance rather than his wife.”

Many people assume that if their spouse doesn’t appear to be angry or overtly mad at them, then there’s no ready to worry too much or get worked up about it.  But frankly, I worry a lot when someone tells me their spouse is indifferent.  Because this means that the spouse has possibly checked out of the marriage.

When people are angry, frustrated, or even fighting regularly, they are often doing so because they are still invested enough in their marriage and in their spouse to feel these emotions.  But indifference means something else entirely.  Sure, many find it preferable because there’s not much conflict.  But there isn’t much emotion either and this can be a real problem in your marriage.  In the following article, I’ll discuss what it might mean for your marriage when your spouse is indifferent and what you might consider doing about it.

What Does It Mean When Your Spouse Is Indifferent:  Sometimes when people ask me about indifference in their spouse, they’ll try to excuse it away.  They’ll say things like “Oh, that’s just how he is.  He doesn’t get overly emotional about anything.”  But I often ask the person who contacted me to compare their spouses emotions when they first got married to their emotions today.

Because often, when the relationship was good, they’d see what is a high level of emotion from their spouse (even for an even keeled person) in contrast with what they’re seeing now (which is very low emotion.)

Sure, some people aren’t very demonstrative or free with their emotions.  But most people can tell the difference between a low key person and indifference. When a spouse is indifferent, it’s not that they’re not showing their emotions, it’s more likely that they are not experiencing them -at least with you.  Often, you’ll see your spouse interacting very differently with his friends of children.  Much of the time, his indifference is reserved for you.

I can’t say why this is happening as I don’t know your situation.  But most spouses become indifferent when they think the marriage just doesn’t work for them anymore or offers them anything to get worked up or emotional over.  Often, they are beyond being angry or sad or frustrated.

They are at the point where they believe that nothing is really ever going to change or improve, so why bother?  In a sense, indifference is a defense mechanism.  Because they’ll often tell you that they’ve been disappointed before, so whether they realize it or not, they’ve shut down in order to avoid this again, especially when they really believe that nothing is ever really going to change.

What Can You Do When Your Spouse Is Indifferent?  How Do You Handle It?: As you might suspect, the worst way to handle indifference in your spouse is to ignore the problem.  Because the more they withdraw and distance themselves, the harder it is to get them reinvested again.

The thing is though, when you tell them they’re indifferent or ask them why they are acting this way, they’ll often deny that anything is wrong.  They’ll ask why you’re getting so upset when they haven’t done anything or the two of you aren’t fighting.

So, rather than engage or argue about this (which isn’t likely to do any good,) I’d recommend giving them a reason to become involved again.  If they’ve checked out, then you need to give them a reason to check in.

Now, many spouses make the mistake of trying to engage their spouse because they are trying to get any emotional reaction at all.  They would rather their spouse be mad at and argue with them than to ignore them.  I understand this thinking, but I think it’s the wrong call.

Frankly, indifference is beyond the point of angry and trying to make them angry doesn’t really gain you any ground, it’s only made them mad on top of their indifference.  You don’t need two negatives to overcome.

You’ll often be much better off if you can lure them closer to you with positive reinforcements.  Remember when I said that people check out because they really do believe that nothing is ever going to change?  Well, it’s important to understand this because one way to get them to check back in is to show them that they were wrong about this assumption.

So you have to be very proactive in determining what would make them happier in the marriage and providing them just that.  Admittedly, as I’ve said I don’t know your situation.  But I can tell you that most indifferent spouses that I dialog with don’t feel heard, don’t feel appreciated, and don’t feel particularly involved.

If you shift your attention, your priorities, and your actions, you’ll often find your spouse becoming somewhat receptive to you again.  I know that this can be a gradual process, but it is worth it in the end.  I can’t imagine being in a marriage with an indifferent spouse for the long term. It would not be a pleasant experience.  And both of you deserve to have a marriage where both people are fully participating and invested.

You don’t need to necessarily tell your spouse what you’re doing.  They will likely notice even if they aren’t sure why you are doing what you are.

I truly believe indifference is one of the biggest indicators that the marriage is in real trouble.  Because it’s very hard to save your marriage when one spouse just isn’t interested anymore.

Unfortunately for me, I ignored my husband’s indifference for so long that this almost cost me my marriage.  It was a long crawl back but I finally came up with a plan that got him invested in the marriage again and this saved it.  We came a long way and are very solid today.  If it helps, you can read that very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

I Miss My Husband So Much During Our Separation That It Hurts: Tips And Advice That Might Help

I recently got heartbreaking correspondence from a young wife who was going through a separation.   They had been separated for about a month because this is what the husband wanted.  The wife’s primary goal was ending the separation and getting back together.  But she knew better than to push it.  She’d read some of my articles and knew that I advocate moving very slowly and deliberately during a separation.  So she knew not to push him and to take things slowly while focusing just on improving the relationship rather than dwelling on what they were calling it – or rather they were saying they were separated.

Still, she was struggling.  She said “I miss my husband so much during the separation that it physically hurts.  I am struggling every single day.  The more time I spend away from him, the more desperate I feel to get him back.  I have to literally physically hold myself back from reaching for the phone sometimes.  I’ll be flipping through the TV and I’ll see some shows that we liked to watch together and I’ll burst into tears.  How do I cope with this.  How do I get a hold of myself?”

I so felt for this wife.  I experienced the exact same thing while my husband and I were separated.  And I know this is unbearably hard.  But, the wife was right in her suspicions that if she let her husband see her like this, it was probably going to make things worse.  She couldn’t help how she felt of course.  But this was something she also shouldn’t share with her husband until later, at least in my experience.

So in the following article, I’m going to go over some tips that will hopefully give you some support when you’re separated, missing your husband horribly, but trying to play it the right way so that you can get him back.

I Know That You Miss Him.  But Do Whatever You Need To Do To Distract Yourself And Reevaluate Before You Act:  The wife repeatedly told me that she was constantly tempted to call, text, or come by.  Sometimes, her husband was still receptive to her so it was tempting to not want to contact him often to “feel him out.”

I do understand.  But allowing him to take the lead sometimes is almost always the right call.  If you are always the one initiating the contact, then he starts to feel as if there’s no give and take and this devalues you in his eyes – as strange as that sounds.

You’re too transparent and too easy to read.  He knows that you are hanging on his every word and basing the happiness of your day on what happens with him.  Even if this is true, this is not what he should think.

So what do you when you can’t stop calling, texting, or thinking about him?  You do whatever it takes to distract yourself.  This became such a problem for me that I had to physically remove myself from the situation.  I went out of town to stay with family and friends because I knew this was probably the only decent way to keep me from getting out of control and going overboard.

And this was the turning point.  A while after I did this, my husband’s attitude changed.  It wasn’t an immediate process, but it was quite noticeable.  Thankfully, I was smart enough to capitalize on this.

Yes, it was tempting to sigh with relief and beg him to call off the separation.  But everything I was reading told me this was the wrong call.  So I kept in contact but I didn’t come on too strong and I tried to create a little mystery.

I’m So Afraid That He Will Forget About Me Or Move On During Our Separation.  What If He Doesn’t Miss Me At All?:  In this situation, many wives worry that if they don’t constantly keep in touch, their husband will begin moving on because he doesn’t miss them as much as they miss him.  Frankly, if you contact him too much, you make him not missing you MORE LIKELY.

He may feel that he needs to prolong the separation just to get a break.  I have to tell you this.  Very few men visit my blog and tell me that they want to end the separation because their wife wore them down.  Instead, they just want the separation more when she acts like this.

But, many tell me that they decided to end the separation because their wife presented herself in such a way that it changed their perceptions about her and made them want to be with her again.  Please stay the course.

I know you miss your husband.  He might well miss you more than he is letting on.  But give him a chance to miss you so much that he will want to come back through his own free will.

I’m not saying that you should never call or just ignore the situation.  I’m just saying that there has to be a somewhat balanced give and take.  He has to feel like you are worth chasing a little bit.  If you both have to work for it, it’s perceived as much more valuable.

I know all of this because I was in the same situation myself.  I didn’t want to back off while I missed my husband so much.  But as I said, my backing off which changed the whole thing.  You can read this story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com.  I’m certainly no expert but this is what worked for me.  If you’ve not yet watched T Jackson’s free video on this exact topic, you can see it on the right side of this blog.  It’s free and worth checking out.  It taught me a lot.

Will Our Marriage Work If I’m Trying And My Husband Is Not?

I sometimes hear from people who have the strong sense that their marriage is potentially in trouble. They can not help but notice that something has changed. Their spouse may be distant or not affectionate. It might seem as if there is nothing to really talk about anymore. There can be awkward silences or distant encounters. Many people mourn these losses because this is not what most of us envisioned on the day that we got married. So, it will be the inclination of many people to try and fix the marriage before it’s too late.

Sometimes, though, it becomes pretty clear that although you are willing to try most anything to save or to fix your marriage, your spouse isn’t as enthusiastic. This leaves you wondering if it’s possible to make any positive changes when you are the only one who is trying or if you are just wasting your time.

Someone might say, “our marriage has been slowly deteriorating for the last two and a half years. My husband and I don’t really fight, but we sort of act like strangers at this point. There’s just a distance and a coldness. We hang out with our friends more than each other. We aren’t really aware of what is happening in each other’s lives anymore. It is like we are roommates. Since my husband is starting to spend less and less time at home, I fear that he’s going to give me the ‘I need space’ speech or to ask for a separation. So I decided that I need to make some changes to try to fix things. I started asking friends about what they would do, plus I did a little research and talked to people whose opinions I respect. I found out that if I invested more time in my marriage, then this would be a good first step. I was advised to make a point of asking my husband about his daily experiences and feelings. I was advised to devote more time to my marriage. So I have been trying to do these things, but my husband doesn’t respond very well. He will just sort of give me vague answers or look at me like I’m weird to want to interact with him. I finally admitted that I was just trying to make things better with our marriage. His response to me was that people who have good marriages do not have to ‘try.’ So he does not seem at all interested in ‘trying’ when it comes to improving or ultimately saving our marriage. I guess I question if I’m wasting my time. I’m willing to try just about anything, but if my husband is not going to do anything, is it all for nothing? Can I still make it work?”

It’s really hard to predict the future in this way, but I can tell you my experience. My husband and I did separate because our marriage had gotten to the point where he was no longer happy. At first, he seemed completely unwilling to work with me. He just wanted space. He did not want to work or to make any changes no matter what I did or said to try to convince him otherwise. It eventually dawned on me that the only thing that I was going to be able to control was myself. Because we were separated, I did not have unlimited access to him. But I had unlimited access to myself. So that is where I placed most of my focus. I took a hard look at how I might have been contributing to the degradation of my marriage and I tried to address those issues. I wanted to be as healthy as I could possibly be if we ever reconciled. During the times when my husband and I did spend time together, I would just focus on making sure things went well and felt as comfortable as possible between us. I figured there would be plenty of time to work on the difficult things later. I realized that my husband’s reluctance meant that the whole situation was fragile, so I really only asked anything of myself initially.

Eventually, my husband noticed the changes that I had made and this eventually inspired him to be more receptive and to work with me. So in my opinion, you CAN improve or save your marriage when it is only you “trying” at first. Because your changes can help your husband to see that the effort is worth it so that he eventually gets on board.  So yes, you may be the only one “trying” at first, but if your efforts make positive changes, many husbands will eventually get with the program and your combined efforts can make a very big difference in the quality of your marriage. My husband wasn’t interested at all initially, but since I was willing to take the initial efforts onto my own shoulders, we are still married today because he eventually came around, which is why I’m very grateful that I did not give up.  There’s  more on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

I’m Unhappy In My Marriage, But I Still Love My Spouse

I sometimes hear from people who feel quite guilty for being critical of or unhappy in their marriage.  This is usually because, by their own admission, their spouse is a good, caring person who has done nothing wrong.  However, the marriage just isn’t fulfilling for whatever reason and they aren’t sure how to rectify the situation.

Someone might say, “This is going to sound selfish and I’m almost embarrassed to be talking about it.  But for the last eight months or so, I have realized that I’ve been somewhat unhappy in my marriage.  But the ironic thing in all of this is that my husband is truly a wonderful spouse.  He is a fantastic person.  He is loving, kind, and generous.  He is funny and patient.  I have no right whatsoever to be complaining about him. I know that I am very lucky.  But lately, I feel like something is missing.  Many of my coworkers seem to be more ‘in love’ than I am. Also, my husband and I pretty much just get home from work, eat dinner together, and then binge watch our favorite TV shows.  Although there is comfort in this on some nights, there are times when I am ashamed of this and feel like this is a pretty pathetic existence.  Sometimes I feel like life is passing me by because I’m married or that I can’t travel or be adventurous because I am tied down. I know that this makes me sound selfish and like I am a 20 year old who needs to sow wild oats. This isn’t really the case.  I’m a pretty mellow person and I don’t want to be wild.  But I do want to have life experiences that have nothing to do with romance or hooking up.  I’m talking about traveling or taking classes or volunteering.  And I’m not sure it’s fair to ask my husband to do all of these things, although he’s such a kind person, I’m sure that he would.  I don’t want it to seem like I do not love the guy because I truly do.  It sounds very silly, but I honestly believe that I love my spouse but am unhappy in my marriage.  When I think about separating or divorcing, I become sad because I know that my husband is a wonderful person and I do love him.”

It might make you feel a little better to hear that what you are saying is not that unusual. I’ve heard from others that feel the same way that you do.  And some have stuck it out in their marriage and others have not.  Some of those who left a perfectly good and loving spouse have regretted it when they learned that they were no happier separated or divorced.  My take on it is that it is rare to find someone who is kind, loving person with whom you are genuinely a good match.  It might be hard to replace such a person and not worth it to try.  Leaving or pausing the marriage is a huge risk because, although you might have a different lifestyle, you might still have a void because you’d no longer have the most important person in your life.

Considering this and from seeing other people struggle through this, my suggestion would be:  I’d sit down and make a list of the things that you felt were missing from your life.  Rank them.  Perhaps what is most important right now is travel.  Maybe you’d like to have more varied activities after work.  Whatever the case may be, try to be as clear as you possibly can about what might make you happier within your marriage.  Then, set out to make those things happen.  Sometimes, it’s simply as easy as telling your husband that you want to take a major trip this year and then booking it.  Or perhaps you suggest that twice per week, you are going to try new restaurants and outings.  Or you may tell your spouse that you’d like to take an extension class.  Some of the time, you can do these things and your spouse will jump to support you. When this happens, you don’t even have to make a huge deal out of your unhappiness because once the changes are in place, your happiness level may increase naturally.  Sometimes you just need a balance.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with binge watching TV with your spouse sometimes, but you want to balance it out with other things.

That said, sometimes, your spouse will wonder why you’re suddenly wanting to make all of these changes.  When you go to explain it, try to make sure that it doesn’t sound personal.  Instead of admitting that you are not exactly happy with him so that he feels that this might be his fault, say something like, “I’ve just noticed that I’m feeling a little stuck and stagnant.  I’d like to challenge myself and shake things up a little more. I’d like for you to share this with me because I love being with you.  I hope that you support me because this is something that is really important to me and I think that making these changes will increase my happiness and level of excitement.’

Most loving and supportive spouses will meet you half way.  Sometimes you’ll have to explore some things alone – like taking a class.  I know someone who had a similar sense of unhappiness until she was honest with her husband and confessed that she felt like the artistic side of herself was lost.  She took a class at night with her husband’s support.  Eventually, she started a side business selling her work.  This increased her life satisfaction level tenfold.  And when she felt good about herself and about how she was spending her time, her satisfaction with her marriage followed.  That’s why I suggest trying this strategy before you divorce or separate from a kind and supportive man whom you love.  Letting that go seems like a sacrifice which could also cause unhappiness.

As someone who has gone through a separation, I can tell you that it can be painful.  It can also put your marriage at risk.  Personally, I’d do anything to avoid it if you know that you are already married to a good man who loves you.  It was very difficult to save my marriage during the separation, which is why I’d try to fix the life that you have first. You can read more on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com