I Don’t Want My Marriage To Be Over But My Husband Has Moved Out

By: Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from wives who believe that their worst case scenario has now happened because their husband has finally got angry or frustrated enough to move out.  They are often struggling with living alone for the first time in a long time.  And they are often worrying about what is going to happen with their marriage.  It’s very normal to assume that your marriage is practically over when your husband moves out, but I strongly believe that this doesn’t have to be the case.

I heard from a wife who said “my husband left and moved out last weekend. He had mentioned it before, but I honestly thought that I had talked him out of it. I guess I was wrong about that. More than anything, I want for our marriage to work. But obviously, I’m worried that this can’t happen if he moves out. I can’t believe it’s come to this. I’m so depressed over this.  I know that I have to pull it together, but I am having a hard time doing that.  When my friend’s husband moved out, I told her that they could eventually work things out, but they were never able to do that.  So I know that I can try to put on a happy face, but part of me knows that I’m kidding myself.  I don’t want to let my marriage go.  But part of me feels that I am going to be denying the inevitable and playing mind games with myself.  Is it better to just try to force myself to try to let my marriage go?”

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of information about the circumstances or problems that lead to the husband moving out or what he said when he did, but it’s my belief that just because one spouse moves out, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the marriage is over or that you have to just let go immediately. I will discuss this more below.w

Why I Don’t Think That One Person Moving Out Means That You Need To Immediately Give Up On Your Marriage:  I know that you probably feel incredibly panicked and vulnerable right now.  Suddenly, the bed that you are sleeping alone on feels so very big and you start to hear every little noise because of the silence that wasn’t there when you lived with your husband. And perhaps you have some friends who are insinuating that it is time for you to say good riddance or to start living your life as a newly single woman.

Often, people just do not understand how foreign and wrong this all sounds to you, especially since this is all so new and painful.  And often, what people don’t really understand is that immediately letting go or giving up lessens your chances of saving a marriage that might have been saved.  Sure, there may come a time when it’s clear that it’s time to move on.  But that time generally doesn’t come immediately after a spouse moves out.  It’s my opinion that you owe it to yourself to at least try to a few different things before you just give up, which leads me to my next point.

There Are Times When A Spouse Moving Out Can Actually Help:  It’s generally a pretty fair bet that by the time your souse actually moves out, your marriage has been struggling for more than a short amount of time. There’s generally a problem or issue that has become so bad that the spouse who leaves has distanced himself from you or now believes that the feelings between you aren’t just enough to overcome or compensate for the problems.  However, sometimes when you spouse moves out and is no longer faced with those same problems on a daily basis, the problems no longer seem quite so insurmountable.

And sometimes, his feelings for you no longer feel so distant.  There are times when he begins to miss you and he begins to realize that it might be worthwhile to once again try to address the issues that he thought were insurmountable before.  And the reason that he can see this when he couldn’t see it before is that he now sees that life isn’t as wonderful as he assumed.  He may not have come to this conclusion on his own if he weren’t alone and suddenly full of introspection.

Of course, I can’t tell you that this always happens.  But it’s my belief and experience that you can tip the odds in your favor by not panicking and by trying to remain upbeat and positive, especially when you are interacting with your husband.

Waiting To See What Happens Is Not The Same As Putting Your Life On Hold:  Sometimes, when I encourage people to hang in there for at least a little while, they mistake this to mean that they should hang on their husband’s every word or to just stay home and await his call. This isn’t what I mean.  If you put your life completely on hold, you tend to become more impatient and this can come off as desperation, which, let’s face it, isn’t all that attractive.

There is nothing wrong with continuing to live your life.  In fact, time and experience has told me that this is precisely what you should do. I certainly don’t mean that you should see other people or do anything that is going to jeopardize your marriage.  But I do mean that you should see supportive friends who put a smile on your face instead of staying home, listening to sad songs, looking at old photos, and allowing yourself to become more and more upset.

I can paint this scenario because I myself have experienced it.  I used to play the same depressing songs in the same order for night after night until I just got sick of feeling so bad and depressed.  It’s very important that you don’t allow yourself to get too down right now.  Him moving out doesn’t necessarily mean that your marriage is over, but it’s very important that you remain upbeat so that you can attract him with a positive attitude rather than deflecting him with a negative one.

And in my opinion and experience, it’s worth it to give it some time and some effort before you just decide to give up.  I am glad that I didn’t give up and accept that my marriage was over.  It wasn’t over, but it took me awhile to convince my husband of this.  It became easier once I understand a few basic truths about human behavior.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

How To Act When Your Husband Says The Marriage Is Over When You Don’t Want It To End?

I often hear from wives whose husbands have recently told them that the marriage is over.  Many are still reeling from this conversation and are sort of walking around in a state of shock.   And many most certainly do not agree with this assessment because the marriage is certainly not anywhere near being over for them.  Many aren’t sure what to say or how to act.

I often hear comments like “my husband is saying our marriage is over.  Hearing these words is a huge blow and hurts me so much.  I have no idea how to respond or how am I supposed to act.  It’s not over for me, but I’m not sure if I should be telling him that.   How should you act when he’s saying it’s over when it’s not over for you? What if you can’t bear to see your marriage end?”

This is a subject that is near to my own heart and situation.  My husband told me that we were over on countless occasions.  I handled this in a variety of different ways and only one of the ways actually worked.  So in the following article, I’ll go over how I believe you should act when your husband says it’s over.   By no means am I an expert but this is what worked for me and others.

Don’t Act Like It’s The End Of Your World When He Says It’s Over:  I know it’s tempting to crumble, cry, and then go on a campaign to convince him that he’s wrong or isn’t sure what he really wants.  You can very desperately want to change his mind or to talk him out of this.

But if you do fall apart and act as if you are and have nothing without him, then this truly can change the way that he sees you for the worst.  Right now, it’s so important that your husband comes to think highly of and about you.  So don’t give him any reason to think that you’re anything other than a strong, capable and loving person.

Focusing on the negative isn’t likely to change his mind.  And his feeling sorry for you is really not to your benefit either.  So as tempting as it to play that card, I would suggest that you resist.

Don’t Insist That It Isn’t Over For You And Never Will Be: This used to be my very favorite refrain.  When my husband would tell me it was over, I’d replay “well, it isn’t over for me,” as though this was a defense or was enough to change his mind.

He would sort of say that he was sorry to hear that and then he’d set out to avoid me.  This only made things worse.  Your husband probably already knows that it’s not over for you.  But it hasn’t changed things.  So perhaps it’s time to begin to sing a different tune?

Stress That You Don’t Want For The RELATIONSHIP To Be Over:  To me, this is one of the most important elements in any plan to save your marriage. Because in order to begin to change your husband’s beliefs and opinions, you’re going to need an “in.”  You’re going to need access to him.

One way to do this is to stress that you don’t want the relationship to be over.  And you don’t necessarily mean a romantic relationship.  You mean that your husband is so important to you that you just want to maintain a friendship or some sort of relationship.

You want this because you care about his own happiness and well being as much as your own.  So because of your love and respect for him, you’re willing to accept these changes if they will ultimately mean that he’s happy and gets what he wants – and hopefully you will as well.

OK, now let’s be real now.  I fully understand that right now, you’re probably thinking “hey, that’s great that he gets what he wants, but what about me?  I’m just supposed to accept friendship with my husband?”

Well yes and no.  This is only the first step.  You’re doing this because it’s more likely to make him receptive to you.  And, your plan is to slowly build upon that friendship until it’s back to a romantic level and eventually back to a strong marriage.

And frankly, often when you take this tactic, your husband will step back because this is not what he was expecting to hear.  Usually, he’s all geared up for the tears and the debate and when there’s none – well, he’ll usually reflect for awhile but then he’ll be much more receptive to you.

This is what you need so that you can gain some ground and eventually save your marriage.  I know it’s so very tempting to want instant gratification and try to convince, strong arm, or debate your husband why it’s not over.

But the thing is, he THINKS it’s over for him – at least right now.  Your words alone aren’t likely to change that.  But your actions over a gradual and measured amount of time certainly can.  I am proof of this.

My husband must have told me our marriage was over countless times.  I must have said it wasn’t just as many times.  This never worked.  But something finally did.  If you want to read about this process in action, you can read my very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

How Do I Tell My Separated Spouse That They Are Calling Too Much? I Want The Time To Miss Them – Not Avoid Them

By: Leslie Cane:  A lot of the correspondence that I get has to do with communication during a separation.  Much of the time, one spouse thinks that the communication is too much and another thinks that it is not enough.  Or one spouse does not like the format of the communication, while the other thinks that it is just fine.  Generally speaking, the spouse who wanted the space or the separation is fine with less contact and communication, while the spouse who did not want it (or who is more invested in saving the marriage) wants more contact.

This is a generality, though.  The situation doesn’t always begin this way. Nor does it always stay this way.  Sometimes, the spouse who wants space actually begins to crave more contact, while the spouse who never wanted to separate in the first place suddenly likes their freedom.  However it happens, it is not unusual for one spouse to want a little less communication and for the other to want a little more.  But, not everyone is sure how to express this without it hurting someone else’s feelings or being misunderstood.

Someone might say: “here is the great irony of this whole thing.  I am not the one who wanted the separation in the first place.  My husband is the one who really pushed for us living apart for a while.  I begged him not to do this, but he insisted that it was the only way to see how we really felt about our marriage.  I anticipated that he would slowly drift away from me, while I would cling too tightly.  And this IS what happened  – in the beginning.  But in time, we started to switch places.  My husband seemed to start missing me at about the three month mark, and I began to like my freedom a little more at about the same time.  In the early days of our separation, we would talk every couple of days.  Well, now my husband calls every day – sometimes more.  And if for some reason I am not home, he wants to know why.  He’s become very needy about these calls.  It’s ironic that I’m the one who feels like the calls are too much when I was the one calling in the beginning. But now I do feel that it is too much.  Sometimes,  I don’t want to pick up if I am doing something else.  I do love my husband.  I do want to talk to him.  But not several times per day.  How do I communicate this to him without hurting his feelings?  I don’t want him to think that I am not interested in him or our marriage.  I do want to reconcile one day.  But I am honestly enjoying the time to myself for a little while.  How do I say this without everything blowing up?”

The Delicacy Of This Situation: This is tricky. And it’s always interesting when the tides turn a little bit.  You want to be honest with him, but you don’t want to make it sound like a rejection.  And you don’t want to shut him down so that he isn’t calling at all anymore. You just want to have more control about when it is happening.

Defining What You Truly Want: I would start by asking yourself what is most objectionable.  Before you talk to him about this, ask yourself which calls bug you the most.  Is it the call that comes right before your yoga class or your book club or when you are doing something else?  Is it the call where he wants to discuss something that you have already been over time and time again?

It’s important to understand which calls are the most problematic because these are the ones you will address.  (It’s important to be very specific.) And it’s vital to understand the dynamic of what is happening so that you can approach it appropriately.  Is it a manner of control so that he feels that he’s not in control if he lets you call him?  Or is he just looking for reassurance?

Try To Give Him Alternatives: If you find that you are talking about problems or issues that come up over and over again, consider scheduling a time to discuss those.  Believe it or not, this works.  I know because my husband used this approach with me.  At first, we set a weekly time for counseling.  But later, we met on weekends to discuss specific things for a while.  That way, I knew that there was going to be a time when I was heard and given undivided attention, so I didn’t need to call every time I thought about the issue.

Now, once you’ve defined these things, you might try something like: “Hi, honey.  It’s good to hear from you, but I am walking into yoga right this second.  Can I call you back in a couple of days?”  Or, if he launches into something that you just don’t want to talk about or have already discussed endlessly, try: “you know I was thinking about this.  As evidenced by the amount of time we talk about this, I sometimes think that we are going round and round on this topic.  Maybe we should see someone to talk about and get it resolved so that we can spend our time talking about other, more pleasurable things.  I want for us to have nice conversations that we can look forward to.”

Do you see what I’m doing here?  I’m trying to give you more control over the schedule.  You’re training him to sometimes delay the conversation and you are seeking expert help to resolve the things that you end up talking about over and over.  (You could also do this with self help and set aside some time each week, but this takes discipline.)  It’s important for both of you to look forward to the conversations.  Because you want them to really count. You do not want for them to become drudgery and you certainly don’t want to start having to dodge your husband.

I know this because I was on the other side of the fence.  I was the husband in this scenario.  I called my husband too much and I was devastated when he started to avoid me because of this.  I finally got the hint, rearranged the schedule, and let him call me sometimes.  This really did change everything.  He eventually started pursuing me some.  And the tide began to turn.   You can read more about that turnaround on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

My Spouse Is Very Critical And Judgmental Of My Family

By: Leslie Cane: It’s not uncommon for two spouses to discuss members of their extended family when they are alone together. They say these things in confidence, knowing that it is only between the two of them. These kinds of “us against them” conversations can be one of the things that helps keep a couple close. But what happens when these discussions turn hurtful? Especially when it involves critical comments about one spouse’s family? And what if the comments seem unfair or judgmental?

A wife might say: “I will admit that my family is very different from myself. I was the first person in my family to go to college. I admit that my parents and siblings live pay check to pay check. They still do not own their own home. They have really bad habits, like smoking, getting into fights sometimes, and going into debt. I myself would never do many of the things that they do. But I try not to judge them too harshly because I firmly believe that they did the best that they could at the time with what they had. A lack of education and resources really isn’t their fault. I’ve tried to help them and they are resistant. They seem perfectly happy to stay the way they are, so I just try to enjoy being with them without making judgements. My husband, on the other hand, can’t seem to do this. He will make sarcastic comments behind their backs. He will say that he doesn’t want to leave our kids alone with them because they set a bad example. Honestly, some of the things that he says are reasonable and true. But other times, it feels like he is just overly critical of my family. And I feel like this is a reflection on me. How can I get him to understand what he is doing and why it must stop? When I talk to him about this, he acts like he doesn’t understand and says that he’s not talking about or being critical of me personally.”

It’s likely that your husband does not understand that hearing him talk poorly of your family makes you feel like it is also a criticism of you. But I completely understand it. Since you are a product of that environment and that upbringing, when he is openly judgmental of the same, it feels as if he is rejecting or judging you.  Or it feels like, deep down, he thinks that you are a little inferior also. And this hurts.

I understand what you are feeling. And I do not think that you are overreaching. I have heard specialists talk about this dynamic. It happens all of the time to children of divorce. When the two parents are bad mouthing one another in front of the kids, the parents do not understand why the kids find the conversation so upsetting since no one is talking about the children themselves. The reason is that when someone criticizes part of what makes us whole, then it sounds critical of us. When a parent says “your father is a no good loser,” then of course you’re going to feel badly because half of your DNA comes from that “no good loser.”

The same is true of your extended family. If your husband was to say: “I can’t believe your parents are still renting. Are they too stupid to understand building equity is part of being adults?” then it’s understandable that you would feel a bit less than when you are the product of those parents.  You might wonder if he thinks that you are at least a little stupid also.

However, with this said, this doesn’t mean that your husband is a bad guy. He just may not understand why this hurts you. So, consider trying something like: “I know that we’ve talked about this before, but maybe I haven’t done a good enough job of expressing myself. And I’d like to do that now. When you’re critical of my parents and my family, it hurts me deeply. I know that I’ve been critical too, but I’m going to stop that. Because putting them down feels like I’m being put down too. This may not make sense to you, but trust me on this. You don’t come from the same background.  And while I’m proud of my accomplishments, I can’t deny that this is my family. This is where I come from. And when you knock that, it feels like you are knocking me. So I am asking you to not be so critical anymore because when you do, it hurts me, whether this makes sense to you or not. I’m asking you to do this because I know that you love me and that you don’t want to do anything to hurt me.”

This will make sense to most people and I’d suspect that your happiness is more important to your husband than being able to express any negative opinions that he might have. Hold up your end of the bargain and don’t participate in your own criticisms. And know that you may have to remind him a couple of times because old habits can take some time to break.

As I alluded to, your husband probably isn’t intentionally being cruel or trying to hurt you.  He likely doesn’t understand why this upsets you in the way that he does.  It’s important to be clear about this.  I learned this the hard way in my own marriage.  I used to assume that my husband should just know what upset me and vice versa.  These incorrect assumptions lead to a separation.   You can read more on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

How To Change Your Husband’s Mind About Divorcing You

By: Leslie Cane: One of the most common questions that I get on my blog is “how can I make my husband change his mind about divorcing me?” This is a loaded question, of course. The answer is going to be different depending upon what is causing your husband to want to divorce you in the first place. However, I do find that there are some common strategies among wives who are successful in getting their husband to change his mind about saving their marriage. So in the following article, I’m going to discuss what I believe are some of the right and wrong ways to try to accomplish this.

What You Don’t Want To Do When You’re Trying To Get Your Husband To Decide He Doesn’t Want To Divorce You After All: Before I tell you what I think are some of the best strategies in getting him to change his mind, I want to cover what I almost never see work so that you will hopefully avoid these things.

First and most importantly, you don’t want to rely upon negativity in any form. What this means is that if you try to make him feel negative emotions like pity, guilt, fear, or shame, you are less likely to have long term success. So you don’t want to tell your husband that he is an awful and selfish person to leave his family. You don’t want to threaten to take half of every financial asset that he has. You don’t want to tell him that no one else will love and understand him in the way that you do. Don’t insinuate that you will refuse to give him a divorce or fight him every step of the way.

I know that sometimes these strategies might feel like all you have left. So it’s tempting to think that anything is worth a try if it means getting him back. But these tactics will often only make him want to divorce you with more intensity and speed. He will want to get away from you more quickly because you’re making him feel negatively about himself or his situation. The real key in making him change his mind about the divorce is to get him to feel better (not worse) about you, your marriage, and your situation, which leads me to the next point.

Understand What It Really Takes To Get Your Husband To Change His Mind About The Divorce: Instead of trying truly desperate measures to get him to change his mind, you need to understand what it really takes. He has to come to realize that he was wrong about his perceptions regarding your marriage and you. Or, he needs to come to believe that those true things that he believed have now changed somehow. It’s up to decide to decide which strategy is the most realistic for you and easiest to accomplish.

For example, let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that you cheated on him but are now beyond sorry. There is really no way to flip this to make him realize that his perceptions about the cheating were wrong or inaccurate. The facts are right in front of him and they are undeniable. So you really can’t change his perceptions about your cheating. But you may have a chance of successfully convincing him of something else.

Perhaps you can show him changes and improvements that you have made to yourself so that he can feel more comfortable changing his belief that your marriage can not be saved after the infidelity. Do you see the difference? You’re not trying to change his mind about the infidelity because you can’t really argue that point. But, you’re trying to change his mind about the future of your marriage. And the easiest way to do that is to show him real and profound changes in you so that he thinks more favorably about being married to the new and improved you.

Here’s another example. Sometimes, husbands will want a divorce because they think the love and the spark are gone. However, you may know this is not entirely true. You may look at your marriage and have your own theories. Perhaps you think that the stress your husband is under is clouding his perceptions of you, your marriage, and his life. Or maybe you think that some of his friends and family members are unduly influencing him. In this scenario, you are probably better off trying to change his perceptions about the circumstances that surround your marriage.

In a situation like this, your job is to take a step back and figure out the best way to make him see that he’s just wrong. Perhaps the best way to do this is to stop focusing on what is wrong and to start focusing on what is right. Maybe you need to show him rather than tell him that you absolutely can still connect on a physical level. Whatever it is that is clouding his perceptions about you and the marriage needs to be removed in the most genuine way possible

Make Sure That Whatever Strategy You Chose Comes Off As Natural And Not As A Desperate, Last Effort Move That Is In Your Best Interest Rather Than His: When you decide on your strategy, it’s important to also think very carefully about how you are going to carry it out. The worst thing that you can do is to make it very obvious that you are only trying to manipulate your husband for your own gain.

Don’t attempt any strategy that you can not pull off as genuine. This is so important. If you skip this step and your husband thinks you’re only play acting or thinking of your own objectives, then you might actually make things worse. Always navigate toward acting in a way that is healthy and beneficial for both of you. At the end of the day, you want to be happily married in a very mutual and healthy relationship.

So, don’t do anything that might jeopardize this. Remember that if your husband understands that you really do want for him to be happy with his life, he is much more likely to respond favorably to you than if he suspects that you’re only thinking about yourself and your desire to change his mind about the divorce.

Needless to say, when I was attempting to change my husband’s mind about divorcing me, I did many of the things that I’m telling you not to do. But, I ended up saving my marriage by eventually catching on and deciding to try the strategies I’m suggesting you use instead. If it helps, you can read the very emotional story of how I accomplished this on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

I Just Had A Baby. And I Feel Numb Toward My Husband. Is This Normal? I Worry About It Hurting My Marriage

By: Leslie Cane: When we are newlyweds, many of us romanticize becoming parents. We think that a child is going to be proof of our love for our spouse and so we naturally assume that being parents is going to bring us much closer together. We assume that new parenthood is going to be one of the happiest times in our lives, when we become a little family — cocooned in a world that only consists of us and those we love the most.

This is a wonderful idea. But it often is not entirely reality – at least in the beginning. When you are a newlywed, well- meaning family and friends will often warn you about the all-encompsassiong exhaustion and sense of isolation that can go hand in hand with having an infant in the house. But until you go through this yourself, you have no way to know what these people mean.

What many of us never expect is how we can feel so many contrasting feelings all at once after we get our infant home. Yes, we are overwhelmed with love for our spouse. Like never before, we feel like a team. We feel like a household. But at the same time, we are overwhelmed and exhausted. And as much as we might love our spouse, eventually these very dramatic changes in our life might have an effect on our relationships.  We are juggling so many things at once. Some might look around to realize that becoming a parent wasn’t as easy as was assumed and has even had some negative influences, which can elicit guilt and shame.

Someone might explain: “I am almost reluctant to say what I am about to say. I fear that this admission means that something is wrong with me. But having a child has actually hurt my marriage. And I don’t know what is wrong with us. Two of my neighbors have children that are just a little older than mine and both of these couples seem blissfully happy and so united that it’s not even funny. Don’t get me wrong. I have never loved my husband more. Not ever. I love my child more than I ever thought possible. But at the end of the day, when my husband comes home and wants to talk, or cuddle, or have sex, all I want to do is to thrust my child at him and have some time to myself. I don’t want anyone to touch me. I don’t want any conversation. I just want to retreat. The other day, I was looking at my husband when he didn’t know that I was. And I had a shocking realization. I realized that I just felt numb toward him now. I don’t feel numb toward my child. I look at my child and I light up. But I don’t necessarily feel that about my husband anymore and I’m so very concerned about that. He just seems like something that is too much work right now, even though I feel so ashamed to say that. What is wrong with me?”

I don’t think that you need to beat yourself up over this. Feeling overwhelmed when caring for an infant is a truth that people don’t always talk about, but it is not at all uncommon. People generally don’t talk about it because they are afraid that they will be perceived as a bad parent or a bad spouse. But if every one told the truth, then this issue wouldn’t be steeped in shame. I have had friends who have recounted the exact same thing to me – that they spend their entire days holding their infant so that when their spouse gets home, they don’t want yet another person touching them or needing something from them. One of my friends used to describe both her husband AND her baby as “sucking the life blood” out of her at times, even though she adored them both.  (Now that time has passed and she no longer has an infant, but a child that is more independent, she can look back at it objectively and realize that she was doing the best that she could at the time.)

If you have any opportunities to have some time for yourself or time just as a couple, I’d highly recommend that. Yes, there is no other time in your life where someone might need you as much as your infant needs you right now, but if you don’t take care of yourself, you don’t have much to give. You have to replenish the well so that you can take from it.

You might be tempted to hide this from others, but that is probably the last thing you should do. Mention it to your obstetrician, just to make sure that there isn’t a problem.  He may be able to offer you some treatment or advice that truly does help.   Hiding the issue doesn’t help.  Being honest and open while asking for help does.

And there is nothing wrong with sharing how you are feeling with your husband, being careful that it doesn’t sound critical. Of course, you don’t want to flat out tell him that his touch makes you numb because parenting a newborn is exhausting.

Instead, you might try: “people weren’t kidding when they said you had to experience this for yourself to see how overwhelming and exhausting it can be. I’m not complaining. I’m so grateful for our family. I am filled with love. I just had no idea that it would make me this exhausted and overwhelmed at times – while filling me with love at others.”

Being honest but deliberate allows your husband to see that you still love him and are still invested in your marriage, but are adjusting. And he may hear what you are saying and start helping you out more, which in turn may help with your response to him.

It’s very important that you at least try to take time out for your marriage. This is a skill that is going to be important throughout your married life. And not learning it can lead to disaster if you let it go for too long.  I learned this the hard way.  I put my marriage on the back burner when I had a some stressful things that needed my attention.  By the time I realized this, the damage was done and I ended up separated as a result.  That’s why you’re smart to notice what is going on and wanting to address it now.   You can read more about how I healed my marriage at risk at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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

My Husband Refuses To Understand My Feelings. He Won’t Make Any Attempt Whatsoever

By: Leslie Cane: The vast majority of people that I hear from do not feel understood or heard by their spouse.  I find that many folks do not comprehend just how serious of a problem this might be.  Sure, no one is perfect at communicating or at reading someone else’s clues.  And sure, all marriages can withstand a few misunderstandings.  But if you go through your life, and through your marriage, for any significant period of time feeling constantly misunderstood, this can’t help but have a huge impact on your marriage and how you feel about it.  This can be true even if your spouse is sincerely TRYING to understand, but just can’t.  But it’s even more true if your spouse appears to be making no effort whatsoever to try to understood you.  It can make you question if he thinks that you are not important enough or not even worth the effort.

For example, I wife might think: “why doesn’t my husband even make the slightest effort to understand me anymore?  When we were dating, it was like he was fascinated at what made me tick and what contributed to my happiness.  But today, he acts as if I am overly complicated rather than unique and fascinating.  I am trying to make some positive changes in my life.  And my husband is totally resistant to this because all he can see if that the changes might be putting him out or inconveniencing him some.  But what he doesn’t seem to get, or remotely care about, is that the changes are important to ME.  He doesn’t understand that I need to tweak some things in my life in order to be authentically happy.  But he doesn’t take the time to try to analyze my thinking or ask himself what I need in my life.  He acts as if I’m only trying to inconvenience him instead.  So I’ve tried to explain myself, but I’ll find myself passionately talking about something and I will look over, only to find that my husband is giving me a blank stare.  His eyes are sort of glazed over and he is almost slumped down, as if even listening to me is a heavy task for him.  It’s so discouraging.  It makes me think that he doesn’t care about me at all.  Am I wrong in thinking this?  Why else would a husband not even make the slightest effort to understand his wife?”

You’re right to be concerned.  When you start to see this type of apathy and indifference toward you (or toward what is important to you) it can be sort of warning sign.  Not always, of course.  But sometimes, it is.  That’s why you can’t ever be too careful. I can think of a few reasons that you might be seeing this behavior.  I’ll list some of it below.  And I’ll start with the most benign and then work my way up down to the most troublesome.

You’ve Caught Him At A Bad Time Or On An Occasion Where He’s Preoccupied With His Own Issues:  Sometimes, we just catch our spouse’s at an inopportune time.  We all have times in our lives where it’s just not feasible to give someone our undivided attention.  How do you know if this is the case?  Well, you can ask yourself if this is an isolated incident or if you’ve noticed him tuning you out or not treating you with importance more than this one time lately.

He Doesn’t Really Understand Your Thought Process, So He’s Just Trying To Appear As Attentive As He Can:  This one is actually pretty common, especially when we are talking about emotions that are not as natural to men.  When we start to discuss deep or emotional thinking, men do tend to tune out a bit, because this is just not how their own brains work. They can’t relate and so they might be staring at you (or looking at you when you’re having a conversation,) but their wheels aren’t necessarily turning.  It’s the same with me when my spouse tries to discuss sports.  I try.  I really do.  I even enjoy some sports.  But I don’t have the depth of understanding that my husband does, so I try to nod in the right places, but I’m sure my face looks kind of blank.  The thing is, I don’t think my husband cares too deeply because, although he love sports, they aren’t vitally important to him – in the way that your authenticity is to you.  And, the more important something is to you, the more you want your spouse to “hear” you and to “understand” you.  So this was a topic that was already charged for you, but your husband may not have realized it at the time.

He May Be Acting Indifferent To You Because He Is Starting To Lose Connectedness To And Empathy Toward You, Which Is A Warning Sign:  Ok, I’m only mentioning this because I wish someone had given me the “heads-up” when I was going through something similar.  If they had, perhaps I would not have ended up separated.  By no means am I saying or suggesting that this is the case with you. I can’t possibly know that.  I’m just saying that it’s never a bad idea to take an honest look at your marriage and evaluate this. Because when couples are deeply connected, they at least try to make an effort to understand one another, especially about things that MATTER in the way that this matters to you.  Granted, I glaze over when my husband talks about sports sometimes.  But if his voice talks about something that I know to be quite important to him, I sit up and take notice.

It wasn’t always this way, though.  When our marriage was struggling, we were both guilty of not trying hard enough to empathize, to hear, and to understand.  And this is the natural by-product of a marriage that has lost connectedness and empathy. We had lost so much of this that we eventually separated.  I did get him back, but it was a painful process that I would have preferred to avoid.  And it took me way too long to stumble onto a strategy that actually worked. You can read more on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com  But you certainly want to avoid my mistakes if you can. 

What Must I Do To Make My Husband Come Back Home?

By: Leslie Cane:  I sometimes hear from wives who are so frustrated that they are not being successful in getting their separated husband to come back home.  Often, they think that they have tried everything and, so far, nothing has enticed him to come back.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband left our home four months ago.  We had been fighting about my career.  I’ve had to do a lot of traveling lately and this left him watching the kids which stresses him out.  It took a huge toll on my marriage.   Rather than discussing it with me or trying to work out our problems, my husband got to a point where he couldn’t take it anymore and abruptly told me that he couldn’t continue to live this way so he left.    Since that time, I have offered up many compromises. I told him that I would prioritize our marriage and that I would find another job.   I found a counselor for us.  In short, I’ve been willing to make all of the compromises and my husband still says he’s not sure that he’s ready to come home.  I try very hard to be patient but I’m getting very frustrated.  My kids miss their dad.  I’ve offered to change everything about our marriage that he doesn’t like.  So why won’t he come back home?  What do I have to do to get him to pack his bags and come back to us?”

Obviously I had no way to know what this particular husband was thinking.  But I do hear from a lot of separated husbands and I believe that I have some insights into what many of them are thinking.  I also believe that I have a good handle on what it takes for many of them to decide to come home.  I will share this with you in the following article.

Often, Husbands Want To Believe That There Is Significant And Lasting Change Because  They Do Not Want To Have To Move Out Twice:   Many husband hesitate to move back in because they aren’t sure if things have really changed.  Many of them suspect that their wife is only saying that change has taken place in order to lure him back home.  The fear is that once he comes home, you will eventually revert back to your old ways.

Another possibility in the above scenario is that the wife might have misunderstood what the major problems truly were.  She assumed that her husband had left because of her job.  However, even after she offered to leave that same job, he was reluctant to come back home.  This could be an indication that there were other issues that were bothering the husband more than the job issue.   I would suspect that as the result of the wife’s travel, the husband felt neglected, taken advantage of, and disrespected.   The wife hadn’t done much to address these things.  And until the husband felt like he was an equal partner in the marriage and that he was valued and appreciated, he might still have doubts about coming back home.

It’s not always clear what all of the underlying issues truly are. Often, the wife thinks that she’s addressing the issues when there may be others that she is not aware of.  Often, there are underlying issues of intimacy, trust, respect, and chemistry that might be important to the husband but aren’t fully explored by the wife.

That’s why it’s so very important that you try to uncover every issue that your husband might be grappling with.  If you don’t have a good handle on this, you can attempt to ask your husband what might be contributing to his reluctance to come home.  A suggested conversation might sound something like: “I want you to come home when you are comfortable doing so because I want us to be successful once you do return to us.  Clearly, you’re not comfortable yet and I respect that.  Could you share with me the concerns that you have right now so that I can try to address them?  My goal is for us to address all the problems or issues that stand between us so that we are both happy and fulfilled.  We both deserve that and so do our children.  I promise to listen and not argue.  I truly want to know and understand how you feel.”

Hopefully a dialogue like this will get him to open up to you and will help to shed some light on what might be contributing to his hesitation to come home, which leads me to one more point.

He Must Believe That He Will Be Happier If He Comes Back Home Than If He Stays Put: The bottom line is this.  One thing that you must do to make your husband come back home is to make him believe that he will happier if he does so.  When he hesitates, it’s usually because he has some serious and nagging doubts about this.  And frankly, the harder you lean on or push him, the worse this can get.  Sometimes, it is better to back up and just focus on maintaining positive interactions between you. If you make your goal to just be happy together whenever you can make this happen, you will usually find that he will come to learn that he is happier when he is with you than when he is not.  And once this happens, he will often logically want to come home because he wants to be where he is the most content.

The first step in making this happen is to make it so that he is happy when he is around you so that he wants to be around you often.  Then, you want to make sure that you’ve identified and addressed all of the doubts or concerns he has about coming back home.  Once you do these things, he will feel more comfortable in coming home because his mind and his heart are no longer dealing with any doubts.

When my husband left me, his mind was made up. He was going forward with moving out and, I believe that he truly wanted a 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 to get him home in order to save our marriage. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

I Don’t Like My Spouse Anymore. What Does This Mean For My Marriage?

By: Leslie Cane: Many people are clear on the fact that, no matter what happens, they are committed to still loving their spouse. This, they figure, is the meaning of unconditional love. You love someone even when they aren’t at their most lovable and even when it’s not always easy for you. After all, love is a lifetime commitment that we all know isn’t easy all of the time. So, many of us think that we have the “love thing” down. But what about the “like” thing? What happens when our spouse is acting in a way that makes them not very likable? How should we react then? And what if our not liking them is putting our marriage in jeopardy?

I might hear someone explain it this way: “when I first met my husband, he was a kind, gentle soul. One thing that drew my husband and I together was the fact that we were both clear on the fact that we wanted to enjoy the simple things in life. We both come from parents who are very affluent and for whom money means everything. Both of us grew up feeling like we were not good enough. We both felt like we didn’t really fit in with our families. We are both more comfortable eating at a 50’s diner or a family style restaurant than in the fine dining places my parents go. My husband and I both wanted to get jobs that meant something to society. We both started as teachers and now I am a school principal. This career path meant the world to me because I felt like I’d found my kindred spirit. And when we had children, we were so proud that we were going to raise our children in a way that felt more authentic to us than the upbringing of our own childhoods. Well, last summer, my husband announced that he didn’t want to go back to teaching in the fall. He said that he was tired of working so many hours for just a little money while he saw his friends and siblings work half as many hours for twice as much money. He said that now that we have children, he realizes that money is more important to him than he thought. Now, he works in finance and he wears a suit and tie to work every day and he measures his success in terms of money just like his father. As if this isn’t bad enough, I notice other aspects of his personality that have changed. He has less patience. He is more quick to snap at me in anger and he is much more sarcastic. I don’t like his new personality. And if he was a colleague instead of my husband, I wouldn’t like his personality at all. I wouldn’t want to be friends with him. I would just avoid him. What happens now? This is hard because I don’t want to to break up my family. It is so important to me that my children grow up in a loving household with present parents. I don’t want to let go of that dream, but I am not sure if I want that dream with someone that I don’t like very much.”

All Of Us Dislike Our Spouse, At Least Some Of The Time: I know that this likely feels awful. And although this may not completely help you, I can tell that this isn’t an uncommon situation. Very few people remain exactly the same throughout the entire course of their lives. This means that most of us do not remain the same person throughout the entire course of marriages. In truth, many of us are forced to change due to external circumstances that require for us to respond. Honestly, often, these changes are good. Those of us who go through financial hardship learn to be grateful for the little things that we have. Those of us who go through illness learn to lean on our family and friends.

You could argue that this husband was going through his own change process. He was likely at a point in his life where he felt the weight of the family responsibilities. It’s easy to be idealistic and non materialistic when we are young and have no one to support. But things do change when you have children.  Plus, I believe that it is a different for a man. Because sometimes, even when both the husband and the wife work, it is still the societal norm to think that it is the husband’s career that provides for the family while the wife’s salary goes for “extras.”

Understand What You Should And Should Not Attempt To Control: I don’t agree with these societal norms. But I am telling you that this thought process exists and I think it’s possible that your husband is responding to it. So I would suggest that you not judge him too harshly for his becoming more realistic about money. I think that most people would agree that it’s unrealistic to think that you can or should want to choose or even have an input in your spouse’s career. Your spouse is the one who has to go to work every day and actually do the job. So if he is happy and making a living, then I don’t think his career choices are up to anyone but him.

Drawing The Line When His New Behaviors Affect Your Marriage:  If his career choices are bringing about behaviors that you find troubling, you are well within your rights to bring this up. The next time you notice your husband being short or impatient you might try something like: “honey, I need to bring something up to you and I don’t want for you to take it the wrong way. Lately, I’ve been noticing that you seem a little short tempered and distant. I have no idea what might be causing it, but it seems to have started shortly after you began your new your job. Is there anything bothering you that I can help you with? If you need to talk about anything, you know that I am always here for you and that I always want to help.”

I have worded it this way because I think that, in order to get the results that you want, you should always approach your spouse as though you want to help them instead of wanting to change them. He may well share some issues with you or he may not. But at least it will open up an invitation for you both to look at this issue. And he will be aware of it, which may mean that he makes an effort to stop.

I don’t necessarily think that this has to have any serious, negative consequences toward your marriage, so long as you work it out before it becomes a huge problem. I also think it is important to try to see your husband as the initial man you fell in love with. Yes, he may look different in that suit and tie. But I’d bet that same idealistic young man is still in there somewhere. He just feels responsible for his family. And that is not always a bad thing.

In some ways, my husband and I are both different people – years after we first met.  The commitment of being married dictates that you take the good with the bad.  However, we didn’t always understand this.  And there was a time that our differences lead to a marital separation.  This is not a path that I would ever want to repeat. If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com