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

How Do I Approach The Topic Of Our Separation With My Husband

By: Leslie Cane:  If you have never been separated (or faced with a separation,) you may assume that the topic of it is one that is going to come up often.  After all, what could be more important to talk about than that?  Isn’t that a topic that deserves and needs a lot of attention?

Yes, it absolutely is.  But the conversation doesn’t always go as easily as you might assume.  It can be excruciatingly hard (and sometimes painful) to have these conversations.  It’s not as easy as you might think. Which leads some spouses to question just what might be the best way to go about it.

Someone might explain: “my husband and I have only been separated for about three weeks.  Before he finally moved out, I did everything in my power to keep him from going.  I talked until my voice was hoarse.  It seemed that my words had no impact at all on him and, at times, he got frustrated and even angry.  He basically said if talking would fix things, then we wouldn’t be at this point right now.  I sort of disagree, but I also know that debating it won’t do any good.  The issue that I’m having right now is that I don’t even know how to broach the separation topic with him.  I want to know how he is doing and what he is feeling. I’d like to know if being apart has helped anything.  Or if this is what he thought that it would be like.  But I’m so afraid to vocalize this because I don’t want him to get frustrated with me again. However, I feel as if I have a right to know.  Don’t I?”

I agree that you have the right to know, but as you have already suspected, getting that information is going to be tricky.  And if you go about getting it in the wrong way, you may do more harm than good and actually end up damaging your relationship at time when your relationship definitely can not afford it.

Analyzing Your Husband’s Mindset: It can be very helpful to try to understand your husband’s mindset.  He may be so unsure about his feelings that he has actually moved out in order to sort all of them out.  Only a little bit of time has gone by, so it’s unlikely that he’s going to be able to clearly articulate a very distinct thought process right now.  First, he likely hasn’t had time to completely sort out his feelings and, even assuming that he has, he may not be ready to share that just yet.

Granted, there’s always the possibility that he misses you terribly and has come to the conclusion that this separation was a mistake.  However, if that were the case, he would likely eventually tell you on his own, without your needing to do anything to damage your marriage or put it at risk.

Frankly, this is often true no matter what his feelings end up being. I completely understand being impatient.  In fact, I did the exact same thing that you are tempted to do.  I pushed for information before my husband was ready to give it to me. He greatly resented this, got frustrated with me, and gave me less information instead of more information.  Even worse, he started to avoid me. We almost ended up divorced and my pushing and bugging him for information was one reason for this.

Watching Is Sometimes More Effective And Less Damaging Than Asking, Especially At First: I know that it’s hard to just watch and wait.  But frankly, watching truly can give you at least some information.  And, there’s no guarantee that his words will be accurate.  Not because he’s lying or trying to deceive you.  But because people need time to sort out and evaluate their feelings and they often aren’t ready to share until they are absolutely sure.

As challenging as this is, in my experience, your best bet is to just try to maintain as positive a relationship as possible with the knowledge that doing so is going to give you the highest probability that his thoughts about you and the marriage are favorable.  Yes, he’s not saying the words right now and it is leap of faith.  But having this trust is better than pushing and having him back away.

The truth will eventually come out.  His thoughts and feelings will eventually become clear.  When he’s ready, he will share these things with you through his actions, his words, or both.  Pushing is the single biggest mistake that I made during my own separation.  Pushing is very understandable but pushing a man who has made it clear that he wants his space is a recipe for disaster.  He likely already knows that you want this information and he will give it to you when he’s sure about it and he believes that the time is right. I’ve learned its best not to put your marriage in further jeopardy until then.  Now, if he brings it up and seems willing to share, then that’s a very different issue.  But that it typically the exception rather than the rule.  You can ask questions generally meant to gauge his feelings, but if he resists, then stop and wait.

I did eventually get my husband back.  But pushing almost ensured that I didn’t. You can read more  on my blog at

Tips For Surviving The Trial Separation

By: Leslie Cane:  I often hear from people who are getting ready to start a trial separation. Most of the people who contact me never wanted the separation in the first place. Usually, they are just trying to comply with their spouse’s wishes. Sometimes, their spouse has made it clear that a separation is going to happen whether they like it or not, but rather than getting a divorce, it’s usually suggested that a trial separation might be the better route. And while a trial separation does allow you to continue to hold onto your marriage and still a chance to save it, living through a trial separation can be really difficult.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “my husband had been pushing for a trial separation for several months. Finally, he pretty much told me that if I wouldn’t agree to the separation, he was going to go ahead and file for a divorce. So I felt as if I really had no choice but to comply. But the separation has been just awful. I miss my husband so much. And I had hoped that being away from me would make him miss and appreciate me, but it hasn’t appeared to work that way. He’s just as distant and cold as he has been all along. When I ask him how he’s feeling and what he’s thinking, he doesn’t want to talk about it. Apparently, I’m just supposed to go along with the trial separation and not ask any questions or make any demands. It’s as if I’m just supposed to take what he gives me. I don’t know how I’m going to survive this. Every day is a huge challenge and I just feel more and more hopeless all of the time. How am I going to get through this?”

I know from my own experiences that you are going through a very difficult time, but you can and will get through this. In the following article, I will offer some tips for successfully surviving and getting through the trial separation in a way that hopefully leaves your sanity and your marriage in tact.

Define And Understand The Goals And The Boundaries Before The Awkwardness Sets In: It can be very beneficial if you can set it up so that you both have an understanding as to how the trial separation is going to work. How often are you going to contact and see each other? Who is going to take the initiative to contact who? What are you trying to evaluate or decide while separated? What needs to happen or occur for the marriage to be saved? Of course, it may not possible to answer all of these questions. And your spouse may not even be willing to define everything. But, it is always better to try to reach an understanding early in the process before things get awkward or misunderstandings or hurt feelings occur.

Try To Make The Time Apart Help The Situation Rather Than Making It Worse: I know that if you are reading this article, you likely miss your spouse very much and this separation is almost like a form of torture for you. But, if your spouse has asked for a separation or space, then this is very indicative that some time apart might actually be an opportunity for your marriage rather than a curse. Because if your spouse felt strongly enough about the situation to ask for a break, then it’s pretty likely that he felt that things were bad enough and unlikely enough to change that he felt that action was necessary.

The separation can be the break that can give you both the perspective that you need to save the marriage. Many spouses end up missing each other and realizing that they really do want to salvage the marriage. But this is less likely if you work against the process rather than with it. Resist the urge to call, text, or demand too much from your spouse. Give them the time and space that they’ve asked for and there’s a chance that this will work to your advantage.

If It’s Hard For You To Accept The Distance, Consider Doing Something To Make Over Reaching Very Difficult For You: During my separation, it was nearly impossible for me to give my husband the space he wanted and apparently needed. I always wanted to call, go by, or reach out to him. But every time I tried to do this, it was obvious that he was not receptive and was getting frustrated with me always being around. I understood that I needed to back off but I just couldn’t seem to.

I knew that I needed support from family and friends and I also knew that if I was in vicinity of my husband, I could not resist making a pest of myself. So I went back home to see my extended family (which was hundreds of miles away.) This was hard at first but it forced me to back off a little bit and it meant that I was with and supported by people who loved and supported me. This eventually improved my attitude and outlook and little by little, this helped to improve things with my husband, who became interested again when I wasn’t so accessible.

I know that the trial separation is difficult. But try very hard to allow it to make him miss and want you rather than making him think that he must divorce you to finally get the space he wants. Even if you don’t feel confident, try to project confidence and a belief that the separation won’t last forever and when it is over, it will reveal two people who still love and are committed to one another.

The time period when I was separated from my husband was among the most challenging in my life. But the tighter I clung, the more difficult it was. It wasn’t until I forced myself to back up that things improved. If it helps you can read the very personal story of how I saved my marriage on my blog at

What Are Some Reasons My Separated Spouse Won’t Talk To Me?

By: Leslie Cane:  One of the biggest issues that I hear about from separated spouses is about disagreements or misunderstandings regarding communication.  Typically, there is one spouse who wants much more communication and one spouse who is resistant to giving it.

Usually (but not always) the spouse who initiated the separation is the one who is resistant to talking. And the spouse who resisted the separation is the one who is trying to talk more.  In extreme cases, one of the spouse is all but refusing to speak with the other.  When you want to save your marriage, this can pose a huge problem.  Often, one spouse will try to inspire, force, or provoke the reluctant spouse into talking more.  But this often backfires in a big way. It can lead to less talking, which is the opposite of what you want.

Someone might say: “I really don’t understand why my separated husband all but refuses to talk to me.  I haven’t done anything to him.  It is not as if we have had a huge fight or anything.  Yes, he wanted the separation and he pushed hard for it.  No matter what I said or did, he was determined to move out and he did.  But he made it sound as if we were going to keep in touch with one another.  He made it sound like, even if we weren’t talking every day, we would talk sometimes.  Well, he never calls. And when I call him, he either won’t pick up or he will only be on the phone for a few seconds before telling me that he has to go.  I’ve tried stopping by his apartment, but he tells me that he is busy.  He is all but refusing to talk to me and I don’t understand it.  Is this his way of totally trying to get rid of me? I don’t understand why someone who has been married will just not talk to his spouse.  Granted, I know that we are separated, but still….”

I know how frustrating this must be.  This was one of the biggest issues during my own separation.  But the more I tried to force my separated husband to communicate, the worse it got.  Below, I will go over some common reasons for this and I will offer some suggestions on how to deal with it.

He May Be Trying To Claim His Space:  A big reason that many men pursue a separation is that they are trying to “have space,” to “think,” or to “sort things out.”  These are all vague phrases that are very common.  But what he really means is that he wants to lay low for a while and just be on his own. He may not have envisioned constant communication, so when you try to initiate this, he is going to push back by not speaking at all.  I’m not saying that this is fair, I’m just trying to give you insights on why you might be seeing this behavior.

He May Think That Talking Is Too Painful Right Now:  Sometimes, spouses keep a low profile because they think that communication is going to be too painful and too awkward.  They worry that whatever they say will be taken out of context or switched around.  Or they worry that what they say or don’t say will give you the wrong idea.  Often, they know that you are going to ask them how they feel or what their plans are and, in truth, they often don’t really know how they feel and they haven’t finalized any future plans, so they want to avoid discussions all together.

There May Be Some Underlying Resentment:  I know you’ve said that you haven’t fought or anything like that.  But sometimes, there are brewing resentments that may have lead to the separation in the first place that have caused him to clam up.  The good news is that sometimes the time and distance of the separation can put things in perspective and make his eventual opening up a bit easier eventually.

How To Respond To And Handle This: I understand that this is painful and tricky.  I tried nearly everything to get my husband to talk to me regularly.  And do you know the only real thing that worked?  Putting a stop to the effort.  I know that sounds crazy.  But it’s true. I actually got frustrated and just stopped.  I had no grand plan at the time. I just had no other words to say because they were all falling on dead ears.  So I stopped. And I felt that I had no choice but to turn my attention to other areas.  Now, I told my husband that he wouldn’t hear from me because I was going out of town.  I didn’t want him to worry.  But I did stop talking.

As soon as my husband experienced silence for a little while, he eventually started talking.  And he eventually started initiating the conversations.  I am not suggesting that you act like him and refuse to speak.  That would be silly.  But I am telling you that when I stopped pursuing communication with my husband and lived my life, he started pursuing it from me.  Maybe it was because he finally got his space, or he finally got to the place where he was ready to talk, or he was relieved that I was no longer bugging him. I’m not sure and it may have been a combination of all of these things.

But I do know that once I paused the additional conflict of trying to force my conversation on him, things changed dramatically.  It is certainly worth a try.  Because he isn’t willingly talking now anyway. You can read more about his reversal of behavior on my blog at

How To Behave When Your Husband Wants A Separation And You Don’t

By: Leslie Cane:  I often hear from wives who are devastated to learn that their husband wants a separation.  And, they often know that how they behave and react right now might have an impact on whether their marriage will survive the separation.  So, many are looking for advice on the right way to behave or to act when he’s pushing for the separation that the wife doesn’t want.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband told me two weeks ago that he wants a separation.  I have tried to do everything in my power to talk him out of it.  But nothing has worked.  At this point, it appears to me that the separation is actually going to happen. So I need to know the best way to react and to behave.  I want to set it up so that we actually make it through this and remain married.  But I’m torn.  Part of me feels that perhaps I should play hard ball with him and pretend like I’m actually looking forward to the separation.  And part of me is tempted to play the guilt card to see if I can make him feel so guilty that he won’t leave.  What is the best way to play this?” I have a definite opinion on this, which I will discuss below.

Don’t Try To Force Negative Emotions Like Guilt Or Fear:  I know that trying to make him feel guilty may feel  like a no brainer.  After all, he should feel guilty.  But, as easy and as just as this strategy might be, it so often fails.  And the reason that it fails is that people have a tendency to want to escape negative emotions.  They also want to escape the people who cause the negative emotions.  So yes, maybe you could make him feel so guilty that he would hesitate to go.  But this likely would only be a temporary reprieve.  Eventually, he’s going to start thinking about how you didn’t allow him to get what you wanted and how, yet again, you’ve held him back in some way.

The same is true of fear.  It’s normal to consider trying to make him feel jealous or to hint that perhaps you will see other people during the separation.  But, again jealousy and fear are negative emotions that often eventually work against you.  Because he will ultimately associate these negative emotions with you or the marriage.  And he will want to escape them that much more.

Why Making Him Believe That You Want To Help Him Is Often The Best Strategy:  I know that the last thing that you might feel toward your husband right now is helpful.  I understand that the last thing you want to do is to cooperate with him.  But think about it this way.  What you really want is for him to come back and for you to be able to save your marriage. In order to do this, he’s going to have to think of you and the marriage favorably. And he’s going to have to eventually believe that he is better off with you than without you.  This isn’t likely to happen if you fight him every step of the way.

However, it is likely to happen if he believes that you are the person who is going to try to help him to get what he wants.  He needs to believe that you are on his side, even if you don’t like his actions or his methods right now. Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not asking you to pretend that you actually want the separation or are happy about it.  Your husband isn’t likely to buy this anyway.  What I’m asking you to do is to consider if that if you can make him believe that you love him enough to support his doing what he needs to do to be happy in his life, then he is going to see you as his ally.  And that is more important than I can possibly stress.

Make Sure That You Are A Positive Influence In His Life And That You Elevate Him When You’re Together:  Here is a very common thing that goes wrong during a separation.  The husband feels guilty and the wife is angry. The husband is afraid that interactions will be unpleasant so he wants to avoid this. As a result, he doesn’t come around much. The wife assumes that he’s not coming around because he never wants to come back to her.  And the situation deteriorates from there.

That’s why it’s vital that he knows being around you is going to be a pleasurable experience.  That way, he has no reason to avoid you and will actually want to seek you out. And this is the way that you begin to rebuild your marriage during the separation.  People often tell me that they think it’s impossible to strengthen or rebuild your marriage while you are separated but I’m living proof that it’s not.  So to answer the question posed, I believe from my own experience that your behavior should be cooperative, upbeat, and helpful when he wants a separation and you don’t.  It’s vital that he sees you as his ally right now.

I know that it may seem as if I’m asking a lot.  But I know from my own experience that this strategy can work.  If it helps, you can read about how I carried this strategy out on my blog at

What Does It Mean When Your Husband Wants A Separation?

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear from wives whose husband has recently asked for a separation.   Many of the wives aren’t sure how the separation is going to play out or what it really means for them or their marriages.

I often hear comments like: “what does it really mean when a husband asks for a separation?  Does it mean he doesn’t love you anymore?  Does it mean that he’s trying to ease you into a divorce?  Does it mean that he’s tired of you, wants his freedom, or needs some space?  Can it mean that there’s someone else that he would rather be with?  Or that your marriage is over?  Because I’m not sure what to think about this.  I’m trying to have a good attitude and handle this is a positive way.  But I’m not how you’re expected to respond when essentially, your husband is saying that he doesn’t know if he wants to be with you anymore.”

Why your husband wants a separation (and what this means for you and your marriage) varies as much as the couple themselves as well as the issues in the marriage.  His wanting a separation could mean some of the things that the wife mentioned above, but it doesn’t have to.

In the following article, I’ll tell you some of the reasons that men give me for wanting a separation in the hopes that it helps you decide what this means for you or your own marriage.

Common Reasons Men Want A Separation And What This Means For You And Your Marriage:  I’m not a man who has asked for a separation.  In fact, I’m a woman who has been on the other side of this issue.  But I do have men in this exact situation visit my blog.  And many tell me that the separation is a way to sort out their feelings and think about things without their wife’s constant feedback and questions.

Very few of them tell me that they are asking for a separation because they eventually intend to file for divorce.  In fact, the opposite is often true.  Frankly if they had really wanted a divorce, many insist that they would have just filed for one in the beginning and saved themselves the trouble of a two step process.

Many have a specific reason for wanting a separation rather than a divorce.  Many still believe (or hope) that things can be worked out.  But, they don’t think that working things out is likely if they stay and continue to argue or face the same old issues without any change. So many see the separation as a way to calm things down so that both people can think, get some perspective, and hopefully be inspired to make the changes that are going to save the marriage or change it for the better.

Having said this, are there some men who just want out and see the separation as a quick way to accomplish this or use the separation as the first step to divorce?  I’m sure there are.  But these aren’t the men that I hear from.  And frankly, a divorce is much more straight forward and less emotionally complicated.  It’s my view that many men who ask for a separation do so because they think that there’s a chance that the marriage can be saved, but they know that drastic action is required to do so.  And they’re often very tired of having the same old arguments or not being able to work though the same old issues so they think that the best thing to do would be to take a break and see if things look differently because of it.

Do You Really Need To Know Exactly What Your Husband’s Need For A Separation Means?  Or Can You Just Trust In The Process And Know That It Means You Need To Work On (And Hopefully Improve) Your Marriage?:  I understand your need for answers.  And I know that you are probably thinking that if you figure out exactly why he wants a separation (and what this means to you) then your course of action or your best response will be so much more clear.

But, I have to tell you that often men aren’t able to give you these sorts of specific answers.  Many of us hope that they’ll give us some sort of specific list that we can check off as we address or remove the problems. But this isn’t likely to happen and continuing to approach and question your husband about this will usually make him defensive or tired of the process before it’s even begun.

When you are separated and you want to save your marriage, one of the most important things that you can do is to watch the perceptions that you are creating.  This is so important because one day your husband will need to make a decision as to whether the separation is going to end and he’s going to come home.  Or, he may decide that he’s going to stay away and continue the separation or go ahead and file for divorce.

When he makes this decision, you don’t want for him to have the mental picture of you engaging him, debating with him, and insisting on answers that he may not be able to give you.  I understand your need for answers, but sometimes it’s better to just accept the obvious, which is that he’s trying to determine if the marriage can be saved and he’s wanting to see if some time apart will improve things.

So your focus should be on exactly that.  The goal should be to allow the time to improve things so that he sees that the marriage can be saved because he still loves and can work with you.  You can’t do this if you are harping on things that are unclear to him also.  Don’t worry so much about the undefined things that lead up to this.  Focus now on the specific action that is going to get you out of this.

Handling Your Husband Wanting A Separation: I believe that the most important thing to do right now is to not let your emotions take over.  I know that this is a scary process, but keep reminding yourself that no one has filed for divorce and, if you handle the separation correctly, it can actually improve your marriage and help you save it.

As difficult as it can be to focus on the positive and to trust the process, that’s exactly what I would suggest that you do.  You have to portray the person who has the best chance of changing your husband’s mind and inspiring him to return home.  This person needs to make him feel optimistic and hopeful rather than guilty and hopeless.

So, to the extent that you can, focus on just improving the relationship and his perceptions about it.  Now, when I say improve the relationship, I don’t mean to tear it apart and dissect it to build it back up.  I mean focusing on restoring the connection of the people within it .  Because if you can do this, even when you are technically apart, everything else becomes a lot easier. And it’s not as difficult as you might think.  One positive thing that sometimes happens during a separation is that people see how much they really do miss and care about one another.  This really is what you need to remember and focus on.

It was my husband, not me, who wanted space and the separation. Unfortunately, I drew on negative emotions rather than positive ones. This seriously backfired. Thankfully, I realized my tactics were not working and changed course. Eventually, I was able to not only restore my husband’s love, get him home, and save the marriage. You can read my very personal story on my blog at

Should I Tell My Separated Spouse That I Miss Him?

By: Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from people who aren’t sure how they should be acting while they are separated from their spouse. They have often read that you shouldn’t seem desperate or appear that you are just waiting for your spouse to call or attempt to see you. In other words, to the extent that you can, you want to make sure that you are not the only one initiating the contact or doing to pursuing.

I heard from a wife who said: “we’ve been separated for about six weeks. I miss my husband terribly. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how wrong it is that he is no longer living at home. Sometimes, when we talk on the phone, the words ‘I miss you’ are right on the tip of my tongue. But I don’t say them because I don’t want to appear overly eager. Most of the time, my husband and I get along reasonably well when we interact during the separation, so I don’t think that my missing him would upset him or make him recoil. I’m just not sure if I should tell him how very much I miss him and how desperate I truly am for him to come home. What do you think?”

It’s not hard from me to put myself in this wife’s shoes. I went through a separation just like this. And in the beginning of it, I never passed up an opportunity to let my husband know how much I missed him. And as this wife suspected, it backfired on me because all it did was make my husband feel so guilty that he wanted to avoid me. Later, I learned to not be so forthcoming with how badly I was feeling and this actually did help things between us. However, I think that sometimes people take this strategy too far.

He Probably Already Knows That Despite The Circumstances, You Both Miss Each Other: Our husbands can often read us better than we think. And I’m pretty sure that both people strongly suspect that the other one is missing their lives together. It would be difficult to be married to and live with someone for as long as they had and to not feel some longing once you were living apart. So I doubt that the husband would be all that shocked if the wife stated the obvious – that she missed him.

However, I think that the real distinction can be whether you tell him that you miss him if he asks or if you continuously blurt it out when no one has even brought it up. I mean, I used to bring up the topic myself and then proceed to tell my husband I didn’t know if I could be without him for one more day. This is entirely different than confessing you are missing your spouse if they are the one who brings it up or if they ask you directly about this.

Understand That Missing Your Spouse Doesn’t Change The Issues That Lead To The Separation: One thing that never occurred to me when I was constantly telling my husband how much I missed him was how little this mattered when you looked at the big picture. And I am not trying to sound insensitive when I say this. But, my missing him didn’t change the fact that neither of us had done anything to address the issues that lead to the separation in the first place.

One day when I was going on and on about how unhappy the separation was making me, my husband said “yes, but tell me something new. Tell me what has changed.” I thought he was just trying to shut me up. It took me a while to realize what he meant. What he was trying to tell me is that me missing him didn’t do a single thing to fix our marital problems. And until those issues were resolved, nothing was going to change for him regardless of how much I missed him.

So sometimes you really have to look at the big picture and ask yourself where you are in the process. For example if you and your husband have made huge strides and have worked through your problems so well that you are beginning to date one another and become intimate again, then telling him that you miss him might actually change things because the situation would be such that it would make sense to act on this.  However, if like my case, nothing had changed, then telling him that you miss him is sort of stating the obvious and it’s likely to frustrate you both because regardless of how you both are feeling, nothing has really changed in regards to your marriage.

So to answer the question posed, it’s my opinion that if your husband asks you directly, there’s no reason to lie and claim that you don’t miss him. But if you’re going to bring up the topic yourself, make sure that you have laid some groundwork on fixing your marriage so that your words matter. It doesn’t make sense to stress how much you miss him when neither of you have addressed the outstanding issues so that you can both do something about them.

As I alluded to, I certainly wasn’t shy about telling my husband how desperately I missed him during our separation.  But it actually made things worse.  Because it only highlighted how stuck we truly were.  It wasn’t until I placed my focus on taking action rather than relying on words that things changed in our marriage and we were able to save it.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at

Why Do Men Really Leave Their Wives?

By: Leslie Cane: I think it’s very fair to say that the majority of the folks that I hear from are wives. And, of those wives, many of them are in a situation where their husband is either threatening to leave them or the marriage – or he has already left. Many of the wives are given various excuses for this – the husband needs space, he isn’t sure if he loves her anymore, he doubts his wish to remain married, he needs to evaluate his current life plan, etc.

Many of these wives have suspicions about the line that he is feeding them. I sometimes hear a comment like: “there are no less than eight wives in my office who have been left by their husbands in the last six months. The other day, we all got together and we actually compared our husband’s reasons for leaving. Many used the excuse that they needed some time to evaluate themselves and what they wanted. But many of us feel that this is the most lamest of excuses. Most of us feel that he is in a classic mid life crisis and he is just looking to trade us in for a newer model. Is this true? Because if its not, why would a man leave a really good wife who is still committed to him?”

These are questions that I have asked myself. I do have some theories. But that is all they are – my own opinion. I’m certainly not a man so I can’t say that I have experienced a middle aged man’s thought process. But I do hear from a lot of men on the verge or leaving or who have already left. Even young men express some of the same justifications for wanting to leave. Below are some of the reasons that I believe that men really leave their wives.

The Reasoning Behind A Mid Life Crisis And How They Contribute To A Man Leaving: I have had many men tell me that the mid life crisis is a myth. Perhaps the wording of it is a myth because frankly, I believe that it happens to young people too. But over and over again, I hear from or about men who get in a point in their lives where they are asking themselves “is there all this is? And if I only have so much time left, is this really the way that I want to live in my remaining time?”

By the way, women of any age can ask these questions too. Young men can ask these questions. You don’t have to be middle aged to have these concerns. But middle age is when these concerns come to the service for many people. People often tell me that a man going through this will suddenly think that he doesn’t love his wife anymore and this is why he has to leave. I don’t think that this is always true. I’ve had men tell me that they leave precisely because they do still love their wives. They hate looking at her every day and knowing that they are being unfair. And they know that they can’t accurately evaluate how they are really feeling if they are with her every single day because they will feel guilt because they care. Many will say that this is the coward’s way out and I could see that argument. But many of the men are trying to do the right thing while still staying true to themselves, at least in their own mind.

They Are In A Situation That They Feel They Just Can’t Endure Anymore: The above scenario, described a situation in which the man wasn’t really angry with his wife. There wasn’t anything wrong with his marriage. He just was wondering if it was enough at the stage of life he was in.

However, in many scenarios, the husband is dealing with something that he thinks is a potential deal breaker. Perhaps there is a serious disconnect between the spouses. Or perhaps the husband feels that his wife has done something so wrong that he will never see her or the marriage in the same way. There are many possibilities here. But in this situation, there is a definitely something that brings him leaving into motion. Perhaps the spouses no longer get along or this is a conflict that he believes just can not be worked through. Whatever the reason, he believes his life is going to be better leaving her than it will be staying with her.

They Want To See How They Would Feel Not Living With You: Many men who leave suspect that they might be happier if they were not living under the same roof as their wife. They aren’t sure that this is always going to be the case. But they know that, right now, they think it would be prudent to leave and see how this makes them feel. If they miss their wife, then they will know that their feelings or discontent were mistaken. If they don’t, then perhaps they need to think about if the marriage is working anymore. I guess you could call it an experiment of sorts.

None of these things are insurmountable. And frankly, sometimes, you don’t have to do very much to get him home. Sometimes, he realizes that he was wrong in his assumptions and he misses you. And other times, he takes his time coming to this determination or only does so once you are willing to remove some of that disconnect I talked about earlier.

My husband definitely took his time about coming home.  Part of this was my fault because I handled this very badly.  But we did eventually save our marriage and it is still going strong.  If it helps, you can read more of my story on my blog at

A Bucket List During Your Marital Separation. Is This A Good Idea?

By: Leslie Cane: Many of us struggle greatly in the beginning of our marital separation. Understandably, we are very distraught and we tend to live in our own world.  Or we might mope around our newly-quiet house, and isolate ourselves from those that care about us. This behavior is understandable. We are hurting. This “new normal” is a struggle. After a while, though, some of us get tired of living in this isolated way. It can take quite some time, but it can be normal to realize that your sitting and moping around isn’t changing or helping anything in terms of your marriage. So you vow to get out there and enjoy life again.

One way that people will try to do this is to create a bucket list. They’ll tell themselves that they are going to take advantage of this additional time on their hands and live their life. And frankly, this new realization can feel good. It can feel like you’re a flower finally popping your head out of the ground after a very long drought. But you might find that not all of your friends and family understands this. And because of the scrutiny, you may start to wonder if this is a good idea.

Someone might show this type of concern: “Honestly, I have put my life on hold for the last six months while my husband is trying to ‘find himself’ and ‘have his space.’ For the first several weeks, I did nothing but wait by the phone. Then, I tried to engage him and get him to meet with or talk to me regularly. He will sometimes go along with this, but other times he pulls back. I used to be someone who enjoyed life and lived it to its fullest, but during my separation, I became borderline-depressed. Some friends at work decided to go skydiving and begged me to come along. I did not want to come. But I could think of no good excuse. So I went. And I honestly have to say that this was the most fun that I’ve had in a while. It was honestly a blast and I was so invigorated and happy. I would like to do more of these types of things. I would like to do some traveling and maybe try new things. The problem is that some of my friends are telling me that this is a bad idea. They say that creating this ‘bucket list’ of mine is like giving up on my marriage. They say that my husband might think that I’ve gone crazy. Are they right?”

I guess it would depend on what’s on the bucket list. So long as you aren’t including getting involved with other men or destructive behavior and you are clear that you are still invested in your marriage while waiting, then I do not see the harm. I understand exactly how you feel because I too got tired of putting my life on hold during my separation. I lived this way for a very long time and I was VERY committed to saving my marriage. But even I got tired of being so lonely and depressed.

I did not make a bucket list per se. But I did vow to get myself out there and start living my life again. My activities were not nearly as exciting as skydiving. I took some classes about topics that had always interested me. I took up yoga and Pilates. I tried meditation. I did crafts that I could donate to the needy. I was present for friends who needed me. And yes, I made plenty of time for fun. And although I went out with friends, I was very careful that it was clear that I was not dating again. I still maintained contact with my husband. I just wasn’t waiting around.

Frankly, this shift actually benefited my marriage because I think it forced my husband to look at me (and the situation) differently. It became obvious that I was no longer moping around waiting for his call. I never, ever insinuated that I wanted to or would find someone else. And I doubt his thought process ever went there, but it was clear that I was no longer willing to be in limbo. I was never disrespectful about this. And it was always clear that, if I had my way, we would be married and happy. But I wasn’t going to put a stop to my life because of someone else’s whims.

I think that’s what’s really important – whether you make a bucket list or not – is to just start living your life. You are making a decision to not pause what you enjoy or to put off what is important to you simply because your marriage looks a little different. Frankly, we all are more than our marriage. There are other aspects of our life that we can give attention. This doesn’t mean that we don’t want our marriage. But it does mean that we want ourselves. And there is nothing wrong with that.

There’s more of the story on my blog at

How To Act When Your Husband Leaves

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear from wives who are emotionally devastated after their husband has left them. But, because of strategic reasons, they aren’t sure if they should show him this reality.   Many ask me if they should try to tone down their emotions or to portray themselves in a certain way in order to increase the chances of him coming home so that they can get him back or save their marriage.

I heard from a wife who said “my husband left me. There was no real warning. I knew that we were having some problems with our marriage but never in my wildest dreams did I think that he would take it this far. I came home from work to find a note on the kitchen table saying he thought we should live apart for now to evaluate our marriage and our lives. I am devastated. I am sad. And I am furious at him for doing this to us. But I’m not sure how to act.  I’m afraid to show him how mad and scared I truly am. I feel like I need to be careful of who or what to show him right now. How should a wife act after her husband leaves, especially when she wants him back?”

To me the keys words in that last question are “when she wants him back.” Because if you don’t care if you ever see him again or if you remain married to him, then it really doesn’t matter how you act. You could act in whatever way you wanted in accordance with your feelings without worrying about the repercussions.

But if you do want him back and your marriage is still very important to you, then how you act or react can be very important and can make a different in the outcome. So, if you still want to save your marriage, I’ll offer you my opinion on what I think is the best way to act. This is based on my own experience, my research, and from all the stories and experiences I hear about on my blog.

Know That If Your Husband Is Trying To Get Your Attention By Leaving, So Completely Ignoring Him Probably Isn’t In Your Best Interest: Many times, a husband leaves because he doesn’t know what else to do. Often, the two of you keep going round and round with the same old issues and problems but are not making much progress. So often, rather than continuing to talk but not really getting anywhere, a husband will leave in exasperation or in an attempt to get your attention.

But many wives will try to shift the power back toward them because they don’t want to give their husbands the satisfaction of seeing them get upset. So they will act as if they don’t care or will try to ignore the situation. But knowing that he’s trying to get your attention, ask yourself if this is really the best call or if it’s going to make an even larger problem.

In my opinion and experience, there’s always a middle ground. Of course you don’t want to go to either extreme. You don’t want to show yourself as someone who is desolate and who can’t cope. But at the same time, you don’t want to act as if you don’t care when nothing is further from the truth.

Finding The Middle Ground: Setting It Up So You Have The Best Chance Of Him Coming Back Home To Save Your Marriage: I know that it’s hard to not get carried away with your emotions. You have your pride. You have your fear. And you may well have your resentments and misunderstandings.

But if you are going to make progress so that you can eventually get him home and save your marriage, you’ll often need to put those things aside and place your focus on coming to the table with a spirit of cooperation.  Admittedly, he likely made a hasty and selfish decision that has probably hurt you deeply. But you can’t dwell on that because doing so does nothing to help your marriage or to move you forward.

Behaviors That You Want Him To See After He Leaves: Now that I’ve discussed how he’s trying to get your attention and you should, as part of your strategy, come to the table with a spirit of cooperation, let;s talk about how that looks in real life.

The wife knew that the husband would eventually contact her because they had business dealings that would have to be discussed. So when he did, she might say “it goes without saying that I’m disappointed that you left. I was shocked and devastated when I came home. But right now, what is more important is us moving forward. There’s obviously some things that are bothering you or you wouldn’t have left. I haven’t been one hundred percent happy either. So, now that the decision has been made, maybe we can both use this time to evaluate what we really want and think about how we might help each other to get what we both want.”

Hopefully you see what attitude I’m going for here. In the above dialog, the wife was able to tell the husband she was hurt and disappointed, But she didn’t dwell on it, nor did she break down and beg him to come back. But she made it clear that she wanted to work with him to find a way so that they could both be happy. And when you can set it up so that you are working with your husband rather than against him, you’re much closer to the right path.

You Matter Too: I’ve stressed that you should make it clear that you still care about your husband and want to make him happy. But at the same time, you matter too. It should not be all about what he wants and what he is thinking. You should make it very clear that you are using this time to consider what makes you happy. He should wonder (at least somewhat) how you are spending your time. And every time you are together or you speak, you should appear that you are coping, that you are reflecting on your own wishes, and that you are focused on making your life a happy one. Make sure that you are upbeat and easy to be around. This ensures that your husband wants to see more of you so that you have a continuous foundation on which to build.
Sometimes when I discuss this with wives they say that they feel as if they have to act a certain way. I guess that’s one way to look at it. But I chose to think of it this way. You are showing him the best side of yourself. You are allowing him to see the woman he fell in love with and to remember you at your best so that he misses you, wonders if he was wrong for leaving, and eventually wants to come back.

When my husband left, I admit I reacted very badly.  I cried, begged, and tried everything in the book to make my husband guilty enough to come home.  This backfired and made things worse.  It wasn’t until I understood what behaviors he needed to see that I was able to turn things around.  If it helps, you can read that very personal story on my blog at