Can I Save My Marriage If My Husband Is No Longer Attracted To Me?

By: Leslie Cane:  This is a very common concern.  Sometimes, the wives who contact me about this just suspect that their husband isn’t attracted to them anymore.  They notice that he doesn’t initiate contact or want to have sex nearly as much.  Or, he rarely (if ever) compliments them on their appearance anymore.  Sometimes, he seems almost ashamed to be seen with them.   Other times, the husband has very directly told the wife that he isn’t attracted to her anymore.  Hearing these words can be worse than having to guess or wonder.

I recently heard from a wife who was in this same situation.  She had been repeatedly asking her husband what was wrong with him because he never seemed to want to be intimate with her.  Finally after she continued to bring the topic up repeatedly, the husband blurted out that he was no longer attracted to her.  She said, in part: “he didn’t say it in a mean way.  In fact, I could tell that he didn’t want to say anything at all but he felt the need to be honest with me and to give me answers.  He said that he didn’t want to hurt me but that he was no longer attracted to me in a physical, sexual way.  He said he still loved me as his wife and as the mother of his kids but that he no longer gets a charge out of or is aroused by my body, which has changed quite a bit since we first got married.  I’ve had three kids in a very short time and I’ve put on some weight.  Also, with three small kids underfoot, I don’t spend as much time on my appearance.  So, I can’t deny that there are changes in me.  But there are changes in him too.  He’s gained weight and lost some hair and I’m still attracted to and love him.   Why can’t he do the same?  And does this mean the end of my marriage?  Can I save my marriage even though he’s no longer physically attracted to me?  I think our love and our marriage is so much deeper than this, but I know that men usually don’t feel the same way.”

I know that this likely felt like a horrible situation to this wife.  No one wants to hear their spouse say that he or she isn’t attracted to you anymore.  But, I have to tell you that, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t the biggest or most devastating marital  problem that you can have.  In my experience,  there are much more difficult issues to overcome like infidelity, differing outlooks and lifestyles, or complete incompatibility.  None of these were the issue here.  The husband was clear on the fact that he still loved his wife on the inside. He just wasn’t as excited about her outward appearance, at least right now.  I don’t mean to diminish this issue.  It absolutely hurt the wife and it had to be addressed right away.  But I didn’t feel that it was a problem that was insurmountable or had to lead to divorce.

Before You Consider Any Dramatic Changes To Your Appearance, Consider That Sometimes Attractiveness Has Less To Do With Your Looks And More To Do With An Emotional Connection And The Effort That You Put Into Your Marriage: Many wives in this situation automatically want to make drastic changes in their appearance hoping that this will automatically fix the problem.  That’s often just a temporary band aid.  Because plenty of happily married men have wives whose appearance changes over the years and yet those husbands are still very attracted to their wives.  Of course, the loyalty and the personality of the people involved will always come into play, but much of the time, attraction has as much to do with the health of the relationship and the confidence and security portrayed by those in it as it does with how you actually look.  In other words, if spouses are firmly bonded and enjoying the relationship, they are much more likely to see their spouse more positively and these perceptions  include physical attraction.

The wife admitted that she rarely had time for herself, let alone for her husband.  I suspected that if both of them gave themselves permission to prioritize their marriage as well as their own self care they might see some differences in how they felt about themselves and about one another.  Because here’s something that folks in this situation sometimes forget.  It’s not as if this husband were never attracted to his wife.  It’s not as if she didn’t find the physical attributes that he had found attractive all along. It’s just that, with the stress of trying to juggle their growing and busy family, it’s likely that his perceptions had changed.  Of course, the wife admitted that her appearance had changed but I doubted that it had changed so dramatically that there was nothing left.  And I felt that focusing on the relationship as much as her appearance could yield the best results.

If You’re Going To Tweak Your Appearance, Make Sure That You Do So Based On What Will Make You Feel Confident And Happy.  (You Should Not Change What You Like Or Who You Are Just For Someone Else:) In my view and experience, confidence and personality are both such a huge part of attraction.  Women who are confident and outgoing are seen as much more attractive than those who are doubtful and withdrawn. We’ve all known women who aren’t all that attractive to us but who have legions of admirers because of their personality and their confidence.  Of course, the wife immediately wanted to diet and change her outward appearance, but doing so without thinking very hard about it first likely wasn’t going to do much for her confidence level.  That’s why it’s so important to ask yourself what is most important and attractive to you.

The weight issue had been bothering the wife long before her husband mentioned anything so it was probably appropriate that she address this if it made her feel better about herself and prioritized her own health.  I felt that reaching out to her husband and making weight loss a journey that they took together would be a good idea. After all, he could stand to lose a few pounds himself and working out together could be time for them to reconnect.  Once the husband saw the wife’s efforts and spent more time with her, I suspected that things would improve.   As far as hair, make up and clothes go, I feel that it’s important to look your best so that you feel good about what you’re putting out there.  But I would never encourage you to look or dress in such a way that makes you uncomfortable or that you yourself don’t like and didn’t choose.

Always remember that people who are connecting regularly will likely feel more attracted to one another as the result.  What you put into something is usually an indicator of what you will get out of it.  And if you are giving and receiving affection with enthusiasm, really listening to your spouse, and participating in give in take, this is very attractive as well.

So, to answer the question posed, yes, I do feel that it’s entirely possible to save your marriage when your husband says he’s not attracted to you.  Because attraction encompasses so many different things.  And frankly, once the relationship improves and your husband sees and effort, it’s likely that the attraction will return.

When my husband and I were having problems, I suspect that my husband wasn’t all that attracted to me.   But I think that this was a reflection on the state of our marriage as much as it was my looks.  Thankfully, the relationship is where I placed my attention first and this got me the results that I wanted.  If it helps, read more of that personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

My Husband Won’t Say It’s Over But He Won’t Commit To Our Marriage Either

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear from wives who feel as if their marriage (and therefore their life) is in limbo. Often, their husband has been pulling away from them and the marriage. Sometimes, the husband has gone so far as to hint, suggest, or initiate a break or separation. The wife can assume that this means the marriage is over, but many husbands stop short at confirming this, which can be maddening for the wife.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband moved out six months ago. When he left the house, he told me he wanted some space to rediscover himself and he promised that he would go with me to counseling. That never happened. We haven’t seen each other on any regular basis. He does regularly see the kids, but I am not included in these visits. He says that he isn’t seeing anyone else, but I am not sure if I believe him. The other day, I told him that it wasn’t fair for us to live in limbo like this. I told him to be honest with me about what is going to happen with our marriage. I looked him right in the face and said ‘tell me the truth. Is it over?’ He answered by telling me that for now, it wasn’t over. So I immediately said that if it wasn’t over, did that mean he was going to commit to our marriage. I was very disappointed when he said he could not make that commitment yet. This just doesn’t make sense to me. If he stops short of saying it’s over but won’t commit to helping me save my marriage, where does this leave me?”

I really felt for this wife because I have been there myself although I did save my marriage. When you are in this situation, you feel as if your life is on hold. You don’t want to get your hopes up only to have them slashed later. But you certainly don’t want to give up on your marriage either. So, what do you do? Well, there are a couple of things, which I’ll discuss below.

Although It May Not Feel Like It Now, It Can Be Good News (And A Positive Thing) That Your Husband Won’t Say Your Marriage Is Over: I know that his refusing to say that the marriage is over while also refusing to commit to saving it might not feel like much of a victory. But believe me, it can be. Because I hear from so many wives on my blog whose husbands are being very direct and clear that their marriage is absolutely over. In fact, these husbands often give their wives no hope whatsoever that the marriage can be saved.

So as confused and as frustrated as you might be, know that at least you’re still being given some hope. Granted, he may be sending you mixed signals and you don’t know what tomorrow brings. But he has stopped short of saying that it is totally and completely over. And in my experience and opinion, this can be very significant. As I see it, you can use that as the catalyst to move forward with a positive and hopeful attitude because this will help you no matter what tomorrow is going to bring.

Working On Yourself While Waiting For Him To Make A More Definite Decision: It’s my opinion that the worst thing that you can do right now is to pressure your husband about making a quick decision. I know that you are anxious to get some conformation and move on. But your husband has repeatedly shown you that he’s not ready to give it. If you push too hard, he may just go right ahead and say it’s over even if this is not what he really wants or how he really feels just because you didn’t give him the time he needed to come to a genuine decision. You don’t want to force him into the rushed answer which might be the very one that you do not want.

When I was going through this situation, my attitude was always that as long as he wasn’t telling me that it was over or filing for divorce, there was still a chance that he might ultimately come to the decision that saved our marriage (And ultimately, this is what happened. ) I know that you feel like you are in limbo, but while you are waiting for your husband to come to the best decision, there is nothing that says that you can’t begin to move forward in a healthy way on your own.

The wife said that her husband hadn’t make good on his promise to go to counseling, but nothing said that she could not pursue this on her own. Helping yourself will provide you with some relief. If going to counseling by yourself makes you uncomfortable, there are plenty of resources (many free) that you can try in your own home that doesn’t require you to go anywhere.

And let me tell you a secret. Often, when you begin to make improvements to yourself or within your own life, this is going to improve the way that you approach and interact with your husband, which in turn is going to improve your marriage. I know that you may be skeptical of this, but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen it work. The truth is, your husband will often notice positive changes in you and will respond accordingly in his own positive way.

In my own case, I begged and pleaded with my husband to make the decision to come home. I laid on the guilt and the pressure and still, he kept delaying any commitment or decision. In fact, the more I pushed him, the less I saw or heard from him. He was avoiding me because he didn’t like dealing with my drama. Eventually I gave up this strategy because I truly didn’t have a choice. It wasn’t until I backed off and worked on myself that he began to pursue me and this made all the difference.

Since you truly are in a position where you need have the patience to give him some space, what is the harm in trying to make the best of the situation while you are doing it, especially when the very act of this can improve your changes of saving your marriage?

As I alluded to, my husband wouldn’t make a commitment to our marriage when we were separated. And the more I pressured him, the worse things got. It wasn’t until I backed up and focused on myself that things got better and we eventually saved our marriage. If it helps, you can read the whole personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

How Do I Make My Husband Love Me Again During Our Separation?

By: Leslie Cane: If the martial or trial separation was never your choice, then the chances are good that you are looking for any way to end it and to carry on with your marriage.  Many people suspect that one very efficient and effective way to end the separation is for their spouse to come to the realization that they are still in love.  This isn’t as easy as it would seem, though.  Especially since sometimes, a spouse who wants the separation in the first place has doubts about this love.  So, assuming that it might be lost, how do you get this love back when you are separated?

For example, someone might ask: “my husband and I have been separated for almost three months.  Initially, he gave me the ‘I need space line,” but as the separation went on and as I began to push him for answers, he started admitting that he wasn’t sure about his feelings for me.  One day I got really upset and I demanded to know if he still loved me. He hesitated for several minutes.  That alone let me know that I was not going to like his answer.  He finally said that he wasn’t sure, but I suspect that this was to spare my feelings more than it was to give me an honest answer.  I’m pretty sure that he thinks that he doesn’t love me anymore.  I’m equally as sure that if I could get him to love me again, our marriage might stand a chance.  But honestly, he is very cold to me all of the time.  I’ve tried to improve my appearance.  I call him every night to try to get him to connect with me.  I ask his friends what I can do.  But I still haven’t gotten the response that I want.  How do I get him to love me again?”

Often The Harder You Push, The More He Pulls Away: I know how you feel.  I asked these same questions during my own separation. But here is what I found.  The more I tried to “get” or “make” him love me, the less likely he was to respond.  In fact, the more I tried to manipulate this to my advantage, the less my husband seemed to love me at all.  At first, I tried to ignore this fact and I simply tried to push harder.  I became even more determined that no matter what, he was going to love me again.  This only frustrated us both and I honestly think that my husband responded with his own determination that he was not going to be swayed by me.

One day, I realized that my actions were actually getting me FURTHER AWAY from what I wanted.  So I decided to take a break.  I went home to spend time with my parents and friends.  The distance meant I simply couldn’t reach out to my husband as much.  And a strange thing eventually happened.  He began to take the initiative to reach out to me – for the first time in a very long time. That’s when I made a very important realization.  Once I stopped trying to manipulate my husband and I ceased the desperate behavior, things changed.

Holding Back To Gain Some Ground: I can’t tell you that when we were interacting or talking, that somewhere in the back of my mind, I wasn’t hoping that he would love me again.   Of course I was.  But I was very careful to not act on these thoughts.  I tried to keep things light between us because I knew that when I did, it was much more likely that he would ask to see me again.

I can only speak for myself.  But here is what I think most contributed to my husband loving me again.  I stopped trying to MAKE him do so.  I worked on myself while we were living apart.  I saw friends and continued to live my life.  He saw me doing this and it made a difference.  And on the occasions we did talk, I tried to make it as pleasant as it could possibly be.

Never Underestimate Time Used Correctly: Then there was the time factor. I believe that all of the above COMBINED with time, helped my cause greatly. Eventually, my husband started to miss me, which made him start to remember the positive things about me that he now couldn’t experience.  This was an important shift because when my husband thought about me, he started to think not of the negative things, but of the positive things.

This shift changed the tone of our interactions.  It suddenly became easier to have fun together and to connect.  This is when we started to gel again.  It was very tempting at this point to dissect our marriage, pick it apart, and name what was wrong.  I resisted that urge, however, because I thought that things were too delicate.  We did eventually get some professional help / self help with our marriage.  And we needed that, but I eased my way into this because I knew that early on, every positive step was fragile.  I just wanted the feelings to return – very strongly and very securely – before I tackled our problems.

I think that in order for a husband to fall back in love with you, he needs to see the woman who he initially fell in love with.  This is a big challenge when you are separated, which is why you sometimes need to step back.  It’s so tempting to show him the scared, paranoid and desperate wife who is separated.  Instead, you need to show him the happy go lucky, fun, intense woman who he dated.  At least that is what eventually worked for me.  You can read more at http://isavedmymarriage.com

My Spouse Says That I Don’t Show That I Care. I Resent His Neediness

By: Leslie Cane:  It would be wonderful if we were always on the same page with our marriage.  It would be nice if we would automatically know what our spouse needs and then be able to magically provide it, but this rarely happens.

One reason for this is that people don’t always indicate what they need or they resist any help when we offer it.  Also, most of us assume that our spouse can take care of himself and speak up if there is something that he needs help with.

So our spouse may be struggling in some way, but we don’t know the depth of it and so we take no action.  Times goes by and our spouse begins to think that we don’t show that we care, if we care at all.  In the meantime, we are completely unaware that anything is amiss.  Until one day, very hurt and frustrated, our spouse lashes out that we don’t care at all about them.  We assure them that we absolutely do care and they tell us that we never show it.

This can feel kind of like an attack or an ambush. Just how much hand holding should a grown adult need?  Someone might verbalize it this way: “my husband was passed over for a promotion.  I want to make it clear that he did not lose his job.  He simply did not get a promotion that he wanted.  He acts as if this is the end of the world.  As soon as he found out, he seemed to look at life totally differently.  He stopped working out.  He stopped going to church.  I figured that it would pass.  I told him that I was there for him and asked if there was anything that I could do.  He said that there was really nothing that anyone could do and that he knew that he just had to get over it.  So I carried on with life, as anyone would do.  Now, my husband is telling me that I never show that I care about him because I did not go out of my way for him when he was passed over for the promotion. He feels that I’m more concerned about the kids than about him. Well, maybe so.  Because the kids are CHILDREN, who need emotional support.  He is an ADULT who is acting like a baby.  I basically reminded him that I asked what I could do for him and he told me nothing.  He said that regardless, I should have shown my support by doing extra special things for him.  Now he’s saying he doesn’t know if he wants to stay married because he feels that I am uncaring.  Honestly, I don’t want to separate or divorce, but I find all of this to be a bit ridiculous.  What in the world are you supposed to do for an adult who has just had his pride hurt a little? I want to tell him to grow up and be a man.  But I don’t want to end my marriage over something so stupid.”

I do understand your frustration.  But I think that you have to look at this on two levels – on the level of an individual and on the level of your marriage.  The individual might want to rebel and do nothing, but the marriage probably needs for you to do something. I understand why you are frustrated as an individual.  You don’t understand why this one event seems to have knocked your husband off his own two feet.  But I can tell you that sometimes, especially in mid life, events like this do tend to be the first in a series of changes that can change the course of your life or your marriage.  Your husband’s words might sound like complaining to you (and I can understand why,) but it helps greatly as you can see them as a plea for help.  Because that is what I believe that they are.

A Plea For Help And A Request To Pick Him Up When He’s Fallen Down: What he really wants is for you to build him up because he’s feeling badly about himself.  And men who have this state of mind are ripe for a midlife crisis – which is certainly not what you want because you’d see even more of this type of behavior.

I think that your best bet is to make an effort to just generally try to build him up and show him a little extra affection.  It is one thing to ask after the job and to tell him that you are there for him.  But it is another thing to SHOW him that you are there for him and to make him believe that the job doesn’t matter to you and it shouldn’t to him because the two of you can have each other, your family, your marriage, and a great life without it.

He likely wants to know that you are behind him and that you are not disappointed in him.  Yes, it may mean that you have to make a bit of an extra effort when it seems silly to do so.  But he seems to need it right now. And isn’t that what one spouse is supposed to do for another? Just to be there and to love them, even if you don’t fully understand why they need it?

Pretend That He Asked For What He Truly Wants: Yes, your husband made a poor choice of words when he said that you don’t show that you care because it sounds a bit like an accusation.  He SHOULD have said, “I’m feeling really bad right now and I need you.” If it helps, simply pretend that this is what he said and act accordingly.

I believe that although you may almost be justified in ignoring what seems like an immature request, you should respond anyway.  I ignored little complaints like this from my own husband, thinking that he was being petty.  But this lead to our separation.  I would  have given anything to turn back the clock and to have paid attention, but of course it was too late for that.  I did eventually get my husband back, but things would have been so much easier if I had just listened and responded.  You can read more 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

When Can A Marriage Not Be Saved?

By: Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from people who ask me if they can give me their martial circumstances in order to get my opinion on whether or not their marriage can be saved. I hear of all sorts of situations – from a divorce being imminent, to a husband who is already involved with someone else, or infidelity so severe that the husband has had a baby with the other woman. And sometimes, one spouse is giving the other almost no hope at all that the marriage can ever be saved. It can get very discouraging and many people start to wonder if their marriage is just at the point where it can not be saved because it has reached the point of no return.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “my husband has filed for divorce and it is set to be final at the end of next week. He insists that he has moved on and that he is dating a woman who he says he might be serious about one day. This rips my heart in two because I still very much want to save my marriage. But people who care about me tell me that I am stupid to hold out hope. They tell me to open my eyes because my marriage can not possibly be saved. When can a marriage not be saved? When has it reached the point of no return?”

I have to disclose that I might be the wrong person for the question, at least in the eyes of some, because I’m not very objective on this topic. I was so stubborn about giving up on my marriage that I know my friends were truly worried about me. But in the end, I did get my husband back. I have seen marriages be saved from the brink of and even after divorce. I’ve seen people get back together when they swore that hated one another worse than anyone else alive. I’ve seen the husband leave the other woman who he swore was “the one” once he finally came back to his senses and returned to his wife. So admittedly, there are very few marriages that I think can not be saved. But below, I’ll tell you when I think it’s very tough to save a marriage (and also when it’s next to impossible.)

It Can Be More Difficult To Save Your Marriage When Your Spouse Is Indifferent, Emotionally Distant, Or Believes That They Have “Moved On”: Sometimes, you are dealing with someone who truly believes that the marriage has long been over. And when they express this, they’re almost devoid of emotion because for them, the time to be emotional has long sense been over. There’s little emotional turmoil left for them because they either feel that the marriage reached it’s natural end, or at the very least, they believe that they did everything in their power to save it.

They aren’t angry. They aren’t indignant. But they are often very indifferent. It’s not going to make them jealous if you go out with someone else, because in their minds and in their hearts, the marriage is no longer something that they are truly a part of anymore.

That’s why when people tell me that their spouse is spewing hateful words and phrases at them or even saying or doing mean things, I don’t necessarily jump to the conclusion that this is a bad thing. Although I certainly don’t condone negative behavior, saying hurtful things, or fighting for the sake of it, sometimes the presence of strong emotions can be indicative of a person who still cares enough to feel emotion. I would always rather see extreme anger than quiet indifference. And by saying that, I don’t mean to imply that an indifferent marriage or spouse is the point of no return. This isn’t always the case, but it is more difficult to save a marriage with an indifferent spouse.

Another difficulty is when your spouse has changed so profoundly that you’re no longer on a familiar playing field. Sometimes you see this with a spouse who is ill or has undergone some drastic changes in their life that has affected them on a deep emotional or even a physical level. As a result, they have profoundly changed from the inside out and so reaching them is going to be more difficult for you because you are in uncharted waters. This too doesn’t mean that the marriage can not be saved. It just means that it’s more difficult.

And of course, when you bring the finality of divorce or another person into the picture, these things can muddy the waters as well. But with those things said, I’ve seen divorced couples and couples who were engaged or married to other people eventually get remarried,so I never rule this out.

When It Can Be Nearly Impossible To Save Your Marriage: The only time I can think of when I say for sure that a marriage probably can not be saved (unless you believe in a reconciliation in the after life) is the situation where the spouses are having difficulty with their marriage and one spouse dies during the process. This is a heart breaking tragedy and, since you only have one piece of the puzzle, you are kind of stuck where you are. Of course, I have had people tell me that they know they will meet their other half again one day and I think that this is truly the attitude that you need to have when you’re trying to save your marriage against all odds, regardless of your situation.

As you can probably see, I’m very stubborn and believe that there’s only a very few situations where the marriage absolutely can not be saved. But I’m an optimist in that regard. However, realistically, I do realize that eventually, both sides have to agree upon the state of the marriage and both have to eventually cooperate for the marriage to be saved.

There were many people (including my husband) who felt my marriage could not be saved, but I suppose I’ve proven them all wrong. It wasn’t always easy and I realize that this isn’t going to be possible in every marriage. But I’m glad I didn’t give up. If you think it will help, you’re welcome to read the whole story on how I saved my marriage at http://isavedmymarriage.com

If My Husband Won’t Talk About His Feelings During Our Separation, Does This Mean Our Marriage Is Over?

By: Leslie Cane:  I sometimes hear from people who are worried about their spouse’s lack of transparency during their trial separation. Often, they were really hoping to get some insights into how their spouse might be feeling and whether these same feelings are good or bad for the future of their marriage.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband and I separated about eight and a half weeks ago. When he came to me and told me that he wanted to separate, he represented it as something that wasn’t that big of a deal. He made it sound like he just wanted some time to sort out himself in mid life and he indicated that he would be in close contact the whole time. He even made it sound somewhat romantic, like we could date one another once again. So I assumed that he was going to be up front and open with me the whole time. This isn’t what has happened. At first, we saw each other regularly, but that too has tapered off. We only see each other sporadically and when we do, we talk about everything but our marriage. I am very open and honest about the fact that I miss my husband. I am more than willing to talk about my feelings. But he doesn’t share this sentiment. He seems to want to keep everything very private. I will ask him what he is feeling or thinking and he says that he really doesn’t have anything to share right now. I’m afraid that this is a very bad sign. If he won’t share what he is thinking and feeling, how are we going to save our marriage? If he is reluctant to talk about his feelings, does this mean that our marriage is over?” I will try to address this concern in the following article.

Why I Don’t Think That A Separated Husband’s Reluctance To Discuss His Feelings Means That Your Marriage Is Over: In a perfect world, both spouses would be equally willing to share their feelings and to do whatever was necessary to make quick progress so that they could end the separation and save their marriage. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case in real life.  unfortunately, most people do not feel the same things or have the same thoughts or wishes at the same time. So as frustrating as it is, you may be working on a different schedule or time line. You may be ahead of him in some realizations and you may have easier access to your feelings or be more open about them. This is very common. Men tend to be more closed off with their feelings and are therefore less likely to discuss them.

He May Have Valid Reasons For Not Being Very Open Right Now: There are several legitimate reasons that he may not be sharing his feelings right now. It is possible that he is feeling very conflicted and he has not yet had time to sort this out. He may not have anything definitive to share with you. Or, he may be feeling things that might be confusing to him or troubling to you but he knows that his feelings might change so he doesn’t want to be premature and upset you if it’s unnecessary.

Another possibility is that he may not have a decent handle on his feelings. It’s very normal to feel conflicting feelings, especially in the beginning. This can make you feel confused and give you the sense that you don’t know what you’re feeling. So, instead of sharing this confusion or bringing someone else into the mix, sometimes your husband thinks that it’s better to just wait until he has something meaningful and definite to share. Besides, he usually knows that you are going to analyze everything that he tells you and he may not want for you to read too much into feelings that just aren’t clear.

Sometimes, You Just Have To Put All Feelings Aside, At Least Initially: I know that it is probably your initial inclination to think that the focus should be on both of your feelings right now. After all, you figure, if you both love one another and want the marriage enough, then things should automatically fall into place. But sometimes, when you are separated, the feelings are not as important as the actions. But sometimes when you are separated, this thinking is backward. Sometimes, you have to put aside the emotions and focus on the results. Because the truth is, this is a volatile time when your emotions might be all over the place. You may feel differently when the situation isn’t quite so painful or when cooler heads prevail. So it can help to just set everything aside except for where you want to go from here.

The wife wanted to save her marriage. That was her primary goal. Yes, it would have been wonderful if her husband had cooperated and was open about whatever he was feeling. But that wasn’t the reality. And assuming the worst or pressuring him to spill his feelings when he’s shown reluctance isn’t really in alignment with this goal.

I know that you want him to tell you that he’s feeling very favorable feelings. You want and need this reassurance and I don’t blame you because I know how this feels. But if he’s not willing or ready to share, it’s my experience that it is best not to press. He will probably share his feelings in his own time. And believe it or not, this isn’t necessary to your saving your marriage. You can continue to try to make small improvements as the situation allows. The two of you don’t need to share your deepest, darkest feelings in order to start interacting more positively. And sometimes, you have to settle for the small victories. So to answer the question posed, I don’t think a separated husband’s reluctance to share his feelings means that your marriage is over.

My husband didn’t share much with me early on in our separation and of course this upset me. But our marriage certainly wasn’t over, although it felt that way sometimes. I’m glad I didn’t stop trying to improve things when my husband wasn’t really cooperating in the way that I wanted him to.  Sometimes, you just have to keep going so that you don’t give up hope.  If it helps, you can read more of my story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Things To Do During A Trial Separation To Save Your Marriage

By Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from panicked folks who worry that their trial separation is going to mean that they can’t save their marriage. They are often concerned that since they are no longer living with their spouse, they aren’t going to have the access required to improve their marriage enough so that it can be saved.

Common concerns are things like: “I didn’t want to separate from my husband, but he insisted. He says he feels like we need some time apart. I have tried to reason with him, but nothing has worked. He has assured me that he has no plans to file for divorce. He says that we should just wait and see how things go between us during the separation before we make any decisions about our marriage. The thing is, I want to save my marriage during the separation. The idea of losing my husband is not one that I can face. Is there anything that I can do to save my marriage during the separation?”

It’s my opinion and belief that there is plenty that you can do. I believe that my actions during my own separation ultimately saved my marriage. Unfortunately, I didn’t always do or say the right things, especially in the beginning. But over time I was able to try and tweak some strategies that ultimately made some very big improvements. I will go over some of those things below.

Allow Your Spouse The Chance To Miss You: I find that this is probably the most common mistake that people make. It’s absolutely normal to panic and to be affected by fear when you are separated. You expect and fear the worst. And this can inspire you to do things that hurt you rather than help you. Specifically, during this time, people have the tendency to cling very tightly to the spouse who had told them very clearly that he needs space.

I am certainly not saying that you should ignore your spouse or not make yourself available when your spouse is reaching out to you. But so often, people call, text, or come by constantly so that they are not giving their spouse the time that he has asked for and they are not giving their spouse the opportunity to miss them. The most common reason that people give for beginning to change their mind about the separation is that they found that they missed their spouse and that they realized that they took their spouse for granted or that they should have been more flexible or accommodating.

This process can make your spouse much more open minded and patient when it comes to working through your problems. But if you don’t give your spouse the opportunity to miss you, then you may miss out on the positive improvements that this process can bring about.  If you fear that you are coming on too strong during separation, back off a bit and see if things brings any improvement.

Take This Time To Work On Yourself And To Reevaluate The Issues That Divided You: Not all spouses will agree to couples counseling during the separation. And many spouses who want to save their marriage become very discouraged about this. But, nothing says that you can not go to individual counseling or do some individual work if you think that this would benefit you. Often, the separation gives you the time and the introspection that you might not otherwise have had. Take the opportunity to really examine your issues more objectively and ask yourself what you can do differently this time in order to get a different result. It’s very common for people to become more open minded and flexible during the separation because the distance has given them a little more objectivity that they didn’t otherwise have.

And working on yourself and becoming as healthy and as strong as you can be as an individual is only going to help your marriage. There is no need to put your own healing on hold or to wait to see what is going to happen with your marriage. Self work is always going to benefit you and you probably have more time on your hands right now.

Allow Your Spouse To See That You Can Still Connect In A Very Positive Way: As I alluded to before, fear can cause you to act in ways that you know are destructive and unnecessary. Fear can bring out the worst in you when you know deep down that you should instead be putting forward your best. So many couples find themselves actually arguing just as much or more during the separation because of the fear and uncertainty. Please do not fall into this trap. It’s so important that you show your spouse that not only can the two of you get along, but you can connect in a meaningful and light hearted way.

Always show your spouse someone who is cooperative, light hearted, and loving, especially when you are separated. Because your spouse is often trying to evaluate if there are any romantic feelings or if the spark is still there. But if you argue with your spouse every time you interact or if you behave in an abrasive or accusatory manner, then your spouse isn’t able to see that the feelings are still there. Alternatively, if you allow your spouse to see the fun loving, sweet, and exciting person that he fell in love with, then he is just naturally going to consider maintaining the marriage in order to get that back.

I am not saying that you have to act insincere or to portray things that you aren’t actually feeling. Your spouse would be able to see through this anyway. But what I am encouraging you to do is to bring forth the most positive thinking attitude that you possibly can. Because people tend to think favorably toward those who make them feel positively while they pull away from those who invoke negativity. You don’t want for your husband to think you bring him down every time you communicate. Because once this happens, he will start to avoid you. Instead, you want him to get a lift every time that you are together so that he is willing to spend more and more time together so that you can rediscover one another.

I’d like to make one more point. Many people will try to solve their major issues while they are separated. This is an important consideration, but I would suggest that you attempt this very gradually. Often, when your marriage is on shaky ground, it can’t withstand you putting it under a microscope and constantly drawing your spouse’s attention to your problems. My suggestion would be to only focus on your problems as your progress allows.

I hope I’ve shown you that you can save your marriage during your separation.  But in order to do so you will often need to be very deliberate with your actions.  It took me too long to learn this, but I did learn it.  And this knowledge enabled me to save my marriage.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

How Can I Attract My Husband Back To Me While We’re Separated?

By: Leslie Cane:  I often hear from wives who are very anxious to get their husbands back during a trial or marital separation. Often, they truly are doing the best that they can. They are trying to stay strong and trust the process. But they usually miss their husbands terribly and they are terrified that a divorce in the their future.

I heard from a wife who said “my husband and I have been separated for about five weeks. He doesn’t have much contact with me. He does see the kids regularly but he seems to want to avoid me. Once after the kids had their sports games, we went out to dinner. We all seemed to have a good time and we laughed a lot. I thought that might lead to him wanting to see me more but it hasn’t. I have called him a couple of times trying to take the initiative but he has pretty much shut me down. I don’t know what to do. He used to be so attracted to me and now it seems like he wants nothing to do with me. And yet, I can’t forget that night at the restaurant. I know he was flirting with me. I caught him checking me out. I don’t know how he can turn it off and on like that. How can I attract him to me while we’re separated and when I don’t see him very often?”

I could almost feel this wife’s desperation and not just because she was very descriptive. I know what she was feeling because I have been there myself. I was that same wife who was trying so hard to attract her separated husband and get his attention. But the unfortunate truth is that the harder I tried, the less interested he was. The more I tried to pull him toward me, the more rejected I felt. And, it wasn’t until I literally almost threw up my hands and backed away that he suddenly became interested (and dare I say attracted) to me again. But it was a long process that I made harder by refusing to see what was right in front of me. I will explain more below.

See If You Can Manufacture Accidental Run Ins That Are Not Overly Obvious: Before you throw up your hands like I did (which actually ended up working,) see if you can manufacture a casual meeting that hopefully goes well and leads to more. For example, in this scenario the wife knew with everything she had that she and her husband clicked and flirted when they went out to eat as a family. But, this hadn’t been replicated. So I felt it was worth a try to see if she could recreate this somehow. She had been waiting for her husband to approach her and he hadn’t. And, she had taken the initiate but been rejected. So it was worth a try to see if she could manufacture a chance meeting. Perhaps she could accidentally run into him somewhere that she knew he was going. Or she could invite him to one of her kids’ events with the hopes that another restaurant outing would follow.

But no matter how you go about this, make it seem easy and unplanned. Don’t appear nervous or show that this is all you have been thinking about for days. Please believe me when I say that it is vitally important that you appear to be busy and coping. A depressed, desperate person who is placing a lot of pressure on her husband is not going to be seen as attractive as someone who is doing her best to remain busy, true to herself, and remaining as positive as she possibly can. Appear as relaxed as you can muster. Laugh. Make light of the conversation. Show him the playful woman he used to love. Make sure that you look your best but don’t appear that you are trying too hard or got all dressed up especially for an occasion that should be unplanned and casual. If it’s clear that you planned it all along, the results are probably not going to be what you are hoping for.

If All Else Fails, Try Backing Away To Pique His Curiosity: In my own situation, it became clear that my husband wasn’t particularly interested or attracted to me while I was pursuing him. Eventually, I felt so badly about the situation that I was on the verge of giving up. High school friends and family urged me to come back to my hometown for some TLC. I finally relented and went back for a visit. But I didn’t tell my husband I was going because I didn’t think he would care.

Frankly, going home was exactly what I needed. I came back refreshed, not nearly as frantic, and more accepting of whatever should happen with my husband. I decided to just see what was going to unfold and to try not to push so hard. I didn’t have high hopes for this new strategy, but eventually it worked quite well. My husband had wondered where I went. He wondered why suddenly I was so silent. He may have wondered if there was someone else. Unbelievably, he started to reach out to me. I had been reading a lot about not trying too hard and the laws of attraction. So although I was absolutely dying to fall into his arms and beg him to come back, I held off and tried to let him take the initiative some. This helped tremendously and I have no doubt that this made me appear much more attractive to him. When I suddenly wasn’t trying so hard and was no longer measuring my day by his response to me, suddenly everything I did worked so much better.

Some of my friends told me I was playing games and maybe I was. But I wasn’t overtly lying to my husband or acting maliciously. I was just thinking of basic human nature and the simple law of supply and demand. Sometimes, the most effective way to get your husband more attracted to you when you’re separated is to not try so hard and to let it come to you naturally.

As I alluded to, backing off a little bit and making my husband wonder actually made me more attractive to him during our separation. It wasn’t until I began this process that I started seeing vast improvements in our relationship and we eventually saved our marriage. If it helps, you can read that very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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/