What Is My Husband Thinking While We’re Separated?

By: Leslie Cane:  I often hear from wives who wish that they could read their husband’s mind during a marital separation.   Often, he’s not being very transparent about his thought process and this is very frustrating for wives.

Common comments are something like: “my husband and I have been separated for a couple of months, but he’s not very forthcoming about what he’s thinking and how he’s feeling.   Some days, he is receptive to me and some days, he’s not.  So I can’t tell if he’s feeling particularly loving toward me or if he’s feeling like he might want to move back in and try to save our marriage.  When I ask him what he’s feeling or experiencing, he tells me that he thinks different things at different times and that, when he comes to a decision, he will share it with me.  This is breaking my heart.  I have no problem telling him how I feel.  Why can’t he do the same?  What do husbands think about while they are separated from their wives?”  I’ll try to answer these questions as best as I can in the following article.

Many Men Have Very Varied And Conflicted Thoughts During The Separation (Especially In The Beginning.) Obviously, I’m not a man who is going through a separation.  But I do dialog with many of them on my blog.   And many share a good deal of varied and conflicting feeling.  On day, they may miss their wife and wonder if maybe they should return home and put everything into saving their marriage.  And then the next day, they might actually enjoy feeling single or feel overwhelmed by all of your marital problems.    So, some of them are telling you the truth when they admit their they feelings can swing from one extreme to the other.

To be honest, these swinging feelings are sometimes nothing new.  In fact, many men want the separation as a way to sort out these fluctuating feelings.  The hope is that once they have some distance from their wife and their marriage, it will be easier for them to tell which feelings are the most sincere and frequent.  This doesn’t always become evident in the beginning of the process.  Many men feel a good deal of guilt about leaving and many find that they miss their wives more than they suspected that they would.

On the flip side of the coin, some men do find that they like the single life.  This can particularly be true if your marriage was a volatile one in which there was always a lot of conflict or fighting.  Sometimes, once they have a little peace and quiet, they find that they like it and they begin to lean toward making the separation more permanent or they consider pursuing a divorce.  Also, some husbands meet someone else during the separation and some of them can feel that it’s easier to just start over with someone new than to revive a marriage that might be damaged beyond repair.

Of course, I have no way of knowing what your own husband is thinking right now.   He may fall into either of these categories or neither one.  He may even be somewhere in the middle. Sometimes, he will give you little hints along the way. And other times, he might contradict himself, which I’ll discuss right now.

Tips For Deciphering Your Husband’s Hints As To What He Might Be Thinking During The Separation: As I alluded to, it’s important to understand that your husband might be experiencing a lot of different types of feelings.  That’s why you might be getting some mixed signals.  In general though, if he is receptive to seeing you on regular basis and things are going well when you are together, then you can reasonably sure that his thoughts about you or the marriage are positive.  But if he’s putting off spending time with you or always seems to be making excuses to avoid you, then the chances are good that there are some negative thoughts or doubts going through his mind.  And, if you’re seeing a combination of the two (which isn’t at all uncommon) then he’s probably experiencing those fluctuating feelings we’re been talking about.

Insights For Trying To Make Sure His Feelings Are As Positive As Possible During Your Separation: You can’t control your husband’s thoughts and feelings.  But you can attempt to set it up so that you have the best chance of him thinking positively of you.  Every time that you speak to one another or are together, try to be as cheerful as you possibly can.  Try to make sure that the time you spend together is pleasurable for both of you.  And, this might include not leaning on him about his feelings.  If he wants to share them, that’s great.  But if he’s reluctant to do so, don’t push too hard because if you do, then he might hesitate to spend time with you as often.   By being approachable and agreeable,  you decrease the odds that his feelings are negative ones and increase the chances that they are positive.

So to answer the question posed, men have varying feelings while they are separated from you.  But it is to your benefit to try to set up the circumstances that encourage positive thoughts and experiences.  It’s in your best interest to worry more about setting up positive circumstances and interactions instead of continuing to pressure him or question him about feelings about which he may changing anyway.

I do understand where you are because I constantly bugged my own husband about his feelings when we were separated.  I just could not help myself.   I needed to know if my marriage even stood a chance.  Unfortunately, my pestering him too much made him want to avoid me.  And so I had a much harder time saving our marriage in the end.  It wasn’t until I realized my mistake that I began to turn things around.  If it helps, you can read about the strategies that actually worked on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

 

What’s The Best Way To Make A Husband Miss You And Want To Come Home?

By: Leslie Cane: Of all of the strategies that I’m asked about by wives attempting to lure their husbands back home, making him miss you so much that he can’t wait to return is the most common.  Wives often aren’t sure quite how to pull this off without appearing too desperate or obvious.  I heard from a wife who said: “my husband left about three weeks ago.  He said that he just wasn’t happy and he needed time to evaluate how he wants to proceed with our marriage.  Needless to say, I was heartbroken but no matter what I did or said, he indicated that he was leaving anyway and that there was no way to change his mind.  We do speak somewhat regularly.  He checks in with me, but he doesn’t give me any hints about what he is thinking.  And he never mentions coming home.  Frankly, this is what is most important to me.  I want him home where he belongs.  I also try to hint around to see if he will say that he misses me and wants to come home, but he never does.  How do he make him miss me more than he does? How do I make him miss me enough that he wants to come home.”

I had a definite and very strong opinion on this because I was in this exact situation and I felt very strongly that if I could make my separated husband miss me and yearn for me enough, he would finally come home.  But I found through my own experience that the harder I tried, the more he resisted.  I did eventually get him to miss me quite a bit, but it wasn’t until I almost gave up my very obvious plan that things turned around.  It’s my experience that actively trying to make him miss you will often accomplish just the opposite.  But taking a very unconventional approach often works much better.  I will explain more below.

Often, If It’s Obvious You’re Trying To Make Him Miss You, He Will Be less Likely To Do So:  Many wives will do their best to make themselves appear attractive to their husband.  Some will even attempt to make him feel jealous or will hint that other men are trying to pursue them.  Still other wives will try to elicit guilt or they will make all sorts of promises as to what positive things he can expect if he just comes home.  The common denominator between all of these potentially failing plans is that the husband is very likely to know that he’s being manipulated.  As such, he is going to be tempted to doubt the validity of what you are trying to present to him.  And these doubts may well keep him from missing you all that much because he is confused as to what is real and what is not.

I know that this can be very frustrating.  And it can leave you wondering that if you’re not supposed to actively try to get him to miss you , then where does that leave you.  I’ll cover that topic now.

The Better Alternative.  How To Make Him Miss You While Not Making Your Plan Obvious: If you lean on him to see what he’s missing or are constantly asking him how he’s feeling about you, then you’re only assuring his resistance.  These questions make him uncomfortable so he may well think that it is in his best interest to avoid you.   And, while you may know that you shouldn’t try so hard, you often won’t be sure what you should do as an alliterative.  Well, it’s my experience that once you stop trying so hard, you will actually gain some ground.  As strange as it sounds, once you begin to live your life without the sense of desperation or panic that comes with making your sole focus getting him home, he will often notice this and eventually may miss you more than he might have if missing you was your sole focus.

I understand that this might not be what you want to hear.  But I would rather tell you something that will actually help you get him back home than something that sounds good but is essentially ineffective.  I literally had almost given up on my husband once he began to suddenly take notice.  And frankly, he began to take notice (and to miss me) because I suddenly backed away.  He could not help but notice that suddenly I was no longer constantly calling or asking about his feelings or wondering aloud how much he missed me.  I will very openly admit that this wasn’t my intention in the beginning.  It wasn’t a conscious or calculating plan.  I became so tired of not getting the results that I wanted that I took a break. And this is what made the difference.  Once I took that break, the silence had him questioning what I was up to.  And this is when he started to miss me.  Had I known that the end result would have been so easy, I would not have wasted all the time that I did.

So to answer the question posed, it’s my experience  that the best way to get him to miss you and to want to come home is to not try so hard and so obviously to accomplish this.  Instead, live yourself.  Remain open to your husband.  Remain positive and friendly.  But don’t make your sole purpose in life to get him to miss you or to get him to come home.  Instead, make it clear that while you will be there when he comes to a decision, you no longer plan to put things on hold while you are waiting.  I know that this might sound counter intuitive, but the success rate of this plan is much higher than more obvious plans.

As I said, I sort of lucked into this plan.  I spent months trying to get my husband home with no success whatsoever.  In fact, my attempts to get him home only made things worse between us.  It wasn’t until I took a break that he began to literally pursue me.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog 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

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 http://isavedmymarriage.com

How Do I Need To Act During A Trial Separation If I Want My Husband Back

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear from people who have only agreed to a trial separation because it’s what their spouse either wanted or insisted upon.  They don’t have any intention of making the separation permanent or of allowing things to deteriorate so badly that the separation eventually leads to a divorce.  But, they know that their wishes won’t just automatically become reality unless they take control and make it happen.  To that end, they often want to know how they should act during the separation in order to have the best chance for a reconciliation.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband has been wanting a divorce for the last seven months.  After a lot of discussion and pleading, I finally talked him into a trial separation instead. My greatest wish is to save my marriage because I still love this man and I know that having an intact family is the best thing for my children.  But, since he’s left, things have gotten even worse between us.  He says that he feels like I pressure him too much and that I try to keep tabs on him.  Of course I want to communicate with him regularly because I’m fighting to keep him.  But my friends say that my strategy is all wrong.  They say that I need to give him space and not be so suffocating.  Are they right?  How do I need to act in order to have the best chance of getting him back?”

I understood the wife’s actions.  Her descriptions reminded me so much of how I acted during my own separation.  You want to hold onto your husband so badly.  You want to know that he misses you as much as you miss him.  And you feel as if stepping back even slightly would allow him to slip straight through your fingers.  But, this wife’s friends did have a valid point.  Often, the more you cling to your separated husband, the less he wants to allow you access to him because he feels pressured.  And very often, he envisioned having some space during the separation.  And when he doesn’t get this, he can blame you and take his space by force by distancing himself from you.  This isn’t what you want.  So below, I’ll offer some tips on what I think is the best way to act during a separation when your primary goal is to get him back.

Don’t Act As If You’ve Already Lost Him:  When separated wives tell me that they want to get their husbands back, I often remind them that he is still their husband.  He hasn’t yet left the marriage because there has been no divorce.  Yes, being separated is scary and it certainly doesn’t imply that you are blissfully married without any problems.  But it doesn’t mean that a divorce is imminent either.  Many separated couples do reconcile and avoid divorce.

It’s very common for wives to panic in this situation and act as if they have already lost their husband.  This contributes to clinging which can make an already difficult situation even worse.  So ask yourself if you’re acting like you’ve already lost him.  If you are, now is the time to change that and to portray some confidence even if you have to force yourself to do so.  Often, your husband is going to follow your lead, even if neither of you realize that he is doing so.

If you give off the vibe that things are just dreadful and you are just weeks away from one of you filing for a divorce, then whether you intend to or not, you make this more likely.  But if appear to be confident that it will all work out because you are determined to make it so and you know that the two of you really do love one another, then you make a reconciliation more likely.

Don’t Look At It As Acting:  When wives ask me how they are supposed to “act” in order to make something happen, I have to remind them not to see any part of this process as acting.  The last thing that you want to do is to allow your husband to think that you are manipulating him.  Any actions that you take and any feelings that you display must appear to be absolutely genuine.

If you think of this as acting, you may be sabotaging yourself.  You want to show your husband your true, authentic self when that self is at it’s very best.  If you feel as if you are acting, then take a step back and reevaluate what you are trying to portray. You always want to make sure that who he sees is you and not a role that you are playing.  Because if he even suspects that you are not being genuine, then he will not be even remotely receptive to your words or actions.

Don’t Create Additional Drama.  Be As Approachable As Possible:  I understand that there is a lot of uncertainty and fear right now.  So, I do completely get that it’s hard to be upbeat and approachable.  And yet, that’s exactly what I am suggesting.  Because if every time you and your husband are together you debate tough issues or try to make him come home, he’s just going to start to avoid you.  You’ll start to hear excuses as to why he’s busy or can’t communicate with you.  And the face to face meetings may become rare.

In order to save your marriage, you need to gain some ground.  And in order to do that, you must spend quality and enjoyable time with your husband.  To make that happen, you are going to need to be approachable and agreeable.  This goes back to being the best version of yourself.  Always try to be positive and upbeat so that he enjoys your time together.   If you do this correctly, he will naturally want to continue interacting with you and this should naturally lead to an improvement in your marriage.

So to answer the question posed, you shouldn’t see this in terms of “acting” in a certain way.  But you should take a very positive and open approach that should make your interactions feel effortless instead of forced.

I learned this first hand during my own separation.  At first, I acted out of fear and desperation and this almost costs me my marriage.  I had to take a huge step back in order to truly make up for my past mistakes.  This wasn’t easy, but it made all of the difference and it allowed for us to reconcile.  If it helps, you can read more my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Is A Husband’s Lack Of Interest Of Helping Out At Home An Indication That He Doesn’t Care About His Wife Or His Marriage?

There are certain behaviors that wives start to notice when they suspect that their husband has begun to check out of their marriage. One example is when he is no longer interested in making sure that the home runs smoothly. Perhaps he used to take an interest in household maintenance (even if he wasn’t necessarily a handyman) because he cared about his family’s safety and wellbeing. But as he seems to be loosing interest in his marriage, his interest in helping out around the house seems to be waning as well.  Because this can appear to be a pretty drastic change in his behavior, the wife can’t help but wonder if it is anything to be concerned about. Sometimes she will ask him about it and he will downplay his behavior or accuse her or seeing a problem where none actually exists.

Here is an example. A wife might notice that the husband who used to take pride in his yard and the exterior of his home now seems to care less. The wife wonders if this sudden disinterest reflects on his feelings about her, the marriage, and his family. She might say: “for all of our marriage, my husband and I had an agreement that I would take care of the inside of the house and he would take care of the outside. We took pride in our home because it is where our kids grew up.  Our home often got awarded “yard of the month” in our neighborhood. We were happy and although no one wants to spend their hard-earned weekends cleaning or doing maintenance, we tried to get it out of the way as soon as possible so that we could enjoy the rest of our time together. But we did take pride in our home and made it a priority. Lately though, my husband has stopped doing his part. The paint on our home is peeling. He hired a teenage kid to do the yard, but the kid does the minimum that he can get away with so now there are weeds. The thing is, it’s not that my husband physically can not do the work. He goes and works out and exercises. It is also not that he doesn’t have time. He just seems to have lost interest in our home and his part in it. Also, some of the stairs on the porch have become wobbly. But when I mention this to him, he says that it’s just normal wear and tear and I should not worry. If I had mentioned this five years ago, he would have taken care of it because he wanted me to be safe and happy. Now, he acts as if he doesn’t care about our safety or take pride in our home anymore. This is one example that I can give, but I notice that he generally just does not appear to be invested in things having to do with our family and marriage. For example, we used to always have an annual Christmas party for our family and friends, but now he’s not interested in that anymore. My sister says that I am just wanting to knick pick about things, but I’m not sure that this is true. Things just feel a bit off and different. Am I wrong to be concerned about this?”

I don’t think that you are wrong. Often, it’s not necessarily about the household chores or the specific behaviors, it’s just about the feeling or vibe you get when you see him distancing himself from you and the care of the family / household. I know exactly what you mean. Before my husband actually moved out, he acted much differently toward me or things related to me. He no longer wanted to discuss long-term things like vacations or money matters. He stopped doing long-term maintenance type of things. And I believe that this is because he was no longer looking at the long-term in our marriage because he was thinking about separating and he did not know how things were going to turn out between us.

With that said, I know many couples who happily hire out their household chores. They can afford to do this and would rather spend their spare time doing other things. They are happily married and it’s just not an issue. The difference, though, is that this is how they mutually chose to approach it. The behavior did not change. Since your husband, like mine, used to be invested in these things and began to change, then I would potentially be concerned about that. To be fair, people do change their preferences over time. My husband now takes our cars for an oil change and service rather than doing it himself because he figured out that he really wasn’t saving much money by doing it himself. However, he takes them regularly to be services to ensure our safety, so I am not concerned.

I believe that the real issue is whether you feel that his lack of interest in the household is because his interest in your well being and safety is decreasing. If this is the case, then yes, I think it’s cause for concern. Anytime a husband begins to check out, I get concerned just because I have some baggage from my own separation.  I saw the same types of behaviors and I just tried to ignore them, with disastrous results.  Perhaps you can’t force him to do household things again if he is happy hiring it out, but I don’t think it would hurt to try to look hard at your marriage and determine if there is any way that you could improve it or restore the intimacy. Because if you can do that, you might see his interest in the house increase again. Ask yourself if there are any concrete marital issues that you can address. In my opinion, a husband who is invested in his marriage wants to ensure his wife’s and family’s safety. There are certainly caring and loving husbands who hire these tasks out. There is nothing wrong with that. The important factor is the concern that the work is done, and done right. If it seems that your husband doesn’t care if the work is done or not, this might indicate that his level of investment is waning, but you would be in a better position to evaluate this than I am.

I would strongly suggest addressing your concerns as soon as you have them.  It is much better to be safe than sorry.  As I mentioned, I tried ignore our problems in the hopes that they would go away.  This was a huge mistake.  I ended up separated instead.  I finally saved my marriage after many mistakes.  But it would have been easier to never separate in the first place. You’re welcome to read more at http://isavedmymarriage.com

I’m Not Sure If I Should Try To Save My Marriage Or Just Leave. I’m Not Sure Which Would Be Easier Or Healthier

I sometimes hear from folks who know that they are at a crossroads in their marriages. They are well aware that neither themselves nor their spouse is happy. They look around and they perceive that their marriage is “less than” that of friends, family members, or associates. So they start to wonder what they should do about this. Many believe that they really have only a few choices, such as staying but remaining unhappy, or separating /divorcing.

Someone might ask: “how do you know when you should stay or go in your marriage? How do you know what is right for you personally in terms of living your best life? My husband and I are unhappy. There is no cliche affair or bankruptcy or anything like that. We have just grown apart. I feel like we are not the same people that we were when we got married.  It seems that the new people we are just do not get along as well. There is tension in our home, but we try to be cordial to one another. So far, I don’t think that this is negatively affecting our kids. However, I feel that I deserve to be happy. That said, I’m scared of being alone. I worry that I will be more unhappy on my own and then I would have broken up my family. How do you decide whether it’s ultimately in your best interest to stay or go?”

That is a tricky question. I was separated for a while. However, it was my husband’s decision. I think that many people ultimately go because either they think that the situation at home is intolerable or they are certain that they will be happier alone. Some of those people come to realize that they did not gain happiness by leaving. My husband was one of those people. I have many friends who have broken up marriages and have regretted it later.

I am no expert, but as someone who has gone through a very painful separation myself (and who struggled to pick up the pieces and save my marriage,) here is my take on it: Obviously, if you are in a marriage where you are being psychologically or physically hurt, then it is sometimes better to leave. At the very least, see a counselor who can give you an objective opinion. Marriage should not be detrimental to your safety or wellbeing. That said, many times, this is not the case. It is simply a matter of being dissatisfied with the direction of your marriage. You believe that you or your spouse have changed and don’t share an intimacy any more. It’s not that either spouse is a bad person, it’s just that the marriage has taken an unfortunate turn.

Because there is a big risk of being just as unhappy alone and then dealing with the fact that you let go of a perfectly good spouse, my take on it has always been to at least allow yourself to make an attempt to fix things before you just walk away. That way, if you try and are unsuccessful, then you can walk away without shame and uncertainty. You can look your children in the eye and honestly tell them that you did everything that you could to save your marriage.

I know that it is easy to get impatient and to feel like nothing is ever going to change. But once my husband and I both saw that there was no additional happiness to be had by separating and we got serious about saving our marriage, well, things DID change. Eventually, the intimacy returned and a sense of happiness and excitement was present in our marriage again. We had to fight for it. There were painful and awkward times. Parts of it were certainly not fun. But guess what? The separation wasn’t fun, either.

From my experience and observations, many people believe that they’ve changed or fallen out of love when really, they have changed their priorities and, because of the crazy, busy world in which most of us live, they’ve neglected the upkeep of their marriage.  Unfortunately, they assumed that their history together and the love between them would insulate them from trouble. This is not always the case. I have learned that you have to fiercely guard your marriage. This is not always convenient, but it offers huge rewards.

I am certain that I would have been no happier with a new relationship without history or depth than I would have been in my struggling marriage. I would have brought my unresolved baggage with me. I would have known in my heart that I didn’t fight for what was important. Since my husband was a good man with whom I’d just grown apart, it made sense to invest in him and in our marriage rather than just rolling the dice with unknown and unproven relationships. Sure, saving our marriage may not have worked out. And if it didn’t, well, there is always time to eventually start up new relationships. But I wanted to make sure that I actually had to before I did that. And I’m very glad that we ultimately decided to dig in and resurrect what we had. We got back the intimacy, connectedness and happiness and we didn’t have to forfeit our history and commitment. I know that this isn’t possible for every couple, but I feel that it is worth it to give it your best try before walking away.  You’re welcome to read about how I finally was able to resurrect my marriage before I allowed my husband to walk away for good at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Is My Marriage Worth Saving Quiz: True Or False Questions To Help You Decide

I hear from a lot of folks who are trying to decide if their marriage is worth saving. They often want to tell me the details of their marriage and then get my opinion as to whether they should fight for their marriage or just give in and call it quits. The thing is, I never feel that I’m really qualified to make or even influence this decision. This is a very personal situation and a marriage is sacred. The decision to end it is very serious and lasting. That decision should be made by the people within the marriage.

Nonetheless, on an almost daily basis, I hear from people who are trying to determine if their marriage is worth the effort to save it. So I’ve developed the 5 quiz questions (with true or false answers) that follow. I hope that what you find will hopefully at least give you a place to start. Of course, it goes without saying that I do not advocate making any decisions about your marriage based on anyone’s quiz. But my hope is that you will use this as a starting point to think about where you want to go from here. And perhaps some of the questions will bring up some insights that you haven’t yet considered.

The questions below have true and false answers. Sometimes, the answer might be somewhere in between or you might struggle to find an either / or answer. Just do the best you can and choose the answer that seems the most appropriate. I have indicated the preferable answer after each question with an explanation of why I feel it’s preferable.

Question #1: True Or False: I No Longer Have Any Feelings At All For My Spouse. I’m Just Completely Numb At This Point: (For the purposes of this quiz, “feelings are defined as any at all. In other words, anger, frustration, love, and affection all count as feelings.) I know that this seems very simplistic but when a marriage is really and truly over (and some would argue not worth saving,) there aren’t any feelings left. This includes anger, frustration or even what one might define as hatred. (That’s why the preferable answer here is false.)

People often tell me that they assume that if they are feeling very negative things toward their spouse, this is one indication that their marriage isn’t worth the trouble to save it. I actually disagree with this. If ANY feelings are still there, to me, it indicates that you still care and / or are invested enough to respond. Numbness is worse than negative feelings as far as marriages go, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the time. Even hurt or indecision can be good signs that the feelings aren’t completely dead.

Question #2: My Spouse And I No Longer Have Any Common Ground: I often suggest that people focus on the things that bring them together when they are trying to save their marriage, especially in the beginning when things are still awkward and forced. Being able to agree on core things (even if you can only agree that the marriage is in trouble and you want to save it) gives you a starting point on which you can both focus. This makes the whole process a little easier to navigate and your shared values gives you something on which you can place your focus.

Not having any common ground doesn’t always mean that your marriage isn’t worth saving, but it can mean that you might have a harder time and struggle a bit more when attempting this. If the answer to this question isn’t obvious to you, then take some time to reflect on where you may or may not have common focus.

Question #3: If I Try, I Can Remember The Good Times In My Marriage. When I Look Back, I Can Recognize Good Qualities In My Spouse (And Good Memories With Them:) The obvious preferred answer here is true. When trying to save your marriage, there’s a very important distinction between being disappointed or disenchanted with the marriage and having these same feelings about your spouse. If, despite your differences and your struggles right now, you can still look at your spouse and see a decent and honorable person with whom you enjoyed a good and solid relationship (even if it isn’t that way now) then this is a good foundation on which to build.

Frankly, when people tell me that they can’t find one redeeming quality about their spouse or can’t look back on their marriage with any nostalgia or longing, then that does cause some concern. It’s eventually important that you separate the problems in your marriage with the person who is your spouse. And marriages are usually much more fulfilling and happy if you respect, genuinely like, and can share good times with your spouse. (That doesn’t mean that you have to feel this way now, but it helps to believe that it’s possible eventually.)

Question #4: Being Right Is More Important To Either Of Us Than Being Happy. One Or Both Of Us Considers Compromise To Be The Same As Giving In: The preferred answer here is false. When you are saving your marriage (or even trying to be happy within it,) there is often going to come a time when you will need to compromise and put your spouse’s needs above your own – at least some times. Your spouse will need to do the same. The key is to decide which issues are most important to you and which you’re willing to back away from. However, some people become so invested in being right or in not giving in that they are just never willing to compromise.

And this inability to yield causes resentment, anger, and negative feelings that can make the marriage almost impossible to be happy or content in. I have seen many couples shift their marriage by changing their attitude about this very topic. They vow to become more happy in their marriage. They want to laugh and play more and to not take all of this so seriously. And so they let go a bit. And believe it or not, this can make all the difference.

Question #5: One Or Both Of Us Are Willing To Feel Vulnerable, To Step Outside Of Our Comfort Zone, And To Trust Our Heart Rather Than Our Heads And Our Doubts: The preferred answer to this is true. Many people see saving their marriage (or living within one that is struggling) as a very difficult and painful process. Many people anticipate difficult and painful conversations with a lot of tears and pain. Or they think that if they stay in a struggling marriage, they will have to learn to live as best they can when they aren’t really happy. It truly doesn’t have to be this way.

I have seen more people save their marriages (and he happy in them) by focusing on the positive and by being willing to have new experiences with their spouse in order to reconnect, while not worrying so much about the day to day drudgery of saving a marriage of our analyzing their every thought and problem.

Yes, you will need to look at and hopefully solve your issues. But the issues do not define your marriage. The people define the marriage. Their actions, behaviors, and habits define their marriage. If you have fallen into bad habits, then you must be willing to change course even if that is uncomfortable and feels foreign at the time.

At times, you may have to be the one to make the first move or say what needs to be said. Both people can’t sit there and wait for the other to make the move. Sometimes, improving or saving your marriage involves taking a deep breathe and diving in.

If I Answered Wrong Does This Mean My Marriage Isn’t Worth Saving?: Absolutely not. These questions were just meant to show you where your strengths, weaknesses, advantages, and disadvantages are. If you see something here that inspires you to take action, make a change, or take a chance, then that’s the whole point.

And you know what? The fact that you researched the information in this article and sat down and got to the end tells me something very important. It tells me that you are still invested in your marriage – and this could certainly be an indicating that your marriage is one that is worth saving.

There was a time that I thought my marriage was truly at it’s end and not worth saving. My husband was distant and withdrawn and eventually suggested a divorce. I resented this for a long time. Thankfully, even though I had doubts, I decided to try one last thing, to give a little more, and to approach it from another angle, and this eventually worked. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

Will My Husband Regret Leaving Me? What Can I Do To Make Sure That He Does?

By: Leslie Cane:  I sometimes hear from wives who are trying to come up with a strategy to get their husbands to come home after leaving.  One of the common strategies that I’m asked about is trying to make your husband feel regret or guilt about leaving.   I recently heard from a wife whose husband had left the previous week.  He didn’t leave abruptly.  He had been telling her for weeks that he was going to go.  And, he wasn’t sure how long he would be gone or if he was coming back.  But he reassured the wife that he would check in with her, would not abandon her and their child, and  would not act in a way that would not be appropriate.

None of these things reassured the wife very much.  She was already tired of the process and she wanted him home as soon as possible.  She did not want him away from their home for one more day.  So, she felt that the best way to get him home was to make him regret leaving her in the first place.  She said in part: “how do I know if my husband will regret leaving me?  And how can I make sure that he does?  Should I date other people?  So I try to make him feel guilty? Should I make sure that he knows how much my son misses his father?”

These were some very difficult questions.  And although I completely understood the wife’s thought process (as I had to save my own marriage when my husband left me,)  I didn’t think that trying to elicit more negative feelings was going to help or to make her husband come home more quickly.  I’ll tell you why in the following article. And I’ll also tell you what I think is a better strategy.

Many Men Do Feel Regret For Leaving Their Wives.  But They Are More Likely To Do So When Their Wife Brings About Positive Feelings (Rather Than Trying To Force Negative Feelings Like Regret:)  I hear from a good deal of men in this situation on my blog. I have to tell you that those who do feel regret often do so when they experienced positive feelings of longing toward their wives.  And when they recounted how or why this happened, very few will mention emotions like jealousy or guilt.  Instead, they remember realizing that they missed their wife’s sweet smile or her mischievous laugh.  They’ll tell you that they missed feeling connected to her.  They very rarely mention being motivated by negative emotions like guilt or pity, which leads me to my next point.

Ask Yourself What You Really Want.  And Then Examine If Eliciting Regret Is Going To Accomplish Anything: I always advise women to ask themselves what they really want before they come up with any strategy.  Because often, the things that we do are truly are in direct contrast to what we really want.  In this case, what the wife really wanted was for her husband to come home.  She hoped that making him regret leaving her was going to achieve this result.  But frankly, focusing on negative emotions like guilt (as she had planned) generally do not achieve this result as well as you had hoped.

First of all, it can be difficult to “make” your husband regret something which he himself decided upon.  And second, what good is regret in this situation anyway?  It’s not really an emotion that is conducive to healing or moving forward.  Because getting him to come home is only step one.  Step two is improving the relationship enough that he wants to stay home.  One way to do this is to avoid adding yet more negative equations to the mix.  You want to create a healthier relationship instead of one that is loaded down with regret and guilt (on top of the struggles that you are likely already facing.)

Instead Of Trying To Make Him Regret Leaving You, Try To Encourage Him To Want To Come Home By Using Positive Reinforcements: So at this point, the wife’s plan consisted of using her son as sort of bait to lure her husband home and making him jealous by going out with other men that she honestly wasn’t the least bit interested in.  Although I understood her motivation, I felt that using these sorts of strategies wasn’t the best call.  They showed her husband a manipulative spouse whose actions potentially brought about pain and confusion.  There was a real risk that using this strategy was going to make her husband associate the pain or guilt with her and the marriage. And, her husband might have resented her strategy.

The thing is, people are more likely to do what you want for them to do when you show them some empathy, understanding and respect.  But the wife’s strategy didn’t encompass any of these things.  So I suggested that rather than placing her focus on trying to get him to regret leaving her, she instead focus on making it so enticing for him to come home that she didn’t need to focus on sorrow or regret.

So how would the wife go about doing this?  Well, she could focus on what was positive and binding rather than on what was dividing them.   When she saw or interacted with her husband, I encouraged her to be cheerful rather than resentful.  I encouraged her to try to enjoy the visits rather than worrying about making things appear in any particular way in the hopes that her husband would feel regret.  It’s better to allow for positive things to happen naturally rather than to force negative things in the hope that it gets you positive results.

I encouraged her to use the sense of humor that he admitted her husband loved.  I challenged her to see if you could laugh even when she felt tense or unsure.  I knew that the wife was tired of being alone and that she really wanted to do something to get her husband to come back home. But trying to force or trick him into regret probably wasn’t the best way to go.  It’s my experience that acting with integrity while focusing on the positive will often get you what you want.  And frankly, when you encourage your husband to remember the good qualities that he misses about you and wants to experience more of, then he may well regret leaving you and want to come home.  But when he does, he will be filled with hope rather than guilt or doubt.

I do understand this wife’s motivation because, for a long time, I focused on negative emotions when I was trying to get my own husband back.  This backfired on me in a big way.  It wasn’t until I learned to conduct myself in an entirely different way that I had success and was able to get him back home.  If it helps, you can read more about that very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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 http://isavedmymarriage.com/