Do You Forgive Your Spouse After A Midlife Crisis. How?

A decent percentage of the wives who I hear from have a husband who they suspect is dealing with a midlife crisis. Yes, some of the men are younger than the stereotypical age you’d expect. But many wives can’t help but notice that they are dealing with a husband who suddenly rejects the very things that he once loved. He’s suddenly feeling tied down by being part of a family. He may hate the job that he used to enjoy. He may suddenly want to distance himself from the community activities that he used to throw himself into. He may seem restless or bored. Many of these husbands say and do very hurtful things to their wives during this crisis. They may just symbolically reject their wives. They may push for a separation. And some can be even downright cruel.

Understandably, these wives are hurt by their husband’s behavior. Many of them have no point of reference because they still love (and want) their comfortable life and they really don’t see anything wrong with it. Because of this, they struggle to understand their husband’s point of view. And then, suddenly, their husband can agree with them. One day, he can “come out of” the midlife crisis and finally see reality for the first time for a very long time. Many of these husbands realize that they’ve made some very painful mistakes and they seek forgiveness from their wives and from their children. But it can be hard to just pretend that this never happened when you were on the receiving end of some pretty harsh treatment.

A wife might say, “there is no doubt in my mind that for the last two years, my husband has been in a horrible midlife crisis. He started out by complaining about the little things all of the time.  Then it was his job. Then it was his parents and siblings. Then it was me. And eventually, it was even the kids. Every little thing annoyed him. He spent as little time as possible at home and began going out with people who I really didn’t approve of. However, my husband did not care because he didn’t value my opinion anymore. Eventually, he did not even try to hide hide his disdain of me and he asked for a separation. He actually had the gaul to suggest that he stay in the house while I move out with the kids. When I told him that this wasn’t going to work, he relented. While he’s been ‘finding himself,’ he has really been an absentee father. I can’t claim that he did not make any effort to see the kids. He did. But he wasn’t deeply involved in their lives. He didn’t always know what was going on with them. This devastated my kids. I am sure that they felt as rejected as I did. When we would see and spend time with my husband, it would be awkward and strained. I’m sure that he saw other women. I suspect that they were younger and thinner. I really don’t know because he just wasn’t honest and open during this time frame. Honestly, I was getting ready to write my husband off, (although the thought of this devastated me because I didn’t want for my kids to go through a divorce.) And just as I was about to call my husband and tell him that I’d had enough, he actually called me and asked if he could see me. Then he came over and asked for the kids to join us. He actually got down on one knee, started crying, and begged for our forgiveness. He said that he’s embarrassed of his behavior and now he sees that he really had it all but that he made the mistake of walking away from it. Then he asked to come back home. I was stunned. There was really no warning for this. In the beginning of our separation, I would have done anything for my husband to want to come back home. And part of me wants him back now, but gosh, am I angry. I can’t ignore the fact that this man selfishly turned the life of his family upside down. And now we are just supposed to forgive him? Just like that? What is to stop him from doing this again? Of course, my kids got all excited and of course they want their father to come back home. Deep down, I do too. But will I ever be able to forgive him?”

In my opinion and experience, that really does depend. Whether or not resentment remains depends upon how much you are able to heal from this. I think that it would potentially be a very big mistake to let him move back in tomorrow and then pretend like all of this never happened. Because it DID happen. And damage was done. To heal the damage, you should get to enjoy a relatively happy and stable marriage with a husband who demonstrates how valuable you are to him. But it might be hard to get to that place without your husband figuring out what lead him to his thought process in the first place. Sure, many husbands have a midlife crisis. But many do not. And it’s important to figure out what made your spouse so restless and dissatisfied so that he can fix these issues and not have to deal with them again. In my own experience from my own separation, the anger and lack of forgiveness are most likely when your marriage isn’t going well or you are unsure of your spouse’s feelings. However, if you can get your marriage on very solid footing to where you are both happy, then it becomes much easier to believe in your marriage again. And if you have a spouse who is demonstrating how much he values that second chance that you have given him, then it becomes more difficult to hold onto that anger and it becomes easier to forgive. But it does take healing, which does in turn takes time. In my experience, there just is no way to rush it. But once it is complete, it’s worth it because it feels like a huge weight is lifted from your shoulders. You can read more about my own journey to a reconciliation on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

How To Rebuild Your Marriage After A Separation

By: Leslie Cane:  I sometimes hear from wives who are both happy, relieved, reluctant, and worried all at the same time.  They are happy because it appears that their husband might be considering coming back to them or at least “trying again” after the separation.   But, they are worried because they know that the marriage has some real difficulties (which made the separation necessary in the first place) and they worry that nothing has really changed.

So, they can have a lot of anxiety as to whether the marriage is actually going to improve or work after the separation.   And, they are often very invested in it working.  After all, the next time things fall apart, they may be dealing with a divorce rather than only a separation.

I often hear comments like: “my husband is considering moving back home after our separation.  I can tell that he’s reluctant and doubtful that things are going to really work out.  I need for this to work because I don’t want a divorce.  How can I rebuild my marriage after the separation so that it actually lasts?  How do I make sure that we don’t just end up separated again or even divorced because we are dealing with the same problems over and over again?  And how can I make sure that my husband is every bit as committed as I am?”  I will share with you the tips that I offered in the following article.

Rebuilding Your Marriage After A Separation Doesn’t Mean That You Need To Solve All Of Your Problems Immediately:  Here is what many people misunderstand (and where they go wrong.)  While you will absolutely need to work through and address your problems, you will usually have better results if you don’t try to do too much too soon.

The reason for this is that when your spouse returns (or is considering coming back) after a separation, the marriage is often still quite fragile no matter how badly one or both of you want for things to work out.  This means that you are still vulnerable to misunderstandings, your spouse feeling differently than you do about the issues, or the strain that comes from always focusing on your problems.

It is better to gradually attempt to rebuild the bond and then to slowly work through the issues (as are needed and as the marriage will allow at the time.)  Quite honestly, if you are successful in rebuilding the bond and the intimacy (and when you and your spouse are clicking again in the way that you did in the past,) many of the issues or problems that seem insurmountable right now will likely seem smaller in comparison.

The reason is that when you are sharing positive feelings and emotions with your spouse, you become very invested in wanting this to continue, so you are much willing to compromise more and dwell less.   I’m not saying that loving feelings will make all of your marital problems go away, but don’t underestimate how much they truly can help.

You Don’t Always Need For Both People To 100% Commit To Rebuilding During Or After A Separation.  A Wait And See Attitude Can Work As Long As You Are Moving Forward:  The wife was very concerned because the husband did not seem to have the same burning desire or the same desperation that she did to save the marriage.

The husband wasn’t exactly opposed to rebuilding, he just had some doubts that it would actually happen successfully.  This bothered the wife so much that I worried she would sabotage the whole thing by trying to force or push the husband into declaring himself 100% committed to saving the marriage.

The thing is, it’s normal for one or both spouses to have some doubts after separating.  But it’s OK to move forward anyway.  Over time as things go well and you move slowly and gradually, these doubts will start to fade.  But if you insist on a 100% commitment from the beginning, you may keep your spouse from every really trying or giving the process a real chance, even if they are reluctant.

Place Most Of Your Focus On Rebuilding In A Positive Way So That You Both Enjoy Participating.  (Don’t Allow Your Doubt Or Anxiety To Sabotage Your Actions:)  Here is what I want for you to take from this article. I want you to know that rebuilding after a separation should be seen as an opportunity that can actually be pleasurable.  Most people see rebuilding as akin to having to lift brick and mortar with power tools so that you are both breaking an emotional sweat. This can cause a lot of doubt, feet dragging, and reluctance.

You want for both you and your spouse to have positive feelings and enthusiasm about this process.  So place your focus on revisiting those things that used to make you happy and feel close to your spouse rather than dissecting every problem that you ever had.  I concede that problems don’t solve themselves and that you will eventually need to place some focus there.

But in the beginning, your attention really should be on just reconnecting and remembering why you loved each other in the first place and what worked well for you rather than remembering what went wrong.  Sometimes, I think that couples focus so much on their problems that they almost give those problems more power.

I know that some people will disagree with me.  But I have seen too many couples make this mistake and I see more success with couples who put their issues on the back burner and have some fun together (without holding on so tightly and being guided by fear,) at least for a little while.

The process really should be fun.  You want to see your marriage as a pleasurable and enjoyable place to be rather than a place where you’re going to be analyzed, discussed, and criticized until your toes curl and you just want to avoid the whole thing.

I think that sometimes people think that rebuilding after a marital separation requires a series of steps and that once you pass one issue, you move on to the next and to the next so that if you finally make it to the end,  your reward is that you remain married after a hard fought battle.

I see it differently.  What worked for me and many others is making the process of rebuilding an enjoyable one that teaches you what you still love about your marriage rather than what you still see as flawed.

My husband and I were separated and things went so wrong he actually filed for divorce.  Thankfully, I decided that dwelling on the negative was doing me no good, so I decided to focus on the positive and this worked.  You can read more of that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com.  There are also some excellent free resources on the side of this blog that will give you some advice and insights from the experts on this topic.

Marriage Separation Do’s And Don’ts: What Not To Do (And Do) When You’re Separated And Want To Save Your Marriage

I often hear from people (usually wives) who are going through a separation (or considering one) and want the whole process to be over as soon as possible so that they can save their marriages.  Many agreed to the separation because they saw no other way.  It was clear that their husband was dead set on the separation so they figured this was better than a divorce. But now, they are in a situation where they need a plan to end the separation and save their marriage.

I completely understand how this feels as I was in the same situation once upon a time and I remember it as one of the worse times in my life.  And, because of my blog I hear from people in this situation on an almost daily basis.  So I believe I have a good handle on what works and what doesn’t during the separation.  In the following article, I’ll be covering what I think are the dos and don’ts while you are separated – or those things you definitely should and should not do when you’re trying to save your marriage during a separation.

Do Not Bug Your Spouse Too Much:  Give The “Time Apart” The Chance To Work:  I know that it feels very scary when you’re away from your spouse.  You worry that they’re moving further away from you if they’re happier being separated and may eventually want a divorce.

So you can feel “under the gun” so to speak to do something fast.  And you worry that the phrase “out of sight out of mind” is indeed true so if you’re not in contact with them constantly, then you’re really losing some ground.

But if you contact them or are “in touch” too much, then you really run the risk of annoying them.  More than that, you miss out on the chance to have them miss you, long for you, and remember you in a positive way.  If you are calling, texting, or “checking up” too much, then he may well think of you in a negative way when he’s evaluating you and the marriage and wondering what he wants to happen with the separation.

Don’t “Ignore Your Spouse” During The Separation:  This leads me to my next point.  There’s a lot of advice out there that tells you that you should ignore your spouse, pretend that you don’t care, or make them think that you’re having the time of your life or going out with someone else.

I DO advocate creating some mystery and painting yourself in the best possible light.  You want them to think that you are keeping busy and handling your life just fine. However, people take this too far.  If you’re trying to make your spouse feel like you can turn your feelings on and on at the drop of a hat or that you’re commitment to your marriage is something that is fleeting, you’re likely sending the wrong message.  And frankly, this message might make your spouse follow your lead and shut you out.  This isn’t what you want.

Don’t Place All Of Your Focus On Changing His Mind About The Separation Or Getting Him To End The Separation Before He’s Ready To Do So:  I completely get that you want the separation over as soon as possible.   But if you’re constantly pressuring him and he’s not ready to make a decision, he’ll either be annoyed or more inclined to make a decision that you wouldn’t like.

Instead, you should focus on improving your relationship – and appearing not to worry about where that leads.  Notice I said “appearing?”  This is important.  You want him to know that what and who you really care about is him, his happiness, and your happiness as a couple.  OK, so maybe your relationship is going to evolve.  (Your plan is that it’s not going to but he doesn’t have to know that.)

You’re whole message should be that you’re respecting his needs but you want to maintain the relationship, no matter what definition that might take at the time.

DO Make Him Think You Are Coping Just Fine During The Separation:  Always remember the things that are attractive to your spouse.  Someone who is so filled with fear and a lack of confidence that they’re not willing to give their spouse the time to miss them is not considered attractive to many.

Sure, you might get his pity but this strategy won’t likely give you his desire.  You need his desire.  You need him to want you again. This can’t happen if you’re a mess.

I know that maybe you can’t help how you’re feeling.  And there’s nothing wrong with acting on those feelings if he can’t see you.  But when he does see you, then you need to present yourself as someone who is coping just fine.  Of course, you don’t want to pretend like you are happier without him.  But you don’t want to make him think that you are coping, partly because you are confident that things will work out the way that they are supposed to.  I know this is a delicate dance and I messed it up during my separation so badly at times.   But if you always ask yourself how you are being portrayed, this can help.

Show Him A Woman Who Is Easy To Fall Back In Love With (Hint: He Already Knows Her Very Well🙂  You actually have an advantage very close by that you don’t even realize.  You know what it takes to make this man fall in love.  You have accomplished then once.  Do not lose your confidence now when you need it the most.

If you know he loves that fun loving, happy go luck part of you, then you have to bring that forth when you see him, even if it’s so difficult.  I know it may feel like you’re playing a game sometimes.  But this is your life and your marriage.  You do what you have to do to get it back.  And you’re much  more likely to get it back if you focus on the positive.  Bringing about positive feelings draws him to you.  Negative feelings will do the opposite.

You can do this.  I know you’re separated.  But a separation doesn’t have to mean a divorce.  Separated people get back together every day.  I did.  People who email me did.  Stay positive.  Have a plan and stay the course.

You can read about how this played out in my own life (and how I lucked into doing right finally.  On my blog on http://isavedmymarriage.com.  And, if you haven’t watched T Dub Jackson’s free save your relationship video on this topic, it’s excellent. I agree with a lot of his points.

Will Giving My Husband Space Make Things Worse?

By: Leslie Cane: “Giving a husband space” is a regular topic in the emails that I receive.  Many wives are on the receiving end of such a request from a husband who says he needs to “work out his feelings” or “time to sort things out.”  And I would have to say that many of the wives who hear this request have an overwhelmingly negative response.  Very few feel that this is a great idea or something that they want to do.  Most see “giving him space” as one of the more risky and painful options possible because there’s a real fear that the space is just the first step toward a divorce or break up.  And many worry that if they give him a taste of his freedom, he may decide that he really likes it and doesn’t want to come back.  So, in that way, the space would have actually made things worse.

I recently heard from a wife on my “save my marriage” blog who said, in part: ” my husband of five years told me last night that he’s not sure if he wants to be married anymore.  He said he wants some ‘space and time apart’ to decide what he wants to do.  But I know what he’s going to do when I give him this ‘space.’  He’s going to go out with his drunken friends, think that single life is so much fun, and want to leave me or get a divorce without a second glance.   My mother says I should give him the space because if I don’t, he’s probably going to divorce me anyway.  But I think that the second one of us moves out, the marriage is going to be over because he’s going to have an opportunity to experience single life and he’s going to like it.  I just keep thinking that giving him space is going to make things worse because it’s going to speed up the process.  Who is right?”

There’s no definitive answer here because any answer is really just a guess.  Without letting the scenario play out, there was really no way to know what the husband was going to think or do once the wife made a decision that set things into motion.  So, while I could not see into the future, I have gone through “giving space” in my own marriage and I’ve dialogued with many men and women over this very topic.  In the following article, I’ll offer some things to consider if your marriage is entering the “giving a husband space” phase and you’re afraid that it might make things worse.

A Husband’s Request For Space Doesn’t Always Mean He Will Eventually Pursue A Separation Or Divorce: It’s very understandable that this is going to be a wife’s greatest fear. After all, not many people would see a husband wanted to live or be away from his wife for a while as a good sign regarding the health or outcome of the marriage.  But, while this can and certainly often does mean that the marriage is having some struggles, it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s going to end.

I’ve seen countless couples (including myself) turn the situation around after one spouse wanted (and was given) space.  And I also firmly believe that not all men have divorce or splitting up on their mind when they do ask for space.  But, of those that do, some end up realizing that they miss their wife or that the single life or the loneliness that space brought about was not as great as they thought.  Sure, this doesn’t happen in every case.  And yes, sometimes you will have to encourage the process to play out exactly as you want it to, but it can be a real mistake to just assume that a husband who wants space really wants (and eventually is going to seek) a separation or divorce.  This just isn’t always the case.  And, even if it was, many wives are able to use this situation to their advantage to turn the marriage around.

Refusing To Give A Husband Space Can Be Just As Risky As Allowing It: I asked the wife in this situation how she intended to refuse her husband’s request.  She said she was just going to tell him that his idea was an awful one and that she refused the participate.  I didn’t know her husband personally, but I suspected that her husband wasn’t going to like that response all that much.  At least in my experience, very few men just accept this with a shrug of their shoulders.

Most will be very frustrated and may even feel as if you’re trying to thwart their happiness or the most basic of their wishes.  And, some will even associate this frustration with you.  Some husbands will think that in order to remove the frustration from their lives, they have to remove you also.  So what happens is the very thing that you’ve been trying to avoid all along – your husband pursues a separation or divorce in order to force the space that he’s requested.  Only this time, things are not so open ended anymore.

How To Avoid Making Things Worse When Your Husband Asks You To Give Him Space: I do understand the wife’s reluctance to agree to the time apart.  There’s always a risk involved either way.  I felt that risk in my own situation. No one who wants to save their marriage wants to willingly walk away.  But, I would argue that you don’t necessarily have to walk away.

Your first course of action could be trying to push for a compromise.  Perhaps you could give him a lot more leeway (at least for a little while) without him needing to move out.)  Or maybe you could be the one to leave since you could easily control when you came back.  Alternatively, you could push for an agreement as to when he might come back or when you might check in with and see one another.  In my experience, the worst thing that you can do is to leave things open ended.  You want to have as clear of an understanding as possible as to how things are going to work.  And, you want to make regular interaction a priority.

Finally, once (and if) your husband is taking his space, you can play it correctly so that you look more attractive rather than less attractive.  You don’t want to appear clingy, desperate, or needy.  Although it should be clear that you value your marriage and ultimately want to save it, there’s nothing wrong with taking full advantage of the space on your end.   Even if it’s not actually the case, you want for your husband to think that you are busy, that you are interacting with friends and family, and that you are handling things in a positive way because you’re confident that he will eventually learn what you already know – that you belong together and that you can work things out.

I absolutely understand where you are right now. A couple of years ago, my husband told me he wanted space.  It eventually became very obvious that I either had to give him that space or give him a divorce.  Unfortunately, I acted very badly during that time and my actions make our situation worse.  Eventually, it dawned on me that the tactics I was using to get him to want and love me again were not working. Luckily, I was able to change course and return the intimacy and affection. If it helps, you can read more about that on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/.

Does My Separated Husband Enjoy Being Single?

Many newly-separated wives imagine that their husband is now living the life of a college frat boy.  You know that stereotype – the kid who is suddenly free from the watchful eye of his parents, so he’s living it up, high on his freedom and lack of responsibility.   Maybe that’s a very unfortunate mental image, but many separated wives assume that their husband is suddenly going to embrace this type of partying lifestyle.

Someone might say, “I have been separated for only three weeks.  One of my friends saw my husband out at a club.  I don’t think that my husband has been to a club since college and this news shocked and upset me.  I talked to him a couple of days after this and he sounded almost giddy and on top of the world.  This really hurt.  I did not have the heart to ask him if he was enjoying his freedom because it was really obvious that he was.  Do most separated men enjoy the single life once the separation begins?  I feel like I’m going to lose my husband simply because he prefers being single.”

It does depend on the man in question.  Many men do report a sense of relief at first.  They’ve often been dealing with a lot of volatility and conflict at home.  So in the first days and weeks after the separation, stepping away from some of the high emotion can feel like a breath of fresh air.  The calm can be refreshing.  But the way that a man feels in the early stages of the separation can be very different from how he feels later.

What Statistics Show About Separated Or Divorced Men Enjoying The Single Life: Statistically speaking, divorced men are twice as likely to remarry as divorced women.  And men remarry sooner than women.  So, you could infer from these statistics that men who have been in a marriage typically do not fare very well alone or are not as happy alone.  This would seem to run counter to the idea that a separated man will endlessly enjoy the single life.  Here is another interesting and sad statistic: divorced men are twice as likely to commit suicide as married men – again driving home the idea that married men are generally more content.  Of course, there are always exceptions. I am sure that there are many separated and divorced men who remain very happy with their circumstances.

Statistically though, men tend to want to be in stable relationships, which is why although some of them enjoy the single life at first, many of them do not remain single for long.  They will either seek to reconcile with their wife or they will end up remarrying after a divorce.  This gives you a unique opportunity if you want to save your marriage.  It means that, at least if your husband falls along with the statistics and isn’t an exception to the rule, at some point the novelty of being single will wear off and he will want to be a in a stable, committed relationship again.  If you can fix what issues remain in your marriage and make him believe that they are gone for good, then you will be in a good position to provide that committed relationship.  After all, many people realize that it is potentially easier and more rewarding to fix the marriage that you have instead of starting all over again with a stranger and potentially having to deal with blended families, which can cause issues in a second marriage.

I hope this article has made you feel a little better.  I am confident that my husband did feel some relief in the early days of our separation.  He wanted his space and he got it.  So I’m sure he thought that he was blissfully happy.  This phase lasted for much longer than I would have liked, but eventually I was able to work it out so that he got to a place where he was ready to come to the table and work on our marriage.  We did eventually reconcile.  And if you asked him today, he’d tell you that he never wants to experience the single life again. There’s more about this on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should I Write A Letter To My Husband Before The Separation?

Many women are quite understandably very reluctant about their trial separation. I find that, at least when I consider the people who reach out to me, most of the time it is the husbands who want to separate and the wives who want to save their marriage. There are exceptions, of course. And this is probably because I write articles about saving marriages.  But I find that it is typically the wives who are motivated to try to keep things together, at least by my unscientific observations. The wives are often looking to position themselves as effectively as possible before the separation takes place. Some will attempt to have several conversations with their husband, but will unfortunately find that these conversations have not been effective. So, it makes sense to want to be able to communicate in some other way, which is why many wives will attempt to craft a letter that they desperately hope will make some kind of difference during the separation.

A wife might ask, “What should a letter say before my husband leaves for a trial separation?” There are so many things that I want to say to him and so many questions that I want to ask. But he often shuts me down when I try to get specifics out of him. He basically just wants to play things by ear. For example, I’ve tried to get him to commit to going to church with me, so at least I will be able to see him every week. But he won’t make that commitment. He just says we have to wait and see. I have tried to stress to him that I’m not going to date other people and that I want to stay together. He will stare at me as if he is listening, but he won’t give me any real response. It makes me feel as if I haven’t really had my say. So I want to write him a letter. I feel like everything is riding on this letter. So what should it say?”

I understand why you feel like so much is riding on the letter, but I have to tell you that I rarely see a letter being the deciding factor before a separation. I am not telling you not to write it. If it is going to give you some relief and allow you to have your say, then by all means, write it. But I am just sharing the information that I have rarely seen a letter change a husband’s mind. Often, by the time things have reached this point, the husband is looking to see real change through actions and this action is not likely to come from a letter. So, in my observation and experience, the best that you are going to be able to do in a letter is to set the stage for the actions and the change that your husband can expect to see. Yes, you can stress that you are still invested in the marriage and wish to see your husband regularly. There is nothing wrong with repeating your wishes. But, your husband already knows these things. You may not have gotten the desired reaction when you told him these things, but he heard you. So repeating yourself in a letter is unlikely to make him suddenly say, “well now that I see this in writing, everything changes.” I just say this because I don’t want you to put so much pressure on yourself about the letter. Certainly be honest and release your feelings if you think that it will give you some relief, but don’t think that the fate of your marriage rests on some written words. It usually doesn’t. Instead, it rests on what happens between you and your spouse during the actual separation and/or on what changes take place. It also rests on what reactions your husband and yourself have to being apart. Sometimes, this space allows for husbands to see that they aren’t necessarily happier living alone. It allows them to miss you and to have a perspective that they didn’t have before. No letter is going to accomplish this because only time can.

I understand the wish to write a letter. I had the same wish before my separation. I was desperate to do anything to change the situation. And that was part of the problem. My desperation. That’s why I caution you about putting pressure on this so that your desperation shows in the letter. Once I became desperate, my behavior actually hurt my chances to reconcile. I eventually found that it was better to focus on ensuring that our communications and meetings were low key, non stressful events where we could enjoy ourselves. I also found that things didn’t really improve all that much until my husband could see tangible changes that allowed him to think that our marriage might one day be satisfying again.

I am not trying to discourage in any way. If it makes you feel better, you should write the letter. But, from a strategic point of view, a letter isn’t often the thing that is going to save your marriage, so you have to be careful to not weaken your position by coming off as desperate. Instead, you can stress your commitment to your marriage and tell your husband about the changes that you intend to make in order to save it. Usually, actions in real life are much more effective than words in a letter.

Again, I don’t mean to discourage you.  But from my own experience, there needed to be real change before there were real improvements.  I eventually learned how to show these changes rather than tell my husband about them.  This made a difference and we eventually reconciled.  You can read more about that on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

How To Make Your Marriage Good Again When Your Husband Says He’s Not Happy Anymore?

By: Leslie Cane:  I often hear from wives who are trying to return their marriage back to a good place after their husband has been hinting or saying directly that he’s just not happy anymore. The wife often doesn’t know where or how to begin but she knows that she has to do something soon before her marriage reaches the point of no return.

I recently heard from a wife who said “my husband sat me down a few days ago and told me that he wasn’t happy anymore. He says that we’re no longer the same people and we no longer have the same marriage. He says he remembers when we used to rush home to each other because we couldn’t stand to be apart, but now all we worry about is our kids and our jobs. He says our physical relationship has gone cold and he isn’t as physically attracted to me as he used to be. I asked what I can do to make him happy again and he said he doesn’t know if it’s even possible. He says its impossible to turn back the clock and make us happy again like we were before. I don’t want to believe this. We are the two same people we always were. Yes, we have more stress in our lives now, but I still love him and want my marriage. So how can I make things good between us again when he’s telling me that it may not even be possible?”

There are admittedly many issues at play here but I’m living proof that it’s certainly possible to make your marriage good again when it’s at it’s lowest point. But it’s often not without a lot of work and concentrated effort while ignoring the things that don’t matter as much as you might think. I will discuss this more below.

Don’t Expect For Things To Become Genuinely Good Again Over Night (Unless You Want For Things To Feel Forced.) Rebuilding Your Marriage Takes Time: One of the biggest mistakes that I see in these types of situations is that wives will panic and try to overcompensate. Of course they don’t want to lose their husband or their marriage. So they feel as if they have to fix it right away, almost seemingly overnight.

The problem, of course, is that you marriage didn’t deteriorate over night so it’s probably not going to be fixed overnight either. The stressors that this couple were now having to deal with had whittled away at their closeness and chemistry. These things can return with a little care and determination. But you need to have patience. Because if you push too hard, you run the risk of things feeling alienated and awkward. Understand that you will have the most success if you begin small and build from there.

Start Where You Already Are: Even the worst marriage or the most unhappy husbands have bright spots somewhere. Maybe it is your children or the fact that you can still laugh together or remember your inside jokes. Maybe there’s still a spark of attraction or chemistry. Whatever it is that is still there, try very hard to focus on the good rather than the bad. Many couples will try to get the good back by focusing on the bad, which is completely backward.

What I mean by that is that people feel as if they need to solve their problems before they can be happy again. Often, what they do not realize is that if they can be happy again first, then their martial problems will be much easier to solve. So instead of focusing on all of your problems, focus on all that is right and rebuild from the bottom up rather than the opposite.

Understand That You Need To Make The Process Pleasurable Rather Than Painful: When your marriage is in jeopardy, it can feel as if you need to get down to immediate and serious business. And frankly, they don’t anticipate having a whole lot of fun. That is really the wrong approach in my experience. Making your marriage good again is challenging enough without feeling defeated before you even begin. Try to have the best, most fun loving attitude that you possibly can.

You want for this to be enjoyable. You want to rediscover your spouse and have fun doing it. Show your husband that funny, playful, and vibrant woman he fell in love with. Yes, you are a mom. Yes, you have a stressful job. But you are a wife too and it’s important to show him you still remember and value that. Flirt with him. Listen to him. Appreciate him. Be physical with him. Slowly, as you begin to be very conscious of these things, you may be surprised to see that things are beginning to be good again and, as the result, he’s starting to become happier in the marriage as well.

In my own marriage, it was my own husband who wasn’t happy. As I alluded to, I tried to make things good again by focusing on solving all of our problems and not only did this not work, it made things worse. If it helps, you can read the whole story of how I managed to save my marriage after making many mistakes on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

We’re Separated But I Can’t Stop Loving My Husband. What Can I Do?

By: Leslie Cane: A good deal of the correspondence that I get comes from wives who are going through a separation with their husbands. Many are struggling a great deal. Most tell me that they still love their husbands, no matter what the state of their marriage is or how their husband is acting at the time.

I recently heard from a wife who was struggling with her feelings when many people told her that she was setting herself up for more pain and disappointment. She said, in part: “my husband and I have been separated for about three weeks. The separation was his choice. I didn’t want it but he insisted that it was something he felt that we had to try.  He’s been pretty distant and hasn’t given me a lot of encouragement.  He told a mutual friend of ours that he wants to see other people.  Even so, I can’t stop loving him.  I love my husband as much today even though we are separated as I did when we were first married.  My friends tell me that I’m crazy and that I’m just asking for more disappointment.  But I can’t seem to help it.  Am I just supposed to turn off my love at will?  Because I can’t do it.  Part of me realizes that I’m fighting a losing battle but another part of me thinks that we are not divorced yet and he hasn’t told me to back off or that he doesn’t love me. As long as there’s a chance, I’m going to keep right on loving him because my feelings are my own.  It might be ill advised or silly, but I’m just not ready to let him go.”

I understood how this wife felt on so many levels.  Some of her story mirrored my own story when I was trying to save my own marriage.  And although I’m sure that her friends meant well, they probably weren’t telling the wife what she already didn’t know and what she needed was their support rather than them pointing out her vulnerabilities.  And actually, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with loving your husband while you are separated, even if things don’t always look that promising.  I’ll tell you why in the following article.

Sometimes, There’s A Reason That You Are Separated And Not Divorced.  And He Is Still Your Husband.  Why Wouldn’t You Love Him?: From the wife’s descriptions, it seemed as if her friends had pretty much written off her marriage.  They were giving her the impression that she should just give up.  But, this marriage was the wife’s and the wife’s alone.  I’m sure that her friends believed that they were helping her.   But a separation doesn’t necessarily mean that your marriage is over.  If both spouses chose a separation over a divorce, this truly says something, at least in my opinion.  Usually when the marriage is over, that means a final divorce that never recovers.  And that wasn’t the case yet.

I would also defend anyone’s right to love the person of his or her own choosing.  Is loving someone always in your best interest?  Maybe not.  But love isn’t something that you just decide to stop participating in because of logic or circumstances.  Your feelings and your heart make that decision.  Your brain does not.  Always using logical thinking when love and your marriage is concerned isn’t always easy or even advisable.

I know couples who still openly admit they still  love each other even when they are divorced.  There’s nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.  It’s not up to anyone to tell you who you should or should not love.  I know that I may sound defensive, but it bothers me when people tell others how they should feel.   Love, affection, and marital feelings are  deeply personal, and concern only the two people involved.

Tips For When You’re Separated, Still Love Your Spouse, But Want To Proceed In The Most Healthy Way That Is Possible: With all of the above said, there’s no doubt in my mind that this wife’s friends and family really did want to help her.  I am certain their hearts were in the right place.   They were likely reacting to seeing her hurting and they went into protective mode, which is certainly understandable.

I’m not denying that it’s a good idea to try to respond to your feelings in the most healthy way possible.  Although it was unrealistic (and a bit unfair) to expect the wife to just turn off her feelings or proclaim that she was going to try to not love her husband as much during the separation, it was understandable for them to want to handle it in a healthy way.  Her love for him didn’t mean that she shouldn’t focus on herself or to try to keep herself busy, positive, and active during the separation.

Because when we love someone that we are separated from (or when our relationship is struggling) it’s very easy to make that (and the pain that we feel as the result) our sole focus.  And this is where things can turn unhealthy.  When I was separated from my husband, I initially distanced myself from my support system and became quite depressed.  I withdrew from things that I enjoyed.  As a result,  I wasn’t all that pleasant to be around.  Needless to say, none of this made me more attractive to my husband.

It wasn’t until I forced myself to place my attention on other things, to try to focus on the positive,  and to live the best life that was possible for me at the time that things changed.  My outlook improved, my ability to cope was enhanced, and eventually, my husband started showing more interest in me.  Some time later, we reconciled.  I don’t want to claim that changing your focus means that things will always work out or that you can always save your marriage during a separation with your attitude alone.  Situations and marriages vary.  But I do think that there’s no reason to put your life completely on hold while you are separated.  And this is true whether you still love your spouse or not.

I completely understood and supported this wife’s love for her husband even during her separation.  But I hoped that she wouldn’t allow this love (and her complete focus on it) to allow her to feel pain or to put her life on hold.  In fact, I felt if she tried to do the opposite, her outlook (and possibly her situation and her marriage) might improve.

I certainly never stopped loving my husband during our separation.  But I think my husband had his doubts that he still loved me.  He had seemingly moved on and wanted me to do the same. I knew that, at least from my end, it was not yet time to call it quits. Thankfully, even though I had doubts, I lucked into trying one last thing and this eventually worked. If it helps, you can read more of that personal story 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