How Do Separated Wives Get Their Husbands To Come Home?

By: Leslie Cane:  I sometimes hear from wives who want to know “the secret” that separated wives use to get their husbands to come home.  I often hear comments like: “what do those women do to get their separated husbands to willingly come home?  They must be doing something that I’m not doing.  Because in my mind, I have tried everything but my husband isn’t even remotely interested in returning home.”  I heard from a wife who said: “my husband and I separated about the same time as our neighbors separated.  My female neighbor and I would often have dinner together and discuss strategies.  Well, her husband came home last weekend ready to work things out and mine is still living away from me and is showing no signs that he might return.  What did she do that I didn’t?  Because when I ask her this, she says she can’t pinpoint anything that she said or did.  She said that her husband just seemed ready to come home.  What is she doing that I’m not? I need to know how all of these wives get their husbands to come home so that I can do the same things because I miss him and need him here.”

I could completely understand this wife needing answers.  I was separated myself a few years ago and I was absolutely desperate for any answers.  I was willing to try absolutely anything to get my husband to come home.  And sometimes, I feel as if that were part of the problem.  While I was grappling for answers, my desperation got the better of me and I jumped around trying different things and changing behaviors, which eventually just made things worse.

I think that sometimes, the husband is just ready to come home or he just comes to his own realizations.  But I think that other times, there are things that some wives are able to do to nudge their husband to come home a little sooner.  Through research, I learned some of these methods which really helped me and I will share some of them with you now.

Some Wives Plant The Idea That Their Husband Has Something Meaningful To Come Home To:  This is common sense, but it is so often missed.  In order for your husband to come home, he will often need to believe that his quality of life with you at home is going to be much better than his quality of life without you away. Sometimes, this isn’t very difficult because your husband is having bad experiences or feelings while he is away.  But other times, this can be a little more difficult because, even if the husband isn’t completely happy away, he is able to avoid the conflict and the drama of life at home when the future of his marriage is uncertain.

Coming home sometimes leaves him with an unknown.  And since he can’t see into the future, he will often rely on past behavior.  If the past leaves you a lot to overcome, then you will have to rebuild the trust and allow him to see how or why things might change when or if he comes home.  He must believe that things are going to be better at home not just for the short term or the long term.  Sometimes, this takes time and requires you to carefully lay the groundwork.

You’ll want to be patient, understanding, and easy to approach and talk to.  If the two of you argue when you are together (or even argue about his coming home,)  then he will understandably have doubts about moving forward and coming home.  After all, if you can’t get along now, what is going to change once he comes home?

Separated Wives Who Nudge Their Husbands Home Will Often Cultivate A Playful New Dynamic Between Them:  Many wives whose husbands are eventually lured back will admit that they were able to put their fear aside, at least while their husband was present.   They were able to keep things light hearted and positive, even if they didn’t always feel this way deep inside.  They did this because they knew that when things went well with their husband, then he was more willing to see or interact with them in the future.  They also knew that keeping things light and playful would help to neutralize what was already a stressful situation.  They suspected that focusing on fear and uncertainty was only going to make things worse.

I know first hand that this is sometimes challenging to pull off.  Sometimes, you feel anything but upbeat, and you really have to look at the big picture so that you don’t just give into your negative feelings and make things worse.  But in the end, it is worth it.  As I improved my attitude, our relationship improved.  And my husband was more willing to spend time with me.  And as he was more willing to spend time with me, I made each encounter count so that things continued to get better and better.

Successful Wives Don’t Try To Rush Or Push Their Husbands To Come Home Before He’s Truly Ready: Here’s one last important point.  When things are going well, it’s extremely easy to be quite tempted to suggest that your husband comes home the second that your situation improves.  Sometimes, this is a mistake.  It’s often better if you can wait for him to suggest that he is ready to come home.  At the very least, make sure that he is enthusiastic and willing before you suggest it.  Because, if you suggest it to soon, he may well think that your light hearted and easy going attitude was only meant to get him home.  He may worry that once he gives in and comes home, you’re going to drop the act.  And this is the last thing you want.  You want for him to not only believe that things are going to change and improve, you want that to be the truth so that your marriage not only reconciles, it lasts for the long haul and it makes you both happy.

I used some of these tactics to get my husband to come home after a separation that took too long.  In the beginning stages, I allowed my fear and frustration to show and this almost cost me my marriage.  If it helps, you can read that very personal story on my blog at

How Do You Know If Your Husband Is Never Coming Back To You?

By: Leslie Cane:  You would like to think that when you are going through a very challenging time in your life – like dealing with a marital separation, for example – that the people in your life would limit themselves to only providing positive feedback and support.  There has never been a more appropriate time to stick to the old adage: “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Unfortunately, not everyone can adhere to this.  People who we love and people whose opinions we seek out and value can be the very ones whose careless comments hurt us the most.  They do not realize how those careless, flippant comments can cut us to the core.  Not only do we have to deal with the hurt, but we have to be able to honestly evaluate if their words have any merit, which can be difficult when we are already so emotionally raw.

Here is an example. A separated wife might surround herself with her best girlfriends who have always been there for her.  They may be out to dinner when a man notices the wife and starts trying to flirt with her.  The wife might explain: “we were actually having a good time when a couple of guys came up.  One started flirting with my friend and the other started flirting with me.  I felt very uncomfortable and at that point  I decided to call it an early night.  I told my friends that I had a headache and was going home.  The friend who was flirting with the other guy became angry.  And she angrily blurted out: ‘your husband is never coming back.  Not ever.  I don’t know what it is going to take for you to realize it, accept it, and start living your life.’  I was so hurt and shocked.  And I couldn’t think of anything to say in response, so I just left.  The next day, my friend called and apologized.  I told her not to worry about it, but now I am the one worrying about it.  Now I wonder if she was telling me the truth.  How do you know if your husband is never coming back?  Is it possible that the signs are there and I’m just not reading them?  I admit that things have not gone well during our separation and that, right now, my husband does not seem very interested in coming back.  But to say he’s never coming back?  That seems harsh because we haven’t been separated for that long.  How do I know if my friend is right?  What are the signs that I should be looking for?

My answer is going to be biased.  I admit that right away.  But I don’t think that there are any cut and dried signs that always mean that your husband is never coming back.  My husband was not interested at first either, and yet he eventually came back.

One might tell you that when there is another woman, there’s a good possibility that he’s not coming back.  And yet I’ve known couples who have actually moved in with other people who have eventually gotten back together.

I’ve known couples who have insulted each other and vowed to never want to see each other again who have gotten back together.  I’ve heard of couples who have moved across the country from one another and who have eventually reconciled.  And although it is more rare, I’ve heard from people who actually married others and then much later, down the road, remarried.

So, to me, there are very few true signs that he is “never” coming home.  “Never” is a very hard word to fulfill because it’s so restrictive and no one can predict the future.  People change their minds.  They have a change of heart.  Circumstances and feelings change.  People get counseling and learn different ways to solve their problems.

I am not saying that this happens in every care.  Sometimes, husbands do not come back.  But, since you can’t see the future and you’re clearly still invested in your marriage, it truly is up to you whether or not you’re going to let your friend’s off-handed remark (which she probably said when she was motivated by her flirting with the other guy) dissuade you.

Believe me, I had plenty of people giving me their unfavorable opinion about my husband’s thoughts and motivations.  Many of them weren’t shy in telling me that my marriage was over.  Needless to say, this was upsetting.  But one day I decided that none of them could possibly know the outcome.  They weren’t clairvoyant and they couldn’t read my husband’s mind.   And even if they could, what he was thinking today may not have been what he was going to think tomorrow.

So I decided that I was going to control what I could.  I was going to try to make every conversation and every meeting count.  I was going to work on myself.  And I was not going to cloud the future with worry and naysaying.

It was not easy.  I think it’s easier to “give in” to the negativity sometimes.  And there were times when I just had to tune people out.  It was hard but it paid off. This wasn’t easy because these were people who I loved and whose opinions I valued.  But they didn’t know what was going to happen with my marriage anymore than they knew who would win the Super Bowl that year.  It’s all just guessing.  And when something is as important as your marriage, you shouldn’t base your actions on a careless guess.  At least that is my experience.  If I had listened to people’s guesses, I’d probably be divorced today.  And I’m very glad that’s not the case.  The whole story is at my blog at

How To Make Your Husband Want To Come Back To You: The Right And Wrong Ways

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear for wives who are looking for the strategy or plan that is going to make their husband want to come back to them. Sometimes, the husband has abruptly left after a fight. Others have left after long struggles within the marriage and the departure doesn’t come as huge surprise. Others leave as part of a trial separation. Whatever the reason that he’s left, these wives want him back as soon as possible. They often don’t much care what they need to do in order to accomplish this. They are just tired of being without him.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband left me about four months ago. I’ve tried everything that I know to do in order to get him to come back. I’ve tried to appeal to his sense of obligation. I have tried to make him feel guilty. I have tried to make him jealous. I’ve tried to seduce him. I’ve tried to pretend that I just don’t care. But nothing works. Nothing makes him interested. He seems to tolerate me. He’s polite. He never declines to see or talk to me. But he never takes the initiative either. He seems to be perfectly happy to be apart from me for now. What can I do to make him want me back? Because I’m starting to give up hope.”

I know first hand that it’s very hard to maintain hope when he’s given you absolutely no encouragement. But, sometimes, you have to force yourself to hold out hope if you’re still intent on getting him back or on saving your marriage. Because as long as there’s hope, there’s a chance. I used to tell my friends that if I gave up, I would certainly fail because I was conceding defeat and I wasn’t about to do this. This is an individual decision, of course. And I didn’t know all of the details. But I do believe that before you give up, there are some things that you can try to do to encourage your husband to want you back. Notice that I said encourage. Because I don’t think you can “make” or “get” someone to do something genuine, nor should you want to. I’ll discuss this more below.

Give Him Enough Respect To Not Play Obvious Games: When the wife said that she’d tried everything to get her husband to want her back, I got a sinking feeling. Because often, when wives try multiple strategies, it gives off a vibe of desperation that husbands can sniff out almost effortlessly. As a result, he stops taking you seriously and you most definitely have a less than captive audience for your strategies.

Often, when you get to the point where you both know you’re playing every card you have, it’s time to just stop and be straightforward and stop playing games. Because he knows what you are doing. He’s expecting for you to continue on and he’s stopped paying attention. So how do you get his attention? By changing things up. By completely doing an about face. And by no longer trying to do things just to get a reaction so that he can actually take this process seriously.

Allow Him To Remember Your Relationship When It Was Effortless: When you get to the point where you feel rejected and he feels frustrated, it’s very easy for the spouse who left to see your relationship as problematic and getting worse. It can become difficult to remember when things were new, fresh, exciting, and easy. It can get to a point where your relationship feels like so much work, that he starts to wonder if this is all even worth it. He’ll start to wonder if people who are really meant to be together or who are really in love have to work this hard to keep it together.

So, it’s vital that you show him that his perceived difficulty can change. You want to remind him of the two people who use to seamlessly fit together and who can again one day.

Now, as you might expect, this might mean that you have to back off on the pressure that you’ve been applying. You might have to lower your expectations at first and have some patience. It’s so important to understand that the more you try to pressure and manipulate your husband, the more he is going to pull away from and discount you.

Honestly, one of the best things that you can do is to make yourself approachable and agreeable. You don’t want him to feel as if he has to be guarded to communicate with or interact with you. Nor do you want him to feel that he needs to brace himself for guilt, jealousy, or shame when he’s in your presence. If you remember nothing else from this article, remember that you want to elicit positive emotions rather than negative ones.

So to answer the question posed, instead of trying to “get” or “make” your husband want to come back to you, encourage him to want to come back by not playing games or attempting to manipulate him and by being patient as you show him how effortless and pleasurable your relationship can be. This may take time, but that is OK.

And, I’m not saying that you can’t flirt, be playful, and do what you know gets a response. But this shouldn’t be your only strategy meant only to get a quick response. It’s fine to allow a little flirting  to get your foot in the door. But once inside, you want to build something that is truly lasting so that you don’t have to deal with this issue again.

Unfortunately, I didn’t always do what I’ve just suggested to you.  And I made a huge mess of my marriage.  Not only did my husband not want to come back, but he was beginning to lose his patience with my strategies.  It wasn’t until I did a complete about face and tried a more straightforward strategy that I saw very positive results.  If it helps, you can read that story on my blog at

My Husband Left Me And Told Me He Thinks There’s Better Than Me Out There

By: Leslie Cane: It can be a very tough blow when your spouse leaves you. But the blow can feel even worse when the reason that your husband gives for leaving seems personal. One example is when he tells you that he believes that there might be someone “better” for him in the outside world.

Someone might explain: “I was heartbroken when my husband told me that he was leaving me to pursue a martial separation, but I hurt even more when he told me why. When I demanded an explanation, I expected for him to try to gently explain that he just needed some time to himself. After all, we haven’t really been fighting. We are not as close as we used to be and I know that my husband doesn’t feel that we are always compatible. But I did not think that these small problems would amount to me potentially facing a separation or divorce. Instead of offering reassurances, my husband confessed that he was leaving because deep in his heart, he feels that ‘there is better out there’ for him. He is basically saying that he thinks that he will eventually find someone who is more suitable for him and therefore he will have the happiness that he deserves. He says that he wants a relationship that isn’t so hard. When I told my sister what my husband said, she was furious. She said that I should let my husband try to find better than me and then he will quickly determine that I am too good for him. She said how dare he act as if I am not good enough. I see what she is saying. And I am also offended at my husband’s words. But deep down, I wonder if perhaps he is right. My husband is a very good looking man. He is very funny and generous. Many women would be happy to have my husband. So I don’t doubt that many pretty, capable, and sweet women might one day be interested in my husband. But I am interested in him, too. He is mine. And it breaks my heart to think that he might find someone else. I don’t want him to even look for someone else. This makes me so sad.”

I totally get the sadness. I felt it myself. But I want to stress that sadness does not always attract your husband back to you. I know this from unfortunate experience. It’s normal and okay to feel sad. But sadness should not be the primary thing that you are projecting when you are around your husband, especially when you want him back. I realize that he already knows that you are sad. But men are most attracted to women who are capable and who respect themselves.

Why Projection Is So Important: I totally understand how you feel. But, as best as you can, you want to try to downplay these negative feelings around your husband. As unfair as it is, your fear might make your husband think that you’re aware that you’re not the best fit for him, which is exactly the opposite of what you want (and is also probably the opposite of what you think.) As much of a challenge as it can be to pull off, in my experience, the best attitude to project is one of quiet confidence. You want for your husband to think that while you are sad that it has come to this, at the end of the day, you’re sure that you are the right person for your husband and that one day, he will come to learn this.

Incidentally, him learning that you are right for him is not just wishful thinking. It is a real possibility. In my experience and observation, many men initially are sure that they are going to be happier separated and then they quickly learn that this was just not the case. The grass seems greener on the other side of the fence – until they find out that it is not.

Letting Him Know How You Feel While Projecting Confidence: In the meantime, I think it never hurts to be clear about your wishes moving forward. Because if you are only going to separate, you are still legally married and, I would think, would want to stress being faithful. You might try: “It’s upsetting to hear you say that you think that there may be someone better for you. I don’t agree. And I believe that we can fix our marriage, if given a chance. I hope that you come to this conclusion also. In the meantime, I want to make it absolutely clear that I still consider us married. I intend to be completely faithful and will use this time to work on myself and consider what I want. I hope that you feel the same way. A separation is not a divorce.”

Hopefully, he already understands this distinction. But it is better to be safe than sorry and to get this out in the open. Dealing with a separation has its challenges, but it’s very difficult when you have a spouse who is actively dating. You want to avoid this if at all possible so that it frees him up to focus on you and you alone. You’ll also want to very carefully show him the best version of yourself whenever you speak to or see him. You want to keep reminding him that you ARE the one for him and that there most definitely is NOT better out there. And you have every right to expect him to be faithful until then.

I was always terrified that my husband would date others during our separation because he seemed so unhappy.  While I know that he went out with all sorts of friends, to my knowledge he did not actively date or cheat.   And I can say with confidence that when I changed my strategy to show upbeat confidence rather than fear, he became much more receptive to (and intrigued by) me.  And I do believe that this made all of the difference in our being able to reconcile.  There’s more of the story on my blog at

My Husband Won’t Commit To Saving Our Marriage. What Can I Do?

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear from wives who feel sure that they could save their marriage if their husband would just cooperate and make the commitment to help them. And sometimes, if he is reluctant to commit or hesitates, the wife wonders if saving the marriage is even going to possible when she’s having to do it all on her own.

I heard from a wife who said: “a couple of years ago, I became very close with a male colleague. I didn’t cheat or anything, but looking back now, I can see that I replaced my husband emotionally with this other man because he seemed more available to me. After all, I saw him every day. As a result, my marriage greatly suffered. We have become almost like strangers and roommates. The other day, my husband told me he was considering walking out on our marriage because there just isn’t much left. This is the last thing that I want. I told my husband that I would give our marriage my full attention and that he would see that we could be happy again. He just sort of shrugged. I then asked him to commit to giving saving our marriage a real try. He said he couldn’t make that commitment and instead just wanted to wait and see what happened. What can I do now? Because I feel like if he won’t commit to saving our marriage, then that is good as saying it’s over.”

I understood what this wife was feeling. After all, I have gone through this too and just as this wife did, I attempted to get my husband to commit to saving the marriage. He wouldn’t. And I reacted quite badly and made things so much worse that we eventually separated. Eventually though, I was able to save my marriage (by myself) once I came up with a workable plan. That’s why I firmly believe that although having his commitment is nice and it makes things easier, you don’t necessarily need it. I’ll explain why below.

Why He Might Be Holding Out Before He Gives You Any Sort Of Commitment: Here’s the thing. In my experience and opinion, women are much more likely to commit to saving their marriage then men. The reason for this is that women have a lot more patience when things go wrong. Men often wait and observe. Women would rather take action. But, while men are waiting and observing, they are often becoming discouraged, which is why they would sometimes rather wait and see than to commit more time to saving the marriage when they have their doubts as to whether it will actually work.

I know that this may sound discouraging, but here’s the good news. If you show you that things can actually change, then his reservations may be overcome and you can save your marriage whether he makes a formal commitment or not. Another reason that men hesitate to commit to helping you save your marriage is because they worry about what, exactly, this is going to entail. Many are afraid you are going to have them sitting in a counselor’s office disclosing their deepest darkest secrets or exploring where they are an awful husband. The way to overcome this reservation is to just start saving your marriage in positive and painless ways so that he can see that his assumptions were essentially wrong or at least exaggerated.

Why You Don’t Need A Firm Commitment To Save The Marriage (Especially In The Beginning:) I know very few men who are going to put their heart and soul into saving their marriages in the way that a wife would. And I don’t mean that these husbands don’t love or isn’t committed to their wives or doesn’t want to save the marriage. I just mean that men aren’t nearly as in touch with their feelings. They are not nearly as good at identifying the problem. And they often aren’t nearly as decisive about fixing the problem.

So it’s almost a given that he’s not going to go all in at first, even if he truly does want to save your marriage. Most men will wait and see even if they are telling you that they are all for a reconciliation. So his having a reluctance to commit isn’t really as big of a deal as you might think. There is plenty that you can do to save your marriage on your own. You can approach this in a positive way. You can identify the problems. And you can begin to address them in painless ways. Once your husband sees that actual progress is being made and that the process isn’t painful, he just may want to save your marriage even if he doesn’t declare it out loud.

So to answer the question posed, if I were this wife, I would just proceed to try to save the marriage on my own. I wouldn’t pressure or guilt him. I wouldn’t add negative emotions into the mix. Instead, I would try to show him that the marriage could be saved instead of telling him. And I would make the process fun for him so that he would be a willing participant.

Of course, I am saying all of this with confidence now. This is what I did in the end to save my marriage, but it isn’t what I did in the beginning when I made many mistakes that almost cost me my marriage.  No, in the beginning, I made more mistakes than I care to admit.  But luckily, I was eventually able to clean up the mess.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at

My Spouse Belittles My Attempts To Save Our Marriage, Cracks Sarcastic Jokes, And All But Makes Fun Of Me

By: Leslie Cane: When your spouse agrees to allow you to try to save your marriage, you may feel as if you’ve just scored a major victory.  It may seem as if all you have to do is to get down to work to find the right strategy and eventually your marriage will be saved.  Unfortunately, this scenario assumes that you have a receptive and willing partner.  And that is just not always the case.  Sometimes, your husband will claim that he will cooperate or will at least listen.  But when you attempt to do things to improve or save your marriage, he will almost belittle or undermine you.

Someone might explain: “five months ago, my husband told me that he wanted a separation or divorce.  I was somewhat stunned.  I knew that things were rocky between us, but I never anticipated throwing in the towel or giving up. And that is why I literally begged him – over the course of several weeks – to allow me to attempt to save our marriage.   I told him that I would do most of the heavy lifting. At first he flat out told me no.  Then he told me that while he appreciated what I was trying to do, he felt that he thought that it would all be a waste of time.  I asked him what was the harm in letting me try. He finally relented and agreed to stay for another four weeks or so.  But it was pretty obvious that he didn’t hold out much hope.  Still, I didn’t expect him to sabotage and ridicule me in the way that he is.  I tried to start out by doing easy things.  I paid a lot of attention to my appearance, but then my husband got annoyed that I bought new clothes and spent money on a makeover.  I’ve asked that we walk together after dinner to talk and he doesn’t say much during these walks.  After dinner last night, he sat down to watch TV and then he sarcastically said: ‘oh yeah, that’s right. I have to do walking marital counseling with Dr. Phil, I mean, my wife.’  He said it like he was cracking a joke, but the implication was mean spirited.  I told him that he certainly didn’t have to go.  His response was ‘I told you that I would give you four weeks and I will.  But I don’t feel as if we are making progress.’  This is so depressing.  And I’m not sure that we are going to make much progress if he continues to sabotage me like this.  It seems like he’s always waiting to make fun of me when I’m sincerely trying to help us.”

I very much understand your frustration.  But, from my own experience,  I think that it’s possible that you are trying to take on too many roles.  It can be very hard to come up with a plan and then implement it on yourself and on your husband.  Because you are too close to the situation.   It’s very hard to have this type of objectivity.  And when your spouse rejects what you’re doing, it’s very hard to not take it personally.

Putting Yourself In A New Role: If your spouse said he would give you four weeks, then you need to take full advantage of that time.  You need to make sure that the plan you’re trying has the highest chance of success.  That is why I strongly suggest either counseling or, if your spouse is resistant to that, then self help.  That way, when it’s time to take part in the exercises or concepts, your husband can’t really poke fun at you, since you are not the person behind the concepts.  You are just carrying them out.  If he thinks that the idea is stupid or funny, well, he’s not going to be laughing at you.   With this plan, you are only taking on one role – the role of a spouse trying something new, which is the same as your husband.  This allows you to feel as if you are in this together – which can’t happen if you are the one implementing the plan.

You can set the stage for this by saying something like: “I hear what you are saying, and maybe I overestimated my psychological abilities.  I’m certainly not a martial therapy expert, but I think that it’s time that we see one or at least get some resources written by one.  I know that you’ve said that you’d give me four weeks, so I want to make the most of that time.  Would you be willing to spend that time implementing suggestions from experts?  We don’t have to do anything that we both object to and we can certainly choose things that align with our personalities and comfort levels.  But I can tell by your reaction that my trying to do this on my own isn’t working.  So can we get some outside help?”

If he balks, do your research and find a counselor or self help and present that to him so that he feels that he has a choice.  The idea is to get him to listen to someone else, since he seems resistant to listening to you.  That way, you’re not always the bad guy or the one he’s laughing at.

I know that this is difficult, but try not to take this too personally.  It’s normal for couples to resist, laugh at, or lash out at their counselor.  And in this case, you are taking on the role of the counselor, which can be problematic.  If you can get someone else to take over that role, you might feel less resistance.  In the meantime, keep reminding yourself that you do have time (four weeks) and know that you don’t have to do everything at once.  It’s easier to make small, consistent gains than to attempt huge leaps that come all at once.  Take what he gives you and be very methodical in your approach. If it helps, you can read about how I eventually successfully approached my own separation (through luck, for some of it) on my blog at

How To Act When Your Husband Leaves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Does It Mean When Your Husband Wants A Separation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Last Ditch Effort To Save Your Marriage: What Should It Include?

by: Leslie Cane:  I often hear from wives who are at the point where they’re willing to do just about anything to prevent a divorce or separation.  And many have already tried numerous and various things which haven’t worked so far.  So, sometimes they come to a point where they intuitively know that it’s now or never as far as their marriage is concerned and they’re struggling to come up with some last ditch effort that is actually going to work.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “nothing that I’ve done to try to save my marriage has worked.  I’ve promised my husband I would change.  I’ve tried to figure out what he really wants and then attempted to give that to him.  I’ve begged him to go to counseling but he won’t.  I’ve tried to make him see that neither of us are going to be any happier apart.  But everything that I do or say is either ignored or discounted.  I’m getting pretty desperate at this point.  I’m trying to put together a last ditch effort to save my marriage but so far, he’s been resistant to everything.  What can or should I do at this point?”

I can remember feeling exactly this way when I was trying to save my own marriage. And I also know that when you’re in this very scary and desperate place, this is when you will often make the most unfortunate decisions.  You often aren’t thinking clearly and you suspect that you might have to do something very dramatic or over the top to finally either get some results or some relief.  I’ve had wives admit to me that they’ve considered any number of things that were very embarrassing and unfortunate as they look back on them now.  Many have admitted to behaviors like making threats, promising that he will be sorry, out and out begging, or even alluding to the fact that the wife can’t (or won’t) be live without him.  Unfortunately, these sort of strategies are so obviously so desperate that most husbands see right through this and respond in the exact opposite way that you’d hoped.  Instead of suddenly seeing you as desirable, they can see you as unstable. So below, I’ll discuss what I think a last ditch effort to save your marriage should include.

Look At What Has Or Hasn’t Worked In The Very Recent Past: It’s an unfortunate truth that much of the time, wives who feel like they’re at the point where a last ditch effort to save their marriage is necessary will usually continue with what they have been doing all along, but in a more dramatic way.  They sometimes feel so much frustration at not being heard that they will just try to deliver the message louder, with more intensity, or in a way that they hope means that he can’t possible ignore them any longer.

But, if you’re trying things that haven’t worked in the past, you’re likely to get not only the same result, but a result with a stronger negative result from your husband.  It’s not likely that what hasn’t worked in the past is suddenly going to start working simply because you’re laying it on a little more thickly.   Instead, you’ll often do a little better if you can rationally look back and determine which efforts resulted in something positive and which were a disaster.  Can you see any situation when he responded at least somewhat positively?  Because if you can, this is a vital clue as to the strategy that you should be using right now.

For example, many wives should notice (but sometimes don’t) that coming on very strongly will often result in their husband being less receptive, while approaching him in a calm and cooperative manner will often results in him being more receptive.  I can’t say that this is always true, but usually it is true more often than not.  People have a tendency to recoil away from things that inspire negative reactions or inspire them to be defensive, while they tend to welcome or be receptive to the things that make them feel more positively and less conflicted.

Men will often reject dramatic behaviors because they just don’t feel comfortable invoking those types of negative emotions.  They would rather see a smile on your face and be approached in a positive way.  Now, I know this may not make any sense to you.  Many wives will tell me how silly it seems to approach things from a positive place when their marriage may be on it’s last legs.  But, sometimes you have to place your focus more on the results that you want and vow to do whatever it takes to get you there.  So, if you’ve seen negative results from making promises or debating or trying to bring on the guilt, then it makes sense to stop that.  If your husband has shown a little more compassion or been more receptive when you’ve backed off some, then that’s the strategy you should focus on right now.

Frankly, Your Behaviors And Your Actions Shouldn’t Make It Obvious That This Is Your Last Ditch Effort To Save Your Marriage: Here’s something else that I can not stress enough.  Whatever strategy you are using should not be so obviously desperate or “last ditch” that your husband is going to be tempted to discount it’s sincerity because he thinks you’re just doing whatever you can to get your way.

And it’s for this reason that I suggest you get the whole “last ditch” idea out of your mind.  Because when you are afraid that you only have one chance left, then there’s a real risk to take on a mind set that forces you to act the unstable way that scares men.  And you lose the confidence that is often necessary to pull this off. So, you are often going to be better off just telling yourself that you’re going to approach this in a way that you both can be comfortable with and know that if you keep at it and you are meant to be together, it will eventually work out.

I have seen so much more success (and had more success in my own situation) when the wife approaches this in a calm and confident way.  Rather than “fighting for” your marriage and taking a combative stance, approach it in a different, more cooperative way.  Partner with your husband to work together.  Show him a woman that he can feel comfortable working side by side with because he isn’t going to met with drama or conflict every time he’s in a room with you.  Say what you truly mean and don’t make over the top declarations or promises.  Speak from your heart and be calm but sincere.  Don’t try to save your marriage overnight because this just isn’t believable or realistic.  Instead, just focus on making small improvements and concessions that ring true and make your husband want to see and interact with you more.

No, this isn’t a last ditch effort.  This is a more gradual plan that has a much higher success rate in my own experience. As I’ve alluded to, my “last ditch effort” to save my own marriage failed because my husband saw my behaviors as unstable and over the top.  It wasn’t until I calmed down and approached it calmly and methodically that I got the results I wanted and saved my marriage.  If it helps, you can read more of that very personal story (and a somewhat embarrassing one too) by visiting