By: Leslie Cane: Most of the women who contact me want more than anything for their husband to change his mind about the separation or the divorce so that they can save their marriage and move on. This process is difficult enough, but it becomes a little harder when your husband begins to send you mixed signals or acts differently from one day to the next as far as the divorce is concerned.
Many women tell me that their husbands will be very cold and matter of fact one day only to act almost loving and nostalgic the next. Some days he will act is if a divorce is imminent and other days he won’t even mention it or will talk about their future together.
I recently heard from a wife who was experiencing this problem and growing extremely frustrated. She said, in part: “about four weeks ago, my husband told me he wanted a divorce. He told me that he intended to move out and file the divorce papers within the next few weeks. I was devastated and begged him to reconsider. A divorce is the last thing that I want and I’d be willing to do just about anything to save my marriage. He insisted that our marriage was over and that a divorce was the only course of action that made any sense. I’ve been trying to remain upbeat and positive and to not pressure him too much. Over the last week or two, he’s changed his attitude and behaviors. He’s stopped talking about the divorce. He has yet to move out or file the papers. There are days when he’s downright loving or affectionate to me. The other day, he tried to initiate sex. He seems almost jealous if he knows I’m around other people. I’m not complaining about his change in attitude but it confuses me. On one hand, I don’t want to say anything because I want to encourage these changes and I’m scared that if I ask, he’ll inform me that the divorce is still going to happen. But on the other hand, I’m afraid to get my hopes up. What if he’s just acting this way to make the divorce process easier for both of us? But the more loving he is to me, the more confused I get and the more I realize I desperately want him in my life. How do I know if he still wants a divorce?”
It’s almost impossible to know what is running through someone else’s head or what resides in their heart. In an every day marital situation where divorce isn’t on the horizon, it would make sense to just ask your husband what he’s thinking or what his intentions are. But, when your marriage is hanging in the balance and you might be facing a divorce, you often don’t want to say or do the wrong things. And there can be a real fear that if you straight out ask him if he still wants the divorce that he will reply that yes, not only does he still wanted it, but you’ve now reminded him that he needs to move forward with the process more quickly.
Why A Husband Will Sometimes Give You Mixed Signals About Still Wanting A Divorce: Many wives in this situation assume that their husband is sending them mixed signals because he’s either trying to play some emotionally charged game, he’s trying to boost his own ego, he’s trying to maintain a good relationship despite the divorce, or he really does want them back and therefore no longer wants to split up.
Many of these options are possible. But very few people consider the possibility that he’s just as confused and unsure as you are. Ending your marriage and getting a divorce is an incredibly serious (and potentially final) decision. Husbands don’t always make that decision lightly. And, sometimes when the two of you begin to get along better or as he looks at you and still feels a bit of a spark or tug as his heart, he can begin to feel some doubts.
Many women assume that once a man asks for a divorce or even starts to mention one, this means that he’s fallen out of love with them or no longer wants them or the marriage and that his decision is final. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes, he does still love you (and might be well aware that he still loves you,) but he feels as though love isn’t enough or that things just can’t change quickly or dramatically enough to make the marriage work.
But sometimes, as the two of you start to interact in a more positive way or he looks at you and realizes how painful it might be to not have you in this life anymore, his resolve or certainty about the divorce can begin to waiver and this is when you might start to see those mixed signals that we’ve been talking about.
Consider Waiting To Ask Him If He Still Wants A Divorce Until The Answer Is Fairly Obvious: I know that it’s very tempting to just out and out ask him what he wants right now or what his intentions are. But, if you’re still getting mixed signals, this could likely mean that he just isn’t sure what he wants. So, it can sometimes be a bad idea to continuously question him or to insinuate that his indifference or confusion is frustrating you or causing you pain. Because often if you force him to make a choice, you run the risk of making the choice that you don’t want – which is him moving forward with the divorce.
In this case, the wife herself admitted that they were making a lot of progress. They were getting along better and they were actually having some fun together again. I felt that rather than rocking the boat and demanding answers, she was likely better off just continuing on the same path because it seemed to be working. I suggested she remain upbeat and positive because this truly does often bring much better results. As to her concern about determining if her husband wanted a divorce or not, I strongly suspected that this would become clear soon enough and that rushing things could potentially push the resolution that she was most trying to avoid.
I had grave doubts about going forward with the divorce (and I noticed my husband’s attitude changing when he started to send mixed signals) but I didn’t speak up in the right way. I was so scared to know the answer because I’d used negative tactics rather than positive ones in the past. This did a lot of damage and I had a lot of catching up to do, but luckily, over time (and by taking calculated baby steps), I was able to reestablish intimacy and bring back his love so that we were BOTH happy. You can read more of that very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com.
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