My Spouse Says He Wants To Be Free, But Still Loves Me And Ultimately Wants To Be Together.

It can be very difficult when you know that your marriage is in trouble but your spouse is sending you mixed signals.  On the one hand, he may admitting that he isn’t happy, feels tied down, or might want a separation.  But on the other hand, he might be insisting that he still loves you and would like to stay together.   You can be unsure as to which part of his message you should be focusing on.  Is it more important that he wants a break or freedom from you?  Or that he still loves you?

Someone might say, “The other day, my husband and I were arguing, as usual.  Lately, we fight all of the time and it really bothers me.  My husband was angry and said that he feels very tied down with the way that things are going.  He says that coming home when he knows that there will be fights and tension brings him down.  He said that there are some nights where he desperately wants his freedom.  And then he admitted that he has thought about pursuing a separation.  Of course, this was upsetting so I started to cry.  And then after a little bit of my carrying on, my husband said that he still loved me and that ultimately, he hoped that we would end up together.  But he stressed that he just felt suffocated and unhappy right now.  I am not sure what to do with this information.  I am not sure if I believe that he still loves me.  Because if he did, he would not be talking about his freedom or separating.”

I’m not so sure about that, just based on my own experience. I know that I still loved my own husband very much (and I’m pretty sure that he still loved me,) but we separated all the same.  I did not want the separation, but my husband insisted upon it because things had started to deteriorate and he had a lower tolerance for this than I did.

Why You Should Focus On The Positive Things That Will Help You Save Your Marriage: If you are still invested in your marriage and want to save it, my suggestion is to focus on your husband’s assertion that he still loves you and ultimately wants to work things out.  I think that it is best to take him at his word.  Plus, placing your focus here allows you to hang onto some optimism, which may be very important in the days ahead.

I know first hand that it’s VERY easy to just focus on your husband’s unhappiness and the fact that he is pulling away, but when you do this, it’s is almost as if you attract more of that behavior.  Instead, you want to focus on the behavior that you actually want to see.  It’s like if you are on the verge of a car accident, you should not look toward whatever you might hit.  Instead, you look toward safety because whatever you are looking at, that is where your car is going to go.  So look at the love and the desire to ultimately work things out and that will be where you most likely go.

Making The Most Of Your Situation Right Now: Since your husband hasn’t yet made any efforts toward moving out, I’d try very hard to make the atmosphere between you and in your home as calm as is possible.  Don’t engage in fights and instead try to diffuse any tension that crops up.  Ask yourself why the fights keep happening.  Is there an issue that you haven’t worked through? Is there anger or resentment that just clouds the atmosphere?  Whatever it is, identify it and then try to remove it.  Because if you can improve your home situation, then your husband may no longer have a reason to want his freedom.  It is easier to avoid a separation if you can than to save your marriage once you are separated.

If you try everything and your husband still wants freedom or space, try not to panic. Just focus on improving things when you have the opportunity.  If your husband loves you and ultimately does want to be together, then he should eventually be receptive to your trying to improve things.

I know that this is difficult.  I struggled greatly when my husband pulled away and ultimately separated from me.  Some days required more patience than I’d ever had to muster before.  There were times where I was sure that I would end up divorced.  But I just took baby steps and worked with the little bit that I had.  Very slowly and gradually, we healed our marriage, which is a very different marriage today.  My husband no longer talks about space or unhappiness.  And I’m no longer constantly afraid that he wants out. (Because often removing the tension and troublesome issues will also remove a spouse’s desire for space or freedom.  And once this is gone, your insecurity and worry will also diminish.)  I know that it may be easier to focus on talks of “freedom” and “space” right now, but it’s more beneficial to you and your marriage to focus on the love and the fact that he would like to work things out.  If you can fix what is causing the tension, the need for freedom might end as well.

My husband certainly wanted his freedom from me before and during our separation.  However, once we improved our marriage and reconciled, this behavior stopped.  The key was removing the issues that were dividing us.  You can read more at

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