Do Husbands Regret Leaving Their Wives?

By Leslie Cane: I often hear from wives who hope that one day, their husband is going to regret leaving them.  Often, these same wives will tell their husbands that leaving is a mistake that he will one day regret.  And often either the husband doesn’t buy this for a second, or any doubts that he might have override his need to leave and just see what happens.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “my husband has decided that he will be happier as a single man without the day to day responsibilities of a wife and family.  I think he has this romanticized version of a weekend dad in his head.  I have repeatedly told him that he is making a huge mistake that he will one day regret but he doesn’t listen to me at all.  A mutual friend of ours thinks that I might be wrong.  She says that he might think that he’s enjoying the best of both worlds – the weekends with his kids but freedom and peace and quiet during the week.  I disagree because I can’t imagine just turning your back on your family and then being happy with yourself afterward.  So, who is right?  Do men regret leaving their wives?  Or do they walk away and never look back with any regret at all?”

The answer to these questions depend upon many variables.  But yes, some men do end up regretting leaving their wives once they’ve had some time apart and the opportunity to reflect.  Whether they feel any regret or not (and how deeply they feel it) often depends upon why they left in the first place, what happens after they left, and what type of person they are in the first place.  I will discuss this more in the following article.

The Reasons A Man Has For Leaving In The First Place Will Often Influence Whether He Eventually Regrets Having Left: Men who leave their wives for other women often end up feeling regret once they figure out that the other woman or the relationship turned out to be an eye opening disappointment.  The whole process and sense of discovery can take some time, but it’s very common that eventual regret sets in.

Many men feel regret after they figure out that they left a woman whom they misjudged.  Or, they might later decide that they acted too swiftly.  Sometimes, they later look back with some honesty and decide that they were immature and made their own mistakes and therefore it wasn’t fair for them to place the blame onto you.

I’ve even had men tell with (with a great deal of regret) that they made the biggest mistake of their lives by leaving the one person who loved them unconditionally and who understood them like no one else.  And sometimes, it is too late to fix this because that wonderful woman chose not to wait around forever and some other man was able to see very clearly what the husband missed all along.

Of course, while some husbands feel varying degrees of regret, some men do not.   Some men will tell you that escaping their marital prison was the best thing that they ever did.  They’ll tell you that they were dying inside every day that they were desperately unhappy within their marriage or living for someone else.  So, what is the difference between the husband who is filled with regret and the guy who feels none it all?  Some of it is the personality and make up of the husband combined with the circumstance of future events that unfold.  And you can’t control this.  But a good deal of it is also made up of his future interactions with and perceptions of you, which you most certainly can control.

How To Act When You’re Trying To Make Your Husband Regret Leaving You: I often hear from wives who are hoping to make their husband feel some regret.  The first thing that you’ll need to understand is that you’ll often have better success with this process if you understand that it’s just going to take some time.  Feeling genuine regret often requires perspective.  And time is needed for genuine perspective.  There is just no way around that.

The next thing that you need to understand is that regret that is fueled by pity or guilt is often not all that genuine.  It’s often the kind of regret that makes him want to stay away rather than the kind that makes him want to come back.  So, while it may not be that difficult for you to make him feel guilt or pity, and then in turn feel some regret, this type isn’t the type that you want because it’s more likely to make him want to stay away, which is not your goal.

What you want instead is genuine regret that is born out of a realization that he was wrong.  He needs to believe that his doubts about you or the relationship were either misguided at the time or no longer exist today.   So how do you inspire this type of change?  You show him a self respecting woman who is loving but self sufficient.  You show him the genuine side of yourself who is easy to get a long and collaborate with.  In other words, you don’t want him to see the married woman with whom he always fought or just couldn’t make it work with.

Instead, you want him to see the woman he  courted and never wanted to be without.  I would understand if you had some doubt about this process.  After all, none of us have the ability to turn back the clock and pretend that our mistakes and misunderstandings never happened.  But, today is a new day.  You can either just accept those same mistakes and your new set of circumstances and start fresh, or you can try to pick up the pieces or rewrite the history of the past.  It’s my experience that you’ll often get better results by focusing on the present day positive because this allows your husband to willingly want to spend more time with you without worrying that you’re going to try to dredge up the past or point out his misgivings.  People just naturally are drawn to others who make them feel better about themselves and their own situations.

So while you don’t have to pretend that you are happy about the fact that he left you, acting on this unhappiness by trying to elicit negative feelings that fuel the regret will often just reinforce his decision to leave.  Instead, you want to give him positive memories and experiences which make him question his decision to leave.

There was a time when my husband seemed to feel no regret at all over leaving me.  I tried to inspire this regret by making him feel sorry for me, but I honestly think that my behavior made him feel relief instead.  I eventually, I decided to try a completely different approach, which worked.  If it helps, you can read more about the tactics that actually worked 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.

I Miss My Husband So Much During Our Separation That It Hurts: Tips And Advice That Might Help

I recently got heartbreaking correspondence from a young wife who was going through a separation.   They had been separated for about a month because this is what the husband wanted.  The wife’s primary goal was ending the separation and getting back together.  But she knew better than to push it.  She’d read some of my articles and knew that I advocate moving very slowly and deliberately during a separation.  So she knew not to push him and to take things slowly while focusing just on improving the relationship rather than dwelling on what they were calling it – or rather they were saying they were separated.

Still, she was struggling.  She said “I miss my husband so much during the separation that it physically hurts.  I am struggling every single day.  The more time I spend away from him, the more desperate I feel to get him back.  I have to literally physically hold myself back from reaching for the phone sometimes.  I’ll be flipping through the TV and I’ll see some shows that we liked to watch together and I’ll burst into tears.  How do I cope with this.  How do I get a hold of myself?”

I so felt for this wife.  I experienced the exact same thing while my husband and I were separated.  And I know this is unbearably hard.  But, the wife was right in her suspicions that if she let her husband see her like this, it was probably going to make things worse.  She couldn’t help how she felt of course.  But this was something she also shouldn’t share with her husband until later, at least in my experience.

So in the following article, I’m going to go over some tips that will hopefully give you some support when you’re separated, missing your husband horribly, but trying to play it the right way so that you can get him back.

I Know That You Miss Him.  But Do Whatever You Need To Do To Distract Yourself And Reevaluate Before You Act:  The wife repeatedly told me that she was constantly tempted to call, text, or come by.  Sometimes, her husband was still receptive to her so it was tempting to not want to contact him often to “feel him out.”

I do understand.  But allowing him to take the lead sometimes is almost always the right call.  If you are always the one initiating the contact, then he starts to feel as if there’s no give and take and this devalues you in his eyes – as strange as that sounds.

You’re too transparent and too easy to read.  He knows that you are hanging on his every word and basing the happiness of your day on what happens with him.  Even if this is true, this is not what he should think.

So what do you when you can’t stop calling, texting, or thinking about him?  You do whatever it takes to distract yourself.  This became such a problem for me that I had to physically remove myself from the situation.  I went out of town to stay with family and friends because I knew this was probably the only decent way to keep me from getting out of control and going overboard.

And this was the turning point.  A while after I did this, my husband’s attitude changed.  It wasn’t an immediate process, but it was quite noticeable.  Thankfully, I was smart enough to capitalize on this.

Yes, it was tempting to sigh with relief and beg him to call off the separation.  But everything I was reading told me this was the wrong call.  So I kept in contact but I didn’t come on too strong and I tried to create a little mystery.

I’m So Afraid That He Will Forget About Me Or Move On During Our Separation.  What If He Doesn’t Miss Me At All?:  In this situation, many wives worry that if they don’t constantly keep in touch, their husband will begin moving on because he doesn’t miss them as much as they miss him.  Frankly, if you contact him too much, you make him not missing you MORE LIKELY.

He may feel that he needs to prolong the separation just to get a break.  I have to tell you this.  Very few men visit my blog and tell me that they want to end the separation because their wife wore them down.  Instead, they just want the separation more when she acts like this.

But, many tell me that they decided to end the separation because their wife presented herself in such a way that it changed their perceptions about her and made them want to be with her again.  Please stay the course.

I know you miss your husband.  He might well miss you more than he is letting on.  But give him a chance to miss you so much that he will want to come back through his own free will.

I’m not saying that you should never call or just ignore the situation.  I’m just saying that there has to be a somewhat balanced give and take.  He has to feel like you are worth chasing a little bit.  If you both have to work for it, it’s perceived as much more valuable.

I know all of this because I was in the same situation myself.  I didn’t want to back off while I missed my husband so much.  But as I said, my backing off which changed the whole thing.  You can read this story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com.  I’m certainly no expert but this is what worked for me.  If you’ve not yet watched T Jackson’s free video on this exact topic, you can see it on the right side of this blog.  It’s free and worth checking out.  It taught me a lot.

Can A Marriage Survive Falling Out Of Love?

I hear from many spouses who are sure that their spouse is no longer “in love” with them. Sometimes, their spouse has actually told them as much. Other times, their spouse is communicating this message, but they are doing so with actions and not words. In short, the spouse just isn’t attentive or affectionate anymore. As a result, you can start to wonder if your marriage can survive when one or both of you are no longer experiencing loving feelings.

Someone might say: “I’m nearly positive that my husband is no longer in love with me. He’s not cheating or anything like that. He’s not that type of person. But he’s cold and just doesn’t seem remotely invested in our marriage. I’ve flat out asked him if he’s still in love with me. He’ll say ‘of course I love you. We’re married.’ Then I’ll tell him that loving and ‘being in love’ are two different things and he’ll give me a frustrated sigh but no response. He honestly will change the subject and act even more cold. I’m worried that in time he’s going to ask me for a separation or divorce. Because I’m not sure that a marriage can survive without love. I still love my husband, but I don’t think that the feeling is mutual. I can’t think of the last time that he’s grabbed my hand or spontaneously kissed or hugged me. If I bring this to his attention, he will say something sarcastic like he didn’t realize that we are 18 years old. He will imply that people our age don’t hug and kiss all of the time. But I think that plenty of people our age still love one another. We have married friends who still hold hands and look at one another with affection. Sure, they aren’t all over one another with PDA, but it is clear that there is love between them. With us, this just doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Can a marriage ever survive without love?”

Well, I think we’ve all known couples who stick it out for the kids or just because neither wants change when it is clear that their marriage has seen better days. I think that are instances where both people have just become complacent so they stay together, but neither is happy about it. This situation most certainly isn’t ideal. And everyone deserves more than this. So the goal should be not to be one of these couples, but to change your marriage so that you have the kind of marriage that you want – which contains loving feelings that are shared and demonstrated.

I also think that in some situations where people THINK that they don’t love their spouse anymore, there are parts of their life that may have become stagnant and they can project this onto their marriage. You’ll often see this is middle age. The children don’t need you as much anymore. You might feel stuck at your job. You might be dealing with aging parents. You look around and you wonder what is left to look forward to. So you shut down and you stop reaching out to your spouse. You stop doing small things together and connecting. This is the time frame where you see people starting to believe that they don’t love their spouse anymore when the truth is that if they changed their activities, their outlook, and the way that they interacted with their spouse, they might experience loving feelings.

Also, both spouses can be guilty of being complacent about their marriage. The truth is, when you’re holding a job, trying to raise a family, and to maintain a little bit of your own individuality, there is only so much of you to go around. So it can be a HUGE challenge to make time for your marriage. I believe that right before my own separation, both of these factors were at play. Both my husband and myself were going through a stressful time. But also, we had gotten out of the habit of making our marriage a priority. We were going through the motions to an extent. Frankly, I would have kept going like this. But my husband became unhappy and we separated. I can say this because we eventually reconciled, but actually his dissatisfaction became a positive thing because it forced us to overhaul our marriage, which was needed.

I’m pretty certain that during our separation, my husband was convinced that he didn’t love me anymore. But once we both eliminated some of our stressors, worked on ourselves, and changed up our lives a little bit so that we were actually LIVING again, we found that the feelings came right back. In truth, I never stopped loving my husband. And I like to think that, deep down, he never stopped loving me. But we had stopped expressing the same and so, to him, it FELT very different. Once we allowed ourselves the freedom to drop our defenses, to try new things, and to prioritize our marriage, the feelings returned pretty dramatically. (You can read the rest of the story at at http://isavedmymarriage.com.) Better still, we had our history on which to fall back. I would never want to start again with someone new. I like the fact that I’ve known my husband for most of my life and I’m very grateful that our marriage survived what was certainly a dry spell in terms of loving feelings. So my opinion is that yes, a marriage can survive when people begin to doubt their love. But I often feel that, much of the time, the love is still there. It’s just that the circumstances have allowed it go dormant. Change the circumstances, change your focus, and you might find that the love was never gone in the first place.

How Can You Tell If Your Separated Spouse Is Interested In Getting Back Together?

By: Leslie Cane: If you are a separated spouse who is trying to save your marriage or reconcile, it’s a pretty sure bet that you are always looking for signs that your spouse might want the same thing that you want – to get back together. However gauging their interest in this is not as easy as you might think. Often, when your spouse is cordial or receptive to you, you might feel hopeful, but you might also second guess their motivations. Is he just being nice so that a continued separation or divorce will be easier on all involved? Is he trying to butter you up for a smooth divorce? Is he only being cordial because he has respect and affection for you, even if perhaps he doesn’t want to be married to you anymore? These questions can make you worry that his being nice is not the same thing as him being receptive to getting back together.

A wife might say: “more than anything, I want to reconcile with my spouse. We have been separated for five weeks. I never wanted for my husband to move out, but he seemed to think that he needed this. My husband would never be combative or nasty to me. That is just not his way. So it’s no surprise that we have been kind to one another during this whole process. We both just hate conflict. It does not surprise me at all that my husband still picks up the garbage, mows the lawn, and changes the oil in my car. When I was talking to one of my friends about this, she said that it sounds as if he wants to get back together, since he still seems to care about my well being. I just took all of this as my husband being considerate, since he certainly hasn’t tried to make any physical overtures toward me. How would I know if he wants to get back together? What are some signs to look for? My sense of this is that my husband is being his usual sweet self, since that is the way that he treats every one – not just me. But I’m not sure how I will know if he wants to reconcile.”

Many spouses will start to talk about reconciling before it actually happens. They will say things like “when I move back in” or they will talk about trips you might take together in the future or things that you might do together once you are back under the same roof.

Be Careful Of Where You Place Your Focus: When I was separated, I used to constantly analyze our conversations for “clues” that my husband would consider a reconciliation, but looking back now, I realize that I placed my focus in the wrong place and I honestly jeopardized the reconciliation that I wanted so badly. I always placed my focus on getting back together as soon as possible. I did not like living on my own and so my sole focus was to guilt by husband to come back home. This actually slowed and sometimes stopped my progress because my husband did not like to be pressured and I wasn’t doing anything to CHANGE what lead up to the separation in the first place.

I say this because I would hate to see others repeating my mistakes. Instead of looking for clues for a reconciliation, look for clues that your spouse is still receptive. If so, just use that to continue to spend quality time together. Combine this with working on marital or personal issues on your own time, and I believe that this is the best combination to get a reconciliation in the most healthy and efficient way. As you spend more and more time together and your spouse sees more and more improvement, he should just naturally progress to wanting to reconcile once you both feel more comfortable that you can be successful.

Why Moving Gradually And Letting Him Take The Lead Works More Efficiently:  If your spouse sees that your focus is only on getting him back home and not on actual improvements, he may actually start to resent your motivations and may begin to avoid or resist you – which is certainly not what you want.

Not only that, but people who are actively looking for signs of a reconciliation sometimes act a bit desperate and tend to jump ahead (at least judging by my own behavior.) This gives you less of a chance of your reconciliation being successful. Believe me, I know how bad it feels to be separated. I know how it feels to want to reconcile tomorrow if not sooner. However, you have to take the long view. Because what you really want is to reconcile and then never separate again. So it’s important that the reconciliation sticks and works. In order to have the best chance of this, it’s better to move gradually, to be genuine and sincere, and to just do this right. Place your focus on just improving things between you every time you see or talk to your spouse. Try to just break it down into small steps and not place the focus on reconciliation so much. Because honestly, if you do this correctly, your spouse will likely just naturally mention getting back together in the not so distant future and he will do it without resentment and without feeling that you pressured him.

At the end of the day, you want him happily and willingly home.  You are more likely to get this when you just allow it to happen rather than forcing it to happen.  It’s likely that your spouse will tell you when he’s ready to come home.  If he isn’t yet speaking those words, just continue to build on your success.  It’s better to wait than to pressure. I learned this the hard way.  You’re welcome to read about how I finally got my husband back on my other site 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

My Spouse Moved Out And I Don’t Know Where To Go From Here

By: Leslie Cane: Even when you know that your spouse was unhappy in your marriage and intended to leave, it can still feel very shocking on those first nights after he has moved out and you are alone. Often, we have build our life around our marriage and around him. So when he’s away from us (even if it’s hopefully only temporary,) we can feel very lost and unsure of how to proceed. This is particularly true if we are hoping to save our marriage.

A wife might have a husband who she describes like this one: “my husband talked about moving out long before he actually did it. In fact, it took him so long that I had started to hope that he wasn’t actually going to do it. He was clearly unhappy, but I still hoped that he would stick it out and give us a chance to improve things. Well, my hopes didn’t come to fruition because he moved out last week. I am sort of floundering and lost. We’ve talked a few times and when he hangs up he always says that we will talk again soon. That doesn’t always happen, though. The problem is that I’m extremely lonely. I am so used to my husband being here all of the time. We did everything together and so now I feel very strange and pathetic when I have to do things alone. Last night, it got so bad that I considered just showing up at his house, but I talked myself out of it because I was afraid of being rejected. Still, I dread tonight and more of the same. I don’t know where to go from here. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with my time or how I go about making my husband interact with me. I worry that if things stay the same, we will end up divorced.”

Using The Time For Improvement Rather Than For Rumination: I had the same types of issues during my own separation. From my own experience, I can tell you that isolating yourself and sitting alone in a quiet house is sometimes detrimental. Sure, you can’t be with other people all of the time, but you need a mix of activities so that you don’t feel so lonely. In my case, I had family and friends, but because I’d been married and had focused on that for quite some time, it was usual for me to spend most of my time with people who weren’t my husband. However, when I was separated, my family and friends were my most viable option for companionship.  Almost all of them were completely there for me and welcomed me with open arms. I found that most people are more than willing to support me when asked. I felt weird about this at first, but it was a relief to not be alone. So I spent many nights with friends and family. After a while, I felt more comfortable being alone, but I wouldn’t allow myself to just aimlessly sit there and watch TV. I’d do hobbies or read to better myself. I took inventory about what I wanted from my life and from my marriage (assuming that I could save it.) I took an honest look about where I’d contributed to the decline of my marriage and then I brainstormed how I could fix those things. I tried to be proactive rather than reactive.

After a while, I realized that I could not control my husband’s feelings about me or his behavior toward me, but I could influence his thoughts by closely watching our interactions and then making adjustments. I found that when I dialed down the needy, clingy part of myself that pressured my husband and instead channeled the strong part of myself, my husband reacted favorably. I had to move slowly because he still wasn’t sure about our marriage. But I tried to make every interaction, no matter how small, a favorable interaction so that he would willingly continue to participate. One thing lead to another and we eventually reconciled. I am not sure if this would have been possible if I had continued to be lonely, isolated, and clingy.

But to answer the question of where you go from here, I think that you simply try to go forward. If you stay home and isolate yourself, you’re just standing still or worse, moving backward. Surround yourself with the family and friends who will support you. Get out of the house, even if that means volunteering your time. Work on yourself and figure out how you can contribute to a reconciliation rather than detracting from it. As best as you can, always move deliberately and with an eye toward what will be a positive move that gives you the best chance of feeling better and acting conducive towards positive change.

I know that this sounds easier than it actually is. Believe me, I struggled. But I also felt a sense of relief each time I did something that was in my own best interest. Even if it felt awkward or scary, at the end of the day, it just felt better and less isolating. And I do believe that ultimately, it lead me back to my husband.  You can read more at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Why Does He Want A Divorce When He Says He Still Loves Me?

By: Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from women who are extremely confused and horribly hurt. Their husband has told them that he wants a divorce. And, if this isn’t bad enough, he’s insisting that he still loves them. I heard from a wife who said: “out of the blue, my husband took me out to dinner and said that he had something very important to tell me but that he knew that this news was going to hurt me. Then, he confessed that he no longer wanted to be married to me and that he’s seeking a divorce. I was stunned into several moments of silence. Then, I asked him why. He wasn’t giving me any decent answers so I blurted out ‘don’t you love me anymore’ to which he replied that he will always love me. I told him he was talking about pity love or about the way you would love a friend and he said that no, he was still in love with me romantically but didn’t want to be married to me anymore. I don’t understand this. Why would a man love his wife but want to divorce her?” I will try to answer this baffling question in the following article.

Sometimes, Love Doesn’t Have As Much To Do With It As You Might Suspect: I would say that about 90 percent of the people who visit my blog believe that a divorce means that at least one of the spouses no longer loves the other. This isn’t the case. Very often, people file for divorce (or even go through with it and end their marriage) when they still love their spouse very much. But sometimes, they think that this same love just isn’t enough anymore.

He May See The Marriage As Something That Is Holding Him Back Or Making Him Unhappy: Clearly, I didn’t know this wife or her husband, so I couldn’t guess at specifics. But sometimes, there is a perception that no longer being married would give him some freedom or relieve some burden. I am not saying that this is at all true. I’m just saying that this is sometimes the perception. Some men seem to think that being married is keeping them from pursuing their dreams or is keeping them from being the man that they need to be. Another possibility is that the man thinks that the conflicts or the dynamics in the marriage are emotionally bringing him down in some way. Again, I can’t possibly know the situation, but you can take a close look at your marriage to see if any of these things apply to you.

Despite The Love, There Is A Deal Breaking Issue That He Just Can’t Get Past: Sometimes, there is an issue that keeps coming up again and again that doesn’t appear to be disappearing any time soon. Sometimes, this is things like monetary issues, sex, infidelity, or an inability to work through the couple’s differences. On my blog, it’s pretty clear to me that men seem to have a shorter patience span with deal breaking issues than women. This isn’t true in all marriages of course. But generally speaking, the husbands tend to be less willing to give an issue some time to work itself out, while the wives have much more patience.

He Has Some Romantic Notion Of Being Single: I feel that I have to mention this. I’ve noticed that some men (particularly when they get to be a certain age) tend to develop a sort of romantic or naive notion about being single. Some of them look around and see young, single coworkers or newly divorced older men, and they begin to believe that these single men really have it made. This isn’t usually the reality of the situation, of course. But this is what they sometimes believe. And they can actually think that as soon as they are single, they will suddenly be blissfully happy. Many are disappointed to find that this isn’t the case at all.

He May Not Really Want A Divorce. He May Just Want A Reaction: There is always the possibility that he doesn’t really want a divorce, but it does want a reaction. It’s not uncommon for men to have this talk in the hopes that the wife will suddenly make concessions or suddenly be very agreeable in the marriage. This isn’t playing fair, but some men will try this.

Take Heart In The Fact That The Love Is Still There And No Divorce Has Been Filed For Or Finalized: I know that this situation hurts. I know that this is a scary time. But not all couples in this situation still have the love. And the love is your ace in the hole. It what means that there is still a lot of hope.

Quite frankly, many couples change their mind about the divorce. Many people file for divorce (or say they intend to file for divorce) and are eventually still very happily married. So don’t assume that his talk means you are most definitely going to get a divorce. Nothing says this is true. He does love you and, with a very workable plan, I believe that some women in this situation will be able to save their marriage and avoid a divorce because this was true for me.

Despite the fact that my husband was insisting on a divorce, I did eventually save my marriage and we are very happily married today.  It took work, patience, and a very sound strategy, but I was able to turn things around.  If it helps you can read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

I Feel Like My Spouse Has Agreed To Save Our Marriage As A Last Resort

By: Leslie Cane: When you desperately want to save your marriage, you often want an enthusiastic spouse. The hope is that he will want to save your marriage as much as you do. The hope is that when the two of you combine your efforts, you will be more likely to have success. But what happens when your spouse doesn’t share your enthusiasm and you feel as if he is just agreeing to save your marriage because the circumstances nudged into this as a last resort? What if you worry that you are much more into it than he is?

A wife might explain: “I have always known that my husband wasn’t too keen on saving our marriage. I begged him to try for six months before he moved out. He would not hear anything that I said. He said that he felt like we’d already tried hard enough. Things seemed to change when it looked as if he was going to get a big promotion and transfer. As soon as he found out, he began to plan moving out. It became clear to me that he did not plan for me to move with him. Because I really did not want to be divorced, I continued to try to keep in contact, but he wasn’t particularly enthusiastic. I kept trying, though, because I just could not accept breaking up our family. I hung in there for several weeks. Recently, I’ve been discouraged and I’ve been thinking about starting to move on with my life. So imagine my surprise when my husband called me and said that he’s starting to become open to ‘thinking or talking about’ saving our marriage. He said that he won’t make any promises. And then he let it slip that his promotion and transfer had fallen through. While I’m glad that he won’t be moving, I have to admit that part of me thinks that his sudden willingness to think about a reconciliation or saving our marriage is due to nothing more than the fact that he can’t move and he won’t be making more money. So now that he’s stuck here and it will be expensive to live apart, he’s willing to continue to slog through our marriage. As much as I want him back, I am not excited about getting back with a man who is only reluctantly with me.”

I understand your concerns, but I also believe that you are making quite a few assumptions. You can’t say for sure that he isn’t relieved that he doesn’t have to move for the new job.  It’s possible that since he moved out and has had time to think, he may have begun to open himself up to saving your marriage BEFORE he found out that the promotion wasn’t happening. Sometimes, separated people do end up missing their spouse and that leads them to open their mind to a possible reconciliation.

For the sake of argument, though, even if he is motivated by the lack of a promotion, I’m not sure that you really want to give up your chance to reconcile and to keep your family together because of this. Yes, you’d rather he be completely enthusiastic and only motivated by his feelings for you. But at the end of the day, isn’t it most important that he IS back rather than WHY he is back? Sure, we’d all love for our spouse to have the ideal motivations. But, if you can make it so that your reconciliation is successful and that your marriage is one day happy again, will you be worried five years from now that his promotion might have been part of his motivation?

The real goal should be to return your marriage to health and happiness. Yes, you may POSSIBLY be more enthusiastic about that than he is right now, but what matters the most is how you end up. If you end up ultimately happy and very much together, you likely won’t worry as much about what his initial motivations were. As someone who was separated for far longer than I wanted to be, I’d encourage you to take him back if you have the opportunity to do so and you are still invested in your marriage. In my experience, it’s more difficult to make progress when living apart.

I think that making progress will probably help your confidence some. Once you hopefully see him becoming more warm and open, you will start to relax a little more. Try to be enthusiastic and don’t allow your worry and doubt to impede your progress. Your enthusiasm might wear off on him and allow you to make quick progress.

I understand wanting to think that he’s 100% all in, but this is rare in most reconciliations. There’s usually some doubt and hesitation. No one wants to get their hopes up, only to be hurt. But some of us proceed on anyway. We move past our hurt and our fears and we hope for the best. It honestly feels so good to get validation once your reconciliation is complete. But you don’t always get that in the early phases. And that is where you are right now. Even if he’s unsure initially, what is most important is that he’s totally positive by the time you’re done rebuilding.

As I alluded to, I was most definitely more invested in reconciling than my husband was.  But I didn’t let that stop me because I truly wanted to save my marriage.  Ultimately, I just wanted it to happen no matter how or why.   You can read the rest of that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Dating Your Spouse During The Trial Separation: Tips And Advice That Might Help

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear from people who are separated and trying to save their marriages. One recurring theme that often comes up is dating your spouse while separated.   Many people intuitively know that this can be an important part of the process.  After all, if you can regularly date your spouse again and this goes well, that’s part of rebuilding your marriage and showing your spouse that the two of you can have fun, connect again, and still have a spark on which you can and want to rebuild.

But, many couples aren’t quite sure about how to approach this.  I’m often asked for insights on how to best handle dating while you’re technically in a trial separation.  I recently heard from a wife who asked the questions that most people want to know.  She said, in part: “are there any guidelines about dating my husband while we’re separated?  Are you supposed to plan the dates or just let them happen?  Can I ask him or do I have to wait until he asks me? Are there any topics that are off limits? I know that when I’m with my husband I’m going to want to ask him if he’s come to a decision or has any opinions about the chances of us getting back together.  Is it a good idea to have sex on these dates or should I keep things strictly platonic in order to lure him back?  What is the best way for me to handle this?”

I will try to cover these concerns and offer some tips on successfully dating during a trial separation in the following article.

If You Can, Agree On The Specifics Of The Dating Before The Separation Actually Takes Place:  The optimal way to approach this is to agree with your spouse on how this is going to go before one of you actually leaves the home.  So many couples leave this open ended and when they do, it’s my experience that things are less likely to go well.

If it’s possible, it’s a good idea to define how often you’re going to get together beforehand.  If you both have this agreement in place, you’re both less likely to see other people or to do things during the separation that could be detrimental to your marriage.  It also gives you a common goal and something to look forward to.

However, sometimes setting things up before hand isn’t possible because one spouse wants to “wait and see” or is reluctant to commit to regular dating.  In this case, it’s best not to push and to take advantage of the time that you do spend together.  If you get the sense that your spouse will be reluctant to commit to anything beforehand, then it’s better not to push for this and to just make things seem spontaneous (even if you were planning them all along.)  It’s OK to ask your spouse out on a date.  I don’t think you always have to wait for them.  But make sure that you sound casual and allow them to ask the next time around.

Don’t Use Your Dates With Your Spouse As A Marriage Counseling Session:  This is a very common mistake and also a very detrimental one.  Many people feel as if they have to take the temperature of their marriage during these dates or they use them to “work out” their problems.  In my opinion and experience, this is truly a mistake.  The whole idea for these dates is to bond with your spouse again and to prove to both of you that you can get a long, have fun together, feel the spark again, and reconnect.

You make this less likely if you insist on diving into your problems when the marriage is already struggling.  While I concede that you will eventually need to address any problems, the time to do so isn’t during a date that really should be fun.  Many people don’t even realize that they are doing this until they look back on the date and ask themselves what went wrong.

Try To Find New And Exciting Activities That You Haven’t Experienced Before.  Although It’s Tempting To Revisit The Past, Focus On The Future As Much As You Can:  The vast majority of people who contact me about this issue also tell me that their date destinations are usually either the old standbys or based on attempts to evoke nostalgic memories with their spouse.   They’ll take their spouse to the location of their first date or continue on with their Friday night traditions.

This is fine every once in a while.  But I would suggest not always relying on what you did in the past.  You want to create a sense of new adventures and fun.   You want to laugh and feel very alive during this experience.  Try things that you haven’t done together before and always keep everything very light hearted.

I know it’s easy to fall back on the familiar, especially when you might already be struggling emotionally during the separation, but it’s very important that the dates go well so that you both want to have more of them.  So the last thing you want to do is to find yourself on the other side of the same table where you’ve always sat having the same conversations you’ve always had.  Shake things up a bit.  I think you’ll be happy with the results.

What About Sex During The Separation?:  People ask me about this a lot.  Wives in particular usually ask if it’s a good idea to limit sex when you’re separated.  The thought process behind this is that if she has sex with her husband when he’s not living with her, then what is his incentive to come back home?

I understand (and usually agree somewhat) with this thinking, but I also know that this is easier said than done.  And, many people see things quite differently and think that if they can have good and regular sex with their spouse during the separation, this is going to improve their relationship, strengthen their bond, and make their spouse less likely to cheat or date other people while they aren’t living in the same house.

Both of these approaches have points with which I really can’t argue. I truly think that it depends upon the couple and where they are in the separation process.  I would caution you against using sex as the main way to get your spouse back.  I would also say that sometimes having sex while separated can create some conflict and misunderstandings as this can mean different things to both spouses at the time. As a result, hurt feelings and resentment may follow.

I would suggest that if you’re going to have sex while you are separated, make sure that you are doing so because you want to express and share your feelings at the time, and not as a way to lure your spouse back or to play emotional games.

Unfortunately, I didn’t understand these strategies during my own separation and I did many of the things I told you not to do.  This seriously backfired and meant that we almost got divorced as the result.  Luckily, I realized I had to change course and shake things up a little and this eventually worked.  If it helps, you can read more about that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com