My Husband Says That I Expect Too Much From Him During Our Separation

It can be hard to set clear boundaries during a trial or marital separation.  This can be especially true if the spouses differ in their opinion about the need for one in the first place.  Often, there is one spouse who feels that a separation is the only way to save the marriage, while the other feels that the separation is really just unnecessary and painful.  Because of this, people often don’t sit down and talk about their hopes and expectations for the separation.  So when issues come up, the spouses can disagree about how much involvement they might have in one another’s lives. For example, a wife might expect for her husband to still be involved in household maintenance and family life.  She might be very disappointed when the separated husband pulls back on any of these issues.

For example, she might say, “I’m am struggling with many issues during our separation. It seems that everything that can go wrong is in fact going wrong right now.  About three weeks after my husband left, the roof started to leak.  A few days later, I got a demotion at my job.  Then a little bit after that, my mother had an accident and is now homebound and in need of care.  I’ve had to go and stay with her on the weekends and hire a caregiver during the week.  I have asked my husband to move back home in lieu of all of this and he says that I expect too much of him. He says that because we are separated, I can’t expect for him to be at my beck and call or to take care of my personal issues.  I told him that this is not what I am asking of him.  If we were only talking about the roof, then I would not make this request.  But it is all of these things combined that makes me feel as if he should move back home to care for our children when I am caring for my mother.  I would also think that he would want to be there for me emotionally while I am struggling through this.  We are still married.  And I would certainly want to be there for him if he was struggling like this.  I’m not asking him to pretend that we are still madly in love.  I am just asking him to be there for his wife.  Is this really expecting too much?”

I don’t believe that it is, but I can tell you that what you are going through isn’t uncommon.  Separated husbands who want space will often balk or push back in response to a request that makes them think that you are trying to take that space away.  Your husband may well think that you are trying to trick him into coming home before he has had the time and space that he has requested.  I am not at all saying that this is true.  I am just saying that this may be his perception of the truth. And that may be why you are getting the accusations that you are expecting too much.

So as I see it, you have three choices. You can just retreat and continue on as things have been.  You can try to change your husband’s mind by telling him that he’s being unfair (but you risk him being even more indignant, which would possibly make things worse.)  Or you could try a compromise, which is what I would recommend.  You could try a reply that is something like, “I am not expecting for us to reconcile.  Can we try a compromise that might help us both?  What if you stayed with the kids at our home during the weekends? That way, I could be with my mother without worrying about the wellbeing of the kids and you will have your space during the week.  Most separated and divorced dads get their kids on the weekends, so this not asking you to go above and beyond.  This will allow you to get lots of time with your kids and I won’t have to worry while I’m caring for my mother.  Despite our separation, I know that you want for me to have one less worry right now.  I know that you care about my wellbeing, just as I would still care for yours.”

This does a couple of things for you.  It shows him that you are not asking for anything other than what most other separated dads would do.  It stresses that he will still have his space.  And it allows you to point out that you still care about his wellbeing and don’t think that it is asking too much that he still care about yours.  At that point, he is free to agree or not.  And his response should tell you a good deal about where he is in terms of his emotional investment with you and the kids.

Most men would agree to some compromise with this.  Recently separated men can be especially protective of the space that they think that they have fought so hard to get.  So you can be better off if you can convince him that you are not trying to take that away, only that you want his help with the kids during a difficult situation.  Your coming together and compromising right now can ultimately have a positive impact on the separation if you play your cards right.  This is the better alternative to trying to convince him that he is wrong, at least in my own experience.

My own separated husband retreated further away every time I tried to make demands of him.  If I had played my cards right, I would have been accommodating from the start. Since I wasn’t, I had a lot of catching up to do and our separation took much longer than it should have.  I eventually brought about a reconciliation, but not without a lot of pain first. You can read more on my blog at

Should I Tell My Separated Spouse That I Miss Him?

By: Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from people who aren’t sure how they should be acting while they are separated from their spouse. They have often read that you shouldn’t seem desperate or appear that you are just waiting for your spouse to call or attempt to see you. In other words, to the extent that you can, you want to make sure that you are not the only one initiating the contact or doing to pursuing.

I heard from a wife who said: “we’ve been separated for about six weeks. I miss my husband terribly. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how wrong it is that he is no longer living at home. Sometimes, when we talk on the phone, the words ‘I miss you’ are right on the tip of my tongue. But I don’t say them because I don’t want to appear overly eager. Most of the time, my husband and I get along reasonably well when we interact during the separation, so I don’t think that my missing him would upset him or make him recoil. I’m just not sure if I should tell him how very much I miss him and how desperate I truly am for him to come home. What do you think?”

It’s not hard from me to put myself in this wife’s shoes. I went through a separation just like this. And in the beginning of it, I never passed up an opportunity to let my husband know how much I missed him. And as this wife suspected, it backfired on me because all it did was make my husband feel so guilty that he wanted to avoid me. Later, I learned to not be so forthcoming with how badly I was feeling and this actually did help things between us. However, I think that sometimes people take this strategy too far.

He Probably Already Knows That Despite The Circumstances, You Both Miss Each Other: Our husbands can often read us better than we think. And I’m pretty sure that both people strongly suspect that the other one is missing their lives together. It would be difficult to be married to and live with someone for as long as they had and to not feel some longing once you were living apart. So I doubt that the husband would be all that shocked if the wife stated the obvious – that she missed him.

However, I think that the real distinction can be whether you tell him that you miss him if he asks or if you continuously blurt it out when no one has even brought it up. I mean, I used to bring up the topic myself and then proceed to tell my husband I didn’t know if I could be without him for one more day. This is entirely different than confessing you are missing your spouse if they are the one who brings it up or if they ask you directly about this.

Understand That Missing Your Spouse Doesn’t Change The Issues That Lead To The Separation: One thing that never occurred to me when I was constantly telling my husband how much I missed him was how little this mattered when you looked at the big picture. And I am not trying to sound insensitive when I say this. But, my missing him didn’t change the fact that neither of us had done anything to address the issues that lead to the separation in the first place.

One day when I was going on and on about how unhappy the separation was making me, my husband said “yes, but tell me something new. Tell me what has changed.” I thought he was just trying to shut me up. It took me a while to realize what he meant. What he was trying to tell me is that me missing him didn’t do a single thing to fix our marital problems. And until those issues were resolved, nothing was going to change for him regardless of how much I missed him.

So sometimes you really have to look at the big picture and ask yourself where you are in the process. For example if you and your husband have made huge strides and have worked through your problems so well that you are beginning to date one another and become intimate again, then telling him that you miss him might actually change things because the situation would be such that it would make sense to act on this.  However, if like my case, nothing had changed, then telling him that you miss him is sort of stating the obvious and it’s likely to frustrate you both because regardless of how you both are feeling, nothing has really changed in regards to your marriage.

So to answer the question posed, it’s my opinion that if your husband asks you directly, there’s no reason to lie and claim that you don’t miss him. But if you’re going to bring up the topic yourself, make sure that you have laid some groundwork on fixing your marriage so that your words matter. It doesn’t make sense to stress how much you miss him when neither of you have addressed the outstanding issues so that you can both do something about them.

As I alluded to, I certainly wasn’t shy about telling my husband how desperately I missed him during our separation.  But it actually made things worse.  Because it only highlighted how stuck we truly were.  It wasn’t until I placed my focus on taking action rather than relying on words that things changed in our marriage and we were able to save it.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at

What Points Do I Need To Make When Meeting Up With My Separated Husband For The First Time?

I sometimes hear from wives who are finally going to meet up with their separated husband.  Often, the husband is the spouse who initiated the separation, while the wife was reluctant to separate and has been looking forward to seeing her husband again.  Many of these husbands wanted a “break” or “space” and so the wife has sometimes been limited in the amount of contact that she has been able to obtain.  So, being able to meet for the first time in what seems like a long time can feel like a very big deal.

Often, there are some reservations and nervousness about this.  Since the wife doesn’t know when, or if, another meeting will take place, she obviously wants to make the most out of this one.  And yet, it can feel as if there are so many questions that she needs to have answered.  Or that there are so many points that she wants to make.  She can feel as if there are words left unsaid.  Understandably, she wants to be heard.  She may feel that parts of the separation have been unfair and she wonders if she should address these things.  She might say: “I’m very excited to see my separated husband for the first time in three weeks.  It has been too long.  I’ve wanted to meet since the first week of our separation, but my husband kept putting me off.  Finally, he agreed to meet this evening.  There is so much that I want to say.  I feel that he is overreacting with this separation and that he is being selfish.  I feel that he expects to have the perfect marriage when no such thing is possible.  I feel that it’s selfish to throw away our family for some silly idea of happiness.  Some of my husband’s criticisms of me were pretty hypocritical and it was very self-centered of him to leave me to run the household.  I sort of want to say each and every one of these things to him, but I’m afraid that if I do, the meeting won’t go as well as it could.  What points are the most important to make?  Which should I make sure come across?”

This is a very tricky situation.  I know first hand how badly things can go wrong when you try to convince your husband that he is wrong when you have so limited a period of time.  The meetings that you have during your separation are VERY important. Because when your husband decides when to next meet again, he is going to use tonight’s meeting to make his determination.  If the meeting goes well, he will likely want to have another meeting sooner rather than later.  However, if the meeting does not go well, then he may hesitate or delay in scheduling another one.  Frankly, things can go downhill quickly if you are not seeing one another regularly.  So, it’s better if you can keep the regular communication and the meetings going.  That is why I would be very careful about this meeting tonight.

Why You Don’t Want To Jeopardize Access To Your Husband: From my experience (especially early on in our separation,) if I came down pretty hard on my husband, he would shut down communication.  So not only did I not get my concerns addressed anyway, but I’d lose access to him.  That’s why I found that it was better to have my concerns addressed gradually.  I know that you want and deserve to have him hear your concerns.  But don’t go to the first meeting with a list of grievances.  Instead, focus on the fact that you are glad to see him and that you want to have another meeting planned very quickly after the first.  The idea is that by having the meetings go well, you’ll have open access to him.  Then when things are clicking between the two of you, you’ll then be able to sprinkle your concerns into the meeting and he will eventually listen.   I don’t think that it is a good idea to pour out all of your grievances at one time.  Even though you deserve to have answers, if he perceives that he’s only hearing complaints, he’s only going to tune you out and you won’t get any answers anyway.

Instead, for the first meeting, I would focus on telling him how good it is to see him, how much you miss him, and how much his presence has left a void.  This allows you to paint the picture of how difficult it is to manage the household without sounding as if all you are doing is complaining.  Hopefully, he will be receptive and you can then focus on just having a level of comfort and pleasantness between you.  The more you both enjoy the encounter, the more likely there will be for others.

I know that when you are separated, you often want him home TODAY.  I know that this was the case with me.  But every time I tried to rush it or to push my husband, I only delayed my progress.  (You can read about that at It’s better to tread lightly and to play the long game.  For the first meeting, focus the most on it going well and build from there.

Will My Husband Regret Leaving Me? What Can I Do To Make Sure That He Does?

By: Leslie Cane:  I sometimes hear from wives who are trying to come up with a strategy to get their husbands to come home after leaving.  One of the common strategies that I’m asked about is trying to make your husband feel regret or guilt about leaving.   I recently heard from a wife whose husband had left the previous week.  He didn’t leave abruptly.  He had been telling her for weeks that he was going to go.  And, he wasn’t sure how long he would be gone or if he was coming back.  But he reassured the wife that he would check in with her, would not abandon her and their child, and  would not act in a way that would not be appropriate.

None of these things reassured the wife very much.  She was already tired of the process and she wanted him home as soon as possible.  She did not want him away from their home for one more day.  So, she felt that the best way to get him home was to make him regret leaving her in the first place.  She said in part: “how do I know if my husband will regret leaving me?  And how can I make sure that he does?  Should I date other people?  So I try to make him feel guilty? Should I make sure that he knows how much my son misses his father?”

These were some very difficult questions.  And although I completely understood the wife’s thought process (as I had to save my own marriage when my husband left me,)  I didn’t think that trying to elicit more negative feelings was going to help or to make her husband come home more quickly.  I’ll tell you why in the following article. And I’ll also tell you what I think is a better strategy.

Many Men Do Feel Regret For Leaving Their Wives.  But They Are More Likely To Do So When Their Wife Brings About Positive Feelings (Rather Than Trying To Force Negative Feelings Like Regret:)  I hear from a good deal of men in this situation on my blog. I have to tell you that those who do feel regret often do so when they experienced positive feelings of longing toward their wives.  And when they recounted how or why this happened, very few will mention emotions like jealousy or guilt.  Instead, they remember realizing that they missed their wife’s sweet smile or her mischievous laugh.  They’ll tell you that they missed feeling connected to her.  They very rarely mention being motivated by negative emotions like guilt or pity, which leads me to my next point.

Ask Yourself What You Really Want.  And Then Examine If Eliciting Regret Is Going To Accomplish Anything: I always advise women to ask themselves what they really want before they come up with any strategy.  Because often, the things that we do are truly are in direct contrast to what we really want.  In this case, what the wife really wanted was for her husband to come home.  She hoped that making him regret leaving her was going to achieve this result.  But frankly, focusing on negative emotions like guilt (as she had planned) generally do not achieve this result as well as you had hoped.

First of all, it can be difficult to “make” your husband regret something which he himself decided upon.  And second, what good is regret in this situation anyway?  It’s not really an emotion that is conducive to healing or moving forward.  Because getting him to come home is only step one.  Step two is improving the relationship enough that he wants to stay home.  One way to do this is to avoid adding yet more negative equations to the mix.  You want to create a healthier relationship instead of one that is loaded down with regret and guilt (on top of the struggles that you are likely already facing.)

Instead Of Trying To Make Him Regret Leaving You, Try To Encourage Him To Want To Come Home By Using Positive Reinforcements: So at this point, the wife’s plan consisted of using her son as sort of bait to lure her husband home and making him jealous by going out with other men that she honestly wasn’t the least bit interested in.  Although I understood her motivation, I felt that using these sorts of strategies wasn’t the best call.  They showed her husband a manipulative spouse whose actions potentially brought about pain and confusion.  There was a real risk that using this strategy was going to make her husband associate the pain or guilt with her and the marriage. And, her husband might have resented her strategy.

The thing is, people are more likely to do what you want for them to do when you show them some empathy, understanding and respect.  But the wife’s strategy didn’t encompass any of these things.  So I suggested that rather than placing her focus on trying to get him to regret leaving her, she instead focus on making it so enticing for him to come home that she didn’t need to focus on sorrow or regret.

So how would the wife go about doing this?  Well, she could focus on what was positive and binding rather than on what was dividing them.   When she saw or interacted with her husband, I encouraged her to be cheerful rather than resentful.  I encouraged her to try to enjoy the visits rather than worrying about making things appear in any particular way in the hopes that her husband would feel regret.  It’s better to allow for positive things to happen naturally rather than to force negative things in the hope that it gets you positive results.

I encouraged her to use the sense of humor that he admitted her husband loved.  I challenged her to see if you could laugh even when she felt tense or unsure.  I knew that the wife was tired of being alone and that she really wanted to do something to get her husband to come back home. But trying to force or trick him into regret probably wasn’t the best way to go.  It’s my experience that acting with integrity while focusing on the positive will often get you what you want.  And frankly, when you encourage your husband to remember the good qualities that he misses about you and wants to experience more of, then he may well regret leaving you and want to come home.  But when he does, he will be filled with hope rather than guilt or doubt.

I do understand this wife’s motivation because, for a long time, I focused on negative emotions when I was trying to get my own husband back.  This backfired on me in a big way.  It wasn’t until I learned to conduct myself in an entirely different way that I had success and was able to get him back home.  If it helps, you can read more about that very personal story on my blog at

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

When Your Husband Flat Out Says He Doesn’t Care About Your Marriage And Wants A Separation

Some husbands can be a bit mysterious and vague when they initiate a separation.  They’ll tell their wives that they just need some time away.  They insinuate that it might all be temporary. Sometimes, they will reassure their wife that they still love her (or at least care very much about her,) but they just need a break from the marriage.  In other words, they make it clear that although they aren’t exactly sure about the state of the marriage, they are sure that somewhere deep down, they do still care.  They may not be sure if this will be enough, but they are clear that the feelings are still there.

And then there are husbands on the other end of the spectrum.  Although these husbands might stop short of telling their wives that they don’t love her anymore, many of them don’t mince words. Some will come right out and flat out say that they don’t care as much as they used to.  Some will tell their wife that they don’t care at all.  They’ll then follow this up with the announcement that they want a separation.  This leaves the wife with very little to work with.  Much of the time, when a wife is trying to get her husband to reconsider a reconciliation, she will fall back on the love and the history that the two of them share.  But if the husband is denying to care about that connection and history, where does this leave her?

She might say, “I knew that my husband was not happy in our marriage.  And I knew that he was considering a separation or a divorce. But what I did not anticipate was that he would say that he doesn’t really care about me and our marriage anymore.  He basically said that he wanted a separation and then acted like he expected me to just accept it without any discussion.  So I asked him how could he make a decision like this without us having a sit-down discussion?  How could he just think that he was only one who got to make this decision?  His response was that no matter what I thought or felt, his feelings were his own.  And then he told me that he really didn’t care all that much about me or our marriage anymore.  He flat out said that he didn’t care.  It was almost as if he was trying to be as mean as possible so that I would be too shocked to respond, which is about what happened.  This has left me devastated on many levels. I am devastated that my husband admits that he doesn’t care about me.  But I am further devastated that he doesn’t appear to be giving me any room for discussion.  I have been completely shut down.  What can I do now?  He doesn’t care about me.  And he won’t discuss it any further.”

I was in a similar situation and it ultimately ended up okay, so I’m going to share this story in the hope that it helps.  I’ll try to keep this brief:  My husband alluded to still caring about me at the beginning of our separation, but I truly started to doubt this because he made it pretty clear that his preference was very little contact. This was not acceptable to me, so I pushed vey hard for that contact.  This, of course, created conflict and things deteriorated further between us.  After this conflict had gone on for a while, my husband began to insinuate that he was losing feelings for me and for the marriage.  This left with me with few cards to play.  But it was clear that continuing to create drama just wasn’t working.  It was making things worse.  So I just accepted what he said, told him that I still cared very much about him and our marriage, and I essentially waited in the wings.  I stopped bothering him.  I went out of town and spent time with people who loved me – family and friends.  I gave him the space that he claimed to so desperately want.  I wasn’t doing this to punish him at all.  I made it clear that I wished that things were different.  Eventually, he came around and we began to communicate again.  In time, it became clear that he cared very much.

The point I am trying to make is that right before a separation (or early on in one,) people can say hurtful things that end up not being true.  As you already suspect, he might be trying to be a bit aggressive and abrasive so that you don’t try to change his mind.  He may be claiming not to care so that you don’t have room to negotiate.  I know that this is difficult, but sometimes in situations such as this, a pause is needed.  The pause allows for everyone to calm down and it ensures that the situation does not become worse.  Sometimes when you make it clear that you still care very much and then give your husband that space that he wants, he will miss you and realize that he actually cares very much.  People tend to posture a lot at the beginning of a separation.  They make claims that they don’t actually mean.

Just ignoring my husband’s requests and trying to rush things made our separation worse.  In my experience, the best play is to not create a lot of conflict and strategically wait for him to realize that he misses you and he still cares.  I know that this is easier said than done, but I learned the hard way that waiting is better than making things worse. You can read more about that lesson on my blog at

Does Husbands Ever Come Back After Moving Out? If So, How Many?

By: Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from wives who are living alone because their husband has left and moved out. They often very much want for their husbands to move back home eventually, but they don’t know how realistic this is going to be. Often, he has shown considerable resistance to any attempt to lure him back. As a result, the wife can begin to wonder if she is just setting herself up for disappointment by hoping that he will one day return.

A comment that would demonstrate this is something like: “my husband left me and moved out about eight months ago. It feels like forever instead of eight months. But in many ways, it feels like yesterday because nothing has really changed. There are times when I feel like we haven’t made any real progress. My husband avoids me as much as he possibly can. Sometimes, he apparently gets lonely and then for a little while, he will be nice to me again but then he will eventually pull away and the cycle starts all over again. Some of my friends tell me that I am a fool if I do not begin moving forward with my life. They ask me why I can’t see that my husband isn’t ever coming back. I know that this possibility exists, but I can’t help but wonder if he is never coming back, then why not just go ahead and divorce me? He hasn’t made any attempt to do that. I’m wondering if husbands ever come back once they have moved out. And if so, how many?”

Well, I can tell you that husbands do come back. My own did. And many wives comment on my blog that their husbands came back also. I don’t want to give you the impression that it always happens. But, it’s not rare either. I don’t have any official statistics about husbands who have moved out and later returned. But it’s not uncommon for people to tell me that were able to reconcile even after their husband had been gone and moved out for a while. And, there are plenty of people who admit that they haven’t yet been able to get their spouses back. Granted, there are some husbands who are determined to never come back and who, despite what you do or say, are very resistant. But there are others who eventually come around. So what separates the husband who stay gone and those that come back? I’ll mention some of the variables that I often see in the following article.

A Man Is More Likely To Come Back If He Believes That He Is Not Coming Back To The Same Problems: I can probably save you a lot of time and aggravation by telling you that often, begging him to come home without making real and lasting changes isn’t likely to work. Many of us (myself included) believe that if we keep talking and we keep telling him why he should come back because we are so lost without him, he will eventually “give in” and make his way home. But what we don’t count on at the time is that even if he does come back, he will do so begrudgingly. And, if he comes back and nothing has changed, what is to keep him from leaving again when things fall apart once more?

As much as you want him to come home, there’s a better way. The best way to get him to come home is to show him (rather than continuing to tell him) that things can and will change. And, depending on what your issues are, you might need some help making that change. But, doing so is worth the effort because it is (at least in my experience and opinion) the most effective way to make him feel that it is going to be to his benefit to come home.

Another variable that matters is if you can recreate or restore the intimacy between you. No one wants to come home and worry that it is going to be awkward or that things are going to feel forced. But, if he knows that he can easily walk into a comfortable and nurturing situation, he is most much likely to very willingly want to come home. This can take time and it can’t be forced. It can also be a good idea to ease him into the idea of coming home.

You start very small with just seeing one another regularly without any talk of him coming home and without any pressure. When that goes well, you begin going out and having fun. Once that is moving along nicely, you might have him begin to stay weekends. By moving gradually in this way, you’re allowing for things to unravel at a very realistic pace which takes much of the pressure off. And this gives you both more confidence that things are going to go well once he does move back home.

But to answer the original question, yes, men do move back home all of the time. It’s not even all that rare. The key is to inspire him to want to come home rather than the goal being just to wear him down so that he reluctantly comes home before he’s really ready to do so.

There was a time when I too thought that my husband would never come home.  But he did.  I was lucky because I had a plan that worked.  I realize that not all men come home, but I believe that many do. If it helps, you can read more about how I was able to navigate our separation on my blog at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Separated Husband Wants To Know Why I Won’t Accept That It’s Over

I sometimes hear from wives who want to believe in their heart that there is a still a chance for their separated marriage.  However, their husband isn’t nearly as optimistic and he will sometimes try to convince the wife that she should just accept that there may not be a reconciliation.  Often, the wife finds this hurtful and doesn’t understand why he is concerning himself with what she is feeling or what she wants.

She might say: “my husband and I have been separated for over six months.  We are in counseling.  Although I believe that we have made a little bit of progress, my husband feels that we are just wasting our time.  He hasn’t filed for divorce yet, but he is giving me the vibe that he is seriously considering it.  The other day, when we left counseling, I replied that I thought that things went pretty well during that session.  My husband just sighed and asked when was I going to accept that it was over.  I sort of got what he was alluding to, but I played dumb and asked him what he meant because I really wanted him to elaborate.  He basically said that we’ve been wasting money on all of this counseling, but he doesn’t see that things have gotten any better.  He said that he feels like the time has come that we just accept that our marriage is probably over.  I told him immediately that I disagreed with this. I told him that I felt that we had made some progress and that if we kept up with the counseling, we could eventually get to a much better place and perhaps even reconcile.  The thing is, my husband doesn’t always do the assignments that the counselor gives us, although I do.  My husband blurted out that our marriage was virtually over and that he did not get why I don’t just save myself some pain and simply accept this.  I didn’t say it, but I was thinking that he can’t control what I accept or don’t accept.  Then I asked him if he would commit to just a month more of counseling.  He said that he would, but that he felt that we were really wasting our money and time.  His attitude told me that he is probably just going to sit through counseling with a sour look on his face and not contribute anything.  Now I’m starting to wonder if I should just accept it, even though I do feel in my heart that our marriage is salvageable.”

This is only my biased opinion, but I was in a very similar situation in that my husband was ready to bail on our marriage when we were separated, but I was still invested.  He wanted me to stop hanging on so tightly and of course this only made me cling more.  My clinging seemed to make things worse, so I gave off the appearance that I was backing off.  I went out of town for a while to ensure that I could not bug my husband. And then a strange thing happened.  Eventually, he started contacting and reaching out to me.  It was a bit of a long process.  But we did eventually reconcile.  If I had just agreed to “give up” or to “accept it” or to “let go” then I probably would not be married today.

However, I believe that there is an important distinction here.  I believe that it’s important to live your life and to make yourself a priority while you are waiting.  You don’t want to completely leave yourself just treading water while you are waiting for someone to change their mind.  In the meantime, you can work on yourself, get individual counseling, and get support from family and friends.  That way, when and if your husband does come around, you will be a healthier and improved version of yourself and this will make your reconciliation more likely to work.  But I don’t think that anyone (other than yourself) can tell you that you need to give up or to accept that it is over.  Certainly, some separated marriages end in divorce, regardless of how much hope the couple once had.  And yet, other times, marriages that looked hopeless survive.  Even couples who divorce sometimes get remarried.  You just never know.  As long as “having hope” isn’t hurting your mental health or causing you to put your own life on hold, I honestly do not see the harm, but I am definitely biased and I am not a mental health counselor.  I’d encourage you to keep seeing yours and to consider seeing her on an individual basis.

You can read more at how I very stubbornly hung onto my marriage when my husband wanted to throw it away on my blog at

Ways To Make A Husband Miss You During The Separation So That He’ll Want To Come Back To You Or Return Home

I firmly believe that a separation does not have to be the end of your marriage. In fact, I believe that a separation that allows the time and distance to work for the marriage can actually make both people more committed to staying together and more determined to make things work. The reason for the change of heart often lies with the fact that the distance allows both people to see how much they actually care and miss the other person. This makes them realize that they don’t to be without their spouse and that they don’t want to be alone.

Many people who contact me very much understand that their spouse needs to end up missing them during the separation. They know that this is a very important piece of the puzzle. But they aren’t sure how to best accomplish this. I often hear comments like: “My husband is the one who wanted the separation. He initiated it. I did not want it but agreed because it seemed like it was my only choice instead of a divorce. I know it’s important that he miss me while we’re apart, but he doesn’t seem to. Every time I call him, he seems to be busy. Every time I try to see him face to face, he brushes me off. If I point blank ask him if he misses me, he doesn’t give me a straight answer or he’ll say something like ‘a little.’ It’s hard to have any hope when he responds to me this way. Am I doing something wrong? I try not to bother him that much but if I waited for him to contact me, I’m afraid he never would.”

In the following article, I will offer some tips on encouraging your husband to miss you during the separation so that hopefully this will lead to him to want to come back to you as well.

Understand That This Process Sometimes Takes Patience. In The Beginning, He’s Likely Just Feeling His Way And Hasn’t Yet Processed How He Really Feels: One common issue that I see is that there’s a real tendency to be so uncomfortable and worried while he is gone that you want to reach out very quickly. You are looking for validation or some good signs to make you feel better.

But what you might not realize at the time is that husbands who initiate a separation often fully intend to take their time during it. Many tell me that they asked for the separation because they wanted to see how they would feel in another scenario. They wanted the time to process their feelings without having to dialog with you while they were doing it. So, sometimes when you start asking how much he misses you, he will actually retreat even more because he feels like you are rushing him.

Often, he hasn’t yet reached the point where he’s thought much about his feelings. He’s just trying to ease into this day by day – and then slowly, he will begin to see how this feels to him. But if you push, then you are making it more likely that you will not get the answer that you want.

Understand What It Takes For A Man To Miss A Woman During A Separation: Many women feel as if they have to control every aspect of their husband’s life while he is away. They know that they are over reaching, but the fear takes over and they just can’t help it. Because they worry that if they back off and he has too much fun, meets someone else, or decides that he really is happy and content alone, then their letting go even just a little bit would have been a huge mistake.

I do understand this. I went though this process myself and made many similar mistakes. But what I eventually came to realize that my forcing the issue wasn’t going to make what I wanted any more likely. My continuing to show up and come on too strong couldn’t possible assure me that none of my fears were going to happen. They actually were making my husband see me more negatively. But backing off gave me at least the chance that he would see me more positively.

And this truly is your whole goal. You want for him to get to a place where he has a quiet moment to himself, reflects on you, and decides that there truly were some good times that just might be possible to recapture. Without the fighting, the insecurities, and the conflict having a constant presence, he can think about you with a positive reaction rather than a negative one.

That’s why it’s so very important that if you suspect that what you are doing is bringing about these negative reactions, then you should consider changing strategies and seeing if there’s a change to his out look or reaction.

Use Restraint When You Reach Out To Your Husband. And, For Every Contact That You Initiate, Try To Force Yourself To Wait Until He Makes The Next: If you are the only one who is making all of the attempts at communication, things are going to feel one sided to both you and your husband. That’s why I advocate moving backward when you feel some resistance. And you likely know your husband enough to know when this is happening.

I believe that, as hard as it is, you are better off contacting him too little rather than too much. If it’s too little, the chances are that he will reach out to you because he’s wondering why he hasn’t heard from you. If you do decide to contact him or to “just happen” to bump into him, then use restraint when this happens. You may feel like you want to talk and talk and confess how much you miss him and don’t want to be without him. But try to force yourself to stop short of this.

Because the idea really is to leave him wanting more. You want every encounter to end well so that it leads to another one. And, when you are the one initiating the contact the first time, then it’s always best to allow him to make the next move. Or at least to wait until enough time has passed between each encounter. Desperation is easy to spot and it usually doesn’t inspire him to come back you. It just inspires him to avoid you.

If You Can’t Pull This Off Face To Face Contact Right Now, Considering Keeping Things Light And Short With Technology (Like Texting, Facebook, Etc.:) Some women contact me and tell me that although they understand these principles, they have a very hard time with them in real life. I often have them tell me things like “I do want to play it cool. I’ll psych myself up and try to act very casual, but the second I see him, I tear up, I get emotional and the jig is up. He can take one look at me and know exactly how I feel.”

If this is the situation that you find yourself in, you may want to consider trying to use technology – texts, emails, facebook messaging etc. This way, he can’t see or hear you. Your words can seem very casual, flirtatious and light hearted even if your emotions are anything but. I literally had to go out of town for a while to just force myself to back away a little bit. And you know what? This made all the difference.

As I alluded to, after my husband left for a separation, I did not understand these principles and I went about making him miss me and saving the marriage in the completely wrong way. I stooped to negative m over bearing, and desperate behavior that only drove my husband further away. Thankfully, I soon realized my mistake and decided to approach things from another angle and this eventually worked. If it helps, you can read a very personal story on my blog at