Will My Husband Come Back After The Separation? Here’s How To Make Sure That He Does

I sometimes hear from wives who are trying to set it up to have the best chance that their husband is going to come back to them after the separation.  They often ask me how they can tell if he’s actually going to come back.

I often hear comments: “will my husband come back after our separation? How can I make sure that he does?  I miss him so much.  I don’t want to lose him.  He’s staying with some friends and sometimes I think he’s happier apart.  He says he still doesn’t know what he wants or what he has decided about the separation so I’m trying not to push.  But I don’t know what I’ll do if he doesn’t come back.  What is the best plan of attack?”

I will discuss these questions and concerns in the following article.

Setting It Up To Make Sure That You Have The Best Chance Of Him Coming Back After The Separation:  There will come a time during this process where your husband will need to make a decision about where he stands and what he wants to do after the separation.  Usually, he’ll either decide that he needs more time, that he wants to come back to you, or that he wants to go ahead and stay apart and pursue a divorce or perhaps a legal or longer separation.

Obviously, when he goes to make this decision, you want for him to think as favorably about you as is possible.  And, you may have some work to do between that day and this because if you’re separated, it’s probably safe to say that things weren’t going all that great with your marriage right before he left.

So you’ll likely have to change his mind about some things.  And it’s vitally important that you chose those things very wisely. Because while it’s unrealistic to think that you might change his mind on all of your issues and problems, you CAN often change his mind about you and about how he feels about you.

Yes, this can take some doing.  But if you can change his perceptions about you, then you can eventually also change his mind about your problems – and eventually, about your marriage.

Making Your Husband WANT To Come Back After The Separation:  This is really more important than I can possibly express.   Many wives ask for my advice on “making” or “getting” a husband to come back after the separation.  Honestly, this isn’t want you want.

Do you really want him to come back with his head hung low and filled with reluctance?  If he comes back to you this way, do you think this is going to last?  Probably not because you’re both going to know that his heart just isn’t 100% into it.  And so this brings about resentment, and worry, and doubt.

The real goal is to make him to WANT to VERY WILLINGLY come back to you.  I know that these may seem like a tall order, but I promise you that with a little planning and skill, it can be done.

First, you have to get the right attitude.  You don’t want him to think that you’re going to force him to do anything that he doesn’t want.  You want for him to know that you want him to be happy and will give him as much time as he needs for that to happen.  You aren’t going to push him and you aren’t going to come on too strongly.  Don’t use your children or other members of his family for your leverage.  Men hate feeling manipulated and they will not respect you if you stoop to such levels.

I know that it can be VERY difficult to hold back sometimes, especially when you miss him so much.  But please trust me when I say that desperation is literally a repellant for men.  They can almost smell it and many tell me that it is a total turn off.

I strongly feel that you will often have more success if you portray yourself as the confident, strong woman who knows that ultimately you will find your way back to each other.  Part of this confidence means that you create a little mystery.

You certainly don’t want to literally jump every time he calls.  But, when you do interact with him, you want to look your best.  You want to appear busy and vibrant and you want to make sure that you laugh and smile.  You want to remind him of what he loves about you and you want to present the woman that he could look forward to if he came back.

Think about it for a second.  Is he really going to want to come back to a pleading, desperate, or scared woman? He’s more likely to want to come back to a confident, yet loving woman.

Another thing that repels separated husband is trying to “work” on your marital problems too soon.  You want to make sure that you are very strongly bonded again before you even think about attempting this.  Move very slowly while you are still on shaky ground.  And make sure he’s firm on wanting to come back and end the separation before you introduce anything back into the mix.

Admittedly, you’ll eventually have to come back down to reality and work through your issues.  But the time for that can be later, after he’s interested and committed again.

I know that this is a difficult time.  I truly do.  I had to use these tactics when I was separated from my husband.  It took me a long time to learn this lessons and I made many mistakes.  But I eventually was able to regroup and save the marriage.  If it helps, you can read that very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

I Don’t Want My Marriage To Be Over But My Husband Has Moved Out

By: Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from wives who believe that their worst case scenario has now happened because their husband has finally got angry or frustrated enough to move out.  They are often struggling with living alone for the first time in a long time.  And they are often worrying about what is going to happen with their marriage.  It’s very normal to assume that your marriage is practically over when your husband moves out, but I strongly believe that this doesn’t have to be the case.

I heard from a wife who said “my husband left and moved out last weekend. He had mentioned it before, but I honestly thought that I had talked him out of it. I guess I was wrong about that. More than anything, I want for our marriage to work. But obviously, I’m worried that this can’t happen if he moves out. I can’t believe it’s come to this. I’m so depressed over this.  I know that I have to pull it together, but I am having a hard time doing that.  When my friend’s husband moved out, I told her that they could eventually work things out, but they were never able to do that.  So I know that I can try to put on a happy face, but part of me knows that I’m kidding myself.  I don’t want to let my marriage go.  But part of me feels that I am going to be denying the inevitable and playing mind games with myself.  Is it better to just try to force myself to try to let my marriage go?”

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of information about the circumstances or problems that lead to the husband moving out or what he said when he did, but it’s my belief that just because one spouse moves out, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the marriage is over or that you have to just let go immediately. I will discuss this more below.w

Why I Don’t Think That One Person Moving Out Means That You Need To Immediately Give Up On Your Marriage:  I know that you probably feel incredibly panicked and vulnerable right now.  Suddenly, the bed that you are sleeping alone on feels so very big and you start to hear every little noise because of the silence that wasn’t there when you lived with your husband. And perhaps you have some friends who are insinuating that it is time for you to say good riddance or to start living your life as a newly single woman.

Often, people just do not understand how foreign and wrong this all sounds to you, especially since this is all so new and painful.  And often, what people don’t really understand is that immediately letting go or giving up lessens your chances of saving a marriage that might have been saved.  Sure, there may come a time when it’s clear that it’s time to move on.  But that time generally doesn’t come immediately after a spouse moves out.  It’s my opinion that you owe it to yourself to at least try to a few different things before you just give up, which leads me to my next point.

There Are Times When A Spouse Moving Out Can Actually Help:  It’s generally a pretty fair bet that by the time your souse actually moves out, your marriage has been struggling for more than a short amount of time. There’s generally a problem or issue that has become so bad that the spouse who leaves has distanced himself from you or now believes that the feelings between you aren’t just enough to overcome or compensate for the problems.  However, sometimes when you spouse moves out and is no longer faced with those same problems on a daily basis, the problems no longer seem quite so insurmountable.

And sometimes, his feelings for you no longer feel so distant.  There are times when he begins to miss you and he begins to realize that it might be worthwhile to once again try to address the issues that he thought were insurmountable before.  And the reason that he can see this when he couldn’t see it before is that he now sees that life isn’t as wonderful as he assumed.  He may not have come to this conclusion on his own if he weren’t alone and suddenly full of introspection.

Of course, I can’t tell you that this always happens.  But it’s my belief and experience that you can tip the odds in your favor by not panicking and by trying to remain upbeat and positive, especially when you are interacting with your husband.

Waiting To See What Happens Is Not The Same As Putting Your Life On Hold:  Sometimes, when I encourage people to hang in there for at least a little while, they mistake this to mean that they should hang on their husband’s every word or to just stay home and await his call. This isn’t what I mean.  If you put your life completely on hold, you tend to become more impatient and this can come off as desperation, which, let’s face it, isn’t all that attractive.

There is nothing wrong with continuing to live your life.  In fact, time and experience has told me that this is precisely what you should do. I certainly don’t mean that you should see other people or do anything that is going to jeopardize your marriage.  But I do mean that you should see supportive friends who put a smile on your face instead of staying home, listening to sad songs, looking at old photos, and allowing yourself to become more and more upset.

I can paint this scenario because I myself have experienced it.  I used to play the same depressing songs in the same order for night after night until I just got sick of feeling so bad and depressed.  It’s very important that you don’t allow yourself to get too down right now.  Him moving out doesn’t necessarily mean that your marriage is over, but it’s very important that you remain upbeat so that you can attract him with a positive attitude rather than deflecting him with a negative one.

And in my opinion and experience, it’s worth it to give it some time and some effort before you just decide to give up.  I am glad that I didn’t give up and accept that my marriage was over.  It wasn’t over, but it took me awhile to convince my husband of this.  It became easier once I understand a few basic truths about human behavior.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

My Husband Who Left Is Coming Back For The Kids Only

When you are a separated wife who wants your husband back more than anything, you will often make bargains with yourself that you will take him back in any way that you can get him.  You might tell yourself that this is not the time to picky.  Even if there are remaining marital problems between you, having him home can seem like enough.  That is, until he tells you that he’s “only” coming home because of his love for his kids, not because of his love for you.  Suddenly, your resolve to take him any way that you can get him is tested and you wonder what you should make of his loyalty to the kids only.

Someone might say, “my husband and I have been separated for a very long six months.  Honestly, it has been absolute hell. Every day of it has been somewhat heartbreaking. I miss my husband.  I don’t want a divorce, but my kids are suffering horribly.  We’ve had behavioral issues from my youngest child, which I think is why my husband has agreed to move back in. After we had a humbling parent-teacher conference, we went out to dinner and my husband begrudgingly said that he should move back in for the sake of our children, since it’s obvious that they aren’t handling the separation very well.  He never said anything about me.  Of course, I’m going to take him back because I don’t want a divorce and things have been really, really hard with him gone.  And we have made some improvements in the last couple of weeks that I am really excited about.  But it hurts my heart quite a bit to hear him only mention the kids as his reason for coming home.  My mom says that if he is only coming home for the kids, then it is never going to work.  Is she right?”

Not necessarily.  I think that it really depends on what you do and are able to accomplish while he is home.  I believe that my husband had a few reservations when we reconciled (and I definitely had some concerns as to whether the same old problems were going to plague us,) but we worked very hard to iron them out.  I also worked very hard on making progress while I suddenly had access to my husband again.  Without any doubt, several of my friends thought we would never make it.  But we’re still married today, so you just can’t predict these things.

I had the same thought process as you did – I wanted my husband back any way that I could get him, but I did have the luxury of doing this in a gradual way. I was so paranoid of anything going wrong, so my solution to this was that my husband began spending weekends at home. Eventually, we worked up to days at a time.  And then finally, he moved back in permanently.  (There’s more about that at http://isavedmymarriage.com)

I am not sure if this is possible in your situation, but it worked well for me because it allowed us to take some pressure off of reconciling.  If things went south, we could easily take a break and regroup. Once things went well, we increased the time that he was home.  You could have your husband spend some weekends at home initially to sort of ease your way back into it if it would help your confidence.

Speaking of confidence, I know that it’s hurtful to think that your husband is only open to a reconciliation because of your kids.  But I believe that someone who was totally opposed to a reconciliation probably wouldn’t allow himself to be lured back in, no matter what the reason.  There is no question that he probably is thinking about the well being of your kids, but if living with you was completely distasteful and unthinkable to him, I doubt that he would sentence himself to this unless it was something that he really wanted to do. In his heart, he must not be THAT opposed to moving back in, because he’s willing to do it.

Because of this, I would try very hard to focus on the fact that he is there and not to dwell on the fact that the reason may not be what you wanted.  At the end of the day, this really is an opportunity, no matter how or why it is occurring.  Having proximity to your husband is an advantage that you should definitely pounce on.  That said, I don’t think that you should expect for your marriage to pick right up where it left off.  Don’t put too much pressure on the situation.  Hang back some and allow your children to be the focus at first.  Just try to craft an open and supportive relationship where conversation easily flows back and forth.  Don’t worry about romance initially.  Just worry about getting along well so that you minimize the awkwardness.  Once you set this foundation and things are hopefully going well and your husband is receptive, then you can worry about working on your marriage.  But don’t rush there right away.  Focus on your kids.  Allow the close proximity to improve your relationship.  And only after you have a comfort level and a receptive husband should you worry about any more. At least that was my experience.

Showing Affection During Your Marital Separation. Should You?

Many people who are reluctantly separated are not sure how they are supposed to act around their separated spouse.  This can seem very odd.  After all, this is your spouse that we are talking about.  Chances are, you have known him for a very long time and being around him should feel as natural as breathing.   However, if you are separated and want to reconcile, you can sometimes sense that you are on shaky ground with your spouse.  You don’t want to do or say anything that will make him uncomfortable or drive him away.  And yet, the wish to reach out to him can be hard to ignore.

Someone might ask, “How do people handle the showing of affection during trial separations?  My husband and I have only been separated for a short time and honestly, I’m not quite sure of protocol here.  My husband was over visiting the kids this weekend and we were discussing a sad issue with my husband’s extended family.  My husband was upset and I went to hug him, with no ulterior motive whatsoever.  I simply wanted to give him some comfort.  I didn’t really think about it beforehand.  But when I did it, I felt my husband bristle.  He literally stiffened at my touch.  I pulled away and tried not to make a big deal of it.  Later I talked about this with one of my friends and she suggested that perhaps I should not show physical affection to my husband while we are separated.  She said that when you separated, you aren’t necessarily loving on one another.  Is this true?  Should I not be showing affection to my husband right now?  He wanted to separate.  I did not, but none of this means that I don’t love him anymore.  If I shouldn’t show him affection, I could stop. But I don’t really want to.  I feel like I’ve already lost so much.  Do people really not show affection while separated?”

It really does depend on the couple.  I know some couples who continue to hug, kiss, have sex, etc, while separated.  And I know others who hesitate to touch in any way.  There is really no hard and fast rule about this.  And in my opinion and observation (based and on my own separation,) I think that it is best if you either follow the understandings that you’ve already established.  Or, if you have not established boundaries, you either ask now or read your spouse’s cues to determine his comfort level.

My husband seemed pretty uncomfortable in similar situations and finally I just asked him.  I literally said, “Should I not do this?” when I attempted to reach out to him.  My husband didn’t flat out tell me no, but he was clearly not comfortable with physical affection in the beginning of our separation.  So I eventually decided to just allow him to take the lead.  That way, I didn’t have to worry about doing something that would hurt communication between us.  Instead, I eventually focused on trying to be comfortable and to laugh and relax with one another so that he’d want to keep communicating.  Further down the road, he was the one to initiate physical affection and I believe that this worked best for us, but that may not be true of every couple.

I do also know that things may change from one day to the next.  There might be a time when your spouse pulls away from you and then three days later, he’s reaching out to hug you.  It can certainly be confusing and can give you mixed signals.  However, I don’t think that you can ever go wrong by being friendly and supportive, but also observant as to how he is acting and how receptive that he might be at the time.

I realize that this is frustrating.  I used to think during my own separation that it just should not be so hard to know how to act around my own husband.  But I think that if I would have pressed the issue and pushed affection when he wasn’t receptive, that might have delayed our progress even more.  I learned that you really do have to take a gradual approach and just accept the progress that you are given.  For me, every time I pushed and demanded more, I had to take several steps back.  It got a point where it was no longer worth it and it became beneficial for me to watch for cues or to just let him make the first move.

This may not be the case for you.  It could be that you have a husband who is more receptive than mine.  And if you aren’t sure, there is nothing wrong with being honest and admitting that you aren’t sure how to approach physical affection and asking your husband how he wants to approach it.  If you are reluctant to do this, just continue to watch for clues.  If you feel him stiffen, that’s a good indication to slow down.  But if he initiates affection, then that can be an indicator that he considers it to be fine at the time.  I know that it’s tricky.  But it’s better to move too slowly than to move too swiftly and have your husband pull back, at least in my experience.  You can read more about how I finally ended my own separation at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Signs Of A Husband Who Is No Longer Emotionally Connected To His Wife

By: Leslie Cane:  I sometimes hear from wives who are mourning the lack of a connection in their marriage.  Many worry that the emotional bond is no longer there.  I heard from a wife who said: “I don’t think that my husband is emotionally connected to me anymore.  He’s very cold and distant toward me.  Last week, I lost a dear friend of mine to illness.  I was sitting in the living room balling my eyes out and my husband just walked past me without saying a word.  Five years ago, he would have taken me in his arms and comforted me, but he did nothing.  This is just one example, but for months I’ve noticed him distancing himself from me emotionally.  What are some additional signs that I can look for that might indicate that he is no longer connected to me? And if I’m right about this, does it mean my marriage is over?”  I will address these questions in the following article.  And I will tell you that I think are some tell tale signs that the emotional connection is wavering.

He’s Continuously Distant And Cold: The wife could have been correct in her concerns.  The above description of a husband walking right by his sobbing wife is disturbing.  But, this could have been an isolated incident.  Perhaps the husband himself was upset by the friend’s death.  There was no way to tell without having more information.  The wife would be in the best position to evaluate whether this distance was a reoccurring issue.  It can be helpful to try to take an objective look at how often he affectionately touches or talks to you.  Because when people have an emotional connection, they will often touch or reach out to one another without even thinking about it.  They will naturally want to ask about one another’s day or have discussions to find out what is going on with the other.  If this isn’t happening, it’s important to take notice and see if you can pin point any other areas of your marriage that might cause concern.

You Notice Changes In Your Sex Life: People often assume that sex is an activity that is based more on a physical or chemical attraction.  This is partly true.  But many married couples who have good and satisfying sex lives also have a very strong emotional connection.  Because if you are not invested emotionally, then the physical manifestation of that connection is not going to happen as often, if at all.   So if you are noticing negative changes in your sex life, this might be another indication that you’re losing that emotional bond.

He’s Avoiding Spending Time Alone With You: The harsh reality is that when you do not feel connected to someone, you aren’t going to be all that excited about spending time alone with them.  It’s just not your priority because you just don’t find it to be a lot of fun.  So you tend to just avoid the situation all together.  If you notice that your spouse is working late, going out with friends, sitting in front of the TV, getting up quickly from the dinner table, or turning down your requests to spend time together, then these things are all red flags that he’s avoiding you for some reason.  There’s no way to tell (at least without asking) if these things are due to emotional disconnect.  But they are indicative of a spouse who isn’t all that excited about spending quality time with you.

He’s Breaking Away To Do Things On His Own Or To Assert His Independence: When your husband is losing emotional interest in you, then you will sometimes see him begin to break away from your marriage and live more as an individual or in a way that would be indicative of a single person.  You might see him having dinner with friends without you or going on trips without asking you to go along.   This may indicate that your spouse is beginning to think of themselves more as an individual and less as part of a whole.

If You’re Husband Is Losing His Emotional Connection To You, Does This Mean That Your Marriage Is In Trouble Or Over? In my opinion, it does mean that you should pay attention or even consider taking some action. And, a loss of the emotional connection can be a serious warning sign that your marriage is in trouble, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that your marriage is over.   You can always improve your situation and therefore improve your marriage.  And I am living proof that you can return the emotional connection to your marriage even when it has been long gone.

Frankly, the first step in getting the connection back is noticing that it’s gone.  Many wives live in denial and tell themselves that they’ve been married such a long time that they have become comfortable.  In my experience, even comfortable couples who are emotionally connected still reach out to one another, make time for one another, and know without any doubt that they are loved.  If you have any questions about this, then that is a good indication that you can make some major improvements in this area.

So how do you get the connection back?  By turning your time, attention, and focus back to your marriage.  Be a good listener.  Show your spouse that you appreciate them.  Pay attention to the cues and clues that they are giving you.  Be vulnerable and not afraid to reach out to them even when they are not reaching out to you. Remember the things that drew you together in the first place and don’t make excuses or tell yourself that things will work out on their own.

Sometimes, the worst thing that you can do is ignore a problem and hope that it goes away.  Taking the right kind of action at the right time is almost always the better call.  If I had taken action the second I began to notice my husband’s emotional distance, it might have saved a lot of time and aggravation.  But I didn’t.  And this meant that saving my marriage was a longer and more difficult process.  However, once I understood some basic truths about human nature, the pieces all fell into place and I was able to save my marriage.  If it helps, you can read the whole story from beginning to end on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

 

 

My Husband Doesn’t Care If I’m Lonely And This Puts Our Marriage In Jeopardy

I sometimes hear from wives who feel as if they’ve become more of an individual than a couple. They feel like their relationship with their husband has become somewhat distant and, unfortunately, this was not their choice. There can be a loss of connection and that can invoke a feeling of deep loneliness. Many of these wives have tried to discuss this problem with their husbands, only to be told that there is no problem or that their wife is making the problem bigger than it actually is. Needless to say, this lack of attention means that not only is the wife lonely, but she feels that her husband doesn’t even care.

She might say, “I thought that being primarily a wife and then staying home with my kids was going to be refreshing. Don’t get me wrong. I’m very grateful that I am able to give this gift to my family. But I am also finding it very isolating. And in the meantime, my husband pays less and less attention to me. He’s so busy at work that by the time he gets home, he is exhausted and just wants to eat, shower, and go to bed. He doesn’t realize that he’s really the only adult conversation that I get all day, so of course I will try to engage with him when he gets home. But he just doesn’t have the energy or the time for me. When I tell him that I’m lonely, he tells me to get some girlfriends and he acts as if I am being petty. Honestly, I never thought that I would be lonely in my own marriage. My husband and I used to talk endlessly and I felt closer to him than anyone else. The distance hurts, but his not seeming to care is really disturbing. Now I am starting to feel like my marriage is in jeopardy. My husband says that I don’t know how much pressure he feels at being the sole provider for our family, but I’d counter that and say that he doesn’t know how lonely it feels to be the sole caregiver. I truly do worry for my marriage.”

If you are looking for validation, I can give it to you. Any time that you feel worried about your marriage, I firmly believe that you should pay attention. I ended up separated by hoping for the best when deep down, I knew that things weren’t great.  I should have taken action much, much earlier.  It’s very important to listen to your intuition and to respect your own feelings. So I think that you are absolutely right not only to voice your concerns about this, but to be very proactive about fixing it. From my own experience and observations, one common reason for separation and divorce is that spouses don’t feel heard and understood. So feeling connected again should be a high priority.

With this said, your husband’s stance is not uncommon. Many men do feel pressure to support their family and so they naturally turn their attention and their energy toward putting in extra time and effort into their jobs. This does not mean that they do not love their wife and family. In fact, it can mean the exact opposite. Many men will tell you that this is how they show their love. They don’t necessarily see themselves as good as expressing their emotions, so in their eyes, taking financial care of their family is an expression of their commitment and love.

While this stance can be understandable, it is not enough for many wives. Unlike husbands, wives express their love through words and through touch. When they can’t get this in return, it can feel like a rebuff. So how do you fix the situation when the wife feels isolated, the husband feels pressured, and the couple is expressing their love in different ways? It can take patience, careful communication, and finesse.

I know that your husband’s suggestion of getting some girlfriends might have sounded a bit flippant to you, but honestly, it is not a bad idea. When you depend on your spouse for all of your emotional and social needs, sometimes they will fall short, especially if they have work pressures. That is why it’s a very good idea to build additional emotional and social support systems outside of your marriage. Having other moms and families to pal around with is good for your children and it is good for you. It will decrease your sense of isolation and it will mean that when your husband gets home, he won’t feel as if you are pouncing on him, since he won’t be your only source of communication.

In terms of getting more emotional support from your spouse, I often suggest giving your spouse what you want because it works in a very painless way. Most of us will try to get what we want by attempting to pressure, guilt, push, or shame our spouse. So in this case, many of us would basically tell our husband that he isn’t doing anything to quell our loneliness.  We would attempt to make him feel bad and hope that he would then try a little harder. The problem with this is that it’s hard to pull this off without our husband taking it as criticism. And as soon as he feels criticized, he pulls back, which reinforces our loneliness even more.

What works better is to give him what you want. So, when he gets home, instead of being desperate to talk about your day, ask him about his. I know that  you want him to show concern for you, but initially, show concern for him. I know that this seems crazy and backward, but it’s actually so much more effective. When he doesn’t feel criticized and instead feels you making an effort, he is MUCH more likely to listen when you ask him for something. He is MUCH more likely to feel empathy for you and for what you need.

This loneliness issue is quite common, but is fixable with a little work and finesse.  It doesn’t need to mean the end of your marriage. There are two people who are working very hard for your family. They just need to come together instead of working independently.

As I alluded to, my inattention to the issues in my own marriage lead to a separation.  I should have addressed things promptly instead of hoping for the best.  Our separation was lengthy and painful.  It would have just been easier to avoid it.   You can read more about how we made it back to one another 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

What Happens In A Marriage Separation?

I sometimes hear from people whose spouse is insisting on a marital separation.  The folks reaching out are understandably very reluctant about the separation because they don’t know what to expect.  Most people haven’t been separated before, so they can’t anticipate what their life might look and feel like while they are separated.

Someone might ask, “what happens during a marital separation?  My spouse is insisting upon one because he says he’s not happy and he wants to see what living alone feels like.  I’ve never been separated and I’ve never personally known a couple who have gone through a separation.  So what happens during it? Do you have to split your assets? What happens with the kids? Does your spouse date other people?  Is it basically just like being divorced?”

I’m not an attorney, so I can’t speak about legal implications.  Some couples do opt for a legal separation where assets are dealt with.  You would definitely need to consult with an attorney about that.  Other couples just live apart for a time without addressing the legalities.  My husband and I did this, mostly because the hope was that we would reconcile and that it would be premature to split assets.  Everyone is different in this regard and it’s always a very good idea to make sure you are clear on how your spouse intends to approach this in order to protect yourself.

As far as what happens with the kids and with dating, that varies amongst couples also.  In my observation, many couples are very open to reconciling and they hope that they can eventually work things out.  If they wanted a divorce, they simply would have filed for divorce rather than trying a separation first.  To that end, many separated couples don’t date other people because ultimately, they want to eventually reconcile with their spouse.  I do find that the longer a separation lasts, the more likely it is that one or both of the spouses will date other people.  Whether or not you will date is DEFINITELY something that you should discuss with your spouse.  It can be tough and awkward to have these conversations, but doing so is much better than being surprised or disappointed later.  You can simply say something like, “I want to be very clear that I don’t intend to date other people during the separation because I still consider us married.  I hope that you feel the same way.  Can we agree on this?”

As far as the children, most couples try to do what is best for their children.  In other words, they try ensure that each of the spouses have open and unlimited access to the kids because most experts agree that the best thing for children is to have liberal access to both of their parents.  Frankly, having kids can be beneficial during a separation because it ensures that you have regular contact with your spouse, which can be extremely important.

There are a million little details that will need to be discussed ahead of time.  Again, these can be a hard conversations to have, but I promise that it is better than sitting in your home alone and then wondering how things are going to work because you didn’t iron out the details.  Before your spouse actually leaves, you want to clarify things like how the bills will be paid, whether your spouse will still contribute with maintenance on the house, how childcare is going to work, and how often you will see or call one another.  You also want to ask yourself if you will pursue counseling or self help so that you can hopefully reconcile in a healthy way.

Separations are very individual.  Some are short because the couple misses one another and decides that they are definitely happier together than they are apart. Others linger for much longer.  Statistically speaking, the longer the separation lasts, the less chance for a reconciliation.  But there are always exceptions.  You sometimes see short separations which lead directly to a divorce or you see couples who were separated for years suddenly reconcile.   Some couples are cordial during a separation but sometimes, it can turn ugly.  Sometimes there are misunderstandings and other times, communication actually improves when people realize that it’s important to be clear.

Honestly, separations are as unique as the couples themselves, but one thing seems constant – the more details that you can agree to BEFORE the separation happens, the better off you are.  And if you can agree to open and regular communication and meetings, this will increase the chances that you’ll be able to reconcile and decrease the chance that you will drift apart or assume the worst of one another. It also helps to try to remain cordial and open when you communicate.  You want to make things better, not worse.

Unfortunately, my husband wanted to try a sort of “wait and see” approach during our separation.  Although we did agree on some things, there were other things which he would not commit to.  This made me a bit insecure and contributed to things not going as well as they could have during our separation, which dragged on for way too long.  I finally found some strategies to speed things along, but I’d highly recommend ironing out as many details as possible because of this. You can read more at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Getting Him Back When He’s Moved Out. How Do You Do It?

by: leslie cane: I recently heard from a wife whose husband had moved out of their home. She was very clear on the fact that she wanted to get him to come back home as soon as possible. Not only did she miss him horribly, but she wasn’t sure how to explain this situation to her children and she resented having to run the household by herself. She also felt that the husband had overreacted when he moved out. Yes, they had been having problems for a while, but she herself would’ve never just walked out on her family.

The wife wasn’t sure how to go about this in the best way. The husband had been resistant to her communications. He wasn’t calling or texting her back. And, at least at this time, he didn’t seem willing to sit down and to try to work things out. However, the wife didn’t like the idea of just backing off either. She worried that the longer the husband was gone, the harder it would be to get him back. So, she was sort of stuck between worrying about doing too much and worrying about doing too title.

I understand this situation very well because I have been there myself. And, at first, I bombarded my husband with communications and dialog which only made things much worse. In fact, it wasn’t until I backed off out of complete frustration that I began to gain some ground. I will discuss this more in the following article.

Getting Your Husband To Come Back Home After He’s Moved Out Is Usually A Gradual Process: It is absolutely normal to want to get him home yesterday or earlier. There is nothing fun about living alone and worrying that he might never come back. And unfortunately, this can lead us to be tempted to doing very dramatic and negative things in an attempt to get his attention or to get some response. But usually, taking this strategy ends up making things worse and turns out to be something that you later regret and can’t take back.

You are usually better off accepting gradual progress on which you can slowly build. He’s likely left the home because he feels that a break from the tension and conflict might ultimately make the situation better. So, it’s often more smart to go with this process rather than to fight against it. Not only that, if you debate with him or try to change his mind, he will often limit your access to him or avoid you altogether.

So, it’s often advisable to make it clear that although you don’t really want him to leave, your ultimate goal is that the two of you be happier. And, arguing with him or interacting in negative ways isn’t likely to get this. So, you’re willing to give him the time that he needs and you’re enthusiastic about using this time to work on yourself. Often, this is going to peak a husband’s curiosity. I can’t tell you how many wives tell me that they were reluctant about this strategy but that they almost immediately noticed their husband’s attitude change once they change strategies.

Using His Time Away To Change His Perceptions: One thing that you have to keep in mind is that right now, your husband perceptions of you, the marriage, and your home are so vitally important. You want him to have positive perceptions about and to miss these things rather than him coming to the conclusion that he wants to stay away. Ask yourself what qualities your husband most loves about you and has been missing. These are the things that you want to show him right now. However, you have to be very deliberate and genuine about this.

You want to keep every interaction and encounter very upbeat and make sure you end things on a positive note. Don’t let these encounters go on for too long so that things become awkward. Basically, you want to set it up so that both of you leave wanting more and wanting to repeat the process. This sometimes means portraying yourself as someone who is busy and who is spending a lot of time with the supportive people in her life. It can be important that he doesn’t see you as the sad, moping, devastated and desperate woman who is just sitting at home waiting for him to return.

Instead, you want to show him that although you miss him, you’re coping quite well and taking this time for yourself. You never want to see other men, but there is nothing wrong with letting him know that you aren’t moping at home either. Ultimately, you will likely be in the best position if it’s him who wants to come home. Finally, I want to mention one more thing. Now is not the time to harp on or attempt to “work on” your problems. Yes, you will need to eventually do this when he comes back home. But, when you are disconnected from one another and things are volatile, no one is really listening or fully invested anyway.

You are often much better off letting the time work for you and settling for gradual and lasting improvements. If you can gradually improve the relationship and interactions between you, then you might likely find that you’re connecting in such a new and meaningful way so that he himself wants to come home as much as you want for him to be there.

When my husband moved out, I did not understand these principles and I went about saving the marriage in the completely wrong way. I stooped to negative 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. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/.

My Husband Is Ignorning My Calls During Our Separation. How Should I Handle This?

By Leslie Cane:   I often hear from women who are struggling while they are in a martial separation.  Sometimes, things aren’t going as they had hoped and, since they are separated and don’t have unlimited access to their husband, they aren’t sure about how to handle these issues.  One very common issue is that of phone calls or communication.  Reaching out while you are separated can be hard enough.  But when your husband doesn’t respond as you had expected (or doesn’t respond at all) this can leave you wondering about your next step.

I recently heard from a wife who felt like her husband was ignoring her phone calls during a martial separation.  She said, in part: “for the first couple of days after we were separated, we talked on the phone regularly.  He even called me a couple of times.  But for the last few weeks, my husband has completely ignored my phone calls.  I leave messages.  I call during times that I know that he should be home.  But no matter when I call or what I say, he won’t pick up.  How am I supposed to respond to this? Does this mean that things have changed and that he’s distancing himself from me?  I was very worried that this was going to happen.  When my husband first asked for a separation, I was very reluctant because I suspected that his plan all along was to divorce me because he wasn’t really interested in saving the marriage.  His behavior and his ignoring my calls seems to be confirming that.  How can I find out why he’s ignoring me?  What’s the best way to handle this?”

There are many tricky issues such as this one that can come up during your separation.  Contact is a very common one.  Many wives in this situation intuitively know that how they handle this may well affect the outcome of the separation.  You can have some tough choices to make when you don’t want to keep calling and coming on too strongly, but you don’t want to just let your husband go.  And if you wait on him to call you, then you can really worry that the call is never going to come.  In the following article, I’ll offer some suggestions and considerations on how to handle it when your husband is ignoring your calls while you’re separated.

There Are Various Reasons That Husbands Ignore Your Calls During The Separation. Not All Of These Reasons Are Negative: Many wives will assume that their husband ignoring their phone calls mean that he doesn’t want to hear from them, that he’s sending a negative message, or that this is the first step of him completely distancing himself from his wife and from his marriage.  Sometimes, these assumptions may be at least somewhat accurate.  But, every husband who doesn’t immediately call his wife back during the separation has negative motivations.

Sometimes, the husband is just trying to take some time for himself and he wants some distance in order to be able to fully explore his feelings and thoughts.  (In fact, this is one reason that many husbands will give you for wanting a separation.) And often, when they feel that they aren’t getting this, they will do things to assert themselves or to make it more likely that they will get what they have asked for.  So, this is just one of many possibilities.

It can be a mistake to assume the worst or to allow your mind to immediately jump to the worst case scenario.  And usually when this happens, there’s a real risk that you will over reach, keep calling, and make things even worse.  I’ve had husbands in this situation tell me that that their wife’s insistence that he finally pay attention to her rose to an alarming level.  (I’ve even heard the word stalking used a time or two. This happened to me in my own situation when I was trying to save my marriage.)

This is an easy trap to fall into, but I’d recommend making every effort to avoid this if it’s at all possible.  I’ll discuss how right now.

How To Handle It When You’re Husband Is Ignoring Your Calls During The Separation: As I see it (and from my own experience,) you have two options.  You can continue to reach out in the hopes that he will eventually respond(at a risk, of course.)  Or, you can back off a little bit as a strategic decision.  It’s my experience that although backing off can feel just wrong, risky, and vulnerable, it actually has a much higher success rate.

The reason for this is that often backing off will give him more of that time and space that he was after. And it will create some mystery and suspense, which should place you in a more favorable light.  (In contrast, often continuing on with a strategy that hasn’t worked and continuing to call will put you in a more negative light.)

I know that even thinking about backing off can be difficult, but try to focus on the long term objective instead of the short term one.  The wife in this situation wanted to make one more call.  I got her to agree to this so long as in the next call, she alluded to the fact that she was going to be taking some time for herself and wouldn’t be in touch so much.  As such, she’d just wait to hear from him.

Many wives are very uncomfortable with backing off.  They feel that they need to know why their husband is avoiding them and ignoring their calls.  So many will ratchet up their calls, follow him, or arrange to demand answers face to face.  But I have to tell you that rarely do I see these methods work.  Instead, it usually makes the husband want to retreat even more.

Many wives tell me that, although they understand why I’m asking them to back off, they just aren’t sure that they can do it.  It goes against every instinct that they have because they worry that they can feel him slipping away.  If this rings true for you, see if taking some time away would help.  In my own case, I forced myself to leave town and this helped tremendously.  Or, if that’s not an option ask yourself what is the least that you can do and still feel like you’re in touch.  For example, maybe you can send only one quick text or email instead of continuing to call.  Maybe you will promise yourself  that you’ll give it one more day.  Whatever you can do to keep yourself from coming on too strong or panicking will usually give you a better result, at least in my opinion.

How do I know this?  Because I lived it.  I had to use this same strategy when I was separated from my own husband.  And looking back, I have to tell you that this was probably the only thing that would have worked.  If it helps, you can read more of that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com