Trial Separation Duration: For How Long Should It Last?

I sometimes hear from people who are considering a trial separation.  Sometimes, one spouse wants to separation much more than the other.  And the spouse who is reluctant about the separation wants to make it as short as is possible.  People seem to intuitively know that the longer a separation lasts, the less the chance of a reconciliation (I will talk about these statistics a bit later.)  However, at the same time, you want to give the separation a fair chance to work so that you will not end up divorced because you decided to rush a reconciliation.

So someone might ask: “what is the ideal duration of a trial separation?  My husband wants one.  I do not.  However, he is very insistent about this.  We have children and I do not want them to be without their father for a long period of time, so I suggested evaluating at the end of a month’s time to see if a reconciliation could be worked out.   I honestly felt that I was compromising and being accommodating. However, my husband said that he did not think that one month was long enough for any real changes to take place.  He wants to just leave things up in the air and just evaluate our progress as we go along.  This scares me.  My fear is that the separation will just linger on and on so that we will eventually end up with a divorce on our hands.  What is the ideal duration for a separation?  How long do most trial separations last?”

To answer this question as best as I could, I did a little research.  I found a clinical study out of Ohio State University which reported that most of the participants in their study had separations that lasted a year or less.  And just like you suspected, the longer that the separation lasted, the higher the chance for a divorce. Most couples who reconciled had their separation last for less than two years.  The couples who were separated the longest were the most likely to divorce. Very few couples who were separated for up to three years reconciled.  There were actually a few separations that lasted more than 10 years.  These couples had personal reasons not to divorce and so they just agreed to a very long-term or permanent separation.   This is probably not going to be ideal for most people, especially for those who are motivated to maintain their families and save their marriage.

One of the problems with long term separations is that there is a real danger of the couple becoming disconnected from one another while living apart.  In other words, if you are not running a household and raising children together, you are probably not communicating as much, which can be problematic because you can drift apart rather than coming together and eventually reconciling.

That is why many experts will recommend counseling BEFORE one partner moves out or at the very least during it.  That way, you are forced to communicate regularly during the separation and your counselor will probably help you to decide when it’s appropriate to attempt a reconciliation in order to help you avoid a separation which goes on for far too long.  I know that some husbands (and even wives) are resistant to counseling and in that case, you can at least agree to meet regularly to discuss things.  You could even get some self help resources to give you a guide map or sorts on what you can work on.

The statistics bear out my suspicions and most people’s intuition – the longer a separation lingers, the harder it can be to reconcile. That’s not to say that there aren’t some couples around who managed to reconcile with a long separation.  There are.  There are also couples who divorced and later remarried.  But I agree with you that the ideal separation duration is long enough to make meaningful change (or for a counselor to decide that enough change has taken place for your reconciliation to be successful) but certainly not so long that you have drifted apart and become like strangers.  I understand that your husband wants to “wait and see” as many do.  But I’d strongly urge you to suggest that you either seek regular counseling or meet regularly to work on the relationship so that you don’t turn around one day and realize that it’s been way too long since you had a meaningful conversation with your spouse and you don’t know what’s going on with him anymore.  This can happen very easily and it’s not good for your chances to reconcile.

From my own personal experience, the worst thing you can do is to just hope that it will be obvious when the separation should end and then just hope that things unfold from there.  That will often mean a separation that lingers on and, as a result, an eventual divorce.  My separation lasted for much longer than I wanted, but thankfully, it did not approach anything close to that two year time period that seems to be so dangerous for divorce.  The duration was partially my fault because early on I panicked, made a pest of myself, and as a result my husband avoided me. If I had understood basic human nature, I would have played the game much better and I believe that we would have reconciled sooner. You can read more at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Getting Your Marriage Back Together Obstacles

I hear from a lot of people who are trying to get their marriage back on track.  Many of them are dealing with a spouse who is very resistant.  However sometimes, they are their own worst enemy.  I know this because I was my own worst enemy when what I wanted more than anything in the world was to have my marriage back.  Yet, most of my behaviors were obstacles to a reconciliation.  To be fair, my spouse contributed many behaviors which were also obstacles, but I quickly learned that the only person who I had control over was myself.   This article is going to focus on common obstacles that I see which keeps separated couples from reconciling.  Hopefully, if any of these seem familiar to you, then you’ll be motivated to address them rather than lamenting how unfair they are, which is what I did for far too long.

Not Seeing Yourself As Any Part Of The Problem:  My husband was the one who wanted a separation, so in my own mind, I thought that he was going to have to be the one who made the ultimate decision to come back.  Because so much of the outcome depended on his mindset, I will admit that there were times when I felt helpless.  When I was thinking this way, nothing changed and my marriage did not move forward.  I learned that if you wait for your spouse to make all the moves, you will potentially be waiting for a long time.  Even when it feels like you are waiting on your spouse to make up his or her mind, there is PLENTY that you can do in the meantime.  You can ask yourself what you might have done to contribute to issues with your marriage and you can work on yourself to erase those issues. Now, I know what you are thinking because I had the same thought.  You are probably thinking: “but my spouse won’t even know that I’m working on myself because he’s not interested in what I’m doing right now so he won’t even know and I’ll be wasting my time.”  His lack of knowledge may be true, but you are not wasting your time when you work on yourself.  A reconciliation has a much higher chance of success if two healthy people who have worked on their issues are attempting it.  While it’s true that you can’t necessarily force your own spouse to do the work, he may be inspired to do so when he sees the progress that you are making.  Even if he doesn’t, in my experience you can never go wrong taking time for yourself and your own improvement.

No One Is Willing To Bend Or Attempt Change: Often both spouses sort of wait for the other to apologize or to bend.  The mindset really should be to meet in the middle.  Sure, you could strong arm or win your spouse over initially without really giving anything in return.  But that’s very short sighted.  Because although you might think that you’ve won in the beginning, you may find that in the long term your spouse is resentful or still unhappy because no real change has taken place.  Ideally, each person really does need to meet their responsibility for making vast improvements to the marriage and also to contribute to its maintenance.  It requires care and attention to not only save your marriage, but to keep it continually healthy even after the reconciliation.  Ideally, both people are willing to do this – and not just the spouse who is perceived to be most to blame or who wanted to separation to begin with.  The very best marriages have a team mentally.  The people in these marriages don’t necessarily see themselves as individuals with their own agendas and egos.  They see themselves as part of a greater cause or as a communal team that is family.

Caring Too Much About What Other People Think Or Taking The Wrong Advice:  I will admit that when I was first separated, I depended on a certain core of friends very heavily.  I did not like to be alone.  These friends understandably were angry with my husband because he initiated the separation.  So when things would go well for us, they wouldn’t necessarily be happy about it.  This would cause me to second guess myself or to second guess my husband’s motivations.  Or, I’d get nervous that things were going to fall apart, just as my friends had predicted. It took me far too long to realize that this was MY marriage and that the only people who matter in the outcome of OUR marriage was my husband and myself.  Yes, my friends love me and want what is best for me.  But they do not live in my marriage.  Incidentally, now that my husband and I are happy, he is in their good graces again. But had I listened to many of them during my separation, I would have started seeing other people and I would not be married today.  Listen to what YOU think and what YOU want.  It is your marriage.  Your friends can give opinions, but their opinions should not hold the same weight as your own thoughts about your own marriage.

An Inability To Allow The Past To Stay There:  Some of the same friends that I mentioned above will still sometimes ask if I’m still hurt by my husband initiating a separation.  I suppose that I would be if I wanted to dwell in the past. But ruminating on past pain only hurts your future.  I have seen so many reconciliations fail because one or both of the spouses were ultimately not willing to let go of the past.  You have to ask yourself what is most important – hanging on to your indignance (which can’t keep you warm at night) or hanging onto your marriage. Honestly, it’s sometimes easier to be angry.  But in the long term, it does not get you any closer to what you ultimately want.  Always keep your eye on the end goal.  From past experience, it is easier to focus on pain, anger, and the injustice of it all.  But these things don’t get your back your marriage – honestly, change, and meeting in the middle do.

I hope I’m not coming off as a know-it-all, but these lessons were learned the hard way.  And I’d like to help others avoid making the same mistakes.  I did save my marriage.  But I made many mistakes that contributed to my separation and made it last for longer than it should have.  Had I known these things earlier, I would have saved myself a lot of pain. You’re welcome to read more 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

 

 

Things To Do During A Trial Separation To Save Your Marriage

By Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from panicked folks who worry that their trial separation is going to mean that they can’t save their marriage. They are often concerned that since they are no longer living with their spouse, they aren’t going to have the access required to improve their marriage enough so that it can be saved.

Common concerns are things like: “I didn’t want to separate from my husband, but he insisted. He says he feels like we need some time apart. I have tried to reason with him, but nothing has worked. He has assured me that he has no plans to file for divorce. He says that we should just wait and see how things go between us during the separation before we make any decisions about our marriage. The thing is, I want to save my marriage during the separation. The idea of losing my husband is not one that I can face. Is there anything that I can do to save my marriage during the separation?”

It’s my opinion and belief that there is plenty that you can do. I believe that my actions during my own separation ultimately saved my marriage. Unfortunately, I didn’t always do or say the right things, especially in the beginning. But over time I was able to try and tweak some strategies that ultimately made some very big improvements. I will go over some of those things below.

Allow Your Spouse The Chance To Miss You: I find that this is probably the most common mistake that people make. It’s absolutely normal to panic and to be affected by fear when you are separated. You expect and fear the worst. And this can inspire you to do things that hurt you rather than help you. Specifically, during this time, people have the tendency to cling very tightly to the spouse who had told them very clearly that he needs space.

I am certainly not saying that you should ignore your spouse or not make yourself available when your spouse is reaching out to you. But so often, people call, text, or come by constantly so that they are not giving their spouse the time that he has asked for and they are not giving their spouse the opportunity to miss them. The most common reason that people give for beginning to change their mind about the separation is that they found that they missed their spouse and that they realized that they took their spouse for granted or that they should have been more flexible or accommodating.

This process can make your spouse much more open minded and patient when it comes to working through your problems. But if you don’t give your spouse the opportunity to miss you, then you may miss out on the positive improvements that this process can bring about.  If you fear that you are coming on too strong during separation, back off a bit and see if things brings any improvement.

Take This Time To Work On Yourself And To Reevaluate The Issues That Divided You: Not all spouses will agree to couples counseling during the separation. And many spouses who want to save their marriage become very discouraged about this. But, nothing says that you can not go to individual counseling or do some individual work if you think that this would benefit you. Often, the separation gives you the time and the introspection that you might not otherwise have had. Take the opportunity to really examine your issues more objectively and ask yourself what you can do differently this time in order to get a different result. It’s very common for people to become more open minded and flexible during the separation because the distance has given them a little more objectivity that they didn’t otherwise have.

And working on yourself and becoming as healthy and as strong as you can be as an individual is only going to help your marriage. There is no need to put your own healing on hold or to wait to see what is going to happen with your marriage. Self work is always going to benefit you and you probably have more time on your hands right now.

Allow Your Spouse To See That You Can Still Connect In A Very Positive Way: As I alluded to before, fear can cause you to act in ways that you know are destructive and unnecessary. Fear can bring out the worst in you when you know deep down that you should instead be putting forward your best. So many couples find themselves actually arguing just as much or more during the separation because of the fear and uncertainty. Please do not fall into this trap. It’s so important that you show your spouse that not only can the two of you get along, but you can connect in a meaningful and light hearted way.

Always show your spouse someone who is cooperative, light hearted, and loving, especially when you are separated. Because your spouse is often trying to evaluate if there are any romantic feelings or if the spark is still there. But if you argue with your spouse every time you interact or if you behave in an abrasive or accusatory manner, then your spouse isn’t able to see that the feelings are still there. Alternatively, if you allow your spouse to see the fun loving, sweet, and exciting person that he fell in love with, then he is just naturally going to consider maintaining the marriage in order to get that back.

I am not saying that you have to act insincere or to portray things that you aren’t actually feeling. Your spouse would be able to see through this anyway. But what I am encouraging you to do is to bring forth the most positive thinking attitude that you possibly can. Because people tend to think favorably toward those who make them feel positively while they pull away from those who invoke negativity. You don’t want for your husband to think you bring him down every time you communicate. Because once this happens, he will start to avoid you. Instead, you want him to get a lift every time that you are together so that he is willing to spend more and more time together so that you can rediscover one another.

I’d like to make one more point. Many people will try to solve their major issues while they are separated. This is an important consideration, but I would suggest that you attempt this very gradually. Often, when your marriage is on shaky ground, it can’t withstand you putting it under a microscope and constantly drawing your spouse’s attention to your problems. My suggestion would be to only focus on your problems as your progress allows.

I hope I’ve shown you that you can save your marriage during your separation.  But in order to do so you will often need to be very deliberate with your actions.  It took me too long to learn this, but I did learn it.  And this knowledge enabled me to save my marriage.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

What Is My Husband Thinking While We’re Separated?

By: Leslie Cane:  I often hear from wives who wish that they could read their husband’s mind during a marital separation.   Often, he’s not being very transparent about his thought process and this is very frustrating for wives.

Common comments are something like: “my husband and I have been separated for a couple of months, but he’s not very forthcoming about what he’s thinking and how he’s feeling.   Some days, he is receptive to me and some days, he’s not.  So I can’t tell if he’s feeling particularly loving toward me or if he’s feeling like he might want to move back in and try to save our marriage.  When I ask him what he’s feeling or experiencing, he tells me that he thinks different things at different times and that, when he comes to a decision, he will share it with me.  This is breaking my heart.  I have no problem telling him how I feel.  Why can’t he do the same?  What do husbands think about while they are separated from their wives?”  I’ll try to answer these questions as best as I can in the following article.

Many Men Have Very Varied And Conflicted Thoughts During The Separation (Especially In The Beginning.) Obviously, I’m not a man who is going through a separation.  But I do dialog with many of them on my blog.   And many share a good deal of varied and conflicting feeling.  On day, they may miss their wife and wonder if maybe they should return home and put everything into saving their marriage.  And then the next day, they might actually enjoy feeling single or feel overwhelmed by all of your marital problems.    So, some of them are telling you the truth when they admit their they feelings can swing from one extreme to the other.

To be honest, these swinging feelings are sometimes nothing new.  In fact, many men want the separation as a way to sort out these fluctuating feelings.  The hope is that once they have some distance from their wife and their marriage, it will be easier for them to tell which feelings are the most sincere and frequent.  This doesn’t always become evident in the beginning of the process.  Many men feel a good deal of guilt about leaving and many find that they miss their wives more than they suspected that they would.

On the flip side of the coin, some men do find that they like the single life.  This can particularly be true if your marriage was a volatile one in which there was always a lot of conflict or fighting.  Sometimes, once they have a little peace and quiet, they find that they like it and they begin to lean toward making the separation more permanent or they consider pursuing a divorce.  Also, some husbands meet someone else during the separation and some of them can feel that it’s easier to just start over with someone new than to revive a marriage that might be damaged beyond repair.

Of course, I have no way of knowing what your own husband is thinking right now.   He may fall into either of these categories or neither one.  He may even be somewhere in the middle. Sometimes, he will give you little hints along the way. And other times, he might contradict himself, which I’ll discuss right now.

Tips For Deciphering Your Husband’s Hints As To What He Might Be Thinking During The Separation: As I alluded to, it’s important to understand that your husband might be experiencing a lot of different types of feelings.  That’s why you might be getting some mixed signals.  In general though, if he is receptive to seeing you on regular basis and things are going well when you are together, then you can reasonably sure that his thoughts about you or the marriage are positive.  But if he’s putting off spending time with you or always seems to be making excuses to avoid you, then the chances are good that there are some negative thoughts or doubts going through his mind.  And, if you’re seeing a combination of the two (which isn’t at all uncommon) then he’s probably experiencing those fluctuating feelings we’re been talking about.

Insights For Trying To Make Sure His Feelings Are As Positive As Possible During Your Separation: You can’t control your husband’s thoughts and feelings.  But you can attempt to set it up so that you have the best chance of him thinking positively of you.  Every time that you speak to one another or are together, try to be as cheerful as you possibly can.  Try to make sure that the time you spend together is pleasurable for both of you.  And, this might include not leaning on him about his feelings.  If he wants to share them, that’s great.  But if he’s reluctant to do so, don’t push too hard because if you do, then he might hesitate to spend time with you as often.   By being approachable and agreeable,  you decrease the odds that his feelings are negative ones and increase the chances that they are positive.

So to answer the question posed, men have varying feelings while they are separated from you.  But it is to your benefit to try to set up the circumstances that encourage positive thoughts and experiences.  It’s in your best interest to worry more about setting up positive circumstances and interactions instead of continuing to pressure him or question him about feelings about which he may changing anyway.

I do understand where you are because I constantly bugged my own husband about his feelings when we were separated.  I just could not help myself.   I needed to know if my marriage even stood a chance.  Unfortunately, my pestering him too much made him want to avoid me.  And so I had a much harder time saving our marriage in the end.  It wasn’t until I realized my mistake that I began to turn things around.  If it helps, you can read about the strategies that actually worked on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

 

What’s The Best Way To Make A Husband Miss You And Want To Come Home?

By: Leslie Cane: Of all of the strategies that I’m asked about by wives attempting to lure their husbands back home, making him miss you so much that he can’t wait to return is the most common.  Wives often aren’t sure quite how to pull this off without appearing too desperate or obvious.  I heard from a wife who said: “my husband left about three weeks ago.  He said that he just wasn’t happy and he needed time to evaluate how he wants to proceed with our marriage.  Needless to say, I was heartbroken but no matter what I did or said, he indicated that he was leaving anyway and that there was no way to change his mind.  We do speak somewhat regularly.  He checks in with me, but he doesn’t give me any hints about what he is thinking.  And he never mentions coming home.  Frankly, this is what is most important to me.  I want him home where he belongs.  I also try to hint around to see if he will say that he misses me and wants to come home, but he never does.  How do he make him miss me more than he does? How do I make him miss me enough that he wants to come home.”

I had a definite and very strong opinion on this because I was in this exact situation and I felt very strongly that if I could make my separated husband miss me and yearn for me enough, he would finally come home.  But I found through my own experience that the harder I tried, the more he resisted.  I did eventually get him to miss me quite a bit, but it wasn’t until I almost gave up my very obvious plan that things turned around.  It’s my experience that actively trying to make him miss you will often accomplish just the opposite.  But taking a very unconventional approach often works much better.  I will explain more below.

Often, If It’s Obvious You’re Trying To Make Him Miss You, He Will Be less Likely To Do So:  Many wives will do their best to make themselves appear attractive to their husband.  Some will even attempt to make him feel jealous or will hint that other men are trying to pursue them.  Still other wives will try to elicit guilt or they will make all sorts of promises as to what positive things he can expect if he just comes home.  The common denominator between all of these potentially failing plans is that the husband is very likely to know that he’s being manipulated.  As such, he is going to be tempted to doubt the validity of what you are trying to present to him.  And these doubts may well keep him from missing you all that much because he is confused as to what is real and what is not.

I know that this can be very frustrating.  And it can leave you wondering that if you’re not supposed to actively try to get him to miss you , then where does that leave you.  I’ll cover that topic now.

The Better Alternative.  How To Make Him Miss You While Not Making Your Plan Obvious: If you lean on him to see what he’s missing or are constantly asking him how he’s feeling about you, then you’re only assuring his resistance.  These questions make him uncomfortable so he may well think that it is in his best interest to avoid you.   And, while you may know that you shouldn’t try so hard, you often won’t be sure what you should do as an alliterative.  Well, it’s my experience that once you stop trying so hard, you will actually gain some ground.  As strange as it sounds, once you begin to live your life without the sense of desperation or panic that comes with making your sole focus getting him home, he will often notice this and eventually may miss you more than he might have if missing you was your sole focus.

I understand that this might not be what you want to hear.  But I would rather tell you something that will actually help you get him back home than something that sounds good but is essentially ineffective.  I literally had almost given up on my husband once he began to suddenly take notice.  And frankly, he began to take notice (and to miss me) because I suddenly backed away.  He could not help but notice that suddenly I was no longer constantly calling or asking about his feelings or wondering aloud how much he missed me.  I will very openly admit that this wasn’t my intention in the beginning.  It wasn’t a conscious or calculating plan.  I became so tired of not getting the results that I wanted that I took a break. And this is what made the difference.  Once I took that break, the silence had him questioning what I was up to.  And this is when he started to miss me.  Had I known that the end result would have been so easy, I would not have wasted all the time that I did.

So to answer the question posed, it’s my experience  that the best way to get him to miss you and to want to come home is to not try so hard and so obviously to accomplish this.  Instead, live yourself.  Remain open to your husband.  Remain positive and friendly.  But don’t make your sole purpose in life to get him to miss you or to get him to come home.  Instead, make it clear that while you will be there when he comes to a decision, you no longer plan to put things on hold while you are waiting.  I know that this might sound counter intuitive, but the success rate of this plan is much higher than more obvious plans.

As I said, I sort of lucked into this plan.  I spent months trying to get my husband home with no success whatsoever.  In fact, my attempts to get him home only made things worse between us.  It wasn’t until I took a break that he began to literally pursue me.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

If My Husband Won’t Talk About His Feelings During Our Separation, Does This Mean Our Marriage Is Over?

By: Leslie Cane:  I sometimes hear from people who are worried about their spouse’s lack of transparency during their trial separation. Often, they were really hoping to get some insights into how their spouse might be feeling and whether these same feelings are good or bad for the future of their marriage.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband and I separated about eight and a half weeks ago. When he came to me and told me that he wanted to separate, he represented it as something that wasn’t that big of a deal. He made it sound like he just wanted some time to sort out himself in mid life and he indicated that he would be in close contact the whole time. He even made it sound somewhat romantic, like we could date one another once again. So I assumed that he was going to be up front and open with me the whole time. This isn’t what has happened. At first, we saw each other regularly, but that too has tapered off. We only see each other sporadically and when we do, we talk about everything but our marriage. I am very open and honest about the fact that I miss my husband. I am more than willing to talk about my feelings. But he doesn’t share this sentiment. He seems to want to keep everything very private. I will ask him what he is feeling or thinking and he says that he really doesn’t have anything to share right now. I’m afraid that this is a very bad sign. If he won’t share what he is thinking and feeling, how are we going to save our marriage? If he is reluctant to talk about his feelings, does this mean that our marriage is over?” I will try to address this concern in the following article.

Why I Don’t Think That A Separated Husband’s Reluctance To Discuss His Feelings Means That Your Marriage Is Over: In a perfect world, both spouses would be equally willing to share their feelings and to do whatever was necessary to make quick progress so that they could end the separation and save their marriage. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case in real life.  unfortunately, most people do not feel the same things or have the same thoughts or wishes at the same time. So as frustrating as it is, you may be working on a different schedule or time line. You may be ahead of him in some realizations and you may have easier access to your feelings or be more open about them. This is very common. Men tend to be more closed off with their feelings and are therefore less likely to discuss them.

He May Have Valid Reasons For Not Being Very Open Right Now: There are several legitimate reasons that he may not be sharing his feelings right now. It is possible that he is feeling very conflicted and he has not yet had time to sort this out. He may not have anything definitive to share with you. Or, he may be feeling things that might be confusing to him or troubling to you but he knows that his feelings might change so he doesn’t want to be premature and upset you if it’s unnecessary.

Another possibility is that he may not have a decent handle on his feelings. It’s very normal to feel conflicting feelings, especially in the beginning. This can make you feel confused and give you the sense that you don’t know what you’re feeling. So, instead of sharing this confusion or bringing someone else into the mix, sometimes your husband thinks that it’s better to just wait until he has something meaningful and definite to share. Besides, he usually knows that you are going to analyze everything that he tells you and he may not want for you to read too much into feelings that just aren’t clear.

Sometimes, You Just Have To Put All Feelings Aside, At Least Initially: I know that it is probably your initial inclination to think that the focus should be on both of your feelings right now. After all, you figure, if you both love one another and want the marriage enough, then things should automatically fall into place. But sometimes, when you are separated, the feelings are not as important as the actions. But sometimes when you are separated, this thinking is backward. Sometimes, you have to put aside the emotions and focus on the results. Because the truth is, this is a volatile time when your emotions might be all over the place. You may feel differently when the situation isn’t quite so painful or when cooler heads prevail. So it can help to just set everything aside except for where you want to go from here.

The wife wanted to save her marriage. That was her primary goal. Yes, it would have been wonderful if her husband had cooperated and was open about whatever he was feeling. But that wasn’t the reality. And assuming the worst or pressuring him to spill his feelings when he’s shown reluctance isn’t really in alignment with this goal.

I know that you want him to tell you that he’s feeling very favorable feelings. You want and need this reassurance and I don’t blame you because I know how this feels. But if he’s not willing or ready to share, it’s my experience that it is best not to press. He will probably share his feelings in his own time. And believe it or not, this isn’t necessary to your saving your marriage. You can continue to try to make small improvements as the situation allows. The two of you don’t need to share your deepest, darkest feelings in order to start interacting more positively. And sometimes, you have to settle for the small victories. So to answer the question posed, I don’t think a separated husband’s reluctance to share his feelings means that your marriage is over.

My husband didn’t share much with me early on in our separation and of course this upset me. But our marriage certainly wasn’t over, although it felt that way sometimes. I’m glad I didn’t stop trying to improve things when my husband wasn’t really cooperating in the way that I wanted him to.  Sometimes, you just have to keep going so that you don’t give up hope.  If it helps, you can read more of my story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

How To Behave When Your Husband Wants A Separation And You Don’t

By: Leslie Cane:  I often hear from wives who are devastated to learn that their husband wants a separation.  And, they often know that how they behave and react right now might have an impact on whether their marriage will survive the separation.  So, many are looking for advice on the right way to behave or to act when he’s pushing for the separation that the wife doesn’t want.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband told me two weeks ago that he wants a separation.  I have tried to do everything in my power to talk him out of it.  But nothing has worked.  At this point, it appears to me that the separation is actually going to happen. So I need to know the best way to react and to behave.  I want to set it up so that we actually make it through this and remain married.  But I’m torn.  Part of me feels that perhaps I should play hard ball with him and pretend like I’m actually looking forward to the separation.  And part of me is tempted to play the guilt card to see if I can make him feel so guilty that he won’t leave.  What is the best way to play this?” I have a definite opinion on this, which I will discuss below.

Don’t Try To Force Negative Emotions Like Guilt Or Fear:  I know that trying to make him feel guilty may feel  like a no brainer.  After all, he should feel guilty.  But, as easy and as just as this strategy might be, it so often fails.  And the reason that it fails is that people have a tendency to want to escape negative emotions.  They also want to escape the people who cause the negative emotions.  So yes, maybe you could make him feel so guilty that he would hesitate to go.  But this likely would only be a temporary reprieve.  Eventually, he’s going to start thinking about how you didn’t allow him to get what you wanted and how, yet again, you’ve held him back in some way.

The same is true of fear.  It’s normal to consider trying to make him feel jealous or to hint that perhaps you will see other people during the separation.  But, again jealousy and fear are negative emotions that often eventually work against you.  Because he will ultimately associate these negative emotions with you or the marriage.  And he will want to escape them that much more.

Why Making Him Believe That You Want To Help Him Is Often The Best Strategy:  I know that the last thing that you might feel toward your husband right now is helpful.  I understand that the last thing you want to do is to cooperate with him.  But think about it this way.  What you really want is for him to come back and for you to be able to save your marriage. In order to do this, he’s going to have to think of you and the marriage favorably. And he’s going to have to eventually believe that he is better off with you than without you.  This isn’t likely to happen if you fight him every step of the way.

However, it is likely to happen if he believes that you are the person who is going to try to help him to get what he wants.  He needs to believe that you are on his side, even if you don’t like his actions or his methods right now. Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not asking you to pretend that you actually want the separation or are happy about it.  Your husband isn’t likely to buy this anyway.  What I’m asking you to do is to consider if that if you can make him believe that you love him enough to support his doing what he needs to do to be happy in his life, then he is going to see you as his ally.  And that is more important than I can possibly stress.

Make Sure That You Are A Positive Influence In His Life And That You Elevate Him When You’re Together:  Here is a very common thing that goes wrong during a separation.  The husband feels guilty and the wife is angry. The husband is afraid that interactions will be unpleasant so he wants to avoid this. As a result, he doesn’t come around much. The wife assumes that he’s not coming around because he never wants to come back to her.  And the situation deteriorates from there.

That’s why it’s vital that he knows being around you is going to be a pleasurable experience.  That way, he has no reason to avoid you and will actually want to seek you out. And this is the way that you begin to rebuild your marriage during the separation.  People often tell me that they think it’s impossible to strengthen or rebuild your marriage while you are separated but I’m living proof that it’s not.  So to answer the question posed, I believe from my own experience that your behavior should be cooperative, upbeat, and helpful when he wants a separation and you don’t.  It’s vital that he sees you as his ally right now.

I know that it may seem as if I’m asking a lot.  But I know from my own experience that this strategy can work.  If it helps, you can read about how I carried this strategy out on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

How Do I Need To Act During A Trial Separation If I Want My Husband Back

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear from people who have only agreed to a trial separation because it’s what their spouse either wanted or insisted upon.  They don’t have any intention of making the separation permanent or of allowing things to deteriorate so badly that the separation eventually leads to a divorce.  But, they know that their wishes won’t just automatically become reality unless they take control and make it happen.  To that end, they often want to know how they should act during the separation in order to have the best chance for a reconciliation.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband has been wanting a divorce for the last seven months.  After a lot of discussion and pleading, I finally talked him into a trial separation instead. My greatest wish is to save my marriage because I still love this man and I know that having an intact family is the best thing for my children.  But, since he’s left, things have gotten even worse between us.  He says that he feels like I pressure him too much and that I try to keep tabs on him.  Of course I want to communicate with him regularly because I’m fighting to keep him.  But my friends say that my strategy is all wrong.  They say that I need to give him space and not be so suffocating.  Are they right?  How do I need to act in order to have the best chance of getting him back?”

I understood the wife’s actions.  Her descriptions reminded me so much of how I acted during my own separation.  You want to hold onto your husband so badly.  You want to know that he misses you as much as you miss him.  And you feel as if stepping back even slightly would allow him to slip straight through your fingers.  But, this wife’s friends did have a valid point.  Often, the more you cling to your separated husband, the less he wants to allow you access to him because he feels pressured.  And very often, he envisioned having some space during the separation.  And when he doesn’t get this, he can blame you and take his space by force by distancing himself from you.  This isn’t what you want.  So below, I’ll offer some tips on what I think is the best way to act during a separation when your primary goal is to get him back.

Don’t Act As If You’ve Already Lost Him:  When separated wives tell me that they want to get their husbands back, I often remind them that he is still their husband.  He hasn’t yet left the marriage because there has been no divorce.  Yes, being separated is scary and it certainly doesn’t imply that you are blissfully married without any problems.  But it doesn’t mean that a divorce is imminent either.  Many separated couples do reconcile and avoid divorce.

It’s very common for wives to panic in this situation and act as if they have already lost their husband.  This contributes to clinging which can make an already difficult situation even worse.  So ask yourself if you’re acting like you’ve already lost him.  If you are, now is the time to change that and to portray some confidence even if you have to force yourself to do so.  Often, your husband is going to follow your lead, even if neither of you realize that he is doing so.

If you give off the vibe that things are just dreadful and you are just weeks away from one of you filing for a divorce, then whether you intend to or not, you make this more likely.  But if appear to be confident that it will all work out because you are determined to make it so and you know that the two of you really do love one another, then you make a reconciliation more likely.

Don’t Look At It As Acting:  When wives ask me how they are supposed to “act” in order to make something happen, I have to remind them not to see any part of this process as acting.  The last thing that you want to do is to allow your husband to think that you are manipulating him.  Any actions that you take and any feelings that you display must appear to be absolutely genuine.

If you think of this as acting, you may be sabotaging yourself.  You want to show your husband your true, authentic self when that self is at it’s very best.  If you feel as if you are acting, then take a step back and reevaluate what you are trying to portray. You always want to make sure that who he sees is you and not a role that you are playing.  Because if he even suspects that you are not being genuine, then he will not be even remotely receptive to your words or actions.

Don’t Create Additional Drama.  Be As Approachable As Possible:  I understand that there is a lot of uncertainty and fear right now.  So, I do completely get that it’s hard to be upbeat and approachable.  And yet, that’s exactly what I am suggesting.  Because if every time you and your husband are together you debate tough issues or try to make him come home, he’s just going to start to avoid you.  You’ll start to hear excuses as to why he’s busy or can’t communicate with you.  And the face to face meetings may become rare.

In order to save your marriage, you need to gain some ground.  And in order to do that, you must spend quality and enjoyable time with your husband.  To make that happen, you are going to need to be approachable and agreeable.  This goes back to being the best version of yourself.  Always try to be positive and upbeat so that he enjoys your time together.   If you do this correctly, he will naturally want to continue interacting with you and this should naturally lead to an improvement in your marriage.

So to answer the question posed, you shouldn’t see this in terms of “acting” in a certain way.  But you should take a very positive and open approach that should make your interactions feel effortless instead of forced.

I learned this first hand during my own separation.  At first, I acted out of fear and desperation and this almost costs me my marriage.  I had to take a huge step back in order to truly make up for my past mistakes.  This wasn’t easy, but it made all of the difference and it allowed for us to reconcile.  If it helps, you can read more my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

Is A Husband’s Lack Of Interest Of Helping Out At Home An Indication That He Doesn’t Care About His Wife Or His Marriage?

There are certain behaviors that wives start to notice when they suspect that their husband has begun to check out of their marriage. One example is when he is no longer interested in making sure that the home runs smoothly. Perhaps he used to take an interest in household maintenance (even if he wasn’t necessarily a handyman) because he cared about his family’s safety and wellbeing. But as he seems to be loosing interest in his marriage, his interest in helping out around the house seems to be waning as well.  Because this can appear to be a pretty drastic change in his behavior, the wife can’t help but wonder if it is anything to be concerned about. Sometimes she will ask him about it and he will downplay his behavior or accuse her or seeing a problem where none actually exists.

Here is an example. A wife might notice that the husband who used to take pride in his yard and the exterior of his home now seems to care less. The wife wonders if this sudden disinterest reflects on his feelings about her, the marriage, and his family. She might say: “for all of our marriage, my husband and I had an agreement that I would take care of the inside of the house and he would take care of the outside. We took pride in our home because it is where our kids grew up.  Our home often got awarded “yard of the month” in our neighborhood. We were happy and although no one wants to spend their hard-earned weekends cleaning or doing maintenance, we tried to get it out of the way as soon as possible so that we could enjoy the rest of our time together. But we did take pride in our home and made it a priority. Lately though, my husband has stopped doing his part. The paint on our home is peeling. He hired a teenage kid to do the yard, but the kid does the minimum that he can get away with so now there are weeds. The thing is, it’s not that my husband physically can not do the work. He goes and works out and exercises. It is also not that he doesn’t have time. He just seems to have lost interest in our home and his part in it. Also, some of the stairs on the porch have become wobbly. But when I mention this to him, he says that it’s just normal wear and tear and I should not worry. If I had mentioned this five years ago, he would have taken care of it because he wanted me to be safe and happy. Now, he acts as if he doesn’t care about our safety or take pride in our home anymore. This is one example that I can give, but I notice that he generally just does not appear to be invested in things having to do with our family and marriage. For example, we used to always have an annual Christmas party for our family and friends, but now he’s not interested in that anymore. My sister says that I am just wanting to knick pick about things, but I’m not sure that this is true. Things just feel a bit off and different. Am I wrong to be concerned about this?”

I don’t think that you are wrong. Often, it’s not necessarily about the household chores or the specific behaviors, it’s just about the feeling or vibe you get when you see him distancing himself from you and the care of the family / household. I know exactly what you mean. Before my husband actually moved out, he acted much differently toward me or things related to me. He no longer wanted to discuss long-term things like vacations or money matters. He stopped doing long-term maintenance type of things. And I believe that this is because he was no longer looking at the long-term in our marriage because he was thinking about separating and he did not know how things were going to turn out between us.

With that said, I know many couples who happily hire out their household chores. They can afford to do this and would rather spend their spare time doing other things. They are happily married and it’s just not an issue. The difference, though, is that this is how they mutually chose to approach it. The behavior did not change. Since your husband, like mine, used to be invested in these things and began to change, then I would potentially be concerned about that. To be fair, people do change their preferences over time. My husband now takes our cars for an oil change and service rather than doing it himself because he figured out that he really wasn’t saving much money by doing it himself. However, he takes them regularly to be services to ensure our safety, so I am not concerned.

I believe that the real issue is whether you feel that his lack of interest in the household is because his interest in your well being and safety is decreasing. If this is the case, then yes, I think it’s cause for concern. Anytime a husband begins to check out, I get concerned just because I have some baggage from my own separation.  I saw the same types of behaviors and I just tried to ignore them, with disastrous results.  Perhaps you can’t force him to do household things again if he is happy hiring it out, but I don’t think it would hurt to try to look hard at your marriage and determine if there is any way that you could improve it or restore the intimacy. Because if you can do that, you might see his interest in the house increase again. Ask yourself if there are any concrete marital issues that you can address. In my opinion, a husband who is invested in his marriage wants to ensure his wife’s and family’s safety. There are certainly caring and loving husbands who hire these tasks out. There is nothing wrong with that. The important factor is the concern that the work is done, and done right. If it seems that your husband doesn’t care if the work is done or not, this might indicate that his level of investment is waning, but you would be in a better position to evaluate this than I am.

I would strongly suggest addressing your concerns as soon as you have them.  It is much better to be safe than sorry.  As I mentioned, I tried ignore our problems in the hopes that they would go away.  This was a huge mistake.  I ended up separated instead.  I finally saved my marriage after many mistakes.  But it would have been easier to never separate in the first place. You’re welcome to read more at http://isavedmymarriage.com