We’re Separated But I Can’t Stop Loving My Husband. What Can I Do?

By: Leslie Cane: A good deal of the correspondence that I get comes from wives who are going through a separation with their husbands. Many are struggling a great deal. Most tell me that they still love their husbands, no matter what the state of their marriage is or how their husband is acting at the time.

I recently heard from a wife who was struggling with her feelings when many people told her that she was setting herself up for more pain and disappointment. She said, in part: “my husband and I have been separated for about three weeks. The separation was his choice. I didn’t want it but he insisted that it was something he felt that we had to try.  He’s been pretty distant and hasn’t given me a lot of encouragement.  He told a mutual friend of ours that he wants to see other people.  Even so, I can’t stop loving him.  I love my husband as much today even though we are separated as I did when we were first married.  My friends tell me that I’m crazy and that I’m just asking for more disappointment.  But I can’t seem to help it.  Am I just supposed to turn off my love at will?  Because I can’t do it.  Part of me realizes that I’m fighting a losing battle but another part of me thinks that we are not divorced yet and he hasn’t told me to back off or that he doesn’t love me. As long as there’s a chance, I’m going to keep right on loving him because my feelings are my own.  It might be ill advised or silly, but I’m just not ready to let him go.”

I understood how this wife felt on so many levels.  Some of her story mirrored my own story when I was trying to save my own marriage.  And although I’m sure that her friends meant well, they probably weren’t telling the wife what she already didn’t know and what she needed was their support rather than them pointing out her vulnerabilities.  And actually, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with loving your husband while you are separated, even if things don’t always look that promising.  I’ll tell you why in the following article.

Sometimes, There’s A Reason That You Are Separated And Not Divorced.  And He Is Still Your Husband.  Why Wouldn’t You Love Him?: From the wife’s descriptions, it seemed as if her friends had pretty much written off her marriage.  They were giving her the impression that she should just give up.  But, this marriage was the wife’s and the wife’s alone.  I’m sure that her friends believed that they were helping her.   But a separation doesn’t necessarily mean that your marriage is over.  If both spouses chose a separation over a divorce, this truly says something, at least in my opinion.  Usually when the marriage is over, that means a final divorce that never recovers.  And that wasn’t the case yet.

I would also defend anyone’s right to love the person of his or her own choosing.  Is loving someone always in your best interest?  Maybe not.  But love isn’t something that you just decide to stop participating in because of logic or circumstances.  Your feelings and your heart make that decision.  Your brain does not.  Always using logical thinking when love and your marriage is concerned isn’t always easy or even advisable.

I know couples who still openly admit they still  love each other even when they are divorced.  There’s nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.  It’s not up to anyone to tell you who you should or should not love.  I know that I may sound defensive, but it bothers me when people tell others how they should feel.   Love, affection, and marital feelings are  deeply personal, and concern only the two people involved.

Tips For When You’re Separated, Still Love Your Spouse, But Want To Proceed In The Most Healthy Way That Is Possible: With all of the above said, there’s no doubt in my mind that this wife’s friends and family really did want to help her.  I am certain their hearts were in the right place.   They were likely reacting to seeing her hurting and they went into protective mode, which is certainly understandable.

I’m not denying that it’s a good idea to try to respond to your feelings in the most healthy way possible.  Although it was unrealistic (and a bit unfair) to expect the wife to just turn off her feelings or proclaim that she was going to try to not love her husband as much during the separation, it was understandable for them to want to handle it in a healthy way.  Her love for him didn’t mean that she shouldn’t focus on herself or to try to keep herself busy, positive, and active during the separation.

Because when we love someone that we are separated from (or when our relationship is struggling) it’s very easy to make that (and the pain that we feel as the result) our sole focus.  And this is where things can turn unhealthy.  When I was separated from my husband, I initially distanced myself from my support system and became quite depressed.  I withdrew from things that I enjoyed.  As a result,  I wasn’t all that pleasant to be around.  Needless to say, none of this made me more attractive to my husband.

It wasn’t until I forced myself to place my attention on other things, to try to focus on the positive,  and to live the best life that was possible for me at the time that things changed.  My outlook improved, my ability to cope was enhanced, and eventually, my husband started showing more interest in me.  Some time later, we reconciled.  I don’t want to claim that changing your focus means that things will always work out or that you can always save your marriage during a separation with your attitude alone.  Situations and marriages vary.  But I do think that there’s no reason to put your life completely on hold while you are separated.  And this is true whether you still love your spouse or not.

I completely understood and supported this wife’s love for her husband even during her separation.  But I hoped that she wouldn’t allow this love (and her complete focus on it) to allow her to feel pain or to put her life on hold.  In fact, I felt if she tried to do the opposite, her outlook (and possibly her situation and her marriage) might improve.

I certainly never stopped loving my husband during our separation.  But I think my husband had his doubts that he still loved me.  He had seemingly moved on and wanted me to do the same. I knew that, at least from my end, it was not yet time to call it quits. Thankfully, even though I had doubts, I lucked into trying one last thing and this eventually worked. If it helps, you can read more of that personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

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