What Does It Mean When Your Husband Wants A Separation?

By: Leslie Cane: I often hear from wives whose husband has recently asked for a separation.   Many of the wives aren’t sure how the separation is going to play out or what it really means for them or their marriages.

I often hear comments like: “what does it really mean when a husband asks for a separation?  Does it mean he doesn’t love you anymore?  Does it mean that he’s trying to ease you into a divorce?  Does it mean that he’s tired of you, wants his freedom, or needs some space?  Can it mean that there’s someone else that he would rather be with?  Or that your marriage is over?  Because I’m not sure what to think about this.  I’m trying to have a good attitude and handle this is a positive way.  But I’m not how you’re expected to respond when essentially, your husband is saying that he doesn’t know if he wants to be with you anymore.”

Why your husband wants a separation (and what this means for you and your marriage) varies as much as the couple themselves as well as the issues in the marriage.  His wanting a separation could mean some of the things that the wife mentioned above, but it doesn’t have to.

In the following article, I’ll tell you some of the reasons that men give me for wanting a separation in the hopes that it helps you decide what this means for you or your own marriage.

Common Reasons Men Want A Separation And What This Means For You And Your Marriage:  I’m not a man who has asked for a separation.  In fact, I’m a woman who has been on the other side of this issue.  But I do have men in this exact situation visit my blog.  And many tell me that the separation is a way to sort out their feelings and think about things without their wife’s constant feedback and questions.

Very few of them tell me that they are asking for a separation because they eventually intend to file for divorce.  In fact, the opposite is often true.  Frankly if they had really wanted a divorce, many insist that they would have just filed for one in the beginning and saved themselves the trouble of a two step process.

Many have a specific reason for wanting a separation rather than a divorce.  Many still believe (or hope) that things can be worked out.  But, they don’t think that working things out is likely if they stay and continue to argue or face the same old issues without any change. So many see the separation as a way to calm things down so that both people can think, get some perspective, and hopefully be inspired to make the changes that are going to save the marriage or change it for the better.

Having said this, are there some men who just want out and see the separation as a quick way to accomplish this or use the separation as the first step to divorce?  I’m sure there are.  But these aren’t the men that I hear from.  And frankly, a divorce is much more straight forward and less emotionally complicated.  It’s my view that many men who ask for a separation do so because they think that there’s a chance that the marriage can be saved, but they know that drastic action is required to do so.  And they’re often very tired of having the same old arguments or not being able to work though the same old issues so they think that the best thing to do would be to take a break and see if things look differently because of it.

Do You Really Need To Know Exactly What Your Husband’s Need For A Separation Means?  Or Can You Just Trust In The Process And Know That It Means You Need To Work On (And Hopefully Improve) Your Marriage?:  I understand your need for answers.  And I know that you are probably thinking that if you figure out exactly why he wants a separation (and what this means to you) then your course of action or your best response will be so much more clear.

But, I have to tell you that often men aren’t able to give you these sorts of specific answers.  Many of us hope that they’ll give us some sort of specific list that we can check off as we address or remove the problems. But this isn’t likely to happen and continuing to approach and question your husband about this will usually make him defensive or tired of the process before it’s even begun.

When you are separated and you want to save your marriage, one of the most important things that you can do is to watch the perceptions that you are creating.  This is so important because one day your husband will need to make a decision as to whether the separation is going to end and he’s going to come home.  Or, he may decide that he’s going to stay away and continue the separation or go ahead and file for divorce.

When he makes this decision, you don’t want for him to have the mental picture of you engaging him, debating with him, and insisting on answers that he may not be able to give you.  I understand your need for answers, but sometimes it’s better to just accept the obvious, which is that he’s trying to determine if the marriage can be saved and he’s wanting to see if some time apart will improve things.

So your focus should be on exactly that.  The goal should be to allow the time to improve things so that he sees that the marriage can be saved because he still loves and can work with you.  You can’t do this if you are harping on things that are unclear to him also.  Don’t worry so much about the undefined things that lead up to this.  Focus now on the specific action that is going to get you out of this.

Handling Your Husband Wanting A Separation: I believe that the most important thing to do right now is to not let your emotions take over.  I know that this is a scary process, but keep reminding yourself that no one has filed for divorce and, if you handle the separation correctly, it can actually improve your marriage and help you save it.

As difficult as it can be to focus on the positive and to trust the process, that’s exactly what I would suggest that you do.  You have to portray the person who has the best chance of changing your husband’s mind and inspiring him to return home.  This person needs to make him feel optimistic and hopeful rather than guilty and hopeless.

So, to the extent that you can, focus on just improving the relationship and his perceptions about it.  Now, when I say improve the relationship, I don’t mean to tear it apart and dissect it to build it back up.  I mean focusing on restoring the connection of the people within it .  Because if you can do this, even when you are technically apart, everything else becomes a lot easier. And it’s not as difficult as you might think.  One positive thing that sometimes happens during a separation is that people see how much they really do miss and care about one another.  This really is what you need to remember and focus on.

It was my husband, not me, who wanted space and the separation. Unfortunately, I drew on negative emotions rather than positive ones. This seriously backfired. Thankfully, I realized my tactics were not working and changed course. Eventually, I was able to not only restore my husband’s love, get him home, and save the marriage. You can read my very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

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