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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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