Why Would My Separated Husband Not Allow Me To Help Him Feel Better?

By: Leslie Cane: It usually doesn’t take much for a person who is separated to worry that their spouse is distancing himself from them. It’s natural to assume that anything that goes wrong or that feels off might mean that a reconciliation just isn’t possible. Here is one such example.

I might hear from a wife who wonders why her separated husband might not allow her to tend to him while he is sick. She might say something like: “my husband and I have only been separated for about three weeks. It happened because he wanted it to happen. No matter what I said or did, he was determined to move out. He said that he wants a separation now, but that this might change at some point in the future. I tried to take some hope in that, but honestly, he hasn’t done much to encourage me once he moved out. In fact, I called him a couple of days ago and I could tell that he was sick. He said that he had a sore throat. I offered to bring him some food. He told me that this wasn’t necessary and said that he just wanted to get some rest. I finally accepted this. But I called him this morning and he sounded absolutely awful. I told him that I wanted to come check on him and cook him some soup and once again he told me that I didn’t need to do this. I told him that it was something that I wanted to do for him because he is my husband and I love him. He told me that he just wanted to be alone and that while he appreciated it that I care, he just doesn’t need me to come over. Why won’t he let me care for him? I’m still his wife and he’s ill. He’s starting to make me think there is someone else over there.”

There are many potential reasons that the husband might be trying to keep his wife at a distance. And certainly not all of them have to do with someone else. Unless he has given you a good reason to suspect this, I don’t think I would allow my mind to immediately go there, because there are a lot of potential reasons that are less disturbing. I am not a man who initiated a separation. In fact, I am just the opposite. I am a wife who has gone through this. But because of my articles, I hear from a lot of men in this situation. And that is why I feel like I have a decent handle on their thought process. So below, I’ll tell you why I think many men pull away when you may want to take care of them.

Once Again, He Is Asserting His Need For Space: Often, when men initiate a separation, they will tell you that they need space and want to be alone. And they often do not want for anything to interrupt this process, especially at first. Even if he would like to see you or have someone take care of him, he will often feel that he needs to stand behind what he has asked for. He may want to set the tone and he worries that if you come over and care for him, then the distinction that he has tried to establish will be compromised and therefore the whole situation will be confusing for both of you.

He May Worry About Sending Mixed Signals: This reasoning uses the same logic as above. He may worry that one thing might lead to another if you come over and start caring for him. And he may worry that, if this were to happen, you would both be confused at the mixed signals. As hard as it might be to believe, many men in this situation are holding back because they are trying to be fair to you. They will tell you that it would actually be easier for them to eat your food and allow you to care for them. But, what happens when he feels better and he sends you back home? Is this fair to you? In his own mind, he may be trying to spare your feelings and to not be taking advantage of this situation.

He May Be Trying To Keep You At A Distance To Protect His Feelings: Many wives in this situation assume that his not allowing them to care for him is a type of rejection. I understand that it hurts. But I do hear from some men who keep their wife at a distance because they are still confused about their feelings for her and they know that seeing her is going to churn every thing up. Often, they feel that it is necessary to move out to take their “space” because this is the only way they see to get an objective read on their feelings. They know that if they see you every day, this can’t happen. And so they feel some reservations or anxiety at allowing you to close that gap.

I know that a lot of this reasoning probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to wives. But this is often the thought process that I see. I did not mention him trying to hide something or there being someone else because I hadn’t heard about any evidence of that. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m just noticing that no evidence was brought up. As to how to handle this, I learned from experience not to push. I would simply tell him that the offer stands if he changes his mind and then allow him to take the initiative if things change.

I know that this might feel like you’re just giving up.  But in my opinion and experience, you are picking your battles.  Because if you push and he moves away even further, then you really haven’t accomplished anything.  But if you wait, then he will have no incentive to push you away further. And you might find that he begins to move forward and toward you all on his own.  This is what eventually happened for me, although I did always have a long term plan in place. If it helps, you can read more of my story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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