By: Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from wives who are considering using reverse psychology in order to lure their husband home from a trial separation. Often, they have worn their feelings on their sleeve. Perhaps they were upfront with how much they missed their husband or they have begged him to come home with no success at all. So, they are flirting with the idea of completely changing their strategy and their attitude. Many consider pretending that they no longer care what happens in the hopes that this will make him want to come back.
I heard from a wife who said: “my husband moved out about eight weeks ago. At first, things seemed OK. We saw one another about once a week and we didn’t really fight or argue. So I had hopes that as long as things continued to improve, he would eventually move back home. When that didn’t happen, I was very honest with him. I told him how much I missed him and how difficult life was without him. I told him how much my children were struggling because of the separation. And something about my words set him off because from that point forward, things began to deteriorate. Our meetings were no longer as regular. He began to dodge my calls. Needless to say, the more he pushed me away, the more I wanted some response from him. So I pushed harder for any response. And now I regret it because things have gotten bad between us. Things are worse than they were when we first separated. So I’m considering leaving him alone and acting like I don’t care at all. I’m thinking that this might shock him into wanting me or into coming back. Is there any chance that this would work?” I’ll try to address these concerns in the following article.
I know first hand that changing strategies can work. The above situation was very similar to my own when my husband and I separated. And I did change strategies with so much success that my husband eventually came around to my way of thinking and we reconciled. However, with that said, I didn’t take things as far as this wife intended to. I will tell you why below.
Why I Think That Pretending Not To Care Is Taking It Too Far: My biggest problem with this strategy is that it often just isn’t believable for many reasons. First, very few people can pull it off. It’s hard to make him believe that the woman who couldn’t live without him a very short time ago is suddenly so indifferent that she could now care less. So his first instinct when you attempt this may be to suspect that this is a trick.
Another thing to consider is that if you truly want to save your marriage so that you are happy and secure for the long haul, do you really want for your husband to think that you don’t are or are indifferent about this outcome?
Why There’s A Big Difference Between Backing Off And Complete Indifference: I will admit that I left my hometown for a while when things looked dire with my marriage and separation. I did this because I knew that if I didn’t, I was only going to continue to pressure my husband or make a pest of myself. And experience had told me that this only made things worse between us. So I left in order to force myself to back off for a while. Because I knew that if I didn’t, we might end up divorced.
But, I told my husband where I was going and made it clear that I thought it would do me good to spend some time with family and friends. Never did I say or even insinuate that I no longer cared what happened between us. Never did I give him the impression that I’d given up. But I believe that it was clear that I was backing off for a while and giving pause so that things could calm down. I think it was probably clear that I didn’t know how things were going to turn out, but that I was trying to make the best of things.
However, my husband was well aware that I still cared about him and our marriage even if that wasn’t going to be my immediate focus while I was away. So yes, I took a break. But the difference between my strategy and the one outlined above is that I made no attempt to make him believe that I no longer cared. We both knew that I did.
Admittedly, I didn’t share with him the absolute desperation and despair I felt as I was at the airport. I began to hold back and I no longer shared every time I missed him. I even stopped calling. So yes, I did change strategies and I no longer was so obvious about my feelings.
But I never tried to convince my husband that I no longer cared. He would never have believed it and I wouldn’t have wanted to project this anyway. I always made it clear that my preference would have been us remaining married. But later in the process, I did take a more laid back attitude about the whole thing. And when I noticed that my backing off improved things and increased my husband’s interest in me, then I used that to my full advantage.
Backing Off Can Sometimes Help. But Indifference Might Make Things Worse: This is only my opinion of course. But I think that backing off and allowing him to reach out to you can actually help quite dramatically. It can nudge him toward coming home if you play it correctly.
However, I think that there’s a fine line between this strategy and taking it too far. I believe that feigning indifference is crossing the line and I rarely see that sort of dramatic about face actually work. In fact, I’ve seen it hurt the situation more times than I have seen it help.
I know that I’m asking you to walk a fine line, but you can often tell if you’re just short of crossing the line by his response. If he’s suddenly interested, keep doing what you are doing without risking too much. If if helps, you’re welcome to see how this played out with me on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com
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