By: Leslie Cane: I sometimes hear from wives who are getting very tired of waiting for their estranged husband to come back home. Often, they are looking for a plan that is going to encourage him to come home sooner rather than later. One such plan is filing for divorce in order to scare him into coming back. I heard from a wife who said: “my husband left me about six weeks ago. He said that he felt that he needed to live on his own for a while in order to determine if he wanted to stay married or separate. Things have been deteriorating in our marriage, but I was still surprised by this. I would never walk out on him and I was very disappointed that he would walk out on me. Since he’s left, we do speak pretty regularly. We even see one another sometimes. There are occasions when our meetings or dates go very well and there are times when we argue. Still, I believe that we have more good times than bad. I’ve asked my husband to come back home because it’s very hard to resolve anything when he’s living somewhere else. But he’s resistant. He says that he needs more time. I’m getting very tired of waiting. I feel like he has no incentive to come back and that he can just stay away for as long as he feels like it while I can only wait in response. So I almost feel the need to do something to hurry him along. I’m tempted to file for divorce and see if that doesn’t scare him enough to get him to come back. Is this is a good idea? What it work?”
While I have no ability to say if this plan would work, I have no reservations saying that I think it’s a bad idea. I’ll tell you why in the following article.
Why This Plan Might Backfire On You: Let’s suppose that you decided to go ahead and file for divorce in an attempt to scare him. Let’s follow that plan all the way and see what might happen. Of course, there is a chance that your husband may respond exactly as you’d like and will come home out of fear. But, there is another possibility. He could respond unfavorably and not come home. He may decide that if you feel the need to get a divorce, there is little that he can do to stop you. At that point, you’d only have a couple of options. You could actually go through with the divorce that you don’t really want. Or, you could back peddle and not follow through on the divorce. And, if you did this, you would certainly reveal that you were only playing games, and, as a result, your husband has even less incentive to come home.
So of these three scenarios, only one is even remotely favorable. The scenario where he comes home out of fear at least gets him home. But is this really a huge victory? Sure, he’s home and that can be a very positive thing. But he’s probably home at a high price. Because both of you know that he is only there because you forced his hand. This might cause a good deal of resentment and anger. You might even be insecure because you might suspect that he doesn’t really want to be with you. And, worse than that, you haven’t really addressed any of the problems that lead him to leave in the first place. Instead, you’re only introduced fear into an already difficult situation.
So, in my opinion, none of these options are particularly good ones because they don’t really give you what you want. And what you truly want and need is for him to very willingly come home with an enthusiastic and cooperative heart. You want for him to be willing to work with you to make your marriage better so that neither of you want to leave in the future.
The Better Alternative: I know from experience that forcing his hand is often not the answer. I do understand how you feel. When my husband left me, I had no patience whatsoever and I wanted for him to come home on my time frame and not on his. But the more I pushed, the less he wanted to come home and the more our situation deteriorated. It wasn’t until I changed strategies that things improved. Once I backed off and allowed him to come to me, everything changed for the better.
So to answer the question posed, I actually doubt that filing for divorce would make him come home. And, even if it did work and he did return home, he wouldn’t be there completely willingly. To me, this is quite a risky plan that could well backfire. I believe the better choice is change strategies and instead encourage him to come back through calculated behaviors rather than trying to force his hand and running the risk of him waiting to see if you will actually go through with it.
I never tried this strategy because I knew that a divorce was my worst case scenario. I couldn’t bring myself to take that risk. My new strategy did require for me to back off and this was a challenge. But it was a challenge that was so totally worth it because my husband became curious and he reached out to me. That made all of the difference. If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com
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