I recently heard from a wife who was quite interested in seeing what her future might hold. After she and her husband had been having problems for several months, her husband told her that he felt they should “go their separate ways for a while” and see how things turned out after that. The wife wasn’t sure exactly what he meant by that but it was pretty clear that he intended to move in with friends for a while.
Needless to say, the wife’s main concerns were whether her marriage would end and whether her husband was going to come back. However, every time she asked him about this, he would just give her vague replies like “we’ll just see what happens.” This was breaking the wife’s heart. She hated that they were leaving it open ended in this way. It drove her crazy to not know whether she was going to be married in a year from now. And she was placing all of her attention and worries on whether he was coming back. And although I’ve done this too and find it natural and completely normal, looking back now, I know that it wasn’t the best call. I will discuss this more in the following article.
When A Man Says That You Should Go Your Separate Ways Right Now, This Can Mean All Sorts Of Things: The wife’s biggest fear was that the husband would eventually file for divorce. She was worried that “separate ways” would eventually come to mean separation which would eventually come to mean divorce. But, the thing was, she had no way to know if this was going to be true. She could not see into the future and her husband wasn’t being forthcoming with these details.
So, as difficult as it might be, she really just had to allow this to play out. But the good news to this strategy is that her actions would undoubtedly contribute to how everything ended up. So, whether she believed it or not, she had a bit more control than she feared.
And quite frankly, some men use the “separate ways” terminology when they are just looking for a break to sort out their feelings. Sometimes, they are looking for a response from you to gauge where your marriage truly stands. And, sometimes even they don’t know how things are going to turn out.
So, with all of these unknowns, the wife’s path may just be to take things as they come while setting up the situation so that when the husband evaluates where he wants to go from here, he realizes that his life is likely better off with his wife than without her. But, in order for this to happen, the wife was going to have to change some perceptions that were standing in her way.
Focusing On Changing The Situation So That He Wants To Come Back Rather Than Hyper Focusing On If He Will Come Back: Besides the shock and pain that this wife was feeling, her main concern (by far) was if her husband was going to come back. This concern was pretty much the center of all of her thoughts and actions. To that end, she was constantly trying to take inventory of where her husband was, what he was doing, and what he was thinking.
Even she admitted that these actions were only annoying her husband and weren’t really getting her anywhere, but she just couldn’t seem to stop herself. So many of us do this, myself included. But what we don’t understand at the time is that we are creating an “either / or” situation. What I mean by that is that since you’re sole concern is him coming back, you’re putting him in a position where he has to make a decision that either he’s coming back or he’s not and there’s not really any gray areas or any space in between.
So, you’re leaving an opening for things to turn out badly. Instead, you want to create as many positive options as you can. You don’t want to put so much pressure on this situation so that your husband thinks he has to leave you or begin to move away from you to escape this pressure. As hard as it may be to back off some and let things unfold as they will and THEN respond rather than jumping the gun, sometimes this is precisely what you should do to have the outcome that you really want.
Here’s what you often need to understand. Pretty shortly, there may come a time when your husband has to make a decision about how he is going to proceed. He’ll need to decide if he’s coming back or if he wants to truly separate or divorce. And, when this does happen, you want to have painted yourself in the most favorable light. Right now, he may think that your problems are too big or that your relationship isn’t going to change. You often have to change his mind about these things eventually.
And one way to start to do that is to behave in the way that he isn’t expecting. Allow him to be pleasantly surprised at how in control you really are. Come from a place of love rather than a place of fear. Make it clear that your priority really is both of you being happy rather than trying to pin him down on exactly what his plans are.
I wish I had known these things in my own marriage. Our trial separation went very badly until I figured out that my actions were pushing my husband further away. Fortunately, I was able to change course and save the marriage. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/.