When you are newly separated, things can feel so dire. There is a lot of shock and also a great sense of urgency. But what happens if you have been through a separation multiple times? What if your spouse makes a habit of leaving you? Well, then the shock can sort of wear off and you just start to feel tired.
A wife might say: “my husband left me last week. If this had happened five years ago, I would probably be panicking and beside myself. But I have been through all of this before. He’s actually left me multiple times. And then he comes back and we follow the same cycle over and over again. I’m not panicked this time because it’s hard for me to believe that he won’t eventually come back. But I also know that he will eventually leave all over again. I have gotten so tired of this cycle. I can never disagree or fight with him because if I do, it will eventually turn into a disagreement worthy of him leaving me. I am getting so sick of this. I don’t want a divorce. That is why I always take him back. I don’t want to hurt our kids in that way. But I am honestly at the point where I want to take the initiative and stop this cycle myself. And the only way that I know how to do this is to get a divorce. It’s not really what I want. But I also know that we can not go on like this.”
The Cycle May Be Happening Because Nothing Changes That Makes It Stop: I understand your frustration. No one wants to keep repeating the same old painful and destructive pattern. I believe that couples often get into habits like this. They don’t know how to allow it to play out any other way. And even though it makes them unhappy, they end up following the script because they have never deviated from it before.
I do think it’s possible to break the cycle. But in order to do this, you will need to change whatever isn’t getting solved with each separation. When couples are in a pattern like this, it’s because nothing is changing. There is the hope that things will change – which is why the husband keeps coming back. But it doesn’t change – which is why he leaves again.
So two things need to happen in order to stop this. First, whatever is causing the tension and friction must finally be addressed and significantly lessened or eliminated. And second, both spouses must commit to trying to work things out before one of them just leaves. It’s very hard to work through an issue when someone doesn’t stick around long enough to do it.
Often, when a habit has become so deeply engrained like this one has, you truly do need help to overcome it. Since it’s become somewhat obvious that the problem or issue isn’t going away on it’s own even when both people want it to, then perhaps it’s time to find a good counselor to help you with this. It doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money, and it would likely be cheaper than continuing to support two households every time things turn sour in your marriage.
The counselor may be able to help you identify the trigger that sets off the chain of events of him leaving. Once both of you can clearly see what is happening, it is much easier to pause before another recurrence. Of course, none of this is going to matter unless your husband commits to staying when things get rough rather than just leaving again. But the fact that he keeps coming back tells me that he probably truly does want to work things out. This cycle is probably just as painful and frustrating to him. Which is why it makes sense to try what you haven’t – finding someone to help you identify what it truly at play here and then fixing it once and for all.
Even Old Habits Can Be Broken: Because if you can do that, then there will be no real reason for him to leave other than just habit. And habits can be broken as long as there is something to stop the cycle from repeating again. I know that you are tired of all of this, but I would think it makes sense to give things another try by eliciting the help that you’ve never gotten before. That’s just part of knowing that you have done everything in your power to rescue your marriage before filing for the divorce that you know you don’t want.