I sometimes hear from wives who don’t know what to think about their husband’s behavior during a marital separation. Often, when the wife tries to get a read on how things or going or whether the husband might be thinking about coming home, she doesn’t get a straight answer. Instead, she gets a husband who is frustratingly evasive. And this often leaves her wondering if she’s wrong to hold out any hope or if she is just wasting her time.
I heard from a wife who said: “my husband and I have been separated for almost two months. I think that this is more than enough time for him to come to a decision about what he wants to do about our marriage. He asked me for space and I gave it to him. But he seems no closer to committing to me and our marriage than he was right before the separation. Because I am tired of waiting, I’ve taken to asking him very directly what he plans to do. I’ll say things like ‘so where do you plan to live next month?’ Or ‘how do you feel about me today?’ I never get a straight answer. He’ll say something like ‘I’m still evaluating.’ Or ‘honestly, my feelings are still all over the place. I just don’t know.’ This makes me so angry. If he knows that our marriage is over or that he no longer feels anything for me, I wish he would have the courage to just say it. Instead, it’s like he’s going out of his way to stall or to not give me an honest answer. Why would he do this? And how can I get him to stop?”
This is a very common concern. Very often, wives hope that once they give their husband his space, he will realize how much he misses and loves her and will want to come home and save the marriage in record time. When this doesn’t happen, they assume the worst and then they pressure or aggressively question their husband, which can cause the situation to deteriorate even further.
I know that you want and deserve answers. But I also know from experience that you’re much more likely to have success if your turn down the negativity and the pressure. In the following article, I’ll outline what I believe is the best strategy in this situation.
If He Won’t Answer Your Questions, Try Abandoning Them For A While. Or Think About Phrasing Them In Another Way: When you feel that your marriage is on the line, it’s very easy to keep trying strategies that have already shown themselves not to work. The reason for this is that you’re so panicked that common sense leaves you. And, you’re so intent on needing these answers that you are determined to get them by any means necessary.
Here’s what you need to remember. The more you apply the pressure, the more he is going to get frustrated and defensive. And the more impatient you are, the more likely you make it that he’s going to tell you that if you are so intent on an answer, then he’s going to have to decide on a negative answer simply because you couldn’t wait.
I know how this feels. But frankly, I learned that it was better to give him more time so that I could still hold out at least some hope than to push and all but ensure that because of my insistence on an answer, his response would be that we should just stay apart.
I know that the delay just makes this situation feel worse. But honestly, what would be even worse than the scenario now is him saying that he wants to make the separation to be permanent or that he wants a divorce. If you have to wait a little longer to avoid this, then I think that it’s worth that.
Some wives understand my approach, but they admit that they just are not going to be able to stop asking for a status. If this is your situation, I would suggest trying to distract yourself when the urge hits you. And if you can’t do that, then you might want to rephrase the questions so that they sound more positive. So instead of saying things like “so have you decided when you’re going to come back home?, perhaps you’d say “have you made any progress since you’ve had some time away?” ” Or instead of “have you sorted out your feelings about me and the marriage?,” you might try “are things any more clear to you now? Or are you still evaluating?”
The way that you deliver this message is vital. You do not want to sound accusatory or impatient. You don’t want to phrase this so that it sounds like a demand. Because it’s so hard to say these words and to make them come out sounding supportive and right, I do suggest just remaining positive when you’re around him and backing off on the questions, knowing that when he’s ready to share his feelings, he will. Or that alternatively, when things have improved so dramatically between you that he’s ready to come home, then this will be obvious.