Often, when a husband announces that he is going to leave, a wife expects him to promptly pack his bags and begin the separation. It’s not that this is what the wife wants to happen. But when someone makes an announcement that is this serious, well, the assumption is that no one would want to drag their feet on this, as once the decision has been made, it’s probably easier to just go ahead and move out.
However, this isn’t what always happens. Some husbands make this announcement and then they don’t really move out right away. Some are still telling their wives that they are leaving even as they continue to park themselves on the couch and make use of the refrigerator. A wife might say: “I truly don’t get it. Three weeks ago, my husband came home and announced that he is going to leave me. He said that our marriage hasn’t been good for a while now and that he thinks that we should take a break and live apart to see what happens. This isn’t what I want. In my heart, I feel like if he leaves, he might never come back and we might end up divorced. He actually told me that he wanted to leave on a Friday night. I expected him to move out that weekend. Why wait? If you’re going to take the initiative to tell your wife that you are going to leave her, I would think that you would want to leave as soon as possible. That isn’t the case, though. It’s three weeks later and he’s still in our house. He’s still complaining. He’s still saying he’s going to leave and yet he is still here. I’m afraid to ask him why he’s still here because I am afraid that he would take that to mean that I wanted him out. My mom says that he is essentially free loading or that he’s too lazy to find a new place, but that doesn’t make sense, as my husband earns more than I do. Why do men say that they want to leave their wives and then stay at home?”
I can only speculate, because there are a variety of reasons. I will list some of them below so that you can see if any of them might ring true.
He May Not Want To Actually Leave And Was Just Trying To Get A Reaction: Sometimes, a husband truly is frustrated with the marriage or the situation, but he doesn’t know how to create change. He may have tried to make a change without success or he’s afraid that you will be resistant or defensive. So he puts the “leaving” out there in the hopes that you will try to stop him or that you will then be open to negotiating change.
He May Be Trying To Move Out At The Right Time Or In The Right Way: Some husbands do take their time in actually moving out. Many aren’t all that excited about moving from their familiar and comfortable home into a smaller apartment. Others will try to leave their wife in a good place before they physically move out. What I mean by that is that some will complete repairs and necessary maintenance before they leave so that their wife doesn’t have to worry about this.
He May Be Having Second Thoughts: This is the final suggestion that I will make. We all say things or make decisions out of frustration, only to have second thoughts later. Actually moving out of your home and pursuing a marital separation is a huge step. And it would be completely normal for him to reconsider and then to hesitate to admit this. It’s possible that he’s hoping that this will just blow over or that you will ask him not to leave.
Deciding Where To Go From Here: Since you can’t know which of the above is true (unless he tells you,) then you have to ask yourself what really matters the most. If you want to save your marriage, then I think you have focus on the fact that at least he’s still there – whatever the reason. It’s so much easier to save your marriage when your husband is physically present. When he moves out, it can be difficult to reconnect and to not have repeated misunderstandings since communication is limited and not always face-to-face. Yes, I know that it is frustrating that he’s sending mixed signals and that this is confusing. But I think that it is better to focus on the fact that he is there rather than questioning him and then potentially forcing him out. If you can use this time to improve things so that he doesn’t follow through and leave, then that’s probably the best option.