So your partner has said ‘I love you but’, has been having an affair or you’ve been arguing so much it’s been affecting the kids.
Your partner wants a trial separation but you’re worried that’s just a nice way of saying ‘it’s over’. But can a trial separation help a marriage?
A Reader Writes…
Instead of everything ‘magically’ going away, as I’d hoped, I’ve found myself agreeing to a ‘trial separation’ and to ‘work on the marriage’…but at a distance. I blame myself for asking all those questions about the affair because I worry it has led to the separation. I spend my time going over and over things in my head and one minute I think things are turning around but the next minute I’m questioning what my wife is doing with her time alone and whether or not we’re really ‘working on the marriage’. A crisis quickly turns into a catastrophe; certainly in my head if not in my relationship as well.
Everything on the surface appears fine and we’re playing ‘happy family’. I share child care responsibilities and tidy up around the house or do other little things to illustrate that I’m in fact capable of change. We have a family day once a week or even a date night and I’m become a better listener and more attentive than ever to your partner. However, underneath not all is right, for either of us.
How can we work on a marriage when we’re not together and can a trial separation help a marriage?
I’d like to turn round your question (“can a trial separation help a marriage?”) and ask instead “will making your partner feel guilty and back down save your marriage?” or “getting upset, angry and refusing to listen to the idea going to save your marriage” or a thousand-and-one other delay, distract and dismiss tactics.
I’m not a fan of trial separations, that’s for certain, but I’m not a fan of not listening to your partner either! So if he or she is set on the idea, it is better to engage with the idea and negotiate. Furthermore, if you follow my six steps it could not only save your marriage but be the foundation for a better one.
1. Set it up properly
Instead of letting everything coming to a head – with one person walking away out of frustration or being ‘thrown out’ – focus on talking through how this trial separation will work. Instead of looking for ways to persuade your partner he or she is wrong to need ‘space’, ask questions about how a separation might work. What about finances? What will you tell the children? How often will you see each other? What would make this a constructive time for both of you?
Key idea for saving your marriage: Focus on improving your communication and listening skills because they become even more important when you’re not under the same roof. I sum this up as ‘I can ask, you can say no and we can negotiate’
2. Have a good idea of how you got into this mess
When you’re in a hole, it’s a good idea to stop digging. So if your relationship isn’t working (at least for one of you), you’ve got to ask why and listen, really listen to the reasons.Think about your part in the crisis, because even if your partner has been unfaithful – for which you’re not to blame – he or she will not have turned from the loving partner to this detached cold figure overnight. Why has he or she put so much distance between you that someone else has been able to come between you?
Key idea for saving your marriage: Every time, you meet up or text your partner think: how could I do this differently? If you just fall into the same old traps or behave in the same old way, you’ll get the same old response and you know where that’s got you. I suggest doing the opposite, so if you clam up, speak up. If you pour your heart out, bite your tongue.
3. Truly give your partner space
Lots of trial separations don’t work because the partner who needs space feels that that he or she doesn’t get it. That’s because they are fielding ten texts and five long emails a day or when their partner comes to collect the children ends up hanging around the house. I know it’s tough because your fear is out of sight and out of mind (and if that’s the case how can you ‘work’ on your marriage). However, you are at risk of making your partner think true space could only be achieved by ending the relationship.
Key idea for saving your marriage: If you’re the partner looking for space – but not getting it – try negotiating with your partner rather than just withdrawing (and unilaterally imposing it). If your partner knows the rules for contact – and can have some input into deciding on them – he or she will find it much easier to cope. For example, you will meet up once a week and reply to one text a day.
If you’re the partner holding the responsibility for saving the marriage, please put your main focus and energy on working on yourself. By this I mean understanding why this is so painful – probably something to do with your childhood – and learning alternative ways to cope with adversity (rather than sending off a desperate text). If you chase your partner, he or she will flee. If you step back, you could encourage them to come forward.
4. Don’t read the runes
What makes trial separation’s so difficult is the uncertainty and to protect ourselves, we try and second guess our partner, think through how every move will be received (and end up over-thinking everything) and let our imagination run riot. It also sucks all the joy out of the few face-to-face encounters that you do have because you’re interpreting every gesture for clues about the future.
Key idea for saving your marriage: Live in today, this moment, right now – rather than worrying about the past or trying to guess the future. Can you cope today? Probably yes. It’s when you imagine further ahead than the weekend that you start to panic. So every time, you feel yourself unravelling focus back down on NOW. Enjoy the view from your window, the cup of tea that you’re drinking or that moment of peace before the kids get back from school (rather than forever being one step ahead and not really registering now). You will be amazed at how much calmer you’ll feel.
5. Expect set backs
I’ve been doing this job for almost thirty years and I reckon I’ve seen over two thousand clients and I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t have set backs. However, I’ve met lots of people who expect everything to move only forward and when they hit a bump or a dead end, think there is something fundamentally flawed in them or their relationship (rather than just accepting that’s part of the process).
It’s especially common when the partner who wanted space starts to think about returning that the other, who has been holding onto hope for the relationship, starts to get cold feet. As a therapist, this is a good sign because he or she is ready to negotiate for what he or she needs – rather than accepting anything to get his or her partner back – but for the couple it can be really unsettling.
Key idea for saving your relationship: Setbacks and painful but they are not a problem if you can learn something from them. So what is this bump in the road telling you? What do you need to do differently? If you’re reached a dead end, how can you go back and find another way round?
6. Wait for your partner to talk about the future
If you keep asking your partner “how do you feel?”, it is not only exasperating but you’re reminding them that they don’t love you or need space. So I know it’s hard but please wait for them to talk about the future, your job is to make today’s interactions better.
Key idea for saving your relationship: This is a really tough time and you’re going to need help (rather than expecting your partner to make you feel better by saying ‘all isn’t lost’). So please look for support from friends, family, self-help books and consider consulting a professional. You’re facing one of the biggest challenges of your life but you don’t have to do it alone.
Please post your thoughts about what helps make a trial separation bearable, the pitfalls to avoid and what helps create a turning point in your relationship.
In Limbo says
Thanks for this post it full of rock solid advice. I am newly separated from my wife, 3 weeks now, and I can say that each point of your article speaks to me and my experiences. My wife told me ILYB a few months ago and suggested that we separate which was a total shock to me so through self help books (yours and others) I was able to get a handle on what I could expect and what I can and should be doing.
I can tell you that even with a verbally pre-negotiated separation agreement many things remain unclear and undefined. Communication regarding even the simplest things like the kid’s schedule are crucial to get down cold to avoid misunderstandings and potential fights. I discovered the hard way that not explicitly setting a plan and leaving things open ended, in hopes of not being obtrusive, lead to my not seeing my kids on my non visitation weekend.
I agree that the giving your spouse their “space” is extremely important and the contact you have agreed upon should be honored. I have so far not been tempted to email, call, or text except in regards to logistics and even then only when truly necessary. I would just advise that you do not give so much space that you don’t properly advocate for yourself and your needs. My wife and I lived with more a improvisational schedule when we were together, but now I find that specific times or time frames (see you between 2-3) set realistic expectations.
I would highly suggest seeking out a professional as Andrew suggests. If you are like me, a therapist can help you sort through the confusion that this situation causes. I have started working on my issues. Self help books like Andrew’s ILYB and My Wife have been very useful. and this site and the people who have contributed to it are wonderfully helpful. Remember that you are not alone.
I need a mans opinion. I need my husband to realize I am serious. I am committed and would love to rebirth our relationship but I am the one doing all the work. I initiated the separation and he agreed. Said he believes we can be more and wants to work on it. But since our initial discussion he is dragging his feet. I’ve been open and vulnerable. Do I go ahead and rent a place to be clear I am not kidding. I am serious. I have threatened before and then done nothing. 13 years later. No sex no physical or emotional relations at all.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I’m not a big fan of threats – especially if you don’t do anything. It’s much better to tell your partner what you’re planning to do – for example rent somewhere else – and keep talking (rather than giving deadlines). If there’s no sex, ask him: what are we going to do to restore physical relations? What are the plans? Do we need help to start again? Ultimately, if you’re not making love it is only half a marriage and for most people, that’s not enough.
Thanks Mr. Marshall. I found your article while looking for answers. My wife and I were married almost five years ago and had what seemed a good relationship, with one huge issue, that I couldn’t find employment. My family closed their business just one month before our wedding. I knew it was a huge issue and I tried to find work, but didn’t focus on it as much as hindsight tells me I should have, because as my wife put it: I wasn’t working, so had to pull my weight around the house.
She surprised me three months ago by telling me I had to get out of her house immediately. It was a shock, and to this day, I am having trouble understanding her feelings and how her stance shifted so suddenly. Not three months before that she had told me “don’t worry about finding work, I make enough for both of us.” Over the three months, she has slowly removed avenues of communication by refusing to see me in person, then refusing to talk on the phone, and now no email or text. I would text her something as benign as “have a good day” and she would blow up on me. I have been looking for work full time, and still can’t find it. I feel totally frustrated and out of control of my destiny.
Obviously she has strong feelings and is acting upon them. I constantly feel that if we talked, went to marriage counselling, anything, it would help me to understand them, so I kept trying to communicate. Inside is this fear that as long as we’re apart and not talking, the worse things are getting. your advice numbers 3, 4 and 6 spoke volumes to me. I’d just love for her to communicate with me so I have been trying too hard. While plenty of advice out there advises communication to help improve things, obviously I can’t “make” her want to talk anymore than I can “make” someone give me a job.
I’m still struggling with the future, and your advice there is undoubtedly good too, though it’s difficult to turn off anxiety. I do need to focus on me, getting my career going however long it takes, and give her that space. I will not initiate any communication from here on out, unless I get employed. I guess if our marriage fails from here, it’s probably something that would have happened no matter what.
Thanks Mr. Marshall,
I heard the phrase”I love you but not in love” almost a year ago. It was earth shattering, panic mode. We saw a marriage therapist and boy that made everything a million times worse-things I thought we forgave each other now became reminders of how we were in this situation. My spouse wanted space, my jealousy and insecurity of losing her took over. Good times we had together couldn’t last past 2-3 days without me asking status updates. Giving up sex since January, made me question is there someone else. This especially when previously couldn’t go more than a few days.
The arguing became so much and so bad especially around the kids, I had no choice but to separation.
Now after a month of separation, I hear “I’m filing for divorce.” Is there anyway to turn the tide around or just accept and move forward?
Andrew G Marshall says
There’s a lot that you can do and you’ve already started it. In your post, you’ve identified one behaviour that pushes her away – asking for status updates. (It makes you insecure and reminds her that she’s fallen out of love and makes her angry that you’re not taking her seriously) Fortunately, I have a whole programme to help you turn this round. It’s called ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’. You can also learn to communicate better – without the arguing – which will be helpful whether you remain married or as co-parents. It will be hard work – and don’t expect any thanks in the short term – but it’s much better for everybody than just accepting and moving on.
kathryn M says
My name is Kathryn I’ve only been with my husband 3 years been married 1 12. We have two small children and we fight over the stupidest things at times its more over that he’s 25 and still haven’t wanted to go find a job to help support his family he don’t want to do anything….he’s recently said he was to take a break cause of the fighting for two months or when ever he decides to come back, do I give him the space and just let him be or try to fight to keep my husband, when he decides to come back I don’t know if will take him back….i feel so lost….please help me
Andrew G Marshall says
It’s not about giving him space but learning to sort of those stupid things without a row (because fights for the two of you are really destructive. Have a look at my book ‘Resolve your differences’ and check out ‘I love you but you always put me last’ where I explain the pressures of having two children under five.
Ryan G. says
My wife told me about a month ago that she doesn’t love me anymore and she was talking to somebody else. This person was an exboyfriend from school that is recovering from cancer. We separated and when they didn’t work out and decided to be just friends, she asked me to come back. I really wanted to come back and did, but regret now as we are separating again. She still continues to talk to him and see him once or twice a week which is driving me nuts. She swears she doesn’t want a relationship with him, but is just trying to be supportive. I am extremely jealous and hurt, but I am trying to just live and let her do her thing. Can this marriage be restored with her seeing him and talking to him? Our therapist has ok’d it, but to just twice a week with the only explanation that she’s going to do what she wants. I’m so anxious I’m afraid I am going to mess this separation up.
Andrew G Marshall says
You’re walking a really difficult tightrope, it’s harder to recover if she’s still talking to the other man but it’s also harder if she controlled (rather than making her own mind up). I would discuss everything with your therapist and get a better understanding of why it was OKed – personally I think this is between a couple. For me, the acid test is whether you can listen to why she feels the need (possibly to do with concern about his health and wanting to be supportive) and whether she could listen to your fears (which are not unreasonable either). When you’ve truly understood each othjer’s viewpoints, and this might take a couple of sessions with your therapist, can you negotiate a way forward together. Instead of your wife unilaterally deciding to see him or you trying to ban her.
I need advice! I have been married for4 years now, have two children. I am asking for a separation my husband has a drinking problem and after we lost our daughter two years ago it got bad really bad. I also found out he was having an emotional affair with a co worker, he says it was only emotional I feel more happend but can not prove it. I found out about this week’s after losing our daughter, it hit me hard I choose to stay with him and move forward with our marriage few mouths late I found out I was pregnant again because of the mixed feelings she started drinking even more. He get mean when he drinks verbally. We fight all of the time he refuses to help with the children. I am a stay at home mom and feel the basic cooking cleaning and laundry are my responsibility, I am not a slave he feels I am to clean up after his every mess he does not lift a finger to help. He also spend a lot of our money at bars does not come home until 3 am at times. And the sleeps all day the next day. I am sick of this and have tried many times to talk with him about this and how it makes me ffeeling have tried letting do what every he wants drinking party’s and not saying a word that was miserable for me and he drank all of the money so I hat to put my food down . So I tried the meeting in the middle letting him drink on designated days he always took advantage. So I tried the not happening approach. And he still drinks all of the time. recently read the five love languages implementing that in every relationship he says he needs more words of affirmation so I made it I promised myself I would only say positive things no- whatsoever it was not good enough he picked fights with me. I am at a loss he doesn’t want to do a separation but I can keep going like this. I have a lot of anger and resenresentmedo not get any time for my self because I have to rent to the children with no help at all in any way and he is drunk or hung over. What do I do? Do you think a separation will help him see a light or should I go for the divorce?
Andrew G Marshall says
You can’t reason with a drunk man. Actually, I need to put that stronger. He sounds like an alcoholic and my guess is he’s not ready to ask for help. However, you are. Hurrah! I would join your local branch of Al-Anon (for the family of alcoholics) and get a better sense of what will help you and your family. Sadly, I don’t think there is a magic answer for him ‘to see the light’ but taking control of your life will certainly help you and it might trigger something positive in him.
I’m so glad I found your article and it has really provided me with a strategy. Last week my wife went out with a group from work and stopped answering my calls and text and didn’t come home until 4am. This was a behavior that my wife had never exhibited before. The next day, she told me she loved me but was not in love with me anymore. I Find out that she had actually cheated on me with another man and that she had been lieing about it for a week because I was starting a new job. Anyways, I forgive her because my action over the course of 6 years of hurting her drove her to make this emotional descion. I stole medications from her and back stabbed her. Apparently, she has been unhappy for many years and I had no idea that it would ever go this far. The reason I forgave her was because I know I have done just as much wrong and have hurt her I a different way. We do have a child of 2 years old and we are discussing seperating to see if we can miss each other or if we would be better on our own. I personally want to do everything possible to save our marriage But she is worried that I will never look at her the same or trust her and she still doesn’t know if she loves me. I have already forgiven her and want to start the healing and process of being in love again. If we do seperate, I will use all your tips from your article. Do you have any other advice on how I can continue to respect her space but keep letting her know that I don’t want this to be a means to an end for our marriage?
Andrew G Marshall says
The best thing that you can do is listen and listen some more – without trying to justify your actions or tell her everything is going to be OK (because that can seem like you are minimising the problem or not taking her seriously). Women detatch because they don’t feel cared for and listening / taking her feelings seriously is the best way of achieving this goal. I have a whole strategy in ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ and ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’
So lost says
My husband and I have 2 little girls 9 & 7 and my stepdaughter 15, that lives with us. We are currently separated and I am the status asker and the How are you asker. I am trying to curb the words coming from my mouth, but they get out before I can stop them, sometimes. I miss my husband so much and it hasn’t even been a week. I dwell on what he is doing, who he is with, etc.
He has no idea if he wants to save this marriage and has been talking to a person from our church who happens to be single, have 3 kids herself and was walked out on by her husband years ago. I worry that they will start a relationship and I will be left with my children.
Before we got married we talked about divorce and said it was something we DID NOT want to happen as he has been there done that. I just don’t know what to do. I did ask him to give me a deadline of things and that has yet to happen. I want my life back!
Andrew G Marshall says
Instead of trying to second guess your husband, you need to think about what changes that you could make that would improve your marriage. I know you want your life back but sadly your old relationship did not work for him. I have lots of ideas about why he might have detached – and you’ve come up with one possible reason ‘hurtful words exploding out of your mouth without thinking about the impact’ – in my book ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’ It will also help you assess the threat from the other woman and explain how to deal with her. Finally, I would like to challenge the idea you ‘can’t stop’ the words coming from your mouth. Your behaviour is the ONE thing in this area that you can control and that’s where you need to start. Good luck and keep strong.
So lost says
I am in the same boat Joe, your post is what is happening in my house……Good Luck with your marriage.
Sad guy says
My wife told me 2 weeks ago she loves me but she’s not in love with me anymore. It came as a total shock and I’ve only started to feel a tiny bit better this week. We are still living together and are on speaking terms but she will be moving out in a couple of weeks. I thought our marriage was like everyone else’s with ups and downs but she has decided there must be something more to life so she’s willing to break up our marriage and I’m terrified how this is going to affect our children who are 11 & 8. Only last month we were planning our summer holiday but all of a sudden she’s leaving and won’t entertain even the suggestion of counselling where as I would do anything to save our marriage. I’m totally lost.
Andrew G Marshall says
That’s why you need to get yourself informed. There’s lots that you can do to change the dynamic by changing the way you behave. Read my book ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ which will explain why she’s falled out of love, what you’re doing that’s driving her out the door (unwittingly) at the moment and what will make her consider the idea at some future date (but please don’t pressure her because that will be counterproductive.
I need some advice. My husband and I have been together for 5 years, married about a year and a half. There has been some major damage done to our relationship over the years. Mainly by me, I had a rough childhood with emotional and verbal abuse from my mother and went straight from that to an all around abusive relationship with my ex-husband. My husband and I had been friends for years before we got together and once I was free of my ex things began to fall in place and we began a relationship. At first things were great, we were so in love and both agreed we would make things work no matter how hard it got. Well fast forward 5 years into the future, and here we are with all the damage I have caused due to my PTSD, Anxiety disorder, paranoia and other various psychological issues. 3 weeks ago he told me things need to change or he would not be able to continue on in this marriage. I took him seriously and I listened to him. I have done everything he had asked me to at that time and now 3 weeks later when things have been really good he suddenly tells me that he just cant go on anymore that even though things have been really great with me and with us he cannot let go of the past 5 years and all the damage I have caused. He said that he wanted to and that he still loves me but he just cannot get what has happened out of his head and its not fair to me to keep me around if he is not all in. So he told me he wants out. I suggested a trial seperation so that he could have some time to think things over and maybe we could start over and rebuild from the ground up. He said that he would be ok with that. The reason I asked him for that is because he told me like 14 times in 10 minutes how much he loved me. But said what he wants and what he feels just don’t agree and so he has to follow his feelings. But if he still feels love for me then there has to be some kind of hope for us right? Thats kind of the way I am seeing it. We do have 2 kids 10 and 7 that we have to break all this to and that is not going to be easy for either of us because this is not what I want at all. But I know I need to give him time. And I need to show him I am seriously making the changes he asked me too. I want to be with him and no one else, he is the only man I have ever loved and I cannot even imagine what it would be like without him by my side. I am heart broken and I just would like to know that this might be the way to correct things. To start over from the beginning and rebuild what we once had with each other. Reconnect and relight that flame we once shared. It still burns bright for me, but for him not so much. How do I not call him, text him or bug him. I don’t want to push him any further away, only bring him closer. Please help me fix this so that my marriage does not end. Thanks.
Andrew G Marshall says
First off, I want to congratulate you mon listening to what your husband had to say, not getting overly defensive and starting to make significant changes. Next, I want to offer reassurance. You can turn round your marriage but it will need you to keep calm, keep listening and take it step by step (or you will become overwhelmed, panic, try to get reassurance and push him away). You’ve already started the work I suggest in my book ‘My Husband Doesn’t Love Me….’. I would look in particular into to making the apology.
The second part of the title is ‘and He’s texting Someone else’ and my gut tells me that there is somebody on the horizon. It’s probably his statement ‘I have to follow my heart’ that prompted it. Please don’t panic, read the book first because a) I don’t know what’s happening b) panic makes things worse and c) you need a considered approach – which you will find in the book. Once again, let me offer reassurance. I don’t think the other woman, if she exists, is anything more than a ‘spark’ or a ‘special friend’ (see the book for full explanation)
Finally, you will need to make sustainable changes and I have a programme to help with that (and sort out the stuff from the past). It’s in another book – which comes out in the spring – but at the moment, I think you have enough to be going on with.
Good luck and does anybody else have any experiences to share or advice to add?
Hi Andrew thanks to your wonderful advice.
Now, my situation we’re currently separated due to domestic violence. Been married for almost 9 years blessed with four wonderful children. My husband has been abusive all along through our marriage we have been separated several times before but as a result of young children and his promises of changing that he hardly lives to I keep returning back.
My dilemma, due to his bail conditions is not allowed to contact me. I called him he confessed to being nasty to me and promised to change for the sake of the children but the trouble is that the social services won’t trust him around his children fearing emotional abuse to them as a result of his abusive past history.
I’m in a safe house that’s paid for by the social services.
My worries are I am not working at the moment as we have a disabled child with autism who needs me around the clock I might end up homeless and with no money to live on.
He has been begging me to give him another chance and return back to the family home. I have given him chances before to the point that I cannot trust him again. On the other hand it’s hard to live alone with a disabled child no family or friends nearby. I’ve tried to be strong but sometimes it is overwhelming.
Should I move on or forgive him for the sake of the children? Thanks
Andrew G Marshall says
You have to ask yourself: what would be differen this time? My guess is nothing. It sounds like you’re in a much better place and getting support. So I would work on getting stronger still, speak to your social worker, find it you can have counselling and how to get long-term suport for your autistic child (rather than thinking letting your husband back is the answer)
I need help. Been married 15 years he left the house a month ago. Last October he came and said he didn’t want this anymore, that he needed time. It took me completely by surprise. We didn’t have fights, there was no abuse, we get along very well, he have had ups and downs but nothing I could consider extremely bad. He had been unhappy for a while he said, and it seemed to me like it was everything about me what bothered him. ( That I’m too nice of a person, that I don’t communicate, that I haven’t worked full time and contributed to the family finances ~ given that I stayed home to take care of his 2 daughters that lived with us and our daughter~ Now my stepdaughters are older and left for college) He said he will only leave the house if I asked him to, that he wanted to stay because he wanted to try to figure things out. He wanted a separation but living in the same house. We tried that, with all the holidays coming. It just didn’t work. He was not coming home, he was completely indifferent and we were just ignoring each other.But He would also be nice and talk to me some days and make me laugh and even hug me… I couldn’t take it anymore, it was a roller coaster of emotions, I felt things were getting worse. So he left, and I’ve been completely giving him the space he wants. I told him it will help me not to see him. I don’t text him, (he comes and gets our 11 year old daughter a couple times a week) I only email when necessary (house stuff)… I don’t know what to do. When we do text we are very cordial and pleasant. One day he did asked if we were done, because I was not saying anything… But I’m just giving him space!…. Should I ask for a timeframe? Should I just say nothing? I don’t know what to do. Thanks for your help.
Andrew G Marshall says
Men tend to bottle things up, so on the surface it all seems fine but underneath the surface they are deeply unhappy. Sadly, because men aren’t trained to talk about their feelings (or even examine them), he can’t explain what he’s feeling either or why (beyond broad generalities). What does come up is often heard as criticism by their partners. However, I can explain what’s been going on and help you open up the lives of communication – and listen without being overwhelmed with despair. Start with ‘My Husband Doesn’t Love Me’ and ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ it shows that there is hope but you musn’t panic and use this ‘space’ time in a constructive way (rather than just waiting for him to come out of this funk). Good luck
Hi Mr. Marshall.
My husband and I have been married for 15 years in June. we have 2 children ages 14 and 10. Last year in September I found out my husband was cheated with a woman that lives near his mother’s house. I found out because she rang his phone at 3am when he told her it was over. I investigated a bit and found out she was a cousin of one of his cousins. He said he wasn’t going to tell me about her because he had called it off. He apologized I cried and I forgave him. The next month I found a condom wrapper in the dryer after he came from a weekend trip with his team. After alot of arguing he admitted he had cheated but lied about with who. He blamed it on his son’s mother and even called her in front of me to say it was oVer. She denied the entire thing and swore it wasnt true. In my heart I knew it wasnt true so I investigated until I found the phone number of another woman and a video of her in his car with the date stamp the same as the dates he took the trip with his team. I later found out this woman is his coworker and that he b had been sleeping with her since July of last year. I told him to leave. That was in September. We tried marriage counseling but every week he was less committed or had complaints about going so I canceled it.. he keeps telling me that its over between he and his coworker but she still calls. He lives with his mom right now which is near where she lives. He keeps saying he wants his family but that hes not ready to move home until his finances are better. We argue back and forth all the team. He barely calls, texts and the only time I see him is every other weekend when I drop off our kids. He text me every morning and says I love you but sometimes that’s it for the day. I want my marriage but he puts forth no effort to help save it. he says that I just want to control him because I used to nag him about lack of intimacy, coming home at 4am when he went out with his buddies and because he wouldn’t answer my phone calls while he was gone. He said I smothered him by loving him and all I wanted was love and affection from my husband. I now see my own therapist and she suggests a trial separation because he seems to have adjusted to living with his mom and keeps making excuses as to why he can’t move back although he says he does want a divorce and he wants his family. He always calls for me to help with this and that but he wont help save our marriage. He says I stress him out because he kept cheating and I kept finding out. I dont know what to do. I want to just walk away but its my marriage of 15 years. I’m worried about a trial separation with no contact but it may be our only choice.
Andrew G Marshall says
I think you really need to listen to your husband and ask question – otherwise you’re not going to get to the bottom of his unhappiness. Without that knowledge, you’re going to running in every direction and not knowing where to start. So what’s been stopping you? Probably because what he’s been saying is outrageous, angry and deeply hurtful. So I know it is hard but keep taking deep breaths and ask him to explain – because in his head, all his actions make sense, you just need to understand how. If it gets too much, get a drink of water or ask for a break. Don’t leap to conclusions about his behaviour, but repeat back what you’ve heard. You’ll also find my books helpful. It sounds like these women are just distractions, something to help him from going under (in his head) but actually making everything a million times worse.
^Im sorry he says he doesn’t want a divorce but he needs time to find himself and get his finances together to better take care of his family. He keeps saying he wants his family but he cant stand not being able to provide like he should so he’d rather make more money. Then come home. He has picked up another job but it much further away from home. he keeps saying we will be ok but how can he say that when he’s not trying. He says everyone fights different and that he’s fighting by working 2 jobs now but that I just don’t see it… our money was tight when he was home but we were ok. Finances aren’t all that was wrong in our relationship or the major issue. It was his single friends And long nights out and lack of respect.
Andrew G Marshall says
He sounds like he is having a real crisis of confidence. Life is hard for him and he feels overwhelmed, so he’s trying to solve everything in one go (but I fear he will make everything worse). So have a long talk, find out why money is so hard to talk about and both of your experiences with money as children (for example did his father go bankrupt or have serious problems). You need to give him the message that you’re a team, he’s not the only one worrying about it. How can you save money? How can you help earn something? How can you show you’re in this together.
Hi, I am newly separated and I fell like I’m in a haze that won’t go away. I did ask him to leave for these reasons-he is in denial about his 400.00 a month pot habit-his withdraws are terrible-he has been disrespectful to me and been this way in front of people. He blames me for most of our issues and says the pot smoking isn’t a problem or with whats wrong with the marriage. I have been pushed to the brink-it’s bringing out the very worst in me. Recently I saw he had put a pass code on his phone and that’s when I said for him to leave. It’s been 11 days and he has made NO contact with me except for the few of mine that were responses only. We have been married 7 years together 14. Is this normal for him to not to contact me at all?? I told him I wanted to be married and he said he didn’t know what he wanted but that the separation was needed. I am feeling like I got dooped and the only thing he is willing to quit is me.
Andrew G Marshall says
You can’t talk to a man through a daze of dope. You can’t negotiate a way forward because he’s only half there. No it’s not normal to have no contact for 11 days – especially if you have children. However, he’s not like most men – he’s self-medicating with a 400 a month pot habit (and I bet he’s smoking even more with you out the way).
I hate to be so frank you but your husband is not available for a relationship. If you want to get to the bottom of why, read my book ‘My Husband Doesn’t Love Me and He’s Texting Someone Else’. In part one, I explain why men switch off (and in your husband’s case medicate his pain away) and in part two why they think flirting with another woman will solve their problems.
I’m afraid with his changing his passcode on his phone, I would suspect he’s not smoking pot alone. So get reading and understand the impact of his habit on YOU but you can change your life and get your act together. Sadly, he’s got to want to do that for himself – it’s not your responsibility
I need some advice. My partner and I have just split. We’ve been together for 2 1/2 years and have a 21 month old son. Things happened quickly. Despite that we have always had a good relationship. Recently we had our first real fight and has escalated into kicking me out. I know some of these underlying issues like finances and simply that he says he’s not happy. We both agreed we needed space. We haven’t talked much because he says he’s not ready for that and it’s been a week. Not having answers is the hardest part. We managed to set one boundary and that was to remain faithful till we figure out what happens next. Reading the article has put things into perspective for me such as that I need to actually give him that space. It’s hard. I’ve never dealt with this much hurt. I don’t know how to not talk to him when he’s the one I need most. At this point I am willing to do whatever it takes and he know this. He sounds like he wants this to work too. but now he wants me to move my stuff out as he says “temporarily” but I’m getting so many mixed signals that I guess I am just lost and confused. I just need some helpful advice on how to deal with this and the best action to take.
Andrew G Marshall says
You’re getting mixed signals because he’s desperate to come back but terrified that it will happen again. So what’s the best way to deal with this? If I was seeing you both, I’d be asking for you both to make some changes but as I have only you – that’s where I’m going to start. I’m concerned that you’ve been together for over two years and never had a real fight. I’m even more concerned that you kicked him out. I bet if you look back now, it was probably only something minor but inside your head it bacem a catastrophe (and probably he’s just as bad). You need to learn how to argue contructively – it’s the no 1 – reason marriage succeed (or fail). Look at my book, ‘Resolve your differences’ as this will explain the rules of positive argument and what makes healthy arguments. There’s a lot to learn but it sounds like you’re up for that. here’s hoping this is the moment that everything turns round.
Hello, me and my husband have been together for 8 years and married for 3. We have three daughters and recently just had our last daughter she is 4 months old now. He has never been an affectionate person and I always nagged him constantly, he stopped showing me affection complete and started sleeping on the couch after having my daughter and it made me nuts, so I would scream and get so mad at him because he never wanted to be around me. I got so mad and left when she was 2 months old and he started acting like a 20 year old instead of a 36 year old going out doing whatever he wanted. I told him I was divorcing him because I was so furious for the way he was acting but in reality I was just trying to get his attention and I wanted him to beg me to come back. Well he never did and after being gone for two months I went to our home the day after he had his vestictomy to check on him and his car was there but he wasn’t, so I hid my car and saw a women drop him off to find out he had started seeing her just her 3 weeks after I left, she was a cocktail waitress at a casino and actually looks like the young version of me, it’s really weird! I got so upset but I tell him I want to work on our marriage and he tells me I am too controlling and nagging and it will never work, tells me he loves me more then anything but he hasn’t been happy in years. I told him I wasn’t filing for a divorce so he tells me that he wants a divorce and that we just don’t belong together. So I asked him to at least respect our marriage and wait for the divorce to be over before he continues to see this women and he tells me he cannot promise me that, that we are not together so it didn’t matter. I was so sick and I didn’t want to believe it, this is NOT my husband at all this is way out of his character. I do not want to give up he is my life, I got desperate so I text him the next day I told him I would give him his space and to take as long as he needed, I assured him I wouldn’t nag him and that I would work on myself and he was free to live his life and do whatever he wanted to figure out him, and asked him to please not file the divorce, that I would wait for him as long as he needed he then called me right away and assured me he wasn’t ignoring me and that he was stuck in bad weather and couldn’t respond right away, he explained exactly where he was and why he was there and talked to me like my husband for the first time since I left! He use to never answer me when I text him he always ignored me. So what I am asking is if you think he could come around and if he has been seeing this girl for a month and half if there is anyway I could change his mind before it’s too late and they get serious? Also I do not want to nag him and ask if he is still seeing her or if he is going to continue to, how long should I wait and how much is enough? Thank you for your time.. 🙂
Andrew G Marshall says
Please read back your post and think about what you would have liked to do differently at each step of the way. (I know he could have done a lot differently too and, sadly, it’s not him posting on my website.) You’re right to stress the importance of giving up nagging – nobody likes it and I’ve yet to come across someone who feel more affectionate and more co-operative. The reason thatb you don’t recognise your husband is that he’s previously swallowed his hurt and done anything for a quiet life. (I call his being passive). What you need to do is learn how to talk and negotiate together. (I call this being assertive). Read my book ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’. Part one explains, why men switch off and in part two why she is a symptom of the problem – not what you should be focuses on right now. Finally, I want to give you a big hug because it must be horrible dealing with all this so soon after giving birth (but you might like to look at my book ‘I love you but you always put me last’ as this will explain how you can work as a team together rather than you ending up feeling overwhelmed). Good luck
Lost and confused says
Thank you so much for this article. It’s given me somewhere to start before I head off to get the ILYB book.
My wife of 5 years (partner of 8) told me a few days ago that she wasn’t in love with me any more. She has no reasoning for this, there’s nothing I did wrong which is making this all the more confusing. She’s not even really willing to give anything a try as she ‘knows’ she will be happier outside of our marriage. She tells me she doesn’t know what this entails yet outside of exploring herself (We married when she was 22). I am so confused as we were just so happy, which she admits. It’s just that she started to fall out of love with me some time around two years ago – this is the most hurtful part as the first I heard of it was only about 8 weeks ago. I feel betrayed that we haven’t had a chance to work on our marriage together, and/or with a professional.
We have 2x 3 year old twins, and I have an 8 year old from a previous marriage which is all complicating the situation.
We have come up with the idea that we might try a trial separation for a few months whereby one of us lives elsewhere a few nights a week but is still welcome in the family home at other times including a family day. I can’t help but feel that this will only strengthen her resolve/push her away – are you able to give me any guidance here? She has told me in no uncertain terms that she feels nothing for me romantically, but loves and cares for me as a friend. It sounds like the spark we had is completely gone. I feel like the trial separation may just be delaying the inevitable. Please help (a big ask I know!)
Andrew G Marshall says
I hope the ILYB book has arrived as it will help you understand why she has switched off. I would throw in ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ and if you have two children under three and stepchild (that’s a lot of pressure) so look at ‘I love you but you always put me last’. In the meantime, listen to her and try and put yourself in her shoes and then decide what changes you can make to take the heat out of the problem. If I have one piece of advice: Don’t panic (because that’s what’s pushing her away). It will buy you time to start working on your half of the marriage and recruit her to look again.
Hi, I love your website and video chats. Right now I am lost and very scared of losing not only my wife but also my best friend. Things started out fast and I never thought we would be at this point. Right now we are in a “trail separation” for over a month. I moved out of our house and am over 2000 miles away. This separation was mutual with the plan for us to both fix and find ourselves. By the way this is my wife’s third marriage and we are both in our forties.
For the last two yeard our main problem has been communication, lack of common interesats and just little things. She became less intimate with me and is hellbent on her career which is not a problem. She looks at me as an overgrown kid now and has no respect from me. The fights were non stop and I created a walk away wife. I did not take her issues seriously and the nagging became worse as did the lack of any intimacy.
We decided I would leave as we both agreed we needed to find and fix ourselves.
Hours after I left I recieved an email from her stating “she loves me” and how sorry she was for pushing me away. She also stated she missed my little quirks and said I always be her king.
Fast forward a month out and things have taken a turn for the worse. She feels like I am bothering her, making have anxiety over any response and unable to make me happy. She stated she wants a divorce and that there is no hope to save her marriage. I said ok lets get the paperwork rolling to which she replied lets just decompress and do it later. I backed off. She did not even acknowledge Valentine’s Day or our wedding anniversery. Her response to my civil happy anniversary email was an ambivalent email not mentioning our anniverasary.
She stated she didnt want to think I blew off your email, thanks for writting and you have a great attitude. Then she said it looks like she will not be coming to vist as planned becasue things are crazy right now and I will keep you posted. This was followed by her stating “keep your head up and remember you are an incredible and wonderful person.” The letter ended with XoXo.
My questions are why is she giving up on the marriage and why the change of heart? Should intitate all out NC or just end the marriage. I am so confused by her right now especially with me being so far away.
I am working on my self, going to a counselor, etc as is she. I feel like my marriage is already dead but she wants to let me down gracefully.
Thanks for listening
Andrew G Marshall says
I’m glad that enjoy my videos and the website but I hope you’ve read my book ‘my wife doesn’t love me any more’. Why don’t you ask her: so why is giving up on your marriage? But more interesting, why have you given up so quickly? What have you learnt about yourself that you’d like to do differently? What’s your plan for winning her back? It sounds like you’re waiting for her to do something and guess what she’s waiting for some action too. If she’s had three marriages, she must be a great believer in the power of love and she’s probably thinking: If he loved me, he’d do…. (and if he’s done nothing it’s because he doesn’t really care). OK, you’re going to say, I’ve done lots but are they the very things that push her away? (See the book for details)
Hello, I need your help. I have been married to my wife for 1.5yrs, but we have been together for 8yrs. Although we’ve had our ups and downs, I thought we had a pretty good relationship. She is the love if my life, we even just bought our first home together. About a month ago, I started noticing that she was texting and hanging out more with her “best friend”. After some digging, she finally admitted that she was having an emotional affair, but said she didn’t realize what it was until I pointed it out. She says she has since stopped talking to her altogether, but realized that she is not in love with me anymore. She said she has always been so in love with me, but over the last year or so, had been very unhapy. I have been dealing with depression, and it had really effected both of us greatly. I have said some things throughout our relationship that has made her feel as though she’s never been good enough. She said she loves me greatly, but does not have that in love feeling anymore, and does not know how to get it back. We are currently seperated, but living in the same house. I am heartbroken and it is difficult to live day by day without her. We have started seeing a marriage counselor, and she states that we just need time. My wife says she does not want a divorce because she wants to try to fall in love again, or to at least see if it’s something she can do. But, she says that because both of us are so unhappy with ourselves, that her main focus, as should mind be, is to make ourselves happy again first, then we can work on us. I am literally going crazy, how can I work on being happy when I’m so miserable without her? So, we are seperated, in different rooms, still see eachother and actually talk about our feelings more than ever before, but I feel ss though she is taking every step to get further and further away from me, while all I want is to make us work. My therapist says there’s nothing I can do, give her the space she needs, and take this time to work on me. This is incredibly difficult because it’s hard to picture my life without her, and I’m afraid she’s going to get too comfortable with keeping me as a friend, and not ever finding the reason to fall back in love with me. How do I cope, and what can I do to help her see the person she once was so head over heels in love with?
Andrew G Marshall says
You can’t make yourself happy but you CAN work on yourself. By that I mean, understanding what you did that drove her away and changing it. You can take a fresh look at your depression and try new approaches: mindfulness, CBT etc. You can work on improving the communication between the two of you: becoming assertive (rather than passive or domineering). You could understand how love drains out of a relationship and how to get it back. Hopefully, you’re getting the idea. So read my books ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ and ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’. They are not a magic fix but they will stop you from floundering around.
My husband and I have been together for 7 years, married a year and a half. We have a 5-year-old son. We’ve been fighting non-stop the past couple of months about his career (concert promotion – which means he’s gone a lot at night), and most specifically a woman that he works with. Last month I found some texts between the two of them that, although not evidence of an affair, definitely crossed the boundary of what I’m comfortable with. We’re currently in marriage counseling, but we fight so much about this other woman, that my husband decided the other day that he wants to move out for a while. We haven’t set any communcation expectations about this separation, and I’m so worried it’s just a stepping stone to divorce. He says it’s not, and he wants to continue going to counseling, but I don’t know what to do with myself in the meantime. I can barely get out of bed to care for our son. Any advice?
Andrew G Marshall says
You need to understand why it has completely poleaxed you. Does it trigger something from your childhood? Like your father being unfaithful? Think about what you’re trying to achieve from the fights? Reassurance? Revenge? Release your anger? Maybe there’s another way of achieving it? Look at my post and video blog ‘Husband texting another woman’ and read my book’My Husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’ where I explain the options and why these texts are an alarm signal. However, it sounds like you and your husband are burning down the house!
Hello Mr. Marshall,
I have read your book ILYB and it has helped a lot. An update on my situation: We have started talking and it’s been a healing process on my part. I didn’t know how bad I made him feel, how I taken him for granted and how I put everything else before him (my family, kids, etc) I have told him all this and I think it was a good step to take. We have been talking once a week, yesterday he said that he cannot see our relationship working, that he doesn’t feel compatible with me anymore, that he feels he can not be himself around me anymore…. He says he’s not ready because it is VERY SCARY to go back to the same thing and feel like he felt before. He said he doesn’t know how long it will take him not to feel this way. He said we’ll give this a couple more weeks and then decide to just move ahead with our lives. Now I don’t know what else to do….. What can I do to make him feel that this can really work? To give us another chance??
Thank you sooo much!!
I can not get your book “My husband doesn’t love me anymore” on kindle 🙁
Andrew G Marshall says
You should definitely read ‘My husband doesn’t love me anymore’ but it foes not come out in the USA until the summer (until September) hence the reason you can’t get the kindle edition. In the meantime, you can buy the UK edition through amazon. It explains what do when ILYB turns into ‘I don’t see a future’. You need to be calm, listen to him and ask questions to check you’ve heard right. This will give you the key information to save the relationship. I have another book out in May which will also help: Wake Up and Change: How to survive a crisis and be stronger, wiser and happier
My boyfriend and i have been together for almost seven years. We have a 4 year old. We have been through hell and back together. A week ago i look through his phone and come to fjnd he is talking to his coworker. He said he hasn’t been happy for a long time and wanted to separate to see if this is what he really wants. He told me he loves me but doesnt think he is in love with me. And feels there is no passion in our relationship. (We work completely opposite schedules ). We were talking about proposals and having another baby like 3 weeks ago. I dont understand. He moved out last week. I feel so lost and that he is the only one to make me feel better, he always does. Even after all the hurt and tears, i still love him and want to make this work. When i have seen him while exchanging our daughter, it felt so awkward. I dont know how to be around him and not be us. I dont know if its awkward because he wants to break up or because we are separated. Im trying my best to give him space and to be understanding. BUT THE LACK OF ANSWERS is driving me crazy. Its like living in limbo. do separations work? At all? Am i holding on to false hope? One day he says he wants to break up and the next says he wants to work on it. I know he loves me and said he’d always be there for me. He said he is still talking to her but “just as friends “. Ironically, she announced her divorce to her husband , who she has 5 kids with on fb yesterday. I was devistated. I feel crazy. What the hell do i do? he said he doesn’t want to stay together just for our daughter and is trying to figure that out. What the hell do i do? How long do i wait?
Ahhhh i feel so lost.
we said we’d try for at least a couple weeks.
Andrew G Marshall says
I know you want answers but I doubt you’ll get them from your boyfriend. Partly because men are not trained to look at their emotions or explain them but mainly because he’s in crisis at the moment – and probably doesn’t know the difference between his arse and his elbow (I apologise for the bad language). Fortunately, I do know why men fall out of love and I explain it in my book ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’ and lay down a strategy for dealing with his doubts (for example when he says ‘I don’t want to stay together just for our daughter’ you reply ‘neither do I, but I want to understand where we went wrong and build a better relationship’. Finally, I want you to be realistic – this will take much more than a couple of weeks to sort out. However that doesn’t mean you can’t turn this round because I doubt living with five angry step-kids is going to make him happy either!
Hello. Where to start. Last August, I walked behind my husband’s chair when he was texting and jokingly asked who he was messaging. He kept tilting the phone away from me saying he didn’t like me looking over his shoulder I asked if he had something to hide, he said no but the seeds were sown. We had an excellent week together and had sex twice for the first time in almost a year, I had hit menopause and lost my drive, my husband had been very understanding about this. I wasn’t’ t seriously worried but I was uneasy. I eventually read his texts. The last couple said she was demotivated at work and he had written ‘so you need me to come cheer you up!!!!!!!!’. Then he had suggested several times to visit – all when I was safely at work. They finally decided on the morning I would be at the shops. It sounds stupid but I was devastated. I insisted on access to all his emails and phone bills. He actually broke out in a sweat when I confronted him. There were lots of texts between them and I tried to get these recovered without success. He told me he was helping her through a problem at work and was flattered she had confided in him. He swears they haven’t slept together and I believe him. But he had visited her at her home on several occasions and hidden it from me. I suspected something was up last spring but couldn’t put my finger on it. I did mention to him that I was concerned we weren’t spending much time together. I have had to drag every bit of information out of him.. I told him over and over that I just wanted honesty so that I knew what I was dealing with. He is very emotionally repressed and will never talk about anything ‘deep’. Since then, things have just gone down hill. I don’t think he has the faintest clue what he has done to me. I have been blaming myself. I have asked him if there are things he is unhappy with but he just says ‘no’. He has apologized but there has been no real feeling behind it. It’s like he just says what he thinks I want to hear so we can get back to normal. I just feel that this marriage is very one sided. I do all the worrying and caring. He is very even tempered. He never seems to get worried or nervous or angry, he’s like a robot. So here we are, me having sleepless nights galore and him sleeping like a baby. I just feel so disillusioned after nearly 30 years married. I feel that I’ll never truly know what went on between them. I think if I got what I call a ‘sincere’ apology, it would help. But he’s behaving like it was all nothing. I am considering a trial separation to take the pressure off both of us. I am very unhappy at home now and no longer smile when I hear his key in the door like I used to. I feel I don’t know him at all. He is no longer in touch with her since I found out. She has since left the work place. I also fear that the lovely week we had was his way of allaying my suspicions so he could carry on his relationship with her. He says he only loves me but I fear now that he is staying out of convenience.
Andrew G Marshall says
The problem with unemotional men is that it is easy to read things into their behaviour. So previously, you thought everything was OK and now you think he’s staying out convenience and the great week away was a smoke screen but these are just your interpretations. I would much rather that you got help to mproperly communicate rather than second-guess and assume. So if you’ve reached the end of your tether – good. It’s time to change. Read my book ‘how can I ever trust you again’ because it will explain how this can be turned from the worst to the best thing that happened to your relationship and consider couple counselling rather than a trial separation
I have a problem in my relationship, yes i can say it is very small problem but now it getting more serious. My wife always gets angry on me . we have just completed 40 days of relationship. she always points me. she always says she hates this relationship. last week we had a fight. out of my frustration i even started to fight with her.later i felt so sorry and i have asked for apology. But she is not ready to listen, she lefte her home and even her parents are supporting her. i want my wife to come back home. temporary separation is so hard to take it. can u please suggest me something.
Andrew G Marshall says
Why do you think your wife is so angry? My guess is that although you think it’s a little problem, she considers it a big one (and in her opinion not listening to her means that you don’t love that much after all). Guess what? That makes her even more angry and, reading between the lines, you lost your temper back and started to fight back. I don’t know if that involved pushing and shoving but if she’s gone home to her parents – that’s a distinct possibility. So what do you do now? Listen to her, when she gets angry again, don’t justify yourself, listen some more and then listen again. If you listen to angry people, they blow themselves out and finally the two of you can discuss the original problem in a calm manner. You need to think about why you find anger so frightening that you close down or blow back up? Was there anger and violence in your childhood? If she understands that anger makes you freeze, she might try some other ways to communicate with you. Finally, I would suggest getting some marital counselling before this gets totally out of hand
I have been with my husband for 29 years , married 22. A year and a half ago he came to me and said he didn’t think marriage was for him any more and he needed space. I asked him if there was someone else , he said no , I asked him if he was interested in someone else again he said no… I knew in my gut he was lying to me so after a couple of months I asked those same two questions again he said no…I found out who it was and confronted him still he denied it even after I found him in her home…. He said they were good friends that’s all another lie… After I discovered the affair he insisted we take a break from each other and I had no choice but to agree. I know after he moved out he was still seeing her because I caught him there again… It has taken many months for him to admit he had an affair but swears he never slept with her… He said they never went on a date and always met at her home… In the year he has been gone a lot of emotions in me have come to the surface and I have had a very hard time dealing with them…I have told him what this has done to meas a person and I love him with all my heart and he knows this to be true…At first he didn’t believe he was doing anything wrong … I asked him to read up on emotional affairs and a midlife crisis , whether he did I have no clue.. In this past year I have asked him to come home but get no response… The affair is over but she still texts him and e-mails him, he says there still friends but not as close as they were… I have told him I will never accept this friendship ever she is not welcome in my life let alone my marriage… He just doesn’t get it… He doesn’t see how this is stopping me from moving forward… It’s wrong… Also in the last ten months we have travelled together , attended functions together and we have dinner a couple of times a week but still no talk of coming home… He still won’t open up to me and tell me what he wants … I know in my heart he loves me he tells me every day and every night (by text or phone).He has even started to use pet names when he texts , not always but often…I am at a loss as to what to do and what to think , why can’t he talk to me , he had no problem opening up to her. We never had a problem talking to each other before all this happened… Please guide me I don’t know what to do….
Andrew G Marshall says
You’ve been through a really tough time. In fact, it sounds like it’s been really emotional for you. Meanwhile you’re husband sounds really unemotional (and rather self contained). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the more emotional that you get, the more silent he becomes! What men like this often say to me is they prioritise ‘managing’ their wives emotions over considering their own – so they try and keep her happy (by agreeing) or downplaying his own feelings (to keep the peace). Sometimes, they will even feel controlled or bullied but the upshot is that they reach the point where they are overwhelmed (and walk away). I also want to take exception to your idea that ‘he opens up to the other woman’ because I doubt it. Sure he will have moaned about his unhappiness and your ‘unreasonable’ behaviour (from his opinion) but explaining about what makes him tick, opening his heart and showing what lurks beneath the surface I doubt it – because he doesn’t have the tools or the knowledge. I’m not suggesting that you have to be unemotional but to report your feelings (I am upset when you do x…) rather than just venting. Finally, I want to reassure you that all is not lost but you need to find different ways to communicate with him. Start with reading ‘My husband doesn’t love me’ and ‘I love you but’ and look at my latest ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ which comes out in May.
My husband and I are about to start a separation. He wants it, not me. He has PTSD, refuses and help or medication. He told me that he is unhappy with our relationship, he isnt in love with me anymore and he is just unhappy with everything in general. He will not go to counselling with me, but I am going to start to go next week by myself. I did catch him texting another woman last year, he apologized, said he would never do it again and that he felt guilty. I suspect it probably only regrets that he was caught. I am still very hurt by it but I moved past it. I feel like it is so unfair for him to want to leave and see if he is happy without me. I feel as if I am just letting him walk away. I want him to have space if he needs it, I really have no choice because he demanded that he is getting a place of his own. He did say that he didn’t want to have a timed lease and wanted to do just a month to month so he isn’t stuck in a lease. I thought that was a positive thing. But I know it is still not good. I am trying to be supportive since he said he has been unhappy for a very long time.. How do I react to him wanting to see if he is happy without me? That isn’t exactly working on our marriage, it is just putting me on hold. He did say that he has no plans of dating or talking to any other women, he didn’t think that was right to do, which I agree with.. My trust with him is shaky so I’d if I can really believe what he says.. I am just very lost!
Andrew G Marshall says
Just because he doesn’t want to work on the marriage, doesn’t mean that you can’t change the dynamic by thinking about your part in this unhappiness. So I’m really pleased that you’re getting counselling. I would also like you to read ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’, it will explain why he’s so closed off (and he sounds angry to me – in a repressed way). I think you’re right not to trust him and I would be surprised if he’s not texting someone else. However, if you read my book, you will understand that although this is dangerous it’s not as bas as your fears. So summing up, I think you need to accept his choice and be supportive (the alternative is to snipe and be gruding which makes you the enemy rather than a potential ally). I hope my book helps you feel a little less lost.
I really wish I could do something. Hello Mr. Marshall, I did order your book after but won’t be getting it till next month. I think it will be a little to late. As I told you before, my husband and I were talking and I was mostly doing the “we can make this work” talk. He was still telling me that we will have to start from the beginning, sell the house, start over… I thought this was a good start. I went on a trip for a week and when I came back he said he didn’t think this would work that he feels he cannot be himself with me and we’ve started talking about divorce now. I’m really desperate but i’m not showing it. I just wish I knew if this has a solution or if I just need to let it go and move forward 🙁 It is hard because when he comes home to get my daughter or when we talk about the situation were are not bitter, we talk like good friends and we get along. Do not know what to do…..
Andrew G Marshall says
Ask him ‘why can’t be himself with you?’
My husband of 6 years (together for 12) continues to seek companionship in women from his past. Over the last 7 years, I’ve caught my husband secretly and inappropriately communicating with various ex-girlfriends on 4 separate occasions via social media. Every time I found out he lied about it until I showed him the proof then he confessed. I forgave him and we moved on, I tried to trust again, then the situation happens again, this has been the pattern. We have two kids at home (12 and 13). We both want to stay married and I am very in love with him. However, he doesn’t seem to be in love with me, even though he loves me. The recent incident has me very heartbroken and my husband blames me for him reaching out to his ex because in prior arguments I have called him names and thrown in his face that I am the breadwinner of our home. I have said those things, but only after finding out he has had secret communications with his exes. After the most recent incident, things have been very different. He acts like he is no longer in love with me even though he says he is. He says one thing, but treats me differently. We had our first counseling session, but the next day he decides to download an app on his phone called Secret SMS. This lets me know he still has secrets. I feel like I want a separation if it will help our marriage. What do you think?
Andrew G Marshall says
I think it would be better to talk about the underlying problems in your marriage. Why does he feel the need to flirt with other women? What is he angry about? What is the impact of you being the chief bread winner on both him and you? Do you hold resentment towards him? You’ll find two of my books particularly useful: My husband doen’t love me and he’s texting someone else and I love you but I’m not in love with you. Ultimately, you need to learn to communicate effectively and that is seldom helped by separating.
My wife and I have been together for almost 6 years and married for three we have a 2 year old son and I have a daughter who will be 8 and she has a son who will be 8 in October so we have the blended family. Our marriage has been one of passion and then it dies out and we are both very busy people with work and the kids. So she hit me with the I don’t know if I am in love with you and if I can get that back. of course I was destroyed and still am. We have talked and she says she loves me and cares and that I did nothing wrong and its her. I know she is not having an affair. She said wants to keep the family together and not lose it or me She wants to work on it. She said she felt like this for 2 months and she just told me. I thought things were fine we were being intimate and laughing but she just told me a week ago. We had an argument and she finally just couldn’t hold it in. I love her and I want this to work and she says she does too. Counseling has never helped but we are going to try the whole date your spouse thing. We just never date anymore. We still kiss and go to bed and cuddle, well I just started to cuddle again. I think when I stopped doing all the little things that showed her I cared she lost hope. Any advice
Andrew G Marshall says
I think it is really positive that she’d told you. So thank her for the honesty, that must have been tough. The good news is that there’s lots of help for ‘I love you but…’ please look at my book on this topic. It’s also natural to lose some of the passion when you have a young child – especially under 18 months – because the bonding hormones are diverted into the mother / child relationship. It means that she will not be spontaneously horny but needs to be recruited (hence the importance of kisses and cuddles). There’s more on this is ‘Have the sex you want: the couples guide to getting back the spark.’
I am so torn. Over the last six months my husband has become so distant and recently incredibly angry as well. We have three children together with our oldest being 6. He recently asked for a separation, but stated that he planned on moving in with a friend who just so happened to be a female who he had never spoken of to me before, who I had never even met. I was so hurt. He says they are just friends and that he hasn’t been having an affair but it just looks really bad. After a couple days of “thinking” about it he agreed that he would instead go live with his sister for awhile, but now all I can think of is this other woman. I want this marriage to work so badly and my heart tells me to at least try but my gut is telling me that this isn’t ok. I did make the stipulation that the ONLY way I would even consider the separation was if we attended marriage counseling but now I’m just scared that maybe he’s only even suggesting this to try and avoid hurting my feelings, and that he really does just want to get a divorce. I don’t want to lose my husband.
Andrew G Marshall says
If you have three children under six, my guess is he feels that you’ve put the children first and that he is just someone to pay the bills. No wonder, he’s angry! I know the children need you (and have to be a big priority) but not to extent that it’s driving their father away. Have a look at my book ‘I love you but you always put me last’ as it will explain how to get the balance back into your marriage. Next read ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’ because it will give the bigger picture about why he detached and how to combat the allure of the other woman. Good luck
My wife dropped the bombshell after an argument at Christmas and told me she loves me but she’s not in love with me. She says she has felt like this for sometime and that I never show any affection. She also says there is no connection and she is not attracted to me anymore, I took that as personal insult but after research I realised this wasn’t linked to appearance . I didn’t take this well and then tried to fix this overnight by been showering her with cuddles, kisses etc and been needy I suppose. My wife is also having a really stressful time at work so she doesn’t want talk about our marriage until her project finishes in the next few months. I stupidly pushed a trial separation through which has made this issue even worse! We have 2 kids aged 7 and 2, she has agreed to go to counselling after her project has finished. I struggle to function everyday because I’m so worried what the future holds. I am currents reading ILUB and I have also ordered my wife doesn’t love me anymore. Do I just leave this and not mention the marriage until she’s rest to talk everytime I mentioning it she’s says I’m putting pressure on her for an answer and decision, she says she doesn’t want to make any rash decisions while under stress. Help
Andrew G Marshall says
Perhaps one of the reasons why she has fallen out of love is because you don’t listen to her. If she says she doesn’t want to talk about this until after her project ends, you need to respect this wish. As I say over and over again, your anxiety is far more likely to push your wife out of the door than walking out on her own accord. You can use the time to read ILYB and ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ and start listening to her and learning to communicate better (the books explain more). Ultimately, you’ve been given some down time, to learn, think and regroup – so grab it with both hands
Thanks for your response .. I have read my wife doesn’t love me and surely wish I had known about this book as soon as I had heard them words..because I did everything wrong.. Anyway hindsight is a wonderful thing
I am so lost. My husband wants “out of this situation” “because he needs a break.” He feels he can’t talk to me because he doesn’t like the way I react. He has cheated on my emotionally more than twice and we have been married for almost 24 years. He has everything he set out to get and now feels overwhelmed by it all. He admits it is of his own making. Now we have set a date for him to leave to protect my daughter. He feels a counsellor won’t help and will work it out and come to a decision if he can be on his own. I am devastated and on a roller coaster of emotions. I agree with all your article is saying, do you think I should share with him or is it too pushy?
Andrew G Marshall says
There’s a lot to talk about if you are setting up a trial separation but it’s hard if he feels overwhelmed by your response. My guess is that you get emotional (quite understandably) and then he feels guilt, shameful and defensive. However, I think it would be helpful to have it spelled out. What doesn’t he like? What would be more helpful response? How could he help you into that state of mind? If you truly can’t talk together to decide on how a trial separation would work, maybe you could see a therapist for this specific piece of work. I know it’s tough but keep talking (and if my post helps that process I don’t think it is being pushy)
I just read My Husband Doesn’t Love Me… and while it has provided a lot insight in what I’ve been doing wrong, I’m still not sure how to move forward and save my marriage.
My husband told me he wanted to be “independent” and lead a single life without me about 2 month ago. He said the need for independence wasn’t to see other women but to focus on him and not have marriage obligations. We’ve been married less than a year, and recently moved to a new city. New city and new job has given him a new perspective on life. I tried everything to try to prevent him from leaving, but after reading the book, I know those actions weren’t helpful and likely pushed him further. We just started our separation period. I know communication could be improved; however, I’m not sure what is broken or how to proceed. He tells me that there’s nothing that I have done or could do more and that this decision is purely selfish. He tells me that while he can’t explain what he is looking to get out of this, he just knows that this “feels right” and needs to follow his heart. What can I do during this period of separation to help him regain interest in this marriage?
Andrew G Marshall says
I have to say all my alarm bells are ringing. Your husband’s behaviour doesn’t make sense unless he’s using this time away to either see one woman 9from work?) or to play the field (like a single man). All his comments about ‘feels right’ and ‘follow my heart’ sound like justifciations for infidelity rather needing to be ‘independent’. Sorry, I know this is not what you want to hear.
Yesenia andon says
Hi so me and my husband have been married for 8 yrs and all of a sudden things started to go downhill there was a lot of miscommunication problems that he felt and didn’t let me know in advanced how he was feeling until i guess he reached rock bottom and he cheated on me with someone else i kicked him out of the house and it’s been 2 weeks he stated he needed time to think if this is what he really wanted and now he doesn’t mention anything about us being together he states only time will tell and for me to continue my life and have fun because at the end he doesn’t want me to tell him well i was waiting on you all this time in case things do not get any better i feel like i am losing him and i know he did wrong for cheating but i am the one who looks for him it’s extremely hard for me to move on when h seems fine being away from home. i know i should give him his space but i am afraid he will never come back. he tells me he loves me and cares for me but it hurts me not to hear i want to work on our marriage
Andrew G Marshall says
It sounds like the bottom has dropped out of your life. You’re in shock and confused. Sadly, that’s the worst time to make big decisions – like chucking your husband out. You don’t get to understand the full extent of the problem or have any of your questions answered. Please read my book ‘How can I ever trust you again’ to understand the steps to recovery. I would also contact him and see if you can at least start a dialogue about what happens next. Don’t expect any clear cut answers – its too soon for that – but at least get the ball rolling.
My husband and i have been together fo almost 8 years. Married for a year the 3rd of my. He has been deployed to Iraq twice. I always noticed he was struggling. Last week he asked for a temporary seperation to work on his problems and he moved out. I also am the “have a good day” texter…he is a cop so his jobs is also stressfull. The last week he has beeb gone I havent talked to him much. I am the type that wants the time frame for how temporary this will be. He is seeking help. But i cant help but be feel lost all day everyday he has been gone. I miss him and want him home.
Andrew G Marshall says
My guess is he doesn’t know the time frame because he doesn’t know the nature or the seriousness of his problems. He can’t send when it will be over because he doesn’t want to promise but not feel ready to deliver. I’m pleased that he’s getting help but I wonder what suport you’re getting (as it sounds like this has triggered a similar crisis in you). I would look at my new book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life: How to survive a crisis and be stronger, wiser and happier.’
My husband and I have been married for 22 years. Last August, he came to me and said he didn’t love me like he used to. We carried on with our marriage and didn’t speak about it much. In January, it really came to a head when he told me again, but said it was getting worse. He said “the light just went out and I’m hoping to get it back”. Since that time, I’ve been seeing a therapist, getting acupuncture and taking supplements to help me. He really hasn’t done anything. Two weeks ago while out shopping, I received a phone call from him saying he decided that he needs space to think about his feelings. He doesn’t want to “throw in the towel”. He decided to stay with a friend for a couple of weeks and said he’d be back after this brief stay. I was upset that he didn’t bother to wait for me to come home to say goodbye and to set up some parameters. In the meantime, I’ve been texting him about house, business and our sick dog, and I receive nothing back. I called him yesterday to make sure he was getting the texts and he said he was. He sounded very depressed and confused. He said he wasn’t going to come home this weekend as planned. He has an appointment with a therapist on 5/18 and said he didn’t want to consider coming home until after the visit because he feels that he needs answers to questions that only he has. He thinks it will help him be able to express himself better with me when he returns. Throughout our relationship, I have been the financial provider and as such, we have owned beautiful homes, cars and haven’t gone without much. We have no children. I’m incredibly confused. I’ve given us such a wonderful life, have been a caring and giving wife, and there has never been any drinking, drugs, cheating or anything on both of our parts. Do I sit back and wait to see if he’ll come home after his therapy appointment? Do I make my own judgement on what to do? What if he calls in a month and says he needs more time? I’m very worried that he’s trying to figure out how to say goodbye to me without feeling guilty. I simply don’t know what to do. I’m getting feedback from numerous people trying to help and the advice is all over the board. Would appreciate your thoughts. Many thanks.
Andrew G Marshall says
I think you should prepare yourself for a long struggle because I doubt he’ll be back after his therapists appointment (and if he does the problem won’t be magically cured). My guess is he’s depressed and a little lost. It’s wonderful to have the beautiful things in life but if someone else provides them – especially if you’re a man – you can be left feeling empty and powerless. So what would I suggest, at the risk of becoming another voice in the chorus: understand him. Read ‘My husband doesn’t love me’ (as this will help you understand relationships from a man’s viewpoint) and ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life: How to survibe a crisis and be stronger, wiser and happier’ because it provides long-term suport for turning problems round.
Wow Marie, that sounds very similar to me and my wife. We’ve been married for 2 1/2 years and she is now questioning if she is still in love with me. She says she loves me and feels horrible about this but she needs time to figure things out. We are going to separate and I will be leaving our house. It is killing me. Like you I can’t imagine my life without her. I told her I am still very much in love with her and would love nothing else but to make it work. She says she is unhappy and needs to work on herself and make herself happy first. I can’t do anything but give her the space she needs. I am deathly afraid that she will no longer want to be with me, but its a chance I have to take if there is any hope of us fixing us. She says its not anything I did, but her and her issues. What they fail to see is that it may be their issues, but it affects us as if we were the ones who did something wrong. I am heartbroken and feel like my life has shattered into a million pieces. Try to stay strong and have hope that things may work out, as long as both of you want it to.
My wife is one minute talking of time out of our marriage but then saying she has made a ‘final decision’. 10 yr age gap, Together 13 years, married 8 and we have two young children and she suffered PND after both. She had a fling 18m after baby no.2 and became fixated with the ignored/rejection by the other man. We saw Relate, who said it was pointless for her due to her fixation but said to me little was wrong with our marriage and it was my wife’s issues of very low self esteem. 3 years on, she said her guilt had gone, there were ups/downs, we renewed vows but 2 weeks later she turned on herself and then me. She says ILYB, we are best friends but she’s changed now, the spark has gone (and was never really there) and can’t think of a life without being desired in the right way and having the right physical connection. She has always struggled with the kids, and the therapist she’s been seeing says she wants to see her twice a week as she is concerned about her. The rings are off and I am being asked to help her get her space she needs to learn to love herself and become more confident. She gets very agitated if talk goes against it and says she must stick to her decision. But 4 weeks on, whilst sleep separate rooms or at her mum’s, the plan to get her own place and we split nights at the family home for the children’s sake hasn’t happened. I feel frustrated and love my family. Is a temp split and space a good idea?
Andrew G Marshall says
It’s a really tough one. Sometimes, the stress and unhappiness can be so great that it becomes impossible for the person with ILYB to find enough bandwith to listen to their partner, or even function. Under these circumstances, a temporary separation provides the chance to decompress and begin to properly talk and assess the options. If you’re forever arguing against it, she could feel that you’re not listening (and who wants to be with someone who doesn’t listen). However, I sense your concerns and how unfair it all seems. My guess is she also sees ‘space’ as a magic soultion but will probably find that it’s not all its cracked up to be. At which point, she will either think again (and consider trying again) or will look for another instant solution – like divorce. However, if the status quo – which is all she can offer at the moment – is truly not working then it might be worth trying a temporary separartion (which might bring some positive energy into the marriage) than carry on in the same direction (and definitely hit a brick wall)
I have been married to my husband for 5 years but we’ve been together for 12 years. we have 4 kids together. After our 1st born things sexually started to change I was not interested which led to lots of fights. This resulted on him cheating and getting his side dish pregnant. That broke me entirely but I stayed because I thought it was his 1st time and he promised that he will never do it again. The sexual problems never really went away so after three years he confessed again that he had another affair but he did not want to continue with this cheating life because he loved and cared about me if only we can try and fix this sexual issue then everything will be fine. I tried but failed again it deteriorated even further as years went by ,the cheating never stopped I would see texts from his phone about his affairs and the late nights continued. Expensive birthday watches bought by his girlfriends. I detached myself, I stopped asking questions about his late nights and his affairs because I felt that I was the cause of him cheating and I did not want to be asked for sex anyway. We were diagnosed with chlamydia two years ago. I still suffer the STI’s even today. it got to a point until I felt like going out with friends coming back late and he would have a problem with my late nights which I did not understand because he did the same. I continued with this not really caring what he thought because I saw him as a hypocrite. Until two months ago I met a guy that I was sexually attracted to, things are so different with him. I do not understand the meaning of this, I never meant to cheat but I was at my lowest and weakest point. Two weeks ago we fought about my late nights and he packed his stuff and left with no communication nothing. Only last week he decided to come back but I only felt the anger when I saw him and asked for space until I was able to sort out my emotions. I don’t feel that I love him anymore. Until today when I heard that he was not feeling well that I felt guilty that I am the cause of his suffering. I am very confused. We are still waiting for a therapists appointment. Do we continue staying apart or should I ask him to come back. My worry is that if he’s back I will feel guilty and will not able to talk about what made us fight in the first place.
Your thoughts will be appreciated.
Andrew G Marshall says
You have a lot to talk about. So I’m glad that you’ve booked into see a therapist together who will help you listen to each other – rather than cross complain. However, be aware that there is no quick solution to this problem. Sure it might seem easier to throw in the towel (but you will still have to negotiate over the children and deal with new partners too). There will be a lot of anger and recriminations – which will be painful – but once everything is out in the open, you might find that you begin to understand each other. You’ve both been hurt and felt rejected. You’ve both discovered that not-talking and having affairs doesn’t solve anything. So what do you do while waiting? Keep the lines of communication open but I wouldn’t ‘ask him to come back’ because that suggests a decision and you’ve got a lot of talking to do before that’s possible.
Hello, my wife and I have been together almost 4 years and going on almost 2 of being married. We have a 4 year old that’s only hers. We met when she was pregnant. Like any other couple, we have had our ups and downs . She became a drug abuser to narcotics which led to her loosin our son. Her family has ever been ok with our relationship. They don’t like me. Well thru it all we managed to stay together but there is no trust and we don’t respect each other. She tends to run from her problems and to her I always come last . She believes because we live together that’s enough. We argue all the time and lately we don’t really talk she’s always out and I’m always doing my own thing. This last fight was the last one. With all the lies and running around I can’t help but think she’s back to drugs or can’t understand why she won’t spend time with me. She’s never really been the type to speak on feelings but then again I can be very mean when I’m angry or feeling insecure about something. We are separating in a week she’s going her way I’m going mine. She says that she wants to work on herself as she knows some of the issues she has have impacted us greatly. She wants to work on herself and stand on her own two feet and for me to be able to do the same thing and in the mean time work on us too.. She is wanting to give us a 6 month trial to get our stuff together. I’m just afraid we might lose each other.. Her lies and my truest issues have destroyed us but we both know that we love each other and our son. We just need to build a better foundation for him and us.. What should I do?? I need help.
Andrew G Marshall says
Until she sorts out the drug issues, she cannot sort out her relationship. If she lost her child from them, my guess is that they’re really bad (and she is carrying a lot of guilt). So you’re right you definitley need help, look into orgainsations that help the partners of addicts – because just loving her is not going to be enough.
Hi. I’m going to try and sum this up without writing my entire life story.
My husband and I married in 2011 ,6 months after starting our relationship. I knew from the start that he was a very sexual person and that I wouldn’t be able to fulfill all his needs. We have a pretty open marriage, as in we talk about the things we want to do and our fantasies.
About 3 years into our marriage we agreed that he would be able to have sexual relations outside our marriage as long as we talked it over and I okayed it…with a set of rules to follow. That worked for a while. He hasn’t been with anyone else for a while now and he says that it’s because he doesn’t want to keep hurting me.
Since I started working, last week, I noticed he became distant…I’m not sure if he was prior to me starting work as he works 3 jobs and isn’t home a lot. I thought that maybe all the hours he’s been working that it was getting to him. Then he picked me up from work today. He was acting upset/mad though he said he wasn’t mad at me. Finally he asks me- “Are you happy?” I say in general? yes. And he said that he wasn’t happy anymore. He doesn’t know when it happened but he hasn’t been happy in awhile. He doesn’t know what’s wrong but he thinks we should try a trial separation…….I was in total shock! He said he still loves me but he doesn’t feel a spark anymore. He wants to take a week of us being apart, ‘single’ and see how he feels. If he would rather be single or stay married. Someone told him that maybe he just isn’t cut out for marriage and it stuck with him….He also said something about how it was better before we married and if he decides he wants out that he wants us to still be in each others lives…maybe even be together and live together but without being married……I don’t want to lose my husband and I don’t know how to help him because he doesn’t even know what is going on with himself! Do you think that a trial separation could help us?!?! I’m leaning towards it just to give him the space he needs…give him some times alone to figure out what he wants….I just don’t know how to help him. He says he trying to do the right thing because he doesn’t want to hurt me.
Andrew G Marshall says
I wonder if he really wants to be single – after all you’ve given him plenty of space to fulfill his sexual needs and act single. All my alarm bells are ringing because I wonder if what he really means is ‘I’ve found someone that I do feel a “spark” for’ and within a remarkably short-time of ‘playing the field’ he’ll claim to have ‘just met her’ or things ‘suddenly developped’. In this way, he can ease out of his marriage without ‘hurting you’. So I don’t think this calls for a trial separation but to talk more honestly, so you know exactly what you’re agreeing to! (I’d have a look at my book ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting to someone else)
I have been married to my wife for 18 years and we have 6 children together. In October we got in a big fight over finances and her always wanting to spend time with her divorced female friends in bars and clubs. By November she was asking for a divorce.
Over the next few months it was pretty clear she was having an affair (Locked up phone, changed grooming habits, a used condom found in our trash) She insisted on a seperation. The seperation went for a few months until she decided to file for a divorce. The divorce was going forward until she ran out of money for her attorney. I then became aware that she had not paid the mortgage in 7 months and we are now traying to save the home from going into forclosure.
I’ve been told “I love you but i’m not in love with you anymore” & “We need to start over as friends as build something completely new” I feel she is doing this to remain in our home as long as possible and delay her having to move. When asked why she won’t fight to save the marriage she replies with “I just don’t want to RIGHT NOW” Her answer to everything is “Not right now”… It’s maddening.
I honestly don’t know if she is still having an affair or not but I am also tired of being in limbo. I want the marriage to work but she shows no interested in doing anything to heal/fix it.
I plan on getting your ILYB book and reading it this week. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.
Andrew G Marshall says
Unfortunately, limbo or uncertainity is all she can offer at the moment. She is showing signs of being open to trying again, but will be frightened that it could easily slip back into the old ways. So I’d read ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ too (which explains how uncertainity is your friend because it buys time to explore a different and better way of being together). In particular, I’d like you to think about the fight about financial issues that tipped you over into this crisis. Why do the two of you find it so hard to discuss money? This will probably reveal more about what the two of you need to change.
Thank you so much for the response.
I will read both the books you suggested and pray that I can find some answers to save my marriage. Thank you again.
I have been married to my amazing wife for nearly 13 years and we have been together 15 years. We have 2 amazing sons one who is 20 my stepson and our son who is 14.
My wife has just very recently said she needs her space and it has shattered my world..
I have been a good husband and great father apart from one thing, my stupid staring at other women..My wife is very insecure from a previous relationship and I never took it seriously, its been happening over the past 7 years since we moved into our second home together. I just thought she should be over her ex now but I have just realized (I know it took me too long)that was not the right thing to say or do. I have a habit at staring at other women in front of her too, but never with any intentions, I have never cheated on my wife, never been tempted or even close, I just don’t know why I do it, I love my wife so much as she is so beautiful, clever, sexy, amazing, I just didn’t notice her as much as I should have. I know only fully understand the hurt I have caused her and maybe its too little too late. Not only this, I have been unhappy with my life the past few years(not my wife or kids though), but I again I don’t know why, I am never happy with what I’ve got and always clasping for more, instead of enjoying what I have and life. I have contacted a counsellor to help sort out my issues including why I stare at other women..in our heartly chat, she told me she loves me so much and doesn’t want to be without me but she has to put herself first as she simply can’t keep feeling like this, which I fully understand, as heartbreaking as it is. She told me i am her world and that she can’t be with me as I am. We have decided we are going to still live together for the moment, but we will be in different bedrooms. I can’t bare the thought of all this although I fully respect her wishes..I really hope we can sort this out as she is my best friend. What do you think I need to do?
Andrew G Marshall says
You’ve made a really good start by booking a session with a counsellor – please make certain that you follow through. I think it will also help to understand where she’s coming from if you read my book ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’. It will also outline a long-term plan for repairing the damage to your marriage. I doubt that she really wants to end this marriage but is determined to be strong (because if she isn’t she fears that all your good intentions will come to nothing). So when you’re feeling low, don’t beg or try and persuade her to relent, make a further commitment to getting to the bottom of your unhappiness and becoming a better man.
Thanks Andrew for your reply. I have already had one session and plan to carry on until i feel I don’t need them anymore..Its so confusing and hard though, she still wants us to live together, which we are doing, which I find so hard to not want to squeeze her and tell her I love her. In the past few days, I have learned sooo much about myself, I have learned that I have forgot how to have fun which isn’t me, I forgot how to love..I have written lists of things, read so much information, I am trying so hard to transfer all this negative energy into improving myself and making myself a better person as well as a better husband. Everything I never took notice off over the years has all just come to me this past week, as well as many other things, so I am putting all this into place, for the future and going to enjoy all the moments I turned her down. A big positive happened last night, as she told me that she can see I am trying with a smile but said don’t expect it to change soon..I just said Thanks and I don’t expect it too until you are ready..goodnight love you was said by both. Today is the 1st day I have not been upset or down and I have vowed to myself never to be the Al I was prior to this happening.
Andrew G Marshall says
Well done. Keep on learning and growing.
I married my husband after 7 years of dating. We were young and met at 18 and have been together since. Now at 25 (me) him at (26) our relationship is falling apart quickly. He has anger management issues which I had seen a small glimpse of before marrying, but it really came out when he moved in officially. Nothing I cook or do for him is good enough anymore and not once does he help with groceries or cleaning without starting an argument. Keep in mind he results to breaking things, punching walls, has major temper tantrums if things aren’t his way. We got rush married in one week and this was after he had finally convinced his parents n family to come around. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been a part of the wedding. I know from all the signs he is a big baby with his attitude and the way he handles things. I love him alot and really hope he can change though I know it seems impossible. He results to name calling, insulting me, ripping on my siblings and close friends, and even has said things like “you don’t make me as comfortable as my mom” – HUGE red flag, I know. He only said this stuff after we got married. He has even gone out to buy himself dinner after he insulted my cooking (which he was so in love with before). We have never been able to enjoy a new years, valentines day or anything without his temper tantrums since having been married. We haven’t even been able to go on our honeymoon nor has he bought me a ring. I honestly believed him when he said our wedding is rushed so we can pick out a ring for you later. I’m not materialistic so I didn’t care at the time. Now, it bothers me how he never wants to spend on me, let a lone plan a vacation together – guess you can call it our honeymoon since we haven’t even gone anywhere after the wedding. We have been married only 7 months and I feel like he needs to go. I need my space, but I don’t want to lose him completely either. I want to give him a fair shot in trying to fix this. I have been more than compromising with him, and I feel this is what the rest of my life will be like if I don’t act now. Am I doing the right thing with a trial separation? I’m thinking of telling him to go move back in with his parents since it is economical (and where we currently live is my apartment). Once he moves back in with them, are we doomed? Will this be a bad idea? How should I get my space away from him without him having to buy another place? I am just really confused with how to bring this up and go forward with it? Please help 🙁 I’m severely depressed and don’t want to do anything or get out of bed even.
Andrew G Marshall says
You are seriously unhappy and you need to listen to those feelings. It sounds like he is unhappy too but his feelings come out as anger. Something needs to be done, but what? I would start with a general discussion – when things are going well (not after another episode). How is being married for you? What do we need to change? Tell him about your happiness and discuss a way forward. I would put a ‘trial separation’ into this conversation and see his reponse. I have to be honest, if he cannot negotiate (when you are calm) that’s another red flag for me.
Finding these stories today has been a blessing, my husband of 12 1/2 years asked for space on 06/01. Throughout our marriage we have been through several trials, he was a combat medic in the Army and his first tour his HUMVEE rolled over an IED and he got a Traumatic Brain Injury, from being in combat for so long he also has PRSD from the people he couldn’t save, the horrible things he has seen and the people he hates himself for having to kill to survive, 3 years ago things were looking up, he got in medical school with the Army and he was doing better, I had a new demanding job but we were trying, one morning he woke up in the middle of his night terror and had a seizure, he was rushed to the hospital but his Army career was over. He immediately had nothing to do but wait for the Army to med him out. It took about a month before he starting looking for companionship online and on our 9 yr wedding anniversary I found out he had met someone, he told me he was ending it, but instead left me for her, That year was horrible, but somehow we remained married. After the affair ended, I suggested be go spend time with family in TN as the other woman kept calling and it was too much for me and for him. 6 months of physical space, but continued communication we reunited and agreed to work on the marriage, things were better for some time, but I soon found out the former mistress was still in contact, I suggested he take time to do some wounded warrior project trips, horse therapy in Masachussets for a month and scuba diving in New York. He really made progress with his daily counseling sessions and when he returned last year after those trips we were closer than ever. I soon found out I wa pregnant with our first child.we were scared but excited,He was so attentive and nurturing, we were very happy. We found out last summer that the baby had several life threatening conditions, her prognosis was not good, they told us at 21 weeks to prepare for her funeral, as she should pass any day. We decided that we would enjoy whatever time we were blessed to have her, our bond only strengthened as each week we felt her grow. On Nov 13rh at 35 weeks I went into labor, and our beautiful baby girl was born. She fought to stay with us for so long, but after 18 hours, when we saw what pain she was in, my husband looked at me and told me we had to let her go, he nodded to the doctor, and the doctor started to cry as she asked the nurses to unplug the machines as we held our daughter for the first and last time, he held her and kissed her forehead as her heart stopped. The weeks and months that followed were probably my hardest in life. My husband continued to be wonderful, supportive and nurturing. I felt closer than ever, and he would let me come home from work, curl up in his lap and sob. He would put the covers over my head and pat my back until I as done. I cried myself to sleep often, and he would tell me he was sorry I was hurting. In April I encouraged him to go on his road trip he had been talking about, to explore the national parks, see which one he wanted to take me to and perhaps find us apace to move to, he even told me how much fun it was to plan the trip together as a team. The first month was well, but in mid May when I realized he wouldn’t be back by the to,she has planned I started to be suspicious, my anxiety got the best of me and I hacked into his accounts and discovered he had continued contact with his former mistress, and even had a secret phone for the past month that I didn’t know about, his conversations weren’t sexually,but I still felt betrayed. I called him on his phone and he was highly upset that I found his number, For days I argued with him about how hurt I was a show I thought things were better but that I guess he was faking for the past year, but he said that wasn’t true, He apologized for what he had done, said he had an unhealthy addiction to the other woman,but he knows for sure that she is out of his life for good. He told me didn’t deserve me and he was ashamed of what he had done, He asked for space to heal and work on himself, and to truly decide what he wants with his life, he says he doesn’t want to divorce and hopes we can come back together soon to work on the mare wife. He is staying with a former Army friend in Washington State. He also of course couldn’t deal with my outbursts. I have been respecting his boundary for space, meaning no contact from my end and he calls or texts me a few times a week with pictures of nature and to see how I’m doing. I make sure not to pressure and try to keep it positive. The hard part is not knowing if or when he’ll return. He continues to pay for everything that he did before,makes sure that I have enough money. He still tells me he loves me and misses me and thinks about me and our baby often. I’m dealing with the continued grief of the loss of Zoey and now the possible loss of my marriage, and some days are really hard. I’ve bee With a therapist for 2-3 years now and I’m working on being ok regardless of the outcome. I even got a promotion in my company and will soon be getting away from my currently negative boss. I don’t want to divorce, but I feel that I’ve put my life on hold for him before, and I’m feeling like I did when he had his affair. We both agree that we love each other, were really happy this past year, and have a deep connection with each other, a deep friendship too, we just lost our passion. My constant feelings of rejection since the affair meant I never initiated intimacy other than cuddling – which left us both feeling unwanted over time. I try not to open up to too many people because I don’t like them bad mouthing him or making me feel stupid for loving him and waiting, I’m working on my fear or rejection and doing things for me with my new spare time. I guess the way I see it, he was there for me during my darkest hour, and took care of me with love and acceptance, i am trying to do the same during his request for space. Everyone heals differently, I needed him I guess, but he needed time alone, on top of mountain tops to heal. Am I crazy for still wanting this to work? Or do I walk away because it’s hopeless? I feel very alone in this, but I’m dealing with as best I can,
Andrew G Marshall says
There is a huge amount of loss in your letter. He has lost his army career and you’ve both lost two babies. Sadly, we’re not taught how to grieve and lots of people are so overwhelmed by the pain that they have to escape from it. (Hence your husband’s affair which made him feel better for about five minutes and has plunged him into despair ever since.) I think he needs to learn about the difference between self-soothing (to help us through the difficult patches) and self-medication (which blocks out the pain temporarily but multiplies the problems). I explain in my new book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’. I don’t think you’re crazy to keep working on this marriage. My test is always – three fold: Are you learning? Are you growing? Can you give without expecting to get anything back (at the moment)? If the answers are keep going. However, I would understand more about affairs and how they seem alive but are really in their death throws. See my book ‘How can I ever trust you again?’
Daniel N. says
Thanks a lot for this article, it’s been really helpful. Here’s my situation: My girlfriend left me after 2 years. We had a troubled relationship, no infidelity but many short breakups from both sides. She left me after I really started to change myself for the better and it devastated me. She has stated repeatedly that she loves me but we are not compatible. I disagree but I can see how she could think that since we haven’t been able to communicate clearly and honestly our whole relationship.
We agreed on a no contact rule a month after the breakup, but in my desperation I broke that agreement by emailing her desperately and a few times after that we talked on Facebook. When the time came for our meeting, I noticed she was reluctant and said as much to her and offered to meet whenever she is ready. She accepted and told me not to contact her, which this time I honored completely.
A month or more passed, and she sent me a short email (first time she initiated contact after the breakup), thanking me for respecting her wish and not contacting her, and saying that it means a lot to her. She also said that she needs to be alone now and that she thinks it’s best if we see each other after the summer, when we will both be, and I quote: “fresh and smarter”. So also ended it with a “Kiss, *her_name*”, which was the first time she did that after the breakup.
So that’s another 3 months of no contact, making it 5-6 months we will not see or talk to each other. I replied that I was very happy that she emailed me, and that I agree with her and that she can have as much time as she wanted, wished her a happy summer and told her I missed her, also very short. That email may have been short but I felt (and still feel) it was a huge change of tone from the prior “I am 100% sure we are never getting back together”.
After that email I broke no contact only once when a very important person in my life died, with a message just to let her know and also stating that I didn’t want her to feel obligated to contact me because of this before she wanted to. I know now that was a mistake because in her current state she couldn’t respond with anything more than “My condolences”. which she did. However I can’t change that now.
My question is this: Is it possible that she is actually waiting for me to contact her despite her email ? I’m worried because I just accepted her terms and didn’t try to negotiate. It felt right at the time but currently the situation is such that the pressure is on her. I mean, all I’ve got to do is wait for her to contact me for a meeting (even though it’s really difficult and horrible a lot of the time so I guess the pressure is on me too) and I don’t want to put her in such a position.
So what is more important? Showing her that I will honor her request, no matter how long it takes, or showing her I don’t want her to be uncomfortable in any way? Also how can I try to help our chances of a new relationship without talking to her at all? Apart from working on myself which I am doing every day (both in therapy and alone).
And finally, in your opinion, is there hope?
Andrew G Marshall says
If you agreed to her request and honouring it helped change her tone, it seems that you have no choice but to wait. I know this is hard for you but my guess is that there are some important things for you to learn from this situation. Have a look on the section on Attachement Theory in my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ and think about the other people in your life (like when you were a child) who insisted on space or absented themselves. Finally, take what you’ve discovered and share it with your therapist. Be brave and learn.
Daniel N. says
Thanks a lot for your reply and advice. I’ll try my best. 🙂
Michele T says
My husband and I separated after 7 years of marriage, but we have been together for a total of 12 years. He left me Dear John letter one day, it was very shocking and hurtful when I found it. We have been apart for almost 6 weeks and we have had ups and downs, he has gone from blaming himself then to blaming me for the breakup. To be honest neither one of us was perfect and now that we are separated I can see the flaws in our marriage. We started marriage therapy the first week we broke up and it helped a bit. My husband said he needed time to think about if he wanted to stay in the marriage or not, he also said hat he has been unhappy for over a year. It has been a rocky 6 weeks due to the fact he went from working on the marriage to him saying he wanted a divorce out of the blue. He cut me off and wouldn’t answer my phone calls and I had no idea where he was at. I gave up on calling him and after a few days he contacted me and said he wanted to wait to talk to me til we saw our therapist again.
During our therapy session he stated he wanted a divorce again, after some discussion I agreed to the divorce. Our therapist was concerned we were rushing things and therapist asked my husband to wait on the divorce until his emotions leveled out. I’ll be honest this was the first time I really cried since our separation and it seemed to affect my husband in a strange way. He had never seen me cry about our separation and seemed to finally see how hurt I was. Granted I cried when he left but never in front of him because he said he wanted space. I didn’t want to pressure him back with guilt.
The following day after I agreed to the divorce my husband my husband stopped by the house and said he wanted to work on our marriage again, he also said he couldn’t make me any promises. He has since called me once a day and texts to check on me. He is also coming over once a week for a date night and seems to enjoy his time around me. When we separated he said he wasn’t sure if he loved me anymore and now he is saying he loves me again. My question is do I open myself up to his sudden change, do I let him take the lead? I feel trapped because I don’t want to say or do anything to make him run away again, yet I feel like a part of me can ‘t be me when he is around. We are still in therapy but right now the therapist is working with my husband more due to his avoidance issues. The problem is he is very passive aggressive to where I am a problem solver and it overwhelms him. I just fell like the past few weeks my husband has been playing head games, but maybe not I’m not sure. Maybe he really is confused, its just strange that once I agreed to the divorce he suddenly changed his mind, was he testing me or did he realize he was losing me? I’m not sure if his sudden change of heart is a good thing or not, but I do know I’m not ready to let him come home. Also I’m not sure if I want him as a husband anymore after he asked for the divorce. In a separation like this what is the person in my situation suppose to do when dealing with a spouse such as my husband.
Andrew G Marshall says
I don’t think your husband is playing head games just a symptom of being mixed up, emotional and probably doesn’t know himself very well. While you husband is thinking about what he needs (and working on his avoidance issues), it would be helpful if you did something similar (and why you need to solve his problems when you’ve got plenty on your own plate to be going on with!). Have a look at my book ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ which seems to be where you are at the moment. Finally, if your therapist has become your husband’s therapist when you’re ready to think about your marriage again, it might best to find someone for a couple focus (so you don’t feel excluded like you do at the moment)
I do love this article. It’s helped me a decent amount. My situation is this; I’ve been in a relationship for 4 years and married for 2. My husband and I are seperated. He tells me that he doesn’t see a future with me anymore but if we can go back to who we were before (at the 2 year mark)then we have a shot again. we never had a chance to be newly weds, we still haven’t had a honeymoon. Right after we said “i do” I was pregnant. We got through the pregnancy, but barely. We had to move back in with my parents, very toxic household. The negativity of this houseis enough to make any one go bonkers. I got very VERY controlling and clingy, while he tried to isolate himself and seemed to rebel in a way. We fought, my parents fought, it was all over bad.
One day he went to hang with his friends and the next morning I got the “its over” message. Kick in the stomach. He moved in with his friend (who has hated me since practically day one, he won’t tell anyone why he dislikes me.) And we don’t talk much. I was the “33calls a day and at least 10 texts ” so he really didn’t want to speak to me.
I didn’t try to contact him for 3 days and he eventually messaged me. He said things that made me feel that even tho he initiated the separation, he was missing me. (i.e. “you wouldn’t sleep with another guy, would you ?” And “im sure you have a huge weight off your shoulder without me there ?”).
Well, his now roommate is making any kind of reconciliation very difficult. If he calls me then he gets yelled at, and when he came to see his son we were getting along very very well. He even asked me out to a drink for a later date, and we had a mini date to watch fireworks. As soon as the friend found out that there was actually a chance for my husband to get back with me, he threatens to kick him out and disown him. He kept him on the phone for an hour and a half so he could be calmed down. My husband had to lie to this man so he would stop overreacting.
I’m so scared that this friend will affect my husband and i’s future together. All he does is speak negatively and give ultimatums about their friendship and our marriage.
Andrew G Marshall says
It sounds like it might be helpful for your husband to consider finding somewhere else to live! I also think it would be really helpful to read my book ‘I love you but you always put me last’ because this deals with the impact of a baby on your relationship. It will help you become lovers again and not just co-parents. Be patient, keep talking and it will get better
I’m 43 and been in a 27 year relationship with my husband. married 20 years, 3 kids, house, cars, and ‘toys’ that have made a very enjoyable family life for us. Everyone thinks we have the perfect life, but we do not. My husband has lied to me for years. Big lies and little lies. 8 years ago, I confronted him about texting and phone calls with a co-worker. He said it was all talk about work [for 45 minutes every day?] I told him I did not like it as it could lead to something more. After several confrontations [because he did not stop when asked], he said he would stop. However, he also obtained a work phone shortly after… In the past 2 years or so, he has completely pulled away from me in all ways. Picking fights, yelling, anger, frustration.. I’ve tried talking to him and have been asking what I can do to help him or make him happy. Everything he has asked for, I have done, but it is never seen. About 6 months ago, I told him I wanted to leave. Our marriage is not healthy and we are fighting too much with the kids around. It’s not a good environment for anyone. He agreed, then disagreed, and back and forth… I was so unsure of what to do that I stayed. I never stopped loving him, so I thought we could work it out. About 6 weeks ago, I found texts [on the work phone] to the same woman from all those years ago, that said he loved her. when confronted, he says that it was only an emotional affair and that he still loves me, just not the same as before. They had ended their affair [he won’t tell me why, other than “it could go no where good”] and wants to work on our marriage. I am moving out this weekend. The kids know we fight, so we used that as an excuse as to why we are moving apart. I am the one that needs space and he says he needs to see if he needs/misses me. I feel that this is a separation that is going to push us farther apart. However, I am afraid that I am going to grasp at straws to keep us together. we have discussed the separation. he his helping us move. we will split our time 50/50 with the kids. he says that we will make plans to spend time with each other. However, I don’t believe him. he has always pushed plans with me to the side so he could do something else. i’m just not sure where this is going and if this the best solution.
Andrew G Marshall says
I think you need to get to the root of the problem. Why did he detatch and let himself become so wound up with this woman at work? Have a look at my book ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’ because it sounds like a wrote it especially for you!
My husband and I have been married 21 years and have two teenage sons, 14 & 16. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs over the years, mainly around our 16yr old who has challenged us at every turn almost all his life.
In addition, I was diganosed with MS last fall and am still figuring this whole disease out.
My husband has never been a person who shares his feelings and despite seeing a few therapists over the years to work on and deal with this, it is becoming a huge problem for me to overcome. He also has taken the “hands off” approach to parenting our 16yr old so much that I feel like the sole parent when it comes to anything to do with our oldest son. Just the other night he stood there while our son disrespected and out-right refused to do something I asked him to do. When I looked at him and asked him for some help, he said “what more can I say to him, he won’t listen anyway”…
Later when I told him how I felt that he disrespected me and didn’t have my back, he basically blamed me and my decisions with regard to our son for all the problems we are having with him. He said I never follow thru and allow him to walk all over me and don’t instill consequences. My reply was that he’s his parent too and if he had a solution or different way to deal with this then why doesn’t he. He didn’t have an answer.
We went round and round, I cried until there were no tears left, then cried more the next morning. He showed no emotion and that single lack of empathy told me that maybe this is the end for us.
I feel that time apart will help us, but I am scared to actually do it and not sure how we would. I also feel like I have no one to talk to about this, everyone thinks we have this perfect marriage. It’s far from that.
Andrew G Marshall says
I’m sorry to hear about the MS, you have a lot on your plate at the moment, I know it is upsetting when you cry and your husband shows no emotion but I don’t think it means that he doesn’t care but a sign of how hopeless he feels. I wonder what would happen if you talked about the problems when everything is OK between you, rather than when you’re upset (which will make him close down). Think of a see saw – when you press down on your end (emotional), you push him up at his end (close down). However, if you can come into the middle, he will react in a less extreme way and come into the middle more. Read some of my books and see if by changing how you communicate, you can change the atmosphere in the house and become more of a team. As your children are such a source of friction, I would start with ‘I love you but you always put me last’
I am 27 married with 3 children (ages 10/5/3). My husband and I have been married for 5 years and together for 13, yes we were high school sweethearts. When we had our first child my husband (boyfriend at the time) cheated on me, and I moved back home with my mom. we were separated for about 6mos. and he moved into my moms house with me. About a year goes by I have my own place and he moves in with me things are going ok, I work two jobs, go to school, he sometimes has a job and sometimes doesn’t. Our son is three and I find out that I am pregnant (we used condemns which i later found out he had poked holes in). I also find out that I have Chlamydiae, he is the only guy i have been with, so guess what? We separated he moved an hour away and I continued working two jobs and moved back in with my mom during maternity leave. During our separation he got two other women pregnant. Nevertheless, we got back together I forgave him and we got married. November of 2011 I got my tubes tied no more kids for me, and found out a few weeks later that I was pregnant with 3rd child. I delivered her in 2012 and on Labor day weekend 2012 my husband went MIA all weekend and cheated again. I ended up with Chlamydia again, and was devastated. I forgave him we moved on and we bought a house. In Feb. 2014 we accepted a job traveling where he spent most of his time out of state, I didn’t want him to take the job as I knew this would be the beginning of the end for us. Anyways with in a months time he had told me he wanted a divorce, as he was cheating with multiple women. He came home easter weekend told me that he would quit his job and stay home and wanted to work on thing, but on Monday he received a call from his manager and left to go back to his job. With in a week or two he was back to wanting a divorce. He came home a week or two later, he had quit his job and was moving 8 hours away with a new girlfriend. He lived there with her for a month.Even though he was with her he would call me everyday tell me loved me, try to initiate sexual conversations, tell me he was coming back home, but then wouldn’t. At the beginning I would ask him to come back home and was willing to forget and forgive but as the month went on I got to the point where I didn’t answer every phone call and actually said to him don’t come back home. Well he has been home for a year and I still don’t want to be with him. I love him but I am not in love with him. I am not angry with him, but I just don’t have the respect, attraction (emotionally, mentally) to him. I keep trying to get those feelings back so we can move forward with our marriage, but no matter how hard I try, no matter the amount of dates, or how much he trys I CAN NOT get back to the place of unconditional love for him. I am tired of feeling and living like this. I want to move forward and be happy. Ideas and suggestions are much appreciated.
Andrew G Marshall says
It seems like you’re doing all the work and I wonder how long can you continue like this (because he seems to have made no attempt to understand why he needs multiple girlfriends or change his behaviour). It sounds like you’re just waiting for the next explosion? You can’t get back the feelings because his behaviour hasn’t changed.
David Addison says
Based on your past experience, do you happen to know, roughly, the percentage of those who go through a trial separation then go back to their marriage versus those who end up divorcing?
It would be interesting to learn the success rate of trial separations, overall.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Sorry I don’t keep statistics and even if I did my sample would probably be biased (because I believe that it is worth trying to save a marriage so attract people who feel the same and that will effect the outcome). Ultimately, it doesn’t matter about other people do but what’s right for you (and you’re the expert on that not me).
Hi Andrew, thank you for posting your article it has been very helpful. My husband and I are going through a difficult time right now. We have know each other for 10 years and been married for 2. After just over a year of marriage, my husband cheated on me and continued to do so for months while lying to me about it. We have been struggling to get past this and my husband severed communication with this woman he cheated on me with for 5 months and then while on vacation celebrating our second anniversary and what I thought was a new start for us he started communicating with her again. According to him she means nothing and he was just at a low point. I have been fighting for our marriage to work however it seems hopeless and I feel I am falling out of love with him. I have been thinking about a trial separation. Can you offer me some advise please? Thank You.
Andrew G. Marshall says
He means ‘nothing’ to her but keeps talking to her. So why does he do it? You fear it’s because he truly ‘loves’ her but it could quite easily be guilt or a moment of weakness (where he was thinking about her – a natural part of the grieving process – and thought he MUST speak to her). I’d have a look at my new book – out in October – ‘I can’t get over my partner’s affair’ where I explain about this affairs that are supposed to be over but the communication continues. If the ideas don’t help, you might like to consider a trail separation as that might help him realise that this situation can’t continue.
Hello I have been married 35 years, roughly 3 years ago my husband had multiple affairs we are still together but he quit counseling said it was all the same thing nothing was happening so he quit, I am still in counseling and have done everything the counselor has told me to do yet it does not matter whether I am bitchin at him (as he calls it) or not he seems to hate to be around me complains about not having sex yet if I don’t initiate it, it does not happen and when it does he gets his and I don’t. So I just wait for him to initiate it, it does not happen. He recently told me that his feelings have changed that we do not mix well together he loves me because I am the mother of his children and he is not sure we should be together that he is miserable, if we split up both of us will be broke, and honestly I think he makes himself miserable he is just an unhappy person and very negative. Every time we argue he gets all weird and says he can live like this any more he cant stand it I try to tell him everyone argues, he is very immature and selfish everything is about him I have the Lord in my life he don’t when do I know it is time to just say the hell with it?
Andrew G. Marshall says
It seems like the two of you are stuck. You are rightly angry about his affairs and he is worn out by the general unhappiness and (what he sees) as poor sex life. It sounds like both of you are at the end of your tether and it sounds like a race to find out who is going to end the relationship first. So how do you know when it’s time to end…. I would say when you’ve learnt everything you can from a relationship and when you feel you have nothing left to give. What would happen if you talked to each other (rather just complained) and listened (rather than got defensive)? Perhaps you could decide together if your marriage has any future?
my husband and I have been together for almost 25 years married 17 years. We have two grown children and one grand child. the last four years he had traveled for work and sometimes out on the road more than he is home. a couple of weeks ago he stated he is not happy anymore and not sure what he wants. He will always love me but he does not want to be with me. Then he will ask how I’m doing. he has been out on the road sense he has told me this and I am not sure if he will come back to the house. I have started counselling, and he did go to the first appointment with me, but is now out on the road….. I have told him that I want to work on me, him and our marriage. I asked him to please go to counseling by himself while I did the same then maybe we could go together eventually. His excuse is I am working out of town all the time. I have asked him to work local for a couple of months and go to counselling, but that didn’t much of a reaction. I am not sure how to communicate with him when he is not even in the same zip code most of the time. I think that we can save our marriage but he is so undecided right now. I also think he has been texting a woman he met through a co-worker. Any ideas???? suggestions???? Thanks
Andrew G. Marshall says
If you think he’s texting a someone, I would read my book on the topic: ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else.’ I doubt your instincts are wrong. As for working on yourself, that’s covered in more detail in ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life.’
Michele Edson says
Andrew. I found your article very helpful to understand some things in regards to my husband and his wanting a separation. My story and questions are as follows .. I am a victim of child abuse and also a victim of spousal abuse before my husband came along. My husband was the first man I was with after a five year abusive relashionship. I had never told him what had happened in the past as I had thought I had put it behind me, and in hindsight I know now I never really had. We have been married for 16yrs and together for almost 20 yrs next month, we have had lots of ups and downs over the years but always managed to work through them. The past 7 months we had a friend who we hadn’t seen in 6 yrs come back into our lives (she’s 28, gay, attractive) and this made it very hard for me to cope with as David would spend a lot of time with her just talking etc. we asked her to leave about 2-3 months ago as we saw the strain it was having on our marriage and David has always said if he felt it was becoming to much for us to handle he would have her leave, whilst she was here though we discovered things about her we never knew, such as she had been abused from the age 6-16 by her grandfather, she was basically abandoned by her mother who refused to help her (mother was also abused) and she was drug depend on certain meds. We tried to help but realized we just couldn’t anymore for our sake. About 4 weeks ago my husband spoke to me about my issues with him that involve lack of trust, keeping secrets, and not telling him everything about my past. He asked me to seek help with a physocigist which I started to do a week later, this past week though he has told me out marriage is over, that he doesn’t trust me, that he is no longer in love with me, he loves me but because I’m the mother off his child, that he hasn’t been happy for a long time. These past few weeks I had been trying to do things differently, I was wearing sexy pjs to bed, I was doing more around the house to take that stress away from him as he’s in a highly stressful job. I was more affectionate. I was trying and then he hit me with the bomb shell off it’s over as he can’t get past my past. I am so lost at the moment and I have tried to talk to him about giving it time, to just wait and see if he’s truly happy with destroying our lives after all this time. Our daughter is 14 and suffers depression, self harm, has extremely low self esteem and is struggling with all this. He has told her it’s only a trial separation as he’s staying at his sisters for a month or so and then we will see where we are after that, I hate the lies but I also understand that she has to be eased into it, I have loved this man with my whole heart for almost 20 yrs and I have been trying these past few weeks to let him see the changes in trying to make but he has told me it’s over with, but for some reason I have my doubts as when I ask him certain questions he has said “he doesn’t know”. He is in a highly stressful job and lately it’s been more stressful then normal, he has had 2 friends lose themselves to deep depression, he has had to deal with Graces issues (daughter), Jades issues (friend) and of course my issues and his own. I am at the present moment floating in despair, filled with grief and sorrow. Please help with some advice, I just cannot believe he wants to leave us, leave all our dreams behind, sell our home (which is out dream home) and I do not believe he doesn’t love me when only a week ago he was telling me he still did love me and missed me when he was away for work and would rush home to be with me. Please tell me what I need to do, I can’t believe he’s so willing to do this to his family.
Andrew G. Marshall says
The reason why he wants to step away is because he simply can’t cope at the moment with everything. I know you want certainty that the separation is only temporary but he doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going. Not surprisingly, considering your history of abuse, all your alarm bells and ringing and you’re overwhelmed (and can’t cope either). It’s going to take time and a plan to get out of this hole – so don’t expect instant solutions. However, you are going to need to listen to him (without getting so upset he closes down or trying to reassure him) and I hope he will do the same for him. Please read ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life: How to survive a crisis and be stronger, wiser and happier’ as it sounds like I wrote it especially for you! Hopefully, it will become the starting point for your plan forward
I have had your ILYB book for a while now and recently I unfortunately had to buy the ‘How can I ever trust you again?’ book. My husband told me ILYB 3 months ago. I was completely broken. I knew this was down to feelings he was having for a woman at work, for months I had told him I found his ‘friendship’ with his female work colleague inappropriate. He completely denied it was anything to do with her for a long time, it wasn’t until a month or two later he admitted he had feelings for her and it ‘would have led to an affair’ but he’d stopped it now. They had been texting all the time. I assumed an emotional affair. We were trying to work on things for 2-3 months but he decided he needed to move out and date me once a week to try and miss me, and appreciate me.
A week after he moved out I discovered text messages in a file back up on our PC, he had been having an actual affair. He admitted it was the case, and that it had only ended when he had moved out, so when we were ‘trying to fix things’ before hand, he was actually still having an affair.
Since the discovery just less than two weeks ago, I have gone through a whirlwind of emotions. We discussed the types of affairs using your book and he felt it was a tripod affair. He swears that the relationship did not reach sex, it was very much contained in an office at work and was kissing, holding hands and declarations of love for each other amongst hundreds of daily text messages. I decided I couldn’t wait for him to ‘choose’ between me or her and let him go. However, this didn’t last a day as he panicked and sent me a lot of begging texts saying he would do anything to make it work, and that the thought of never seeing me again killed him.
We’re now trying to work at things, but still living apart. He says he still needs space, and that his feelings from pre-discovery still stand. I am struggling to cope with the fear that he might break up with me at any point, or start things up with her again. I requested he speak to her to let her know that I have found out, which he did, and apparently she was devastated, upset, agreed it went too far and is trying to work on things with her boyfriend. However, he still has to work with her every day, so those feelings for him will still be there, though he now swears he doesn’t love her. I’m struggling between letting him go, so he truly realizes what he’s done and to protect me from further hurt, or continue trying to fix our marriage.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I’m afraid that what you describe is a quite common situation. Although I’m encouraged by her comments that ‘it went too far’ and the news that she’s ‘working’ on things with her boyfriend, like you, I don’t really trust him to tell the truth (or keep you updated on whether they ‘slip’ again). So I suppose my advice is to keep talking, keep listening and consider getting some professional help. There is a lot of hurt feelings which need to be healed before you can really tend to your marriage, so don’t expect too much of yourself too soon.
Overwhlemed, and broken says
We separated 20 months ago after only 18 months or marriage (together 6 years); he had a short-term sexual/emotional affair with his manager; who he’d known a couple of months. He escaped completely into a fantasy running around like a teenager, which was embarrassing to see. She too was married and pregnant with her second child (!) (pregnant prior to meeting my husband). I found out, threw him out, and moved home. My husband moved an hour away and completely isolated himself, he seemed more shocked than I did! We were in crisis, he was one-minute cold, dismissive, arrogant, defensive and destructive, generally un-recognisable and the next; in the depth of despair. He yo yo’d between us, but I had to back away to (emotionally) protect myself from his behaviour. As anticipated, the affair too fell apart.
Since this time, I have read almost everything, and came across your work, which helped make some sense of this madness. I attended relate on my own as he refused, and I’m still having therapy for my own issues and for the trauma of what has happened, my life literally fell apart, I felt broken as I just did not see it coming. I have learned a lot about myself and made some significant changes, but as I have not seen much of him, I have been unable to implement any changes in how I relate with him (assertiveness). This process opened my eyes to marriage/relationships and the extent of our communication problems, and I can now see the flaws. We had a great relationship, best friends, similar interests and worked well as a team, we were so much in love and I felt loved, adored, protected and supported by him, he drove our relationship/marriage forward and could not have been more excited and committed to getting married. However, we lacked arguments; he is controlling but at times passive/dismissive/and generally avoidant (he cuts off) and I’m conflict avoidant and passive. Our relationship started soon after his previous long-term relationship ended, but he only recently told me she cheated on him so I suspect he has some unresolved issues from this relationship. I could see the bigger picture and how this had happened, and wanted us to work on what we had, as she was just the symptom of other issues.
This has shocked, devastated and hurt everyone who knows us, as his behaviour is so out of character. He has been all over the place, on self-destruct, doing and saying many hurtful things, which has not just been directed towards me. He hasn’t tried to fight for me, a sharp contrast to how he was before or made any attempts to mend any of the relationships he has fractured, he just avoids. I have not really had any explanation (but I suspect he doesn’t know himself or not willing to look at it) or a proper apology. He literally walked out, his shame had become so toxic and resulted in depression (your latest book explains this well, the section on the discovered becoming depressed!). He really has had to “confront the baseness of his own nature”, which he has clearly struggled with as his behaviour since this time has overshadowed his affair; he’s just pretending none of this ever happened. From our little contact, I tried to elicit what was making him so unhappy, but he maintains he was not unhappy(!), but did not want to fight for us, but then refused to discuss divorce, I have only seen glimmers of the man I married.
6 months ago, he told me that he just needed to be on his own to ‘find himself’ so I completely backed off until recently when he called me with his latest bombshell…and tells me he is seeing someone else! It seems they started dating 6 months ago, after he told me he needed to be on his own, but interestingly when his mistress (now separated and still pursing him) was due to return from maternity leave, which he had told me he was apprehensive about. I sense this is his way of burying his head even further, his next magic solution to help him cope with feeling like a ‘terrible person’. I feel her to be more of a threat than his mistress as she appears to be ‘more his type’ (I’ve been told she is just like me!). I sense this relationship potentially to be based on lies as my husband is unable to even be honest with himself….he’s completely in denial. Is this another affair, or is it a rebound relationship? Will it last? Is this common for people to just walk away from their mess and ’start again’?
Despite all of this, I still love him (well the person I married) as he is not a bad person, but has made some horrible choices, but I am concerned hugely with how he copes with issues. It’s sad to see him a fraction of the well-loved/liked person he was, so ashamed of what he has done, he hardly engages with anyone (your article on shame sums this up!), people have very little respect left for him particularly after his latest actions, which everyone is confused by. Because of how volatile/fragile he has been, everyone has tip toed around him (myself included) not truly expressing the extent of the hurt, he has caused. Any attempts I’ve made to report my feeling or express any anger results in him shutting down and walking away/or on occasions he ends up in the depth of despair horrified by his actions, I’ve felt like I’ve been dealing with a child.
I’ve not seen my husband for 6 months and he reports there is nothing left to discuss as he has ‘moved on’, divorce has now been mentioned, it’s like our marriage never even happened and I don’t exist. My husband is a very stubborn man; it is hard to reason with him best of times, so I do wonder if I am I deluding myself that a) he will come to his senses, b) that he will find the strength and resilience to face up to what he has done c) that we could get any resolution from this even if we didn’t get back together ? On one hand, I feel I need to heal and move on as I am so hurt and feel broken by his actions but I am struggling to let go of what was, and sit with what is, radical acceptance is a hard concept to grasp. We both come from stable homes with long-term marriages, so it is hard to give up, however being separated has made it all the harder….I feel overwhelmed with sadness/anger and I’m ambivalent and, despite logically understanding from what I have learned, emotionally I feel traumatised. I don’t know what to do next, do I write him a letter; keep trying to talk to him, back away? Day-to-day I cope fine, and I am healing (slowly) and moving forward (slowly) and making plans, but I wonder when I will feel better/happy, and if my husband will ever face up to what he has done or is this really, as much as I am going to get out of him…
Andrew G. Marshall says
First off, I want to congratulate you on all the hard work that you’ve done and it seems to be paying off (as you you are coping, healing and moving forward slowly). Next, I would like you to read ‘wake Up and Change Your Life’ as I have an important chapter about accepting your feelings. It is natural to feel sad (after everything that you’ve been through) and trying to push through to ‘better’ or ‘happy’ leads to the sort of behaviour that your husband has been trying. Will he ever face up to what he’s done? The evidence of your letter is not good, he’s jumped from one magical solution to another. I had a client whose ex-wife left under similar situations and when her second marriage ended (in an extremely bitter divorce) said to my client: ‘I think I’ve rather screwed up my life’. By this point, that was little comfort to my client. So, I suppose what I’m saying is this: concentrate on your recovery (which you have can exert some influence on) rather than worrying about his (over which you have NO influence).
Overwhelmed, and broken says
Thank you for your reply! I will take on board your comments and keep moving forward : )
2 weeks after my husband and I got back from our vacation, which was about a month and a half ago, I came home one day to find a note from him on the counter and his wedding ring on top of it. He had left me! Our marriage hasn’t been the best for the past 3 years at least and we have been growing apart, but not doing anything about it. We had a big fight while vacationing and he said – that’s it, I can’t do this anymore, but he has done it so many times before. He promised himself that he will do it this time and he moved out. He stayed with a buddy for 2 weeks and because he was uncomfortable, didn’t have his own space and we have decided that he’s gonna stay in our apartment and I’m gonna move out, he came back after 2 weeks. It took me a month to find an apartment, but in that one month we had a good time with each other, we laughed a lot, had a much better communication, talked a lot, even seen a therapist. We did not agree on a specific time for a separation, but are thinking a couple of months to see how we’re gonna feel then. He does want a family and a house and to calm down finally (he’s a big partier currently and would go out and not worry about coming back the next day). He does realize that he’s been neglecting me for years, and that he’s a difficult person who only sees negative things about me, but he said that he needed to clear his head and the mess our relationship has created, and all the anger and resentment. It sounds crazy, but instead of saying he will stop going out so much, he wants me to not be at the house so he doesn’t feel guilty about his current lifestyle. He knows that is not the way to live and that it is very destructive, but he’s also lost some really good friends due to his behaviour and now me, and he’s made himself a victim thinking he doesn’t have it in him to fight and change (he’s 36). Even so, we are taking this break to regroup and hopefully get back together, but not having any contact and reassurance from him makes this so difficult. I’m going through a major life change having to live in a new apartment (I’m very emotionally attached to my old place), and start my life over. I keep thinking, if this is temporary, why do I have to do it, why even unpack, should I or should I not? Isn’t this distance going to create an even bigger gap between us, all these questions. Is he asking them as well, is he worried about losing me forever? I don’t see him being too concerned about that. He told me that I am the best person in his life, that he loves me and that I’m the best wife ever, but then this drastic change. Was it necessary? I don’t know, but he said something needed to change drastically. And that is my story.
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like you need a neutral party to help you hear each other and listen to yourselves – because it sounds like you’re both asking some valid questions. Whatever happens this is too big to keep pushing everything under the carpet, so be brave and dis cuss the idea with him.
Paula J says
This post, and others on your website, have started to make me feel more optimistic and calm in a time when I am having panic attacks and anxiety. I also bought HCIETYA yesterday and it was so reassuring. Let me tell you about my situation. We have been married for 16 years, together for 25, both in our late forties. My dad died a traumatic death last Easter, both our jobs are very stressful and we have grown apart. There are no children by choice. I found out a week before Christmas that my husband was having an affair. I had my suspicions and asked him directly in November but he denied it all. I found evidence through his texts. He apologised and said he wanted to work it out as he loved me. The third party is a work colleague 20 years his junior who is in a long standing relationship. He said that there was never really a chance she wanted to choose him. We worked on things, the relationship was good, but over the last three weeks, I found he had continued texting her in secret. He couldn’t be truthful to me. He said he couldn’t help himself and that he loved her but loved me differently. We went to one counselling session and he was ambivalent. I decided I could not have him in the house whilst he was still undecided. I asked him to leave and he agreed that we both needed space. He is with his elderly parents at the moment. We have been in touch regularly through text and he has been to the house to collect the odd bits and pieces he needs for work. I got angry last weekend because he didn’t reply to my texts and he said he was talking to her. He said he is not sure if he wants more from her. That hurt me a lot and we were not in contact for two days until I read your book about reassurance and whether he is worth fighting for. I want to fight for him. What we haven’t done at the moment is decide on the terms of our separation and how much space we need. So we have agreed to meet in two days’ time. I want to be open and honest and compassionate but I also need to look after myself. I am having CFT as this was intended to help me deal with my bereavement, and now my marital separation is at the fore. I also think my husband is depressed. He is teary, forgetful, can’t sleep and says his head is in a mush. He has not spoken to friends and family about his feelings because it’s not the done thing and wasn’t modelled to him as a child. I just want to do the right thing so we can be happy again. We need to reconnect and find that ‘click’ again but he is unsure what he wants.
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like your husband can’t make any decisions at the moment because he is one depressed and two still caught up with the idea that this relationship can help him manage his depression (by giving him a temporary boost from a text or two). Sadly, you can’t do this work for him. However, you can step back and work on yourself (which you’ve started doing). See my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’. I would also get ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’ as that will give you some perspective on what’s been going on and help you decide your next move. Good luck
So three weeks ago I came home to the ” I don’t love you the same way speech” me and my wife have been married for 2 and a 1/2 years and together for six! We have 2 children, 10 year old girls she had previously ( step daughter) and a 4 and a half year old severely disabled son! I have always did the majority of the work with the kids being the caregiver! I asked her if she has been cheating she swears no, says that I am too hard on my step-daughter and it has turned her away from me! I don’t know what to do! Our son is so high needs and my wife has told me she doesn’t wanna talk about us or think about us because it’s too stressful! ( she is really bad at discussing feelings or anything like that). I have told her I think we are throwing away a lot and should try to work together to see if we can fix the issue! She has no interest in it at all! Should I cut her loose to figure herself out? She grew up with an abusive step-parent, and I know she has never dealt with those issue’s and harbours feelings that are bringing these things out!
So do I move out? Cut contact except for children’s needs? Seems like giving up to me but I’m no expert!
Andrew G. Marshall says
If she had an abusive step-parent, your wife will be hyper-vigilant about how you treat her daughter. So although, I am sure that you are a great step-dad, she could have interpreted your action through the lens of her past. So what should you do? Instead of defending yourself, which I know is natural, please ask if – seeing things through her eyes – there is anything with your step-daughter that you’d like to do differently. Trust me, how you treat her daughter will have a huge impact on how much your wife loves you.
Read my book ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ where I explain more about this concept and how to start your fight back.
Rather than giving up, I think you have everything to play for.
I have read your book “ILYB” and it really resonated with me. I received the ILYB from my spouse 6 months ago. Since then, I have asked my spouse to read your book which they did and said “A lot of this is not relevant to our situation”. Spouse refused to try anything in the book to reconnect. The next step was spouse asking me for space (while living in the home). I complied and spouse withdrew completely from me and was indifferent towards me. A month ago spouse said they were sure they needed to ‘move on’. We have been married over 20 years and there is no one else for either of us.
I have spent the last few months working hard on myself, confronting my issues and mistakes head on and feeling more confident about who I am every day. Still feel that I want to share my life with my spouse. I have tried to remain calm, kind, and avoid blame with my spouse but yet express that I do not want the marriage to end.
Spouse has now asked for a ‘trial separation’ with visits with each other once a week. Because spouse has cut off any real communication with me, I feel that they may be using a ‘trial separation’ to ease into the divorce world. How do you suggest I handle these weekly meetings?
Andrew G. Marshall says
Remember when negotiating a ‘trial separation’, you can ask for what you want too. What would you like from these weekly meetings? Real Communication? (If so what would that look like?) Having fun together? What would your partner like out of these meetings? How would they see them?
I would ask for feedback too. Have you noticed any changes in me? What has been the impact on you? What issues about the way we communicate has not been addressed? Do you feel you can talk to me and that I will listen?
It sounds like there is something that needs to be said which hasn’t come to the surface yet.
Worried husband says
I am one month into a trial separation that my wife initiated.
She said she needed space to try out living on her own because her feelings for me had changed but also to figure out what she wants to do – she has recently come off long term medication for depression and says it feels like waking up.
After putting some goodwill in the bank before she actually left (she admitted due to the things I had said that she was in two minds about leaving), I initiated relationship counselling, but couldn’t stop her going. It has been incredibly painful, but I avoided initiating contact early on and let her do most of it (texting). We have a counselling session about every 3 weeks, ongoing at least for now.
Eventually she was keen to see me again, but has since admitted that she was wondering whether on that first brief visit there would be a really obvious urge to get physical (there wasn’t, although the meeting went quite well). It seems like she is waiting for an epiphany – she said she had expected to know what she wanted after only a few weeks, but doesn’t. She is now happy to have some sort of contact but can see, particularly based on the last visit (yesterday, 3 visit in total) that when she leaves it is difficult for me. I have noticed that whilst I have coped a little better after the hell of the first few weeks, after a visit I feel worse. A lot worse. Just incredibly vulnerable. And of course can’t help over analysing everything. I told her that the reality of the situation was it would be painful no matter what and that I would rather have the contact that not, but that I don’t want to pressure her. I know she has had some difficulty too and has felt lonely, but I get the impression it has not been as hard. After all she is trying out something new.
I know it is positive that she is continuing to come to counselling and we are relating fairly well on a friendly level. She is also occasionally emotional, which I take as a good sign – ie she hasn’t closed off completely. But I am just terrified of losing her and finding it so so hard to cope with not being able to see her more often, and be more intimate (by that I mean non-sexual, just like touching). We have hugged a few times, that’s it. I am not sure if she feels comfortable with anything more and I am reluctant to reach out in case it seems clingy or overly needy.
So what I’m wondering is how to balance her need for space with the need for some sort of regular face to face contact that is positive, leaving things open for intimacy, that might create conditions whereby we can rebuild something. And at the same time protect myself. I know I am better off not contacting her often, but just how far should I back off?
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like your hard work is paying off. Well done. It’s also good that you’re recognising, naming your feelings and discussing them with your wife. I’m not surprised that it makes you feel ‘incredibly vulnerable’ – because that goes with the territory. Have you done the feelings diary in ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ because it is all about recognising these strong feelings but realising that they don’t last forever (and can therefore be borne rather fled from). I also have some tips for coping at the time in the book. Finally, there is advice in this book about living in the moment (rather than worrying about the future).
Summing up, you’re doing well and have got the balance right between giving space and maintaining contact. Keep positive, keep communicating and focus on the present.
Worried husband says
Thankyou Andrew. I have read ILYB but not the other book you mention so I will investigate.
Worried husband says
So we continued with counselling as well as occasional nights out (that seemed to go well albeit with very little intimacy). I had a feeling things were heading the wrong direction recently as contact was minimal and then I was told in the counselling session today that she doesn’t think she can come back to me, that she has ‘found herself’ again by being on her own. But at the same time she says she loves me and allows it might turn out to be a mistake.
I thought I was somewhat prepared for this, but the truth is I am in shock, just devastated by the thought that this loss could now be forever and that divorce will follow. We have another counselling session (advised by counsellor) to discuss practicalities in a few weeks, or as he put it to deal with anything that might change in the meantime. Is there any hope in these situations?
Andrew G. Marshall says
I know it is a horrible shock but I would try and keep calm. And most important of all, keep talking. I often find that someone ‘finding’ themselves again will make them think ‘I can’t be myself with my partner.’ However, if you are curious about this new version of your wife, ask to get to know her and learn to negotiate better there’s no reason why your marriage cannot thrive again. However, it is crucial that you learn this important mantra: I can ask, you can say no and we can negotiate. (It is covered in assertiveness in Wake Up and Change Your Life). So I would see this as an important step forward, not necessarily the end of your marriage, and I would seek to continue to have counselling together
Where to start… My husband told me that he was having an affair, with a woman 14 years younger than me, when our second child was just 4 weeks old. He moved out (to get some space) 3 months later. We have now been living apart for just over a year. He is still in regular contact, calls and texts, not in person, with this girl (she’s 21) and at the same time we are trying to repair things between us. It has been a long and very frustratingly slow road to recovery. He has suffered with depression and until I went back to work after maternity leave, so did I. I have read several books, including I love you but… And I realise that we were both neglecting each other’s needs and for that I have apologised. If only I had realised earlier, maybe none of this would have happened. I often avoided intimacy and felt that every time he showed any interest then it would lead to one thing and sometimes all I wanted was to be held. I have tried to change and I now show him more affection.
We currently see each other 2-3 times a week, usually one day at the weekend to spend as a family and a couple of evenings a week just the 2 of us. We text every day and he sometimes calls me on his way back from work. We try to have one evening “date night” and recently we have started having 1 evening where we are going through a marriage dvd looking at issues such as acceptance, making time for each other etc. We both agree that things are getting better. My biggest concern is that he won’t kiss me. He says he likes to kiss me but doesn’t always want to. Every evening we spend together ends with a hug in bed, and sometimes leads to sex but he won’t kiss me. I’ve bought your book “have the sex you wanted” in the hope that we could begin to build some real intimacy again, but the first step require kissing and small intimate gestures. I know he’s not in love with me at the moment and I think he’s afraid those feelings won’t return. But I also know he wants things to work. We have been talking about him moving back in in the next few months but for our children’s sake we need to be sure things will work out.
And then there’s the issue of him being in touch with the other girl, I feel very uncomfortable when it comes to that, he knows he needs to cut her out but he doesn’t have many friends and at the moment that’s all she is. But I am finding it very difficult to put the past in the past when she is still in the picture. I can get quite emotional about it all and every now and then I can’t help but cry. We’ve come a long way but we’re not quite there yet, I just don’t know how to get past these last few hurdles.
Andrew G. Marshall says
First off, I want to congratulate you on all the hard work that you’ve done and how far you’ve come. Well done. Secondly, I want to offer some reassurance. I’ve counselled couples where the man has ended the affair but feels obliged to keep in touch with the OW (so he does not seem ‘so bad’ in his mind’s eye and to offer support to her – because most 21 year olds who get into affairs with married men are lost souls). What normally happens is, over time, the contact gets less and less – until it is ended altogether. It works best when the man decides to do this himself – rather than because his wife has pushed or I’ve pointed out that it is helping nobody (neither him, his wife or the OW). When it comes to the kissing, my instinct would be to stop putting so much emphasis on it. At the moment, in your world, it has become a test about his commitment. He’s afraid to let go and kiss because he’s worried about giving you false hope and suddenly something as simple as a kiss is a symbol of your WHOLE FUTURE. So take a step back and let a kiss be just a kiss. So I suppose, I’m saying be patient. This will take a whole lot longer than you want but perhaps you need this time to properly repair your marriage.
Worried husband says
Thanks Andrew, I have ordered “Wake Up & Change your Life” and look forward to reading it. I tried the approach you suggested but a week later she has sent a detailed email about why she won’t be coming back to the marriage – in a nutshell because she was unhappy for a long time, felt trapped and feels that we made little headway with key issues even with some counselling. She says we both deserve relationships that don’t require so much work and make us feel good, but hopes we can still be friends. I don’t know if it is best for me at this point to try and have another counselling session or try and have no contact for a while before accepting this can only be a friendship. I guess I am unsure about whether I am just clinging on because deep down I can’t accepted the reality of it ending or whether it is because I feel there really are still things to discuss and resolve, to understand everything properly enough to move on.
I still feel guilt and a lot of regret and I know that she does too. I have read ILYB and can see a lot of things in there that apply. I have also had a look at ‘The Single Trap’ and the section on the importance of proper endings.
Time just keeps on going and my husband and I are progressing at snails pace. We spend 2-3 evenings a week together and before he leaves we always have a long hug in bed. When I look back we have made progress but it sometimes feels like we have plateaued. We have reached a point where he has admitted he is almost ready to move back in. I have made it a condition that he can’t come back until he has cut contact with the other woman (partly because my parents refuse to speak to him until she’s out of the picture and also for myself- whilst I believe she is just a friend, he is quite secretive about what they talk about and there’s a part of me that doesn’t 100% trust him. He has given me no solid evidence to show that what he is saying is true- I just have to take his word for it). I wonder if my condition means it won’t happen. He’s talked about aiming to be back at the end of next month but I see no signs of him being close to cutting contact.
I’m afraid we will stay stuck here and I don’t know how long I should hold on for – what if I’m waiting for something that will never happen. You said be patient and I am – I’m trying! I want it so much that I can’t let go when there is hope but I don’t want to be a doormat!
I’ve stopped making a big deal about the kissing thing – he does kiss me but usually only a small kiss. He will kiss more passionately when we are having sex but otherwise it’s a short kiss on the lips. I try not to be over analytical but it’s not easy. I keep most of it to myself but it’s hard!
Andrew G. Marshall says
I know this is going to be strange but I’m glad that you’ve plateaued! Why do I say that: It’s because it’s better than going backwards. My real concern is that your parents are playing such a big role in this. Sorry about this but I’m going to be honest here. Doing what your parents insist – makes you sound fifteen (or maybe younger because a teenagers would slam her room and sulk). If they won’t talk to him, that’s their business. So rather than laying down conditions for a reconciliation, I would prefer opening discussions: I don’t know if I can cope with us living together if you’re still in contact with her. Could you cut off contact? It is about negotiating together and making a decision together – that’s not being a doormat (because that’s would be come back, no conditions). Keep talking for as long as it takes… either he will say I can’t do it (and you can decide then your next move) or he will decide of his own accord to end contact. (If he does, check he’s sure…) The worst option is that he moves in – with the ultimatum – and then gets caught out by some random text and you’re back at square one. I know this is hard and it sounds like you need help – but please not from your parents (who can only see your side).
Confused and Scared says
My wife dropped the ILYB bomb, worded as “I don’t know if I love you anymore” a couple of months ago. She said that she hadn’t been happy for “a long time” and felt that I was smothering her and she needed alone time (she would be sobbing whenever she would have conversations like this with me). I noticed that she had been acting more distant after returning from a 5-week work trip back in February.
I would try and engage her in conversation and other things, but after she said that I was smothering, I backed off. I also noticed a change in her drinking habits during and after that trip. She would have a glass of wine or two before, but after that trip, she started drinking a lot more. Two weekends in a row she got blackout drunk and spent the night at a female friend’s house. She has mentioned multiple times that there was no infidelity.
We have been together for 10 years, married for 3. She did mention that we had been together since we both were quite young (she was 18, I was 20), and she didn’t know who she was without me. She was about to leave on her own, and I asked her if she would be open to marriage counselling before trying anything else. She agreed.
We went to two sessions about a month ago. On both sessions she mentioned something to the extent that she didn’t know who she was without me and felt that she needed some space to figure that out. On the second session after she again mentioned her wishes, I asked if her moving out would indeed be a good idea, he said that “it was a fantastic idea”. I have been dealing with depression for about a year with episodes that included checking myself into the ER with suicidal thoughts. The counsellor also mentioned that I need to visit a psychiatrist and get my mood stabilized.
She moved to a friend’s house about 2 weeks ago. She is the primary breadwinner, but said that she can’t afford rent for both our house and her new house, so I am essentially being forced to move out as well. I’m now at my parent’s house in a town 3 hours away as a temporary solution while I try and figure out something more permanent.
The counsellor scheduled three more sessions for just her. I asked if there would be any next steps, and he said that as for both of us meeting with him, there would be no more sessions for the near future. He essentially has become her individual counsellor.
The move-out began as a day-to-day thing, but the counsellor said during her first individual session that it may take upwards of six months for her.
I have since gone to counselling myself and am now on anti-depressants. I’m sorry that this was so rambling and I’m leaving a lot of the story out stilll. I’m very confused by the whole situation. Are the counsellor’s actions common? Especially since he did not mediate the separation and basically left us to our own devices. We set some ground rules, and the couple of days before the actual move-out, she would hug me and say things like “Thank you for letting me do this” and “I’m sorry”. She went on another business trip a week before the separation actually begun. I dropped her off at the airport, she hugged me, kissed me, and said “I love you”. That was three weeks ago and was the last physical contact we had.
It’s even more confusing that she would say “I don’t know if I love you”, then leave for work the next morning, give me a kiss, and say “I love you” on the way out like she always does.
This has gone on way too long and I apologize. I’m trying to go day-to-day and give her the space that she said she needs.
Andrew G. Marshall says
If it helps I do find the behaviour of your couple counsellor strange. My policy is that I am there for the couple and if one party (or both) needs individual help, I will refer them to one of my colleagues. So it does seem strange to unilaterally declare him or herself your wife’s counsellor without discussing it all three of you and to offer so little support in coping with the separation. So what do you do next? I am pleased that you’re getting help because while your wife is getting some breathing space to work out who she is what she wants, you need to get to a place where you feel stronger and more confident in yourself. You could also talk to your counsellor about whether you’ve been expecting your wife to do for you many things that you could possibly do for yourself.
My partner and I moved in together after just 2 months of dating and I had 2 small kids. It was insta family. We bought and sold houses and renovated our current house. It was a lot of stress the first 1.5 years for a new couple. So for a variety of reasons we never developed that emotional closeness we needed – closeness that comes in the beginning (a foundation). After therapy together and apart and a lot of talking (a lot) and thinking – we decided not to break up but for my partner to move out for a year and to just date each other (not dating other people). He will still see the kids and pick them up from school so they won’t be too affected. But we will have time apart and alone and just focus on dating each other and having a proper courtship we missed out on to hopefully build that foundation he needs (not me so much) to move forward and eventually take the next step (marriage or something like it). He is just missing something and I don’t really feel it as much, but I get it. And he needs to do this so I’m agreeing to do it. I think it’s our best chance and he is very optimistic about it. I am having a harder time and I’m sad. I struggle but I have to let him go and do this. Kinda sucks. Kinda promising. I hope it works. He thinks it will. I know it’s not about meeting someone else. He just needs that feeling and he thinks the separation will give him that. Yet I still find my days feel sad, insecure, and the uncertainty for the future is hard. He can’t move out for another month since the place he found isn’t ready yet but he has already made arrangements to leave.
What book is best for me? What can I do to cope with my feelings of sadness and confusion?
I just wish we could have worked on this in the same house but he feels the separation is best.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Sorry to hear about your situation but pleased that you’re talking about different ways to move forward. My advice would be to start with ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ as will throw some light on how you got into this situation. I would also like you to read ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ as this will help you deal with the sad and insecure days ahead. Finally, I agree with you it would have been better to work on this under the same roof but you do have to listen to him and he’s adamant. Perhaps it might help him feel closer. But one thing is sure, if you make him feel guilty about his decision, he’s going to back away even further. So, as much as possible, go into this new arrangement with an open attitude.
My wife and I have been married for 6 years, and we have a little boy who we love very much. Our marriage has been hard. We became unexpected pregnant and our life have been a roller coaster of struggles and disagreements since. My wife also comes for a very broken family and is very depressed. She does not think very highly of herself, and has a hard time reading people. Despite all this I love my wife so very much. She is my best friend, I love sharing my life with her, and I don’t want to live without her. Within the last year, whenever we got into big fights, we would sometimes stupidly throw around the idea of separation. After one such fight, my wife tried to hurt herself, and was admitted to the Behavior Unit. I traveled every chance to the BSU to show her my support, and I felt like she was finally getting the help she needed, but upon her release, we started having some disagreements again. At first she was open to working on our marriage (I have been working on myself, and trying to be there for her, and meet her needs), but now she seems determined to have affairs. She engaged in an emotional affair with a person who has a reputation on being a womanizer, and who told her straight up that he wasn’t interested in a long term relationship. I broke that affair up, and now she says resents me for it. She said I was butting into her personal business She says she still loves me, and she always holds my hand and calls me, but on the same note she says she thinks she needs a no strings attached boyfriend, and she can’t guarantee she won’t pursue one. This is devastating to me. She still talks about wanting space and a separation, but I don’t know how to give her that, and I also worry about my son. I do not want my wife to have an affair.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I know you are at your wits ends and thinking of ways to change your wife (and her desire to have an affair). However, there is only one person that you can change and that’s YOURSELF. When you write about the rows, it sounds like you are describing something – like the weather – over which you have no control. For example ‘we started having disagreements’. Instead think about your contribution to them turning into destructive fights where you both suggest ending it (and she taunts you with being unfaithful). What could you do differently next time the temperature starts to rise? Look at my books about arguing – like Resolve Your Differences – they are full of suggestions.
My husband and I are on the verge of a separation. We have been together 23 years. For the last year he has been having an affair with his ex-girlfriend (they dated before he and I met). He says he loves her and wants to be with her yet he’s still living in the house. He also says he loves me but is very confused.
He has left for long weekends several times to be with her and would lie to me before he left as to where he was going and who he was going with.
I love my husband very much and can’t imagine throwing away 23 years, but I can’t allow myself to be humiliated and hurt anymore. I don’t recognize this man, he’s not the husband I know. My heart is broken. I’m looking for an apartment and have decided to move out for a while hoping that space and time will save us. But, I fear it’s too late. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. I have lost over 20lbs from not eating and only sleep about 4hours a night.
It hurts to be replaced. I feel like I’m being erased.
Do I let him go? Do I leave in hopes that giving him space will bring him back? Do I keep fighting?
Andrew G. Marshall says
You’re right it does hurt and I bet you’re feeling angry (as well as the sadness that comes across the most strongly from your post). It’s fine to want to save your relationship (and I applaud you for that) but you’ve also got to look after your own sanity too. In my book, My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else, I have three strategies for your situation. Firstly, time out (so you can replenish your batteries and think more clearly), radical acceptance (where you look at how things are rather than where you’d like them to be) and withdrawing (which is different from giving up). So rather than concentrating on him, I would look at self care (sleep and food) and what helps you relax and feel more balanced…. that’s the point to make a decision not now.
My Husband and I have been together for almost 4 years and have been married 1 year and 7 months. Our first year of marriage had some struggles including a lack of physically intimacy for a Year and two months and counting. Recently my husband told me that he wants a seperation, and posssibly a divorce and that he doesn’t feel he should be married, that he wants to be free to do what he wants to do, feels like he isn’t marriage material and on top of that is struggling with SSA. I was devastated to say the least. I told him that I was willing to work on his struggles together as we are best friends and he shouldn’t go through this alone. He said he wanted and needed to do it alone & also mentioned that marriage was not what he expected and wanted and when I asked him what he wanted he couldn’t answer. Today he packed up his belongings and went to stay at a friends house, I explained that for him it’s easy because he has been thinking and planning this but for me it is all of a sudden and that I would like him to stay. He mentioned he would come home tomorrow but I don’t believe him. He also said he wanted to move out completely by mid march. I am really sad and concerned and also worried about money as I am in school full time and he is the only one working. He doesn’t know if he wants to be married and says he wants to explore but I don’t know what to do. Please give any advice.
Andrew G. Marshall says
When a man says he doesn’t know if he wants to be married but he wants to ‘explore’ that normally means, he wants to date other women – especially if you haven’t had sex for a while. I know my answer is probably going to make you feel angry with him – quite understandable – but if you go in all guns blazing he’ll either clam up, get angry or walk away. So ask him calmly if he is interested in other women. Keep asking more questions and listen, listen, listen.
I’ve recently had my wife tell me she isn’t in love with me,but she does love me. She suggested a temporary separation,she says that the spark isn’t there when she looks at me,(I’ve also told her that I understand about it not always being their when it comes to passion or spark,but I guess mine isn’t as prominent) we always have fun together and never fight and I treat her great so she says she doesn’t understand why it’s not there. 4 1/2 yrs ago when we were dating I messed up and she says that’s when she lost it, said it comes and goes and she even had questions on our wedding day. It’s just the 2nd day of separation but it feels like the 2nd yr and I just don’t know what to do. I’ve recently realized that after my mistake I wasn’t being the same man I was before it happen. I started to treat her really good but lost that respect she had for me as a man. I became her little puppy instead of her boyfriend/fiancé/and husband. Please if you have any advice for me I would really appreciate it. I feel as if I’m losing my mind,we moved to her home-town in which I know nobody but her and her family. This separation is between me her and the friend she’s staying with as well, I’ve spoke to a friend about it and he’s agreed to keep it to himself. Please give any advice that may help me and my marriage.
Andrew G. Marshall says
A temporary separation is tough. Especially if you are in a strange town and don’t know anybody. I think you should look at my book ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you.’ You’ll see people lose the spark because they don’t argue enough. When we have a row, all the issues – like what happened four and a half years ago – come up to the surface and then can finally be sorted. You should also read ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ and look at the fulsome apology as this is a good way of getting the lines of communication open again between you and your wife. Good luck.
My boyfriend and I recently separated…less than a week ago. We have been together for almost 4 years and living together for 2.5. We’ve been having problems for the last year or more. They started when his ex sued for relocation custody. She lost the first time but tried again the next year. A trial was never scheduled for that year so the kids were in limbo for over 2 years. The ex did a lot of really terrible things with manipulating them etc. The main focus of our life became focused on our mutual outrage. At some point, my partner started therapy to deal with all of this; I did not. I threatened our relationship multiple times and once I actually left. I said things to him like right person, wrong circumstances, and I even told him I wished I’d never met him. He eventually put up a wall between us. When I finally realized it was there, I stopped those behaviors. But it was too late and I became needy and insecure and constantly talked about our relationship that was. He finally made the decision to key the kids move because the upheaval it had caused them was so great. I got angry and he finally said I don’t need you to agree with me, I just need you to support me. I said no. He told me months ago that we were headed towards this and I said I’d stop the bad behaviors, but I didn’t. I made everything about me and I took everything personally. If he had to go help his parents because their basement flooded instead of coming to see me in New York while I was there for work, I got angry and felt slighted. There are many examples of this. I did start therapy, we even went together sometimes, but she wasn’t very helpful. He even said so at one point…that all we did was talk and vent but that we weren’t doing any actual work. But I didn’t listen. Finally, 5 weeks ago, after a somewhat benign comment from me about why things weren’t like they used to be, he snapped. He broke up with me, saying we are done, I am done, move out, no more therapy, I’m not changing my mind etc. He had asked for a break several times over the last 8 months or so but I had always talked him out of it. But like I said, nothing changed. He left on a business trip the next day and we didn’t talk. When he got back, we talked some but most of these conversations ended with him being frustrated and me being devastated. I tried my best to avoid him and the relationship conversations but I wasn’t always successful. He left again the following week and we didn’t talk again. We were in the same house together for most of this time and slowly it turned into taking a break rather than breaking up. But he wouldn’t give any terms or promises for the future. The last week was a bit different. He started coming into my room (I had moved into my daughter’s room early on) to hug me goodnight. He hugged me when he left to go out of town. He has said all along that this has never been about him not loving me…that he does. He will say it back if I say it first. I once said I hoped we could get back what we had and he said me too. We had the most incredibly open and loving relationship either of has ever had until the stress took over. The day I moved out I asked him to please let me back into his heart and he said he’s trying and that’s why we are doing this. He said we need to start over because we have both become different people than we were. He has told me I need to get back the strong woman I once was…the one he fell in love with. He needs to break down his wall because his guard is up with me and he can’t even express his emotions. He has texted me everyday since I moved out about mostly neutral things but he’s still making contact. He left the morning I was packing and he said it was because it was impossibly hard to watch me pack. I said this didn’t have to happen and he said you’re right, it didn’t. Until it did. Because now I don’t know any other way to do this. I heard him sob once as he walked down the hall. But as I said, he won’t show me much emotion. I told him I wouldn’t hurt him the ways I had any longer. He asked why now? I finally said that I thought it was because I didn’t really want to look in the deep, dark places that I’ve had to go since this happened. But I have now and I have realized how much work I need to do on myself. I’ve started with a new therapist and I really feel like she will be able to help me. That’s what he keeps telling me this time is for…to work on ourselves. And my head doesn’t disagree. But my heart is broken and doesn’t understand why we have to be apart to do this. Again, my head understands that we tried that and nothing changed. It’s confusing though that he says I love you, hugs me, was fine with me moving into temporary housing and not changing my mailing address. And yet he won’t talk about the future except to say he hopes we can get back what we had. I guess he needs to see the changes first. I am working very hard on not talking about us ad nauseam and becoming friends again first. About thinking about what I say and do so I don’t cause anymore damage. He has told me that with everything going on in his life, with his kids, etc, that our relationship was supposed to be the easy place and it wasn’t. He also told me that he thought I didn’t know how to be in a mutually giving relationship. He’s not wrong. I was raised by a single mother and my father abandoned us when I was 6. I’ve been selfish and a taker and I understand that I caused much of this. He has told me that the wall was a reaction to the pain I caused him. I love him more than anything and I would do anything to make this right again. I’m so afraid that with this separation, he will decide it’s over. And I won’t get the chance to show him that I can and will make the changes I need to be a better person, regardless of what happens with us. I realize that I’m making this about me and that I need to make this about him right now…what he needs to try and heal. But it just hurts so much. I need all the help I can get…
Andrew G. Marshall says
I think you’re doing really well – under difficult circumstances. Read back your posting and you’ll realise that you’ve made big strides forward. You’re looking at what YOU can do differently. You’re understanding how you got to this place and realised how far back this problem goes. Even better, you’re seeing the right therapist who is supporting you through all of this. You’ve also realised that your boyfriend needs to see some changes – rather than promises. So I think the help you need is to believe in yourself that when faced with a problem that you won’t go down the same old route that makes matters worse rather than better. Have a look at my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’. It will help keep you steady on the journey ahead.
Thank you for writing back to me. It’s been an interesting first week and a half for sure.
Later the same morning that I wrote to you he texted me asking if I had time to stop by the house after work to give my input on something’s…he has been remodeling one of the bathrooms. I said sure because I didn’t actually have any plans. A bit later, he asked if first we could meet at a store…to look at waste baskets. I agreed. He got there first and he was waiting in the car. I walked towards his car and he got out when he saw me. We talked for a minute and then he suddenly leaned over and hugged me, and kissed me on the mouth. It was just a peck but a little over two weeks prior, when he had hugged me when getting ready to go out, I leaned in to kiss him and he pulled away, saying be happy with what just happened…meaning the hug and an I love you. It was almost awkward because it didn’t happen right when we walked up to one another but rather in the middle of talking. It was very unexpected on my side. We shopped and then I followed him to the house. We looked at some things, and talked a little, and then I said I was going to go. He said “if you want to”. I got my things together and he hugged and kissed me again. We made it to the door and then we ended up talking another 15 minutes or so.
He’s continued to text me every day and yesterday we all went to breakfast together (his kids were here and my daughter was here as well). He hugged and kissed me goodbye in front of them which I feel is a good sign. The kisses still aren’t romantic but I think it’s a start. Tonight I texted him that I didn’t know if I was allowed to say this but I miss him. He answered back that I can say that and he knows what I mean about missing. It’s like he can’t quite say it yet but I didn’t press it. I just need to patient and let this all happen at a speed he’s comfortable with. It’s hard and I struggle sometimes (a lot actually) but there really isn’t another option. He will let me closer when he’s ready…it feels like it’s opened a little bit already.
Thank you again for responding…I ordered your book btw and I’m looking forward to reading it.
My husband and I have been married for 6 years. The last couple of months, my husband has shut down and said he felt disconnected from me. He decided he was not happy and needed to go find happiness away from me. He has a house across town, and two weeks ago he moved back to his house. After being apart for one week he asked me to go on a date. We had a great time and he asked me to go out for the following weekend. We spent the following weekend together and had a wonderful time. We connected for the first time in over 2 months. A couple of days after that, we met up and grabbed a quick dinner. At that dinner, I couldn’t help myself and told him I hoped we could figure it out. He told me that the last couple of weeks have felt nice to him, and that Living apart feels good to him right now and that he just wants to be happy. He told me that having the connection we’ve had over the last couple of weeks, feels positive to him. It makes me crazy, but I realized tonight, that right now it needs to be the journey that I focus on, and not the end destination. If we can connect on the journey- the end result should bring happiness. I have hope.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Congratulations. You’ve learnt something important. You can find out more about how to stay in the journey in my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ see in particular Chapter Seven
Martin Shaw says
My wife announced that she wanted a divorced around 6 months ago, I was of course devastated. We have been married for ten years. It came as a total shock. I’ve since read several of your books and I have been seeing a counsellor. With hindsight, the writing was on the wall. – text book – neglect of the marriage, focussing on my career and taking her love for granted. I’ve worked on myself for the few months and tried to put right all my failings. We attended a few sessions of counselling where I was convinced to move out of the family home to give her ‘space’. Which I did three months ago. We speak to each other daily as we have a little boy (aged 6) and we share child care duties. We mainly communicate in a very polite, kind way. However, when we discuss anything about our relationship things get heated. I want to work on the marriage whilst she has decided she wants out, yet she has stated that she doesn’t want to divorce, just for us to stay separated for a few years, her staying in the family, both of us caring for our son. Financially it will cripple us and emotionally I don’t think it’s sustainable.
She has said, ‘she loves me but she’s not in love with me’, and she wants a new start. I think I’ve read in one of your books – ‘it feels that she’s leaving me for someone she hasn’t met yet.’ This is how I feel. I’m in limbo and she refuses to attend any more counselling sessions, she is living in the family home and I’m doing everything I can to make her life work as she works on a freelance ad hoc basis. I’m being positive and helpful but nothing seems to come back the other way. She just won’t let me in. I feel as though I’m being emotionally used as she knows I’m the one trying to reconcile the marriage.
Should I just give up?
Should I move back into the family home?
Any words of wisdom would help.
Andrew G. Marshall says
When you talk about your marriage, you write, ‘it gets heated’ as if neither of you have any control over it. As I’m talking to you – rather than your wife – I want you to think about what you do which escalates the discussion so it’s no longer productive. Do you lose your temper? Do you listen? I know it is frustrating to be working so hard and getting so little back. I know your wife is 50% responsible for the communication braking down. However, the only thing you can control is your reaction. So what could You do differently? It could prompt a better discussion about the future where both of you can talk about your fears.
I just found out that my wife wants to have a trial separation. We’ve been married for 7 years. She recently admitted she had been having an affair for about 7 months. We live in a rural area and I started to suspect something was wrong when she would leave mid-week to go to doctor appointments, which she never did. The other guy came to our house and spent the night when I was away or when she went in the night before for her appointment. She then started having more “girl nights” out. She travels at times in her job and it got to the point that she started taking him on her trips.
There is so much that is great about our marriage or at least I thought. We bought a second house. Our three children are thriving in school and our first earned a full-ride scholarship. Like others’ experiences, little did I know our foundation was cracking. I got a huge promotion and raise, but with that came lots of hours and stress. That in turn affected our love life or lack of. Of course I pampered her, told her I loved her every day, and we were both consumed in our children’s education and activities.
I am of course devastated. This is my first marriage, her second, and I am so lost on what to do. I have recommended we see a marriage counselor, but she does not respond. Currently she is blaming herself and needs to “figure out the mess she created”. I told her we’re both to blame. She even wrote that it pains her that I am trying to make it work and trying to make her happy. She states that it’s her and not me and the kids.
I know I need to distance myself. I find myself telling her everything will be ok, I’m here to support her and listen. From reading though, I may be smothering her and I need to giver her space. That will be difficult as we did everything together. We text each other every day and even call to see how the other’s day is going. I know I have to figure what happened and I have a general feeling what are some of the issues. How do I confront her with them? Or do I wait for her? I want her to tell me what made us get to this point, but she is not ready. I also feel like others that my wife loves me but is not in love with me.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Why was your wife vulnerable to an affair? It’s an important question to answer. You give a clue that you were more father and mother that husband and wife. It’s great that you told her that you lover her but perhaps she had a different love language – see my book ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’.
Do what's best says
Dear Andrew Marshall,
My husband and I of five years separated a few months ago. We married and moved in with each other after 6 months and I guess our relationship was a learning curve and a challenge balancing the naiveté of our early decision but also keeping in focus the desire to have the future we both envisioned. He said in the last few years he began to feel that he wasn’t stable or strong and that he lost the energy to work on our relationship and the communication problems we had. I often felt I wasn’t valued and that a lot of the very positive things about our relationship were going unacknowledged. He had asked for a separation before because he wanted a radical change and I always tried to show him the positives instead. But a few months ago he made the decision and I have accepted it and supported it with the greatest amount of kindness I can in this painful time. I love and respect him dearly and feel in my very depth that we can be happy together. He seems confused and has been making contact with me ever since the split and we see each other from time to time and its lovely and we often have fun. Sometimes we also discuss the relationship but I am not sure talking is going to change anything. He feels something is missing but he doesn’t know what but its clear to me that we both care deeply about one another. I don’t know what’s best to do at this point. Keep seeing each other like this casually or retreat till he finds some clarity? He already knows where I stand and that I feel there is hope for us.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am pulled in two different directions on this post. It is always useful to keep the lines of communication open and to keep talking. However, I wonder if his hope that ‘clarity’ will somehow land on his shoulders is a bit of wishful thinking. If he wants to know what it is really like to end the relationship – and not have you around to do his emotional housekeeping and to be advice headquarters – he’s not going to know if you’re having cosy nights out together. So where do you go from here? I think you’re right: talking together or waiting for something to click inside him is not going to work. I would set up a session with a couples therapist to review how you’ve got to this point, how much his unhappiness is down to personal issues (like career, unresolved problems from his childhood, depression etc) and how much it is caused by relationship issues. You can then make an informed decision together about how to move forward. If he says NO, I would question his level of commitment to your marriage and consider retreating
Do What's Best says
Thank you so much for your thoughts. I had asked him if he thinks a therapist would help and he feels he needs to see one on his own but I doubt he will take that step. He said he feels something integral was missing in our relationship or that our beings simply exclude one another. I don’t see this even though I am trying to see his story, to see beyond my narrative. I’ve decided to see a therapist alone because I can’t seem to get perspective on whats going on. It’s also very hard to not have any control over something this important in my life and deal with the immense feelings of regret that I have somehow disappointed or caused suffering to someone I love despite my best intentions. Although the sadness is at times debilitating I guess I must focus on myself and go forward in ways that are in my control.
I didn’t give my wife enough time for us to be together, I took time for granted with her. I love her with all my heart, we didn’t agree on the same things so much but no question we still love each other. She left almost 2 weeks ago, I’m going crazy because I know me not giving her the time she deserved is the reason she left. I just want to grow old with her and never take time with her for granted again.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Have a look at my book ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ it will explain how you can show that love in a way that will get through to her. It will also explain how to make a fulsome apology and show her what you’ve learnt from the separation. Good luck.
Emily Gilliam says
I have been married for 22 years. I found out a year and half ago my husband had been having an affair with a co worker. He would get caught and then stop for awhile then return back to her. He left his job to get away from her but that didn’t even stop the affair. Each time he would get caught I would make him leave but then he would make promises and I would let him come back. I thought these last five months he really was done with her and had finally decided to end it. But… I was wrong! I found out they still had been communicating. This time I know I have to stay strong and do things different. He says he loves me and has no intentions of being with her.. She’s like a bad drug.. We live in Ohio and he is thinking of taking a job in Flordia and moving in with family so he can get away from her and we can get a new start. I told him we need at least 6 months so he can sort out his feelings. Any advice on how to deal with a long distance marriage?
Andrew G. Marshall says
The secret of a good marriage is good communication and that’s even more the case when you’re separated or long distance. Have a look at my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ because that not only goes through the basics for better communication but would give you some of the tools for working on yourself and recovering from the trauma of the affair. So while he’s sorting out his feelings, you can be sorting yourself out. Whenever you’re feeling anxious or panicking, don’t be tempted to fix him (not your job, that’s up to him) but focus on your own journey.
Ashley A. says
2 weeks ago my husband said he was done with me. Said he has been unhappy and loves me but isn’t in love with me. We are still living together but he sleeps in the basement by his choice. I’ve know he has been speaking to a coworker and hanging out with them. 2 days later he finally confessed he’s been sleeping with her for weeks and wasn’t debating not even telling me. We have been together 11 years and married almost 3 in June and we have 2 children 7 & 3. 5 days ago took his wedding ring off which was a hit to the heart. He is still sleeping with this girl who he says he didn’t even want to be with. He told me a few nights ago I could make dinner and he would watch a show I suggested together as friends. I am absolutely crushed. There are days I feel hopeless and days I feel confident. I find he makes plans then stays out extra late to see her then comes home. He has emotionally shut me out. Is there still hope I can get my husband back and bring those feelings of love back? It is all I’ve ever wanted since I was 17 years old. I am at a loss regardless of how happy I’ve looked to him the past few days.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thank goodness, the truth is out in the open. Your husband is having an affair and, at the moment, he does not want to end it. So let’s cut straight to the chase: can your husband get back his feelings of love? Yes. I cover all this in ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ However, he is no place to do the work for sorting out his marriage because he is medicated his unhappiness with attention (and sex) from another woman. So please don’t expect any positive progress for a while… in fact it will get a whole lot worse before it gets better. Ask yourself, can I cope with him living in the house and conducting his affair with another woman? Tell him, how it is effecting you and the pain you’re experiencing. If he can’t give her up yet, and mean it, he might need to leave. You cannot be just ‘friends’ with someone you love and certainly not when he is breaking your heart.
I have been married for almost 8 Years out of which we have only been living together for 3 years almost due to visa sponsorship issues. So we basically had a long distance marriage majority of the time. I have a slightly different case than most people in the sense that I met my husband via family members when I was 18 and I was completely smitten by him because of his superficial charm. We talked long distance for a few years (he was in London while I was in NY) and got married very early (I was 22). We are both of South Asian ethnicity where it is common to have arranged marriages, conservative traditions etc. Anyways, my husband had remained superficially charming up until we got married. Right after the wedding he refused to plan a honeymoon and instead I was stuck spending ( what could have been our honeymoon) time with his family. He immediately showed very little interest in me post wedding saying that in South Asian culture the husband doesnt spend too much time with the wife when the family is around. (BTW his family lives in Pakistan and he would grew up there as well whereas I grew up in the US). To make a long story short my husband had never shown clear interest in me except at certain times for example when it came to gathering evidence for his sponsorship visa to the US. After moving to the US a few months later he became very emotionally distant (even more so than before) and I discovered that he was has been talking to random women on the phone. He was also caught with dating profiles thay he had made online and when confronted he had lied that someone played a prank on him and made all of these profiles. I have caught him texting women and talking to women. When I confront him he down plays it by saying they are just friends or I had lent her money or she is just an older co worker. Another red flag is that he continously hides his phone from me. He doesn’t as much as look at me or even talk to me all week. I have decided to do a trial separation after discovering that he was planning to apply for a visa to new Zealand without me and our 3 year old daughte . Again when I confronted him, he down played the whole thing saying that it was a joke and how he never intended to apply. I am not sure if this relationship is a dead end at this point.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You’ve found all these red flags and he minimises or pretends it was a joke or prank (by some unspecified person). What more evidence do you need to make your mind up?
I have been with my husband for 15 years, and its either really good or really bad. He’s a dominating kind of guy, calls all the shots. I am a people pleaser. I grew up with a mother that nothing was ever good enough, it still isnt. I’m a grown woman with a child and she still refolds the blankets after I’ve folded them, stuff like that. I have horrible self image of me . I hate the way I look, and feel so unattractive, but my husband has always been trying to be close to me, and I have pushed him away again and again for months. He also has diabetes, and when we get close, it makes his blood sugar drop and when that happens, he can have seizures, so I live in fear all the time. Well a few weeks ago, he had just had it, and flipped a switch and decided hes not happy because of me pushing him away, and hes been staying out all night for about 2 weeks. I of course accept my part in this for pushing him away, but he didn’t tell me how he was feeling. We definintly don’t commuincate well. So, of course I think hes cheating, he never admits it, but how do I know. There is a lot of evidence but no proof. We have talked a lot, and he says he wants me to be happy, and that he failed me. He doesn’t want me to want for anything. But he will work, come home and shower, and then leave for the night. What am I supposed to think? After about two weeks of this, we had a birthday party for our child, and he said he wanted to talk after. We talked and cried and hugged, and we were intimate. It was so nice, it had been so long, and now I feel so stupid, because what if he has been cheating? How could I be with him knowing that. I know we love each other. We haven’t been that close in a long time. I have no idea what to think? What to do? I can’t keep watching him walk out the door all the time. I just don’t know. I need help.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You have diagnosed your problem: you’re a people pleaser and you keep everybody happy (beyond yourself). But here’s the rub, by going along with what other people want (for example over how to fold blankets), you just build up resentment – which comes out as bad temper or pushing other people away. Guess what the result is…. nobody is happy. So I would go back to basics and learn to communicate better. I cover it all in my book Wake Up and Change Your Life. As for your husband, I would be surprised if he’s not having an affair – men don’t go out night after night for other reasons. But stick to the facts at hand, it is not acceptable to go out night after night. If he’s not happy, let him tell you about it. He’ll say lots of hurtful things but don’t get defensive – because he’ll do the same. Listen and ask more questions…. when he’s finished (and feels heard) ask him: how will going out night after night fix that. Hopefully, at this point you can have a sensible discussion (and put into practice what you’ve learnt about communicating better).
Tremont wellmaker says
Very good read. I have been with my wife for 7 years and just got married in June of 2016. Of course was hit with the I love you but not in love. She said that she was not emotionally connected. We haven’t dont anything intimate in about 6 months. She wants to try and separation because everything else didn’t work. I still find myself helping with bills, I can go see the kids everyday if I wanted, I just don’t see how that is much of a separation. She said that she is not happy in the relationship, she doesn’t want to be in a relationship, she is not meant to be in love. She claims that she always felt this way. My problem is that during all this time together and planning a wedding none of this came about. Now close to a year of being married this is the option she wants. I just need help on what to do and what not to do. I love her dearly and will always love her. I also want her to be happy so I’m torn on what my actions should be and if I should start moving.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Have a look at my book ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ it will explain why women fall out of love, what you can do to repair the bonds (on your own) and your options if she does not respond.
My husband of 17 years was having an affair with someone nearly 30 years his junior (he is 55). Discovery was only two weeks ago. Obviously this was an escape to a fantasy world with someone so young. We are in crisis however able to communicate well. He has said repeatedly he love me and does not want to lose me, our children, our marriage, etc. He also says that he does not “love” her although he does recognize there are some emotions attached (which for him are scary as he is a former marine who has issues with emotions/attachments in general). He has said he “ended” it with her twice now, but honestly he still has emotions attached and states that he ended it “incompletely”. I believe this is called limerence. I completely understand the inability to turn off a switch and shut off emotions for someone-as much as I don’t want to understand it I do. He really feels he needs a short separation to have space to get his head twisted back into place. He said he needs to stop this cycle of self-hatred he is in. He is in a bad place emotionally for doing what he has done, questioning himself and truly hating himself. He also feels that he needs to “unwind” this relationship with the OW the “right” way, meaning he has to completely end it with her over time so as he can let go of whatever emotions are attached (even if he recognizes they are fantasy) so he can come back home to me and the children and be, “the best husband and father he can without ever looking back at that relationship”. Whether I like it or not, it does make sense to me for him to want to completely end and distance himself from that relationship and to work on ending his self-hatred before he can come back home and give his love and attention to this marriage. My question is, do you think this is a reasonable assessment? Also, what type of rules should we be putting in place if any in regards to how the separation will work. We are discussing renting a place for him for only 60 days in hopes he can spend that time “unscrewing” his head and completely detaching from that relationship. Both of our desires are to redefine and save our marriage. We also have two small children age 7 and 9. I would appreciate any feedback you might have.
My husband recently told me he isn’t happy, and hasn’t been for a long time. He started his own business 5 years ago which is very successful. He is extremely busy though. He works non stop and feels like there is an incredible weight on his shoulders. I stay home with our 2 children under 5. When he told me he wasn’t happy he also told me that we don’t have the “spark” anymore and are more like roommates. I told him we need to spend some time together just the two of us (which we never do, as he is always working and I am always with the kids.) he says he has no hope for us and it would be “awkward” to do anyhthing with me. I’m completely heart broken. I’ve known things haven’t been right for a long time but attributed it to him being over worked and over stressed, so I’ve just tried to be supportive and not push the issue. Is our marriage saveable?
Lost in love says
I’ve been with my husband for 10 years, married for nearly 8. 2 small children. Recently all the things I’ve had shoved away in my mind, because I just had to get on with life/parenting, or because addressing them when my husband got us nowhere, came to crisis point when, after months of trying to deal with the fact I had strong feelings for someone else (a great friendship first and foremost), it turned out the feelings were mutual. What followed was my being consumed with stress because I could no longer pretend to myself that things were ok PLUS this good friendship-turned-emotional affair is so consuming. In a way,I think it would be easier if it was just a sexual thing but it’s so much more.
Anyway, my husband knows most of the details now and we’ve started seeing a counsellor. I’ve been taking herbal stress support remedies to help me cope. (In the first week I lost 3kgs as I couldn’t eat properly). The stress is less intense (I don’t wake up feeling like I’ve been kicked in the guts every morning) but it’s still on going, like waves of sadness, feeling trapped and all the rest that ebb, flow and sometimes crash over me throughout the day.
The first feeling of peace I got was when I finished applying for a council house two days ago and told my husband I really thought I needed my own space.
I am one on those women who desperately feels like I NEED space. We live in a static caravan on a farm (which actually was fun until this exploded!) Now I feel that our aim to just work on ‘building a friendship’ right now is crumbling because every day I’m drawn into discussions about THE topic, over and over. I understand he’s upset and hurting. But I feel there’s no room for real positive interactions in this environment, or they are well outnumbered by the strain and energy-draining interactions. These include being asked daily if I’ve contacted the other man, & having observations and speculative comments made about me. I’m trying really hard not to contact the other guy anymore, at least for now, but I find it very upsetting and frustrating (I understand that my husband probably feels that about the idea of me CONTACTING him!)
I truly feel that, if the marriage has any hope (which I struggle to see because I have only a sibling-like affection for my husband and a deep loving desire for this other man) then living separately is the only possible way. My husband doubts my motives and believes I’m, perhaps unconsciously, propelled by the idea of being with this other guy. I get that he feels that but that’s truly not my thought process at all.
I do wish I could genuinely desire our marriage to work though. I know I can’t have an affair, or completely run of with this other guy in the immediate future! But I also feel so lacking in hope or direction for the marriage itself. I’m trying to give it time in case something in me changes, but it feels like treading water and its exhausting. It makes me wonder how long I can physically continue!
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like you need to share these feeling with your husband in your counselling – particularly no room for positive interactions and endless talking about the ‘topic’. You sound like a woman at the end of her tether and ready to break. Please listen to yourself. If you’d like to know why marriages reach the sibling stage and how to get out of it and have a proper relationship again, you could read my book ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’.
My wife says we need a break. I told her I do not want to leave as I love her and her 5 year old son. The other day I informed her that I have made arrangements to go live at friends. I told her I need her to ask me to leave as I don’t want to go. She has indicated that you’re not moving out completely you’re just packing a bag and going to a buddies for a bit. She has yet to ask me to leave. Is my marriage over? I am a worst case scenario person and that’s what I feel is happening.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Being a worst case scenario guy is going to make the next few months really difficult because you need to take each day as it comes, listen to your wife – rather than dashing off somewhere into your brain working out where this might lead. The flip side is that you will also be a best case scenario guy…. who will be thinking ‘she hasn’t asked me to leave which means everything is OK’ and that’s equally dangerous because you’re still not truly listening to her. You marriage is not over. What happens next depends on you keeping calm. Read my book ‘My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Any More’ and don’t think any further ahead than the next few days.
What does it mean if over a nine year marriage for about 8 years of them my husband tells me that he doesn’t hate me because he doesn’t hate anyone, when I ask him if he loves me. He refuses to ever tell me he “loves me” and has alienated any affection for me. Never holds my hand, never hugs me never kisses me spontaneously. When I express to him that I would be so happy if he did so and that it would give me so much more motivation and energy he doesn’t seem to care. Even when I tried to give him affection he either didn’t respond or showed dislike of my efforts to show him love. Instead he verbally abused me with words like stupid, dumb bitch, and what did you do all day today sit on your ass. I have two young children and he constantly psychology abused me and the children, he tried to flirt deliberately in front of me and make me jealous for years. I did become very jealous because he would deliberately tell me stories of the latest flirts he had from women. I would get jealous also because he never ever showed me any kind of affection at all so I felt that he was probably having affairs. He lies about everything even things he doesn’t need to lie about. He is always buying expensive brand perfumes and clothes for himself and going to the gym and leaving me to wear second hand clothes and struggle to save for my children’s therapy and education. He hated that I put my children’s education over spending money for fun. I did allow spending for fun but tried to also balance money for my children’s needs. He tried to force me to work but I refused in order to look after my sick children. He told me that I am not supporting him financially even though my parents basically kept us alive so many times by buying us a car, helping with rent, children’s operations etc etc but he told me that my parents should kiss the shoes he walks in because no one else would marry their daughter so they should give us more money. He has left me and now tells me that I was a good wife and mother and that I have a beautiful heart but that I am not the right women for him. He tells me he will not sleep with any one until we get a divorce but I feel he is hiding someone and is lying as usual. We are very religious and got married in a church but that means nothing for him now although he still goes to church. His behaviour seems very diabolical to me and various councillors and psychologists have said that he seems extremely selfish and has many narcissistic, sociopath and psychopathic traits. I just thought at least he could of told me Wether he ever loved me or not. I just needed and still need some honesty to get some sort of closure. At one stage during the separation when I over heard him telling his mother chillingly how he forced a women to abort her pregnancy and he called her a liar and bitch and he showed no remorse at all. I was more shocked that his mother was only concerned about him making sure the child was aborted and that she trusted his decisions. She is also very religious from a religion that is antiabortion but she was enabling his whole behaviour and amoral reasoning. I just don’t know. I need your opinion on what this all means.
Hi, it’s Rose again, I forgot to mention that when I overheard the abortion conversation with his mother and how he told his mother that he has been sleeping with so many beautiful women as well. If I calculated the abortion it would mean that his mistress got pregnant well before our separation and he has known this women client for over 6 years as well. I have always been suspicious of his affair with her and even had his mother help me convince him to stop communication with her. But during the conversation with his mother his mother did not seem shocked or surprised that her son had been sleeping with her and she just told her son that there was a better time for this kind of behaviour insinuating that he was better of getting her pregnant after the divorce which leads me to believe that he and his mother were planning for him to leave me and him be with the other women. His mother also agreed wholeheartedly with her sons excuse that his marriage to me was a failure and that I was crazy, despite his mother telling me for so many years that her son was treating me badly and that he was the one that needed to treat me better and he was in the wrong. I confronted my husband about the abortion and mistress and he then cried (first time I ever saw him cry and it was not out of remorse) and told me that it was just a lie and that he and his mother pretended the whole scenario deliberately let me over hear it to see if I was trying to overhear it. But the conversation was extraordinarily natural and there is no way it could of been an act. My psychologist believes he is lying to me to save his mothers face because if his relatives knew how she agreed with him and how he admitted to forcing his mistress to abort then they will loose a lot of face. He went to church and put his hand on a bible to prove to me that it was all an act but he has swore on the bible before and then lied again about other things before. On the day I caught him out he decided to return to me with 70% chance but refused to go to counselling so because I couldn’t Stand the uncertainty and I felt he was just pretending to calm me down I gave him an ultimatum of 100% return but he could stay physically separated while working on the marriage via counselling or he could decide that he won’t return to me. He told me that he needed time but I refused because I didn’t trust him and I needed him to stop dangling the 70%carrot in my face of which he would reduce or increase according to if he liked my behaviour that day or not. He decided that he can’t return to me and didn’t want to go to counselling. I was kind of relieved I had an answer but so sad that he felt not one inkling of trying to get help for our marriage. He felt that his 70% was like a test to keep me on my ties and to see if I did well he might up it to returning to me but the abortion and mistress issue made me loose any kind of trust and the fact he suddenly decided to return 70% only when I caught him out. He has always played games with other people as well as myself so it is hard for me trust him. Now he seems happy that he decided not to return to me while I am sad and confused and have been told I am a victom of abuse by councillors. I have told him when the time for divorce comes up I am willing to give him a divorce and that the sooner the better, but he doesn’t seem to be so happy about my response to set him free from me. I feel that he had been trying to force me to leave him for so many years but when he saw I was always determined to stay loyal for our children he decided to end it for possibly a wonderful life with that mistress. He vehemently still denies anything has happened to this day. There is so much more he has done to me but this is the essence of it. Please advise as to what you think he had been trying to do to me.
Kind Regards Rose
Andrew G. Marshall says
Unhappy people – whose lives are a mess – run around in all directions trying to feel better. They think a mistress will make them happy. Their wife finds out and wants out of the marriage and suddenly they think, maybe I love her after all, so they run after her again and will her tell her whatever it takes to get her back. However, once the relief of the reunion has worn off, they are back worrying how to be happy. What they don’t understand is that the problems are all inside them! They need to understand themselves and why they got into this mess. (His mother sounds a very strange character and I wonder what it must have been like being brought up by her). However, ultimately, it doesn’t matter what he’s up to… the bigger question is why have you allowed him to do it? Ask yourself, does he show any real evidence of changing – beyond his promises? I don’t think so!
Hi Andrew my husband left in June. He said he felt nothing for me. We have been married 11 years together 14 and it was a second marriage for him. I worked with him while he was separating and got together after he left the 1st wife. We have a 5yo and 2yo. At first he said he might need counselling and it could be from past history, guilt etc. then he started being angry saying it was all my fault. I have read your books and definitely can own my behaviour in the last year hasn’t been my best. I have been controlling nagging, and put the kids and everyone first. The first few months I was begging angry etc. I have since found out about a woman at work who I think he is living with. I confronted him and asked for the truth and he said I was a disgusting woman who must have got a private investigator. Still wouldn’t admit to the affair. I have since done some really hard work in having a look at how I have behaved and interact and each time we have conversations when he picks up the kids. I have been calm and business like. He has on occasion got angry saying you have worried about yourself the whole marriage. I have apologised and said I did not realise I was being like that and am trying to change. He then has general polite conversation. I am trying to heal and move on but realise I had a good man and a good relationship prior to our 2nd child. I can see where being a mum and going to work sent me a little control crazy out of fear. How do I know if he will ever change his mind and be open to change. He is definitely passive and bottles his opinions and feelings. I am changing being less domineering but how do I know if he is open to a second chance or if I just need to tell
Myself to forgot about this marriage and move on. He has been paying half our financial costs.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Congratulations on your hard work. I know it’s hard to live with uncertainty. However, I would give him time to notice your changes and to believe that they will stick. Slowly but surely, he will begin to open up and talk more. Be positive about the future and he could come round to your way of thinking.
My wife recently told me that for 27 years of marriage we have not grown together as a couple, that its said that I never really got to know her that she and my children have been carrying the burden of all my suffering due to the divorce of my parents 25 years ago. I have done everything for her economically she has had a good life I just built her her very own business a year ago. She suggested a trial separation which I agreed I am currently living in my second home. Yes I have made mistakes, I was taught that the mighty dollar was king and that work was all there was so that’s what I did for 22 years maybe neglecting family time or wife time. I don’t know what to do and I constantly blame my self but I still love her very much.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You’ve got to show your wife that you can be different. Skip work and take her out. Switch off your phone and talk to her. Spend more time with your children, so they know that you love them too. It’s never too late to change and my books will show you how. I suggest starting with ‘My wife doesn’t love me any more’ and progressing to ‘Wake up and change your life’.
In limbo now says
We were expecting and I found out about his infidelity. We lost the child. He told me that it was over but still
Continued. We are on a trial
Separation and he insists we communicate better. But we does not want to create opportunities to do that. I have tried to have him go to counseling. He did not. What additional help can you give us?
Andrew G. Marshall says
I would ask him for his suggestions of how the two of you can communicate better. What rules do you need to put in place? Should you talk face to face, over the phone or texts? How can you both listen better? My guess is that he won’t have any ideas but that doesn’t matter because you can make some suggestions. I have plenty in my books. I’d suggest starting with ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ which has a lot on better communication. If you begin to communicate better, it could change the dynamic and he will be more willing to listen too. However, my suspicion is that he is not really interested in ‘communicating better’ but using this as excuse to keep you at arm’s length so he can keep both his marriage and his affair in play.
Valentina Guevara says
Hi Andrew! Your article has been very enlightening. I was wondering which of your books your recommend for my situation: My boyfriend and I have been living together for a year. We used to fight a lot, and had bad arguments. I had a miscarriage when I was about 6 months pregnant, which was very rough (this happened 6 months ago). He said he needs time to be happy again with himself, and is moving to California (I live in SC). He said he loves me and he is still in love with me, but he needs time and space. I feel abandoned, and very sad. I have a job opportunity near him, however I am afraid that I will regret my decision of moving near him, instead of just living my life away from him.
i’ve been reading your posts again and again. i want a marriage reconciliation but i guess my wayward spouse doesnt. since last december, he has been regularly visiting the kids in my apartment. sometimes he stays overnight. he said we should be intimate instead of him doing it with someone else. he said that everytime he pays a visit, he was thinking if we will still be okay.
last february he sent me a text message saying that we should end everything because he is just doing the things for the kids.
after two weeks things were okay again.
last monday the “then” OW contacted me on facebook asking for her carkeys which i got from my husband’s bag last year. i said i already lost it. she asked me if my husband and I are okay and when was the last time we had sex. she said she only asked because they had sex july last year.
i told my husband about it and he said to just ignore that because they were already through. he slept here that same day. and earlier this morning he sent me a text message again saying that we should end everything because he is just doing the things for the kids.
he said that i should stop using the kids and that i should not chase him, which i am not doing. i gave him the space that he asked for. i dont even send him a text message. he was the one going here and i dont get to see him unless he comes over.
i told him that we should settle this with the kids so that they will not get confused. i said i will respect his decision but he should be the one to explain this to our kids.
thank you for your time.
Confused and lonely says
My wife and I have been married for over ten years and until recently I thought very happy. Over the last few months she has brought up that she’s been unhappy for a long time and doesn’t know if she wants to be with me anymore. We have to young children and she’s weighing whether or not to stick it out for the family or be selfish and pursue her own happiness.
I am the type of husband that will do and has done everything thing I can for her to be supportive emotionally, have deeper connections with I do all the house chores, improving in the bedroom, we both work full time make the same money. Family friends and co workers are astonished how much I do for my wife and fam and what a good guy I am and despite all that my why is she so unhappy. I ve even made lots of personal improvements to do what she thinks with help a long with the help of our therapist.
I m good looking clean funny and sensitive. I have said some stupid things over the years but nothing unforgivable. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. She’s very alpha female and particular which I love about her. She’s claiming to be on a self finding spiritual astrophsiologic jounrey. Doesn’t know if I have it in my to join her on that. So there are two things this journey and being unhappy. Anyways just last week she had been crying which isn’t normal for her so I asked what’s up how she’s doing if she was leaning either direction in regards to our relationship and she said no but as we talked I figured out that her and the therapist think separating is the best route for both of us. One – I will grow and get stronger two- she will get space to figure out what she wants.
I m it if that’s what it takes to rebuild. We still say we love each other and are very civil and caring. I still will do anything for her. As we spoke about the pending separation she says that she can do whatever she wants talk to who ever go wherever and be with whoever during s legal separation. And that I can’t say anything or ask and she’s will never tell me anything about it. She said she’s not seeing anyone and doesn’t have any plans to really and I honestly believe her she’s kind of a prude but lately she’s been talking about sex a lot and getting detailed about it I don’t know if it’s cuz we have done anything in long time or she cuz it’s a lot of times been a chore for her. Not always though. So the talk has been that I need to move out to give her space. Why should I move out i know what I want to be home with my wife and kids I don’t need space or to get out and find myself and she says I m controlling which is false. But I do say that she should be doing whatever or whoever she wants during a separation. I m not ok with that and I m especially not interested it watching my own kids while she goes out and does whatever. I m confused don’t know what to do or thing but I think if she needs this journey or figuring out what she wants I need to make sure that my kids are taken care of and safe. She’s very attractive and could do whatever very quickly if she wanted to men check her out all the time even in front of me sometimes.
What do I do about the doing whatever she’s wants and how do I handle that? We both love each other and what it to work. We re going to separate for at least a month. The plan is for me to stay as close as possible be around for my kids and the schedules. She said if she didn’t think this could help we would just get a divorce so that’s basically all the hope that I have. But when the therapist says despite all the good I am doing and changes I am making it’s not helping my wife make up her mind it’s been just shy of one year living like this and that’s what’s scary to me that if I m not around doing good how will it help cuz it didn’t make a different when I was around. I love her so much and feel desperate to make things for my kids for me and my wife both. She’s convinced that despite all the good that I ve done in supporting her in so many ways and being there for her and despite me being a good man that she’s been living in hell with me and that I seek to drag her down to them depths of hell and want to crush all her happiness??? I don’t understand that at all and yet her perception has become her reality in her eyes. And she’s always been the type that cannot be convinced of anything by anybody unless it’s her decision or conclusion.
Andrew G. Marshall says
When someone asks ‘can I see other people while on a trial separation’ and asks ‘you won’t tell anybody’…. it sounds like she already has a crush (or worse) on someone else. I’m sorry but it sounds like she is doing what a lot of unfaithful people do. They call it ‘keeping my options open’. Deep down, she knows the path that she’s on is not going to bring her happiness but she dare not look to closely because in her eyes staying put is ‘living hell’. So she is, in her eyes, caught between a rock and a hard place. So she tries to keep both options open. Sadly, it destroys the partner. Ultimately, it doesn’t end well for the ‘unfaithful partner’ either. If you want to understand more about this problem look at my book: It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s an opportunity. (How to be 40 or 50 something without going off the rails). So what can you do? Instead of focusing on how to get your wife back, I would use your time with your therapist with asking the question: why do I allow myself to be treated like this? Why do I have no self respect? So in a nutshell: my advice is work on yourself because your wife is unavailable at the moment.
Love your work. I recently purchased “ILYB” and “My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Anymore”. Well, you can probably guess why. About a year ago, she expressed feeling ‘done’ with our marriage and I panicked, did all the wrong stuff, read everything I could get my hands on, but somehow the storm passed pretty quickly. We fell back into ‘normal’ without much explicit discussion. We are living in a foreign country for her job and are sort of ‘stuck’, so I think she decided not to do anything about her feelings. Now, because I was an idiot and never truly addressed the problem, she has suddenly announced she is sorry but she really wants out of the relationship, she feels like she is living with a friend, and we both deserve true happiness from a real, healthy marriage. She doesn’t feel it can be with us. Luckily, I remembered a lot of what I read a year ago, and I didn’t beg or argue. I asked a few questions and basically said ‘okay’, all while internally panicking!
I am reading and re-reading your books, and seeking support from other online resources, forums, etc. I truly believe there is hope for us, but I am paralyzed with fear of doing/saying the wrong thing. My main question is, “My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Anymore” is directed at people in my exact situation, and the tips and strategies are all great. But, I am still unsure how to implement them when my wife has already made up her mind. I can tell she is internally conflicted, but she feels hopeless and has decided to “do the selfish thing for once” and end it. We are still under the same roof (for now, but she has been asking my ‘thoughts’ on leaving; I am not going to leave until I have no choice because I think it is better for any chance of reconciliation if I am still physically present). We are sleeping in separate rooms. Before the ‘bomb drop’, we still did things like cuddle, hug, and hold hands, but our sex-life has been non-existant for a while. I am aware our marriage was far from healthy, but I will not go back to settling for that and I deeply regret allowing her to live unhappily and suppressing my own needs as well. I am working on improving myself, learning better communication, all the things in your book. But, I know that I need to somehow change her feelings so that she will change her decision. How can I show her I can do better when we are on such ‘over’ terms? A lot of strategies I have read emphasize non-pursuit, no talking about the relationship, no telling her ‘I love you’ or anything like that. Basically giving a lot of space and being distant. I feel like I am not ‘allowed’ to be loving to her and show her my communication can be focused on her and her feelings. I love my wife and am determined to win her back, but am struggling with a day-to-day approach. Any advice is greatly appreciated and thank for all the help you have already given through your writing.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You don’t have to ‘change her feelings’ you need to listen to her. When she gets angry, because she’s tried to tell you how she felt and you blocked, you need to listen some more. If she not angry, ask her: I can understand that you’re angry, please tell me what make you the most mad. Don’t promise to change or tell her everything will be OK or disappear, tell her that you’ll reflect, digest and then come back and tell her what changes you’re planning to make (rather than panicking and promising the moon and stars). So you’re not trying to change her feelings but accept them, listen to them and perhaps act on them. I would also like you to do the same with your feelings too. I would also like you to work on yourself – rather than try and change her. Please read ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ you will find it will help you deal with all the painful and complicated feelings that you’re going through. Finally, be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself for not listening sooner, you’re going to change now…
Stephen Walko says
I’m going through this right now, I have never felt so helpless. And cannot understand how a trial separation helps things. I’m getting blamed for something that I had no control over with an environmental factor and not exactly a good market to uproot ourselves immediately to change what’s bothering her. Currently have house for sell and plan on selling my business but I’m not even sure it’s worth it anymore
I am a little over three months into an in home separation from my husband after he ended his emotional affair. He does not consider it an affair because nothing physical transpired as he ended it once he realized the feelings he was having for his friend. From doing my own research I know that it was an affair and must treat it as such. He suggested the separation in home for three months (we have a 2 year old son). When three months was over he said he was not ready to reconcile because he can’t guarantee it won’t happen again and wanted three more months. Separation consists of us being allowed to date other people, his idea not mine. I agreed to it because I didn’t know what else to do. I am conflicted because I want him to stay in the home so we can keep reconnecting and I don’t think either of us should be away from our son. on the other hand, I don’t want him to think this is the new normal in our relationship and I will forever be OK if he wants to take a girl out for a drink or something. He says that being able to date has been the most helpful thing during our separation. He also said he wasn’t sure if what he was looking for existed. He basically said he met girls that were attractive but had nothing else going for them and he didn’t have a connection with them. He is really looking for the whole package and I am the closest thing to that but with the connection not being there for so long he is not ready to say he can commit to me and guarantee there will be no other infidelities in the future. I suppose I can respect that but still not sure what I should do. I feel like he’s using these women by giving them false hope to get over his issues as he isn’t really going to commit to a relationship with them. Should I continue to agree with it for 3 more months or tell him to move out? I love him and want to be with him only. I am very conflicted. Things have really improved for us. We had been emotionally and physically disconnected for so long especially after the birth of our son which I believe has a lot to do with it. We have started dating and more one on one time reconnecting. I go to therapy but he will not go. His behavior shows me he wants to be with me but still won’t completely agree to not being allowed to date others. He isn’t going on dates often I can say for sure since we live together and he is mostly home with my son and I when not working. Thank you for any advice.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I think you should find out more about how he feels about being a father and what that means to him – as this seems to be the launch pad for his extraordinary behaviour. I think you should find out more about how he feels about your transformation into a mother. I think you should talk about your sex life. I think you need to understand what this ‘whole package’ is and why it is so important to him? You will find some techniques for improving communication in my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’
My question is: How do you a handle a husband who after 27 years of marriage cannot let go of my mistakes 24-34 years ago (before I even met him)? There have been many times when we we are argue that he reminds me of my mistakes and reminds that I should worship the ground he walks on because he choose me. When that happens I feel no love from him or even valuing me as a person. Suggestions?
Andrew G. Marshall says
I would start by understanding why your husband is so insecure and values himself so much. If he spends so much time pointing out your mistakes or failings, it is probably to cover up his own feelings of being worthless. Next, I would calmly lay out the problem. You don’t seem to be able to forgive mistakes from before we met. It is making me miserable and I can’t go on like this. How do we move forward? Do we need help for this project? If he blanks you… tell him ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you.’ Hopefully, that will get him to the negotiating table.
My wife just told me that she wants to do a legal separation. She has been talking to a co worker for a while and thinks that she may have feelings for him. We have been in a rough patch with finance and busy work schedules. I love her more than when we first got married and I don’t want this to happen. What should I do?
Andrew G. Marshall says
Read my book ‘My wife doesn’t love me anymore’. It will help you understand how you have reached this point and what changes you need to make. Good luck and what ever you do… don’t panic (as that will make it worse).
Backstory: I have been married for 18 years. For the last 4 of them we had been disconnected and drifting apart in a sexless marriage (I have chronic illnesses and had undiagnosed depression which I believe contributed immensely to this) . I discovered this summer that he had a one night stand last year on a business trip that led to an 8 month emotional affair (texts,phone calls) and after that he engaged in another emotional affair (texts, calls, snapchat) with a local woman whom he and his parents are friends with in our small town this summer. He didn’t acknowledge this one as an affair “we are just friends who joke around” yet kept it all a secret from me and called me crazy for thinking that. This particular situation was and is difficult because it is a small town and they share the same friends (never mind that she goes to my in-laws house to visit!) We attempted reconciliation for 2 months but I so was severely traumatized by the discoveries and had PTSD like symptoms as well as depression and anxiety that it created alot of instability. In that time I asked him to block the woman on all electronic and social media and he did. I asked him not to see her and at that point I believe he had stopped. I then demanded he stop seeing the friends he shares with the other woman since they were talking about her and thus, keeping open the curiosity of her. He refused and so we ended in a stalemate that ultimately led to him moving out that day to his parents house. Neither of us had planned this that day; it just happened although he had threatened to leave because of all the chaos in the home.
My predicament now is this. It has been 7 weeks since he has left home. I am now medicated, in therapy and have come along way. I am feeling much better! He tells me he is confused about what to do. He says he loves me but there a “blocks” and won’t tell me what they are. I know he is very hurt and scared. He is also an avoidant person and told my psychiatrist that he basically has used distractions during this separation (parties, drinking, video games, TV) to not think about things. He is not interested in counselling to deal with his guilt/shame over the affairs or to attempt marriage counselling (we had a failed attempt this summer just after the affair discoveries where he felt blamed for all our problems). He says he reads articles on the internet and talks to his friends (who unfortunately are all divorced)…but its not really helping. I am concerned because I know the other woman comes over to the house to see my in laws (and of course now my husband is there!!) He has seen her at parties and they had “casual ” conversations according to him.
How do I proceed with this? I feel that I am in a delicate position in that he says he loves me but is not in love with me. I know I need to reconnect with him on an emotional level but can I address the situation with the other woman or will it be destructive? We text daily each other about random stuff, see each other during the week when he picks up the kids and he occasionally comes over for coffee with me. I want to reconcile but feel uncertain about the situation with other woman or his feelings. I worry that I might have made this bigger than it is in reality but then, maybe he still does have feelings for her…I am so confused with what to do! Is he having his cake and eating it to? Living a single/married life at his mom’s? I don’t know how much more I can take. I want to save my marriage. I try to go about living my own life but this is always in my mind too>
Andrew G. Marshall says
I know you are going to have trouble believing this but the other woman is just a distraction – like the parties, drinking etc. Ultimately, she is not important. What is? The blocks. The lack of boundaries with his parents. Why he is avoidant (ie scared). I can help with one of the ozher big questions: what is behind ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ I have a book that explains all about it. #
You are right, you need to address the causes not the symptom (the other woman). If you want help with all this, you could consider joining my support group
Finally have a look at My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else. It will give you some strategies to start off with.
Well a few days ago i felt things were pretty good. I work out of town for extended periods and have off and on for a while and were pretty good at it as it affords us financial stability. Recently i was off for two months and it set us back. Finally get back to work and since our last talk i have really been working on the things she said were bothering her. She wanted me to be healthier so i started eating better and working out that whole 2 months i was home we went to the gym together every other day. Weve been together 9 years married 4. She went out to think and stayed out until 3am not like her and wouldnt reply to my texts. I am at work out of town. She finally texted im home. Feeling something was a miss i pried it out of her that she’s still not happy and knows ive been trying but its too late she doesnt feel anything. She says its been going on for a couple of years. I told her i admit that i need to appreciate her more and make her feel special and that i would do anything even counseling. She is not interested in talking about it. A friend recently had a similar situation and they separated for a few months and things are going good for them so be recommended i try the same. I advised her that maybe we should take some time apart to help she replied i dont think it will help the situation but it will make her feel better. She is bronging our 2 kids to see me two days from now. Im a able to fix this? She said she loves me but is not in love with me. Weve never had any infidelity issues and argue as any other couple but she said it went so long where she fer i didnt want to do anything with her. I was depressed and she was too. She just stopped trying to tell me when things were wrong and thought it would go away. HELP!! I love her more than anything i want this to work.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Not arguing (when you need to) is a classic sign of ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’. So I suggest that you read the book. Can you fix this? You are work on yourself and grow. My books will help you with this….you can understand relationships and communicate better. However, the bit I don’t know is your commitment. I can’t pretend that it won’t be tough and there will be lots of painful setbacks but it depends if you can keep strong and keep going. If you can, I think you will win through in the end. Get support from your sister or a good male friend (who will listen and not judge) band that will be a big boom. Most men give up too soon, remember this, talk to your supporters are keep growing.
Are you kidding? A trial separation is only about trying out someone else’s genitals under cover of an agreement and the space to do so.
Rob Martin says
I am so hopeless I (42) and my wife 38 have been a married for 13 years and together for 20 years. We have a girl with 9 years and a boy with 6 years old. The last few years have been very hard for us, about 2 years after the birth of the boy. I was overburdened with building a house, my work after graduation and also the family situation. My parents also live in the semi-detached house next door and often need my help. We live in a little village, have a beautiful house and a large garden. I’ve have done everything for my family. Took care of the garden and all the manual work around the house. Unfortunately, I also neglected my friends and was hardly without my family. My wife suffered from depression and panic attacks. In their counselling, she found out, the problems are about me and her mother. But she couldn’t and didn’t want to describe to me what she meant by that.
My behavior and character changed from being a good-humored, positive person to a bitter and negative man. I hardly cared about the children and it was my wife who planned all activities related to our partnership. I couldn’t tell anyone about my anger about my job and I kept all my problems to myself. About 18 months ago I found my wife was in a better mood, which was also due to the fact that she was going out more and seeing friends. At the same time, I was getting worse and worse, I also had depression, which I wasn’t aware of at the time. A year ago my wife explained to me that she no longer loves me and that she rejects me. I am now of course aware that we have not had a loving partnership over the past few years. Of course, I tried to fix everything by showing her my love with hugs and affection.
But everything I did just moved her further away. As she became more and more distant, I suspected an affair. 8 months ago I found out through intensive research that she really has a relationship with another man. Of course she tried to hide everything and did not admit this. It was only after showing overwhelming evidence that she confessed to the affair. However, she didn’t tell me who the man is. As I found out, the man (54 years old) was a friend who lived in our small village with his wife and two children. This man is known for many affairs and also has illegitimate children. For me it was the worst nightmare of my life. Exactly with this man who was really known for affairs. I told my wife this, of course. However, to this day she has not admitted that it was this man. I have fallen into almost all the traps you describe in your books. I have been under psychological treatment since the affair was discovered and a mental breakdown occurred. Even after many conversations and long nights of texting each other, my wife wouldn’t tell me any details about the affair. My big problem is also that most of the time I collapsed crying. She told me she ended the affair, but I know that after 8 months, they are still texting. My wife also confessed that she still loves him. I have read the following books: „I Love You, But I’m Not In Love With You“, „I Can’t Get Over My Partner’s Affair“, „How Can I Ever Trust You Again?“ and „My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Anymore“. My big problem is, my wife never regret the affair. She doesn’t want to work on our marriage either. However, she wants to live with me and the children in our house without relationship. At times she also thought about a separation and wants to plan it for next year. She cites the main reason for her decision is, that I controlled her and how I reacted after the discovery. One evening, I freaked out, drank too much alcohol and listened to loud music. This still triggers panic attacks in her today. I have made a lot of changes, now I react much more calm, help with the house, do a lot with the children and have a much better relationship with the children. My wife and I talk a lot more, but we also do more separately. She sees these changes, but also says that she has no more strength and is completely at the end. She also says that she no longer gives us a chance and needs her freedom and just wants to be alone. She feels lonely and we no longer have a bond. We have now had three counselling appointments together, but my wife refuses further consultations as this only makes things worse. She also talks about separation. My feelings change between hurt, angry, hopeless and hate for the other man. I love my wife and really don’t know what to do next. Could a temporary separation a solution to turn our relationship? What should I do?
Andrew G. Marshall says
Sorry to hear about your pain and your wife’s infidelity. But you are doing really well. Please remember this. It is OK to be angry and hurt and sometimes hopeless. It goes with the territory. >However, please don’t focus on the other man. Rather than thinking what can I do differently or how can I improve my marriage, you are putting your energy into a dead end. The other man is NOT the problem, just a symptom. When your wife says she has no more strength, she is reacting to an unspoken message from our society: women are responsible for relationships. Meanwhile men provide and do manual work and get a free ride on relationships because women will carry them. No wonder she is tired and afraid that everything will return to normal and she will be left ‘holding’ the relationship. So tell her: ‘I understand. I will do my share of looking after the relationship.’ How can you do this? For a starter, you can carry the hope for a while. You will need support for this task. Read my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ it will help you be the man your wife will want to have a bond with. Follow the good men project. Listen to my podcast – launching Oct 2020 – and look out for the edition with Jed Diamond. Follow him too. If your wife won’t go for counselling, go yourself. It will show your wife that you’re serious. Chose a male therapist who can help you understand the burdens men carry and all the unhelpful messages we are given which make you switch off or be grumpy (which drive women away). You can do this….