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What Should A Wife Do When Her Husband Ask Her For A Separation?
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On an almost daily basis, I hear from a wives whose husband has asked her for a separation.  Many wives' first inclination is try to change the husband's mind or to talk him out of this.   And this strategy make work once or twice.  But what usually happens if it works is that it only gives you a very short reprieve.  Because most of the time, the wife is so relieved to have avoided the separation that she treads very lightly, the issues aren't fixed, and later, he decides that the separation really probably was a good idea and he wants to move forward with it.  But the next time, you are going to have a much more difficult time changing his mind, if it's even possible to do so.  What's even worse is that now you've reinforced his suspicion that nothing can or ever will change in the marriage and so drastic actions are necessary.

 That's why it's so important to make the right call early on.  And some wives do understand this from the beginning.  I recently heard from a woman who said, in part:  "What's the right call when your husband asks for a separation?  Should I agree with him? Should I pretend like it's what I want when it's really not?  Should I try to talk him out of it? Should I try to come to compromise?  Which strategy will ultimately mean that he comes back and works with me on saving the marriage?" 

I have a definite take on this because I was in this exact same situation and I handled the whole thing quite badly.  In fact, I messed things up so much, looking back, I think my husband was really leaning toward divorce just to free himself from all of my drama and pleas.  I'm not proud of how I acted, but I did eventually figure out how wrong I was and I turned things around.  But not without a lot of difficulty. And if I had came at this from the right angle all along, it would have saved me so much turmoil and would not damaged my marriage so badly. (I do share what I learned from this about saving my marriage on my blog, but more about that later.)

Understand Why Men Ask For Separations:  Here's the thing.  Many women panic when their husband's ask for a separation because they hear that word and they think that it means step one toward a divorce.  They feel in their hearts that the second they let their husband out of the their home, it really is the end game because he's not likely to come back.  And by opening the door and letting him walk out, they've also let him walk right out of their life for good.

And obviously after my fiasco, I understand this fear and had it also.  But here's what I didn't get at the time.  If things have gotten to the point where your husband is asking you for a separation, something's usually got to change or give.  He's usually not going to be really satisfied when you debate him and finally change his mind and convince him that the separation would be the wrong call.  Even if he does agree, he's going to think that he really didn't get what he wanted and he even may harbor a little resentment and eventually come to think that you are standing in between him and what he truly wants or needs.

Men typically ask for a separation because they want to evaluate their feelings alone.  They want some time to reflect about you and the marriage without having you as part of the equation.  They feel  like this scenario will help them sort out what they really feel or what they really want.  Most men do not always intend an immediate divorce.  Nor do they intend to never come home.  They just want time to clear their head.  And if you keep them from that, they may start to feel as though you are part of the problem and not the solution.

Trying To Reach A Compromise Or At Least An Understanding About The Separation:  I do agree that letting him walk out the door poses risk.  But I also think that it's sometimes the only call that will allow him to know that you are willing to help him get what he wants and you respect him enough to know that he will make the right decision in the end.

But, it can be to your advantage to come up with a compromise or at least come up with some ground rules for the separation.  If you can set it up so you know where he is and have regular access to him, this is ideal.  He won't always agree, but one good option is letting him stay in the house while you stay somewhere for a set amount of time.  This way, you don't have to worry about getting him back home.  And you also have defined when you are going to check back in to make a decision.

That way, you don't feel as much panic and don't feel the need to always "check up" which can really run counter for his need to clear his head.

How To Act When The Separation Is Happening:  I'm sure you intuitively know that you shouldn't cling or push too much.  But this is so much easier said than done.  Because when he is away from you and you don't know what he's doing, all sorts of awful scenarios dance around in your head.

Still, it's very important to use restraint.  You want to respect his need for time to think and, if he can't do that, you may not get the result that you want.  And this sometimes means you have to distract yourself.  You might want to visit family, hang with friends, or take up a hobby you've been meaning to try for a while. Volunteering is wonderful during a separation because it helps you stay positive and it gets your mind off your own problems.

You may have read advice which tells you to ignore your husband during a separation or to attempt to make him jealous. I don't necessarily agree with this and find that it can backfire in a big way.  But I think there's a middle ground where you back off and make him wonder a little bit what you are up to.

It's fine if he knows that you really don't want the separation and that your best case scenario is getting back together.  But you don't want to take that over the top.  And you want for him to know that you are a capable woman who isn't dependent on him for her own happiness and fulfillment.  And frankly, women who are confident and capable in this situation seem far more attractive to husbands than those who are falling apart and always reaching out.

I know this first hand because I was the woman who was falling apart.  It wasn't until I forced myself to take a step back that I finally gained some ground and got my husband's attention.  And this was the first step to saving our marriage.  You can read about this at

Street Talk

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