When saying your vows of forever and ever you never imagined your relationship may come to an end one day. Your marriage was a monumental step in the journey of your life. Saying “I do” was one of the biggest decisions you ever made and, while there have been ups and downs along the way, you always imagined that you’d see them through and come out stronger in the end.
This makes the admission that your husband wants a separation all the more painful to bear. Hearing that the man you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with is unhappy is heartbreaking whether you’ve been suspecting your husband is unhappy for a while now or you were completely blindsided.
Here is what to do and what questions to ask when you discover that your husband wants a separation.
My husband wants a separation: What do I do now?
When your mate decides he wants to separate it can be devastating. You may feel lost in a fog or you feel like your whole world is falling apart. Depression, anxiety, and anger are common symptoms of heartbreak. Instead of wallowing, here are some proactive steps to take when your husband wants a separation.
Address how far gone your husband is
The level that your husband is at depends on how far he wants to take the separation. For example, if he is having a stressful time with his work or family life, he may want a trial separation so he can settle down and gather his thoughts on his own. On the other hand, if either of you was involved in infidelity he may want a legal separation with the mind for divorcing. It’s important to know where your husband stands so you can better decide what your next step will be.
Why does he want to separate?
If your husband really wants to separate you need to find out why. Calmly ask him to discuss his issues with you and see if you can’t resolve some issues. Odds are if your husband has resentments they have been festering for some time now. If you wish to save the relationship, be sure to show humility and respect as he reveals his relationship struggles with you.
Common reasons a man may want to separate include:
This issue covers an umbrella of topics surrounding finances. For example, he may want to take a job elsewhere to make more money but you don’t want to follow him. He may be sick of taking care of you or any dependents in the home. He’s become bogged down by debt and has suffered deep depression because of it.
If your husband has been having an affair he may want to leave to pursue another romantic relationship with his new sexual partner. Conversely, if you have had an affair and your husband just found out about it he may feel betrayed and now no longer wishes to work on your relationship. It should be noted that even if an affair happened many years ago and your husband has already forgiven the indiscretion, he may feel differently in the future and choose to part ways over it.
3. Bored or a mid-life-crisis
After spending years and years with the same person it can be easy to get bored, especially if your communication has dried up. This is why maintaining ‘date nights’ that cater to both parties is so important throughout your marriage. Men get bored for the same reason that women do: they’ve grown tired of the all-too-familiar routine of everyday life. Perhaps they’ve let thoughts fester of better opportunities in life, they are bored of your sex life, they miss being single, or they long for spontaneity that comes from a new relationship.
If your husband wants a separation you may want to consider doing a trial separation. Take four weeks apart to evaluate your lives, wants, and needs. Then come together and reveal what each of you wants from the marriage if you consider staying. In the meantime, consider doing couples counselling together. This can be a great teaching tool for reopening your lines of communication with one another.
If your husband wants a trial separation but still loves you and hopes to get back together, you may want to consider dating. Each other, that is. Live in separate homes during your marital break and consider seeing one another only once a week for a date night. This will help you think of each other as individuals once more. You may find he is trying to woo you the way he did when you first met.
Is your relationship worth saving?
Here is a serious question you have to ask yourself: Is your relationship really worth saving? Are both of you happier together more often than you are frustrated with one another? Are there children involved who would be devastated by a divorce? Your husband clearly isn’t happy – are you? At some point you need to weigh the pros and cons of being together and decide whether or not you truly believe there is more good than bad in your marriage.
Try and think of it as a good thing
Separations don’t always lead to divorce. Sometimes marital separations can actually do a world of good for your relationship. Parting ways for some time may give your husband the opportunity to reassess his goals, his wants, needs, and will allow him to take shared responsibility for your failing relationship. A separation can also give him time to heal from whatever emotional turmoil the two of you have been through together.
Let it be
You can’t force your husband to stay with you if he doesn’t want to. You can encourage working on the relationship and show your patience and perseverance through respectful conversation. Whatever the outcome of your separation, let this be an opportunity for the two of you to strengthen your communication skills and to work on yourselves as people until you make a final decision about your marriage.