You’re both tired of the fighting and negativity being thrown back and forth day after day. As the husband, you just deal with it. Things will work out, right? You just want to keep your head down and let things get figured out on their own.
Only, they don’t get figured out. Something is just off, and things are getting worse. Finally, one day your wife comes up to you and says, “I think it’s time we separate.” While it’s not the shock the word “divorce” could conjure, still a separation is pretty darn close. Your first reaction is to say no, that separating won’t fix anything. Even though you two aren’t getting along, you can’t imagine being separated from your wife. You love her. And how can you work things out if you aren’t even together?
It’s ok, guys. Many have been where you are right now. Confused, scared, and not willing to shake things up. But you know what? Everything will be ok. Here are some tips to deal with separation from your wife.
1. Listen to Your Wife Intently
This separation idea didn’t come lightly. She has probably thought about it for a while, but only now has she gotten the courage to say something. And you know what? Many times, your wife is right. Women just feel things men don’t. Day after day, when you two are fighting, she may feel like she and the marriage are dying a slow death. And that hurts more than anything. So she probably figures that if you two separate, at least more damage won’t be done. So listen to your wife, and hear her feelings on the matter. She has reasons she can explain to you, if you will stop and listen.
2. Talk About Timelines
When you hear “separation” you probably thought “forever.” But those two words don’t necessarily have to go together. A short-term separation is probably what she intended. So talk about timelines. How much time does she need? A week? A month? Longer? Or maybe if she isn’t sure, talk about taking it week by week, which means you’ll need to revisit this conversation regularly.
3. Figure Out the Details
You both may be expecting different things at this point, so try to get on the same page. Who will leave the house? Where will they go? Will you continue with finances in the same way? How often will you text/call/see each other? Will you tell other people that you are separated? You probably won’t be able to think of everything right now, so deal with things as they come. This will be a confusing time, for sure, but you can try to get at least some clarity.
4. Go Out on Dates Weekly
Ask your wife if you can take her out once a week. You could just meet at a coffee shop if she wants something casual, or you could go to dinner, or you could even go on walks together. The point is, show her that you want to work on things. You want to be with her, and you want to connect. If things have been bad, then you have to rebuild somehow, and dating each other is a great way to do that, especially if you are separated.
5. Talk About Your Fears Surrounding Separation
You probably are thinking worst-case-scenario at this point. So please, talk to your wife about those thoughts. Perhaps you think that separation is just one step away from divorce—if you tell your wife, perhaps she can dispel that fear and let you know that divorce is not the outcome she wants. Another fear could be that she will like living away from you. Hopefully when you tell your wife, she can let you know that she will miss you, but not the fighting. Don’t keep your fears bottled up; talk about them.
6. Spend the Separation Doing Something Constructive
You probably feel like just moping around and watching endless hours of TV while you are separated. Don’t fall into that trap. This is a time for some real introspection and an opportunity to better yourself. Read some inspirational books, talk to trusted friends who lift you up, go to inspiring meetings like church, exercise, eat right, get plenty of sleep—all these things will help clear your mind and help you make better decisions.
7. Go to Counseling Separately and Together
Clearly something is amiss in your marriage, and a marriage therapist can help. Your willingness to go shows your wife that you will do anything to improve the relationship. When you are in therapy, really listen, answer your questions truthfully, and don’t be afraid to share your feelings. You can’t make breakthroughs unless you go deep. And your wife is worth it.