Last week, I asked the guys Inside the Haven to share their single biggest struggle in their separation.
Over the past week I've had over 150 men submit their separation question. If you missed last week's survey, you can click here to submit your question.
This week, I've gone through all the questions and broken them down to their core. Then, I organized them, as you'll see below. This is important because these questions will form the foundation of the upcoming separation book I'm working on about how to get through a separation or other marriage crisis.
GENERAL SEPARATION QUESTIONS
Most of the questions I received were tactical or situational questions about what to do during a separation. These won't all apply to you, but many of them probably will.
How can I get her to see the marriage/family is worth saving?
How do I handle when my wife says she will come back but needs time and space?
What do you do when she says "I don't know" to EVERYTHING?
How do I handle my wife's continued refusal to work on our marriage, even though it should be so easy to fix?
If I write my wife a letter or email to tell her why our future marriage is worth saving, what should it say?
Should I still give her hugs, tell her I love you, text her, etc. while we're separated?
My wife says she feels smothered by my presence. How do I give her space while we still live together?
How do you maintain a confident, optimistic outlook when all I want is my marriage?
She says that I'm just her friend now, how can I change that?
What should you do when she takes off her ring?
How do you get contact with your wife if you don't have kids?
My wife is back and forth on her feelings about me - one minute she just needs space, the next she's accusing me of being a terrible husband.
How do I handle "hot and cold" moments from my wife?
When she has moments where she seems to be reaching out to me, what do I do? And how do I handle it when she goes back to how she was?
How do you get her feelings back when she says "I love you but I'm not IN love with you"?
How can I get my wife to open up to the idea of trying again?
How often should I contact my separated wife without it coming across as pressure or desperation?
What should I do if my wife doesn't want divorce but wants lots of time and space?
How do I overcome the fear of letting her go and being alone?
What do you do when wife keeps bringing up old issues, especially right after you do something good?
How can I get myself to follow the same advice that I know I'd give to someone else in my shoes?
How do I stop being so needy and naggy about our relationship?
How do I get over my insecurities?
How do I rebuild my wife's trust? Does this answer change if I have let her down in a big way (loss of job, porn, neglect, etc.)?
What if my wife has an alpha personality?
If I give her space and go along with the divorce, will she think that means I'm okay with it or don't care about her?
How do I show my wife I've changed?
How do you show her the improvements in yourself if she never sees you?
My wife doesn't want a divorce; she wants to remain friends and co-parents, but not romantic.
MIDLIFE CRISIS QUESTIONS
No surprise - many men are dealing with a midlife crisis in addition to the separation. These are questions from men who are trying to cope with the unpredictable destructive habits that go along with most MLC's in addition to the problems in their marriage.
My wife is getting/doing everything she wants (even though it's selfish). What do I do when she has no incentive to change?
How should your mindset change during Level 1, 2 and 3 midlife crisis?
One minute my wife claims she doesn't want divorce, but the next she can't wait to get out of the house.
My wife is on a runaway train and she's taking the kids - what do I do?
My wife wants to be single again, what do I do?
What if she's currently dating other guys?
Do I try to survive this or leave?
How do I forgive my wife for this needless cruelty?
My wife says I'm the perfect husband and father but she just doesn't love me... How can I get her feelings back?
How do I deal with her saying she has never loved me?
What do I do when my wife excuses her actions by saying that in her mind we're already separated/divorced?
How do you support her during a time of loss (eg. parent passed away) or depression while she's having a midlife crisis?
Why has my wife changed so much since our separation? She has become this wild, careless, thoughtless person I do not recognize or like since she left?.
EMOTIONAL & PHYSICAL AFFAIR QUESTIONS
The third major category of questions that I received were from men who were dealing with a separation in which their wife was having an emotional affair. I honestly hadn't planned on including much about how to handle infidelity in this separation-themed book, but it looks like I'm going to need to.
If my wife is having an affair, how do I accept that my marriage is truly over and that I should move on?
What do I do if she ended the affair but restarted it again?
How do I handle her ongoing affair while we're still living together?
What do I do when my wife is having multiple affairs?
How do I deal with the images and the feelings of betrayal after my wife's affair?
She says that she's "just friends" with the other man and won't end contact... What now?
How do you deal with constant texting/social media use?
How can we rebuild trust after her affair?
My wife says she isn't ready to leave the marriage but she still wants to see where this other relationship is going?
What do I do when I found out my wife had been having an emotional affair for months before the separation?
How can I break through her feelings of limerance and feelings of fantasy and delusion?
What if circumstances make it impossible for her to completely end contact with the other man?
How do I get her to stop sleeping with the other man? Why won't she stop?
What do I do about my wife's Facebook or long-distance emotional affair?
What if my wife wants to move out while she's having an emotional affair?
KIDS, RECONCILIATION & COPING QUESTIONS
The rest of the questions I received fell into one of these three categories. Some were from men who are struggling to cope with their emotions and with the difficulty of their separation. Others were from men who've been through it and are in the process of reconciling. Others were from dads who weren't sure how to make the most of that role during their marriage crisis.
COPING WITH CRISIS
How do I let go and accept that she doesn't love me anymore (and never will as long as we're married)?
How do I handle her going on dates with other men?
How do I get better at using the "let her go" mindset?
How do I get over my fear of being alone?
How do I cope when she's left me for another man?
How do I get better control of my emotions so I don't seem so desperate or depressed?
How should I cope with my wife's ongoing emotional affair while we're still living together?
How do I deal with the grief of separation or divorce?
Do you have any tips to help me build a life apart from my wife?
How do I know that I will be happy again in the future?
What if I built my life around my wife and kids and now they're gone? We had the same friends, same social groups, and I don't live near family.
What does a normal or standard reconciliation process look like?
How long does reconciliation take in a normal separation vs an emotional affair or MLC separation?
How do I stay consistent in giving her space without missing opportunities to engage with her?
When she comes to you, what should you do?
We have been communicating better and spending good time together, but we still live separately...
What do I do?
How do I keep the momentum going?
Can reconciliation look different for different people?
We had a singular good moment that passed. How do I recreate it or build on it?
DEALING WITH KIDS
How do we make parenting decisions while we're separated?
What do I tell my kids about why mom had to leave? (Talking about a midlife crisis or affair here)or EA here
How do we tell the kids about our separation or divorce?
How do I stay connected with the kids after she left the house?
What if my wife is having an emotional affair or MLC that's making her a neglectful parent, but she also took the kids?
My wife wants out of the marriage - how do I explain it to my kids without blaming her?
How do I keep my kids from acting out while our family is falling apart?
What do I do if my wife always gets angry or frustrated when we communicate about the kids?
As I said, I received about 150 questions last week and I'm still getting a few more everyday. I'm not sure if I'll be able to answer ALL of these questions inside one book, but I'm going to do my best.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as I'll reveal more of the separation book as I write it. I'm hoping to have a sample chapter ready to share by the end of next week.
And to all the men who submitted one of the questions above - thank you! As you know, you're now on the early bird list for the upcoming separation book which means you'll get access to giveaways, extra sample chapters, and you'll get early access to the course before everyone else!
Much manly love,
With much manly love,
I'm Stephen, the guy behind Husband Help Haven. I'm not a marriage counselor or a lawyer, I'm just a guy on the Internet who has talked to a loooooot of men going through separation... Over 2,000 in the past 5 years. My goal is to give men the tools they need to save their marriage from separation. Read more here