How to get your wife back with no contact

4 Separation Strategies When Your Wife Won’t See You

You’ve made real, positive changes as a man.

     You're a better husband than the day your wife left.

     The problem is, your wife can't see any of it because she won't see you. Maybe you live separately. She doesn't return your calls or texts. She avoids you when you drop off the kids. And if you do see her, she gives you the cold shoulder.

        How do you show your wife your changes if you live apart and she won't communicate?

     This post is a comprehensive strategy guide for this type of separation. We're going to start by establishing the right mindset for this kind of separation, then we’ll look at the strategic options you have to get through to your wife.

     Use the table of contents below if you’d like to skip ahead, but I highly recommend reading the whole post. 

The Mindset

Stop Being Desperate,
Clarify What's Yours to Control

     If you’re desperate, you won’t be able to make the most of what you can control.

     Implementing this mindset is the first step in any separation. It’s also the first step of the 3+1 Separation Strategy. Be sure to watch the 3+1 Separation Strategy video if you haven't already.

     Take a deep breath and figure out what you can actually control. Right now, your wife’s distance from the marriage is not one of those things.

Desperation Kills Your Chances 

      Most men reading this feel desperate.

     But, if you constantly feel desperate, you can’t do the most important things you need to do right now.


desperation is what happens when you try to control what is not yours to control


     It’s natural and expected to struggle with desperation, especially when you KNOW that if your wife would just open up her eyes she would like what she sees in you. However, by desperately trying to show those changes to your wife, you actually make her less likely to believe them when you do get the opportunity.

     Remember, desperation is what happens when you try to control what is not yours to control – in this case, your wife's choice to leave and refuse communication. 

Take Time to Stabilize &
Let Go of What You Can’t Control

     If your emotions are constantly spinning out of control, then you MUST take time to stabilize before you do anything else. You do that by reminding yourself what you can control, and what you can’t.

You CAN control:

  • check
    Your thoughts
  • check
    Your attitude about life, your wife and your family
  • check
    How you spend your time
  • check
    How you act around your kids and/or wife
  • check
    How often you reach out to her via text, call, email, etc. and what you say when you do
  • check
    Your reaction to her distance or silence

You CAN'T control:

  • Whether your wife responds to your efforts to get through to her
  • How she acts around you
  • Your wife’s thoughts or feelings
  • Her attitude about the marriage or the family
  • How she spends her time or who she spends it with

     These are just sample lists. It’s important to think through this for yourself. What can you control in your separation? What is outside of your control?

Homework: On a piece of paper or in a Word document, take 10 minutes to brainstorm all the things you can control, then take 10 minutes to brainstorm the things you can’t control.

Accept That Her Distance Is Her Choice

     Even if you live in a different country, it is not chance that your wife isn’t talking to you. Even though it might seem obvious, if you’re in this situation you must remind yourself that your wife’s cold shoulder is not a chance – it is a choice. 


Her choice to be distant is likely a defense mechanism that prevents emotional pain or frustration for her


     Accept that it is your wife’s CHOICE not to communicate with you. Even if you are exchanging kids back and forth, she may refuse to interact with you during those exchanges.

     She is CHOOSING not to see you. She is CHOOSING not to talk to you.

     If your wife is determined to truly refuse all contact with you for the rest of her life, then there's nothing you can do about that. If she never lets herself see you again, if she ignores your emails and texts and blocks you from as many modes of communication as possible, then that's her choice and there's very little you can do to change it.

Why is she choosing to distance herself?

     Could be a variety of reasons:

  • It’s easier or less painful to ignore you than to talk to you.
  • She is determined not to let you change her mind about the marriage.
  • She doesn’t want to be pressured into coming back.
  • She’s trying to prove she’s gone for good and force you to move on with your life.

    Long story short, her choice to remove you from her life is likely a defense mechanism that she is using to prevent some kind of emotional pain.

     Here's the thing: there's no way you can remove this defense mechanism until SHE is ready to let it down. And until it's down, everything you do or say to her is going to be filtered through this defense mechanism… Even if you could communicate freely with her, this emotional wall would be there all the same.

     With all of that being said, the reason behind her choice not to communicate doesn’t matter that much. What matters is how you react to it.

Set the Right Goals

Right Now, Your Goal is NOT "Saving the Marriage"

     Accepting her choice for minimal contact means that you must set a different goal.

     Your goal right now is not to save your marriage, or even to convince your wife that you’ve changed...


Instead of making every day & every week all about when you will get to *MAYBE* talk to your wife, start investing time in yourself


     ... Your goal is to give her an incentive to WANT to spend time with you in the first place, and to meanwhile make peace with the waiting.

     In other words, you have to give her a reason to make a different CHOICE than she’s making right now.

     No matter where you’re at in your separation, the end goal is the same… She must CHOOSE to give the marriage another chance to make her happy. It’s so, so important to remember that her CHOICE is what you’re trying to change, not your marriage.

Use This Time To Yourself

     Instead of structuring every day, every week, around when you will get to MAYBE talk to your wife, start investing time in yourself.

     Although it may seem impossible, do your best to look on the bright side. I’m willing to bet that there are things that you could not do with your wife… Perhaps old hobbies or friends that fell by the wayside throughout your marriage. Now is the time to pick those things back up.

     Remember the saying:

     "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst."

     Continue to work on yourself. Become a better man in all areas of your life. And ironically, the way that you make these changes genuine and permanent is by making them with the acceptance that divorce is a real possibility.

She (Probably) Needs to Fix Her Own Issues

     We talk a lot about your role in the separation on Husband Help Haven, but for most of you, your wife has her own internal issues she needs to work through too.

     Again, we go back to the role that her choice plays in this separation...


Remember, She probably isn’t getting the same help that you are


     If your wife chooses not to look at herself in the mirror, if she chooses not to improve herself, if she instead throws herself headlong into bad habits, destructive choices or toxic relationships, or if she has simply made up her mind to cut you out of her life, you may not be able to change her choice.

     Even in the best case scenario, your wife will probably work through her own issues slower than you are working through yours. She probably isn’t getting the help that you are. Be patient and give her time to figure things out. 

MINDSET SUMMARY

  • Accept that you can’t control your wife, settle in for the long haul, prepare for a life outside of the marriage if it comes to that.
  • If you feel desperate, you cannot make the most of the things under your control. Fix your mindset before you do anything else. You NEED clarity.
  • If you feel at peace, with clarity over what you can control, you’re probably in a good place.

The Strategies

     Finally! Let’s talk about your strategic options if you find yourself in a low/no contact separation.

     Your separation is unique, with unique people and unique circumstances. So, instead of telling you the "right" answer, I'm going to outline your choices and provide the pros and cons of each.

     These strategies are listed in order of how much space you give your wife. The strategy that gives her the most space is listed first, the least space listed last.

Quick Note About Kids:

     No matter which strategy you choose, you should not give up communication with your kids. The strategies below refer to communication with your wife, about the marriage. If you want to talk to your kids or spend time with them, obviously you will need some communication with your wife. Do not neglect your kids no matter how much space your wife wants.

Strategy #1. 
Do not try to communicate with her. 
Only let her come to you, period.


What you do:

     Pretty self-explanatory. With this strategy you NEVER initiate communication with your wife, and you keep your communication short and to the point when it does happen. You accept that she doesn’t want to talk to you, and so you do not make any effort to communicate with her until she gives you some indication that she wants to hear you.

     If you have kids and therefore you have to communicate with your wife at least a little bit, keep your communication exclusively centered on coordinating kid-related plans.

Pros:

     This strategy gives you a sense of closure because it allows you to let go of the burden of changing your wife’s choice, and it allows you to NOT think about the marriage.

     With this strategy, you never have to wonder, “Should I text my wife today? Has it been long enough?” Instead, you accept that no communication will happen unless she reaches out to you.

Cons:

     Obviously, there is a chance your wife will simply never reach out to you. Your separation may simply fade into divorce. However, if you believe that forcing communication your wife doesn’t want has about the same effect as no communication at all, then this option lets you focus on yourself and your kids (if applicable) and looking toward the future.

When to Use It:

     This strategy is best if your wife is making destructive or out-of-character choices in her life. For example, if your wife is having an ongoing affair or if she has fallen into a drug or drinking habit.

     Generally with this strategy, even if she reaches out to you, YOU will choose to keep the communication short and to-the-point. The only way this changes is if she basically comes out and says, “Let’s give things another chance.” The reason for this is because this strategy is all about allowing yourself to heal… You recognize that the marriage is only going to be saved if your wife makes drastic changes.

     This strategy also has a lot of benefit if you really feel that you’ve already done everything that you can, and you’re confident that nothing you do or say will change your wife’s mind… All that’s left for you to do is heal; her choice is between her and God now.

Strategy #2. 
One last hurrah, then match her distance.*

     *This is the strategy I would recommend to most men reading this.

What You Do:

     Make one final plea to your wife. This could be in person, via email, via handwritten letter. Perhaps you wait for an opportune moment, one of those moments where it seems like your wife is opening up to you.

     However you do this last hurrah effort to get through to her, make sure your tone is empathetic and calm, NOT desperate. You want to show her:

  • That you recognize and respect why she’s chosen to leave the marriage.
  • That you understand how your actions affected her.
  • You respect her decision, but you also believe that the marriage could make you both happy again, and that you’re willing to work to make it that way.
  • (Optional) You understand that she wants space, but you have to get this off your chest before giving her the space she wants.

     This changes a little bit if she’s having an affair or having a destructive midlife crisis. In those cases, your tone may be more along the lines of, “I understand that I made mistakes and hurt you, but I also know that the marriage cannot be saved as long as you continue making the choices you’re making now. I would love to have a future with you, but I cannot continue reaching out to you as long as you continue [insert behavior].”

     However you do your last hurrah, have low expectations. You are doing this just as much for yourself (so that you can have peace knowing that she’s heard you) as for her.

Pros:

     The reason I favor this strategy is for the peace of mind it gives you as a man trying to save his marriage. With this option, you DO end up getting the space you need to heal, just like in Strategy #1, but you’ll also have peace of mind knowing that your wife definitely knows how you feel.

Cons:

     Same as Strategy #1. The only additional downside is that you risk pushing her further away with your last hurrah, but if you give her as much space as you can after that, then not really much different.

When to Use It:

    This strategy is very flexible and fits well with any separation where there’s long-distance or low communication. The reason I recommend this is because it offers a nice balance ?between taking risks to get her back and ??giving ??her the space she wants.

Strategy #3. 
Continue to reach out to her, but not often

What to do:

     Every couple weeks, reach out to your wife (text, email, in person, whichever she’s most likely to hear) and let her know that you’re still thinking about her. This could be as simple as saying, “Hey, hope you’re having a good day.” Aside from these times, you keep the lines silent and do not reach out to her. 

     Your mindset is very important with this strategy. You need to have the same acceptance of the distance as you do in the previous two strategies.

     The only difference is that you make a strategic decision to reach out more frequently, seeing if something will stick. And, you may choose to also interact with her more when she reaches out to you, even if it’s just for technical stuff.

Pros:

     This strategy allows you to feel like you’re still doing *something* to keep the hope alive, even if your wife never changes her tune. You may gain peace of mind knowing that your wife really can’t doubt your commitment to the marriage, while also giving her a good amount of space.

Cons:

     This strategy can easily come off as inconsistent to your wife, so you need to tread carefully. Inconsistency is not a trait you want your wife associating with you. After all, you’re trying to show her that your changes ARE consistent, you want to minimize her chances of thinking, “I knew he hadn’t changed.”

     Even communicating every couple weeks could feel smothering to her.

     Most dangerous of all, this strategy can make it easy to lose focus of what you can control and prevent you from healing and making the most of your circumstances.

When It’s Best:

     This strategy works best when your wife has made some indication that she’s on the fence. Perhaps she’s even told you something along the lines of, “I just need time to think things through.” Ideally there are no other factors at play such as an affair or midlife crisis... Just a plain ol' loss of love separation. Could also work during a MLC where periodically checking in on your wife may make sense.

Strategy #4. 
Continue to reach out frequently
(not recommended)

     Chances are, this is how most of you started your separation, and for most of you it hasn’t yielded results.

     I’ve included this strategy because technically it IS an option, and my goal here is to outline all of your options (within reason). However, it is not recommended in a separation where your wife is pushing for low/no communication… Which is the topic of this article.

What to do:

     Reach out to her every day, every 3 days, every week, whenever you feel like it… Basically, do whatever you want. Pretty straightforward. However, I recommend keeping your messages short and simple. Don’t expect your wife to read a new lengthy email or letter every week. Not gonna happen for most of you to whom this article applies.

Pros:

     This strategy is easy and doesn’t require much discipline, although you’ll need strong resolve to prevent discouragement if she is mostly unresponsive. With this strategy, she really can’t doubt that you still love her.

Cons:

     If your wife asks you for space, if her actions and attitude tell you she wants space, then frequently reaching out to her will feel smothering. If she feels smothered, it’s unlikely for her to believe that you’ve changed into a man who is capable of prioritizing her and making her happy. Even if you’re being nothing but kind and sweet, it may still seem selfish to her because in her mind you’re just trying to get what you want.

When it’s best:

     If you have a very mild separation, and your wife usually responds to your communication, this could be a good strategy. This doesn’t apply to most men reading this, since this article is about low/no contact separations.

     If this is what you’ve been doing so far and it’s been working for you, by all means continue… As long as you can stay focused on what you can control.

What Do These Strategies Have In Common?

     Having seen hundreds and hundreds of men in separations like this, I have noticed a few common threads among men who seem to do well in this kind of separation.

You Care About Quality Over Quantity

     Saving your marriage is about high quality interactions, not high quantity.

     I have seen many marriages turn around after just one incredible, positive, game-changing interaction between a husband and his separated wife. Many times this doesn’t come for many months into a separation... Many times these husbands have endured true "no contact" (no visits, no calls, no texts) with their wives for weeks on end... Some have even gone through divorce. But in the end it didn't matter because that one interaction made the difference and rekindled a dormant spark.

     Your wife only must truly believe in your changes one time for her to start questioning her decision.

     For example, I remember one guy who finally got through to his wife during a mediation session after she’d been giving him the cold shoulder for several months. He did it by participating and even leading in the mediation, all while being genuinely kind and cheerful to his wife. Their interaction was so groundbreaking that even the mediator chimed in and asked why they were getting divorced. This left an impression on her and afterwards she saw him differently.

     You can’t magically make your wife spend more time with you, but you can shift your focus to make the most of the interactions you do get, even if those interactions only happen once every few weeks.

You Have Realistic Expectations

     You know how it seems like people always find love when they stop looking for it?

     Accept that divorce is out of your hands (at least partly). This is one of the keys to self-confidence and peace during a low/no contact separation. 

     Many times it is only after the husband has accepted that he can’t fix the marriage on his own – once he truly lets go and starts looking to a future without his wife – that’s when his wife finally starts having second thoughts.

     Of course, there are plenty of times where this doesn’t happen. I don’t want to give you false hope that you can somehow trick ‘the universe’ into giving you your wife back by pretending like you don’t want her anymore. That is NOT what I’m saying here.

     It goes back to the let her go to get her back mindset. Letting her go puts you in the best win-win position you can be in, because it both gives her the freedom she needs to MAYBE see you differently, and it gives you the ability to have peace and clarity in your life as you begin preparing for the worst.

     Now you can see why I spent so much time hammering home the role of your wife’s CHOICE. Recognizing her choice in this separation is how you begin the process of letting her go.

You Are Patient & Don’t Pressure Yourself

     Even in the best case scenario, this will probably be a long process. Even if you choose one of the strategies above and do it perfectly, it will take time for your wife to believe that you’ve changed. More importantly, it will take time for her to believe the marriage can make her happy.

     You shouldn't let yourself think, “This is it, my last chance to save my marriage,” every time you get to see your wife.

     Most low/no contact separations will go on for several months. If you put too much pressure on yourself you will ruin any chance of showcasing the genuine, natural changes you've made in yourself. If you’ve truly made changes, they will speak for themselves without you saying anything about them.

     Give yourself some grace. Having one imperfect action or one imperfect word will not be the thing that keeps you from getting her back. Again, remember, it is her CHOICE that matters here. Your only goal is to make the choice that keeps you in her life a more attractive one.

The Original Question –
Can Your Marriage Be Saved?

     This is the question you had when you started reading this article. If your wife doesn’t live with you AND rejects communication with you, is there any hope?

     The answer is, yes. There is hope. Keep hoping!

     But! I cannot promise you that the majority of you reading this will reconcile. The reality is that your marriage is in a bad state, and both you AND your wife will need to put in a lot of work and healing to make things right again. This is why acceptance of what you can control is so crucial.

What to do right now:

  1. Choose which strategy gives YOU the most peace. Trust your gut, which one ‘feels’ right, and adapt as needed to your own unique circumstances.
  2. Implement the strategy, stick to it, and be patient.
  3. While you do the above, work on yourself, work on building a life that can sustain itself and keep you stable through the ups and downs that inevitably lie ahead.

     There are no magic answers, but there are smart strategies that optimize the odds. I wish you the best of luck as you choose and implement your own.

Do you have a different strategy for a low/no contact separation? Have any advice you’d like to pass on? Drop a comment below.

With much manly love,
 - Stephen

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. 

38 thoughts on “4 Separation Strategies When Your Wife Won’t See You”

    1. By templates do you mean things that you can say or do for your “last hurrah”?

      Manly Marriage Revival does include some ‘things to say’ in I believe Chapter 17, at least a couple of which would be applicable to this type of strategy. Manly Separation Survival also includes templates like this, but they are more scattered throughout the book, and you’ll also get more information on how you might come up with your own, for example using some of the guidelines in Chapter 8 which is free on the sales page. There’s also an entire chapter that deals with how to navigate your separation once you and your wife live separately, and another chapter about after she’s filed for divorce.

  1. 5404513622,I have been reading your articles for 3yrs.now.I have gone through hell for 18yrs in a unique and strange live in separation that has sent me over the edge more than one time.While your articles help.My situation is do strange it”s hard to grasp which direction to turn.I even went through Counciling 3 yrs and still feel lost most days.I lean heavy on God and seek good advice.But struggle most days for peace.So much has happened in my 30yrs of marriage it”s hard to explain in a short text.Keep me in prayers any advice or contact welcome.

  2. My wife left about 2 months ago. She started living with her father. I have been sticking to no contact since then. The only contact I was forced to make with her when her family started threatening me to file false police complaints against me. Their demand was that I should beg her to come back and chase her. I denied and tried contacting my wife to end this false allegation game. I even offered her mutual peaceful separation but she just wouldn’t talk to me nor take any action.

    Since then I have been living alone and hoping whatever choice she makes I will let her but I will never beg or pursue her this time. I used to be a madman who would cry, plead, beg her to stay and agree to whatever she would ask. But I have had an awakening this time and I will not repeat those stupid mistakes I made. She did this to me like 5th time and this time I let her go.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear what you’ve been through, but I applaud your stability throughout this crisis.

      I’ve seen something like this happen a few times before, where a wife develops a pattern of repeatedly separating and SEEMS to be doing it for some underlying reason besides the marriage. It sounds like your wife has developed this pattern. Perhaps it’s a subconscious desire for control or maybe it’s easier to always blame the marriage anytime life gets hard, but either way, even if it really is that she’s genuinely unhappy in the marriage, you can’t be the one to “fix” whatever problem she’s having — for HER sake just as much as for yours. She needs the opportunity to work through this on her own. Even if you could do your usual routine, begging and bending over backwards to get her to come back, what about next time? I agree with your stance here.

      That being said, DO be gracious and forgiving. Don’t let yourself build bitterness towards your wife. I know it’s easy to be in a situation like this and start to harbor negative thoughts about your wife. But! Recognize that this is a defense mechanism more than anything… It’s easier to lose someone you don’t like. Don’t let yourself take the easy way out in this separation by building up hatred your wife. In your heart, remain loving, open to reconciliation, compassionate towards her… Even if you’re not outwardly communicating those things to her.

      On the whole, it sounds like you’re doing a great job in this separation and that you’ve found a lot of clarity in your decisions. Continue that trend and trust your gut. You know yourself and your wife better than anyone. Good luck.

      1. It is really hard for me to hold myself up in this situation. She didn’t care about disrespecting me in front of her sister, father and sister’s husband. Abusive words from them still echo in my head and she did nothing about it, she didn’t defend me from their bad behavior. It will be 3 months in about 2 weeks since she left. I find it difficult to face our common friends and relatives as they ask about us and I don’t know what to say. She only took some of her stuff and a lot of stuff is still in the house and reminds me of her all the time.
        We work for the same company and for the same boss. In front of everyone she commutes to office from her sister’s house everyday and that really embarrasses me that I and my wife commute in different directions. I always avoid going near to her workplace, I avoid going to team outings and team activities so that I don’t have to see her. It hurts me seeing her behaving like she never cared about our marriage.
        I just don’t understand how can someone doesn’t understand the boundaries in relationships. How can she choose to live in her sister’s house? Doesn’t she have a sense of morality? Doesn’t she understand that she is married and her husband should be her priority not her sister or others? These questions just hurt me all the time. I was alone on festivals in our home while she was with her sister celebrating. It is very hard for me not to have bitterness Stephen! I often blame myself by thinking may be I did something really wrong so that she just shut on me. I am deeply hurt and don’t know how if I am doing right.

      2. I am so sorry that u are going thru this. I too am going thru the exact same thing with my wifes family. Ive gotten threats and the like. My wife never stoodup for me. Ive always stood up for her even against her family and mine. She moved in with her sister and wont communicate at all. Her sister wont let her. But my wife is 12 years older. So she even tho is being told what to do, is also a grown woman choosing to do this.its been hard to to the no contact thing with her but i fear i will have to. I want to date other folks but im not ready to let her go but im not will to put my life on hold either. Life is too short. She hasnt filed for divorce yet. She moved out 4 months ago. I feel that working on me and cutting contact is the best move but just hard bc it feels like im giving up on it but realistically, what can a man do…sit and wait and die? What if she never comes back? Ive signed up learn to play the guitar, take archery courses, boxing club, weekly massages, and participate in helping those in need. If i meet someone who is a good person and im happier..hell ill file. But , remember this is what happens when someone knows that you think they are worth more to you than you are. I want to learn how to be happy in myself before being with someone else first. That way when a person knows u love them but that they are not the center of your universe they will love and respect you or they will leave and find another low self esteemed chump that will be willing to let them control and ruin thier lives. My family tells me, “water will always seek its own level” its time for you and I to raise our level to attract better women. I know i am. Accept that you have to change to force change either in her and how she treats you or just in you and what woman comes next into your life. No one gets married with the idea of getting divorced on day but i have to learn from this as well as you as to not repeat it. My advice…cut her off…work on bettering you. You may find your self with a better woman ans in a much better circumstance

      3. After 3 months of separation now, my wife texted me only to pick up rest of her stuff from the house we lived in. I still live alone there. I asked who was coming with her to pick the stuff up, she didn’t respond and showed up in the evening with her brother-in-law.
        She picked up every little thing which was personal to her and a few things that belonged to both of us. She didn’t even leave the blankets. (To me it was a really cheap action). I didn’t stop or do anything. I just watched and let her take whatever she wanted. She and her brother-in-law collected the stuff together and left.
        She didn’t say a single word to me. Just focused on picking up her stuff. That was it. No talk, nothing.
        When they were leaving, her brother-in-law said to me in front of her that they will be looking for an attorney for our divorce and separate us as quickly as possible.
        This action of her left me devastated and shocked. I never expected she could be such cold. I believe it is certain that she has no plans for reconciliation or coming back to the marriage. I have been giving her all space to think during all 3 months of separation and never contacted or bothered her. I also didn’t beg, plead, cry or convince her to stay with me this time as I mentioned earlier (I used to beg, plead, cry a lot before when she would threaten to leave me over every other issue). A week before the day when she picked up her stuff, she also removed me from Facebook, changed marital status to none, removed all our wedding photographs and blocked me.
        I can’t believe this is the same woman who once adored me and I adored her. We loved and have so many positive memories together and suddenly now she completely hates me and leaning towards her sister and her family. I feel betrayed and unloved. I read your book to calm myself down and motivate myself to work on myself. But her positive memories haunt me. And her recent behavior keeps breaking me. Sometimes I blame myself that I didn’t deserve her but I can’t find that big fault which led her to leave me like this. I still love her despite all this happened with me.
        What do you think about how a woman can just start hating her husband like this and leave everything behind? And what all steps can I take to be an emotionally tough man now? Thanks for your help.

      4. Although I don’t know the full story, at first glance it sounds like your wife is experiencing an identity crisis. Do any of these signs of a midlife crisis look familiar? There is another article that goes with that one, so be sure to read that one too. When your wife completely flips a switch like yours has, and when there’s no real reason to do so, that points to an identity crisis, otherwise known as a midlife crisis.

        Either way, you’re doing the right things. It’s okay to be struggling with emotions right now; that’s expected. My advice is to keep maintaining the life you’ve started building for yourself without your wife. With time the pain will fade. Cherish the positive memories, but accept that they may remain in the realm of memories. That doesn’t mean you’ll never make good memories again; life can and will bring you joy again. Keep moving forward, making the most of what you can control. And if you haven’t already, I would talk to a divorce attorney. You can’t be too prepared.

        Best of luck and much manly love,
        – Stephen

      5. Thanks Stephen. Just want to share with you that my marriage is getting worse. My wife is using her brother-in-law as a proxy person to talk to me and my parents. She doesn’t come up and say to me upfront what she wants from me and from this marriage. She is just hiding behind his family’s back and telling lies to everyone around her. This guy doesn’t even talk, he only calls me and my parents to threaten. My wife is putting false allegations like I was the one who asked her to leave the house and like I have a mental issue. She puts all false blames through this proxy person. I won’t be able to even live with her even if she comes back later. She is showing narcissistic tendencies. Never admits her fault and blaming me for everything. She has broken my trust and I won’t be able trust her in future for anything. I don’t understand why they are involving my parents, this is so immature and crazy. I also got to know that she’s been telling all our personal matters to her sister. Her sister knows my financial status, our intimacy everything. To me this is a serious breach of trust in a marriage. Nobody should ever go this cheap even if you want a divorce. She is taking a revenge because I didn’t beg her and chase her this time. She expected me to chase and beg like before and now she is upset because I finally took a stand for myself to stop this manipulative and abusive pattern. I am still just waiting and watching what she does next.

      6. Best thing I can tell you David is talk to an attorney ASAP. Protect yourself. Your wife fits the bill for spousal mischief and you just never know what she might try. Besides that, continue what you’re doing which is recognizing just how far your wife needs to come for the marriage to even be a possibility. Remind yourself that she’s not yours to control and you aren’t responsible for her bad or hurtful choices. Maintain the man you want to be. Do not let yourself be broken by this – support your parents and try to be a source of encouragement to them; try not to let her drag your family down the path of toxicity. Remind them exactly what you’re reminding yourself; her choices can’t be controlled, only how you respond and react to them.

        Stay strong with much manly love,
        – Stephen

      7. I read one day “God gives us two choices, bitter or blesse”. I, like you, have stopped communicating after ten months of separation and I feel stronger, lighter and more relaxed emotionally. I feel (no, I am) blessed, I was married for 15 years with 4 fabulous children. She walked away, not me. I’ve pulled out all the cards, tried all the tricks. I do it for me, not her now. She can be bitter and if she wants to communicate, I do it with open arms. But every time in the past she drifts back away. My confidence has gotten to a point of; that was nice, but back to doing me”. I don’t want a divorce, but maybe it’s best to move on. Good luck to you and God’s speed to all of us to find our true happiness.

  3. I’ve been following this website for months ever since my wife asked for divorce early this year. I have read all the articles and ebooks (manly marriage survival, manly separation survival etc.) I thought your name was Jacob, now it is listed as Stephen. Can you explain the name change please, I’m confused about who is actually writing your material. Thanks, jesse

    1. Hi

      We are married for 5 years. My husband had me painted a beautiful painting if myself done by an artist for my birthday in December. He also had all our friends together when he gave the painting to me with beautiful speech how much he loves me. In Feb for Valentines he booked us a couple massage at SPA. And two weeks later he walked out. I’ve blocked him everywhere. IM so hurt and this is how I cope. I can’t face or hear his voice. It kills me. So now for 3 months NO contact. Told my daughter he wants me to pay his credit card and that’s all he wants from me. He walked out the second day after we just moved into new house. Left me with ALL the rent . I’m busy with divorce. He signed agreement and NEVER EVER came back to house. I personally think back and lots of things make sense now. I believe he wanted to leave long ago. Did not have courage to tell me. Planned the escape. ( no kids)

      To me it feels like he never took marriage serious. I hve to pay for divorce and rent by myself.

      Well it is what it is….he stopped loving me….

  4. My wife and my five year anniversary is coming up in December, but I am attempting strategy 2 and I already said my last hoorah. (although I feel like I rushed the last hoorah as it had only been 2 weeks since we had separated) Maybe I could try again in a couple months when I am actually in a better place? Anyway, do any of you have advice on how to handle the holidays coming up and our anniversary in the middle of December? Our current status is physically separated and she only communicates with me when it involves finances if that helps with your answer. I have also reached out to her once via text on her birthday, one email, and one phone call (for the last hoorah) in 3 weeks and she hasn’t had the best response to any of those other than a simple thanks for the birthday text. She says she feels smothered. She also seems very turned off to getting back together, but she won’t come right out and say its never going to work. She just tells me she has never been attracted to me physically and she does not think our personalities have ever matched as she is type A and I am type B. She said she has always felt that way but has never been able to tell me until now. My appearance has not changed in the time I have known her which adds to my confusion. Why would she agree to go out with me or marry me if she felt this way? She said it was because I was nice and because getting married seemed like the right thing to do after dating for a few years. I have also spent months if not years in counseling to improve my communication with her and try to improve who I am as a person, but I guess I was only doing it because that is what she said she wanted me to do instead of doing it for me. Anyway, I would greatly appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

    – Paul

    1. Paul, I have a post about how to handle Valentine’s Day when your wife wants out… Not the same holiday, but many of the points can be adapted to Christmas and anniversary. If I were you, I would consider skipping your anniversary, but still get her a Christmas gift of some kind. You know your situation better than I do and you can probably guess how she’ll respond to an anniversary gift… If you do anything for your anniversary, keep it small. It can work both for you and against you to remind her of the time and commitment she’s devoted to the marriage.

      Overall though, I do think that you’re doing the right thing here with using Strategy #2. Have you read Manly Separation Survival? If so, my advice is to use the Mystery Man approach. You want to genuinely put effort into building a life for yourself that you actually enjoy living. Find things you LIKE doing to fill your time. In doing this, you not only help yourself heal, not only prepare for the worst, you also get the best chance you can get at showing your wife that you can be happy with or without her… That life with you can be fun and fulfilling.

      At the end of the day, if your wife is telling the truth and she only married you because you were nice and it “seemed like the right thing to do”, that was a really awful and horrible and selfish thing for her to do. Let me tell you this – YOU deserve better than that from your wife. Granted, I doubt that was actually her only motive when she married you… It’s just skewed hindsight telling her what she wants to hear. Either way, you deserve a wife who loves you for more than just being ‘nice’. If she doesn’t value a husband who is kind to her, supports her, remains consistent in character in good times and bad, and all the other awesome traits that you have as a man, then her loss. THAT needs to be your mindset right now. You’re not trying to get her back. You’re moving on and seeking happiness with or without her, and if she realizes her mistake before you’r too far gone, great. If not, her loss. That’s the mystery man mindset in a nutshell.

      Whatever you do, I’m guessing these holidays will be tough. Take care of yourself, and it probably wouldn’t be the worst idea to continue counseling — but do it for you this time. Also might talk to a divorce attorney if you haven’t already. If your wife is Type A I’d be willing to bet that she’s already talked to one even if she hasn’t filed. Don’t get caught with your pants down.

      Much manly love,
      – Stephen

  5. Aren’t you advocating succumbing to a wife’s manipulation? And you say it may just fade into divorce? That sounds unacceptable. Especially if we’re talking about one member leaving while the other wants to stay. If the wife just leaves to live with friends or family instead of staying and trying to fix things, why would I give in to her as a parent would give in to a child’s tantrum? Especially in the case with multiple children involved and you don’t want the children to go through a divorce so you tell yourself divorce is not an option. But I’m completely relying on giving in to everything my wife wants? But don’t worry this won’t empower her to continue to act like a child and flippant leave again to pull the divorce card because we just taught her we’ll give in. And you say even still this may make things worse and end in divorce anyways?

    1. Hey Josh,

      First, to be clear, I generally recommend that you start a separation by actively trying to advocate for the marriage to your wife. In MSS, we discuss how the order of operations is first try to get your wife back, appeal to her commitment to the marriage, do whatever you can to show her the marriage can and will make her happier than any alternative, THEN when/if that doesn’t work, you revert to giving her space with the assumption that nothing you say or do is going to be what makes the difference; it must come from within her. You start with high pressure, then turn it down and adopt a stance of acceptance once it becomes clear that she’s not going to budge. This approach is why I generally recommend Strategy #2 of the options presented in this post.

      The difference between your wife leaving and a child’s tantrum is that legally, you control that child. That child is stuck under your care virtually no matter what, and so you can heap whatever consequences you want until the child’s choice becomes what you want.

      Legally, you do not control your wife. Your wife is not stuck. As far as I know, every single court in the US will grant a one-sided no-fault divorce, even if the other spouse wants to make the marriage work.

      As similar as your wife’s behavior may be to a child’s tantrum, the two require different tactics. Yes, you can enforce some BIG consequences if your wife up and leaves like that; leaving the way your wife did is one of the stupidest things you can do during a divorce. As the spouse that has stayed with the family, you can file for divorce, claim spousal abandonment, claim child abandonment, claim that your wife doesn’t need your financial support because she’s doing just fine without… You can push for an extremely one-sided divorce where your wife doesn’t get the home, has no child custody, and gets little if any spousal support. You can effectively ruin her life and take away everything she loves (even if her behavior doesn’t show it right now). Are there any bigger consequences than that?

      And yet, will doing these things or threatening these things get your wife back in the marriage? Maybe for a while, but the choices that people make with a gun against their head aren’t really choices. Her inward desire or the inner problems and discontent that led to her choice remain unresolved. So then with a consequence-driven approach, it is very likely that you WILL face these issues again, except maybe next time your wife wises up and talks to a lawyer first.

      Your belief is that letting your wife go off and do whatever she wants with no consequences is succumbing to her manipulation and setting yourself up for failure. My belief is that stopping her from doing what she wants can’t be the goal, rather what needs to happen is that your wife changes what she wants.

      When I was little I stole a dollar off my dad’s dresser. I thought I was really smart. My dad, of course, knew that the dollar was missing. He could have stormed into my room and demanded the dollar back and given me a spanking. He would have gotten the dollar back, and I would have learned to be sneakier next time. Instead, he waited. Later that day when we were in the car, he asked me if there was anything I needed to tell him. I crumbled under the guilt and fessed up. I learned that stealing is wrong and that I hated that guilty feeling.

      Our choices are much more impactful and permanent when we make them independently. So then, you need to ask yourself, what is the best way I can make my wife WANT to come back to the marriage? The goal of giving her space isn’t to let her get away with whatever she wants; it’s to ensure that the ONLY way she comes back to the marriage is CHOOSING the marriage over separation. But only you know what approach will work best for you and your unique circumstances.

      There is a reason that I showcased four different strategies in this blog post, because I know that some men will want different strategies. Yes, one of the risks of Strategy #1 – the one where you leave her alone no matter what – is that she simply never comes back and the separation fades into divorce. But remember that divorce is a possible outcome in ANY separation. And that is only one strategy. If that approach leaves a sour taste in your mouth, a more active approach like Strategy #3 or #4 may be a better fit for you, and more power to you if this is the case.

      No matter what you do, thank you for sharing your feedback and I hope that my response here helps shed some light on some of the ideas discussed in this article. More than that though, I hope that you will be able to remain strong and at peace in the midst of this struggle with your wife. I know it is painful and difficult, made more so when you have kids you’re trying to protect in all of this. Right now, your kids must be your first priority, even above getting your wife back. They need your full attention. Your wife has forfeited her position at the top of your priorities.

      Much manly love,
      – Stephen

  6. Stephen
    Right now I’m waiting for my wife to bring her brother and my stepvson to pack up things. I want to prevent this and just wanted to say thanks for any help you’ve given me to prepare for this.
    I noticed i did everything i should not. Good looking out on man minds and s like that

    Man love returned
    Vince spokane wa

  7. I’m very confused as what I should do. About 2 years ago when my wife and just got engaged she was texting an ex talking about basically leaving me. I caught her and she completely stopped and I forgave her. It made me somewhat insecure though. We’ve only been married just over a year. 3 months ago I was drunk and asked her if she ever cheated on me. She freaked out and left. She stopped talking to me, started hanging out with her 40 year old divorced friend (we’re 26 and 27) until 1 a.m. My insecurities hit an all time high and I made all of the classic mistakes of smothering her with questions trying to figure out what the hell was going on..fast forward to now. 2 days before our 1 year anniversary Dec 29, she basically told me she can’t live like this anymore. She says she’s too stressed and told me she doesn’t feel the same, doesn’t trust me to truly trust her. Now she is gone until well past midnight every night even when she works at 7am the next morning. She has told me she’s not seeing someone else but it’s really hard to believe. I don’t want to press her about it because my questioning of that and inability to trust her is what has caused all of these problems. I told her I’m not giving up on us and I’ve made positive changes but she’s never around. She has turned very cold toward me like she is intentially only focusing on bad things and acting like the mountains of good things don’t exist and never happened. Sorry if I’m rambling I just have no idea what to do..

    1. Very tough situation T S, my advice is to really pull your focus away from your wife for right now. She’s making decisions that you can’t control, and the more you try to stop her choices/actions, the harder it will be emotionally and mentally when she continues right along.

      If you can afford it, consider booking a couple sessions with a counselor… It sounds like you need someone to talk to openly and honestly. Tell them to be honest with you about what issues you have and what you can do to fix them. If you haven’t already, shoot me an email I have a couple extra resources for you.

  8. Hi. I’m lost and confused. Long story short wife went off with another man. We are back together giving it a try but it is now me. I have huge paranoia and my biggest fear is it happening again. How do I cope??

  9. Hi Stephen-

    What a great resource you have created and gathered here. I believed I was alone until I stumbled upon your blogs. My wife and I have been married for 9 months but together for 5 years. There is a age difference between the both of us. I am 32 and she is 25.

    A month ago, she moved out to live with her friend citing her needing to find herself, her needing to change, and hating the way she has been treating me. I have kept my distance during this time and she has thanked me for it. This week she reached out this week for a meeting. During the meeting, she was close to examine me for anything new about me. My haircut, my new clothes. She would look up and down with her eyes while we were striking conversation and cry from time to time.

    She had written a journal entry that she wanted me to read. It stated our relationship was karmically grounding and not allowing herself to grow. She also journalled about loving the fact she can do what she wants when she wants without boundaries (though i have never set any). A walk by the beach, or a coffee run on a lazy day without no attachement of anything.

    She also stated that decisions that had been made in the past was due to outside influences, such as endometriosis surgery that lead to the doctor telling us if we wanted kids we need to conceive now so we tried for a few months and was not successful {she has stage 4 endometriosis} and our marriage was due to society {though we are both adults and make our own decisions}. She then told me to let her go and find what makes me happy because she is doing the same. Though we were engage in excitement similar to when we were dating at the end of conversation (she was able to sublimnally called me “babe” instead of the my name, she still reiterates the value of distance at this time. Which is something that you have re-iterated in your “let-her-go-and-get-her-back” segment. When we were dating, she had left me as well. Not knowing that i was following your “let-her-go-and-get-her-back” method, one thing i do remember when she came back was her saying she came back because she made the decision to. Its just harder now since we are married.

    Any personal advise beyond your great insight on these posts?

    Much love,

    Tseem

    1. Tseem, difficult position here because by all appearances your 25 year-old wife is having an identity crisis, aka. a quarterlife crisis. It has nothing to do with you, it sounds like it is merely the fact of being married that’s doing this to her. I would encourage you to read the posts on this blog that deal with midlife crises because that’s what you’re looking at here. Here’s one and here’s the other. Be sure to download the bonus quiz that goes with those posts.

      For your approach, you are on the right track here. Patience is key. It is possible that your wife will decide she simply doesn’t want to be married, but it is also possible that as you show her you can be happy without her, she will realize that you can make her happy too. That’s your best chance, and the added benefit is that it enables you the clearest path to healing as well.

      Overall, be patient, stay focused on what you can control, take care of yourself and stay consistent.

      Much manly love,
      – Stephen

      1. Hi Stephen-

        I didn’t believe that you would write back. :-)

        We are both youth leaders of our Buddhist faith and so events at the faith center always provide an opportunity for us to at least cross paths. A week ago she had asked to go to lunch with me which surprised me (let her come to you) but I have been working on my physique and bought new dress clothes to wear to the center. (i am an active person who has lost 80 pounds in two years and have maintained it for the past two and i know i look good, no doubt). During lunch, i worked hard to focus my attention on listening something I have determined to be better at through (working on the man i want to be) this separation. She expressed that she was confused (second thoughts curve), thinking she made the right decision and now she is regretting it. She had also wanted to move back in and she asked me what i thought. My thinking was that if she wanted to move back in, she would had said it so my response was “i enjoy my time being separated at the moment as it give me time to work on bettering myself” (interruption marketing). She said she understood my response. She hates her living situation at the moment as her female friend also experiences her own shit (5 things women dont know about women) and expressed on living with some other female roommates closer to her workplace. I encouraged her to do whats best for her.

        Its tax season and taxes stresses her out hardcore. She initiated that we file joint taxes. She came into the tax session very negative towards me. The original tax appointment fell through so we decided to test out luck with online tax websites at the apartment. At first, she took the reigns and was doing well but like what I expected, she became very negative with the whole tax process. I encouraged her the best that I could to help lessen the tension. She would catch herself being mad after my encouragements and would smile and turn away. She actually took a nap and during this time I was able to do some research to help us out with questions to out taxes. After waking up, i explained to her steps that she should take to resolve the tax questions. I have always been a very helpful boyfriend, fiance, and husband but she feels constrained that she overcome her struggles and depends on me for issues like this. I told her to please don’t confuse my care for her as a way to make her feel dependent of me. At the end of the day, I am still her husband and that I still care for her.

        I saw the opportunity to do the “last hurrah” so i explained to her that I wanted to fight for our marriage. We made a commitment and vow to each other. We are both adults and made decision on our own free will and if she felt this way, she should file for divorce and give up everything (i acted out of desperation). She was quiet throughout this time and when i stood up to grab my journal, she stood up to start to pack up and leave. She had stated while crying that we would never in our lives together anymore.

        i had shared the story on how she had tried to reach over to me to kiss me when our officiant was introducing our story on how we met during the wedding ceremony (way before our vows and ring ceremony) and how she felt during that time. After a bit of silence, I had asked for her thoughts. She broke down crying and said that “containers… i need containers…i am homeless at the moment and i need containers to put all of my stuff in. Please do not mind all of my possessions in the house. I will get containers to put all of my stuff in there and only occupy a small space in the apartment and be patient about the divorce papers as well”. Her life at the moment is in shambles, the only thing she was thinking about was what she needed to do to survive the next day. Before she left, i helped her gather some items in the house that she needed and brought it to her car. She turned around and gave me a hug. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and she left. Though she came back to the apartment the next day to pack up some stuff (i wasnt home at the time), I have kept and will keep my distance.

        Through self-reflection, i now understand that she is a very independent woman due to her childhood background (father passed away at age 14 and a depressed/unavailable mother). I have been the only concrete thing in her life but I can see how i can hinder her growth as an independent woman because of my tendency to want to solve her problems for her (remember the karmically grounding part?). Sometimes she needs you to just listen and not to advise her on what to act on (yes, i am learning and improving that about myself). I did receive guidance in my faith organization and it focused around the fact that she is an independent woman and how to support her. Instead of doing stuff for her, take a look at a different angle. Ask her how i can help her instead of solving her problems for her. Being a great leader is not always taking charge but allowing your followers to grow and make mistakes with you as support by their side.

        i continue to read your writings on your website. I wish i would have found other contents to help me navigate this past weekends experience (7 pitfalls that push her away, #5 expect your wife to work on the marriage, #6 let your emotions control you). Wish I would have found your reply to my original post as well. Hindsight is 20/20.

        I have a strong support group with friends (including you!) who are married. Her support group is surrounded by single friends who suffer relationship issues. I’m intrigued in purchasing some of your resources to help support you. What do you recommended for me?

        Even through this i still have faith and hope that we will overcome this obstacle in our lives.

        Much manly love,
        ~Tseem

  10. Hey everybody. I have read seveal books and have read the haven advise. From my experince. There is a fine line between love and hate. It takes strong emotions to do/feel both. I think my wife is going threw a mid life crisis. She is 46 (i am 60) we have a 5 year old son. it is written that a mid life crisis can last from 2-7 years and there are 6 stages of it. My wife is at stage 2. Going into stage 3 the “replay” phase.We have been together for 7 years. 2 years into our relationship we got married and had a babay. My wife was single for 39 years (not married and had no kids) 2 years ago she said she was feeling unhappy and she did not know why. She did not know what was making her feel that way. So I recomended therapy. She started going. At the same time I stoppped dringking. I then developed PTSD from my service in the militay (39 years ago) My wife told me in November of last year she was leaving. I suggested she wait untill after the holidays. She agred. Thankfuly when she told me. I did not beg , pleade or cry. I told her I did not thinks it was wise. But that she had to do what she had to do. She moved back into her house (one 1/2 miles away) We are cordial and work together for the best interst of our son (i take him to school, pick him up and pretty much have him every day. When she mved out. She kept her wedding ring on. Ist has been since New YEars even when she left. So it about 6 weeks now. It is VERY difficult for me. She tood her wedding ring off last week. I asked “your took you ring off” She said “for today??? I asked if she putting it back>? She said sh e did not know. The next day she put it back on. The a few days later. she tool it off. It have been off for 8 days now. I am compelled to wrtie this as I beleive in god. I am not a holly roller. But I think the devil is trying to work his magic. My wife is sucessfull but her father left her when she was 10. He cam back in later in life. I have my son untill 8 pm. She will say I will be home at 8;!5. She slipped and said “I will be here untill 8:15” which meant she was already home. When i brought my son to her house. the car engine was colt & there was rain on the car. It was evident she was already hoe/ When i went to get him on Sunday. She said I will bring him. I have to “go somewhere at 9:15). Of course my mind is wandering. I forgot to say my daughter rents her up stairs). Anywaqay. My daugter was awoken to my wife vacuming at 11:30 am. So my wfe went out for 1 & 1/2 hours. She made it a point to make it seem like she was meeting someone. Yet i beleive she was just mesing with me. I think she is trying to see if I will falter and start seeing someone. To make it easier for her to justify her actions for leaving. I am writing this to say. Just be carefull. The devils wants all of su. Before you vilolate your vowes. Make sure you knwo 100% that they are viloating there.
    I am a fixer. Sadly as the haven advise yo. You cant fix the marriage. You can only fix your self. Stephan is a smart dude. It is very right. I love my wife dearly. I am going to stay the course. I am not giving up. I wish all of you the best. Again If they are mean to you??? They still have feelings for you. JUST REMEMBER THAT> that means there is still a chance. I know it sound screwed up. But it’s true. Good luck everybody. God speed

  11. Know my wife since she was 14 .spent a long time apart got back together for 8 years married for 5 years. Had an amazing life together. Then it all started everything was not right no matter what. Plenty of money in the bank hardy any mortgage.Both of us worked no debts and all bills alwsys paid .But she had to pick fault with everything my father inlaw passed away and she was left a house and some money.She then started to cause me of wanting the money and should zI be entitled to any of it.She then went to see a solicitor and had some paperwork drawn up so she could move into the house she was left and we were separated.We used to share the two dogs we have and I walked down to meet here straight away she was bad mouthing me. I politly said that the way I was being treated was not acceptable.This was December 2017 not seen her since received an email telling me that she could not forgive me for all the little things and she dont love me anymore.its been 3 months now.Gutted to say the least but I refuse to beg here.
    I have discovered a book that makes a lot of sense called Woman’s infidelity 11 breaking out of limbo. Forget the title just give it a read it’s a very good insight and for me a light bulb moment.

  12. I have been spending a lot of time reading your site, and believe that your advice is on the mark. I just can’t figure out what to do. A 10 year marriage, late in life. Second for both of us, with many years between. Both of us are retired. During those ten years I spent 100% of my earnings on us, mostly her and her house. I retired first, I was a high earner, my income dropped drastically. She inherited a large sum of money. Without my knowledge she created a trust and did a will specifically excluding me from anything. I accidentally found out and had a serious mental breakdown, and checked myself into the hospital. On that day she locked me out of the house, claimed I violated her privacy. Showed little concern for my mental condition. I believe she got some financial independence, and decided she did not need me anymore. We never had any serious arguments, no infidelity, seemed to enjoy each other. Her only reason was she believed we were both “unhappy”. I was never unhappy. She claimed in the last few months she gave me signals in her own quiet way! I guess I never saw them. We celebrated our 10th anniversary 1 month prior to the day that she locked me out. I had given her a diamond ring, she gave me a straw hat on our tenth!

    I still love her, the divorce is proceeding and the war over money portion begins in a few days. I guess I will know then that there is no hope. Legally she will have to support me, reimburse me for all the improvements I made to her house, etc. I want to start up a communication (none for over 60 days). My friends tell me I am nuts, for wanting to try to save the marriage that had sacred trusts broken by her (trying to hide money, etc.). That she used me for ten years. On the day she locked me out I had maybe $15,000 to my name including a 16 year old car and a few bucks in the bank, and she had 1 million!

    I still love her, miss her, and want to hold her again. Yet she betrayed me, tried to hide money from me, planned this for some time, and I just accidentally found out.

    Should I move on? Should I wait until she sees the financial impact the divorce will have on her? and if she tries to rekindle something, should I trust her motives?

    1. Honestly, I would tread very carefully here. At this point I think you need to assume that the marriage is over and that divorce is happening. They say that money changes people, so perhaps your wife wasn’t always this way, but at this point it is her responsibility to save the marriage if it’s going to be saved. You can keep your heart open to it if you like, but the truth is that there is a very real possibility your wife is just too manipulative to be trusted. If I were you, before I would be open to the marriage again I would want to see some kind of concrete proof that she’s dedicated to not just marital change, but personal change on her part.

      This is a serious breech of trust, perhaps the most serious breech of trust you can have outside of infidelity, and unfortunately this is not the first time I’ve seen a woman plot to leave her husband broke and broken while she makes off with a fortune, somehow convincing herself that her husband deserved the treatment.

      If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, it’s a duck… Your wife did very manipulative and very selfish things, so you have to assume that she has become a very manipulative and selfish person until you have a reason to believe otherwise. Divorce is not about what’s right or wrong – it’s about what’s legal, so trust your lawyer and lean on their advice.

      Best of luck, you have my sympathies.

      Much manly love,
      – Stephen

  13. Hi there Stephen,

    I must say your strategy has helped me a lot. I couldn’t deal with the pain and this actually got me in the right mind-set.
    After 3 of months of not speaking, I was the one to break the silence. Before, when she decided she didn’t want to be my wife anymore she was very abusive. We don’t live together and are in different countries so I felt no contact was the best option. I was also to defeated to speak because I really never expected her decision. She wanted to be alone, and didn’t like my friends here and even felt strange around my family… not herself.

    So when we spoke again I told her I had accepted this and would like to start speaking again, to face whatever I must face to move on.
    Her attitude was different, but her behaviour is still rather distructive. After her separation from me (we are still married) she started going out, neglecting her daughter, drinking a lot and started smoking again. The whole behaviour also destroyed her relationship with her own parents and led to her not speaking to her parents for quite some time now.

    I only want the best for her, of course, and if the best is living alone without her family, daughter (not mine) and struggling financially that is her choice and I accept it. However, a little while after we started speaking she told me she has financial issues. Since she is my wife I told her if it’s serious we can talk about it and try to figure out a solution. She’s currently working a lot of hours for minimum wage. I have my own apartment and earn enough to live comfortably. She didn’t ask really for money, but hinted for a present for Christmas. So of course it was only a small token from my side I agreed.

    Fast forward a little bit… And she suddenly asked if she could move back to my country. And was asking how I was doing at work and even hinted that I maybe could get her a job. That confused me completely and I really don’t know how to react. This is the woman that hated even being around me and never wanted to see me anymore when I last saw her. Now she’s asking if I can help her move back here. I didn’t go into detail yet if she wants to move in with me and try to be a couple again, or just allow her to come back here so she could get a better job. In her country the salaries are a lot lower than here. We met here so she knows well…

    So my biggest question; how do I best respond? I don’t want her to suffer, of course, and I would try anything to make the marriage work. I didn’t really expect this question from her side but I’m confused by it. On one hand it seems positive, on the other I know it’s mostly about money in the way she asked it so I want to be careful. I don’t want it to be for the wrong reasons. What would you suggest?
    My mind goes toward offering her a yes, but telling her that it’s with the condition that she’s open of trying to see if we can ever work again and try rebuilding. If it doesn’t work I’ll let her go, that’s what I want to offer her. But that might be a very bad thing to suggest because that won’t be “her choice” and could be seen as forced. However, she doesn’t admit her side or being sorry or anything in that direction, so it’s hard for me to tell what’s going on in her head. I just know her asking that question is a big deal for her.

    Thank you very much in advance and keep writing, this is really valuable!

    Kind regards,
    Ken

    1. Well let me pose it to you like this Ken…

      If you knew that your wife was only asking for money, that all she cared about was getting a better job for herself, and that she had NO interest in rekindling anything with you… What would you say? If you knew that the moment she got that job, she would go back to wanting nothing but space and silence from you, what would you say?

      If you would still say yes, that you would still want to help her independently of your desire to save the marriage, then there you go, that’s your answer.

      If you would answer no, that you would not help her if the only reason she wanted your help would be to use you for more money, then that makes things a bit more complicated. In that situation, there are probably some more subtle ways of going about it, but I’d be tempted to just ask her plainly and honestly what her intentions are. Tell her that you’re not going to make your answer conditional on whether she wants to try again with you, but that you also want to set proper expectations and that you want to know where her heart is at. You can also tell her plainly that you DO want to try again and WOULD be interested in rebuilding with her.

      You’re right that what you do NOT want is to get into a situation where you’re only saying yes to her because you expect another chance. I just have a hard time seeing that play out the way you’d want it to. I personally would avoid making a second chance a condition of helping her move back. Instead, try to figure out if she’s interested in the relationship first, set your expectations first, then decide from there. Or if you know that her intent doesn’t matter and you just want to help, then that’s that.

      With all that being said, there’s no right answer here, and if your gut is telling you strongly one way or another, even if it’s counter to my advice here, you have my official permission to trust your gut!

      Hope that helps you make some sense of this complicated situation.

      Much manly love,
      – Stephen

  14. You forgot : she doesn’t care anymore. She isnt Obsessing and has moved on happily. It’s not about punishment or fear of vulnerability. She just doesn’t think about you anymore.

    1. I don’t typically see that sort of outlook from a separated spouse within the first months of separation, no matter how much they want out of the marriage. Leaving a marriage is a big, difficult decision and MOST people, men and women, will go back and forth internally, even if they still stay non-communicative with their partner. Those spouses who deliberately ignore and avoid communication with their soon-to-be-ex usually do so intentionally for a reason, not just because they’re too happy to care. If they had really moved on happily, they wouldn’t be ignoring all communication, because as you said, they aren’t angry or fearful or vulnerable.

      In other words, a separated spouse who is happy, confident, healed, and has no desire to avoid their spouse… would not avoid their spouse. Usually these people have had a reasonably amicable and/or mutual separation, unlike the men who I’m talking to in this article.

      Either way, maybe you’re right, but this article is intended to help men dealing with the frustration and helplessness of NOT KNOWING where their wife stands if she’s left and refuses to communicate, regardless of the reason for her non-communication. The goal is to help these men come up with a concrete plan of action, so that they can stop obsessing over their wife’s lack of communication and live their life and find healing of their own. Hopefully we can both agree that’s what’s best!

  15. Stephen,
    Thank you for the amazing portal. Helping/learning a lot.

    Mine is 5.6 years of marriage together. She packed her stuff and left along with our daughter with a note saying where the house key is.I thought we lived a happy life.

    For the past 20 months(yes) she is living at her parents. I have visited a bunch of times her parents place and never allowed to meet her or my daughter. Never fought with them till date just trying to be humble and I don’t want to aggregate her anger by any means. Approached her family friend/preist/counselor and she was not able to refuse that offer from them. We attended counselling. After hearing everything, priest said there is no real reason to be separated and asked us to get together. Right after the counselling she literally ran out of the church.

    Iam sending emails frequently insisting for a meeting or a counselling lately. Whenever I try to send a mutual contact to her house, I am hearing absurd untrue allegations latest one being I stub lit cigarettes on her. I don’t smoke.

    I have tried no contact for nearly 4 months. No improvement.

    She used to be a great wife/person.Everyone in my family loved her. I still can’t figure why she is not willing to communicate with me or atleast listen to what I am trying to say.she blocked me in all possible ways.

    I miss my daughter a lot.
    Wife is just not communicating.
    Seeking your thoughts on this please.

    Harry

  16. Hi All,
    Thank you Stephen your your insight in your articles and advice in the Haven. My name is Rich. I’m well, beyond broken. My wife and I have been married 27 years. We’ve had our usual husband/wife ups and downs, but nothing too major. One serious infraction I committed was a serious insensitvity issue 16 years ago. She worked hard taking care of two small kids at the time while I worked. We were a military family. She completed coursework for her college degree. I made the stupid decision not to take our family across country to the state of La (we lived in CA at the time) for the commencement ceremony, nor did I plan any big gala for her achievement. I failed her misrably.
    I have repented of this for a long time, several times over the years, because it eats at me so badly. She said along the way that she had forgiven me. I assumed it to be so. Now, we fast forward a decade or so. We nave 4 kids, two grown, and a 17 and 13 year old. We moved to her home state of PA from our last home in San Antonio, TX. There I retired from the military and we made our home there for 5 years after retirement. During that time her parents passed away in PA. She received their home and 18 acres after their estate settled. We made the decision in 2017 to move there. After arriving, I did not have a job, she found one and went to work. I worked in the form of fixing up the old house and getting contractor help lined up to make it livable. We moved in in Dec 2017. Since moving to PA I noticed a definite change. She was more standoff-ish and really seemed angry alot, but would never tell me what was wrong. I thought it may be wearing on her living in her parent’s old house (her dad actually passed in the home) and inquired a couple times. She said she was ok and I didn’t want to push it.
    Now, remember, we are a Christian family…brought our kids up in the church and into Salvation with the Lord all along the way. It took a while for us to find a church. We never really agreed on one. the worship style in NW Pa is a lot different than we traditionally were used to. We did not drink, or go to places that predominately serve alcohol. My wife re-united with 3 of her BFFs from high school (all ladies) and they all were married. The only exception is those other three accepted “social drinking and frquenting alcohol establishments as ok” Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not judging anyone here. If that is those families’ conviction, them please proceed. It was not/had not been ours the entire 27 years of marriage. I questioned my wife and she just dismissed and and became angry and said I was judging her friends. We had not been intimate or had regular sex in the last few years. She was a H.S. teacher so I really believed she “was tired” when that was her excuse. We had sex once after we moved to Pa from Oct 2017 – Nov 2018 when we separated.
    The day after Thanksgiving I was getting ready for work in our bedroom and she came to me and announced “I’ve had enough, I’m filing for divorce!” Needless to say, my heart jumped out of my throat. I NEVER saw this coming!! She said I had been “emotionally abusive for years” and she is standing up for herself! I could not believe what I was hearing. I asked for explanation and all she brought up was my past mistakes (like the flop of not celebrating her college achievement), and not getting a job right away after we moved to Pa, and squandering the inheritiance her parents left. Her mother had left her ~$40K. We used that to fix up the property, build a barn, and get a “tiny house” for our disabled son. She said because I did not work our first year in Pa, I was worthless and disrespected her and that was the last ‘draw.’
    Now, I’ll admit I was a little choosy on the job search and should not have been. I’m a retired military guy with all the baggage that goes along with a post-Afghanistan tour racked with PTSD and some physical mobility issues. I spent the first couple years in retirement working on my M.A. degree. and received it. It’s not like I was not brining $ in, I was receiving my military pension.
    So with all this big background: I had to go on to work that day, + we had some family in town still from the Holiday, I didn’t want to make a scene, looking back it would not hav e mattered. Over the next days and weeks I pleaded with her to go with me to counseling. She refused saying “If I go to counseling, pastoral or secular, they’ll just try to get me to change my mind and I’m not! And there is nothing you can do or say to change my mind!” I was crushed! Soon, Thanksgiving led to Christmas. I kept thinking she’d change her mind. I got more involved in my own counseling that I had long been doing with the VA for PTSD, except now expanded. She did not want to date (which we did at least monthly) and she did not want to got to the gym or do anything with me. I tried until Jan of 2019 to remain in the home. She got verbally upset when I was trying to reason with her agian and she just went on a tantrum asking when I was moving out. I found a place in town to rent.
    She had long before announcing divorce stopped wearing her wedding ring and built a ‘fortress’ around her in our bed with pillows so I could not even dare touch her. she continued being a mom to our younger kids and working. I saw the kids 2 nights a week and one weekend day. I tried to reason with her multiple tims. She filed for divorce early Feb. In Pa it gets served for final 90 days later. It has not arrived in the mail yet. But in the last few weeks, I’ve learned a lot. It tears me up: she has been spending time with the single neighbor guy. He is about our age/50 and has a younger daughter who often plays with our youngest, so that was the “in.” I learned from my girls that she had been spending time in the evening with the neighbor at his home, behind closed door and DRINKING multiple nights a week. whats worse is my girls thought I knew. I was heartbroken and they saw it on my face. Then they went on to say (innocently, not meaning to hurt) “Dad, I htought you knew…she has also been dating men she works with!” I was floored! Thinking to myself “if she’s dating and drinking behind closed doors of a man’s home without her husbnad, what else is going on??? I lost it and drove to her home and confronted her and told her she is a liar and had lied to me by telling me she and the neighbor were ‘friends’. I questioned why she’d even think it’s ok and she said “so what.” It was like another woman was talking. I did not know her anymore, much less trust her.
    A few days went by and I was at her home spending time with the girls who still stay with her, working in the garden. Then I saw the neighbor mowing his grass. I lost it! I ran over, flagged him down off his mower and basically got in his face asking what kind of man he was to involve himself with another man’s wife who is still married. It did not lead to a fist fight, but close. I said my peace and left. of course my wife blew up the phone with text of disapproval. We volleyed back and forth for an hour on texts. Yesterday I went over and asked to speak with her. She woke from a nap and came outside to find me. I asked her point blank: can you look me in the eye and answer that we have did all we could to call on the power of God to work things out? She was dismissive: “i’ve prayed for our marriage for years”…I said I prayed too! I asked her when the last time she prayed with me was, again dismissed me…”I have college work to do” and then went down the path bringing up my mistakes AGAIn tht she had not forgiven after all this time. and how she had been speaking to others older ladies who had been married to “emotionally abusive” people and got out of it and were so thankful. It’s worth pointing out, I know who she was talking about and it was physical abuse, actually. She won’t reason with me, refuses to acknowdge she is doing wrong by dating the neighbor and drinking but pushes back “you’re telling the girls I’m a bad mom”. I corrected her “I said the behavior you’re engaged in is bad….you’ve been a great mom.”
    I’m sorry I dragged this post on. I know our God can work miracles, but am I crazy to keep holding on? Sounds like my wife had no intentions of getting back together at all. I guess I was just too hopeful. I have a friend ready to spot me the money for an attorney. I just can’t believe this is happening, still! I guess I thought after you reach a certain number of years together, you’re sort of home-free and together til the end. Naiive I know.

    I’d appreciate any advice Stephen or anyone can give. Rich

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *