My spouse wants a trial separation. Does separating work to bring back appreciation?

If you choose to Stand, it is not the separation that may or may not work. It is what you do with it; how you Stand and treat him and how you Accept the crisis.

What are the conditions of the separation?

  • Is this a midlife crisis?
  • Is there an alienator?
  • What sort of contact is your spouse willing to have with you during separation?
  • Are you attending marriage counseling—together?
    Is your spouse willing to work with you in action to heal your relationship?
  • Is separation an excuse for leaving the marriage?

You are probably asking how can he learn to appreciate me if he refuses to work on our marriage? If he refuses to work on your marriage—which is what an MLCer will do—he will not be trying to appreciate you. He may think that is what he is doing, but MLCers are too wrapped up in their own crisis to devote energy to anything outside of themselves—even their own children.

He can rebuild appreciation by observing and experiencing how you respond to the situation.

Separation in itself is not bad; it can simply be a desire for space, solitude and time in the cave. I crave it, but I also get it without separate living. Are their options for separation that do not include separate residences? Solitary weekend get-aways? Long bicycle or motorcycle rides? What can your spouse do to get away or be alone for an afternoon ever week? For MLCers in or approaching Replay that is not going to appeal, but it may appeal to a person in a transition that is threatening the possibility of crisis.
Someone else’s crisis is not your fault. Your spouse may choose to leave and like it or not it will happen. What can you do to accept that reality? If infidelity is not playing a part (yet), what can you do to be supportive? Supporting does not mean you are agreeing, but rather you are accepting. What sort of separation is this? Is this a break from marital rules where your spouse thinks dating is allowed? Or is it simply space to breathe and find one’s Self?
MLCers leave; not all, but most. So like it or not separation is probably going to happen. What are you going to do with that situation? You can whine about the futility and beg him to change his mind? But how will he feel and how attractive is that behavior? Will that be giving him his space?
Discuss the parameters of the separation beforehand. What sort of contact does your MLCer want? You may want constant contact—that is already assumed. But this is his crisis and he needs for you to accept and respect his needs. He needs to feel safe rather than judged. You are afraid a separation will become permanent. He is afraid of that fear in you and what you will do with it. Let your MLCer initiate and control contact. He may want to meet with you weekly at home, his place or somewhere neutral. Some may want more. He may call you daily or request that you call him. He may give you permission to call as you need—don’t do it. If you need to call him daily; call once a week. If you need to call him multiple times in a day; call him once a week. If you feel the need to call him once week, call him every other week.

The more you accept the situation with Grace and love from a distance rather than by clinging, the greater your chances of reconciling in the future.

Accepting means that you love him. It means you listen to him. What are his needs and what are his complaints? How does he want you to change? Is he doing something wrong, immoral, unethical? If there is not an alienator and he is not trying to find and alienator, is he committing a sin by desiring personal space and time apart? Is he breaking his vow of for better or for worse or ‘til death do us part? In MLC that is a big IF since most MLCers eventually have an alienator, but not all have an alienator at this early stage. Some people have no intention of divorce; they merely want to separate and they intend to return. They may not realize the situation will change.
Statistically the odds for reconciliation after separation may be low. But what does that matter if MLCers leave anyway? Work with the situation you have, not the situation you wish you had and you have the chance to get the situation you want.

Should you give him permission to leave?
No, let your spouse know that he needs to do what he feels is best, you disagree and would like to discuss ways to help him and your marriage from within the marriage. But acknowledge that you cannot stop him and though you will not like the situation, you will live with whatever happens. But be firm about who leaves: the person wanting out leaves; do not move out of your home.

What should you do with your life if he leaves? How can you turn this situation positive?
Let’s first establish that beg-n-pleading and crying at him are not positive. Telling him how it’s his fault you are depressed and lonely is not positive.

Healthy relationships are not built by two people completing each other, rather they are built by two complete people who complement each other.

Are you a complete person? If not, now is your opportunity to complete yourself so that when your spouse returns, you can have a healthier, happier and more fulfilled marriage. Embrace this journey as a joyous opportunity for your Self.

What can or have you done to embrace the opportunity?
What sort of separation contact and guidelines do you and your spouse have?
How has this changed you for the better
What are you doing with your life now that you did not do before?


Comments

Does Separation Help with Appreciation?19 Comments

  1. My H decided to leave when we were approaching our 30th anniversary. He started an affair with a woman he works with in Jun 09 or that is when he said it started and moved in with her in Oct 09. BD came in June and he said the hated words I love you but I am not in love with you. I spent until August trying to change his propesctive and he moved out at the end of Aug into a place and then moved in with her. I have come to the realization that he is in MLC and until he deals with his issues and demons he can't even think about the decisions he made without thinking. I do not call or text him unless he initiates it first and then it is casual and brief. We have had lunch twice during this time and Oct 2010 he actually sent me flowers for our anniversary. Sometimes very unpredictable behaviour and I wonder how much OW knows about him contacting me.

  2. Don't know that this has changed me for the better other than at 53 I have had to struggle with bills and household issues with no help from him. When he walked out I think we felt he no longer had responsibility for anything contacted with me or our home or our sons. Sons, 23 and 26 have no contact and H doesn't understand why. His issue not mine even though I have asked my sons to have contact with there father.
    This has been a very traumatic time for me. In the past year I have lost a sister to cancer, my father to dementia, my job but life goes on no matter what and I try to be positive every day for the blessings I do have – my health, a home, my sons, and a terrific family that provides emotional suport.

    • Yalck,

      Thanks to Tsunami for recommending the forum. I thought you might already be there…but maybe under a different name. sshh…you don't have to tell us.
      The crisis has and is changing you for the better because you have learned through your struggles. You've survived without help from him. That doesn't mean it's great this happened. But it does mean there is truth about clouds and silver linings.

      I'm especially sorry about the additional traumas; dealing with an MLCer is not easy, but dealing with a marital crisis in addition to other traumas is especially painful. You are doing well because of the your attitude regarding blessings.

      So check out the forum and keep commenting here too–all of you.
      The forum is a great place where you can run a thread to journal and share your story and receive support. Topic threads are also available for more indepth discussion of specific topics–hopefully this blog can serve as topic starters and the forum can expand on discussions started here. This blog will also be able to address topics that come up from the forum.

      • Same name on the forum RCR, just a new kid; or maybe I should say old broad on the block?

        I am just now getting the courage to post.

        Thank you for sharing your knowledge with others, and having such a wonderful forum for us to share our experiences of the insanity. You have a great group of people there, and a big cyber hug to you!

        (((RCR)))

  3. Yalck,

    I am sorry to hear about your situation, and it sounds very familiar to me. Please go to the online community and read everything you can. Others share their stories, and you will be so surprised at how similar our stories are; there is real love in this community, and feel free to share your stories with others so they can learn form you too!

    I hope to read your story in the near future, and get to know you better too.

    Until then, May God Bless you!

  4. I have read over this 3x today. I will see H tomorrow to talk more about our troubles. I have been soul searching and having small aha moments. I want him to come home so much, but I know he isn't ready and has already stated he will not be staying after the visit. He said I seem to be moving in the right direction concerning us. That was a huge boost to me. I hope I can continue to convey personal progress to him so he doesn't believe things will be like they were. I wish my printer worked so I could print out this blog and not have to keep signing in to read it. This is exactly what I needed to hear at this time.

    • Trying2bok,
      Given that your forum profile lists your Bomb as recent, he is not ready to come home yet anyway. That means I want to warn you…some MLCers try to return prematurely, especially this soon after Bomb Drop. Be patient and a bit relieved he said he will not be staying. I know what it is to want him home, but if he were to come home now I would be more concerned about him leaving again and what that might do to your strength, frustration levels and detachment. I sent you a PM at the forum regarding your signing in reference.

  5. The first year apart, I thought I was supportive in his need to have space..each time asking me to be patient..l( we lived apart on different continents) leading me to think that he just needing more time but then 6 months ago he totally separated from me..moving to yet another foreign destination for several years hence.
    For my own sanity we are basically NC…it is hard for me to stay positive that this amount of distance could have a "happy ending" but then I still need to learn that with or without him..my life will be happy again (and it is to a certain degree but I still miss him very, very much). Our home is for sale, we are getting a legal separation and our assets will be divided..the further we walk that path the less sure I become. But then, I remind myself, if his feelings could change one way..what's to prevent them from changing the other way?
    Hasn't been long enough, I know that…he is totally free of any responsibilities to this family now…so he will have the chance to expereience what that freedom feels like.

    • Without more information, I cannot say a lot. But it sounds like instead of trying to connect you need to work on detaching. Wait a sec…don't jump to the conclusion that I'm saying that means you should disconnect, detachment is not the same as disconnection. But it sounds as though you are focusing on the situation and the relationship rather than working toward self-healing.
      Here is my series about releasing–detach, let-go, surrender. http://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/rele
      And have you looked at the forum? Consider stopping by and reading and joining the community. Over there, everyone understands the pain because they are going through it too. The link is at the top of this page.
      My recent post What I did…as a Stander

  6. So glad I have found this site… Was Maried for 29 years.. We were the couple that everyone envied. Very happy, great kids, worked, played, traveled together and he loved it. Then almost over night; need freedom, need independence, a lot of unanswered questions. needed his space etc . He left 10 months ago, not one phone call. I have contacted him several times, only to be told move on I don't love you, I love you but i'm not in love with you, the past 31 years mean nothing, only what is going on today counts. etc etc.. Does this sound familiar to any one

  7. I ran across this site while researching MLC- while taking one of my kids back to college after xmas break- I came back to a husband of 28 years who told me he moved out to an apartment and wants a divorce. He told me he has been planning to leave me when all of our kids were out of the hose- he didn't want the same life- he wanted to be on his own and said he did not love me anymore. The separation started out on fairly friendly terms but now 3 mos later, he is very distant, doesn't return my calls and leaves me nasty emails. He blames me that our kids don't answer his texts and phone calls. I have been in complete shock but have tried to go on living my life- I see a therapist and have asked him on several occasions to join me and he categorically says "no, I'm not interested" He tells me he is shocked that I reacted so badly to his moving out- he thought I would be happy. I still cannot wrap my head around this- and my kids even though are adults, are sad and shocked.

    • Jorry,

      I heard the same things–Sweetheart was shocked that I still wanted him and that I was taking the news so badly. It is indicative of their self-worth; they don\’t think well of themselves and think we want them gone and that they are doing us a favor.
      As for counseling, no, MLCers will not go with you other than to attend a few sessions to help you accept that it\’s over.

      Have you been to the forum? If you post your story over there you will be immediately embraced by a whole bunch of people who have also stepped through the looking glass.

  8. My bomb drop was October 21, 2014. She moved out for a month in January, then came home. She was so upset with herself for coming home. It is now the end of June 2015 and she continues to cycle in replay. She spews hatred and then flirts and spews more hatred. The house is in her name and she told me that I have 60 days to move out because she needs to “do something for herself”. I offered to buy her out of the house and stay, but she refuses. HELP!

  9. My husband left 6 weeks ago..for the first 4 weeks we would talk here and there..then he decided to ask me what i thought we still had…i have not heard from him since..he has spoken to 2 of my daughter in laws but not myself or our children..he changed his number but not his address…i have written him a small letter to let him know we are all behindhim and still here for him..do i leave him alone now? I want to save my marriage my family and my future. Im so lost but i try to stay busy and do things for myself. I beleive his self hatred started about a year ago but he only left home 6 weeks ago.we werent fighters did a lot of the same things together. ..we just recently became grandparents. Is there a next step? Plz any insight?

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