I sometimes hear from wives who are very confused as to what is the best way to react to their husband’s behavior during a separation. Often, they are still struggling with the hurt that they feel from their husband leaving, so they are understandably quite guarded. They want to save their marriage, but they are afraid of getting their hopes up and being hurt again. And they are sometimes afraid to let their true feelings show for fear of scaring their husband away.
This can become particularly problematic when the same husband who wanted the separation starts to be affectionate during it. The wife has often decided to “play it cool” or to not wear her heart on her sleeve because she doesn’t want for her husband to avoid her. So when he gives her some loving overtures, she isn’t sure how she should react.
In this situation, I might hear a comment like: “my husband chose to move out of our home because he wasn’t sure if he was happy in our marriage anymore. He felt that he wasn’t sure if he still wanted the same things out of life as I did. And he felt that he had changed over the course of our marriage. So he wasn’t sure if we were compatible anymore. Hearing him explain this broke my heart. It felt like a rejection. I questioned whether he still loved me and he reassured me that he thought that he did, but he stressed that he needed some time to sort himself out. I was crushed, but I was really trying to prepare myself for the possibility that my marriage might be over. I started looking at my own finances and I started thinking about beginning a new chapter of my life. This was difficult, but I was able to do it. And just as soon as I began to accept the separation, my husband started to act really sweet toward me. He’s actually started hugging me and occasionally kissing me. My first inclination is to be thrilled about this. But I just can’t fully experience that because I’m afraid. The rational part of me wonders why the same man who needed to sort out his feelings is suddenly so comfortable showing me affection. I’m afraid that I will get my hopes up and then he will ultimately decide that he wants a divorce. And I’m afraid to ask him what his intentions are. So how am I supposed to react when he suddenly starts showing me affection?”
It’s Tough To Strike A Balance, But It’s Worth It To Try: This is a tough situation. I faced it myself, although our separation went on for a while before my husband started being kind and receptive to me again. I was so torn because frankly, my backing away from my husband and focusing on my own life seemed to cause him to become interested in me again. So, I didn’t want to jeopardize this by suddenly becoming very excited about the new attention that he was showing me.
At the same time, I didn’t want it to seem like I was rejecting him. My heart was telling me that I wanted to respond because his attention and affection was what I had been waiting and hoping for. So I wasn’t going to ignore him or shut him down. I wasn’t going to reject the affection that I wanted for so long. In fact, I decided that I was going to return it and I was going to create a playful give and take that would encourage my husband to want to keep this going and to want to see me more often. In fact, my whole plan was to slowly build upon this new flirtatious rapport between us.
A Calculated Risk: Did I know that I was taking a risk? Yes, I knew that I might get my heart broken. And I knew that I might be extremely disappointed if I got my hopes up and then things didn’t work out as I had planned. I knew that this was possible. But I made a conscious decision to not turn away from my husband. I figured that I really didn’t have all that much to lose. I was already feeling pain because of the separation. Yes, there was a risk that I would feel more pain if my husband backed away again. But, this was just what I was already experiencing. And the potential reward (that the newfound affection would lead to a reconciliation) was worth the risk.
Maintaining A Healthy Dose Of Reality: With all of this said, I was always careful to maintain my cool about this in front of my husband. Inside, I was incredibly excited that he was suddenly acting loving toward me, but I was careful not to let it show. I didn’t want for him to think that I was assuming a certain reconciliation because I was afraid this would scare him. It was a challenge, but I was able to do it by constantly reminding myself of my end goal. It did eventually work. And I was constantly reminding myself to be realistic. I was cautiously optimistic, but I tried not to get ahead of myself.
I am not suggesting that this is the right strategy for every one. There are risks involved. But not returning your husband’s affection (when you really want to) is also risky because he may take it as a rejection and he may not reach out to you again. So I believe that it makes sense to consider doing what your heart is telling you to do, but to also maintain a sense of control at the same time. I feel that this is a decent compromise between letting hope and excitement over take you when the process is only beginning and just outright rejecting him because of fear. Source by Leslie Cane