Relationship Connection: My husband moved out, won’t talk to me; how long do I wait?

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Question

My husband moved out six months ago for a “break/space” and all the time has been giving false hopes.

Before he moved out, he said that he might be making the biggest mistake of his life and he didn’t know if he wanted to throw away 17 years or if it is how he is feeling at the moment. He says he has not been happy for two years but can’t tell me why and won’t talk. He is hiding behind work and won’t communicate, and he also does not respond to certain friends either. He will go seven weeks with no contact and had promised to communicate and meet up but doesn’t do anything he says!

He has now said he doesn’t see a future and says he needs to sort his head out as he hasn’t given it any thought.

It’s so out of character for him. He had a lot of pressure at work and has lots of overseas trips. He says he has not met anyone. I am not sure what to do next.

Answer

Your husband is not sending mixed messages. His actions clearly state that he doesn’t want to be in a marriage. Leaving for months and ignoring you for weeks is a strong statement about what’s important to him right now. You made an accurate observation when you noticed that he doesn’t do anything he says. When his words and his actions don’t match, always pay attention to the actions.

It sounds like he wants to be single but isn’t quite ready to give up the idea or the appearance of marriage. We don’t know his motives, his secrets or his true agenda. He’s hidden all of this from you. Therefore, you have to make some difficult decisions based only on observations.

Six months is a long time to not communicate or try and work out any differences. It sounds like he’s decided what he wants; now it’s time for you to decide what you want.

Even though your relationship options are limited because of his choices, you are not powerless to choose. Knowing you have options helps combat anxiety and depression, even if your options aren’t what you had hoped for.

Your options can include doing nothing and continuing forward with your life, inviting him to talk to you or honoring his actions by creating a legal separation or divorce.

He obviously has a plan of what he wants to do, but you’re not included in those plans. It’s awful to have your partner give up and disappear without any closure. You may have to be the one to provide the closure so you can know what you can count on.

Remember that acceptance is not agreement. Acceptance allows you to move forward so you don’t continue to live in a place where things don’t match. What he says and what he does only cause more confusion and pain.

If you move forward based on his actions, you will eventually see what his priorities are. He gets to have the luxury of taking his time to spin out in his head about his life and his marriage while you sit alone wondering about the fate of your relationship. If you were to move forward based on his actions, then he would need to decide if this is what he really wants to do.

You can make it clear to him that this isn’t something you want, but you’re honoring what he’s handed you. If he wants to be married, he will rejoin you and work on things. If he is really serious about leaving you, he won’t redirect your efforts. You will see the truth and feel grateful that you didn’t stay in this limbo state.

Stay connected!

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Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Facebook: facebook.com/GeoffSteurerMFT

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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10 Comments

  • htown July 15, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Do you write up these things to advertise your practice?

    • laytonian July 15, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Of course.
      ….and most of us could have answered that question in fewer words: “Divorce him, he doesn’t want to be married.”

      • htown July 15, 2015 at 10:20 am

        Yup, My point…thanks for the sanity check

  • CaliGirl July 15, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I bet these scenarios are real. There are some weird situations out there!

    • laytonian July 15, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Did you know most Q&As in magazines and media are made-up?
      Ever wonder why there are Q&As in the FIRST issue of a magazine or news column?

  • sagemoon July 15, 2015 at 11:24 am

    This may be the best response I’ve heard from Geoff yet. I do adore our local “Dear Abby” whether I agree with him or not. All these scenarios are very interesting!

  • AnnieMated July 15, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I say give him what he wants. Let him go and start the long process of moving on.It doesn’t sound as if this guy is treating you with any respect at all. It sound like he wants to be single (date other women) but still wants to keep you around so he has somewhere he can turn on those “lonely nights”. He is using you. Let him go. Based on experience with some of the locals I’m sure you’ll get some negative splash back and people will blame you or say that you should have done more to save the marriage (especially if you are Mormon) but it sounds like you have done what you can. You can’t force him to contact you, love you, like you or even respect you. Geoff says that “His actions clearly state that he doesn’t want to be in a marriage”. I completely agree. Do yourself a favor and tell him not to let the door hit him in the ass on the way out of your life.

  • beentheredonethat July 15, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Sounds like a case of PTSD. Lol

  • nancy335 April 9, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    The problem is that I have been focusing on the negative part of marriage, not speaking to anyone about my failed marriage and pretending everything is okay by putting up fake smiles. My husband transformed into a beast, cheater and abuser. It was unbearable to see a man who once vowed to shield us as family transfer aggression to me and the kids, pushing us hard to the wall.
    But there is time, reason and season for everything either good or bad. I ran to priest manuka for solution which I eventually achieved through his extra ordinary 7days love spell prayers. Our differences were settled and every heart wounds healed within 7days. I am grateful my husband transformed again to an angel which he has always been. Thanks to our redeemer (lovesolutiontemple1@gmail.com) priest manuka Love healing Temple.

  • Stephanie Humphrey June 27, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    My boyfriend and I broke up I was completely lost. A good friend of mine recommended that I have a love spell cast to bring him back, I thought that idea of a love spell was strange, but was willing to give it a shot. When I contacted Dr. Mack for the first time I was scared because I was not sure if what they did went against my religion. He assured me that they only use Ancient traditional magic spell which is safe and has no side effects. I felt a little better and decided to do the return lover spell. I did not think that it would work considering my ex and his whole family hated me and told me never to contact them again. Within a week he showed up at my job and brought flowers to me. He said that he missed me more than he could describe and decided that the good out weighed the bad. We got back together and our relationship has been better the second time around. I have to give dr_mack @yahoo. com all of the credit in the world for helping us get back to a better place than where we began. The new found love that he has for me is incredible and I can’t wait to see what the future holds….

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