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.
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.
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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.
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