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Wife Wants to Separate - Here's What To Do


Wife Wants to Separate - Here's What You Can DoEd came to counseling last week because he didn't know what else to do.  He'd never been to counseling before, so even going to counseling designed for men was a big step for him to take.  But he was desperate.

His wife had told him the week before that she wants to separate.  Then she left for a week - he was stunned.

She's threatened to leave before, he says, but this time he thinks she really means it.

Like a lot of guys, Ed has been putting off for years his wife's requests to go to marriage counseling.  In his mind things were never that bad.  Besides, with a business to run and a family with 2 kids, who's got time for counseling he asks.

He's making time now though.  He says he had no idea that she was this unhappy or their relationship was on the edge.  Ed did acknowledge a few things he needs to do better.  

"She feels that I yell at her a lot."  He's not sure if that's true, but he did say he knows he gets defensive and wants to change that.

So what can Ed do?  He wants to save his marriage.  But is it too late?

His wife left him and came back she says only for the kids and until they can figure out what to do with the house.

Is there anything he can do fix his marriage?  Yes!

  • GIVE HER SPACE When a lot of guys finally wake up and hear their wives, they turn into a super-charged Mr. Fix-it and are all over saving their marriage.  Unfortunately, most of their wives by this time have given up.  Ed needs to hold back on pressuring her to come to counseling with him or to work with him to save their marriage.  She needs a little space first.
  • GO TO COUNSELING The biggest statement men can make to their wives about what she and the marriage means to them is to go to counseling.  Not just once, but again and again for a while.  And on top of that to take the things they learn in counseling and put them to work to change themselves.  When most wives see a commitment to counseling and a willingness to change, they're willing to try again too.

If you're in Ed's shoes, and your wife wants to separate, give these two suggestions a try.  If she hasn't left yet, but she's been asking you to go to marriage counseling, save yourself some pain and go before it's too late.  Ed will tell you that counseling for men really isn't that bad.

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wow, sounds like my marriage. For too long I have been stuck in a loveless marriage and the bad thing is that my huband thinks that if we have sex, everything is good because we are connecting. Well let me talk to the men in the audience...sex is what woman want and are willling to have when there IS a connection between the two of you NOT to make one. We don't feel loved when that's the only communication there is. I am so lonely that I would like to have someone to shower me with hugs and kisses, I miss it so much and my husband really isn't one to do that. I have tried for years (27) to let me know my turn ons etc and he as so much as laughed at me. BIG turnoff guys...I finally have given up and NOW he is going to counseling. I am not sure that I really want it anymore!
Posted @ Saturday, March 27, 2010 6:23 PM by Deejay
Deejay - I don't believe that it ever has to be too late. I'm sorry to hear that he ignored you for so many years, but glad to see that he's getting help now. You make a great point that sex for women is a result of having a connection not getting one. That's a lesson a lot of us guys still need to learn. 
Posted @ Thursday, April 08, 2010 10:57 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
LOL 27 year's and know your going to give up.Come on after waiting this long .Please how stupit would that be . You wasted all time waiting and know your going to throw it away ...
Posted @ Sunday, April 03, 2011 9:31 AM by KENNETH
I'm 28 years old,been with my husband for 11 going on 12 years(4 years)married..I hate the coldness,I can't handle the fact that I cry my eyes out and he just ask me what do u want me to say..as long as I can remember he never showed me what he feels,I don't know when last he gave me a kiss,he never touch me,never even look at me and tell me I look beautiful(I feel ugly)..our sex life is all about him(btw no cuddle nor 4play)just plain sex..we have 2 kids..and my family want to rule my life(telling me)that I can't walk out..I'm came to the last of my life now..and I want out,he never took me for coffee even..and I went for coffee with someone..he found out and choked me..why didn't he see the cracks..don't get me wrong I don't have someone els..I just wanted to feel what it feels like..I admire my friends when they talk about their relationships and Valentines day..am I love him..but not in that way..he is 42 and I'm 28..we never go out..I mean never..I love meeting people..I love talking*and I only have 2 friends..pls help me!!I don't know what to do..I'm sick of the fact that I always have to think of my kids and family first..I want to be happy..and I'm happiest when I'm alone..I'm not ugly..and all this make me hate myself...:(
Posted @ Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:29 PM by Tanya
My wife of 7 years told me the other day she wants to separate but not divorce. She says I'm not the man she fell in love with. That she still loves me and I am her best friend but she's not in love with me. She hasn't kicked me out but wants me to get a good job so I can move out. I am so confused and scared. What can I do???
Posted @ Sunday, January 06, 2013 12:11 AM by eric
Eric, Ask her to go to counseling with you so you both can learn how to separate but not divorce. Once you're there you can both learn how/why she fell out of love with you and how to change that. -Kurt
Posted @ Saturday, January 19, 2013 9:49 AM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
Ok so my waife want a seperation . We still live in the same house and talk on the odd occasion.iv asked her to go to marriagecouncling but she not interested we been married for 20 year 3 children then out of the blue its over .... some thing doesnt sit right ..... any ideas we now have not really spoken for 3 months do i just say stuff it get the divorse papers ready .
Posted @ Thursday, January 02, 2014 2:57 PM by Dean
Ok so my waife want a seperation . We still live in the same house and talk on the odd occasion.iv asked her to go to marriagecouncling but she not interested we been married for 20 year 3 children then out of the blue its over .... some thing doesnt sit right ..... any ideas we now have not really spoken for 3 months do i just say stuff it get the divorse papers ready .
Posted @ Thursday, January 02, 2014 2:58 PM by Dean
I think that the 'giver her space' tip is a good one, although it can seem counter intuitive to a man who is being told that they aren't spending enough time with their wife. 
I also think that women need to come to the mans side of thinking for a bit to help him. Understand why he is doing what he is doing, then you can save yourself from a loveless marriage.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 26, 2014 11:44 PM by Joe Hann
The love of my life is separating from me after 16 years of marriage. It hit me like a train head on. She tells me she loves me but is not in love right now.I love her with all my heart and soul. I am in counseling because I feel so lost. There isn't a day that goes by and I say I love you. Do not know what I would do without her
Posted @ Thursday, March 06, 2014 7:37 PM by Evan
My wife and I have been married for almost 4 years now and together for 7. A few months ago she admitted to cheating on me one time. She is a diagnosed sex addict and I forgave her almost right away. After that things were going great for a few months until last weekend when we had a date night. She told me I was being too clingy and it was bothering her. I admitted I was a little too clingy because of what happened and agreed to change. I had a few too many to drink after that and told her I wished she was as attracted to me as I am her. The next day she told me she's been unhappy for a long time and wants to separate, and possibly leave me. I don't know what to do, I love her so much and I don't want our 6 year old daughter to be effected by this. I am currently giving her space and she is staying in our guest room. What can I do? I feel sick and lost and confused.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:56 AM by Jacob
Jacob, You're doing the right things so far -- work on changing yourself, back off on being clingy, give her space, and get some professional guidance from a counselor. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, July 30, 2014 7:53 AM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
My wife of 18 years is moving out, we have a daughter that starts college next week and a 9 year old son. She says she loves me but not in love, We have a farm and its a hard life, she wants us to still keep the livestock and she wants to keep the garden going and can foods for us but not live together, she said she is in no hurry for a divorce and wants to share the kids . I love her with all my heart and have been blind to her feelings, does this mean it is over or is there hope that she will come back home? She said there is no fixing our marriage, i did not see this coming, im so hurt and upset i feel lost, she is taking a job as a care taker for a property with horses. She is moving out next month. What should i do?
Posted @ Thursday, August 07, 2014 12:27 PM by Barry
Barry, Sorry to hear she's moving out. Give her some space, don't chase her, and take the feedback she's given you over the years of what she's needed/wanted form you and use it to work on yourself. By changing yourself you can draw her back. Talking to a professional counselor will help too. -Kurt
Posted @ Saturday, August 09, 2014 7:30 PM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
My wife of 5 years this month is telling me she wants a divorce or at least a separation. She truly is the most incredible woman Ive EVER met, and possible one of the most beautiful women you'd ever witness. I have been using marijuana and being very lazy in our relationship as well as with chores, bills and money. I do trust her %200 no questions asked. I know it's not that. It is me. She wants me to move out. She has been married twice before and the situation was similar but they were worse than me...alcoholic and a bike gang. She is a scientist for the U.S. Govt.and incredibly intelligent and well spoken...her bosses want her to take their job they told me. SHe is incredible. I love her more than words can describe. I'll do anything for her without hesitation. I've all ready quit the marijuana in the week since she told me. I realize I've been lazy and negligent with responsibilities and her needs and wants. I told her,and I mean it %100, I would love to take over the mortgage and bills each month so she could use her money for other things for a change. The house is hers, but I dont care, I'll pay for it. I truly want, and am all ready trying to be the person she needs and looks up to in her life. I can't stand the fact of what I have done to our marriage. All I want to do is fix it everyday of our lives! I do TRULY regret my neglect and self centeredness. I cry constantly...we cry constantly together. I would truly do ANYTHING for her any time, and that includes leaving. She is the most deliberate and cautious person I've ever met. Truly giving of herself and incredibly beautiful inside as much as outside. I love her to the bottom of my heart and would sacrifice anything for her happiness....and have written her detailed letters letting her know in detail. We have talked about possibly going to counseling in the past and I would do it in a heart beat now. Any advice or suggestions to a totally devoted and adoring husband who'd do anything to save his marriage to the most special woman Ive ever dreamed of meeting. I feel like I've been truly blessed with her love to this point. I'll do anything for her. Ive never met another woman even CLOSE to her. She is my dream girl! 
Please help me? Anyone?
Posted @ Sunday, September 07, 2014 9:01 AM by Nae
Nae, Go to counseling. Do what you didn't do in the past. That is a big one for women - guys actually going to counseling. And then do what counseling is about - change. You might be surprised how things change with her when you stop talking about it and starting doing it. -Kurt
Posted @ Monday, September 08, 2014 2:30 PM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
Dear Kurt, 
Thanks you so much for your reply. We have agreed to go to counseling...I am MORE than happy to go! She is good to go and has mentioned it before. I love this woman from the bottom of my heart 200%. I have told her I am willing to do ANYTHING and she knows it! Weather she believes it or not is another story. Right now we live in the same house but she wants me gone soon...weeks. I am MORE than willing to show her every minute of every day how much of a change I am and can make by doing things differently. I was smoking marijuana all day everyday and we argued many times over it with her always giving in and saying ok. Suddenly she says, labor day, she wants a divorce. We talk everyday about it and I try to assure her I can make a huge difference. I HAVE stopped smoking it! I am listening to her and taking her feelings much more to heart now. I will truly do everything and anything in the relationship. I am willing to pay all the bills and house note on her house and let her invest her money from now on. I have been lazy with her love and the responsibilities of the home. I am, once again, MORE than willing to change all that, but all she can talk about is me moving out. She asked how can she be sure that I wont fall back into the same habits. I assure her my heart won't let me do anything that would hurt her heart again. I truly love this woman with all my heart and soul. I tell her it would be easier to see the change in me if I stayed with her...she'll be able to see the changes everyday and I do MEAN it! It seems if we continue to live together I can show her, in all the little things, all the time, how much she truly means to me. She is one of the sweetest souls on the earth and one of the most beautiful women on the face of the planet! I love her more than I thought I could love someone. We have been married for 5 years next week and together for 7.5 yrs. She is my life, my heart and soul and I can't believe Ive hurt her this badly. I can hardly forgive myself for making the most special person I've ever met think of me the way she does now. I'd love the chance to show her EVERYDAY how much she means to me and how much better and different I can make our life.  
She seems hellbent on me moving out. Please, please help me. I am totally motivated to start fixing our relationship and our love as well as the distrust in her heart. Im just not quite sure how when she wont let me close to her heart. We sleep in different beds and I try to kiss her goodnight and good morning still but she does not respond back. I can't sleep or eat and I throw up fairly often. SHe is my world and she owns my heart. Please help me, please. I want to be the most devoted husband any woman could ask for, if she'll let me. 
Thank you Sir!
Posted @ Monday, September 08, 2014 9:54 PM by Rene'
My wife of 19 years moved out and a week later left a note stating she wanted to separate due to all the arguing. I believe we have grown apart over the years. In the last year, we have become grandparents, or daughter moved out, i had an emotional affair due to our distance, my wife had thyroid surgery after turning 40. I am 44. A lot going on in life right now. My wife moved out once and came back two months later only to move out again because she still thought I was involved with the OW. I have not spoken to the OW in 6 months. I have not talked to my wife in 3 months except by email and that has only been once. My wife talks to my sister-in-law but not about our marriage. I not for sure what to do. Can someone give me some insight on what I can do to get my wife to return a text or phone call. I would like to reconcile with my wife but it's hard when she will not communicate.
Posted @ Friday, September 12, 2014 6:08 AM by Jeff
Jeff, You should focus on changing yourself. As you make changes in yourself, let your kids and sister-in-law know what you're learning and changing about yourself. The news will probably get passed on to your wife. As she learns of you changing she'll be more likely to reconnect. -Kurt
Posted @ Friday, September 12, 2014 9:59 AM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
Hello Kurt, 
My wife told me on 8/09 she wants to separate / divorce she has no love for me and a big black cloud has lifted from her. We have been married 6 years on 12/09. we have a 2 year boy and a 7 year girl. I love her very much, I have neglected our relationship ( I think we probably both have) She says I am controlling, always wanting our daughter to do things straight away when she is asked. This has lead to arguments between us, I don't have a friendly tone of voice when we speak sometimes. This has been going on for 3 1/2 years she says most of our marriage has been unhappy, I think she has been seeing someone / having an affair. I don't want to move out the house we had mentioned converting a downstairs room. My wife has asked me to see a counsellor but typical guy I have never been to see one. I have an appointment after work today, I will do anything to win her back and make our marriage last. I can't bear to be separated from my wife and children I don't want to miss our children growing up.
Posted @ Monday, September 15, 2014 7:24 AM by JAson
Jason, The best thing you can do right now to save your marriage is go to counseling and work on changing yourself. And keep going back too. Change yourself and you may very well draw her back. -Kurt
Posted @ Monday, September 15, 2014 8:11 PM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
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