She’s stuck, lost, indecisive, distant, disinterested, uncertain and noncommittal. Is it possible you’re the wishy-washy one?
She’s been sleeping in the guest room for 6 months.
Or she moved into a rent house a year ago to get some space.
Or she brings up the option of divorce about once a month.
Or she is simply a stranger in the house with whom you share kids, laundry and electric bills.
And here’s the crazy part.
You’re still chasing her. You want her. You plead with her. You’re patiently waiting for her to come back to your marriage and your family.
And you’re willing to wait as long as…hmmm…you’re not sure how much longer you can wait.
But maybe if you give it just one more year. Yeah. Then you’ll know what you’re going to do!
What Are You Fighting For?
I realize the roles are often switched and ladies may see something helpful in this article too. But I find this situation to be more common with men.
When our wives begin detaching from us we seem to hang on tighter and longer. We are more hopeful and optimistic. We don’t see things nearly as badly as she does. We haven’t been feeling the same pain as she has or for as long. We feel sure that just a little more time is needed to heal her distrust, dissatisfaction and/or disenchantment.
This may be one reason why men initiate only about one-third of all divorces. We become fighters – even when she isn’t fighting with us. We become caretakers even when she no longer cares.
In my personal experience and with most men I talk to we’re afraid to be “failures” or “losers”. We don’t want to believe we’re bad husbands.
With just one Hail Mary attempt we think we can pull this out and emerge safe, sound and victorious. Things will be just like they were before!
And what sucks about our competitive nature is that we will try to win back – at any cost – something we don’t really want. If we’re honest, things weren’t really all that great before.
We both allowed a tidal wave of mediocrity to wash over the relationship without hardly a word of objection. It just happened. It was out of our control. Never saw it coming.
When we’re both honest and in private conversation with a trusted friend, we admit that we often wondered if we were ever right for each other. One foot was always looking at the door.
The marriage always felt a little wishy-washy.
This is exactly why she is wishy-washy about coming back to it.
Why “Hell Maybe” Isn’t Going to Cut It
An amazing coach I know named Rich Litvin, author of The Prosperous Coach, calls this the land of “Hell Maybe”. And it makes no damn sense. “Hell Maybe” means nothing. There is zero commitment to anything. There are no decisions and no movement. It’s a “wait and see” strategy.
At this stage of a troubled relationship, there are only two possible responses. And you have total control over your own answer.
“Hell yes I’m in! I don’t just want what we had before– I want better. I want to grow together and learn how to love better. I’m committed to change and I’m ready to start a process of creating something new and fresh. I want to invite her to start a second marriage and, this time, I’m all in – both feet – and I choose her. I want her to say yes, but I don’t need her to.”
“Hell no I’m out! I see no possibility of healing the relationship and I won’t continue chasing and pressuring someone to be with me who doesn’t want me in her life. I will respect and honor her and our relationship. But I’m ready to lead the way toward an amicable end of our marriage. It’s necessary for this relationship to end before either of us can find the one we both deserve.”
It sounds so simple and I know it’s not.
Living in the land of “Hell Maybe” is extremely appealing. It has no immediate pressure or consequence. It leaves the door open for time and space to create the chance to heal.
“Hell Maybe” feels safe. It gives her time to come to her senses and to fall in love with you again.
If you enjoy living in constant limbo, anxiety and uncertainty…”Hell Maybe” is your strategy.
If not, it’s time to stop being wishy-washy and make a real decision. You must believe in your heart that the outcome you get is the one that you are supposed to get.
You might be surprised how many wives respond positively to a man who finally breaks free from the land of “Hell Maybe”.
And, yes, sometimes they don’t.
Marriages can’t be saved – only the people inside them can. If you’re a man who wants to OWN your part of your marriage, download my free ebook now. The Hard to Swallow Secret to Saving Your Marriage.
Photo Kari Elaine/Flickr