I spend a lot of time with men who are just now discovering the possibility of separation or divorce. Every man wants the same thing.
He wants his wife back.
He wants her to love him again.
He wants to “save the marriage”. He wants a second chance to prove things can be better and he can be different.
He would give anything if she would just change her mind and decide to stay with him and not break up the family.
Many times he gets his wish.
And, oddly, he is conflicted when his wife turns back toward the possibility of reconciliation. He isn’t so sure he wants her back, at least, not the way things were before.
Why is that?
Because he has made serious changes in himself and his outlook. He has changed what he expects of himself no matter what she decides to do.
He has also changed what he expect for himself…and he realizes that he’s not the only one who needs to make some changes.
About a Woman’s Trust
For the wife who has been sadly and quietly planning her departure, there is almost nothing you can say or do that will impress her or change her mind. She is done with the current version of this marriage and can’t imagine taking the risk of trying again.
One woman colleague explained it this way. “The only thing worse than trusting someone and getting hurt is trusting them again and getting hurt a second time. We will avoid that at all costs.”
It’s not that she doesn’t want to trust. She can’t trust.
Think of it as an incurable physiological reaction. The current version of her, you and the marriage is a horror movie – as stupid as that may sound to you. But to her it’s the only logical, self-preserving move possible. Move away from the “horror”.
The only reason a disconnected, untrusting and unhappy wife will want you back is if she sees real, unquestionable and authentic changes in you. They can’t be changes she wants – they must be changes you want.
When I see a wife who moves past her fear of reconnecting, it’s because something dramatic has happened. It is something so shockingly unexpected that she becomes curious about the possibilities.
Counter-Intuitive Advice on What to Do Next
There are some things you must stop doing and things you must start doing.
Some of these may seem fairly simple, but they are extremely hard to implement for many guys.
Because our feelings of anxiety and uncertainty make us vibrate with the desire to fix something now. And our fear of failure creates a desperate energy in which we will say or do anything to find relief.
Here’s are seven things you should stop. If you learn how to stop these and feel great about it…she will notice. She won’t say much – but she will notice.
- Stop asking questions and demanding explanations
- Stop initiating long, heavy conversations over and over again
- Stop interrogating her about everything she says and does
- Stop trying to impress her and make her pleased with you
- Stop reacting to everything from a place of resentment and anger
- Stop texting her about anything emotional or relationship related
- Stop talking to her friends and family about her
Bonus: Stay the hell off of Facebook!
Yes. If you do all 7 of those and find your way back into a calm, confident frame you will feel amazing. You must want to do these for you – not her.
Will she notice this? Yes.
But, feeling amazing at this point is much more important than being noticed.
Positively moving forward with new changes requires you to feel good about you. This is a prerequisite to her ever feeling good about you again.
Here are some counter-intuitive things you should start doing. If you actually choose to do these from a place of non-negotiable commitment to yourself and feel great about it…she will be curious. She still probably won’t say anything – but she will be curious.
- Start spending quality time with quality men doing quality things
- Start learning about male confidence and insecurity and how to increase one and reduce the other
- Remain kind, considerate and compassionate toward her at every turn
- Be cooperative but not a push-over
- Calmly engage in conversations about how the separation or divorce will go
- Organize your financial records and finances and know where you stand
- Become an expert about the divorce law and process in your state and county
- Gently guide the uncomfortable conversations about child custody
- Allow yourself to imagine your life as a happily divorced guy
- Keep all of your options open
Yes. This sounds like the process of giving up and letting go.
The most significant and shocking change a man can make in himself at this point is to give up his need to control and his need to maintain his death grip on her.
And you have to mean it. You must reach a place where your desire to save yourself is more than your desire to save the old version of your marriage.
You must be more invested in the process of realizing your value as a man than the goal of saving your status as a husband.
There is nothing more simultaneously intriguing and unsettling to a wife than a husband who has become clearly aware of his own value as a man.
What to do When She Comes Back Knocking on the Door
Hey, you’re the one who wanted her back. I can’t tell you what to do next.
I’m just saying that I’ve seen it happen way too many times to not warn you it could happen.
And if it does happen it will only be because she knows your changes had no expectation of her. You were not playing a game. You were not trying to manipulate an outcome.
This is only possible when you decide to make changes to your core way of thinking and way of being as a man.
The changes must be for you without an attachment to her reactions.
Yep, it’s not easy. But in my humble (but accurate) opinion, this is the very best time of your life to learn this lesson. For most guys, it takes this much pain to motivate them toward change.
When you make these changes you will become very clear what you expect of yourself. You will also get clear about your expectations for another go at a relationship with her or anyone else.
And you won’t be afraid to say so.
Being afraid to say what you want is the #1 reason men don’t get what they want. My free ebook goes much deeper into how to change that. Download “The Hard-to-Swallow Secret to Saving Your Marriage” by clicking HERE.
Photo: Tina Franklin/Flickr