Get your husband back. Restore cooperation, communication, and connection to a damaged marriage.
If your husband is leaving you,
it is because he believes he has much more to gain than to lose. Another way to put it is that he is afraid of losing what he could have without you. That may be another woman, but it might also be a sense of freedom, or even being loved–if he hasn’t felt loved and valued by you. He may also be leaving because he fears missing out on being able to get someone new. “Newness” and the desire for “better” and “improved” are a part of our culture. Because he is getting older, he may want something new while he can still get it. For other men, because they have become more successful, it is easier to get something new than it was before. That may be another woman, but it could also mean a different lifestyle including expensive clothing, cars, and entertainment. Many times, marital routines have failed to keep up with individual changes. Men yearning for more excitement may be married to women who resist any such change. Meaning, the man either needs to plod along or leave his marriage to find what he believes will make him happier.
Women leave a bad relationship they tried to fix. Men leave after they make the relationship bad.
A woman will fall out of love with her husband, try very hard to make her relationship work, then eventually give up. She then does not end up leaving her relationship until she can find new hope in a future that does not include her husband. Men, on the other hand, are quicker to become interested in extra-marital interests, then pull away from their spouses in order to create the emotional distance and justification needed to leave the relationship. Affairs are less likely to be accidental and men are more likely to try to “experiment” while pretending that everything is fine at home, in case their plans should go awry. When caught, they are far more likely to say that the other woman didn’t mean anything to them.
Women leave because they do care. Men leave because they don’t.
Women care about their relationships. It is a central part of their lives. They care so much about them, they can’t bring themselves to continue to live in a bad one because it hurts too much. The emotional pain wears them down and wears them out.You see, women leave relationships when they stop loving their husbands. For men, the pain of missing out on something outside of the relationship (often, but not always another woman) wears them down. Opportunity combines with ability and while they can resist temptation for a while, it takes a toll on their feelings for their wives. By the time he leaves, he either no longer cares about his relationship with his wife or believes his wife to be so needy that he does not need to fear losing her. He is free to have his cake and eat it, too, if only he can throw his wife enough crumbs to keep her satisfied. He mentally devalues her. His empathy for her will be at an all time low. She will get blamed for creating the situation that “allowed” him to desire something outside the marriage.
You can’t bring back a man by treating him like a woman
If a man wants to reconcile with his wife, he has to help her to feel in love with him again. It was the lack of a loving connection that made her give up on the relationship in the first place. If a woman wants to reconcile with her husband, she has to help him value her again. He has to fear missing out on what he will lose if he does not reconcile with his wife. The same fears that made him leave the relationship can get him to enter it again. This takes work, and it takes time. You will not be able to as easily seduce your husband back into the marriage as someone or something seduced him out of it. A wife will not be able to convince her husband to give up on his goals. Instead she needs to focus on the three C’s of reconciling–Connection, Communication, and Cooperation.
Don’t Get Desperate and Needy
Your first instinct might be to get all needy and teary eyed, pleading with your husband to come back and making multiple promises to change everything that he can’t stand about you. But, by the time men have decided to leave a relationship, they are already past the point of believing their wife is going to change. Your desperation will also have no impact on whatever he is looking forward to having without you. If anything, it will just make whatever that is even more appealing. I think all of the women who come to me for help have done this, so if you have also, don’t despair. We can still make things better–as long as you don’t continue behaving this way.
Connection, Communication, and Cooperation
The next thing to keep in mind is that you are not going to get him back immediately. He has to become more trusting to increase how much he talks with you; he has to enjoy talking with you to want to be with you; and he has to enjoy being with you before he will consider cooperating with you on making your relationship better. If you try to do all this at once, it will be obvious that you are desperate to get him back, his guard will go up, he won’t want to talk with you, and there is no way that he will want to do things with you. The first part–connecting–can be the most difficult. I have been helping women to connect with their husbands for more than 20 years and have helped thousands of people to reconcile. Unless your husband is in a committed relationship with another woman (will marry her, have her child, etc.), there is much you can do to get him back.
Self-Work and Managing Your Emotions
A good attitude is essential and that is hard to have right after being rejected. Fears about his leaving for good can make you behave in needy ways, and when he is rejecting (as he is bound to be in the beginning) it can be easy to become angry and confrontational. With my coaching clients, I have some exercises that I have women do so that they are less fearful and needy, and we practice dealing with things their husbands may say so that they don’t accidentally cut off their connection with him. A simple way to know if you are too needy is if you have “what if’s” that you just can’t answer. These unanswered “what it’s” will keep you awake at night and also cause you to emotionally overreact when you need to be loving or strong. Many women have told me that the chapter on rescuing a marriage from a separation, in my book Connecting Through Yes!, has helped them to be less needy and to have a more loving attitude toward their husbands–something you must do to create a good connection with him. In addition, it is important to have the support of family or friends. Also, you need something else to focus on rather than thinking about your husband all the time. Starting a hobby that makes you feel good about yourself is an excellent idea. It is also important to go out with other women and just have fun (whether you feel like it or not).
Connection only comes with agreement, while disconnection happens with disagreement. So, if you try to convince your husband he is wrong, he will resist you and you will become more disconnected. Of course, agreeing with his leaving you would not be helpful, either. Instead, you can begin by talking about things not related to his leaving (i.e. not the “hot” issues), find small things to agree with in every communication and start to build on that. If you have kids, that’s a natural subject, but there are many others. Keep in mind that at this stage, you are not trying to get him to reconcile–you are just trying to have some pleasant contact. Working on connecting means helping him be open to talking with you more. This comfort in talking with you is important so that you can have regular contact once he does separate. Even if he has already left, you can help him to become more comfortable by taking advantage of the contact you do have to create an emotional connection.
Provided that you have been connecting well with your husband and he is becoming more comfortable with you, you can start to have some real conversation. Men enjoy talking more when they are doing things rather than a sit down, face to face meeting. Taking a walk with him while having small talk is a great way to help the communication. Silences are less awkward when you are walking. Any kind of get togethers should be casual and not have any kind of “date” feel to them. This is particularly true if he is involved with another woman. If he is not involved with another woman, he may start to behave like it is a date and may even initiate sex with you. As great as you think that may be, it is important to avoid having sex with him at this time. Men will get into a relationship because of sex, but they won’t stay in a relationship because of sex. If you have sex, he is likely to reject you soon after and set back the progress that you have made. At this stage, your husband may start to wonder if he is being too hasty in leaving you. You will also start to feel really good for the first time in a long time. But, reconciliation is still a step away.
Why Good Communication Isn’t Enough
Because of good communication with good feelings, your husband will once again enjoy being with you, although he still won’t believe the marriage will work. He will still see living with you as an impediment to his getting what he wants. Whereas many women would see this as a sign of failure, it’s actually exactly how it should be at this point. After all, neither of you has done anything to change his perspective on how he would gain anything by once again committing to you. And, since he has already decided, he is not going to be spending much time wondering if he made the right decision. Typically, men do less review of their decisions than women. Rather than working to get men to “undo” a past decision, it’s much better to lead them toward a new decision. That happens following the next stage of cooperation.
Cooperation and Reconciliation
This is likely to be the piece that was missing from your marriage. Men and women who are cooperating together on a future that they both want to have rarely want to leave each other. Although you might think that helping your husband to get what he wants will help him to leave you all the faster, actually it will increase your value a lot. But, this stage is not a one way deal. His cooperation will be linked to your cooperation because you will be creating win-win scenarios regarding a different kind of future with him than you had before. At this point, his attraction to you will be rekindling and although he may have had his fun with someone else, he will be drawn back into a relationship with you. If he had another woman and has given her up, now is a good time to have sex with him. Reward him for what he has done–not for what you want him to do. This is the stage to work directly on reconciling.
It Takes Time
Yes, that’s the part that everybody hates. The men that I work with feel the same way about getting their wives back. They want to just convince their wives to come back to them with a few words or changes in behavior. But, what wife who has decided after years of marriage to divorce is going to quickly want to go back with her husband? Is it any surprise then that it would take time to win a husband back, too? Trying to do things quickly and desperately actually postpones reconciliation indefinitely. I don’t believe that it possible to fight your way to a better relationship. I also don’t believe that you can create a secure relationship with insecure behaviors. Women need to be loving but not needy; respected, but not mean. We should never agree with destructive and selfish behavior, but we must avoid seeing our spouses as evil. Men don’t want to hurt their wives, but they want to be valued and feel like their marriage is worth the effort. You can help him to feel that way again. You can hear his soft, loving voice, and see love in his eyes once again. Depending on where you are in this endeavor, you can download some free lessons, get one of my relationship books, or even work with me one on one as your coach. What happens from here is up to you!