separation boundaries
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How to Reconcile when Your Husband is Leaving You

It is possible to get your husband to come back to you. Like most things, it will require doing the right steps in the right order.

Becoming more desirable and using good boundaries will make him stay

Lesson 1: Why people (including your husband) do what they do

I think a lot of women stress themselves out trying to figure out why their husband is leaving. My way to help people as a coach is to simplify things and break them down into steps so that people can make progress and reach their goals.

If you are getting stuck anywhere in your life, you are probably either overcomplicating things or trying to deal with everything at once.

Start your road to success by understanding why human beings do things. This will apply to your husband’s leaving as well as everyone else.

People do things that they can, because they either want to or think they have to.

This doesn’t mean people do whatever they can. It means they do what they want to or think they have to, if they can.

Many people want to have good relationships, but can’t because they don’t know how. Likewise, many people want to leave their relationships, but can’t because they lack the knowledge or resources to do so.

Now, let’s apply this to your husband

If your husband is leaving you, it is because he wants to, or believes he has to, combined with his ability to. You can spend all the hours you should be sleeping trying to study the history of your relationship, going through all of your old correspondence, or thinking about his childhood relationships. Many therapists would be more than happy to get involved in doing that with you.

But, figuring out what went wrong doesn’t teach us new skills and usually doesn’t give us many clues about what to do to make things right.

That being said, therapy and emotional support are very important if:

  • You are having sustained difficulty with sleeping, eating, childcare, your job, or other important aspects of daily life.
  • You are having suicidal or homicidal thoughts.
  • You have a chemical addiction

There is a difference between feeling bad and being dysfunctional. Dysfunctional people cannot benefit from coaching until they become functional. If you are dysfunctional, stop here. None of my material is for dysfunctional people. Come back later, after you take care of yourself.

Your husband is leaving because he wants to or believes he has to

The only exception to this would be if he just suddenly became upset and stormed off because he was upset. Men who do that come back once they calm down. That is not what I am talking about. I’m talking about when a husband has taken time to prepare for leaving.

Another way to think about his leaving is that:

He believes he has more to gain than to lose by leaving you

Yet another way to put it is that:

He is afraid of losing what he could have without you.

A man may leave because he:

  • wants to feel at peace
  • wants to feel loved
  • wants to feel important
  • wants to be validated
  • wants to escape responsibility
  • wants to have new sexual experiences
  • wants other things he can’t have by staying with his wife

If a man can have what he wants while remaining with his wife, he will

He only leaves because he thinks he has to in order to get what he wants.

In some cases, a man will only want to move out. That is enough for him to create the conditions for having what he wants. Most often this is for pursuing sexual experiences and having affairs.

In other cases, he will seek divorce because that is what he thinks he has to do in order to get what he wants.

It is easy to see for yourself if he mainly wants separation or divorce by watching what he does. A man who wants divorce, ends contact with his wife and files for divorce. A man who wants separation, maintains a minimal amount of contact with his wife in order to maintain the marriage while also staying separated. He may threaten divorce, but doesn’t actually do it.

Often men will use the excuse that they need to separate in order to get space and figure out what they want. That is never the case. Men figure out what they want before they separate. They then separate in order to get what they want. I offer more detailed help on that situation on my website.

Don’t get hung up on blaming yourself

Although you may have contributed to his desire for something or someone else, so did he. I find blaming to be a pretty useless thing to do, whether it is toward someone else or ourselves. If we blame others, it just makes them feel worse about us, and if we blame ourselves, it only makes us feel worse about ourselves. Either way, it doesn’t work out good for us!

On the other hand, it is good to be able to identify things you could have done better and then learn to do them better. That is productive and results in better relationships. God wants us to forgive others and move forward; to seek forgiveness and move forward–to do better next time.

I always try to help people with specifics, so if you want specific help with that, my book on overcoming neediness will help you to identify any damaging behaviors you are contributing to your relationship. It is for learning to do better and not for feeling bad about yourself. When I was younger, I had many needy behaviors that I needed to learn to overcome. If I did it, you can too.

If you have made relationship damaging mistakes, you will find that apologies will not change his desire to leave. That is because he will still want to get what he believes he can have without you. So, if you apologize, don’t do it repeatedly. Just apologize once and work to do better.

Keep in mind that the more time has passed between what he blames you for and his leaving, the less likely his leaving has to do with you.

Just because you are blamed doesn’t mean you are to blame.

Lesson 2: Why people (including your husband) recommit

People commit in order to obtain something they don’t want to lose, whether it is a house or a spouse.

People re-commit in order to keep someone they don’t want to lose.

People are more afraid to lose something good that they already have than they are to lose a chance for something even better. Otherwise people would leave good relationships to try to have better relationships.

That is not what people actually do. Either they leave bad relationships to have something better, or they hang onto their good relationship while also trying to have something better.

So, a man may leave a highly conflicted and sexless marriage because he wants a good relationship that includes sex. He will try to prevent relationship improvement once he decides to leave, because relationship improvement would prevent him from pursuing what he thinks is better.

However if a man has a good relationship with his wife in a sexless marriage, he is likely to have an affair and stay married. Or he may divorce as long as his wife will continue to have a relationship with him. Either way, he can have his cake and eat it, too, as long as she will go along with it or doesn’t find out.

Neither men nor women want to lose a good relationship.

Keeping your relationship good while preventing your spouse from being able to have his cake and eat it, too, are the keys to keeping your husband faithful. Good relationships always comes down to love and boundaries.

The Bible says that God disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12 and Hebrews 12:6). It is love within limits that keeps our relationships strong. You need to be good at both loving and setting limits to keep your marriage strong and to work to rebuild it when your husband leaves you. If your relationship is badly damaged, love always comes first.

Reconciling scenarios when you have a husband who wants to leave you

Scenario one: Your husband values your relationship, but wants to leave anyhow

A man who values your relationship will only leave to do something else if he believes you will stick around. That way, he can keep you while having, or trying out, whatever he is seeking. In this situation, he gains everything and loses nothing.

You reconcile by using good boundaries and being unwilling to wait for him.

He will get upset because he can’t get his way, but he won’t leave and you can carry on with your good relationship after he gives up trying to talk you into letting him. I work with women in this situation to help them have the correct boundaries and to express them in a loving, but firm way to their husbands.

If caught “experimenting” with another woman they are likely to say that the other woman didn’t mean anything to them. Cheating must always be treated as cheating, regardless of the reason. Your good boundaries will help him to resist further temptation.

A man can’t be seduced back into his marriage the same way he can be seduced out of one. You will never get your husband to reconcile by having sex with him.

Scenario two: Your husband does not value your relationship and wants to leave.

A man who does not value your relationship will leave your relationship much more readily because he doesn’t have much to lose. He can be tempted out of your relationship more easily than a man who values his wife.

You reconcile in this situation by building a connection and improving your relationship before making him choose between you and whatever he can get without you.

Of course he will not be interested in working on the relationship with you. That is something that you will need to do without him. That would be a relationship coaching rather than a marriage counseling approach. I work with many women in this situation to stop their damaging behaviors, to use skills that help their husbands to enjoy them more, and to use good boundaries so their husbands can’t have their cake and eat it, too.

What to work on to be more valuable to him

1 Be secure and stop all needy behaviors

Desperation and conflict signal neediness and make us less desirable. Ask yourself how a secure yet loving woman would behave. Use a role model, a book, counseling, or coaching if you need to . Strengthen your relationship with God and learn to trust him more. Just doing this can be transformational.

2 Have the right expectations

ost of the time people get upset it’s because they have unrealistic expectations. Keep in mind is that you are not going to get him back immediately. You may need to be consistent for a while, become more valuable, and follow through with good boundaries. Those things take time.

3 Work on your communication skills

While he will hate your boundaries, he will still need to enjoy talking with you. You will need to be able to be good with validating him and making him feel important. Boundaries do not prevent connection. The better you are with this, the more he will want to talk with you.

4 Boost your attractiveness and desirability

If your husband did not know you, how competitive could you be with other women for his attention? This is something we always need to work on in our relationships, yet many people become complacent with it.

The four areas I help women with to become more desirable are physical appearance and behavior, sociability, success, and security. Women who do well in these four areas are highly desirable and not likely to be abandoned by their husbands.

No two people or relationships are the same

You may find that your situation doesn’t exactly match what I am saying. That is to be expected. No two people or relationships are exactly the same. Rather than getting stuck on what doesn’t fit, I encourage you to focus on the parts of my recommendations which do fit and get to work on them.

If you have a unique situation or would like more individualized help, you can get a consultation or choose one of my coaching packages. Then, we will further customize the package for your particular situation.

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