If you are willing to focus on a step by step approach, you can get your wife back, even if you are already separated
If I asked your wife if she loved you, she would probably tell me that she loves you, but that she is not in-love with you. Regardless of what has gone on in your marriage up to this point, her feelings are the main obstacle to your getting her back. Because she does not know how to turn that feeling on again, she will not believe that anything you can say or do would change that. That is why, instead of spending your time trying to apologize for your mistakes and trying to convince her to change her mind, you need to work on switching on that in-love feeling in her again. I know that’s something you can do because I help men do that every day.
Your initial reaction
If you are like the men that I work with, you probably did all the wrong things at first. You begged and pleaded with her to change her mind, to give you another chance. You argued with her. When she didn’t give in, you got mad at her or got depressed. In short, your actions were geared toward getting her to see that she was making a mistake and that she should change her mind because it’s what you really want. These behaviors made you look both selfish and needy. There was nothing attractive about them and nothing in them that would make her feel more in love with you. If anything, you were just pushing her further away.
What you don’t know about your wife
When your wife told you she wanted to separate, it came as a surprise, didn’t it? But for her, it was just one of the last steps of a long process. Women don’t decide to leave quickly. For a long time–maybe years–your wife wanted to be attracted to you, but there was something missing for her in your marriage. It was a very painful time for her. She struggled either to improve her marriage with you or to be patient, until her love ran out. For a while she was depressed, but as she began to anticipate leaving you and making a fresh start, she became more positive, more hopeful. Because you had no clue, it probably seemed to you like the marriage was going along pretty well. She may have even have continued to have sex with you. You thought she was loving you, while what she was doing was verifying that her love for you was gone. There are a few major reasons why women separate but they all require similar responses.
Why convincing won’t get your wife back
As her husband, you need to ask yourself the question, “If I had been feeling depressed, hopeless, and empty in my marriage, and now feel hopeful about a fresh start, how easily would I change my mind?” Every attempt you make to convince her to come back will just make her remember that painful place she was in before. And, she doesn’t want to think about that anymore. If you persist, she will have to ask you to give her space and won’t respond to your messages. She doesn’t want to have to keep remembering that again and again. You may have noticed your wife being puzzled about your wanting to save the marriage and your persistence. The most she can figure out about it is that you need her for your own reasons and don’t really care what happens to her.
Stopping the damage that prevents you from getting your wife back
When men start reconnection coaching with me, they are usually on their way to total rejection from their wives. Our first session is spent working on stopping the damage they create every time they talk with their wives. The convincing has to stop. Arguing has to stop. Jealousies and insecurities need to be kept in check. Putting the kids before her has to stop. Attempts to make her feel guilty also need to stop. Any show of being depressed and needy must also stop. False compliments must stop. The reason these behaviors must stop is because not only are they not attractive, they are actually repulsive. You know you’re doing damage if she wants less and less contact with you rather than more and more.
Don’t even think about other women if you want to get your wife back
Some men have the misguided notion that they can make their wives jealous by dating other women. Dating other women could actually be the death blow to your marriage. You can’t repair a marriage by being unfaithful. Even if she is dating or looking, your dating would be the WORST thing you could do if you want to save your marriage. If you date, she will actually feel happier about her decision to leave you. Some wives even encourage their husbands to date for this very reason. If you were your wife, what would you conclude about your husband dating other women? This tactic of being unfaithful to make your wife jealous is only going to be effective with women who still are in love with their husbands. Even then, it promotes insecurity for the remainder of the relationship and makes the marriage worse for both. Your friends may encourage you to be unfaithful, but it is the worst thing you could do if you want to reconcile.
Work on your relationship and put your marriage concerns aside for a while
Trying to get your wife to stay married to you is like trying being single and trying to get a woman who doesn’t love you to marry you. To have any success, you have to develop the relationship first. You will need to start to get to know her again, just as if you were interested in her for the first time. For many men, this is hard because they have forgotten what it is like to woo and date a woman, especially a woman who has no interest in them. Because women cannot consciously control their feelings (neither can men for that matter), using the right skills, you can gradually move her feelings in the right direction. The big mistake many men make here is to do too much, too soon, instead of going slowly. If your behavior gets ahead of her feelings, she will feel pressured and you won’t make any progress. In reconnection coaching, after stopping the damage, I help men to have the right level of interaction with their wives to build the relationship without making their wives feel pressured.
Helping her to be less guarded
In my work with men, what we do after stopping the damage is help their wives’ defenses to come down. To do that, it’s important to empathize with her and to help her feel her needs and desires are important, that she is not doing a terrible thing, and that she has your support. Once women feel like their husbands are no longer trying to convince them, they become more approachable. They have less need for space. But, they are still far from in love. For help with this stage, some men use my book, Connecting Through “Yes!” to help them to be agreeable without being needy. It is important not to drop back to convincing once you start reconnecting. That would just set you back to the beginning. The issue of reconciling has to be set aside until she is falling in love with you again. Trying to convince a woman who is not in love with you to marry or stay married to you is like to trying to convince someone who is not hungry to eat at a buffet.
Re-connecting, the key to getting your wife back
You can’t reconnect by talking about yourself. The most common word that I find in men’s communication to women is “I.” “I did this,” “I did that,” “I was thinking,” etc. It’s a really big communication mistake with a separated wife because at this point she is still not interested in what you are doing or thinking. She is interested in herself, her life, and her future without you. To re-connect, I teach my clients to initiate conversation, then to respond in connecting ways to whatever she says. If you fight her on her ideas for the future or about your marriage, all you will do is shut her down when you need to open her up. If you use key connection skills, it will increase her interest in talking with you, although her wanting to reconcile with you will still be a long way off.
Meet her, date her, but don’t become an unconditional friend
After the re-connecting has been going well, my clients continue to focus on building their relationships and adding more face to face contact. It’s still a tricky time. Saying the wrong thing can set you back to square one. It’s also at this time that she is likely to say that you can be friends, but nothing more. That is a good sign, becoming friends is an important step toward a deeper relationship. You have to be careful about being an unconditional friend, however, who would just be happy to hear about how her dates with other men are going. You must use good boundaries for any talk that she has about other men or risk losing her respect for you. Respect is an important part of the re-attraction puzzle. If you merely do everything your wife wants, she will appreciate you, but she will not fall in love with you.
Rejection and unpredictable behavior are sometimes good things
When your wife starts to have renewed interest in you, she will begin to doubt her decision to separate from you–creating terrible tension and anger inside her. She will treat you badly and try to provoke you. Why is that? Because she wants to feel good about what she is doing. If she can provoke you into behaving like your “old self,” it will reassure her that she is indeed on the right path and she can again feel good leaving you. This is often a confusing time for my clients because they interpret their wives’ behavior as something going terribly wrong when actually it’s going terribly right. What they have to be very careful not to do is to have some kind of bad reaction to their wives’ behavior. That could kill the whole reconciliation process. Men who can successfully handle this transitional time will once again have the interest of their wives.
Working on yourself will help you get your wife back
Reconnecting with your wife is only half of the work of reconciling. The other half is working on yourself. What this does not mean is becoming what you think she wants. What it means is becoming a better man for yourself. That’s why I give men two assessments—one for what’s going on between them and their wives, and the other about how much they have their own lives together. Women are attracted to men who are successful, have good self esteem, and who have a passion for something in their lives. These are biological triggers for women, just as young, fertile women are biological triggers for men. Women can’t turn off their attraction for such men any more than men can turn of their attraction for such women. Submissiveness and subservience don’t trigger attraction in women. Neither does being overbearing and controlling. You need to be happy and in control of your life. If the only way you can be happy is to have the love and attention of your wife, you are way too needy to attract her.
Recapping how to get your wife back after separation
I hope you have learned from this article that never should there be talk of reconciling until your wife is in love with you again. Her feelings precede her decisions. The correct steps are: 1) stop saying and doing damaging things, 2) help her enjoy talking with you by using good connection skills, 3) become friends while still maintaining good boundaries, 4) respond correctly to her provocative testing behavior, and 5) continue to build your relationship at her pace, without being overly concerned about the state of your marriage. Focusing on preventing divorce, rather than building your relationship, will actually make you do things that are damaging. Focusing on your relationship is more likely to save both your marriage and your relationship. As you can tell, a number of skills are needed in addition to patience and perseverance. I routinely help men to re attract their wives–even when their wives are involved with someone else.
How long does it take to get your wife back?
If you don’t go through this process, you may not be able to reconcile at all. The passage of time alone will not lead to reconciling. How long it takes will depend on a few key factors: 1) how much damage has already been done to your relationship, 2) how well you and your wife can talk to each other, and 3) how well you can prevent damaging interactions. Moodiness, neediness, or old behavior on your part can create significant delays or prevent reconciling altogether. For one on one, live help with managing needy behaviors or learning connection skills for reconciling, please see my coaching packages.