separation boundaries
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I Changed Like She Wanted, So Why Won’t My Wife Come Back to Me?

Okay, you messed up in the past, but now you are doing all that she ever wanted plus more. Still, your wife won’t come back. What’s going on?

how do I make my wife come back?
It takes more than changing bad behavior to get your wife to want to reconcile

Men get scared when their wives want to separate or divorce. Because of that, they try to quickly change their wife’s decision. What they typically do is to beg, bargain, problem solve, apologize, and promise to be completely different than they have been.

Because these behaviors are unattractive and self focused, they make things worse. We can’t connect with others by invalidating their feelings and goals while trying to get them to switch to ours. We need to validate other people’s motivations and connect with them before they are going to be open to ours.

Reconciling is very similar to getting married

Reconciling is the process of rebuilding a relationship to the point the other person desires to stay together. It is not the act of getting your wife to change her mind. Convincing your wife today not to separate will only result in her changing her mind tomorrow.

I like to make an analogy with single relationships because getting married is like reconciling. Marrying someone is not about begging, pleading, convincing, and bargaining with a woman to marry you. It is about gradually growing your relationship to the point she does not want to lose you. She will not want to marry you at the beginning, but she will at the end. In the same way, your wife’s desire not to reconcile with you today has nothing to do with what her desires will be after you rebuild your relationship.

A man who begs his wife not to separate or divorce is like a man who begs a woman to marry him after a first date. The fact is, there is no reason your wife should reconcile with you at the beginning of the relationship building process. Also, do not even think about getting your wife to go to marriage counseling if she wants out. That will only prevent your relationship from building.

A man who thinks his relationship is over because his wife absolutely wants a divorce is no different from the man who thinks he can’t marry a woman because she absolutely doesn’t want to marry him after a first date.

If you want your wife to come back, you need to understand the REAL reason she left

Most men think that the reason their wives left them is because of something they did or didn’t do.  And, it would make sense to think so, because that is what their wives tell them. Unless a man has done something drastic and damaging it is not the real reason.

The further back in time a woman needs to go to find her reason for separating or divorcing, the more you can be sure it is not the real reason.

The fact is, women don’t leave men because of what men do or don’t do. They fall out of love with men because of what men do or don’t do. Falling out of love and leaving are two different things. There are a lot of women who are not in love with their husbands, but who have no intention of separating or divorcing. Those two things can happen together, but one does not cause the other.

Women will not leave a relationship, regardless of how they feel about their husbands, until they have the hope their life will be better if they do. No one will leave a bad situation for a worse one, whether it is a job or a relationship. Until women have the hope for something better, they will stay in the same relationship, no matter how bad it is. That is true for both single and married women. It is true for men as well.

The simple reason that women leave is because they want to have a better life and they believe that the only way to do that is to leave.

The only time getting your wife back is really about your behavior

When men think their wives want to leave because of something they did, they come to the natural conclusion that they need to change. They believe that once they do change, their wives will want to reconcile. That is true only for one particular situation.

If her threatening to leave or her separating is in order to get you to change, then your changes will make all the difference. In this case, she is doing an intervention, usually because her previous efforts to get you to change have failed. Women who do interventions are not wanting to leave, but rather to fix their marriage. If her husband does not respond to her intervention, then she probably will want to separate or divorce.

If you think your wife may be doing an intervention to get you to change, but does not really want to end your marriage, then working on your problem behavior will make a big difference. If you are just not sure if it is an intervention, then you may wish to start by working on your problem behavior. However, if it makes no difference for your wife or she says your changes come to late, then you can be sure it is not an intervention.

Why your efforts to change usually have little impact

Let’s take a look at why your improving your behavior will not stop her desire to separate or divorce, if she is not doing an intervention.

For example, a man with a drinking problem may give up drinking and tell his wife a week later that he is off the booze. He did this since she said she is divorcing him because of his alcohol abuse. You would think she would now be glad and want to reconcile, right? That is not the case.

His giving up drinking at this time has a negative impact for several reasons.

First, if it was possible to just stop drinking, why didn’t he do it years ago when he knew it really bothered her?

Secondly, it is obvious that he gave up drinking in order to get his wife back, which means he did it for him, not for her. 

Thirdly, after having seen his drinking behavior for so long, his wife would have to be a fool to think that he wouldn’t start drinking again if she returned.

And fourthly, because she is no longer in love with him, his giving up drinking is not enough to make her feel in love again.

Her feelings and her desire to separate or divorce will be unchanged. If she can bring herself to say anything positive, it will be how it will help her husband with his next relationship, so she is happy for him.

I used drinking as an example, but you can substitute any behavior your wife has complained about. You could rewrite this example with lack of affection, making her feel unimportant, not being attractive, workaholism, prioritizing your parents or kids over her, controlling behavior, sexual issues, or any number of things.

Changing her reason for not being connected to you does not remove her desire for whatever she could have without you and doesn’t stimulate her to be in love with you.

Put yourself in her shoes

Suppose you were married to a wife who was addicted, or controlling, or neglecting. Although you tried for years to improve your marriage, your wife never cooperated. Eventually, you gave up trying and started to think about leaving her. Finally, you got a plan together or met someone who made you feel special in a way your wife refused to, for years. You let your wife know you were separating or divorcing.

Suddenly your wife became submissive, affectionate, and sexual. How genuine would you see her changes? How eager would you be to put yourself at risk of being stuck in the same situation? You would have to give up all of the things you were looking forward to doing to take a risk on staying with a woman who for years did not care whether you were happy or not, and now just seems to want to prevent you from being happy by separating or divorcing.

Many times, women have previously separated and gotten temporary improvements in their marriage only to see their marriages get bad again after they recommitted to their husbands. If your wife has gotten only promises and temporary changes before, would it be smart of her or stupid of her to trust you again?

Lack of feelings of love, low trust, and a desire for a better life are the reasons women want to separate or divorce. Most men fail to reconcile because they don’t take into account all three factors. But there is a way and I have been helping men to reconcile for many years.

The only way that works

There is only one way that works when you have been left by a woman who no longer loves you. That is by starting on the same page as her, and helping her to gradually become attracted to you again, trust you again, and to enjoy being with you again.

In the process, you don’t try to convince her not to separate, not to divorce, make promises, invalidate her feelings, try to make her feel guilty or argue with her. You will never get a woman to want to be with you by doing those things. They only make you unattractive and someone she does not enjoy being with.

Of course, you will need to have good boundaries so that she can’t have her cake and eat it, too. Otherwise you will end up being divorced and friends.

There are some myths that block men from making progress in reconciling

One myth is that it takes two people to build a relationship. That is just as false when you are married as when you are single. How you behave is what determines a woman’s interest and attraction to you. Would you approach a single woman and ask her, I know you don’t feel in love with me, so how about you go to couple’s counseling with me so you can see if you can? Any single man who uses that approach to dating single women is not going to have success, to say the least.

A second myth is that you can’t reconcile if she is dead set on separation, divorce, or another man. Thinking this way is like the man who asks women to marry him on the first date. He begs and pleads with his dates to marry him, but they all refuse. He concludes that he can’t get married because those women are not interested in him and don’t want to work toward being married.

It is normal for women not to want to be married at the start of a relationship. It is also normal for a wife not to want to reconcile before you have rebuilt the trust, connection, and attraction. Why would she? How she feels today doesn’t have much to do with how she can potentially feel if you do the work without pressuring her.

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Help is available for just this situation

I have a coaching package that will help you to start at the point where she is totally rejecting you, or beyond that if you have made some progress on your own. You can learn the skills to move step by step to re-develop your relationship. Be sure not to tell your wife you are getting such help, as it will undermine your work just as surely as if you told a single woman that you were working with a coach to get her to marry you. If you would like to work with me to become the kind of man your wife will have loving feelings for again, I would be happy to help.

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