I have just come across your website and have ordered your book.
My husband and I have been separated now for 5 weeks , he told me he didn’t love me anymore and that we have drifted apart.
At first he wanted to try to salvage the relationship, then he totally changed his mind.
We have not long had a baby and I had a difficult pregnancy and before that we moved house and he was away because he’s in the military.
This is so not like him and totally out of character, he is being so cold and heartless toward me and his children, he was a good husband and father before and I love him so much . A few months ago he said he was depressed, could it just be that making him act like this?
He says there is no point seeing a counsellor because no-one can wave a magic wand and change how he feels.
I am at a total loss of what to do, I have to move out of our military quarter if it really is over, or should I stay and fight this?
I love him so much and really want to work on this marriage , my eldest daughter is heartbroken and it killing me seeing her like this.
Thank you for your help, Caroline.
Thank you for getting in touch. I am so sorry to hear of your situation.
This reply won’t be long enough to get across everything I would like to, so I am glad you have ordered my short book as it can say so much more. I also recommend face to face professional counselling support , there are plenty of sources to be found online, start with Relate as you are in the UK www.relate.org.uk
There is always a reason.
The first thing to think about is that there is a reason for your husband’s behaviour which makes sense from his point of view. That reason comes from how he is feeling about himself at the moment, rather than how he is feeling about you and your children. You say he said he feels depressed, I think you are right that this is the key. He is doing what he thinks is the ‘right’ thing for himself , anyone would find it easy to criticise him and say that he shouldn’t have left, he should be working on his marriage and thinking about his children, but until he feels differently about himself, he won’t act differently.
He says that counselling can’t ‘wave a magic wand’ but its a shame he feels this way because, actually, good counselling can feel like just that because if can often completely transform how a person feels about themselves and their situation. I would mention this, but don’ pressure him, he will just resist you because you are trying to tell him what to do.
What has changed?
He obviously feels he is unhappy in your relationship somehow, I am not saying this is your fault, I am just saying that his feelings are leading to his actions, so I am wondering what has changed over the past few months or years to lead him to feel that you have ‘grown apart’ and that he ‘doesn’t love you’.
What is he afraid of?
Our actions are basically governed by either fear or love, what do you think he is afraid of? What are his parents like? Men can often be afraid of not being a good enough father, (especially if their own father wasn’t) so they sometimes think leaving completely is ‘better’ for their wife and children. If he is being governed by love, then are you suspicious that he might have found someone else who he thinks he is in love with?
Do you think the amount of time he has been away, or becoming a father, has somehow made him feel less confident about himself, or less confident about your marriage? Do you think he has ever questioned whether you really love him at any point (it can be common for anyone of us to feel unloved, even when our partner does love us, but we are not ‘feeling it’ and believing them), has he ever said you would be better off without him?
How do you influence him?
His behaviour is HIS CHOICE, you have not ‘made’ him behave as he is, but, having said that, you are able to influence how he feels about himself so how do you think you have influenced him recently? Have you been arguing or criticising each other?
What can you do?
Unfortunately you are not alone in this situation. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of wives and mothers have been ‘left’ by men who ‘run off’. The women who come through this situation the best are those who do not allow it to affect their self-esteem, they maintain their self-belief and self-confidence. They say to themselves “I am a good person, I have done my best to be a good wife and mother. I am a person worthy of being loved, first of all by ME.” Until we each love ourselves and have the confidence to be ourselves, we cannot expect to be loved by anyone else.
Handling this ‘well’ means that you must find the confidence to be honest with your husband about your feelings and about what you want, but you must also find the strength to be okay no matter what he chooses to do, or how he chooses to behave.
You cannot ‘make’ him come back or ‘make’ him love you or be a good father, he should WANT to do all these things, but only he can decide whether he will do the right thing or not.
How do you feel about yourself?
How have you felt about yourself since you got married and had children? You don’t say how long you have been married but what has changed for you over the time you have been together? What has changed for your husband, and in your relationship? Having children has a huge impact on a marriage, so obviously becoming parents to two children will be one of the major changes.
For any marriage to survive each person first of all needs to feel ok about themselves, so how can you work on your own self-esteem? Think about how you dress, how you look, what you do with your time e.g. an exercise class or a hobby which you enjoy, which friends or family members help you to feel positive about yourself etc – the better you can feel about yourself, the better you will cope with whatever the future brings.
How can you communicate with him?
Whilst he is away can you write to him? Or write a letter which you read or give to him when he gets back?
The good thing about a letter is that you can put all your thoughts down in order and it can be read several times by the other person so that they can hopefully take in what it says. I don’t know your full situation but the main thing to remember is not to appear you criticise him in the letter at all (because criticising is pointless, he will just feel defensive and want to argue with you) so instead explain clearly how you are feeling, what you are thinking, and what you would like.
I am heartbroken that we have separated and I need to understand why. I thought we had a happy marriage, we have two beautiful daughters and I want to be a happy family altogether. Our eldest daughter is devastated that you have gone, she is saying to me “why has daddy gone? Does he love me?”
If you feel I have changed, and that is why you think we have grown apart and you don’t love me any more then I’m sorry, I have done my best to be a good wife and mother and I thought you knew that.
I want you to come back because I love you and I think we can be happy together. Would you come to speak to a counsellor with me who could help us to be happy?
Would you at least explain to me what you are thinking and feeling at the moment? If there is someone else then I would rather know”.
Have the strength to seek help.
Please speak to someone face to face about this Caroline. You deserve support during this difficult time. I can’t support you from here, and I don’t offer online or telephone counselling at the moment.
You must think positively about yourself, that is the most important thing, say to yourself every day “ I am a good person, I do my best as a wife and a mother, I deserve to be loved just for being myself” – if you are being yourself and can work on feeling happy in your own skin, they if your husband doesn’t love you too, he doesn’t deserve you because you deserve to be loved just for being YOU, all of us deserve that, we can all only be ourselves…
Good luck, sending you love and hugs, Cat xx
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