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giving my wife space... how to stop pushing for resolution


aug182001
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hello all, this is going to be a lengthy one. i apologize in advance if it seems, at times, disjointed but the words are just gonna flow. my wife and i have been married for a little over two years, and we were together for two years before we took the leap. she told me about a month ago that she wants to be alone for awhile so that she can figure out that she does indeed want a marriage. she stumbled upon this after she first visited with her counselor. she says that she has been feeling this way for a while and that she finally worked up the nerve to say somehting. i am living with my mom... she tells me that she wants us to stay together as a family(we have a four year old boy) and she wants us to work things out. she also says that it is not me or my actions that caused her to need some space, although i can admit to being a real jerk more often that any person should be. we would fight about the silliest and most inconsequential stuff. i have also started seeing a counselor to try and start forgiving myself for not being "farther ahead in life" at my age (33). i have a self-anger problem and i would direct that anger back out at the world in general. not that i am an unadulterated asshole, but in certain situations i would behave in ways deemed unacceptable by most folks. i asked her if we could attend couples counseling in the future and she has agreed to that. a little history, when we met she was pregnant with the child of an on-again off-again guy she knew for 4 or 5 years. he is nowhere in the picture and he wants no part of his biological son. i was there when the boy was born and am the only dad he knows. whether or not she married me for convenience i don't know. meanwhile, back in the jungle, she calls me a couple of times every day just to say "hi, how are you doing". we see each other a couple of times a week and we hug and kiss when greeting and when saying goodbye. i still tell her i love her but rarely because i don't want her to feel pressured to say it back to me. when i do say it she says she loves me too. in between saying hello and goodbye i bug her about "are you done with this space thing? can i come home yet?" this is the worst thing i can do, that, i understand... but when i feel like she is trying to pull away i tend to squeeze even tighter and seek reassurance that we are going to be OK in the long run. when i look for words of encouragement she lets out a frustrated sigh and says "I told you i wanted this to work, stop badgering me". I guess i really can't blame her. i almost feel like she is telling me one thing but showing me another. we met for dinner last night at the mall and i surprised myself by not bugguing her about things. she says that she would rather meet me out somewhere because i don't badger her as i have been when i see her at our home. at the end of the evening she said that it was a nice time and she appreciated me being cool about stuff for once. well she didn't say the "for once" part.right after we started the space thing she called me late at night at my mom's and thanked me for being understanding and willing to give her time/space.

i can't help but think that after nearly a month she would have figured out something but (most likely because of my badgering) we appear to be stuck... i know what i should do, leave her alone and let her contact me... easier said than done as i'm sure some of you know very well... i tell her that as long as we keep taking steps in the positive direction i can wait for a long time. but then i go and ruin it by bugging her... hopefully i have learned my lesson and can just enjoy her company when we meet. i also told her that i kinda wanted to start over and be like boyfriend/girlfriend or maybe even just friends and move from there. she said the same thing, ya know, about rekindling the friendship and moving from there. however if she spends very little time with me i don't feel that i can do enough positive things to keep us headed in the right direction. this is by no means the complete story but i think what i have provided will be a good launchpad for everyone's advice. thanks to all in advance for your help and suggestions.

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Hello there,

 

I understand that you are having issues in your marriage in that your wife needs space. I understand you feel the need to ask her quite often about her decision.

 

You have answered your own advice request. You know that you need to stop badgering her, you know you need to let her go, and you know you need to let her sort things out. It's like the quote says "If you love someone, let them go, if it was meant to be, they'll come back."

 

I can tell you this, if you continue to bug her about getting back together or moving forward, you're going to push her further away. She needs to develop feelings for you again at her own pace. I understand that you want to spend more time together, so you can move things forward in a positive direction, but stop for a minute and think. Is this decision hers or yours? Hers correct? I understand that you want to control the situation, but it really isn't under your control. Unfortunately for you, she holds all the cards, and thereby if you want to win her back, you have to go at her pace.

 

Realizing this and actually ACTING on that realization will help you go far. Her actions may be telling you something other than her words because you may be reading into things too much. She has told you that she wants things to work out, but she needs time. At this point, unless you have some evidence of something deeper going on, you need to trust in her. You can't expect her to come running back to you if you don't trust her.

 

My suggestion is, take all that you have said you need to work on. The bugging, the anger issue, the need for reassurance, take all of that, and start working on it. Work on it alone, without any help, because you need to be strong enough to do this without her help. She will see the changes and that will aid your quest to get your marriage back on track.

 

Best wishes.

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thanks for your words... I know that i need to follow my own advice and when i'm not around her, I feel like it should be an easy enough thing to do... it's when i see her that i lose all control and act like a buffoon... I hope that i have started to turn the corner on this and can just let go... about a week and a half ago i told her that i was tired of waiting for her and told her i was done, not that i was trying to call her bluff, i just figured end it, deal with the pain and slowly put myself back together... she wrote me an e-mail and begged me not to walk away from this... patience is so hard to learn... thanks again for yoour help and advice... one good thing, i didn't cry on the way to work this morning... it's a step, right ?

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Hello again,

 

Yes that is a step in the right direction. And it is obvious to me that your wife wants to work things out. Otherwise, she would not have begged you to not walk away from this.

 

Perhaps you really need to spend more time apart right now rather than together. You said that you lose it when you see her and act like a "buffoon." Well, to me the easiest way to avoid this is to see her less than you do now until you can work on some of the things we've already mentioned. I'm glad to see you managed not to get upset on your way to work this morning. Hold onto that and keep moving in a positive direction yourself. I think what happens is when you see her, you fall into despair of not being able to be with her. You need to keep the positive mindstream going and hold onto your self confidence in order to get through this.

 

Best wishes!

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well, things are going good... last night I visited with her at the house and did not bug her about things... i wrote and read to her a letter... I have been perusing a book by John Gray called "Men, Women and Relationships, Making peace with the opposite sex"... Near the end of the book he describes a technique for communication known as "the feeling letter"... to paraphrase, the feeling letter is used as an outlet to express emotions without dumping resentment or blame on your partner... you go through five levels of feelings(anger,fear, sadness,remorse and love) directed towards the recipient, just letting the words flow... and then you write what is called a response letter... the response letter is basically you pretending to be the recipient and writing exactly what you would want to hear in reply to the feeling letter... when I finished reading her the response letter, she said "how did you know?...that is exactly what i would have written, almost to the word"... although some work is still required, she now knows that i see her side of this and I think we have made a step in the right direction... in addition to the good that came of the letter, I have started doing the things that make me me... running, riding my bike, push-ups, chin-ups, reading alot... hanging out with my mom as well as my friends a little more ... I would like to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for taking a second out of your busy lives to reach out to a fellow human, as distant as online interaction sometimes seems, this is a great thing, this site... you have my deepest gratitude and fondest wishes... I'll be sure to keep you posted as to the progress we are making...

Everyone have a wonderful day,

dcs

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well, apparently we were still seeing too much of each other for her liking. I was an idiot yesterday morning and told her that this was not working and the only way we could really make this work was for me to come home... I told her that i was beginning to lose hope... is one month and three days a mere drop in the bucket as far as time is concerned? am i being unreasonable ? i saw her this past saturday and sunday, both visits were her idea... she changed plans on me saturday although she still made the time to visit with me for about an hour or so... maybe because she shuffled our plans saturday i was all mopey and down in the mouth and she picked up on it... her reaction to my moping is to make a joke or something or get frustrated with me instead of grabbing me and saying "stop moping. we are going to get through this mess"... she is getting tired of trying to convince me that she wants us to stay together in the end... hard for me to believe right now... sunday was good and we parted with a kiss and a hug... then monday morning came the conversation in which i told her i was losing hope...after we talked a little bit she said that we never really had time off from each other... now she wants only to have phone convos and e-mails with me... I am trying to see the bright side and think, well, at least she didn't just say "we are finished"... but i can't help but think that my insecurities coming to the surface(AGAIN) have put me back a step in this process... how do i let go and allow her to miss me??? she says she wants to be apart so that she WILL miss me... I hope that is how it goes...

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  • 1 month later...

Its effin tough.

 

I have a topic here somewhere and Im proof of the damage pushing can inflict on a relaitionship. I didnt understand that by asking for time apart she was doing the only thing she knew how to regain her footing in our relaitionship. I was against it till she was pushed to the brink. (I had always hung tough, why couldnt she?)

 

Only now is the hurt beginning to be acceptable and lo and behold she shows tiny signs of warming up. Now us two have to play it cool..damn hellapainfully cool. Everything else is disrespect and the last thing we need to portray right now is us saying: "*big beep* your feelings" because they are only trying their best.

 

The nice thing I have to offer is that you *can* make positive steps on your own. The other night we talked online and I sent a few pictures of me (quite normal ones if that was ever in question) I had taken seemingly casually but in actuality I had taken about a million and selected them out. She thought they were fun

Im thinking about writing a poem *not about her!* but read it for her "to review". There are *innocent* things like that you can do. Proceed with extreme caution. Never initiate just have something thats abit of fun in store so its not always the same phone call.

 

And then you have to seem to be enjoying life, no one wants to feel guilty for trying to resolve things (what she -is- doing). And improve yourself in any which way. This will take your mind off things, youll have something to talk about and it will make you more desirable.

 

Thanks for posting it has made me take a look at my situation and hopefully I make some sense.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've pretty much done what you have prescribed... I try to leave her be so that she can feel like she is getting what she needs right now... we got together today and she was all broken up over seeing my clothes somewhere besides at the house... I am seeing that leaving her be is the best course of action, for , as you say, when I lay off K seems to show more interest in me and what I got going on... at the same time i am also getting used to not being with her and although it is no less saddening it is slightly less unbearable... she still contends thatin order for us to make it she needs to do this, so i don't thinkwe are quite done... that's good because I STILL HAVE NOT GIVEN IT MY BEST WORK FO MORE THAN, sorry about the caps, i fat-fingered it... any for more than a week... I am hoping that if i show her that i am good without her she will wonder why I am not badgering her... she's done stuff loke that before, when,for wahtever reason I don't get at her, she'll call and say somerthing like"why aren't you calling me?" AAAAAARGH!!! mixed signals are par for the course... I have not given up yet, neither has K... another update aftera while I suppose... thanks for taking a second and offering some help... good luck with what you got going...

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