Jump to content

My wife said she needed space


Recommended Posts

Hey everyone. I've been browsing this board for a few weeks now and I've seen all the helpful responses people have gotten. I'm hoping some of you can help me, too.


I'll try to keep this brief. My wife and I got married less than a year ago. What has made our relationship really trying is the fact that I left town to attend graduate school just one month after our wedding. I was in a failing industry and it was either go and get educated to make a career change or stay and wait to get laid off. We both decided it was best for us if I go to school to make this career change. In the meantime, she started law school, which I know can be a very stressful thing.


We have handled this distance extremely well up to this point. We'd talk every day either by phone or text, and we'd see each other whenever our busy schedules would allow. I went to see her during my spring break and we had a great week with the exception of one night. I had felt like she had been pulling away from me, so I confronted her on this. We had a very nice, civil conversation about it and she assured me that everything was OK, but she was just really stressed from school. The rest of the week went very well. We even took a little weekend getaway and had a great time before I had to return to school.


The day after I got back to school, she sent me an e-mail, explaining that the conversation we had about her pulling away really upset her and that she couldn't handle the extra stress from our relationship. She asked for space and time to finish her semester and said we could focus on our relationship issues when she gets done with her semester.


Initially, I freaked out and left a panicky voicemail for her. It was not the wisest move, I know. I took a moment to cool down and wrote her an e-mail that said "I understand your need for space. I completely support your decision. Take care."


This was almost three weeks ago. We haven't spoken since. I have been on strict NC and I haven't tried to contact her at all since she asked for space. Thing is, she hasn't tried to contact me either; not even to see how I'm doing.


This whole situation has thrown me for a huge loop. I'm so confused and lost as to what to do. On one hand, this isn't a "breakup." She even said so explicitly in her e-mail to me. On the other hand, asking for space and then not contacting someone for almost three weeks is never a good sign.


I love my wife dearly, and I think she loves me, too. This situation has been devastating to me, but I've been doing everything I can do better myself. That includes doing some serious self-reflection to better be able to meet not only her needs, but mine as well, and making some physical changes. I've started working out again and I've lost 20 pounds already (go me!). I am done with graduate school in a month and will be returning back home to her (hopefully). That will give us a chance to sort out the issues that we have.


I'm torn with the whole NC thing. Like I said, she told me this wasn't a breakup, just a break. On one side I've got, "absence makes the heart grow fonder"; on the other, "out of sight, out of mind." I want a chance to apologize to my wife for putting undue stress on her, but I'm terrified of breaking NC because I want her to know that I respect her needs. At the same time, I want her to know that I am completely committed to our marriage and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to fix the problems we have.


I'd love to hear how you think I'm handling this situation and opinions on what I should do. I am in need of objective opinions, because I'm driving myself nuts between accepting the situation one moment and then giving myself hope (false or otherwise) the next. Many thanks to anyone who can lend some support.

Link to comment

Well "space" doesn't always mean no contact?? Was that was she stated she explicitly wanted? If I was in the same situation I would just contact her. She's your wife, you haven't talked to her in weeks. I don't think it would do any harm to just call and ask her how shes doing and if shes okay, blah blah I miss you, etc. If she loves you and was just stressed when she wanted her "space" she will appreciate this.



Not sure what else to say but good luck. Sorry you are in this position but hopefully you can be together again soon after your semester ends like you said.

Link to comment

First off let me begin by saying that I think you are very well-rounded and already a step-above many men to have done so much self-reflection to better your marriage. Whereas many people would just go on and on blaming and complaining, you have seemed to take this in the most mature, caring and responsible manner. For that I greatly applaud you.


Now... to me, it sounds pretty bad that she can even go 3 weeks without even talking to you. I've actually been discussing your situation with my man as well to get a male perspective and he feels that when he's even at work for 5 hours, if he hasn't texted me after 3 hours he already feels like he's left me hanging! Of course that's not your case here but the general idea I think still applies.


I also think it's (for lack of a better term) weird, that she would say that there are issues you two need to discuss after you had both already (in a civil manner) had the conversation. You were just maturely explaining how you felt and needing some reassurance from her. I feel like there might be something more to this... I don't mean to get you paranoid but that's my gut feeling and my man agrees.

Link to comment

Thanks, fragmint. I appreciate your input.


The way she worded the e-mail was devastating at the time, but encouraging as I read it now with a clear mind. She said she needed some "serious space" until the end of the semester because any relationship issues were "too much for me to handle." Then, she concluded with, "I will be in touch, but my focus will be on school." I took that to mean, "don't call me, I'll call you." But I could be wrong. This is where my major conflict of heart occurs. She knows how to get in touch with me, yet she hasn't tried. Plus, I want to respect her wishes, which seem to indicate that she'll contact me when things have calmed down for her. She's currently two weeks away from finals, and everything I've noticed points toward her really burying herself in her schoolwork. The last thing I want to do is distract her right now. If I was to contact her, I would definitely keep things light and short, and I wouldn't bring up the conversation she's upset about at all. I think there's a time and a place for that, and right here and now is not it. I just don't think she understands that that's how I would handle the situation, which leads me to believe she might be hesitant to contact me, thinking that I'd probably just bring up relationship issues.


A point I neglected to mention is that she hasn't told any of her friends about us "taking a break," and I don't quite know how to take that. I kind of see it as her taking this as a very temporary situation, so why cause alarm amongst all our friends? Could be wrong about that, too. Gotta love all the second-guessing these situations cause us, huh? I don't even know which way is up right now.

Link to comment

Thanks so much for the kind words, misssmithviii. I've been in a situation like this long before (with a gf at the time) and I went the whole begging and pleading route. Clearly, that didn't work out.


I, too, have thought about the fact that she's waiting to talk about our relationship issues, but I think it has more to do with how I came accross in our conversation than anything. I think she just needs to make it clear to me that, while she's under the immense stress of law school, I need to be understanding of how she acts. That's nothing I can't handle, because I want to see her happy and successful no matter what. In our relationship, I've always noticed that she doesn't handle stress very well. She bottles it up and becomes distant. It's not always with me. She acts that way toward everyone. In retrospect and after giving it a lot of thought and careful consideration, I realize that I should have waited to have that conversation at a time when she wasn't so stressed and distracted by school. It was a really bone-headed move on my part to even bring up such an issue knowing that she had a lot on her plate. I think she just needs to convey to me that I need to be as understanding as possible as she goes through law school, but who knows? This is just my gut feeling and I have no real evidence to back it up.


As far as not talking to me, I became a source of stress instead of the stress reliever I should have been. I know that now. I think she thinks that as soon as she contacts me, I'm going to want to talk about relationship stuff when the truth is, I just want to know how she's doing and how school's going. She always makes me so proud. Problem is, the only way to convey this information is to break NC. Just so torn about it.

Link to comment

I say go ahead and break NC.


I've found that the best way my man has taken stress off of my shoulders is to be lighthearted. When my man is stressed, I become stressed. When I'm stressed and he remains that confident, assuring stronghold - it eventually eases my troubles and I can't help but smile


That might be an option of an approach?


Either which way, without diminishing anything I suggest you speak with her. The fact that she doesn't handle stress very well and has a habit of becoming distant is a sign that she might be doing that to you and you have every right to tell her how you feel... tell her you are there for her, etc etc (you are very eloquent and you sound very caring so I think going with your heart will be best when speaking to her).

Link to comment

Great advice! Thanks so much! I'm wondering if I should e-mail her instead of calling her. That way, I'm showing that I'm not trying to shove my way in by asking her to answer my call as soon as I make it. If I e-mail her, she can get to it on her schedule and not conflict with any of the school stuff she has going on. Plus, I write a lot better than I speak. I'm just able to get my thoughts accross in a more clear manner through writing. I've also considered the idea of writing a handwritten letter. Thoughts?

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...