Mixed signals and false starts - Talk About Marriage
Going Through Divorce or Separation A new addition to our forums, a place to go for sharing and support for those going through divorce and separation.

User Tag List

LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
post #1 of 145 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 120
Mixed signals and false starts

Hi Everyone. First post on the forums because I'm at a loss with my situation. Figuring people on these boards have heard stories similar to mine and might have some advice.

My wife (29 and I'm 34) of 7 years, 11 years together, told me in August that she wanted a divorce. Three days later she moved in with a friend for a week before getting her own apartment. Her reasons where: 1) She felt neglected and thought I didn't like her. 2) She felt like her needs had taken a back seat for too long. 3) She had wanted a baby before 30 and last year I expressed doubts (which she interpreted as me lying to her all along) and now she felt like her time had passed and that left her heartbroken. 4) She snooped through my chat history and found conversations between me and a coworker in September of last year that she felt signaled an emotional affair (we were really good friends, but no romantic feelings ever developed and I never talked badly about my wife to her).

For the first two months, we kept in almost constant contact and there were a ton of mixed signals. For the first month she talked about how lonely she was and reminded me of things we used to do together. It was torturous and every time I would plead my case that we should work on things. That was always met with either silence, a rebuttal like "I wish things had been different", or a swift change of subject.

In October, I made a grand gesture by buying us tickets to Disneyland (I proposed there) so we could make new memories at our favorite place on Earth. She called that night and repeatedly asked why I had done it and each time I responded that it was because I love her and wanted to do something nice. She thanked me and we chit-chatted for a bit before getting off the phone.

After talking with my therapist, I decided that I needed to send her an email requesting we meet in person and talk about how she was feeling. I said that limbo had been tough on both of us and clarity was needed, even if she simply needed more time, for our emotional health. I sent it on a Saturday and the next night she responded via text that she had started filling out the divorce paperwork but needed some information from me. She said she could either send an email with what she needed or we could meet and do it in person. I was obviously crushed, but told her I understood and needed just a bit of time to cope with it. She agreed.

Three days later she texted that she had gotten her car back (she'd been in a hit and run accident and without a car for nearly 3 weeks). I didn't respond. Four hours later, she sent a text saying, "Ok then." I still didn't respond because that's passive aggressive and she wants a divorce. I started feeling sick so I went to sleep at around 1030 and woke up at 220am. I looked at my phone and there were tons of notifications via Facebook and she had sent an email accusing me of blocking her number (I had definitely not done that). As soon as I checked Facebook, she tried calling me through the site. I ignored the call but immediately texted that it was great news about her car and that I had gotten sick and passed out. She asked why I'd blocked her number and I told her I hadn't. Eventually, she texted that she was sorry to hear I wasn't feeling well. The next morning at 730am she sent a text saying, "I hope you're feeling better!" I responded that I was a bit better but still not great. Then she asked if I was home resting with our cat, which seemed like she was fishing for information and didn't really believe I was home sick. I mean, where else would I be at 730am when I'm sick. I told her I was but that I was going into work and she responded, "Ah, okay. Go to the doctor if you need to!"

Halloween weekend came a few days later. I had a show (I play music) that Saturday that I'd posted about on Facebook and two hours before it started she tried to call (I missed it because I was rehearsing) and so I texted her back asking her what was up. She texted that she was walking around a mall by herself with a sad face. I told her I was sorry to hear that and asked if she could make plans with some of her friends. She responded that she had no friends and was lonely. So, I took a chance and invited her to my show that night. I got no response and the entire performance I kept watching the entrance to see if she'd show—she didn't. Afterwards, I texted asking her what she'd gotten into and she responded, "Ate alone in my car, cried and now I'm home alone with my cat on my favorite holiday because this is my life now." I was confused, sad and hurt so I asked why she didn't come to the show and she responded, "I just would have cried the whole time and that wouldn't have been respectful to you." We texted throughout the night and at one point she accused me of being rude (I wasn't) but we ended things on a good note.

I texted her Happy Halloween on Monday and she responded in kind. I asked her what she was up to and she sent a picture of her bed with a bowl of salad on it and her cat. I again urged her to go out with friends and she got defensive and said she isn't some social butterfly and that she's alone 90% of the time.

November came and for the first two weeks we were texting regularly. One of her favorite things to do during this has been to send me pictures of baby onesies. She used to do this before she left to express how much she wanted a baby with me. So in mid-November she was nearby our old apartment, where I still live, at the Target she used to shop at and told me how sad it made her and then sent a picture of a baby onesie with the words, "I hate this " I told her again that I wanted that with her and that it could still happen. I said that I'd actually bought a pack of onesies before she left and it was part of the surprise I mentioned earlier. She bit a little and expressed disbelief and asked if I'd bought them before or after she left. I told her before and she responded with, "I wish things had been different." I responded, "Well, they still could be." An hour later she sent me a picture of her cat.

The next day she was having dinner with a coworker of mine (we used to work together and are both friends with this person) and asked if she knew about us because she didn't want to get into it with her. I told her that she didn't know and then she asked if there's anything she should be prepared to find out, like if I was dating the coworker she thinks I had an emotional affair with. I told her that we weren't dating and that it was only ever a friendship and that the woman is now 8 months pregnant. She responded, "Good for her." She had dinner with the coworker that night and the next Monday I talked with the coworker about it and she said my wife seemed like she really wanted the divorce. As we were talking, my wife texted me and asked if I was ready for her to send the email. I made another plea but agreed to give her whatever she wanted once she sent the email.

A week and half went by with zero communication. I went to a basketball game and posted a picture on Instagram and she immediately tried calling me (we used to go to games together). I was at the game so I didn't pick up, but I called back at halftime and got no answer. The next day she sent a text asking if I'd want to meet up that coming weekend to fill out the paperwork. I ignored it, because I'd agreed sending her what she requested in an email but not meeting up to do it in person. That's just too painful.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving came and she tried calling again and sent a bunch of texts. I finally responded with, "Why do you want to meet up?" She claimed that I had wanted that (never asked for that and never will) and that she appreciated my response because she really didn't want to get lawyers involved. I ignored that and she texted again an hour later with, "I guess you just don't want to talk to me at all anymore."

The next night I sent an email again telling her how I felt, but agreed to send her what she needs once she let me know. I told her that I thought it was a mistake and that while we have our issues, we also bring more love, joy and happiness to one another than anyone else on Earth. I checked my email obsessively for the next three days and got nothing back.

I went to a friend's place out of town for Thanksgiving and while I was there I went to a basketball game and posted a picture on Instagram. A couple hours later she sent a text saying, "Who are you in Portland with?" Now, I have to admit this pissed me off quite a bit. First, she knows our friends moved up there recently and second, it really isn't any of her business if she wants to divorce me. Part of me thinks she's seeing someone else and wanted me to be with someone else as a way of relieving any guilt she might be feeling, but another part of me says she might just be confused and unsure of what she wants. Or it could be a combination and things I haven't even thought up.

That was last Friday and after I responded with the truth there has been zero communication. I'm honestly just completely adrift and don't know what to do. I don't want this divorce but feel like I'm stuck in permanent limbo. I feel like she wants me to snap and justify her decision. My wife needs a lot of affirmation and I feel like she wants me to validate her decision by being an active participant or by lashing out.

What do you all think I should do? I wrote up another email to collect my thoughts and I'm debating sending that or calling her (she hasn't picked up a call from me in some time). However, I'm not sure how that will play out any differently than my other attempts. Do I just sit back and do nothing and wait? Do I confront her somewhere I know she will be (that seems creepy to me but maybe it would work)? Or is there something else I should do to get some clarity?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

golfpanther is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 145 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 02:47 PM
ihatethis's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 179
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

It sounds to me that she wants her cake and to eat it too. She wants a divorce to find someone else but until she finds someone else she wants to keep you on the string so she gets attention.

You have to have some self respect. I understand you don't want the divorce but she's just leading you on. You cannot make a marriage work if only one person wants to make it work.

My advice is to lay out the guidelines to her. If she wants a divorce, then your lives are separate and you both need to stop following each other on social media. It's not her business, nor yours as to what one another are doing.

Tell her either she wants a divorce and you two cut off all communication unless it's about finalizing and splitting assets, or you work it out.

Sometimes you have to be cut and dry.
ihatethis is offline  
post #3 of 145 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 05:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1,456
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

She's doing the whole back and forth vascillating thing that happens when someone is ready to break up with another person. It becomes a battle of emotions versus what they know they really need to do. It's not fair to the person being dumped because it keeps them on the hook and totally messes with their head but what can you do?

What you can do is accept that it's over and stop watching the door for her to suddenly show up and stop obsessively checking for emails and texts hoping to read the words that will never be there.

The sooner the better.
browser is offline  
post #4 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-07-2016, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 120
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

Thanks to both of you for the replies.

This past weekend she actually sent the email requesting what she needed and followed up the next day with a text saying, "we need to work together to get through this part, and then you can be done with me."

It seems like you were both right. I responded about 2 hours after the text with an email containing what she needed and a text saying I don't want to be done with her at all, but I'd give her what she needs.

I'm terribly disappointed, but if this is what she really wants then I have to accept it. No communication since and I doubt there will be until she files or needs something else for the process.

Hope everyone else on these boards is having a better holiday season than I am.
golfpanther is offline  
post #5 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-07-2016, 04:40 PM
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,974
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

I am sorry to hear that GP, I am curious have you asked her if she is seeing someone? has she moved on emotionally if not physically. I agree with the other posters, i find her to be somewhat immature to be honest, sounds like she has a lot of growing up to do. For now i would concentrate on your happiness, on moving on slowly but moving on none the less.
Lostinthought61 is offline  
post #6 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-07-2016, 07:55 PM
Forum Supporter
Emerging Buddhist's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: World-wide
Posts: 1,383
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

When we don't spend enough time looking after ourselves in times of challenge we lose direction... time to unlearn how you are placing yourself here without that so that direction reaches back out to you like a lifeline.

You are hurting, but there is no reason to suffer the death of the relationship by a thousand ineffectual message cuts... time to step back so they do not cut you anymore and how you adapt is the key to ending this wave after wave of suffering.

Perhaps is time to forgive her for leaving the relationship, can you do that?

If you can, tell her... "I am sorry we are here because this was the last thing I wanted for us... I wish you the best and from now on the only communications we need are the legal ones"... and then step back again, turn around, and walk your healthy path to your future.

Maybe you can be friends in the future, but chances are once you begin to build that self love, respect, and confidence again, it won't matter. That doesn't mean you can't be friendly and kind, but you will never be friends in the same way again.

If you acknowledge you have forgiven the situation, and in effect her role in it, realizing that the relationship is no longer of the quality of trust you truly need, you now have the calm to go ahead and file for divorce yourself. She may throw a slew of emotions at you, but how is that different from the last four months?

It isn't for her... the difference in it is you.

If she is testing your resolve, she'll have her answer... that you are no longer willing to follow a path of such suffering.

Then find the happiness you need in yourself because you really cannot get it anywhere else.

I'll bet she is discovering this the hard way right now...
Emerging Buddhist is offline  
post #7 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-07-2016, 08:41 PM
lifeistooshort's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6,527
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

Are her complaints valid?

Did you neglect her needs? Did her issues take a back seat?

Did you discuss kids and you reneged?

What I'm trying to get at is how much you actually want a relationship with your wife vs how comfortable you are with your life with her.

11 years is a long time and hard to let go.

If her complaints are valid why were you not tending to your marriage if it was that important to you?
lifeistooshort is online now  
post #8 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 02:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 62
Agree with the last poster. Were your wife's complaints valid??? If so then that says a lot. Did u place the marriage relationship last?? After so many years of that kind of treatment I would have to question if you actually want the relationship???

Or was your wife just a convienience for you ? I'm sure your wife has a ton of resentment at this point.

As far as working it out both parties have to comit to that 100%.

If it were me in order to begin to try to work things out I would want her to move back home and begin counseling ASAP. Focus on the marrige and fixing it. Also cut off all communication with other men and women etc.

If both parties don't agree to be into fixing the marriage 100%. I would just go no contact for a while and go through with the divorce. For me it would be all or nothing.

Sounds like she has been unhappy for a long time. Being alone in a marriage is the worst.
fall222 is offline  
post #9 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 06:17 AM
farsidejunky's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 7,890
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

This limbo is no longer her fault; it is yours.

She does not want to be married to you, yet she does not want anyone else to have you, either.

Why would you grant her that much control over you when it was her that moved out?

Was she controlling before she left?

Have you ever pushed a rope? What happens?

"Our ability to feel joy is directly related to how much pain we are willing to feel." - Mavash.

"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for." - Bob Marley
farsidejunky is offline  
post #10 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 120
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

Originally Posted by lifeistooshort View Post
Are her complaints valid?

Did you neglect her needs? Did her issues take a back seat?

Did you discuss kids and you reneged?

What I'm trying to get at is how much you actually want a relationship with your wife vs how comfortable you are with your life with her.

11 years is a long time and hard to let go.

If her complaints are valid why were you not tending to your marriage if it was that important to you?
Thanks for the reply.

Her complaints are definitely valid. I had withdrawn and in particular this summer things had gotten pretty far off the tracks.

A little background—in 2014 I felt incredibly neglected. She had begun working until 9 or 10 nearly every night and I felt alone in the marriage (quality time is my big thing). It wasn't a cheating scenario, we worked at the same place at the time and I know she just wanted to try to get ahead in her career. However, we were looking into buying a home and starting a family so I was extremely confused. I've always been supportive of her career aspirations, as is she with mine, but things reached a breaking point in February, 2015.

After repeatedly telling her that she needed to be home at a certain time so we could make an appointment to view a home, she showed up at our apartment when we were supposed to be at our appointment. I was angry and hurt, it lead to a fight and she lashed out with hurtful words on our way there while we were stuck in traffic. I just bailed out of the car and walked away. She called and I said that I wanted a divorce (I didn't really, but I was at a loss with what to do in terms of how her actions didn't coincide with her words). She came home and convinced me to get therapy.

We went and at first things were improving. Our issues were being addressed and I felt like we were headed in the right direction. Then she took a new job and got fired 3 weeks into it for reasons that routinely affected our relationship as well (i.e. she's a highly sensitive person who projects her own insecurities on a situation and allows it to control her life at times). Understandably, she felt wrecked (she'd been poached by the company and left a good job for it) and like her world had fallen apart. During the next two months while she was unemployed, I was extremely supportive. As a byproduct, our therapy sessions became centered on her depression over the job loss and feeling like her life and career were ruined.

By the time she got a new job, she immediately brought up wanting to have kids in therapy and needing a timeline. I have to admit, I really wasn't ready to talk about kids. I felt like our therapy hadn't been able to focus on our issues that needed work thanks to the job situation and I panicked a bit. A month after she brought it up, I expressed my doubts about wanting a kid. This stemmed mostly from my upbringing, but also from our problems that I felt needed to be addressed.

In September 2015, we told each other we wanted to stay together but set a deadline of May 2016 (just before our anniversary) for us to reevaluate and for me to decide if I wanted kids. I took this very seriously and talked with everyone I knew that had kids about the experience—the challenges, fears, joys, everything. It was a tough time for us because she desperately wanted kids before thirty and would frequently break down and beg me to have a kid with her right then and there. Each time, I was compassionate but said I really needed to be sure.

May 2016 came around and I was 100%, and still am, that I wanted a child with her. I told her, but she wasn't convinced.

What followed was an extremely bizarre summer, but one which probably sounds familiar to some on these boards. She started spending nights out drinking (something she very rarely did before) and then falling out of communication well past when she said she would be home. In hindsight, I could see that she was suffering and trying to find a way to cope with the issues in our marriage. At the time, it felt like she just wanted a different life.

In mid-August, her work had a summer party on a Friday. This company has a huge drinking and partying culture to the point where people are regularly tipsy while working. The party wasn't far from where I work and she asked me to pick her up at 5pm when it was over. I said I was happy to do it. That day, I texted her at 4:30pm for the address of the hotel and got nothing back. 5, 5:30, 6 came and went and I tried calling several times but it just went to voicemail. I texted that I was heading home, that I hoped she was okay and to please get in touch with me as soon as she could.

At 7:45pm, she called and said that her co-worker and good friend had gotten extremely drunk and she'd needed to make sure she got home okay. After taking her home, she realized that she'd left her phone at the hotel and that it was dead. Once she got in her car, she plugged it in to charge and immediately called once it came back on. I told her that we needed to have a talk when she got home.

I confronted her about the party and the other times this past summer she'd dropped out of communication. One time she had said she would be home at 2am and ended up coming back at 5am and had ignored several texts. I was calm at first and asked if anything was going on that I should know about and she said no. I asked why she couldn't send a simple text letting me know that she was okay and was going to be out later, and she got extremely defensive and accused me of not wanting to let her hang out with her friends. I got angry and said that it was more about feeling disrespected because it's scary that the person you love the most falls out of contact while out drinking and partying. She agreed that it would terrify her if I did the same thing and promised to work on it in the future. I reassured her that I was really happy she had friends to go out with, but that I just needed to be kept in the loop if plans changed.

The next day she admitted that something had happened at the party. The COO had drunkenly come up to her and her friend, grabbed my wife by the arm and told her, "I had a dream about you two. It was good." From there he tried twice to get her and her friend to join him at a bar after the party. I thanked her for telling me and said that she should go to HR on Monday and tell them what happened. She agreed but said she wanted to talk to her friend about it before bringing her into it. I said I understood but the she needed to say something or the creep would feel like his actions had been justified and it would enable him further. I added that I realized it was a tough predicament and I'd support her no matter how she handled it, but that this was the exact thing I was afraid might be happening when she fell out of contact.

The next two weeks and a few days were honestly great. We spent a lot of time together, had several date nights, went together to her friend's birthday party and a concert. Two days after the concert, and the week I was going to tell her about a trip I'd planned to Japan for us where we could start trying for a baby, she told me the relationship needed to end and she wanted a divorce. Talk about bad timing.

My original post includes what happened after. I've given her the documents she requested and so now it's just a matter of when she'll actually file.

So yes, I did make mistakes, and so did she. I still love her though and want to work on things. However, I do feel that ship has probably long left the port and I'm trying to put my life back together. Huge urge to contact her today, but I'm not sure what it would do other than likely bring me more rejection.

My plan now is to give her until the first week of January to file and if she hasn't by that date, I'll file for a trail separation just so something legal is on the books. Thanks again for everyone's advice and insight. It's greatly appreciated.

golfpanther is offline  
post #11 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 07:00 PM
Marc878's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Southeast
Posts: 3,279
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

When someone dumps you the worst thing you can do is be available at their beck and call.

Your actions tell her she is worth more than you and you'll be there for her no matter what she does.

You can't control or make her do anything but at the same time you don't need to be her "puppet on a string".

Check her phone bill. Online

Not uncommon when you get accused of seeing someone it's a projection from what they're doing.
Marc878 is online now  
post #12 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 09:30 PM
EunuchMonk's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 586
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

I'm going to jump to a conclusion here, OP. Your wife is seeing someone else. She is not sure about this other person. That is why she is still in contact with you. Plan B, you know. She enjoys the emotional volleyball, it is an ego boost of some sort. She reels you in by making herself some victim of some sort, you bite, she pulls away. The ego-boost is knowing she has you by the nuts.

But she shows the classic signs of having found someone else. The confusing signals and general questioning behaviour point to that.

This hits home for me because someone close to me went through a similar situation. Your name wouldn't happen to be Alex by any chance?

Even if I don't get likes for it, I'm still going to say it.
EunuchMonk is offline  
post #13 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 10:32 PM
Forum Supporter
SunCMars's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: North Coast Nationalist-burg, U.S.A.
Posts: 2,620
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

The rope broke.

You lost your prize heifer.

You put off fixing the fence.

Now she is out of the stockade heading for the bulls down the road.

Mend the fence, get a new heifer. Grow new grass for this one.

Keep this grass greener than your neighbors.

Love hurts..until you rub the pain away.

What follows is numbness, then a new readiness, that will try to lift your heavy, burdened spirit, again.

This....This is the nub of the stick that pokes me in the eye when the light of day energizes my optic nerve....SunCMars.... The Allegory of the Cave--> On this, I did a '180' and stepped out.

The Lion in Winter. Invictus..By Will, Shall... Saved from harm by my friends.
SunCMars is online now  
post #14 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 10:57 PM
Forum Supporter
3Xnocharm's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 6,079
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

Originally Posted by Marc878 View Post
When someone dumps you the worst thing you can do is be available at their beck and call.

Your actions tell her she is worth more than you and you'll be there for her no matter what she does.

You can't control or make her do anything but at the same time you don't need to be her "puppet on a string".

Check her phone bill. Online

Not uncommon when you get accused of seeing someone it's a projection from what they're doing.
Yes, sorry to say it, but you did everything WRONG.

Honestly though, even if you had gone about this the right way, I think she was done to the point it would not have made a difference. Also, I too think she is seeing someone else.

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.

3Xnocharm is offline  
post #15 of 145 (permalink) Old 12-08-2016, 11:14 PM
farsidejunky's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 7,890
Re: Mixed signals and false starts

I don't believe for a moment that you got the truth about the times she fell off the radar.

She has been cheating for some time.

You would do well to accept that fact.

"Our ability to feel joy is directly related to how much pain we are willing to feel." - Mavash.

"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for." - Bob Marley
farsidejunky is offline  
Sponsored Links

divorce, hope, loss, reconciliation, separation

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on Talk About Marriage, you must first register. Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

Important! Your username will be visible to the public next to anything you post and could show up in search engines like Google. If you are concerned about anonymity, PLEASE choose a username that will not be recognizable to anyone you know.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome