Ah. Well, NoKids, in light of more information from you, I will add a little advice.
You have now put forth effort to "listen to her more." You have now offered to move back to Southern California, walking away from what you describe as a nice lifestyle up north, so that she can be close to her friends and family (since you don't fill her life up satisfactorily). You have been a flawed but mostly standup guy (I hear Northern Cali ain't cheap!) and she has rewarded you by focusing on the negative and having "abandonment issues." You have tried to let bygones be bygones, to the point that I bet there are a LOT of things you don't do anymore because you don't want to upset her, because she neither forgives nor forgets.
You are well on your way to becoming a doormat in the relationship.
Why do I say that?
Because of the title of your post. You are looking for help in figuring out how to behave while your wife takes sometime off from being around you.
You're not looking to figure out what the problem is. You're not trying to fix the problem, or even make it better. You're just looking to make it through a 30 to 90-day separation.
Can you stop and look at yourself, and see that you're the only one putting in meaningful effort here?
If you can't, well, just suffer in silence.
If you can see that, take a look at what you are getting in return for your effort.
You: Good guy, no drugs, not abusive, successful (that whole north Cali thing again), trying to be more attentive to your wife's needs, going to MC with her, getting run down in arguments for things you did months or years ago that you already apologized for.
Her: "Needs some space."
My new and improved advice: Skip trying to find out why she is ungrateful and not really in love with you, and move on to "giving her the gift of missing you." Find a woman who likes you so much that she is happy to live where you want to and share your life and not separate from you.
But that's not actually the advice you're looking for, is it?
You're really wanting to know "what am I supposed to do, and not do, while my wife separates from me for 30 to 90 days, and then hopefully comes back to me?"
Well, don't start dating other women. Try not to bug her with frequent contact. Try not to be too miserable without her. Keep in mind that she's not responsible for your happiness and emotional well-being, YOU ARE. So when you do find yourself feeling miserable, realize that it's not her fault you feel miserable, it's yours. And understand that you're using her as a crutch, too.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read through this and reply.
Not going to get into this any more. What I am going to tell you is that pretty much what you are saying hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday morning. She came home after running a few errands and we started talking. I asked her a couple questions to which she answered, "I don't know." None of the questions were deeply probing, but basically the second I asked them I regretted asking them. I immediately came upstairs and dove into working and getting stuff done. We had to take one of our dogs to the vet and then to the dog park. Prior to that a switch flipped in me. I realized that I had done the things I needed to do, and now I needed to back off and realize that this is no longer about me, it is about her. There is nothing that I need to do to change her mind or any bull**** like that. So I immediately went into a bit of me mode. I didn't really change the way I was acting towards her, I just stopped the walking on eggshells.
We ran our errands and took the dogs to the dog park, then I came home and dove into work. We went to dinner last night and then came home and watched a movie. The remainder of the day I backed completely off and did not initiate any contact with her. She almost immediately started to do so. In bed last night while we were watching the movie and was being far more affectionate and that continued on this morning.
I had a few things to do today so I took off for a bit and while I was out really thought about this process. It is time to get back to putting the focus on me. I still can't believe how easily the switch flipped, maybe I was just fed up with who I was becoming and the lack of confidence I could see in myself. Either way it flipped and I am not going back.
I had planned to talk to our MC about the questions that I have posed in this thread, but truth be told, I do not need the answers any longer. The truth is simple. I am a great guy, and while I want my relationship with her to get through these stormy waters. I can not be the only one rowing the boat.
Who knows where this will end up, her original move date back to SoCal was May 1st. That is not happening. Then it was May 6th. That is not happening. Now she is saying May 11th. I am not holding on to the chance that she will come to her senses and say that she doesn't still need time to work on the things for herself that she wants to work on. I will deal with that if it happens. For now, it is time to focus on me and if she wants to enjoy the ride then it is time for her to pull her head out of her ass and see what she has standing right in front of her.
So while she is here I am going to do as much as I can to keep myself busy and do my own thing, and do things for me. I will still continue to do things with her, but she will see far less of me. As you stated, "Give her the gift of missing me."