This thread is for men whose wives left them - Talk About Marriage
Reconciliation This forum is for those focused on reconciliation and success stories from people who have been through separation and reconciled successfully.

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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-28-2016, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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This thread is for men whose wives left them

..., and there was no cheating involved by either party (or any emotional affair, either). This is for all those who just grew apart over the years, due to kids, job, whatever...

I am in this boat right now. After more than two decades of faithful marriage (to the best of my knowledge), my wife notified me that she wants to get divorced and that there is no going back. This did not happen all of a sudden, she had been threatening it for years. I have been a fool and ignored these threats. Over the succeeding week I managed to convince her to at least do a trial separation first, as my last best effort to save the marriage. We have (young) teenage kids and this has been hard on them as well.

I can see that it is basically up to me now to enact change for the both of us, since she is still resolved that this will not work and divorce is inevitable. I am trying all I can to enable reconciliation in the not too distant future (months?).

Fortunately, I have been able to reconnect with her and at least am now able to engage her in meaningful conversation. Unfortunately, I made all of the classic mistakes in the beginning upon hearing the news (crying, begging, squirming, etc..., to get one more chance, please...). All that did was to strengthen her resolve (to divorce).

At this point, I am reading one book after another as our separation is about to come into effect over the coming weeks. We are still under the same roof for the time being, but are sleeping in different beds. Let me tell you right off the bat, good books with good advice have done wonders in guiding me on this path. I don't know where I would be without them!

Each day is a challenge and I am often overwhelmed with negative emotions of, "What if things don't work out and we actually do get divorced?" But, i am still optimistic and trying to save our marriage. Unfortunately, I know that there is no way I can convince her to get counseling in the interim. So, it's all up to me, to be the shoulder to lean on, the counselor, and to change myself in meaningful positive ways to be the man she wants. All of this is happening as she tells me that even if I become the perfect husband, our marriage is over, making this doubly, triply, hard.

A lot of the threads on here are about partners who have cheated. A lot of the advice given assumes cheating was involved, whether people want to believe it or not. Well, I can state with as much certainty as can be possible for a human being to have, that there was no cheating that has brought this upon me from either side, just us growing apart and me totally ignoring her for the last who knows how many years. Now I will have to pay the price, one way or another...

I am hoping that this thread can be for others in a similar state - Long marriage, grow apart, wife feels that she is no longer in love with husband, wife files for divorce or leaves and refuses to get counseling or reconcile. The future of the marriage, if at all possible, is entirely in the husband's hands. Actions may work, words do little. The husband is doing everything possible to make reconciliation happen.

Good advice is always welcome by those who have been in a similar boat.


Last edited by SeparationAnxiety; 03-28-2016 at 02:20 PM.
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 01:55 PM
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

What are her problems with the marriage? She has been threatening divorce for a while... What are the issues?
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 02:09 PM
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

At the point of separation, counseling is no longer effective. For counseling to work, there has to be a relationship in place. As odd as that may sound, imagine yourself on the soccer field. The game of soccer does not work well when the players don't want to be there, even if there is a coach. Counseling is more effective before the team breaks down, when the team coach can actually be listened to and the players still have that urge to work together towards a common goal.

What do you do if you find yourself in this situation? Don't give up; surrender to life. Use this as a catalyst to be the person you always wanted to be, the best person you are possible of. When you achieve that goal, then further push your boundaries. With a strong drive to continually work on yourself, you will become someone that your partner would naturally want to be around. Have I been in your shoes? Absolutely. Because of that and the tremendous personal growth that I have achieved, I can give you a better idea of what works and what doesn't, which you have already spoken about to an extent.

While you seem to be doing a great job and are holding up rather well, attempting to reconnect with a separated spouse is a whole new endeavor. You no longer have access to this person on a day-to-day basis and they might enjoy their new-found freedom, at least initially. What you can do is let her come back to you and you do this with that aforementioned internally directed effort to better yourself. You also have to stay on her mind and you do this by staying in touch with her. You would be well-advised to send her some type of invitations, and you might be rejected for weeks or even months. You aren't inviting her out to a romantic date, you are inviting her to enjoy each other as friends. From there, the relationship can be rebuilt, but that takes time and patience. By being persistent and maintaining a positive outlook, you show her that you are someone that she can trust and that you are reliable. That consistency is what she will be testing. She might expect a negative emotional reaction by rejecting you. When you fail to give one, you take her by surprise, in a good way. You can also invite her to tag-along with some mutual friends of yours and hers. Again, you are making it a low pressure type of engagement.

When she asks how you are doing, you are doing great. Self-happiness is the quickest way to get her back, although there is never a guarantee. I am very glad to see the positive nature that you have expressed in your post.
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 02:26 PM
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

Why didn't you listen and value the relationship then?

Why do you all of a sudden want a relationship with her now, when you obviously didn't then?

I don't get why people think a wedding ring is the same as putting on a pair of handcuffs between the two of you and throwing away the key.

You earn a marriage. Every day.
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 02:39 PM
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

Let her see (actions speak louder than words, words are cheap, watch his feet) that you truly, genuinely care and that she will never be taken for granted ever again.
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

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Originally Posted by katiecrna View Post
What are her problems with the marriage? She has been threatening divorce for a while... What are the issues?
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Originally Posted by marduk View Post
Why didn't you listen and value the relationship then?

Why do you all of a sudden want a relationship with her now, when you obviously didn't then?

I don't get why people think a wedding ring is the same as putting on a pair of handcuffs between the two of you and throwing away the key.

You earn a marriage. Every day.
So the issues come down to the fact that I spent more time on the computer than with her and sometimes with the kids as well. The last several vacations, for example, well, it was just her and the kids. I feel so bad about it in retrospect and I guess it came down to me growing to become too selfish over the more than two decades that we've been together. Don't get me wrong, if she ever had any sort of serious problem, I was always there for her. It was just the day to day - not enough love and caring. And, this has been going on for a long time... She's threatened divorce before and I guess I sort of ignored the signs.

I think I was suffering from a sort of mild depression, as well, combined with a computer addiction (MMOs, shows/serials watched by myself, etc...). Too much of a geek and a loner to be a good husband and father. Now, I regret it all.

As to why do I want a relationship with her now, well the inevitable threat of immediate divorce hit me like a piano falling on my head. It made me re-evaluate my life, my treatment of her, and how much time I was spending with the kids. I came to the realization that I love her more than life itself and of course I love my kids as well and that whatever was required of me to be what she wanted me to be will be worth the effort.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, this realization came too late in the game. So, the separation which is happening shortly, is inevitable. I have agreed to give her slightly more custody of the kids during the separation, but on the other hand we have both agreed that we will be able to visit the kids whenever we like (when it's not our turn) at the other person's place. So, this seems to be a fairly open separation with regard to visitation privileges. It also gives more opportunity to continue the re-connection process.

I also told her that if she ever feels lonely (when the kids are with me) and needs someone to talk to, I can just swing by and be there for her. I am making myself very available and realize that this could be a mistake (i.e., not being hard to get), but I am still (re)acting somewhat emotionally and feeling guilty at this point. At least I am conscious of the fact and realize that I am willing going against "textbook" advice.

I want to show her that I am willing to change and be the person she wants me to be. I just hope that she gives me the time necessary to show her this and falls back in love with me, before being convinced (in part by toxic divorced friends) that she should proceed with a divorce. We have no fixed deadline for this and are kind of playing it by ear. I believe that time will work in my favor, as long as I can be a good husband and father and really make my positive changes as such permanent.

Last edited by SeparationAnxiety; 03-29-2016 at 03:12 PM.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

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At the point of separation, counseling is no longer effective. For counseling to work, there has to be a relationship in place. As odd as that may sound, imagine yourself on the soccer field. The game of soccer does not work well when the players don't want to be there, even if there is a coach. Counseling is more effective before the team breaks down, when the team coach can actually be listened to and the players still have that urge to work together towards a common goal.

What do you do if you find yourself in this situation? Don't give up; surrender to life. Use this as a catalyst to be the person you always wanted to be, the best person you are possible of. When you achieve that goal, then further push your boundaries. With a strong drive to continually work on yourself, you will become someone that your partner would naturally want to be around. Have I been in your shoes? Absolutely. Because of that and the tremendous personal growth that I have achieved, I can give you a better idea of what works and what doesn't, which you have already spoken about to an extent.

While you seem to be doing a great job and are holding up rather well, attempting to reconnect with a separated spouse is a whole new endeavor. You no longer have access to this person on a day-to-day basis and they might enjoy their new-found freedom, at least initially. What you can do is let her come back to you and you do this with that aforementioned internally directed effort to better yourself. You also have to stay on her mind and you do this by staying in touch with her. You would be well-advised to send her some type of invitations, and you might be rejected for weeks or even months. You aren't inviting her out to a romantic date, you are inviting her to enjoy each other as friends. From there, the relationship can be rebuilt, but that takes time and patience. By being persistent and maintaining a positive outlook, you show her that you are someone that she can trust and that you are reliable. That consistency is what she will be testing. She might expect a negative emotional reaction by rejecting you. When you fail to give one, you take her by surprise, in a good way. You can also invite her to tag-along with some mutual friends of yours and hers. Again, you are making it a low pressure type of engagement.

When she asks how you are doing, you are doing great. Self-happiness is the quickest way to get her back, although there is never a guarantee. I am very glad to see the positive nature that you have expressed in your post.
Thank you for your advice. I have found several tidbits in there that I plan to apply!
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 03:15 PM
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

Why should she think this change of yours is going to stick now?

I have to be honest, man. I'm pretty sceptical of folks that have years of warning of divorce and who suddenly convert and see the light only when the divorce starts.

I mean, what you're essentially saying is that you're afraid to be alone, but didn't want to do the work to stay when you had the chance.

You blew it. Earning her trust is going to be hard, and probably take the rest of your life.

Are you up for that?

Because I think once you got comfortable again, you'd be right back in front of the computer.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

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Why should she think this change of yours is going to stick now?

I have to be honest, man. I'm pretty sceptical of folks that have years of warning of divorce and who suddenly convert and see the light only when the divorce starts.

I mean, what you're essentially saying is that you're afraid to be alone, but didn't want to do the work to stay when you had the chance.

You blew it. Earning her trust is going to be hard, and probably take the rest of your life.

Are you up for that?

Because I think once you got comfortable again, you'd be right back in front of the computer.
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I hear you. I am up for that. I totally understand that earning her trust will be a prolonged up-hill battle, as it should be after all this time of "blowing it." I have told her during one of the more emotional conversations that I will dedicate my life to correct the wrongs in our relationship. I meant it at the time (about a week ago) and still mean it now. I am in my mid-forties and mature enough to understand what that entails.

Before I can get comfortable again, we have to reconcile. Then, time will tell I suppose, but I really want to be a good husband and father and am striving for it on a daily basis, even if it has only been for several weeks.

Despite the fact that we are about to separate, I greatly enjoy our moments of communication. I make her smile. I make her laugh. At some points, it's as if we are still happily married. I live for those moments and am ever hopeful that she is willing to see me in a new light over time.

Can people change? Yes, I believe they can if they have the desire and willpower to do it. Can the changes last? Only time will tell, but I believe that if the change is positive and there is outside reinforcement (from one's spouse) which is not always a given, it most certainly can become permanent.

Last edited by SeparationAnxiety; 03-29-2016 at 03:23 PM.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 03:23 PM
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

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I hear you. I am up for that. Before I can get comfortable again, we have to reconcile. Then, time will tell I suppose, but I really want to be the person I describe and am striving for it on a daily basis.

Despite the fact that we are about to separate, I greatly enjoy our moments of communication. I make her smile. I make her laugh. At some points, it's as if we are still happily married. I live for those moments and am ever hopeful that she is willing to see me in a new light over time.

Can people change? Yes, I believe they can if they have the desire and willpower to do it. Can the changes last? Only time will tell, but I believe that if the change is positive and there is outside reinforcement (from one's spouse) which is not always a given, it most certainly can become permanent.
I'm not exactly sensing a sudden enlightenment on your part, man.

I think you weren't scared of losing her, and now you are. And that's all.

But that being said, yes, people can change.

What exactly is it that you want to change about yourself, would do so even if she left, and how are you going to enact that change.

In short, who do you want to be?
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

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I'm not exactly sensing a sudden enlightenment on your part, man.

I think you weren't scared of losing her, and now you are. And that's all.

But that being said, yes, people can change.

What exactly is it that you want to change about yourself, would do so even if she left, and how are you going to enact that change.

In short, who do you want to be?
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I will admit, the vast majority if not all my changes are based around me being married to her. I am totally going about it from that perspective, but I do sense that any positive improvements in me will carry over even if I fail.

As for what do I want to change in myself? I want to be a good caring and loving husband to her and a better father to the kids.

But, what does that mean? Well, quite frankly I don't know, but I am reading books to help clue me in. Women do not come with an instruction manual when you marry them. Men are different from women and without guidance, we all make mistakes. Some of us learn from them, some of us do not. Since I am open to "study" at this point, I think I can rectify my inadequacies over time. At least I am going to try my best.
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 03:32 PM
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

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I will admit, the vast majority if not all my changes are based around me being married to her. I am totally going about it from that perspective, but I do sense that any positive improvements in me will carry over even if I fail.

As for what do I want to change in myself? I want to be a good caring and loving husband to her and a better father to the kids.

But, what does that mean? Well, quite frankly I don't know, but I am reading books to help clue me in. Women do not come with an instruction manual when you marry them. Men are different from women and without guidance, we all make mistakes. Some of us learn from them, some of us do not. Since I am open to "study" at this point, I think I can rectify my inadequacies over time. At least I am going to try my best.
You are likely going to fail because you're doing it to make her happy, not make yourself better.

You need to start with square one. Take her out of the equation.

Have you been the best version of you that you could be? Do you know what that is? Do you know why you weren't striving to be that guy?

Answer those three questions honestly in a way that has nothing to do with your soon to be ex wife.

That's where you start.
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

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You are likely going to fail because you're doing it to make her happy, not make yourself better.

You need to start with square one. Take her out of the equation.

Have you been the best version of you that you could be? Do you know what that is? Do you know why you weren't striving to be that guy?

Answer those three questions honestly in a way that has nothing to do with your soon to be ex wife.

That's where you start.
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OK, that will require some serious thought. I am so focused on her right now, that it's nearly impossible to remove her from the equation of what I want to be(come). For now, I will admit it, I am slowly entering doormat mode until I come up with better options.

Last edited by SeparationAnxiety; 03-29-2016 at 03:44 PM.
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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 03:53 PM
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

First of all cut your contact with the PC, etc. there is a whole new life out there.

You need to work on you so do not come across as needy and smother here with to much attention. Start doing things on your own.

Get a gym membership, make yourself attractive if you're out of shape etc.

Look at your wardrobe, etc. do some things for you. Also become somewhat independent if you aren't. Do some of your laundry, cook, clean up etc.

You have a tough road ahead. You let this go like many and now it's in your face.

If you've apologized stop. Your actions will speak more. No one wants to here the same sh!t over and over again.

It may be a good time to learn some new things for yourself, educational, cooking classes, etc.

It'll show two things you are remaking yourself and if it doesn't work out you'll be fine on your own.
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 03:55 PM
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Re: This thread is for men whose wives left them

If you become a doormat she will lose respect and it will be game over.

Don't be the needy puppy here.
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