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I sometimes hear from people who are worried about their spouse's lack of transparency during their trial separation. Often, they were really hoping to get some insights into how their spouse might be feeling and whether these same feelings are good or bad for the future of their marriage.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband and I separated about eight and a half weeks ago. When he came to me and told me that he wanted to separate, he represented it as something that wasn't that big of a deal. He made it sound like he just wanted some time to sort out himself in mid life and he indicated that he would be in close contact the whole time. He even made it sound somewhat romantic, like we could date one another once again. So I assumed that he was going to be up front and open with me the whole time. This isn't what has happened. At first, we saw each other regularly, but that too has tapered off. We only see each other sporadically and when we do, we talk about everything but our marriage. I am very open and honest about the fact that I miss my husband. I am more than willing to talk about my feelings. But he doesn't share this sentiment. He seems to want to keep everything very private. I will ask him what he is feeling or thinking and he says that he really doesn't have anything to share right now. I'm afraid that this is a very bad sign. If he won't share what he is thinking and feeling, how are we going to save our marriage? If he is reluctant to talk about his feelings, does this mean that our marriage is over?” I will try to address this concern in the following article.


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Why I Don't Think That A Separated Husband's Reluctance To Discuss His Feelings Means That Your Marriage Is Over: In a perfect world, both spouses would be equally willing to share their feelings and to do whatever was necessary to make quick progress so that they could end the separation and save their marriage. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case in real life. unfortunately, most people do not feel the same things or have the same thoughts or wishes at the same time. So as frustrating as it is, you may be working on a different schedule or time line. You may be ahead of him in some realizations and you may have easier access to your feelings or be more open about them. This is very common. Men tend to be more closed off with their feelings and are therefore less likely to discuss them.

He May Have Valid Reasons For Not Being Very Open Right Now: There are several legitimate reasons that he may not be sharing his feelings right now. It is possible that he is feeling very conflicted and he has not yet had time to sort this out. He may not have anything definitive to share with you. Or, he may be feeling things that might be confusing to him or troubling to you but he knows that his feelings might change so he doesn't want to be premature and upset you if it's unnecessary.

Another possibility is that he may not have a decent handle on his feelings. It's very normal to feel conflicting feelings, especially in the beginning. This can make you feel confused and give you the sense that you don't know what you're feeling. So, instead of sharing this confusion or bringing someone else into the mix, sometimes your husband thinks that it's better to just wait until he has something meaningful and definite to share. Besides, he usually knows that you are going to analyze everything that he tells you and he may not want for you to read too much into feelings that just aren't clear.

Sometimes, You Just Have To Put All Feelings Aside, At Least Initially: I know from experience that it is probably your initial inclination to think that the focus should be on both of your feelings right now. After all, you figure, if you both love one another and want the marriage enough, then things should automatically fall into place. But sometimes, when you are separated, the feelings are not as important as the actions. But sometimes when you are separated, this thinking is backward. Sometimes, you have to put aside the emotions and focus on the results. Because the truth is, this is a volatile time when your emotions might be all over the place. You may feel differently when the situation isn't quite so painful or when cooler heads prevail. So it can help to just set everything aside except for where you want to go from here.

The wife wanted to save her marriage. That was her primary goal. Yes, it would have been wonderful if her husband had cooperated and was open about whatever he was feeling. But that wasn't the reality. And assuming the worst or pressuring him to spill his feelings when he's shown reluctance isn't really in alignment with this goal.

I know that you want him to tell you that he's feeling very favorable feelings. You want and need this reassurance and I don't blame you because I know how this feels. But if he's not willing or ready to share, it's my experience that it is best not to press. He will probably share his feelings in his own time. And believe it or not, this isn't necessary to your saving your marriage. You can continue to try to make small improvements as the situation allows. The two of you don't need to share your deepest, darkest feelings in order to start interacting more positively. And sometimes, you have to settle for the small victories. So to answer the question posed, I don't think a separated husband's reluctance to share his feelings means that your marriage is over.

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