Some wives who are not yet separated, (but who suspect that they might be soon,) feel like they are living in limbo. Because they can’t really plan for this separation since their husband is very “confused” or wishy washy about his desire for it. Many wives hear a husband mention or discuss a possible separation several times before he actually goes through with it, if he does at all. Some husbands go back and forth over whether they want to actually be with their wives or in their marriage. Some days, they want to separate or move out. And other days, they want to work it out. When their wives ask them about the flopping back and forth, they claim to be “confused.” One day, they will be making long term plans with you. And the next day, they’ll be searching for apartments. Many of them claim to still love their wives, which means that now there are two people who are very confused. Understandably, wives do not completely get what is so confusing about their husband’s feelings toward the marriage. She sees it in terms of black and white rather than grey. Either he wants to be with her or he doesn’t, right?
She might say: “for the last six months, my husband claims to be ‘confused’ as to whether or not he wants to be with me. He’s mentioned a separation many times, but so far, he has not acted on this. There have been days, or even weeks, during this time, when he’s actually loving toward me. And then he will revert back to being cold and aloof again. I will ask him what I’ve done wrong and he will say that I have not done anything wrong and will continue on with his ‘confusion’ talk again. One of my friends says that she thinks that he is falling out of love with me, but ironically, sometimes he will still claim to love me and he will tell me this without any prompting from me. So I’m just as confused as he is. But I’m not confused about whether I want to be with my husband or not. I do want my marriage. But my husband isn’t so sure. And he can’t seem to articulate any reasoning behind his unhappiness, other than to claim this ‘confusion.’ Why is my husband so confused about whether he wants to be married or not? Nothing has changed. I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t get it.”
His Unhappiness Is Not Always Totally Based On Your Marriage: I totally get your frustration. My husband flip flopped like this for a while before we actually separated (although this certainly doesn’t mean that YOU will separate. Now that my husband and I have reconciled, I’ve talked to him at length about what he was going through during the pre-separation period. I’ve also dialoged with other “confused” husbands about this. Much of the time, their “confusion” isn’t totally about your marriage. I know that sounds weird. And I don’t mean that NONE of it is related to your marriage. But sometimes, they are questioning things like the meaning of life, their place in the world, and whether their life truly has value to this world. If this sounds like a midlife crisis, well, many of the questions are the same, but I find that this can happen at any time in life.
When your husband claims to love you, he probably does. On the days when he appears to be loving and engaged, he’s probably actually having those loving feelings. When he’s dissatisfied and “confused,” these negative feelings may not be directly correlated to your marriage, which could be why he hasn’t left yet.
Pushing For A Decision Is Not Always The Best Call: I know that you very likely desperately want him to make a decision. (I know that I did.) But I want to caution you here. In my own case, pushing my husband to stop waffling back and forth worked against me. He eventually decided that we should separate. I will never know if having more patience and trying not to take all of it so personally might have meant that we could have avoided the separation. But looking back at it now, I wish that I had taken a very honest look at my marriage and tried to fix those things that needed fixing and then had patience with my husband’s conflicting emotions. Because I’ve seen husbands work out the outside stuff and then come back and be suddenly happy in their marriage, simply because the marriage wasn’t the problem. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t attempt to make your marriage as good as it can be, especially while he’s still living with you. But sometimes, you wrack your brain thinking that you’ve done something wrong or you think that he doesn’t love you when neither are true. What could be true is that he’s confused about his place in the world more than anything else. Having gone through this and experiencing hindsight, my best tip would be to offer support, to try not to apply pressure, and to make any changes that you think might help the situation all the way around.