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Every Time We Disagree, My Husband Threatens To Leave For A Trial Separation
I often hear from people who have become increasingly concerned about the content and tone of fights with their spouse. Often, the couple has been fighting for a while, but lately, the arguments have taken on a new, sinister tone and the husband has even started to broach the subject of a break or separation. And often, the wife isn’t quite sure how to take this or how serious this truly is.
I heard from a wife who said: “my husband and I have been fighting for a long time about two issues – my in – laws and his lack of employment. He lost his job over eighteen months ago and I feel as though he isn’t looking hard enough to find a replacement. I know that the economy is bad, but he is college educated and has a lot of experience. It’s hard for me to buy that he can’t find another job somewhere. The other issue is that his parents are now giving us money. My in – laws are completely over bearing. Before they started giving us money, they intruded in our lives enough. But now, they seem to feel as if we owe them. I feel like I don’t even want to come home from work anymore because I know that they are going to be there. My mother in law brings dinner over constantly. My husband appreciates it because our food budget is very tight. But I would rather eat peanut butter and jelly than share yet another meal with them. For the last several weeks, our arguments about this have gotten very heated. And my husband has started bringing up a separation. He said he will just go and live with his parents so that I won’t have to be bothered with all of this. How concerned should I be? Is he really going to leave me or pursue a separation? I still love him and I don’t want this.”
I couldn’t tell this wife what the husband was thinking or what his true intentions were. Only the husband knew this information. But I can tell you that it’s my experience and opinion that when a spouse mentions separating, you should most definitely pay attention. He is obviously trying to get your attention and if this doesn’t happen, he may believe that the only way to get the attention that he wants is to do something drastic – like move out. And if you think about it, this couple was in a situation where it would be extremely easy for the husband to just go and stay in his old room in his parents’ house. So I felt that this was something that the wife should be very concerned about. And I will offer some suggestions on how to handle this below.
The Best Way To Approach A Husband Who Threatens To Leave Or Separate Every Time You Disagree: The wife was starting to feel as if she couldn’t even bring up her concerns because she was afraid that her husband would think about a separation if she did. So, she was now in the situation where she didn’t even want to come to her own home to decompress and spend time with her husband. This was a seriously troubling warning sign.
So I felt that it was prudent to speak up before this became much worse. A suggested script might be something like: “before we start getting into the same old trap with this argument, I want to stop you right there. It seems as if every time we start to have even a slight disagreement, you bring up separating. I want to be clear right now and say that I do not want a separation. Yes, things are difficult between us right now. Yes, we disagree about a couple of things. But I don’t want for these things to pull us apart. Instead, I want us to bond together and get through this. I want us to sit down and come up with some compromises that we can both live with. This is negatively affecting our marriage and that is the last thing that I want. I want for our marriage to be the positive thing that keeps us both going. I want it to be the place we can come when the outside world batters us. I understand that you are close to your parents and I do not want to interfere with that. But I want for us to have our time alone also. I want for our marriage to be separate from our relationship with them. Can we agree to limit their time to a more reasonable amount? What if we said we’d invite them over twice per week and then spend the other five days together? And what if we agreed to go the park with a packed lunch once per week and just discuss how things are going between us and how the job search is going. That way, I won’t need to constantly nag you and we can spend the rest of the week on having a pleasant time together. I don’t mean to stress you out. I know that you are trying. But you have to understand that this affects me too. Can we agree to take a separation off of the table while we are trying to do those things? I feel that talking about a separation isn’t dealing with our problems. It is just adding to them.”
This single conversation may not solve all of your problems, but it’s a good and very necessary start. Because to answer the question posed, I believe that you should be very concerned any time your husband mentions a separation, even if it is in anger or during a fight.
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