I recently received an email from a wife who told me she was feeling very betrayed and confused because her husband had recently left her and the home to “have time to think about the relationship” but insisted that the two of them could still be friends.
The wife was heartbroken and confused. She wanted to keep her husband in her life and she wanted to save her marriage. But, she felt like the offer of being friends was just a sort of consolation prize. She knew that it was going to be very hard for her to have a friendship type relationship when she wanted for it to be so much more. But, she wondered if, at this point, she should just take what she could get to ensure that he stayed in her life. She wasn’t sure how she should act around him or how she should play this. She wanted my advice on how to move forward. I will tell you what I told her in the following article.
Can You Still Be Friends After Your Husband Leaves You?: It’s probably unrealistic to think that the two of you can remain true buddies. After all, you have shared much more than friendship and there is really no way to pretend otherwise. Also, it may be quite difficult and awkward to see your husband in another context. You often won’t be sure how to act or what to say.
The real key in making this work is defining the relationship without limiting it so that neither person has to guess. This is usually harder in real life than it sounds on paper. You don’t want to make demands or to show that this is so hard for you so that he wants to just retreat and avoid contact with you all together. But, you don’t want to leave yourself vulnerable or to be taken advantage of either.
With that said, it is important that you have the ability to stay in touch and to remain in contact in such a way that it is going to contribute to keeping the relationship going rather than to ending it. Because, if you want for him to eventually come back, you’re going to have a much better chance of this happening if he can think of you and feel positive things. You don’t want for his leaving to be the last thing that he remembers.
Remaining friends can allow you to remain in his thoughts and in his life. But, you must always move forward with an eye toward where you really want for this to go. You shouldn’t act in such a way that it will impossible to maintain and you should not be untrue to yourself. And, you should not allow this friendship to hurt you emotionally. Not everyone can play this role. Sometimes, the longing is apparent in their eyes and the real motivation is entirely evident for every one to see.
How Being Friends With Your Estranged Husband Can Lead To Something More Lasting: As I’ve alluded to, it’s very important that you strike the balance between this being a healthy relationship with what you want to happen in the long term. Although it may not feel like it all right now, it is an advantage to have access and a somewhat captive audience. I dialog with a lot of women whose husbands will not even allow them a phone call or a letter once he has left. It may not feel as if things could be worse, but believe me when I say that they can.
And frankly, you can use this time apart for your own benefit as well. He’s likely watching what you are doing. He’s probably keeping an eye on you and an ear to the proverbial door to learn what’s going on. Show him someone who is capable of coping quite well, not someone who is needy or undesirable. Now is your time to shine. And, frankly, you likely now have the time to do all of those things that you were putting off or holding off from because of him.
For both your sake and his, you want to present a person who is happy, capable, upbeat, and positive. People like this just naturally draw others to them like moths to a flame. I know that it is so easy and so tempting to cling or to over reach during the times that you are together and are cultivating your “friendship” relationship, but firmly resist this. Don’t be available every time he wants to get together. Allude to the fact that you too are taking advantage of your freedom. The great advantage to this situation is that you can only allow them to see what you want them to see.
You are no longer together 24 / 7 so you have a great deal more control over the image that you are projecting. Don’t place all of your focus on this relationship and where it is going. I know that this is a lot to ask, but doing this is often so obvious to your husband that it will only make you lose ground in the long run. Really and genuinely take this opportunity to focus on yourself and your own needs and wants. Yes, you will agree to being friends but you aren’t going to allow yourself to be taken advantage of and you have other friends.
It’s perfectly fine and even advisable to try to maintain a positive relationship with your husband. And, without the pressure of living together while trying to save the marriage, you often have more flexibility and are able to enjoy one another without 24 / 7 togetherness. This alone can bring short term improvements to your relationship if you play it correctly. (If you are having difficulty with this, take some time away from the situation until you can return to it in a more healthy way.)
So, I advised the wife to agree to remain friends, but to not hang on the husbands every phone call and invitation. I knew that he would be watching and I wanted to make sure that, when he did, he saw a woman who was embracing life, was very lovable, and was likely to be scooped up by someone else should he keep on playing these games.