Andrew G Marshall

Author & Marital Therapist

How can I give my wife ‘space’ without losing her

May 26th, 2013 by Andrew G Marshall in Ask Andrew

I have read both I love you but I am not in love and my wife doesn’t love me any more. my present situation is i am now stopping with my sisters family as home life had become a living hell. we have been together over 6 years after meeting at work. It was love at first sight for me. we were very much in love and i still love her very much although i did not always show it after our 4 year old son was born which completely changed the dynamics of our relationship. she left her husband of 7 years to be with me so it was not the easiest of starts although we were very much in love and she said she did not know true love till she met me. we moved to our first flat together and was very happy when she became pregnant.

After our son arrived her attention went mainly his way which is only natural i know and my attention when into my own world. it was a first child for both of us. she complains that i did not do enough to help when he was very young which i have to admit i could of done a hell of a lot more and she found it so tough at the time.

9 months later our second son was stillborn prematurely at 5 months. this really hit us hard as you can imagine and my way of dealing with it was to push it out of my mind. That was selfish of me because that was not how she needed me at that time. its gone downhill from there slowly till 2 years ago now she completely changed for me which i cant blame her for but i have really wanted to make amends for my past mistakes.

i have repeatedly asked for a fresh start and i will do better but she says she does not believe me anymore and she needs space. she does not know what the future holds she said but at the moment she does not want to be with me. she did tell my sister that she still loves me in in some way but she is sick of me crying all the tome which i have been because i am completely heartbroken and my world has been rocked by this. I just don’t understand why she wont give it another chance and a proper one this time. she says she did try but i don’t think she really did because if we both wanted it to be really good then it would be wouldn’t it? i miss my family so much its tearing me up living like this. i have my son on sunday and the plan so far is to look for private rent then i shall furnish my new place from scratch and have my son 3 times a week but this all just feels so wrong to me.

Meanwhile since i left she is now trying to arrange a mortage on her own. The only options i can for my next step is:

1. go back home telling her i am back which i don’t think will go down to well being as she said she needs space.

2.stay at my sisters a while which is a little bit awkward and it looks like im doing nothing

3. get a private rent flat and furnish it and get on with my life while hoping that absence makes her heart grow fonder and that by me having our son 3 times a week she realises just what a family split is all about and thinks again.

However maybe by getting my own place and furnishings it could be the final nail in our relationships coffin if it has not already been struck. I am a laid back person who is in a factory that i said i would not be in for very long when we got together and she is a very ambitious polish girl who i met there and she is now heading for a managers job is a recruitment agency. I am desperate to get back what we once had tighter but when i look back at the amazing love we shared she looks back at all the disappointments i caused her. i realise on paper it don’t look good and it isn’t but i just need to know if i have even a tiny chance of winning my family back and righting a wrong or should i just let go of the pain of the past and restart my life on my own.

Please help. I did ask her to read your book but she did say that she does not need a book to tell her how to feel. She said in texts recently to show/prove i want to be with her while giving her space but i am really confused and maybe so is she after all the begging pleading and crying i did for her to try again. she put a post on facebook intended for me stating the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. But do what? get my own place to win her back? that sounds a bit crazy if that is what she is talking about. Any advice would be greatly appreciated at this very difficult period of my life.

Andrew writes:

Of course, there is a tiny glimmer of hope. In fact, it’s quite a big one. She is telling you what she wants: Action not words. If she wasn’t interested, she would have shut down completely.

So how do you fight back? Firstly, stop emotionally dumping on her and trying to guilt her back into your life. It’s just pushing her away. The same goes for pleading, begging and promising to change. Look at my book ‘Help your partner say yes’ and the first step: If you’re in a hole, stop digging.

Next, brainstorm with your sister, everything you could do which would show her that you mean business. I would start with your job. If it’s dead end, start applying for others. Take some courses to improve your qualifications. Offer to take more responsibility at your current job, so your prospects will improve there too.

If renting a flat is least worse of the options, that’s what you’ll have to do. OK it doesn’t make sense to you but you’ve got to start putting yourself into her shoes. She wants you to take control rather than expect her to sort this out.

Finally, I’d like you to look at how you come across to your wife. I know this is going to sound harsh but I think it’s best to be honest. You sound like a puppy dog, begging for attention. That’s not only very unsexy but really tiresome too. I bet she would like you to be an equal partner. Adult to Adult. I explain more about how to achieve this is in ‘Help your partner say yes’ – in a section about Transactional Analysis.

I’m afraid that there is no magic solution – it will take time. But I think that you’re determined to win her back. So start working on yourself and being the man that she would like to be with – rather than expecting her to take you back (and then become that person).