“Her wedding ring stares at me each morning from its new place on the bathroom counter.”
She’s a ghost of her former self and glides through the house still taking care of business.
Sometimes I hear her laugh on the phone talking to someone about something.
She has developed interests in anything that isn’t me.
Romance and sex are long gone and she claims she has lost all interest in ever being “that woman” again. She doesn’t need that anymore.
Space. She just wants space.
She’s left me…but still sleeps in my bed.”
The Early Trouble Signs
Men sometimes miss the cues that signal pending trouble.
• She’s avoiding deep conversations and intimacy of any type for a few months or more
• She’s taking time off by herself or with friends more than ever before
• She’s drinking more heavily, staying up much later or sleeping in longer than usual
• She’s accidentally spends the night on the couch…a lot
• She’s unusually critical, sarcastic and/or disrespectful
• She’s unusually nice, chatty and/or sexual
• She’s treating the kids, her friends, her hateful sister, the dog and the cat nicer than you
• She’s showing a sudden interest in the balances of your retirement accounts
• She’s never smoked but just started
• She’s much more bawdy and foul-mouthed than usual
When you ask her “What’s up?”…she says, “Nothing. Everything is fine!”
If this was a teenager, you might just take a deep breath and hope for the best.
But we’re talking about your wife. This is different.
Why Women Check Out But Never Leave
Here is my trusty expert wisdom on why women start detaching from you and your marriage, won’t admit there’s a problem and don’t leave.
I really don’t know anything for certain. I don’t know your wife and I don’t know your situation.
And I don’t know you – another obvious variable in the equation.
Here’s what I do know.
She’s not going anywhere soon. You’re living in “Limbo Land” because she is living in “Limbo Land”. There’s something going on and she is in no condition – mentally or emotionally – to explain it to you.
But I’ve been listening closely for years and this is what I hear women say:
• I feel smothered
• I feel stuck
• I feel numb
• I feel trapped
• I don’t know who I am anymore
• I don’t know if I’m supposed to be married
• I don’t know if I’m supposed to be married to him
• I don’t know what I want
• I don’t want to be unhappy anymore
• I don’t trust him anymore
• I don’t feel any romantic attraction anymore
• I don’t trust myself to BE myself in this marriage
• I just don’t want to feel like this anymore!
Here’s what you need to know. Those are 13 things over which you have zero direct control.
You can’t decode them. You can’t analyze them.
And you can’t fix them even though that’s exactly what you want to do every second of the day.
But the harder you try the worse things will get.
The Prognosis and the Treatment
It’s hard to tell, really. There’s not much data on it.
It all depends on how much of the problem is related to feelings of anxiety, depression, disgust, neglect, abuse or just plain and simple, “I’ve fallen out of love and I ain’t gonna do this no more.”
If you’re a man who is thinking I’ve been hiding in your walls, I know how helpless you feel and how hopeless this article is making you feel.
You’ve got traces of fear, sadness, anger, confusion and guilt running through your veins. You’re waking up around 4am wondering what the hell today will bring and what you’re going to do.
There is very little you can do for her at this moment.
But there is a lot you can do for yourself which could indirectly help the situation as well.
Here is your treatment plan.
• Remember to breathe – a lot of deep breaths
• Remember this is not all about you even though you think it is
• Immediately start talking with other men you trust who have been here before
• Don’t stop talking, thinking and feeling – but don’t burden her with it
• Don’t follow her moods or behavior – stay positive
• Don’t interrogate her, pressure her or demand rational explanations
• Accept that you have no control whatsoever over her feelings and choices
• Start exercising regularly with other men
• Don’t isolate yourself
• Try not to drown yourself while Googling “unhappy wife”
• Stay present and connected with the family
• Be kind and compassionate
• Be detached from any specific outcome
• Pull your weight but don’t try to astound her with taking over everything
• Don’t be needy, clingy or whiny
• Remember you are a whole man at this very moment
• Find a solid counselor or coach who specializes in helping men get their heads and lives together during times like these
Long Term Outlook
You don’t feel like it right now, but you’re going to be fine.
This will not kill you. If you handle it right, you will actually emerge stronger, smarter, clearer and more confident than you’ve ever been in your life.
To do that you will need to see this time of your life as a unique and powerful opportunity to grow…because that’s what it is.
You will smile and laugh again.
You will feel whole again.
And you will feel loved again.
If you’re seeing even one of the warning signs above, I wrote this free ebook for you. Download The Hard-to-Swallow Secret to Saving Your Marriage HERE .
This article was originally posted at The Good Men Project