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Did you repair your marriage after a separation? Anyone?


Separation and Divorce Considering ending your marriage? Going through a divorce? Let us know!

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Old 3rd April 2005, 6:14 PM   #1
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Did you repair your marriage after a separation? Anyone?

Have any of you made your marriages/relationships work after being separated from each other?

Ex and I have seen each other occasionally since mid-March. We broke things off at the end of January and he moved into another property we had in a neighboring state. He sees little hope for reconciling and I see slightly more than that. We both agree, the love is still there. Today we had lunch and saw a movie (at his invitation). I left feeling -- normal. Normal and good. Not elated, but not sad and not confused either. It was a nice get-together.

Right now, my goal for us (and for myself) is to just start experiencing the loving and fun minus the angst we've been dealing with for the past couple of years. I guess I'm wondering if demonstrating love, devotion, willingness to forgive and willingness to grow have been successful first steps toward attempting reconciliation for anyone post-separation? If those things didn't help you but you reconciled anyway, what were your tools of success?

Thanks!
b.c.
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Old 3rd April 2005, 7:14 PM   #2
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My H & I were separated for a year, we were both so confused about what we each wanted and there was an enormus amount of hurt & anger. We each needed a lot of time and therapy, and after a period of time when the anger, disapointment and hurt had disapated somewhat, we both realized we still loved each other and would try to make a go at reconciling. It was difficult at first, the dating was sometimes fun, but also felt very strange. It took time, it was probably the worst year of our life, but in retrospect it was the best thing that happened to our marriage. We are back together 6 months now, and are very happy. We relate to each other completly different than we used to, and have a deeper understanding of who we are, and try very hard not to take each other for granted. We still go to marriage counseling, because we get so much out of it. It really can work some of the time, but it takes the dedication of two people who want it badly enough and are prepared to do the work.
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Old 4th April 2005, 9:54 AM   #3
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Long - but hopefully helpful!

boursin_cheese:

I could have written your post this past summer. My husband walked during a heated argument last June and moved out of our home the next day. My life was completely turned upside down. We had only been married 9 months. I'll be honest with you, I was a wreck. My husband told me twice the first week he was gone that he just thought our personalities were such that we would never be able to live peacefully together. I disagreed. I thought there were things that each of us could do to make our marriage happier. I began doing the things I knew I could do. I recognized that I could only control my actions. I affirmed my love for him and my commitment to our marriage, but I did not beg, push or demand anything from him. I put my complaints about him on hold while I worked on his complaints about me (even though I had initially thought his complaints were ridiculous). I found peace. I was calm.

After a couple of weeks, my husband noticed the changes I was making (I didn't cram them down his throat). He agreed to go talk to a marriage counselor. During the counseling session we both agreed that we loved each other and wanted our marriage to work, my husband just remained unsure as to whether it could work.

The next couple of months were more of the same. Me focusing on being a better me, dating my husband, and affirming my love and commitment. After almost three months, my husband was still on the fence about whether he wanted to move back in and try to make our marriage work again. I have to be honest. At times, I was frustrated that I was working so hard, he was putting forth very little effort (which I thought had been our problem all along), and HE was the one deciding if he wanted to remain married to me. But...I had faith that my efforts would be reciprocated if we could work things out and, if we couldn't, I would know that I had done everything possible to save my marriage.

Finally, when I could do it calmly, peacefully, and with an understanding of the possible outcome, I told my husband that I did not want to be a part-time wife any longer. I told him that I didn't think being apart was helping us, that I didn't think he was any closer to deciding to come home, and that - I felt like I was enabling him to have a wife but act single. Note: I did not give my husband money or sex during this time (because I didn't want to wonder whether those things were keeping him around). I told my husband that I loved him, I was ready to continue working on our marriage, but that I did not want to date or make small talk with him. I told him I would be more than willing to talk about our future as a couple, but that was the only interaction I wanted witH him until he made a decision about our marriage. The next night, he called to chit chat. I politley reiterated, "I love you, I'm still willing to work on our marriage, but I don't want to talk about work. Call me if anytime if you want to talk about us." Two days later, he called to chit chat again. Same story. The next day he called and I asked him if he was calling to talk about us. He said he was. He came over and asked if he could come home.

OUR MARRIAGE HAS BEEN INCREDIBLE FOR THE LAST 6 MONTHS!!! My efforts have been returned tenfold. I have my dream husband. And the more I accept him as he is, the more he works to become the best he can be. It's so weird that what works best in our marriage is so counterintuitive. I would not go so far as to say that our separation was a good thing (because it was too torturous and I don't believe in walking out on a spouse), but we made the best of it. It threw us into crisis mode, early in our marriage, and kept us from making a habit of the way we had been interacting. I feel like our marriage is built on stone now, instead of the sand that was pulling us under right before he left. It can be done. If you have any questions, PLEASE do not hesitate to private message me. If I can help someone take the road from a bad marriage to a great marriage, I will trip over myself to help!
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Old 4th April 2005, 10:25 AM   #4
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Perhaps Lady Jane and Owl will see this post and respond. Not sure that either one of them were separated, but I do know they recovered from marriage problems and have some great advice.
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Old 4th April 2005, 10:37 AM   #5
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Just want to clarify...

We were engaged to be married for several years but not married yet. I don't want to give a false impression.

We'd been building a life together for seven years; we were family and home to each other first and fore-most. We shared finances, investments, property but no kids and so do have legal obligations to each other. We're sharing dog custody.

Thanks and I hope I haven't offended anyone by posting here -- it seemed like the most appropriate place for this particular situation. b.c.
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Old 4th April 2005, 10:58 AM   #6
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Thanks for the compliments, Mrs Pixie. We didn't really seperate in my case...we did an 'in-house' seperation for about 3 weeks at one point, where we were sleeping in seperate rooms, and pretty much doing our own things, but still had meals and such together.

I'd say that seperation should usually be a 'last ditch' effort in repairing a relationship. But...yes, it is entirely possible to still recover a relationship that has entered a seperation. I think the advice you've been given is dead on the money....work on improving yourself first...and also, take a look at the things that you did wrong in your relationship, and start making the changes that need to happen there...regardless of whether or not your SO notices or cares or believes the changes will stick. Do NOT provide him with money, or with a 'physical' relationship during this time. Don't give him any mixed messages, or let him think that he can just show up and use you to make himself feel better about things anytime, with no responsibility to you at all.

Most of all...get to where you two can TALK about your problems, and start discussing what went wrong on both sides...that is the biggest step to healing your relationship.
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Old 4th April 2005, 1:06 PM   #7
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Long response -- sorry in advance if too wordy.

Yes, we're each concentrating on taking care of ourselves first. To be honest, he seems to be doing much better than I am at that. But then his tasks are more positive ie. he's out-fitting his new place and making himself a fresh start with fresh, new surroundings. I'm deconstructing our previously shared home, packing up his belongings, dividing assets. That sort of thing... no fresh start except for the one I have in my head and heart.

We're not having any physical relationship beyond hugging, brushing, light kisses, touching to get attention sort of thing. He insists on sending me support checks for household expenses and my own expenses. I still haven't cashed them because for some reason, it confuses me. We talked about our thoughts/feelings regarding this. I'm still a little uncomfortable with this arrangement though.

We've both been learning and sharing some books about relationships -- he's reading the 5 Love Languages book and LoveBusters now since they made a big impact on me.

There is some discussion of what went wrong in our relationship. It's just a teeny bit of discussion at a time. He doesn't want to work on our problems because his lack of sexual attraction for me makes him think it's pointless even though he does think we could fix our other problems. And in general, he feels burned out. But, he wants to hold the doors of communication open and even though he made this decision, he is confused about whether it is right. Maybe in six months or so he'll be willing to consider working on our relationship. (He said all of this, I'm not inferring.)

Open, honest talk has been our biggest root problem and it extends almost everywhere. Aside from male/female talking styles, we have cultural and learned differences in talking do's and don'ts that also got in the way. I was raised in a very open environment where no topic of conversation was considered off-limits. I grew up sharing everything with my family and vice versa. Intellectual discussion was encouraged. Self-expression and interest in others was a way of life. There was no shame instilled in us regarding religion, sex, our bodies, our individual tastes/ interests.

This is the polar opposite of how my honey was raised. His family is very nice and they love each other but they don't tell each other they do! They DO NOT talk to each other about anything more deep than town gossip, the weather and everybody's health. For instance, love, sex, drugs, rock n' roll, politics, books, movies -- pretty much these are NOT discussed. The other (older and more established) in-laws ALL have difficulty with this family dynamic as well so I know my observation is real and not imagined.

Sooo, I'm working on learning how NOT to share in general. What not to share specifically and how to be extra effusive and excited in my talk about the things he does want to hear (his request). Interestingly, I don't feel stifled anymore and I'm not struggling to express myself in an unwelcome environment anymore. Instead I am accepting that This Is How He Is. I'm working on being selective in my talk instead of self-censoring.

The walking on eggshells feeling is practically gone. Well at least it's better for me. Not sure about him since he felt the same way...

He's learning that it's OK to express unhappiness in response to something upsetting. Whether it's his response to me or mine to him. Or unrelated. He's learning that it's safe to say what he thinks instead of what he thinks I want to hear. I am noticing changes. Saturday morning we were on the phone and his tone of voice got sharp. I had to fight the flee instinct. I asked if I said something that annoyed him because he seemed upset with me. He was able to respond that he was passionate about the topic and that it upset him but he was not upset with me directly at all. TREMENDOUS! A first.

The changes are so small but man! They mean so much to me. I wish I knew what it's all meaning to him. I feel like I have to keep letting the actions speak for themselves some more. I don't think we're having mixed signals. I have been straight about what I want for our relationship. We aren't pretending this is "friendship".

Next steps??? Is there are time limit? At what point is it imperative to set limits? Is it OK not to have limits?

b.c.
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Old 4th April 2005, 2:27 PM   #8
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Well, I've been married +20 years. We separated twice and were able to reconcile--with the help of a counselor. It takes work and you both have to want to reconcile. If either of you is not at that point, don't force it. Once you have each made a commitment to reconcile, then you can really work toward it.

Good luck.
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Old 4th April 2005, 6:41 PM   #9
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I've been in the same situation with my ex-husband (yes, I said EX-husband!). Dating for 6 months after splitting. He didn't see us together in the future and I thought we had a chance. We have two kids who were two years old at the time (twins). He also claimed he loved me. Finally I got mad at him when I asked him for the last time whether he wanted to start it all over again. He said he'd think about it, but at that moment the answer was NO. I realized that he didn't want to be with me and I stopped every contact. He was seeing the kids regularly and that was all. I suffered like crazy. I dreamt of him coming to my door and saying he loved me. But it never happened. He didn't care. He hasn't had a relationship since, so it's never been another woman.
Two years later I got over him and now (4 years later since we first split) I am in a loving relationship and can't be happier. I am glad we got divorced and can't imagine being in that unhappy marriage until now.
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Old 5th April 2005, 2:47 PM   #10
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Stupid, stupid b.c.

It won't surprise any of you I suppose. I found out last night that he's been having a rather passionate, romantic, love affair with one of his associates. She's married at that. All this time he lied.

He lied to the therapist, to his family and my gram, to our/his friends. He works with some of those friends. They saw this for the past year and said nothing? Or is it not just me who trusted him so completely? Has he really lied so well?

All of your words of encouragement have meant the world to me regardless (Record Producer included!). You're keeping my faith in humans alive. Just now I feel very small and terrible. Your words keep me from doing nasty evil things that would just hurt my soul later.

Thanks for that. b.c.
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Old 5th April 2005, 4:34 PM   #11
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I am so sorry for your pain. Did he finally fess up or did someone else tell you? It won't make your heart feel any better, but thank god you were not married. Now you can pick up the pieces when you are ready, and move on with your life. There is happiness out there for you, in time you will find it. Posting helps, and there are so many people here in your shoes willing to help ease the pain.

Take good care
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Old 5th April 2005, 5:08 PM   #12
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I'm REALLY sorry to hear about that, BC. I've got to say it didn't come as a shock, looking at what you'd described so far.

I'd like to suggest that you post your story over on the Infidelity forum, and also take a look at Marriagebuilders.com. They've got a good forum and some really good info on how to deal with stuff like that.

Good luck friend.
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Old 5th April 2005, 6:04 PM   #13
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Well, if nothing else you can be comforted at least by having an explanation for his odd behavior and lack of interest.

You probably still feel very invested in him, as you've been together for seven years. So, I'm sure that this is painful for you. Sorry.

The knee-jerk reaction will probably be to try to find ways to put it all back together, but after some time has gone by....you may find that it's YOU who will "lack interest" in him. EVERYBODY deserves better than to be cheated on, lied to, and confused. There's just not a good enough excuse for him to treat you that way.

I read a post a few weeks ago, and Mr Spock told that poster to give it three weeks. I liked that. It's not a round figure, but it seems that two weeks is still too short a time....and a month would be tantamount to living in limbo.

So consider giving it three weeks, without committing to any specific action. Just mull it over, and see how you feel then. If your BF is playing around with a married woman, chances are that it won't last. Give yourself some time to decide how YOU feel.... before he decides to come crawling back. Most of them do.

Perhaps, you may decide to move on and find someone who's not quite such a fixer-upper.
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Old 5th April 2005, 9:05 PM   #14
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Red face *snif* thank you

Details when it's not so raw I think. For now I'm taking deep breaths and hangin' with my boys.

I'm counting my blessings because I know it could be so much worse. Hey, every night I get in bed with two rich, dark males that love me. When I wake up, they're still there loving me. They won't let anyone hurt me. Of course they eat their own poop, but no relationship is perfect.

*deep breath* I'll be OK. Let's see if I can still be OK an hour from now? Anyone want to cover bets? b.c.
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Old 5th April 2005, 10:47 PM   #15
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b.c.,
I am genuinely sorry . I have not experienced anything that harsh, nor do I believe that anyone should. Life is full of surprises, both for the good and the bad. We all go up and at some point we all come down. Just remember that when we are down there is only one place to go. One step at a time, hang in there.

Have a beautiful evening and remember we all support you.
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