Admittedly, not everyone who tells their spouse that they want them to leave, take a break, or pursue a trial separation is telling the absolute truth.  In fact, many spouses will make these claims simply because they want to get their spouse's attention or they are trying to get their spouse to change.  Some spouses will make this claim when they are unsure about their marriage - or are feeling insecure in it.  The hope is that their spouse will rise to the occasion, fight for the marriage, and prove his love.  Unfortunately, he doesn't always react in the way that we had hoped.

Here's what I mean.  A wife might say: "I never intended for my marriage to be at risk because of this.  But I was so angry with my husband at the time.  He has started going out with this group of friends that I can not stand.  Then he drinks and acts like a fraternity boy.  I know he's trying to fit in at his new job and part of fitting in is going out with coworkers.  But I married a responsible guy who doesn't act immature.  The way my husband is acting now, he is not the man I married.  We had many discussions and even fights about this, so to get his attention, I told him if he loved his friends so much, he should move out and stay with them.  He did.  I anticipated that he would beg me to come home and promise to cut down on his going out, particularly with that group of friends.  I expected, and wanted, for him to fight for me.  But he seems to just accept that we are going to separate.  He does not ask me to reconsider.  It is almost like this is fine with him and he sees it as an opportunity to go out with his friends even more.  I am so sad and disappointed.  Why would he not fight for me?  Why would he just let me go so easily? Does he not love me anymore?"

I don't think that it's fair or accurate to assume that he doesn't love you anymore.  Everyone responds differently to this type of situation.  Although you and I might fight in this situation, that is not going to be everyone's response.  And there are plenty of valid reasons that he may be acting a bit more passive.  I will list some of them below.

It May Not Be In His Personality To Fight:  If you asked me to go and make a public speech about something that is important to me, I would have a very hard time doing it - despite my passion about the topic.  This is true even if  I was only speaking to a small group.  There's a reason that I love to write instead of speak.  It is just not in my personality to want to communicate what I'm thinking verbally.  It may not be in your husband's personality to "fight" for you.  Some people are just more passive in their actions.  This doesn't mean that they don't feel anything.  It just means that they are more reluctant to act on their feelings.  Or they may act in a less demonstrative way.

He May Know What You Are Doing:  Your husband may know full well that you don't really want a separation or divorce.  So, knowing this, he feels it is unnecessary to do anything other than wait.  Now, I know what you may be thinking: "well, I'll show him. I can wait him out."  But, that's probably not the best call. You have to ask yourself what you really want.  And if you continue on with this bluff, you put your marriage at risk.

He May Not Like The Method:  Your husband may be concerned and frightened about the state of your marriage.  But he may also be resentful that you asked him to leave without talking it out first.  He may be reacting to the way that you left things rather than to the fact that you are living apart right now.

He May Be Hoping That It Will Turn Out Fine Without Him Having To 'Fight.'  Some people are just optimists who believe that if a relationship is right, things will just fall into place in the end.  Your husband may be one of these people.  He may know that this will likely work out without him needing to do anything because, at the end of the day, you love each other.  For some people, that is all that is required.

He May Be Dealing With Something Else:  When people exhibit drastic changes in behavior, this is sometimes an indication that they are under stress.  Perhaps he feels a lot of pressure at his job.  Sometimes, people will focus on the stressor that caused the change in behavior in the first place rather than focusing on the fall out from it.

Your Options Moving Forward:  You may wonder where you go from here.  Well, you have to ask yourself what you really want.  You could try this strategy a little longer and see if he comes to any realizations or begins to fight for you.  Or, you could tell him the truth which is that you miss him and that, although you very much want to see him adjust his social schedule, you never wanted to officially separate.  Instead, you just thought a break might help both of you gain some perspective about how you are approaching your marriage.  His response might tell you more about what he is truly thinking and feeling.

You could try: "I'm a little disappointed that you did not have a stronger reaction to being asked to leave. I know it was wrong of me to ask you to move out in order to get you to change.  But I wasn't sure what else to do.  I don't want a separation, but I do want you to stay home more.  Is there any way that we can compromise without us having to live apart?"

His response may tell you more than his lack of "fight" does.  Not everyone is going to react in the same way. But when you ask him directly, his words might tell you everything you need to know.

I did fight for my husband and for my marriage during my separation and it was worth it.  That's just in my personality.  But I am not sure that, if the roles had been reversed, he would have fought for me.  Regardless, we are still together.  We saved our marriage.  So it only takes one person. You are that person. You can read more about how I got him to come around at

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