When your spouse pursues a separation, it's natural to be concerned about his motivations.  One common concern that I hear a lot about comes from women who are concerned that their husband truly wants a divorce because he wants to start seeing other women.

These concerns are understandable. And it's also understandable to want to follow up and to regularly ask him what he's feeling or doing while you are apart. Some husbands are honest in their responses. But many are less than direct. And while he may not blatantly lie to you, very few husbands will tell you everything.

Here's a common situation. Someone might say: "When my husband said he wanted a separation, he assured me that he had no interest in seeing other people or in ending our marriage. He said he just needed his own space for a while. He said that he still loved me and he knew that this was going to be hard on both of us. I want to start a family and he said he felt we needed to get our marriage on track before we did this. I felt I had no choice regarding the separation, so I reluctantly agreed. Last week, I asked him if he had weekend plans. He told me no. He said that he was very lonely, but that he was just going to stay home and catch up on some things. I felt sorry for him. He seemed down. The next day, I heard from friends that they saw him out with his family and friends. They said he was laughing and appeared to be having a wonderful time. His version to me was that he stayed home and battled his loneliness. This wasn't even remotely true. Why not just tell the truth? He was out with his family and some friends that I know well. It wasn't like he was necessarily doing anything wrong. I guess he didn't want me to know that he was happy and having fun. But why lie? It makes me wonder what else he might be lying about."

Potential Reasons That He might Not Have Been Completely Forthcoming: I totally understand the concern. I had the same types of concerns myself during my own separation. It may or may not help you to know that this is very common. Sometimes, husbands suspect that we wives are going to overanalyze everything that they tell us, so they prefer to keep some things private, even if these things are innocent.

Also, he might have known that it would be a little awkward if you knew that there was a family outing where you were absent.  He may have been trying to spare you any worries or questions about that.  And he may have wanted you to think that life was not so great without you. (There were a lot of these sorts of mis-steps during my own separation, but I turned things around. You can read about that here.)

He might have worried that you would have assumed that he was living it up by going out when perhaps that wasn't the case.  So to keep him from having to repeatedly explain or to keep you from you being hurt, he thought it best to say nothing.

Was this right on his part?  No, he was being untruthful by definition.  But he may have found it easier to withhold information than to have to explain something innocent.

Moving Forward: Understanding that, you might understandably still be concerned about how to handle this moving forward.  You may question whether you should confront him, and whether or not you need to demand more information.

I do not think that there is any harm in mentioning this to him.  But I'm not sure that you want to angrily accuse him of lying.  You might just mention that a friend saw him with his family and then casually ask how his family is doing.  This leaves him the opportunity to explain his oversight if he feels it is necessary.  And it gives you a good opening to stress that you don't want for him to feel that he has to keep things from you to spare your feelings.

I think that you deserve the absolute truth with regard to whether he is seeing anyone else.  I feel that this is non-negotiable.  But it's very common for men not to overshare regarding their feelings and casual outings.  They often know that you may worry about things that aren't an issue.  And they simply don't want to have to explain the feelings that may change from one day to the next.  In their eyes, they aren't necessarily lying, they are just trying to keep from having to struggle to explain what is tough to communicate.

It's up to you how big of an issue you want to make this.  If he had been out on a date, I could certainly understand making it a big issue.  But since he was out with his family, I think that I'd try to establish boundaries and stress that he doesn't need to keep things from you.   Try to keep it casual.  Because if you sound like you're accusing him or you make a big deal of it, then sometimes it becomes more likely that he will be even more secretive in the future.

And you want the opposite to happen.  You want to make it clear that he can tell you the truth without it needing to become a big issue.  When he sees that being forthcoming makes his life easier rather than harder, he will be more more likely to open up.

This was a big issue during my own separation.  I took to nagging and constantly questioning my husband so that he buttoned up even more.  I had to change my strategy to change this dynamic.  There's more on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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