I sometimes hear from wives who want to believe in their hearts that there is still a chance for their separated marriage.  However, their husband isn't nearly as optimistic and he will sometimes try to convince the wife that she should just accept that there may not be a reconciliation.  Often, the wife finds this hurtful and doesn't understand why he is concerning himself with what she is feeling or what she wants.

She might say: "my husband and I have been separated for over six months. We are in counseling.  Although I believe that we have made a little bit of progress, my husband feels that we are just wasting our time. He hasn't filed for divorce yet, but he is giving me the vibe that he is seriously considering it.  The other day, when we left counseling, I replied that I thought that things went pretty well during that session.  My husband just sighed and asked when was I going to accept that it was over. I sort of got what he was alluding to, but I played dumb and asked him what he meant because I really wanted him to elaborate. He basically said that we've been wasting money on all of this counseling, but he doesn't see that things have gotten any better. He said that he feels like the time has come that we just accept that our marriage is probably over.  I told him immediately that I disagreed with this. I told him that I felt that we had made some progress and that if we kept up with the counseling, we could eventually get to a much better place and perhaps even reconcile.  The thing is, my husband doesn't always do the assignments that the counselor gives us, although I do.  My husband blurted out that our marriage was virtually over and that he did not get why I don't just save myself some pain and simply accept this.  I didn't say it, but I was thinking that he can't control what I accept or don't accept.  Then I asked him if he would commit to just a month more of counseling.  He said that he would, but that he felt that we were really wasting our money and time. His attitude told me that he is probably just going to sit through counseling with a sour look on his face and not contribute anything.  Now I'm starting to wonder if I should just accept it, even though I do feel in my heart that our marriage is salvageable."

Sometimes, It Pays To Not "Accept It:" This is only my biased opinion, but I was in a very similar situation in that my husband was ready to bail on our marriage when we were separated, but I was still invested.  He wanted me to stop hanging on so tightly and of course this only made me cling more.  My clinging seemed to make things worse, so I gave off the appearance that I was backing off.  I went out of town for a while to ensure that I could not bug my husband. And then a strange thing happened.  Eventually, he started contacting me and reaching out to me. It was a bit of a long process.  But we did eventually reconcile.  If I had just agreed to "give up" or to "accept it" or to "let go" then I probably would not be married today.

Waiting Does Not Mean Wilting Or Being Passive: I need to mention what I think is a very important distinction.  I believe that it's vital to live your life, work on any issues over which you have control, and to make yourself a priority while you are waiting. You don't want to completely leave yourself just treading water while you are waiting for someone to change his mind. If you put your life on hold, you will not only wilt on the vine, but you may look less attractive to your husband.  I am sure the mental image of me alone in my sweats pouting at home in front of binge TV was not an alluring one for my husband.  But I know that the image of me visiting loved ones and staying busy nudged him forward a little. More on that here.)

In the meantime, you can work on yourself, get individual counseling, and get support from family and friends. You can also do what is in your power to improve your marriage.  No, you can't force him to take any action.  But honestly, changes that one person makes can make a difference.  This way, when and if your husband does come around, you will be a healthier and improved version of yourself and this will make your reconciliation more likely to work.

But I'm going to be brutally honest and disclose that I don't think that anyone (other than yourself) can tell you that you need to give up or to accept that it is over. I'm very stubborn and this isn't always my best trait.  I had friends tell me that I was crazy to hold on.  But I did. Because what was the harm in it?  That I would be disappointed? I already was.  That I wouldn't meet another man? I was in no emotional shape for that. Certainly, some separated marriages end in divorce, regardless of how much hope the couple once had.  And yet, other times, marriages that looked hopeless survive.  Even couples who divorce sometimes get remarried.  You just never know.  As long as "having hope" isn't hurting your mental health or causing you to put your own life on hold, I honestly do not see the harm, but I am definitely biased and I am not a mental health counselor.  I'd encourage you to keep seeing yours and to always ask yourself if not accepting it is hurting you in any way.  I honestly always felt that accepting it would be more painful, but I did eventually continue to live my life so that I wasn't giving much up by waiting.

You can read more at how I very stubbornly hung onto my marriage when my husband wanted to throw it away on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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