Sometimes, when you are reluctantly separated from your spouse, hearing the words "I love you," can make you feel as if you have won the lottery. After all, when you never wanted the separation in the first place, you are looking for anything that might give you hope that one day, the separation might end and you might have your marriage back. But what happens when your spouse refuses to say these words?

A wife might write to me and say: "I honestly tell my separated husband that I love him all of the time. I have no problem saying these words. I want to say them. I want him to know that he is still loved. Sometimes, when we are having a very good time together, I almost forget that we are separated and I will wonder why he doesn't immediately tell me that he loves me too in response. But then reality hits me and I realize that we have real issues and our marriage might never be the same. It's somewhat strange because occasionally my husband will show me genuine affection which obviously indicates that at that time, he is having loving feelings for me. And yet, he always makes it a point of stopping short of actually telling me that he loves me. And he never goes out of his way to reassure me that I am loved. Why would he do this?"

There are many possible reasons that your husband might be holding back on verbalizing his feelings. Of course, I don't know your husband. I'm basing my theories on communication that I sometimes get from men in this situation. Below, I'll share some of the reasoning that some of us give.

He Doesn't Want To Send You Mixed Signals: Sometimes when you are separated, you know that your spouse is reading a lot into what you do or say. And while it would be easy for you to sync your feelings with your behaviors and actions, you worry that this might be confusing for your spouse. After all, some days you feel quite loving. And other days, you are pretty confused. If you were to put your feelings on display each and every day, your spouse might see a different person every day and this may cause pain and uncertainty. And that why he may be holding back.  He realizes that this would be confusing or unfair to you.

He Doesn't Want For You To Get Your Hopes Up Just Yet: I hesitate to bring this up because it can come off as discouraging when things might work out just fine. But sometimes, your husband may well be feeling loving towards you, but he doesn't want to share this just yet. Perhaps he isn't yet sure in which direction he is going to go. Or, he hasn't yet made the decision as to whether he wants to reconcile or not. He may feel that it is unfair to allow you to hope that everything is going to fine when neither of you knows the future just yet.

His Feelings May Be All Over The Place: As I alluded to before, some days he may feel like he really wants to be with you, and other days he may feel somewhat discouraged. This is completely normal. And I'd be willing to bet that your feelings sometimes fluctuate too. So he may be holding back on displaying his feelings until they settle down into a stable pattern.

How To Handle This: I know that it might be tempting to try to force an "I love you" out of him. Because I know that you likely feel that you need and deserve to hear it. I know that you are looking for the reassurance that you need. But often, if you try to force something out of him, he will resent it. I know this firsthand.  It happened during my own separation. More on that here.) As a result, he will resist whatever you are trying to force. The last thing that you want to do is to set it up so that he is trying to resist his love for you.

Since you have no problems expressing your love, the next time you do so, you might consider something like: "I know that you're not going to say it back and that's OK. I don't need you to say it in order to hope that somewhere deep inside, it is true. But for now, we don't have to worry about quantifying it. I don't want you to feel pressured to say or do anything that you are unsure about. I just want to enjoy our time together without expectations or judgments."

I know that this might make you feel like you are making an unfair concession. But sometimes, you have to momentarily back away in order to make room for the bigger pay off later. Because when that pay off comes, then it is more than worth it and you are grateful that you had the foresight to have patience.

My husband didn't tell me that he loved me when we were separated.  And I wanted this more than anything.  But after I thought about it for a while, I realized that my greatest goal was to get him home.  So if I needed to wait for some words, then that really wasn't a big deal when looking at the big picture. If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at

Author's Bio: 

There are links to more articles about saving your marriage at