Believe it or not, I get this question quite a bit. It usually comes from wives who feel that a divorce or separation is imminent and they do not know how they are going to survive without living together and/or being married. These wives are looking for something to stop the bleeding so to speak. They feel that the situation is quite desperate and they are looking for words that are going to adequately convey this to their husbands.

But they also know that this strategy might backfire and that the words may turn out to be disastrous (or at least as sounding pitiful.) Some women will consider saying these words in a letter. But the risk in that strategy is that you can't see his facial expression or his reaction when he reads these words.

I must admit that I said this phrase myself. I almost must disclose that it was pretty much a disaster. So I suppose that this may affect my opinion on it. But I've also had so many readers tell me that they wish they had never "gone there." Looking back, it seems desperate, unattractive, and beneath the self-respecting person that you are. Still, it's natural to want to express the way that you feel in a way that is going to get his attention. I feel that there may be a better way to do this, which I will discuss in the following article.

Why Fearing That You Can't Live Without Him Is Something That Might Be Better Kept To Yourself: I completely understand the fear, anxiety, and self doubt that you are experiencing right now. I know what it's like to think that you might only get one chance at this. And, if you do it wrong, it will be over. So often your inclination is to want to do or say something very dramatic to get his attention or to make him take pause enough to think about this more deeply or to consider changing his mind.

However, I can tell you that almost overwhelmingly that the men who speak of this experience will tell you that it comes off decidedly negatively. They might feel pity. They might feel guilt. They might feel sorry. But they don't feel desire or affection, at least in that moment. The reason for this is that your desperation will often bring about a knee jerk negative reaction in them. And people want to flee and escape the things that make them feel bad. It's an unconscious form of self-preservation that exists within all of us.

Does this mean they won't resist this inclination and respond positively and react in the way that you want them to and call the whole thing off? No, I suppose not. But this is most definitely the exception and not the rule. And acting in this way sets a precedent and digs a hole that will be more difficult to dig your way out of. If he reacts badly, he's likely going to limit your access to him even more, and that is precisely what you don't want. (Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. More on that here.)

Playing It Correctly To Increase The Chances That You Don't Actually Have To Live Without Him For Long: The "I can't live without you strategy" is actually a very short term strategy. If it's the wrong call, the consequences may be very difficult to overcome. There are other ways to play it that I believe are not so risky, although they may require convincing acting when you feel so vulnerable. It can be done though. I know this for a fact. I have seen it happen more times than I can count.

The strategy that you want to go with is the one that is going to paint you in the most positive light in his eyes. When he is evaluating whether this relationship is going to work for him or not, he's going to weigh the negatives with the positives. He's going to consider whether his pay off is more than his emotional costs. Someone who is appearing desperate, needy, and insecure is going to be perceived as negative most of the time. This does not help your cause.

What is more likely to help your cause is appearing calm, rational, and as someone who has your husband's best interest at heart. If he thinks that you are actually going to help him get what he wants then he is going to make himself more available to you, which is what you need to happen. Yes, this is going to require you to change your stance, but I'm pretty confident that the result is going to turn out much better.

There is nothing to stop you from being very honest that this is hurting you and that you regret this happening, but you can temper this by saying that you want for your husband to be happy and you want for your relationship to be a healthy and mutually fulfilling one so you are willing to cooperate to make that happen.

Understanding How Back Off Brings You Closer: Does this require you to back off? Sometimes it does, at least temporarily. But it will give you so much in return. Suddenly he's working with you rather than against you. Suddenly he's not avoiding you as much. He doesn't look at you as someone who's trying to convince him that he's wrong or who is trying to keep him from trying to get what he wants. You're someone who is going to play a role in helping him get what he thinks he needs. So, you're no longer a threat.

And if you play your role well, you will eventually come off as someone who is more likely to draw him in with positive perceptions rather than repel him with negative ones. And this can make all of the difference over time. Since you're no longer pulling, he's no longer pushing away. Sometimes you'll find that when it appears that you've given up the struggle, you'll see that he's no longer trying to wrestle away because the reason to do so is now no longer as compelling.

When my husband wanted to move away from me (but I desperately want to save my marriage), I did everything that I could to stop it, including the "I can't live without you" strategy. It didn't work. Thankfully, I decided to approach things from another angle and this eventually worked. You can read more on my blog at

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