My husband wanted a separation, but now he is constantly trying to stalk me
Sometimes I hear from wives who are very confused about their husband’s conflicting behavior during a combative separation. He’s often the one who initiates the breakup and seems like he can’t wait to leave. But once the couple lives apart, suddenly the husband wants to keep an eye on the wife or seems particularly interested in her daily activities.
I heard from a wife who said, “my husband has wanted to separate for some time. I tried my best to talk him out of it, but after listening to him insist on it for months, I finally gave in and agreed to go and live with my sister for a while. Since he was so anxious to get rid of me, I really didn’t expect to hear from him, even though I knew I would miss him terribly. I’ve only been gone for two days, but now he calls me all the time and wants to know what I’m doing. I’ll answer the phone and the first thing he says to me is “what are you doing” in an almost accusatory way. The truth is that I do nothing and I tell him so. Why is he even asking? He couldn’t get rid of me fast enough and now he seems to want to keep checking me out. What’s going on?” I will try to answer these questions in the next article.
He might just miss you: Men often imagine all peace and quiet so that they can think. But sometimes that’s just not the reality. Sometimes all silence brings is loneliness. And then he might start to wonder if it was such a good idea after all. And he looks around and notices that everything around him reminds him of you. Now, it might make things easier if he just tells you all of this, but a lot of men won’t. Instead, they’ll call you and do annoying things like ask you what or how you’re doing.
He may feel insecure: It is very common for separated spouses to admit that they at least partially suspect that their spouse may possibly be seeing other people during the separation. Your husband may be acting on that suspicion or simply looking for reassurance, which brings me to my next point.
It tries to determine your attitude: It is common for the spouse who initiated the separation to have strong suspicions that you will be resentful and angry. Therefore, he may want you to keep in close contact to gauge your feelings. He may want to see if your resentment will push you away. And he may feel some remorse for his actions.
Drawing some positive conclusions from these pesky questions: I know this is probably very frustrating. But there are some positive indications here. If he didn’t care at all, he wouldn’t have called. If he didn’t think about you at all and lived it and celebrated his freedom, he wouldn’t call either. And since this wife didn’t want the separation in the first place and wanted to save her marriage, we hoped this was good news for her.
How to react when he keeps calling you and asking what you’re doing: First, you need to decide what you really want to happen. And in the end, this woman wanted her husband to come home. I know it’s tempting to say something like “so what do you think I’m doing? I’m sitting here staring at my sister and living in a strange place because you made me leave my own home because of your stupid breakup, but it’s a bad idea. Because you don’t want to dissuade him from contacting you. Instead, you want to make him want to sign up and initiate contact with you. So, as hard as it is, try to sound as optimistic as possible. Trying to make him feel guilty is also the wrong decision because it causes pain and makes him want to avoid you. With that said, you don’t want it to sound like you’re sitting by the phone waiting for him to call. You want him to know that you have too much self-respect for that.
An appropriate response might be something like: “not much. I’m just spending some time with my sister. We’ll probably go out and grab dinner in a bit. What are you doing?”
Note that I was light hearted and put the matter back to him. And I alluded to the fact that no one is sitting around waiting. By asking him what he’s doing, you leave it open-ended for him to share his feelings. He can say he’s doing nothing because he’s lonely. Or he could say that what he really does is miss you. The point is not to engage with him and ask him why he keeps calling you with his stupid questions. Try to stay positive because this is really a good sign. It means he cares and is reaching out. And not all separated spouses fall into this category. Some husbands rarely call their wives at all, let alone their experiences or feelings.
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