How to Cope With Separated Wife Sending Mixed Signals

I often say that one of the biggest factors leading to divorce is a man’s FEAR of divorce.


Because when we’re scared of anything we tend to screw things up.

With the exception of your life saving instincts on the freeway or when threatened with physical harm, operating from fear usually has a bad outcome.

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When it comes to the gut wrenching, anxiety ridden fears of losing your relationship, family and wealth…operating from fear is the worst thing you can do.

I know this first hand.

When it happened to me I went into extreme reaction mode. Pleading, begging, endless talking, demanding, interrogating and bargaining were some of the fearful (and wildly ineffective) things I tried.

Fear was making me crazy and making everything worse.

If you’re a guy who suspects he may be on the road to separation or divorce this article is for you.

Even if you’re just getting the icy cold shoulder, distancing, dismissiveness or disrespect…you need to know how to handle yourself.

What does it mean when you’re wife has said something like:

  • I just need you to leave me alone
  • You’re smothering me
  • I need space
  • I need time to think
  • Maybe I want a separation
  • Maybe we should live apart
  • I love you but maybe I’m not in love with you anymore
  • I don’t think about you romantically

All of these things that we hear towards then pending end of a relationship can strike terror into the heart of a man. It’s horrifying and debilitating. It makes you not know what to think, not know what to say, not know what to do. It’s like the Wizard of Oz – bear with me here….

If you remember the old Wizard of Oz film where the wizard was up on the screen and there was smoke everywhere and his booming voice struck terror into Dorothy, the Tin man, the scarecrow and the lion. The scarecrow was falling all over himself, he was slipping and couldn’t stand up and then hay was faling out of him…which is exactly how we feel when we see the pending end of a relationship and a woman who is pulling away from us.

I know that feeling – I’ve been there.

The reason that feeling’s a lot like the Wizard of Oz is because – as you remember in the movie – there was nothing to be afraid of. In the end when Dorothy pulled the curtain back and saw the scared little man who was pretending to be horrible, pretending to be dominating and all powerful, she knew that none of it was true. And that’s what I want to help you with.

Whoever Oz is in your life right now, whether it’s your wife or the looming divorce (just the word divorce can feel like it’s booming in your ears when you hear it), I want you to know that it’s not as scary as it seems.

What’s really going on inside you, what’s really going on inside her, and this pending end of the relationship is not the horrifying story that you have in your mind.

I do realize that there’s real stuff to consider such as money and living arrangements and custody of the children – that you do have to face up to and deal with – I get that really I do.

But what I also know is that it’s not as bad as it seems.

Once you pull the curtain back, and you understand what’s really going on inside her, what’s really going on inside you and what the truth is about your future…the next 30 to 40 years of your life. It’s not that scary.

You have to talk to men who’ve been there. Men who’ve not just gone through it, but who have thrived through the process of the end of a relationship.

What I want you to know is that there are things that you should STOP doing immediately. There are also things that you should START doing immediately.

One of the things you should stop doing immediately to prevent the crash that’s happening around you and also to stop that feeling of desperation in your stomach…is to stop asking WHY so much.

Stop pummeling her with questions and interrogating her about what she’s feeling, why she’s feeling it, where she’s going, all of that stuff is just this hyper pressuring feeling that pushes her further away and it only makes you more anxious.

You need to stop isolating yourself and continually thinking through the story of how this might end up or how horrible it’s going to be.

One of the things you have to start doing is to talk to men who have been there and who can talk a little bit of sense to you and let you see that you can breathe easier now, you can relax just a little bit and not have to hurry. You don’t have to figure this all out at once.

Don’t isolate yourself and be alone. You’ll get anxious, you won’t sleep, you won’t eat. You have to hang around men who know this story and how it goes. You also have to start thinking about your future and the truth about who you are as a man. The value that you bring to this world. The fact that you were born alone and you’ll probably die alone.

The fact that this woman and this marriage and this whole story that you’ve developed is not the be all and end all story of your life. You have a ton to give and a ton to live. You have a lot more love to give and as you start feeling this truth, that this one moment in your life is not the defining factor in your long term happiness, you can breathe again.

I can guarantee you that when you start settling down and seeing the truth about what’s going on, you become calmer, you become more relaxed, you become more deliberate in your thinking, you become more confident in your responses to her and as you’re trying to figure this thing out, you stand a much, much better chance of resolving the conflict, of resolving the distrust, of resolving whatever is going on in a very slow, methodical process instead of acting like one of those flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz.

That’s how I was. I remember feeling like I was out of control. I didn’t know what to say or do.

There’s no questioning the incredibly crappy prospect of losing the family unit, full time with your kids, your wife and about half your wealth.

It does suck and it’s not the least bit fun.

But…feeling gripped with fear, resentment, anger and sadness will ruin any chance you have at improving things. Those feelings will make you think, say and do a variety of stupid things that will only make matters worse. (hey, I’m an expert on that)

And if you can’t find your way to a calmer, more confident frame of mind now, a post divorce life won’t look very good either…guaranteed.

If you’re like most men I work with the current version of your marriage isn’t serving you all that well.

The lack of closeness, connection, passion, respect, trust and intimacy of any kind have reached record levels.

Saving this marriage as it is doesn’t sound so great.

Other articles you may find helpful:

How to Turn On an Angry Woman
It’s Not About The Nail

You need to start looking at this as an opportunity for improvement rather than a death sentence.

With a clearer, stronger and more confident mindset, you will start to see that your life is about to get better – much better – one way or another.

And with this mindset you will relax and start thinking, doing and saying the things that reflect your true values and the life you really want to create.

Do you want to feel more relaxed and confident?

Who doesn’t?

This is what we do for men – one man at a time – with our 90-Day Masculine Confidence Intensive.

Dan Dore (my associate coach in the UK) and I are here to guide you on this mission.

If you want to become calmer and more deliberate in creating the relationship you want, apply for a free consultation call with me or Dan. I guarantee you’ll feel a whole lot better by the end of our talk.

Our online course How to Defuse the Divorce Bomb is a deep and intense dive into handling yourself when you hear, “I love you but I’m not in love with you anymore.” Tim Wade and I host monthly live Q&A calls with all the students in this course which includes many other bonuses as well. Find out more here.

My new book Straight Talk Tools for the Desperate Husband will help you to lead yourself and your relationship back to good health. Understand why your partner acts the way she does toward you and learn how to lead your life in the direction you want it to go. You CAN have the relationship you want, fulfilling all your desires while maintaining love and respect.

I wrote a free e-book to help men learn how to lose their fear and be more bold in their marriage to create the love and connection they want. Get The Hard to Swallow Truth About Saving Your Marriage.

Photo: EMJ Photography / Flickr

author avatar
Steve Horsmon Certified Professional Men’s Coach
Steve Horsmon is a Certified Professional Life Coach and owner of Goodguys2Greatmen Relationship Coaching in Livermore, Colorado. He has appeared on many television, radio, youtube, and podcast channels discussing the coaching and psychology factors relating to maintaining healthy relationships. Steve provides personal, practical, action oriented coaching services for men through 1-on-1 coaching, private retreats, group coaching and workshops designed to give men new knowledge, skills and the right mindset to achieve their relationship goals. He is a committed, lifelong mentor for men who teaches his clients how to discover their masculine strength so they can confidently take the actions required to create the life and relationships that they really want. With over 10 years experience he has created thousands of videos and articles for well known relationship websites such as The Good Men Project, Medium and the Gottman Institute.
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