My Husband Says He Needs Time To Sort Out His Feelings

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I recently received a very detailed email from a wife who said that she and her husband had hit quite a rough patch in their marriage and she wasn't sure if the marriage was going to be able to survive. She wanted to be closer to her husband and to have long talks and conversations in an attempt to work things out. The husband was rejecting this and kept telling her that he "just needed time alone to clear his head."

This request terrified the wife. She suspected that if he left their home and spent any length of time away from her, that he was never coming back. She wanted advice as to how she could stall him or talk him out of wanting this time away. Her inclination had been to follow him around and try to convince him to stay. So far, these efforts had not been successful and just seemed to annoy the husband and make him more anxious to leave.

That was why I felt pretty strongly that the wife should move with traffic rather than against it. I will explain what I mean by that in the following article.

Why Giving A Husband Time To Sort Out His Feelings Isn't Always The Worst Choice: Most women will assume that giving him the time that he's asked for is sort of admitting defeat. It really does not have to be. It can be as much a part of your strategy right now as anything else. (And frankly, it often works much better than other strategies that are tempting but ill advised.)

There are several reasons for this but one of the most important is that often, the more you push him, the more he's going to pull away from you. The more that you follow him and try to convince him that he shouldn't or can't leave, the more he's likely going to want to do precisely that. Being calm and deliberate is going to be so much more effective than being argumentative and desperate. Always remember that your actions greatly affect his perceptions and his perceptions are what he will usually base his actions and decisions upon.

How To Minimize The Risk Of Him Not Coming Back Once You Give Him Time: It's understandable that giving him his space feels like a scary risk. It's natural to worry that he will enjoy his time away, find it preferable, and not want to return. If you haven't already, you can offer to give him space with your being the one to leave (rather than him leaving.) This allows for you to have a little bit more control and more access to him. (Make sure that you are calm and matter of fact when you offer this.)

If this strategy doesn't work, then your next one should be to control his perceptions of you right before and during his time away. You want for him to have positive reactions when he thinks of you. Many women will try to play hard ball now. They'll tell him if he's so intent on leaving, then he should go, but that you aren't sure if you will welcome him back with open arms. This strategy only brings about negative feelings and perceptions at a time when you really need positive ones.

The better way to handle it is to tell him that although you wish there was another way, you can see that he really feels that he needs to do this. Tell him that you want for him to be happy and if time and space will help him to do this, then that's exactly what you're going to provide. Be supportive. Be calm. But make sure that you come off as confident and capable. You don't want to give the impression that you're going to crumble and break the second that he walks out the door. In fact, you want for him to wonder how you'll be spending your time. If you're so reluctant to allow this request, he's going to assume that you'll be miserable and reeling. This isn't the impression that you want to give.

It's fine to make it clear that you aren't going anywhere, but at the same time, you don't want for him to think that you have no other way to fill your time. You have friends. You have family. And, it's vital that you do what supports you and makes you happy right now. You are going to appear so much more attractive to him if you conduct yourself with self respect. He mustn't think that you're waiting by the phone or sitting by the door. Sure, he's likely to know that you want him home, but he must also know that this is because you want for him to be happy and to make genuine decisions rather than the fact that you can't or won't be without him.

Often, it's when you freely (and with self respect) offer this time that you will appear most self sufficient and attractive. Once he's receptive to coming back home, you can then work on figuring out which issues lead to his time away. But, this should be delayed until you're both on the same page with where the relationship is going.

It was my husband, not me, who wanted space and time. I agreed to it because I saw no other alternative. Unfortunately, I drew on negative emotions rather than positive ones. This seriously backfired. Eventually, I decided to play it differently. As the result, I was able to not only restore my husband's love, but to save our marriage. You can read a very personal story on my blog at

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Leslie Cane has 1 articles online

Leslie Cane's blog is at  She enjoys sharing the story of how she saved her own marriage to help others.

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My Husband Says He Needs Time To Sort Out His Feelings

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This article was published on 2010/10/22
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