Sometimes I hear from wives who have told their husband that they are considering leaving home or marriage. Some are sincere about this. They are not happy and feel that taking a break and walking away may be the best thing at that time. Others do not take the march seriously. They threaten to leave in hopes that their husband will ask them not to (or at least they will get a reaction from him to show that he still cares).
Unfortunately, this sometimes backfires. The wife will announce her intention to leave and will wait for her husband to try to stop her (or at least ask him not to leave). Instead, her husband will tell her that he doesn’t really care if she stays or goes. . This leaves her unsure of how to proceed. Do you go when you really don’t want to save face or do something? Or do you give in and just tell him that you changed your mind? And what does your husband’s indifference say about the state of your marriage or your ability to save it?
She might say, “My husband and I have been fighting pretty bad for almost four months. Things are definitely not happy at home. For a while, my husband was looking for an apartment and he was telling me that he was moving, but in I never really did. Still, he was constantly complaining. I got tired of hearing him complain all the time, so I told him I was going to leave so he wouldn’t have to be so unhappy. Now, I’ll be honest. I really expected him to confess that he really doesn’t want us to live apart, which is why he hadn’t actually signed a lease or moved in yet. Instead, his exact words to me were, ‘I really don’t care if you stay or go. He just shrugged and said that nothing really changes between us, no matter what we do. Now, I’m not sure how to proceed. This hurts. I was hoping that his not moving meant he was willing to save our life. Another marriage, but now he acts like he’s indifferent if we live together or not. I don’t want to pack up and leave, but what do I say now? How do I avoid not having to leave my home? home? Do I have to admit that I played and lost and that my marriage is over? “
I do not believe it. If everyone who ever threatened to leave their marriage ended up divorced, the divorce rate would be much higher than it really is. Many couples make these types of threats in the heat of the moment and nothing really comes out of them. The threats are understandable. They are usually done because things are going wrong, but nothing changes. Then one of the spouses decides to change things by threatening to leave. The hope is that the other spouse will beg you not to leave and will have to come up with a plan to make things better. Frankly, her husband could have done the exact same thing when he threatened to leave earlier. He didn’t follow through on the threat and I don’t think you have to either, especially if you really don’t want to go.
However, it goes without saying that in order for both of you to want to stay, you will need to really deepen and improve your marriage so that one or both of you don’t get so frustrated that you just give up. . I think it would be helpful if you could clear things up, if possible, so you both know that no one is going anywhere right away. Because if life’s situation is up in the air, it becomes more difficult to commit to doing the work necessary to save your marriage. If you doubt that your spouse will stay and work with you, there may be some uncertainty, which could hurt your progress. So you could try something like “well, you might not care if I go or stay, but I have decided that I care a lot. I have calmed down and thought about it and if I’m honest, I really don’t want to leave. I said yes because I was frustrated and didn’t know how to fix this. But I think that instead of both of us getting angry and threatening to leave, we could devote our energies to making things better between us so that no one has to leave. I would rather not go and live alone I am hopeful that if we work together, neither of us will have to live alone. “
Yes, saying this will make you feel vulnerable, it may make you uncomfortable, and it requires you to be the bigger person. But hopefully it buys you some time. Once you’ve cleared the air, hopefully no one should threaten to leave in the hope that the other will ask them not to leave. Because, in essence, they will have achieved what they both hope for: the peace of mind that with work no one will have to leave, because no one really wants to separate.