I sometimes hear from wives who are attempting to gauge their husband’s behavior after leaving as an indication as to whether their marriage even stands a chance. Some husbands actually seem much happier after leaving. Some become very distant or secretive. And others have no problem admitting that they are quite confused. I heard from a wife who said: “when our marriage started having issues, it deteriorated very quickly. We began to fight all the time. My husband got fed up and left me. He told me he would be in contact when he had a better handle on what he wanted to do to move forward. I miss him so much. He called me the other day and admitted that he is ‘confused right now.’ I’m not sure what this means for my marriage. Is it a good sign that he’s confused. I figure him being confused is better than him being certain that he is going to pursue a divorce. Am I right?”
His confusion can be a good sign. Or, it can just be a delay. Sometimes, it depends on how you handle things during the separation, which I will discuss below.
Why A Husband Who Has Left But Is Now Confused Can Be A Positive Sign: The wife was correct in her assumption that his confusion could be a good sign. After all, his indecision is certainly better than him confidently going forward with a divorce since there isn’t any doubt in her mind. And this does happen in some cases. Some husbands actually find relief after they leave and they find that their life is happier as a single man. So, they have no conflict when they go forward and pursue a divorce.
But a man who is confused very often has mixed feelings about his marriage. On the one hand, he knows that things haven’t been going very well and that change is desperately needed. But, on the other hand, he often still has feelings for his wife or a loyalty to his marriage. So this can leave him feeling unsure of what needs to happen next. This also shows that he’s reluctant to rush through the process because he wants to ensure that he is making the correct decision, which most certainly can be a positive sign.
Why Your Behaviors And Actions Matter A Great Deal Right Now: Many wives become quite frustrated when their husbands begin to claim he’s confused. It’s very tempting to say something like: “well what is there to be confused about?” Or “well you weren’t all that confused when you decided to walk out on your obligations,” but try to resist these types of negative reactions. If your responses or behaviors make your husband feel pressured, embarrassed or ashamed, then he may decide to just stop being indecisive and to go ahead and pursue a divorce. Or, he may think very negatively of you and as a result, he may begin to retreat or to limit his contact with you. All of these things will make it less likely that you will have a good outcome or will be able to save your marriage.
How To Respond When Your Husband Says He’s Confused After He Left: Above all, try to be calm. When you want to save your marriage, the words you want to hear are that he loves you without any doubts. So when he instead says that he’s confused, this can be a real let down or disappointment. But, instead of focusing on why you’re disappointed, try to focus on why you should be feeling relief. He isn’t telling you that he’s serious about someone else or that he is filing for a divorce. He’s just telling you that he’s a bit confused and probably needs more time.
In my opinion and experience, often your best bet is to set it up so that he actually wants to be in constant contact with you. So, you might want to say something like: “I hear what you are saying. I’m confused too. But nothing says that we can’t take things slowly and decide things gradually. Let’s just take it one day at a time and be patient. Can we touch base tomorrow?”
Do you see the intent here? You’re setting it up so that you are in regular contact. This helps to ensure that his confusion is not going to cause him to begin to retreat or to isolate himself. And you are showing him that you’re not going to pressure him with anger or impatience. Therefore, he has no incentive to rush things or to pursue a divorce too quickly. Since you’ve told him that you can both be patient and take your time, then he is more likely to want to see more of you. And when this happens, you can begin to rebuild and to revitalize your relationship so that both of you are more confident and sure of your feelings. Yes, this is a gradual process. But it also offers you the greatest chance of success.
And frankly, it is often in your best interest that your husband doesn’t come home while he is still confused. Because if he does, he is more likely to eventually leave again with more conviction that he wants a divorce the next time. So it is better to be patient and to have him be sure and committed when it is time for him to come home and work on the marriage.