I sometimes hear from people who aren’t sure how they should be acting while they are separated from their spouse. They have often read that you shouldn’t seem desperate or appear that you are just waiting for your spouse to call or attempt to see you. In other words, to the extent that you can, you want to make sure that you are not the only one initiating the contact or doing to pursuing.
I heard from a wife who said: “we’ve been separated for about six weeks. I miss my husband terribly. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how wrong it is that he is no longer living at home. Sometimes, when we talk on the phone, the words ‘I miss you’ are right on the tip of my tongue. But I don’t say them because I don’t want to appear overly eager. Most of the time, my husband and I get along reasonably well when we interact during the separation, so I don’t think that my missing him would upset him or make him recoil. I’m just not sure if I should tell him how very much I miss him and how desperate I truly am for him to come home. What do you think?”
It’s not hard from me to put myself in this wife’s shoes. I went through a separation just like this. And in the beginning of it, I never passed up an opportunity to let my husband know how much I missed him. And as this wife suspected, it backfired on me because all it did was make my husband feel so guilty that he wanted to avoid me. Later, I learned to not be so forthcoming with how badly I was feeling and this actually did help things between us. However, I think that sometimes people take this strategy too far.
He Probably Already Knows That Despite The Circumstances, You Both Miss Each Other: Our husbands can often read us better than we think. And I’m pretty sure that both people strongly suspect that the other one is missing their lives together. It would be difficult to be married to and live with someone for as long as they had and to not feel some longing once you were living apart. So I doubt that the husband would be all that shocked if the wife stated the obvious – that she missed him.
However, I think that the real distinction can be whether you tell him that you miss him if he asks or if you continuously blurt it out when no one has even brought it up. I mean, I used to bring up the topic myself and then proceed to tell my husband I didn’t know if I could be without him for one more day. This is entirely different than confessing you are missing your spouse if they are the one who brings it up or if they ask you directly about this.
Understand That Missing Your Spouse Doesn’t Change The Issues That Lead To The Separation: One thing that never occurred to me when I was constantly telling my husband how much I missed him was how little this mattered when you looked at the big picture. And I am not trying to sound insensitive when I say this. But, my missing him didn’t change the fact that neither of us had done anything to address the issues that lead to the separation in the first place.
One day when I was going on and on about how unhappy the separation was making me, my husband said “yes, but tell me something new. Tell me what has changed.” I thought he was just trying to shut me up. It took me a while to realize what he meant. What he was trying to tell me is that me missing him didn’t do a single thing to fix our marital problems. And until those issues were resolved, nothing was going to change for him regardless of how much I missed him.
So sometimes you really have to look at the big picture and ask yourself where you are in the process. For example if you and your husband have made huge strides and have worked through your problems so well that you are beginning to date one another and become intimate again, then telling him that you miss him might actually change things because the situation would be such that it would make sense to act on this. However, if like my case, nothing had changed, then telling him that you miss him is sort of stating the obvious and it’s likely to frustrate you both because regardless of how you both are feeling, nothing has really changed in regards to your marriage.
So to answer the question posed, it’s my opinion that if your husband asks you directly, there’s no reason to lie and claim that you don’t miss him. But if you’re going to bring up the topic yourself, make sure that you have laid some groundwork on fixing your marriage so that your words matter. It doesn’t make sense to stress how much you miss him when neither of you have addressed the outstanding issues so that you can both do something about them.
As I alluded to, I certainly wasn’t shy about telling my husband how desperately I missed him during our separation. But it actually made things worse. Because it only highlighted how stuck we truly were. It wasn’t until I placed my focus on taking action rather than relying on words that things changed in our marriage and we were able to save it. If it helps, you can read the whole story on the save my marriage blog.