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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My wife and I agreed to separate about a month ago after 6 ½

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My wife and I agreed to separate about a month ago after 6 ½ years of marriage. I’m 41 and she’s 37. It was her idea. The spark has been gone for a while but I have always been determined to do whatever it took to make things better. We went to a marriage counselor for about 9 months and about 10 or 12 sessions and it helped us to communicate but didn’t fix the problem. I thought we were making progress but she apparently didn’t think it was enough. She got an apartment nearby and moved in about 3 weeks ago with her daughter from a previous marriage. I agreed to the separation because it was my understanding that the time would be used to appreciate each other more by being apart. During this time we would date each other and try to get that spark back. Following the separation I would get texts saying “I love you” and things like that that I would respond to similarly. Well several days ago she told me that she thinks she’s done. I expressed shock because we were deviating from the plan to try to make things work. In the days since that conversation I have focused on myself and reflected on the relationship and refrained from contacting her. However, she continues to contact me via text, calling, or messaging while I’m at work. She asks me to do things with her like have dinner or “come up for a beer”. Sometimes I politely refuse and other times I go along with it. I am not showering her with attention when we are together because she said she thinks she’s done. I feel like I need time without contact to put my feelings and thoughts in order but I don’t know how to tell her. Is she really “done”? I feel like this is a pivotal point in the relationship and I don’t want to do the wrong thing. I do want to be with her but only if it’s positive and I feel like I am capable of doing the right things to get that spark back given the chance. Can you give me some insight as to what she’s thinking? Advice on what to do, given that I want it to work? I don’t want to fall into the “friend zone” before I am over her because that’s just torture. I will say very recently she has been very different than usual towards me – always asking how I am and staring at me when we are together.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like there could be a couple of things going on here. One, your wife maybe looking for a deeper connection with you in your marriage and did not know how to get it or she finds it difficult to feel close to you when you are together but being apart appeals to her.

Some people find relationships at a distance more appealing that being together. They like the control it brings and the emotional distance helps them feel less threatened. This may be why your wife flirts with you and feels better having contact with you when you are not together. She can control when she sees you and she can feel safer from a distance.

She may also want to be with you but feels at a loss on how to connect. There are many ways to put the spark back into your marriage. Here are some to try:

Connect on an emotional level everyday- leave notes, bring home surprise gifts, slip in a little sex before the day gets started or plan a date night.

Express how you feel more often- tell her she looks great even when she is in sweats, hug her just because, share something important with her.

Buy something special for her- like her favorite perfume or something she mentioned she'd like to have.

Watch a movie with her that only she likes- and make it special. Buy take out, set out roses and turn the light down low.

These are some ideas to try if she is willing. Try out one thing from the list and see how she reacts. If she still pulls away, back off and try again later. If she is still resistant, then you may need to tell her that you want to either keep trying or end the relationship all together. You don't want to get pulled into a game where she holds all the cards and you have to keep trying to win her back.

You can also try counseling again, if she is willing to go. You may need to try a new therapist if you feel your other one did not help as much as you needed. Also, try asking for referrals to increase the chance you'll find a therapist that can help. Your doctor may have a suggestion or you can search on line at

I hope this has helped you,

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