How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jen Helant Your Own Question
Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
Type Your Relationship Question Here...
Jen Helant is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My husband and I have been married for 18 years. We have had

This answer was rated:

My husband and I have been married for 18 years. We have had a rocky period to our marriage over the last 5 -10 years on and off with some really good times. Something from his perspective has finally cracked and he has talked about leaving, telling me he wants space, that he believes that we are on different paths, that the bond is no longer there and the there is no fire for him any more. He says I have become hard and he more easy going. He says he feels taken for granted. Our sex life was pretty hit and miss and I wasnt exactly a ball of fire for him when it did happen. this was definately not the case for the first 8-13 years. I have been guilty of being too demanding, nagging him, belittling him, havng to be right all the time and being opinionated. i have also been guilty of expecting him to be there however I treat him. He is a very sensitive man and has stood by me through fights (some serious) with my parents, other stressful extended family events, stressful jobs and we have both recently been through the death of a relative each from Cancer (his Brother, My Father). The odds appear stacked against us. He is very cold and remote from me most of the time conversation wise and affection. In saying this he is still doing some things for me. We had amazing sex on the weekend, but then on an outing that he suggested he remained aloof from me. He had clearly scared himself and withdrawn. he says he is afraid of me, not knowing what I am capable of and doesnt trust me. He originally spoke of making a decision whether to stay or to go in the New Year, speaking of February. He has also mentioned since then plans we had for April. He has called me Sweetie a few times since this has been going on, something he hasnt done for ages. He let me wax his back and then pull a thorn out of his foot. If I move his way with affection it makes him withdraw. I kissed him on the arm last night and told Him I loved him. This morning he asked why I wasnt exercising with him, a practice I have just adopted since all this started. I told him because I got the impression he wanted space. He answered evasively and I asked for clarification which is when he said yes he wanted space. Then he pointed out something that he knows I like, did two things for me that he didnt have to and came to say goodbye and kissed me (he went for my cheek but I turned my head so it was on the lips). All the advice I have read is to back off and give him space. Its hard, I initiated the first sexual contact and he the second. He is also texting (innocently I believe) a female friend at work quite regularly. My daughter saw somw of these texts but believes they are innocent. She says the woman is speaking like a friend who is trying to help. I checked his phone and saw a lot of texts. Stupidly making an accidental call to the woman who i know vaguely late at night. i texted her and apologised asking her not to tell him. She agreed. I am so worried. I so want to back off but I am so scared. It isnt possible to move out for either of us due to financial constraints. Help
I would like to help. Please allow me a few minutes to carefully read your question and prepare an answer.

Thank you for explaining the situation in detail, so I could understand everything that is happening. I understand how difficult this must be for you, but it seems as though you know what your mistakes were and you are taking steps to change that. Right now he is scared since how you have been in the recent past. He says he can not trust you, so within him he does not know how long your positive changes will last. By everything you explained it does seem that he definitely still cares for you and probably wants to make it work if things were different. Both of you have been under a lot of stress lately and been through a lot together. I think at this point you need to find a balance between giving him space and being with him. Even after he said what he said about leaving he still seemed to do sweet things for you. This makes me think he truly wants things to be different. He even asked you why you were not exercising with him. In my opinion he may have wanted you to be there, but did not want to admit it. I think everything you wrote you have been doing are great. These are the things you need to continue, but it has to be from your heart and continue even after you save the relationship if that happens. This is what he fears for things to go back to the way they were, so I believe if you show him true change he will want to stay, but time will be the key here. He needs to see this over a long period of time in order for that trust to build up again. He is talking about maybe leaving in February. If you show him these changes from now until Feb I think there will be a good chance he will hold off longer since he will see things improving.

On one last note in addition to everything you are doing when you do communicate with him you can tell him your feelings. Don't feel as if you can not talk because you are worried about pressuring him. It is important to state your true feelings and communicate about everything and anything, but it is all about the way things are said. Remove all judging, pointing fingers, and criticizing. Everything can be said, but the key is the way things are said. This all will help strengthen the bond as well.

Please if you have any more questions or need clarification on anything I wrote please do not hesitate to ask. I am here to help and I wish you both the very best and hope you can save your relationship.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Whilst I understand that sharing feelings is important, Im not sure that now is the right time. He feels pressured when I do that and I have done it a lot in the past. He would know how I was feeling. Im confused about the sex thing. A lot of advice suggests that I need to let him come to me with sex and touching. ONe of the things recently is that with sex, he has always had to initiate. I dont want him to feel he has to now, its just another thing to satisfy me or give in to me. He puts it as 'kowtowing' if he gives into my demands at the moment. Also if he suggests an outing I assume I should go? What do you think about how to give him space as he asks? He means emotional and some physical space.

Im also so frantic about him approaching that female friend and also scared he will find out I was snooping in his phone and accidently called her. What do i say if he mentions it? He will be angry with me and this will push him away further.

Based on that I do understand why you may want to lay low on the communicating. I agree only communicate about feelings and such if he initiates it. Instead focus more on having a good time, enjoying each others company, and being the wife you want to be for him. Yes, if he invites you somewhere go for sure. Let him know that you want to be there for him, but want to give him space as well. Its hard to tell where that line is for him since it can be different for everyone. I would suggest you asking him to tell you if he would like to do something together since you do want to give him space. Besides that when you are together with daily life I would just let your changes show through your actions. About the sex since he feels he always has to initiate it I would advise you to start initiating it. He may get offended and think you are just wanting it when you feel, but if you don't initiate it then he may feel neglected and same as he explained. This is why I think best to initiate and see his response and go from there.
About the other women I would not worry since you can explain what happened. However, if you think its better to clear the air then you may want to consider telling him what happened and apologizing because then he will see you came clean yourself rather than him finding out later and being more upset.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My gut feeling is not to tell him about the incident with the woman, if she doesnt tell him he wont find out. I am afraid to tell him because he will know that I was snooping and feel infringed upon. That terrifies me because I will push him further away. Surely it is better to trust this woman? Ive met her and she seems genuine and caring.

Im just struggling to get through each day at the moment and to keep the interactions as positive as I can. I dont have anyone to talk to because we live in a small town where it will get around if I trust anyone. im kind of angry that he has chosen to talk to this woman when we agreed not to tell anyone. I cant raise that with him because I will give my daughter away.


I certainly understand that. I would just say its better to tell him now if it is going to bother you and also if there is a good chance he will find out and get even more upset. But if you think he will not find out then best to leave it in the past because you did not do something wrong like cheat or etc. You also had reason to do that and was trying to protect yourself. Telling him may just add more stress to the relationship. I also understand why you can not bring up the other women. Try not to focus on that since he probably was just trying to get advice as you daughter said. Focus on restoring the relationship and then go from there if there are any new issues. I understand how it can be difficult if you have no one to talk with and coming to this site was a good start for you because sometimes just getting out all of our feelings can take a lot of the stress off our shoulders and help us to feel better. I will be here for you whenever you need to talk you can request me.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thankyou for that. I find the hardest thing is keeping focused on everyday life instead of dwelling on my marriage issues. I have spent too much time since it all happened seeking advice, its making me crazy. im also not able to sleep properly or eat, I have no desire for food. I am afraid to go home in case I mess up. Burying my emotions and hiding how I feel from Matt is not what I have done much in the past. i usually blurt them out, make him responsible and expect either support or for him to change. He has stepped up to the plate as often as he can and recently without much reciprocated or much attention at all. I often poo poohed what he did offer and demand more. I am kicking myself for this now. All I can think is 'when will this misery end'

My daughter asked him about his call logs which had all the texts listed he had sent to this woman. He has now deleted his call logs. Why is he hiding this stuff. My daughter suggested that perhaps he thinks I will get angry if I know that he is texting this woman on the weekend and at night. Yes I am angry but Im not going to say anything. unless you think I should ask? Asking might make him feel controlled. I feel totally disrespected!!

I understand how you are feeling and why you feel disrespected. Since you are looking to keep the peace right now then best to leave the texts be. However, if it bothers you too much then you should mention it. As for how you are feeling in general even though it may be difficult I would suggest you try to stay active and take care of yourself. Keeping busy, trying new healthy activities you may have wanted to do and never got to, taking up a new hobby these are all things that can help keep you busy and take your mind off of how you are feeling. If you stay how you are feeling it will just keep you down and distort your thinking and you inside may be in a worse place even if he does decide to stay. What is most important here is that you take care of yourself because that way whether he leaves or stays you will be in the right place for you. There is a belief called the Pygmalion theory and this is based on the thinking that the more positive we are then the more positive our outcomes will be therefore we are more likely to have positive outcomes. Even though it may be difficult dwelling on the negative will only bring you down to feel worse.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX sad this morning and still feeling pretty anxious.

I have a reasonably full life and I havent dropped any of my activities at this time. i swim and ride an exercise bike, garden, and I have dogs and horses. I have a few friends I will still hang with but some are people at this stage I will steer clear of for many reasons.

My husband was hostile last night and I discovered he had deleted his call logs and changed his phones security code. I think this is about control, and also as a way of keeping me distant. I am still worried about the texts but saying something will not make things any better between us nor stop him texting if he wants to so I will say nothing. I think she is just trying to help him and I think he is desperate for someone to talk to.

I can tell he is really conflicted and has a lot on his mind as he becomes very withdrawn and reflective at times. I am trying to respect his need for space and offer no pressure. I am also keeping my feelings away from him and trying as far as possible to appear normal and also friendly.

This is not easy because I am so anxious and in pain.

Hi Helen,

I understand how difficult this is for you. It sounds like you do have a full life and that is wonderful. It is good that you are not stopping that and I would encourage you to continue. Remember you are in control of the situation. You can end the relationship if it becomes too much for you. By knowing this maybe you will be more comfortable that it is not he that is controlling things, but rather you are being patient in allowing him to work out his feelings. Try and focus on your things and stay positive knowing the balance with him. Dwelling on the situation will only make you feel worse.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Things have progressed quite rapidly since I last emailed you. The night before last I had a conversation with my husband that resulting in him saying that he didnt think things would work out and that he wanted to go. He said he regretted the sex on Saturday night because it gave me false hope. He wanted to sell the house but felt we could stay in the house together with everything the same except that he would move into the spare room and we would live like 'room mates'. I agreed.

I went to see a counsellor who had counselled us earlier in the year and also him on his own. Through this session I came to realise some things. Firstly that although I have behaved badly it is not all my fault, secondly he helped me to realise that some of Matt's previous patterns are repeating themselves this time, and thirdly helped me to consider what I should do. My options were to remain in the house as Matt suggested. Leave and move somewhere else or for him to move out. I decided that for me to stay would be too hard. I want to be his wife, not a room mate and I have been so stressed, traumatised and anxious these last two weeks. I want to keep myself calm and Im afraid staying will mean that the pressure will get to me and i will explode and I dont want to do that. I had thought that perhaps if we did stay in the house together he might realise I had changed and companionship might be the start of the rekindling of the relationship. I dont really believe this because him staying makes the transition really easy for him to start with, it also means that he would be on edge if I did anything that he might construe as me believing that we had a chance. So I discarded this option. The next option was that I move out. I felt that this would be extremely unfair considering that he wanted to leave, not me and that I also earn less than him making my options for another place very limited and also meaning that my daughter couldnt come with me if she wished due to the financial constraints.

So the only other option was to tell him to go. This would mean that he would have to face, really soon, what being separated really means. the loneliness, isolation, uncomfortableness of being away from his home, he has never lived alone before or being a single man since he was 19. I explained that he would have to pay maintenance, half the mortgage and also 50% of other expenses related to him. He was furious and left straight away to look for somewhere, threatening that he didnt know if he would be back that night. He did come back, not long after with rental info, a small 1 bedroom flat, which means my daughter cannot stay with him. he says this is a money issue. He was still angry, at a number of points he threatened things, like withdrawing offers of certain support and telling me I was pushing him further away by doing this. I still feel at peace with this decision but incredibly panicky that he will go out of my life forever and remain angry with me. i am actually hoping this move will draw him back at some point. He kept saying I 'wanted him out' and I corrected him every time by saying that no I didnt, I wanted the marriage to work and explaining why I had come to this decision to ask him to go. He said he accepted that but he still acted very angry.

Please can you advise me where to go from here. I know that contacting him will be a no no for a while. I will miss him terribly and it is difficult enough now and he hasnt gone yet. i hope I have made the right decision. I want to draw him back.


I am sorry to hear about what happened, but based on everything you explained and by your feelings in sounds like you made the right decision for yourself. Sometimes no matter what decision we make we can have regret because we never know what consequences that decision will bring until after it happens. However, stay confident in the fact that you analyzed the situation well and based on everything you made the right decision for yourself at the time. I know you will miss him and want to draw him back. I don't know what exactly is inside of him at this point, but he certainly may miss you since he could not get it the "comfortable" way he wanted by being roommates, so may make him realize he has lost you, but in any case the best thing you can do is take care of yourself regardless.

At least you can try and move on for the time being instead of being in limbo. I truly hope things work out for both of you and wish you both the best.

Please don't forget to leave a positive rating for me and let me know if I can help further.
Jen Helant and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Please can you help me to get through the pain I am feeling at the loss of my husband. He has gone and I am trying not to contact him for a period of time to give him space and also in the hope that he will miss me and contact me. I am so unsure of where to go from him in the hope that I might reconcile with him. Please help me to know what to do. I have trawled every advice site on how to win your husband back and all of them seem to be saying the same thing. Give him space, dont pursue him, keep upbeat and light when you have contact. I fear that nothing will bring him back to me and I am terrified. We had so much even with all the bad stuff, but maybe he doesnt see it that way anymore. How can I approach this so I can cope also. PLease help.


I am so sorry for the delay. I understand you are going through a difficult time right now and the best thing you can do is really to give him space, stay active taking care of yourself, and try not to dwell on him. If you give him space he may miss you, but contacting him too much may get him annoyed and not help what you are trying to do. By taking care of yourself you can continue to try and cope with the pain and if he does come back you do not risk being in a worse situation than you are now. You want to be even better if he comes back. By dwelling on him it does not change anything and it will only bring you down. Try and stay positive. Since we do not know what the outcome will be yet do not let the fear defeat you before it is completed. Worrying will not change the outcome, so take it day by day as it comes. With each new day brings new ideas and opportunities, so make decisions based on information as it comes. It is impossible to predict the future, so why waste your time worrying and getting yourself upset. Concentrate on other things in your life that you do not want to lose.

Related Relationship Questions