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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1852
Experience:  I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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3 months ago my wife told she was moving out. she said she

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3 months ago my wife told she was moving out. she said she doesn't love me the way a wife should , and that she has always depended on a man . that she wanted to be on her own.. that she wants a divorce . i am a recovering alcoholic , i was devestated so i drank beer just to piss her off. i also was in depressed state, and suffer from anxiety. i lost it and went to mental hospital twice to get meds right. also to detoxe hospital when i drink i don't stop. she moved out 26 days ago.i told her today i understand , walk away wife syndrome. i told her i wish i knew this a year ago . she said she did to . i ask for another chance but she says i'm sorry .... i can't .    i have grown and changed, and love her more now then ever and want to try again. i go to therapy and feel great now on my new meds . in the last 6 months we had talks about how she was not happy . but i didn't understand what she was trying to say so nothing changed. walk away wife. do you think i have any chance she will change her mind. today was the first time we comunicated. by text, i told her iv'e researched every thing on how to get yor wife back and i have really changed she said she would watch the video. the walk away wife sydrome and this is how we left it.thank you for helping carl.    we have been married 18 months

Deardebra : Thank you for your question.
Deardebra : I do believe that you can get her back.
Deardebra : What you want to do is really think about the conversations you had with her about her not being happy.
Deardebra : These are the things that need to be fixed before you get back together. One thing I want to talk about is she has been through a lot with you. Out of anger you went and drank because you wanted it to bother her. What you really did was show her her biggest fear. I feel that is what she is afraid of that you will change again.
Deardebra : She has worried so much about it that I feel she protected and blocked her feelings.
Deardebra : She is afraid to get hurt. But what she should have did was just love you and focused on you and her. Instead of thinking about following her heart she let fear take over.
Deardebra : Which took her focus off of loving you, so to protect herself she walked away. Some times people can get so confused by there emotions. People some times fall in love and get so scared of getting there heart broken they run away.
Deardebra : They would rather leave then ever get their heart broken. You need to measure her that this is going to be a new start for us. Tell her that all you want her to do is love you. She needs to experience these emotions.
Deardebra : She needs to drop her guard.
Deardebra : This is what I want you to do. I want you to recreate your first date. Tell ere you want to take her out to talk then surprise her. She is looking for you to change her from being unhappy. What happens in relationships is when you first start dating its fun, exciting and new. Your learning about each other. Then as time passes things get serious and routine. In the beginning you try to impress each other but as time passes it just because the same routine day in and day out. You have to always try to impress each other.
Deardebra : Also communication is very important and you both seem like you can talk to each other she did come too you and tell you she was not happy.
Deardebra : RIght then you should of tried to make changes to make her happy. I'm sure she knew what was making her unhappy.
Deardebra : I want you to write her a letter about how things will be different and mail it too her. This will give her time to think about all you have said. She needs to hear how you feel about her. I also want you to understand that her walking away is her saying she can not deal with this situation right now, but it does not mean the relationship is over. She could clear her mind enough to want to try again. Not everyone hands problems the same some people walk away while some stay and face the problems. It is all on your personality.
Deardebra : She can not handle this right now so she walked away. What you need to do is get her to walk back in and that is by showing her how things will be different.
JACUSTOMER-56f1ytsm- :

i have asked her to go out to dinner yesterday. she said she didn't think it was agood idea. she doesn't want to give me the wrong impression.. as for mailing a letter , i do not have her address now she is ignoring my text messages

Deardebra : She says it was not a good idea and the reason she will not meet us because she knows when she sees you she will want to come back.
Deardebra : I would text her how you feel since you do not have her address.
JACUSTOMER-56f1ytsm- :

i have done that.

Deardebra : Did she tell you one specific reason why she was leaving?
JACUSTOMER-56f1ytsm- :

that she could not make herself be happy here for me

Deardebra : Did she say if there was any changes you could make for her to be happy?
JACUSTOMER-56f1ytsm- :

we never really discussed it

Deardebra : That is what I want you to text her to see if she will respond. Ask her if there is anything that you can change to make her happy again. Some times people go through so much that feelings get blocked. I feel this is what is happening.
JACUSTOMER-56f1ytsm- :


Deardebra : She needs to be reminded why you both fell in love, she needs to remember why you both started a life together. Everything else got in the way so she needs to know and understand her feelings for you are still there.
JACUSTOMER-56f1ytsm- :

i sent the text ,will see if she responds .

Deardebra : Perfect, I feel she will see you willing to do what ever it takes to win her back.
JACUSTOMER-56f1ytsm- :

when i met her she was ending a 2 year live in relationship. she just walked away from him and never looked back. i am afraed d this is what she is doing again

Deardebra : I want you to stay positive. Every relationship is different you are not going to let her walk away you are going to keep trying so she can see that her feelings for you are still there. This is going to take time because you have to show her that you are willing to change to make her happy to get her back. She will not come back right away because she feels things will just go back to the same thing she left.
JACUSTOMER-56f1ytsm- :

this is so hard , her leaving just made me love her even more

JACUSTOMER-56f1ytsm- :

she's not going to respond to me now

Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1852
Experience: I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
Dear Debra and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

she replied,

" nothing can be changed "

now what?

I assume you will want to keep yourself on your exwife's mind as Debra urges, and 3 months is too soon to give up anyway. Debra is right also, that your ex slams the door on past loves to protect herself. But she's not the only person that does that, and it can work very well for her. And you won't start to recover until you have let go of trying to make sure she'll come back sooner rather than later.


The one thing that Debra has given too little attention to is the sentence "she's always depended on a man, and now she wants to be on her own." You've depended on alcohol for a lot of years yourself; so you know a little of how important it can be to be on your own. And most women don't need meds, just perhaps good self-development counseling, to learn how to let go of the dependence they've felt--often since their very first boyfriend at around 14. Feminism since the late 1960s has urged young women to learn more independence through embracing a "sex fast" of at least 6-12 months.


If this is what she has in mind, she may be doing herself a lot more good than she would if she leaned back into her feelings for you. I'm not going to urge you to refrain from trying to elicit her feelings to attract her back, but I do want you to give more thought to what might be best for HER instead of just for YOU. Perhaps, if you could arrive at a plan for the next year that would foster her freedom FROM you rather than either her regressive pull towards dependence or her guilt about making you so miserable that you can't do without her, she might be inclined to experiment with an arm's-length "friendship" with you that could raise her self-esteem and adult coping capability. And thus actually be more attractive than a future without the family support system that could make it easier for her to gain more freedom without going "cold turkey" and "white-knuckling it."


I'm NOT overconfident that such a "friendship" will work for her, because she'd have less regressive pull into dependent lover-bonding than if she found a new friendship that was Platonic from the start. I know this is not what you want to hear. But if your rekindling-feelings plans don't work out, then perhaps this vision of a healthy future for her might even support a vision of a comparably healthy future for yourself, with an eventual friendship in mutual respect between the two of you That Could Develop Some Time into Another Love Bond between the 2 of you at a different balance between dependence, independence and interdependence.


Feel free to respond if you wish, and to ignore if what I've written has only irritated and/or threatened or bummed you. I know if I were still wrestling with the writhing demons of losing & recovering what's escaping me I wouldn't feel even slightly supported. And I don't want to add to your suffering if I can help it.


PS. Just reread that piece of your history: When I met her she had just walked away from a 2 year live-in relationship. You were married 18 months--around 2 years again. You were her REBOUND (aka Healing relationship). So she's not allowed herself the grieving&recovering period that could empower her to choose a mate without him being a "phantom-limb replacement" for what she's just fled from. So if she can't get through letting YOU-as-phantom-limb-replacement evaporate, she will NOT achieve her dimly perceived goal of learning how to choose a mate from her whole personality instead of her unhealed partnership-desperation. And you'll either get another walk-out again soon or a sickening-stagnating dependency relationship.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

wow , i'd like to see what
deardebra thinks

I'm a Marriage Therapist with 40 yrs experience, loveRelationship text author & a depth psychologist, so I operate in several dimensions. Nothing wrong with staying positive, it's one dimension. My PS advice is very pertinent, because dodging grief by rebounding after breakups blocks independent personal development. And if you've spent enough time in AA and related spiritual-development counseling, then you know how important your commitment to spiritual development needs to be. The godfather of AA, as therapist & then distant advisor to Bill W, was Carl Jung. He taught Bill W that the only capable replacement for (consciousness lowering) "spirits" is relationship to Spirit, which Jung called Higher Power (to avoid AA getting trapped in religious sectarianism). Jung is the master teacher of the most profound of the therapeutic lineages that my wife and I both honor and learn from, and what I mean above by "depth psychologist."


So when I advise you to support your expartner's vague intention to become "independent" I'm supporting your likely need for continued spiritual development for yourself, to avoid being sucked back into the arrested development when alcohol took over for your own emotional & spiritual life. Most questioners in Relationships focus most of their blame and "fixit" advice-seeking on their partner's problems & little on their own. At the risk of being as unwelcome as a turd in the party punchbowl, I like to remember (tho I often forget) that you too get to grow from good advice, if you're up for it.


Her age 32 is also high time to start her own adulthood with significant goals of her own, unless motherhood is all she wants. It's serious adulthood. You're in a different stage, having hopefully settled on the goals and life paths you chose in early 30s yourself.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

i would still like deardebras opinion

I hope she tunes in and gives it to you. But I can't insure that she'll do that. And again if I were in your shoes and heart, I'd keep pursuing her too (cautiously) and keep trying to change to make her feel good about coming back also.


I don't understand why you're rating me "bad service." I'm not trying to keep DearDebra from writing to you. I want her to write to you. Are you trying to get me to email DearDebra myself, For You, and ask her to please respond to you? I've never been expected to do that, and I'd have to find her JustAnswer contact even in order to send her a private message from me on your behalf. But YOU can write a response and ADDRESS IT TO DEARDEBRA "Please respond" and probably she'll write back to you. I'll try to reach her, but you can get thru to her home email just by addressing her directly.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

dear debra please respond

Hi, I am a Moderator for this topic. I sent your requested professional, Dear Debra, a message to follow up with you here, when she is back online. If I can help further, please let me know. Thank you for your continued patience.
I am here to help you the moderator sent me a message that you were requesting me. I wanted to talk about when she said about she felt it was not a good idea to go to dinner because she would give you the wrong impression. What I want you to do is tell her that you just would like to talk and that she would not be giving you the wrong impression. Explain too her that you would like to just try and figure things out together and it doesn't mean that you would be giving me the wrong impression because I just feel there is so much I would like to say too you. I also want you to say this that you know that you should have listened too her before and heard that she was unhappy and did something about it, but tell her you didn't. Tell her that now you are living with so much regret and wish that you could things over again. Explain too her that some times in a relationship it gets to comfortable and you tend to take things for granted, then when you lose them from your life all you want to do is make things right, to get that person back that you love. I feel like she didn't think you understood she was unhappy and expected you to change because you love her, but you need to get her to give you a second chance. A chance to make all this right. I want you to tell her all those things. I feel she is just thinking about what she wants to do right now. Make sure you keep communication open with her. Do not stop texting or calling, e-mailing. Let her know you love her and that you do not ant things to end.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

should i let her know , i'm talking to you

You could if you feel comfortable with her knowing. You can tell her that you did not know what to do because you love her so much that you needed advice on what to do.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

i texted that " i love you "

now she is ignoring me

I want you to see if you can set up a date with her so you both can talk. I feel she is ignoring you because she knows that you love her, but she feels bad about everything because she is trying to move on and not give you the wrong impress. But I do feel she still has feelings for you and knows that if she sees you she will fall back into wanting to be with you, but she wants things to change before this happens.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thats it , i'm not ready to face her yet.

i'm lost

You are not ready to face her yet and that is understandable. You love her and your emotions are everywhere right now on what to do. That is ok, you want to collect your thoughts and think about what is best for you right now and what you want to do. I feel that she is trying to let you go but is having trouble moving on. She didn't think seeing each other was a good idea because I feel she thought her feelings would come flowing back and she would go right back to you and nothing would be solved. So she decided not to face you because she felt it was to soon and to difficult. I want you to both try this before you see each other. I feel that maybe you both could try to talk things out through texting, e-mails, phone conversations. You want to tell each other how you both feel. If you both take the steps to find the problems in the relationship. You both could even start again and begin to learn about each other all over again. You both need to really listen to each other so you know what is wrong and what needs to be fixed.
I feel like she is looking for you to change things but that takes time. Also you have to show her so it will take some time for her to see that you are going to try to make this relationship work.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

this is what i got now


I read about the walk away wife syndrome. As I have said before, you could change and be a totally different person, but I would ALWAYS worry, always be on the look-out and walking on eggshells. I can't live like that. Any change you make would not make a difference in my head, because I would always remember. That is not fair to either of us. Like I said before, I could never again be with someone who is in "recovery" or sober. I absolutely refuse. You, on the other hand, should probably consider one day down the road being with someone who is. That would probably work best for both people.

Even if you have changed, our personalities and lifestyles are way too different. The main thing I did wrong was change what I wanted in life and what I wanted to do for you, because of your social limitations. I should never have done that. I actually hurt a few friendships because I always felt I needed to be home to spend time with you. That is my fault, and I should have never allowed that to happen. But that is my own issue and I will work on it.

One way to see if you really have changed is how you react to this email. If after reading this, and you get defensive and immediately think of something nasty and short to say to me as you have done in the past, then you haven't changed at all. All I'm trying to do is be honest, so I don't think I deserve that. If you understand and respect my honesty, than that is a good step.

Since you have anxiety, please realize that even getting into a conversation with you via text like we did on Friday, raises my anxiety to a paralyzing level. Everything comes rushing back. I worry what to say to you, how you will respond, what if I piss you off, and then what if you say something nasty or something to make me worry about you? Even just texting brings all these feelings back. I can't live like that. I know you said texting me is helping you, so I'm not saying you need to stop. But you need to know where I am at right now and I don't want you to get the wrong impression in me answering. I just try to remember that it is not my responsibility to worry about you. You are an adult, and will take care of else if you choose to. I can't do anything more.

I have been living a very quiet and peaceful life and feel very content. Me saying all this will probably make you think I'm cold-hearted, as you have mentioned before. I am not, I am just protecting myself. I am very happy alone, and am in no position to be in any type of relationship for a long time. Call me what you will if it helps, but please try to understand where I am coming from.

If you have changed, than that is great. I hope you can maintain it and one day share it with someone else. But for their sake, I hope they never see or know what you came from.

I do not want to get back together. I'm sorry. I would not mind talking to you eventually but I will not do it if it will give you the wrong impression. I would even be open to meeting with you and your therapist if it will help you, as long as you know my intentions.

I plan on looking into what needs to be done for a no-fault divorce. In the past you mentioned you would refuse. If that is still the case, please let me know, since I think that changes the process and what a lawyer needs to do. I am not asking for anything from you, just that you get better and take care of yourself.

i emailed back that she did nothing wrong and i understand,

but thati love her and can't stop. that i had to try. also that i would stop contacting heer but i might slip up
One thing I want you to ask her if you both can still talk and communicate. I feel there was so much said that you both need to continue to work this out together. She seems to have a lot of issues with you that have happened. She mentioned she changed for you and she feels like she should have not did that, but when people break up they always look at the things they should have not done and what they gave up. A relationship is 50/50 and you can not have regrets when you move on. What she is saying is she is scared that things will end up going wrong and because she has anxiety she is saying just you texting is raising her anxiety. I feel she still loves you it is just should should not handle living on edge all the time wondering when things were going to go wrong.