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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5837
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Says he needs space to think about whether or not we have a

Customer Question

Says he needs space to think about whether or not we have a future together after just celebrating our 9 year anniversary. I have been insecure along the way here and there but nothing drastically has changed and things were going very well.
He said he needs to clear his head and figure things out for a couple weeks. I wanted to be respectful so I gave him a couple weeks. Then I emailed after not hearing asking if he wanted it to be over, if he gave up on us and/or if he just wasn't in love with me anymore. I said if either of those were the case to just let me know and I would have to accept it.
He replied "of course I still love you. I just have a lot to sort out. The fact I am still trying to sort it out means I have not given up on us. I just need time to process all of this. I know you don't understand but please respect that."
It's been another week of silence. Is he just afraid to hurt my feelings? I just don't understand. I want to be supportive but this does not seem fair. It is like getting your heart broken everyday all over again.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
It sounds like your husband is not being fair to you. It also sounds like he is not trying to avoid hurting your feelings but instead is asking you not to question him about his reasons for shutting you out. It is basically taking your input and any control you might have regarding your marriage away from you.
If your husband is asking for space in order to consider your future as a couple, then that directly involves you. To refuse to tell you what he is thinking about and telling you that he is in control of your future without your input is putting undue stress on you. You deserve to know what is wrong so you know how to address it. To leave you in the dark creates anxiety and also can make you feel desperate, willing to do what it takes to fix something you are not even being told about.
Let your husband know that you have given him all the time you can to work this out on his own. Then tell him that you want to know what he is concerned about with your marriage, since that involves both of you. If he refuses, then you need to decide what you are willing to put up with. You can try asking him to go to counseling with you to talk it out. That may help him open up and share. But if he won't go, go on your own. You need to decide your next step.
You also may want to consider a temporary separation. That may sound like a direction you don't want to go in, but it may also force your husband to see how his actions are affecting you. By telling him that he needs to temporarily move out, he will be faced with either telling you what is going on with him so he doesn't have to go, or he will move out, letting you know that whatever he is considering might be more serious. But given that you are living in limbo now, which is unfair to you, telling your husband that you want a separation will help you find out where your marriage stands and how you can address it so you have hope.
Here are some resources to help you:
Should I Stay Or Go? : How Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage by Lee Raffel
I hope this has helped you,
May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He is not my husband and we don't live together. We have just been together for 9 years. I guess if you look at it that way, we are already somewhat seperated. I don't know what my next step could be because as of right now, I don't know if he will give me a next step or if I will hear from him again.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information. It helps.
Your next step would be to explore what you are willing to put up with. If he is not living with you and refuses to talk about what is wrong with him, then he is not giving you much choice. He is basically taking all of the control from you. You can only respond in a way that helps you to deal with the situation. If that is ending the relationship, even though it is painful, that might be best for you in the long run. But if you want to keep trying because that is what you feel is best for you, then ask him to consider counseling. Either way, counseling on your own can help you decide. So no matter what happens, you have support and help in putting the relationship back together or mourning the loss and moving on to a relationship you feel happy in.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 2 years ago.
I haven't heard back from you. I hope my answers were helpful to you. It's helpful to explore your options and feelings about those options further before you decide your next step, since you don't want to make a decision and regret it later. Counseling can help you to do that.
If you have any further questions, please let me know. If my answers helped at all, please consider rating three or above so I can be reimbursed for my help and expertise. Thank you.