My Husband Wants to Separate
My Husband Wants to Separate
The Secret to Recovering His Affection and Adoration
By Leticia Vasquez, Laura Doyle Certified Relationship Coach
“I look at you sleeping in bed next to me and I feel nothing.”
Those were the devastating words my husband said, staring into my eyes the whole time. As I held back the tears that stung my eyes, I came to understand what the sound of silence was like.
It was a big ouch. As if I had been punched in the stomach and was gasping for air.
How could that wonderful man who had adored me and worshipped the ground I walked on fifteen years earlier be telling me this?
Very matter-of-factly, he went on to say that he wanted to be honest and didn’t want to hurt me. In the same breath, he mentioned that he’d had a look at rentals in our area but couldn’t go back to living like a student.
The rest of that Sunday is a blur.
That morning, I was fuming inside. Thank goodness I had the wisdom not to say anything then and there.
Which was surprising because I had been pretty honest with him too. In the days, months, probably years leading up to that morning, my disappointment about my husband had been tangible.
Any other Sunday morning, I’d sneak out of the bedroom, throwing him an indifferent glance. I would put on my invisible martyr’s cape and go down to feed our two young boys and start my sad Sunday routine: brewing my own coffee, having my breakfast, reading the newspaper or poking around online.
I’d occasionally look at the clock and, noticing the late morning hour, mutter, “So typical of him. Another wasted Sunday.”
It was 9 a.m. and we should be doing things, after all. Did I mention it was a Sunday?
May 26, 2017
“The goddess of aging gracefully has blessed you. I love you and thank you for never leaving me.”
This is what my husband told me on my 48th birthday. Not that he doesn’t say it any chance he gets these days, but this time he said it with a special poignancy. And then he acted on it.
Then again, he acts on it all the time. He regularly texts me sweet nothings, comes home with something beautiful (a dress, a necklace, perfume) that I happily receive, loves to plan romantic getaways (we’re heading to Paris in two weeks!), and whenever I’m out with friends, he asks when I’m coming home. These days, he just hates to be away from me.
That’s a far cry from my life just five years ago, when I stumbled onto Laura’s Six Intimacy Skills™.
So what changed? Today, my life is focused on meeting my needs first. Laura calls it the indispensable Skill: self-care. And she’s right.
What is self-care? Doing at least three things daily that bring you joy and peace.
Everyone’s list is different. For me, that means doing some exercise (like Goldilocks–not too much or too little, just right), putting earrings on, slathering some lotion all over my body or working on a puzzle.
Self-care is about treating myself with respect, and once I’m sorted, it’s my husband and kids’ turn.
It sounds incredibly selfish, I know.
That’s what I thought when I first read one of Laura’s books. I poked around wondering why the Skills worked for her, and then I came to the part where she said she didn’t have children. “Aha! There it is. No wonder they worked for her.” But still, I gave her Skills a try.
Then I realized that while children, especially babies, force a family into a new set of dynamics, they really aren’t the problem. They simply bring out what’s festering beneath.
Being tired doesn’t help. Neither does the laundry that’s piling up. Or the kids competing for attention. Ditto with that job that needs you there by 9. Suddenly, you are second, third and last place, and who better to lash out at than your partner?
Once I became hard core with my self-care, my time expanded. Over time, the benefits of self-care began spreading to other areas of my life.
As I focused on myself, I had little time to be angry at my husband for sleeping in on a Sunday. (Had I really thought 9 a.m. was too late?)
I had more time to invest in other areas of my life, like my health and my friends.
I became a more patient mom (a teensy bit at least) and a better listener overall.
Making myself happy inspired my husband to find ways to make me even happier, expanding my time further.
He has gradually outsourced help. It was music to my ears when he suggested hiring a cleaner. Just a few months ago, I was happy as could be when he arranged to increase her hours.
He knows that I don’t like cooking. So he takes over the cooking most days of the week or sends me a recipe that I can follow. (He loves grocery shopping too.)
On weekend mornings, as he peacefully dozes (he really does look so cute, I now realize), I either head to the gym or take a quick shower and snuggle up next to him in the nude.
There’s no better wake-up call than that, and it puts us both in a great mood for the weekend.
I don’t get so involved in my kids’ school activities. I realized that it was stressing me out, leaving me depleted. Instead, my home is open to any of my children’s friends who want to come over. That doesn’t stress me. And our house is always full of rambunctious little boys.
So back to my birthday.
In my family’s tradition, we get serenaded at 6 a.m. on our special day. But my husband was never willing to participate. He said it was my tradition, not his. So after twenty years together, I had given up asking him to play a song for me.
This year? He was up at 6 a.m., playing the birthday song for me and singing along.
A sweeter serenade there never was.
What self-care brings you joy and peace? Please share your comments below.