What do you do when your husband or boyfriend tells you he loves and misses you but can’t be with you now.
This was the story one of my clients related to me the other day. Here is her own words.
“I was crushed when my ex husband told me that he loved me but it wasn’t going to work out and needed to be alone. He just packed and said he needed time and walked out. I pleaded with him to stay so we could talk it out. This thing has been brewing for some time, but I didn’t think he would act so suddenly. We have had our share of arguments like any other couple. I didn’t think he was really serious when he threatened to leave me. I don’t think I have been a bad wife and I can’t say he has been a terrible husband. I wonder though if there is another woman involved given how quickly this whole thing has winded down. What do you do when the only man you have known says he loves you but breaks up with you because he just can’t be with you right now in his life. It sounds so much like a lie. In my heart I don’t believe he doesn’t want to be with me. If he says he loves me but acts like he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with me, something else must be at odds. It’s not like he can’t commit. How do you make a man realize he still loves you and is making a huge mistake. I have a girlfriend who I have known for years she told me her long time boyfriend told here he still loves her, but doesn’t want a relationship with her either. What is with these guys that break our hearts and act like is not a big thing? Does loving someone mean anything anymore? I knew something was off when he wouldn’t make time for me. Now he says he can’t be with me. It is stupidest thing he could ever say because I have given him all of me. To think I once thought we were special. I never thought this possible. It is like my husband changed overnight into somebody else. He even told me that I was pretty and should have no trouble finding another boyfriend if I chose that route. What on earth makes a man you are still married to just throw it all out the window. He couldn’t wait to get out the door as I stood their stunned by the spectacle of everything he was doing and saying.”
As I read over her comments I am reminded of how crushed she felt.
Certainly her husband’s surprisingly sudden departure is part of her pain. But another aspect of her ordeal is that none of her husband’s recent past behavior squared with her understanding of where they were in their relationship.
It can be incredibly confusing when you get mixed signals of this magnitude.
What might this kind of communication from your husband or boyfriend be telling you? Obviously, it is incredibly painful when the man you are with and love with all your heart rejects or pushes you away.
It is awful to feel deserted by the one you love and not fully understand what might be going on under the surface. I wrote about this situation in this post that you should check out!
Words matter and when you learn that he doesn’t seem to need you, it feels like a shot in the back.
When wounded, it is not unusual for you to feel anger, bitterness, and resentment toward your boyfriend (or husband).
It is also very confusing too when your boyfriend or husband insists how wonderful you are and how much love he still has for you, but then his actions speak to another truth.
How many times have you heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words“?
It is as true the first time you heard this wisdom as it is in the circumstance you may find yourself in now.
So is this confusing behavior of your husband something that is unique to the sexes?
Do guys roll out this line to simply let down their woman gently?
Are they speaking from behind an agenda that are unwilling to divulge?
If that was true, it is huge miscalculation on part of your lover and it is an even bigger mistake for you to allow yourself to be caught up in his deceit (more on that later).
What is going on in your husband or boyfriend’s mind that he would in one respect be so kind and loving…even sweet…yet later insist that things are not going to work out and doesn’t want to be with you?
What triggers such a Jekyll/Hide behavior from the man you once dearly love, yet now barely even recognize as your husband?
Essentially why might your husband or boyfriend tell you he loves you but that he must go his own way or do his own thing?
What do you do if you believe with every fiber of your heart that your husband loves you but seems convinced that he really needs to be alone? I have also recently written a post for that particular situation….
In reality, there are a number of things that can cause your boyfriend or husband of many years to confuse you with his words and his action. It is confusing indeed when your boyfriend insists he still cares for you while declaring at the same time his full love for you.
Part of you probably thinks he must be crazy or even cruel or both.
Let’s examine the possible reasons for what drives a boyfriend or husband to behave in such a manner and what you can do about it.
Your Man Has Another Lover in His Life
It is an awful realization when you discover that your husband or boyfriend of many years has taken up with another woman.
I am not saying that is the cause for what might be happening in your relationship and why you are getting conflicting signals from your guy.
But you need to consider the possibility that your man has wandered. If not physically (sex), possibly emotionally.
When a man enters into an extramarital affair he will not simply stop loving you.
As couples, we all have connections between each other that we seldom fully appreciate in the moment. Often, it is when we look back or somehow gain perspective that we realize the things we appreciate or have taken for granted.
All of the times when you held each other close and helped each other and all the many experiences you have had together has created a somewhat unshakable bond.
It is not easy for us humans to simply become attached after years of experiences, then simply wipe these many feelings and memories clean from our minds such that we can move on to another. That is hard for most of us to do if we have the least bit of empathy.
If your husband or boyfriend can act this way and just pull up all the roots and move on, then he possibly never loved you in the first place and you should consider yourself better off.
Now it is possible for some guys to pretend to themselves that they are no longer in love with their wife or girlfriend.
They may even be so foolish to say it out loud, hoping to end their relationship with you so they can move forward in their new found love (so they think) with their new partner.
But most often, such thinking is an illusion. Your husband or boyfriend may be deluding himself if he insists that he no longer loves you. But it might take him a while to figure this all out.
So what of the situation of a husband who insists he loves you and even misses you, but doesn’t want to be with you in the same way as in the past?
What is going on in his mind?
Well, as I said, this type of response from your lover might be caused by another force in his life.
He might have stumbled into an affair or may be in the process of being lured away from you. So on one hand, it is true he really still loves you very much.
But this other woman in his life…this newfound love he has come across…will seem very exciting.
Certain hormones will literally fire in his brain and will be coaxing him to act impulsively, telling him this new woman must be the “one”.
Your Husband or Boyfriend is Experiencing Cognitive Dissonance
Your husband may have a case of a lover’s form of cognitive dissonance.
This phenomenon happens when there are two competing beliefs that unfold in your husband’s or boyfriend’s mind.
This happens when part of your husband tell himself that he still loves you. He knows you are important to him and feels attached to you emotionally. But another part of him feels deliriously attracted to this other woman. He thinks of her all the time (his brain chemistry is causing this) and can only imagine how happy he is with her in every respect.
He doesn’t realize that he is riding the magic carpet of new love. But true love is measured by time and this new woman or thing in his life may be a passing fancy.
Yet he still holds you in high regard and can’t deal with the notion of parting ways permanently.
So your guy, if he finds himself in such a situation, is truly in an emotional bind and will act accordingly, zigging and zagging in and out of your life until he can get it all figured out.
Now, your husband may have said some foolish things and told you some foolish lies and even uttered words that are cruel, but in some of these cases he may not really mean. It is the dark side in him that is doing the talking.
The reality is your husband or boyfriend is conflicted and is wrestling with what he should do to reconcile these conflicting feelings he has for you and this other woman.
Your Man Might Be Confused About Whether He Truly Loves You
Love can be a confusing emotion.
It can be so clear and the force of its attraction can sway us to do and say things that we believe will forever stand the test of time.
But love can also wane and fade in moments of uncertainty.
Any number of things can cause your husband or boyfriend to be uncertain about his feelings. The passage of time and the accumulation of experiences can act upon how he perceives the fulfillment of the marriage.
So in order to not be cruel and disappoint you, he may tell you how he loves you and cares for you, but in the next breath tell you that he wants to cool things off in the relationship.
The truth of the matter is the guy you love, probably loves you deeply, but is just too foolish to realize that he has a good thing going.
He may be having a sort of identity crisis or attachment crisis and you are left paying for his lack of stability and security.
There has been a number of times when I have counseled men who were confused about what they wanted.
On one hand, they felt attached to their girlfriend or wife, but that very attachment also scared them. They would say things that would indicate they feared losing their autonomy and freedom or the spontaneity of being single.
It was as if they were in battle within themselves as to how much they should truly commit themselves to their marriage or relationship.
It is true that some men are commitment phoebes. They have insecure attachment styles and may be getting all the things they need from the relationship and are very happy, but something inside them can snap and they can start questioning themselves about what they really want.
It is as if they are designed to avoid the very woman who is best for them.
Go figure, right?
But it does happen within some relationships. Sometimes your husband may be trying to find an out of the marriage. Some guys don’t know a good thing, even when it is staring them in the face.
Your Husband or Boyfriend Might Be Letting You Down Easy
There are some situations in which your boyfriend (or husband) might truly be unhappy and is trying to find a way to escape.
He might be fearful to tell you his true feelings, so it sort of come out in spurts. On one hand he will tell you he loves you and misses your presence which could be true.
He might appreciate you in ways you never imagined. But he might also feel there are some significant problems in the relationship and after time wants to part.
It sounds cruel and the pain realizing such a thing can be very hard on a couple, but it happens every day.
We all try our best to find the right person to share our life with.
We try to do it in an effective and successful way.
But no one really taught us how to pull that off. It is probably unteachable.
The truth is that all of us (men and women) are incredibly complex and different in so many ways and as time goes by, we change in small, yet meaningful ways.
So finding the right matches can be hard and keeping the relationship working on all cylinders is a continuous journey.
Connecting with a boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife in such a way that the two people dovetail with each other in almost a most perfect union is incredibly difficult.
But boy…it is worth trying and many people come really close to that perfect union.
You and Your Husband Seek To Form A Perfect Union
So there is no such thing as the perfectly compatible couple.
You and your husband, however happily married you may be, should always be seeking to form a more perfect union of marriage.
If you boyfriend or husband has given the relationship his best shot but truly feels that it is not going to work out, then you will likely go through a period of time in which your husband starts to withdraw from you.
It will happen in fits and starts, usually not all at one time.
And to make this all them more confusing, your man may continue to tell you that he loves you….and it will be true that he does because love comes in many forms and degrees…but you will feel him slipping away.
What can you do?
What Should You Do If You Feel Your Husband Slipping Away?
Remember, it is not necessarily all bad if you feel that your boyfriend or the man your married is pulling away from you.
What you want to know is how to bring him back when he pulls way. But before you can even succeed at that, you have to get to a place where the two of you can have a very honest and open conversation with reprisal.
So let’s say you start to notice signs that your boyfriend is slipping away.
He doesn’t initiate kisses or hugs.
He doesn’t seem to want to be intimate.
He pulls away from you and breaks off contact or communication more easily.
He might want to spend more time alone or go off with friends more often, without your participation.
The first thing you should do is the opposite of what you feel like doing.
You will probably feel like confronting him and churn up the whole matter so you can get to the bottom of what is going on.
But sometimes this approach just causes him to shut down or worse….blow up.
Pressing too hard, too soon can cause your boyfriend or husband to put even more distance between he and you. Such a reaction from you will only serve to support and reinforce some of the negative things he secretly might be thinking about you.
Getting him defensive or riled up will just hurt you in the long run.
So what can you do to pry out the truth of why your husband is acting differently toward you?
My sense is that men can go into their shell for any number of reasons and sometimes the reason will not make sense to you at the time.
It might not even be a big deal to him, though you may be worried to death about what is going on inside his mind.
Consider one reason for your husband conflicting signals is because he himself can’t quite understand his own feelings either. Depending on the situation, he might need time to sort through what is going on in his life.
So how much time should you give your husband time to figure things out?
Of course, it depends on a number of factors. Normally, a few days should be sufficient. Eventually, the truth will prevail and once known, then you have something you can address.
But until you can get your husband to open up and tell you what is really going on, you will not know just how serious the situation truly is.
Start off with using the “Small Steps Method“.
This is when you simply just show a lot of understanding and give him a super healthy dose of kindness. Sometimes by doing this you trigger a guilt complex and eventually he opens up.
You can also just play “friend”.
Without any sense of concern or expectation of a response, you can say something like, “Sweetheart, I can see you are troubled about something. If I can help, just let me know”.
After uttering this obvious truth, say nothing else. Go on to something else. You have planted a seed. More often than not it will germinate.
Don’t follow up your comment with any other utterances.
Essentially, what you are doing is opening the lid to his box of secrecy and telling him it’s OK to talk about it, but you are not going to pry open the discussion unless he initiates.
So just let your little suggestion simmer. He might just take you up on it.
The idea is to eventually get to the truth of what is really going on with your husband. It is impossible to solve a problem unless you fully understand it and my experience is a full head on confrontation in an effort to get him to talk about it will result in conflict and potentially greater secrecy.
In time, the truth emerges.
Taking little steps that enable your boyfriend or husband to set aside his reluctance to tell you what is going on is usually the most effective technique to getting a person to open up.
Whether what you learn is something you like hearing is another issue.
And if you search my website, I am guessing you should be able to find some solutions for whatever turns out to be the catalyst for your husband’s unusual statements or behavior.