If your spouse wants to leave you … information and advice for The Rejected Person:
- What you need to know right now
- How to handle yourself in a relationship crisis, and
- What to know about the person wanting to leave you
I have been The Decider and The Rejected in marriage crisis situations, and I found the position of being the person who is being dumped to be by far one of the most horrific, painful (at the gut level), anguish-provoking experiences a human being may ever have. Don’t get me wrong, being The Decider is no cake walk, and there is plenty of negative feelings associated with it, so don’t think your partner is feeling nothing, but being rejected by your significant other hits a giant nerve because it involves one of life’s biggest fears – rejection. Think of all the songs written about a person swearing he’ll never leave his love, or begging his love to stay – that preys on those of us who need that reassurance that our love is solid and will last the course of the lifetime.
Learn to accept things the way they are right now
So one thing you need to know right now is that times are tough, and they’re bound to get tougher. There is nothing you can physically do and nothing you can say that can change the situation as it is today, so even though you are in shock and feeling a world of upset, we are going to drive down the path to accepting what is in this moment, and what is, is that you are in a marriage crisis and the future for you is unknown. You are entering difficult days where we cannot know what the outcome is going to be, and the sooner you are able to accept that on some level, the less miserable you will be.
You can do things that will maximize the chances for reconciliation
When you are in a freaked-out, “Attachment Panic” phase, you are feeling adrenaline pumping in your body and your instinct tells you to run or fight for your life. In this case, the fight is to keep your relationship together. Every Rejected person I deal with comes into my office and is in Attachment Panic, and their instinct has told them that the thing to do is to pursue the partner that has rejected them and try with brute force to pull them back into the marriage. Although your instinct instructs you to do this, it is the opposite of what will be effective.
In a marriage crisis, you must remember that your partner has reached a point of stress that that tells them that they must get away from you or they will reach an unbearable tipping point. So while you are thinking you can and must now do all the things for them that you haven’t been doing, your partner will not be receptive to it. In fact, it will make them very angry for you to pursue them while all they want is to get away from you. The harder you fight to bring them back into the marriage, the farther out of the marriage they will run. So you absolutely must give them the peace and aloneness that they so desperately need right now, or you risk tipping them into the zone of permanent decisions, like filing for divorce.
As much as possible, stop obsessing about what your partner is doing and start obsessing about becoming mind, body spirit healthy
Every Rejected person goes into a state of obsessing about what their partner is doing, has done, and will do. Although it is human nature to start obsessing in that way in a marriage crisis, I am calling for you to redirect your obsession to yourself. Why? Because while your partner is in their own state of “I have to get away from my partner or die,” any pursuit if them will injure your chances for reconciliation.
At the same time, there are things you can do that will give you the best chance for that, and that is to leave them alone and not let them see you being pathetic or in an emotional basket case phase. Think about movies you may have seen where the hero starts off weak and broken, but finds some determination to rise up and save the day – this is what I’m asking you to do. BUT, the determination has to be directed at YOU growing up and getting healthy in every possible way, and not at trying to pull, guilt or abuse your partner into returning to the relationship.
This is a very important part of our plan to make it through the marriage crisis with the best possible result. The truth is that your partner wants to get away from you right now, and that hurts. But based on experience, they only thing that is effective in getting your partner’s attention back to the marriage is if they see positive, decisive change on your part. Begging, sudden affection, attention, and negative verbal barbs will turn them away from you while respecting their need for space and allowing them to see you grow and change in a positive direction can be just what’s needed to get them to pay attention to the marriage once again.
One important note, although it may sound that I am asking you to do all these positive things for yourself in order to get your partner back, I am actually wanting you to do this for you. There is no better way to spend your time during a marriage crisis than to self reflect, learn, grow, and become a better you. No matter what happens when decisions are finally made, you will come out a better and happier person if you follow this wise advice.
To help you on your journey, on this site you find a plan and checklist for getting healthy
I will direct you in what I know works, suggest books, and of course you need to be in therapy working on yourself. A good therapist will be teach you things and give you insight into things you can’t see yourself. This is a time in your life to understand how healthy adults function and how unhealthy people fail to function so you will know where we’re going. Most clients I work with agree that it is time to do the work on themselves that they have never taken the time to do.
Also, we will need to take a look at your physical health. Are you in the best physical health you can be at your age? I am not talking about being a body builder, but a reasonable and balanced health that helps you feel good and have plenty of energy. This may mean getting a physical and dental check up if you haven’t done it in awhile. It could mean taking a look at your nutrition, calorie intake, and getting yourself to a healthy height and body ratio.
Maintaining good physical health falls into a category called self care. Many clients have always focused on taking care of others and not themselves, and this is part of what you need to get straight right now – making your own health a priority is not selfish, it is not something that belongs last on the list. Your own health must now and forever more be a priority and top on your list. There is nothing more attractive than a person who takes care of and values the precious life they have been given.
And then there is spiritual health. I’m not talking about religion here, though if that is important to you that’s fine. What I am talking about here is a sense of purpose, connectedness and completeness that comes from within you, not from external sources like relationships and material things. If your happiness and contentment is dependent on external sources and you can’t feel that wholeness from within, then we need to bring you into spiritual balance. I will offer suggestions and ideas on how to start this journey through books, positive affirmations, journaling and meditation. If you think this stuff is not valuable, then I urge you to give it a shot for 30-days and then tell me how you feel!
If you’re like most clients I work with, you have a lot of work to do to bring yourself into balance. No marriage can be saved successfully without each person working on themselves and begin the repair of the things about yourself that got you in this fix in the first place.
Right now I’d like you to begin by starting a journal where you can write daily about what you are thinking, feeling, learning in this marriage crisis journey. Focus on your hopes and desires moving forward.
What you need to know about your partner right now
In a marriage crisis the person who is leaning out of the relationship is called The Decider. Most people in that situation have been unhappy for a very long time, and have slipped through stages of marital deterioration that have led them to bring the shocking truth to light in some sort of conversation with the spouse they are rejecting. Many Rejected partners tell me it seemed sudden and out-of-the-blue, but Deciders will almost always report that they have been unhappy and contemplating the possibility of leaving for a long time.
That is part of the reason it is unrealistic to think that the crisis can end quickly and that the Decider can come home and all be well. Deciders will report that it took so much time and courage to actually step out or away from the relationship that they are not about to quickly go back without a long period of serious growth and change on the part of their partner. Many also say that so much damage has been done, that even if their partner does change, they must remain noncommittal about whether or not they will return.
Deciders also say that when their partner acts pathetic, weak or suddenly starts paying attention to them whereas they weren’t doing it before, it does nothing but turn them off. That is why I implore all Rejected folk to leave their spouses in peace – for now – and to turn their focus toward self-improvement.
The only thing a reasonable Rejected person can do once the marriage crisis begins is to work to calm down, accept that they must go through this crisis for an unknown period of time, give their spouse the space they so desperately need, and focus on becoming a healthier and better person for themselves.
Stay tuned for more information, because there is so much more to know!