My husband and I separated five months ago after several years of tensions, fighting, and counselling sessions, which he ended abruptly after blaming me for everything.
His behaviour, once on his own, has surprised and confused me.
He picks up our son and returns him on time, does activities with him, plans ahead. All of this is the opposite of how he acted when living with him full-time.
He’s always pleasant with me, asks how I’m doing, and offers to run an errand or look after a matter that concerns us both.
Previously, he’d resent being asked to look after things, saying that he works “hard enough” without doing my share of things. He was also often grumpy. Not now.
What does all this mean? Was I really more of the problem in our relationship than I realized? Is he just happy to be rid of me? Or, could his changes mean we should try again?
Without analyzing his behaviour, appreciate it, and respond in kind.
These are still early days in the new situation of living apart. He may have seen things in a new light once his role as a father became solely up to him.
He may also be getting some good counselling on his own.
You, too, might consider whether individual counselling would give you a different perspective on the dynamic that existed during your marriage.
No, that doesn’t mean things were your fault, but that the two of you might’ve set up a negative vibe between you, or developed a power struggle in the marriage.
This positive change is a great benefit to your son, and to both of you through the years ahead as joint parents.
Whether it means anything more about your chances of reconnecting remains to be seen over much more time.
FEEDBACK Regarding the wife who complained that her husband became close to his female student (April 14):
Reader – “My late husband was an extremely kind man who liked women. I’d known his wife and when she died suddenly, he was depressed for months.
“Their marriage had been truly happy. After five months, his worried older daughter convinced him to ask me to lunch. We had a pleasant time.
“Then we went out a number of times. I’d been divorced for over two years and didn’t intend to marry again.
“If asked out, I always smiled sweetly and said I was busy.
“We eventually went to movies, the symphony, and theatre. A year later we married.
“When out with others, I always found him with two or three women. He liked them and they felt it.
“Several months after we married, he’d gone to bed ahead of me. As I approached the bedroom, I could hear him speaking softly, so I stopped.
“He was “telling” his first wife all about the lovely day we’d had.
“I backed up and went into the den for a few minutes.
“I had no doubts about him loving me, but was touched and charmed that he still continued to share special times with her.
“My dear, warm, husband died in 2008. When I think of him, I never mourn or cry, but smile, and sometimes even laugh for the happy memories.
“He was a great hugger, too, and just before Christmas I had a young woman at church come up and say "I've had a really rotten week... kept thinking nothing more could go wrong, but it did! I need one of ‘B’s’ hugs."
My long-time best friend isn’t as open as I am about her feelings, as she distrusts people (past experiences).
Also, while we both have insecurities with our body image and other aspects, I admit it. She doesn’t. If I unintentionally hurt her, she flips into a rage and we fight.
When excessive drinking’s involved, our fights become physical, though we soon make up.
She denies being insecure or possessive, and sometimes lies.
I’ve learned that her boyfriend might be cheating. If true, it’ll undo all my efforts trying to get her to trust people.
How do I get her to open up more about the insecurity, so we can stop the fights?
A Yoyo Friendship
It’s not your job or expertise to change her insecurities and distrust. She only needs you to be supportive, especially if her boyfriend’s cheating.
BUT, ending your mutual “excessive drinking” is how to improve the friendship and stop the fights. Period.
Tip of the day:
Post-separation harmony should be appreciated, rather than over-analyzed.