The Last Resort Technique

Last updated on July 10th, 2021 at 10:49 am

The Last Resort Technique from the book, The Divorce Remedy by Michele Weiner-Davis, adapted by Philipa Thornton.

Last Resort and Hope for your partnership.
Last Resort and Hope for your partnership.

When your partner has dropped the proverbial bombshell, “I want a divorce,” you need to move past the devastation into action after the shell shock is over. The Last Resort Technique has been developed by Divorce Busting amazon Michele Weiner-Davis to save your marriage, your sanity, or both.

If you are at the place where you have got nothing to lose, give it a go. If your friend is sharing their sadness and hopelessness with you and needs help with their marriage, please pass this relationship advice on.

Caring is sharing! Please pass on to folks who need this important information

The Last Resort Technique

OK, so you have tried everything, exhausted all your options, and feel hopeless and even helpless. Now it is time to use the Last Resort Technique to save your marriage. This relationship boot camp comes with a warning – this is a LAST RESORT.

This needs to start immediately if:

  • Your spouse has said in no uncertain terms that they want a divorce and it feels like they mean it. (This can’t be empty words, spoken in anger during a fight.)
  • You and your spouse are living apart.
  • You and your spouse are in the same house but are like ships passing in the night with very little interaction. You may be in separate rooms, hardly speaking with little or no sexual contact.
  • You have the divorce papers in front of you.

Broken Heart mend it with counselling

Your marriage is at a crisis point. While divorce rates are high, there are relationships that can still survive this vulnerable time and you don’t have to be another statistic. Those rates don’t tell the story of all the many people who beat the odds.

Hold onto the hope I give you here, please!

Hold onto the Hope and take real action!
Hold onto the Hope and take real action!

While no technique is guaranteed to work, there is always some benefit to taking positive action. It’s definitely worth a crack!

I have worked with many clients who were on the brink or in the trauma of an affair. Usually, only one partner is in favour of a divorce and the other spouse who made the call to me is the one who desperately wants to stay together.

If you happen to be the spouse who is keen on holding onto your marriage, it is highly probable that you are not in your usual state of mind and are acting in desperate ways. This very behaviour that you keep doing pushes your partner further away (you are aware of it, but can’t seem to help it!). You have chased, cajoled, reasoned, begged, pleaded, railed, guilt-tripped, and implored your partner to no avail.

No begging, pleading or cajoling.
No begging, pleading or cajoling.

All the phone calls, text messages, letters, emails, and heart and gut-wrenching pleas have failed. You sense that your spouse is out the door and a part of you recognises the attempts are felt by him or her as pressure. They will dig their heels in insisting that the marriage is over, and this may prompt another wave of fear and you to chase even more.

It is the effects of this pursuing and chasing that are DEADLY to a marriage.

Blind Freddy can see this is not working. In fact, if you keep pushing your husband or wife, you will be driving them right out the door. As I said, there is a part of you that knows this. But this fearful, scared, vulnerable part of you is making the wrong decisions and making you appear completely desperate and unwelcoming.

Of course, you need to honor the fragile part of you that is in pain and wants to cling on. It is human nature – we all want to hold onto something that is important and dear to us. However, the flip side to our humanity and animal instinct is, the party being chased or even hunted down will feel the need to escape when you coerce or pressure in response to feeling trapped.

If you are truly serious about saving your marriage, you have to stop pursuing. Now!

When you chase your partner, your partner will feel hunted and you become a point of danger on a primal level. What also happens is, the troubles in your failing marriage and eroding family get lost, as you become the vector for anger and hurt.

Cheetah chasing down a gazelle for her dinner. Has this been you?

You see it – your spouse gets frustrated and angry, and the best way for them to deal with this annoyance is to get rid of it. This means their focus shifts to how they can get away from YOU! It is surprising but it is the reality, this will really connect with the part of you that can hear reason.

Indeed, your very persistence is robbing your spouse of valuable time to think about what else is really going on in your life.

People start to do an amazing reframe here and I often hear spouses wondering aloud with things like, “I am not sure I ever really loved him or her.” This is basically due to the suffocation the spouse feels. It becomes a survival issue and you are the danger they need to escape from.

When we are in survival mode, we will go into flight or fight mode. Usually, partners go into anger and aggressiveness (or worse, pity) towards their spouse as a distancing move and part of separating from the distressing situation. When this happens, the angry part blocks any other feelings, like sadness, grief, guilt, and remorse that might cause some reflection and actually help your cause.

With your mate staring angrily at you, what opportunity do they get to look in the mirror, reflect, and take some responsibility for your marital breakdown?

Option A – Keep doing what you are doing and get the same results.
Option B – Quit supplying you wife or husband with a reason to leave.

Oh if it were only that easy. I am asking you to stop doing the very thing that keeps the feeling of powerlessness and helplessness temporarily at bay. But you have to stop this harmful pattern today. I repeat – stop it now, right this very minute.

I am going to give you a specific guide how to stop the landslide of desolation in your marriage today.

Here is your action plan based on The Last Resort Technique:

1. STOP Chasing!

Immediately cease anything that your spouse might look at as pursuing behavior.

Common Roadblocks to Communication to Stop Today

This means stopping anything that would be perceived by your spouse as your way of chasing him or her, such as:

  • Frequent phone calls, texts, or emails
  • Begging your spouse to reconsider
  • Describing all the good in your marriage
  • Writing letters
  • Following your mate around the house (or anywhere – this is stalking!)
  • Encouraging talk about the future
  • Asking for reassurances
  • Buying gifts or flowers
  • Planning holidays or trips away together
  • Trying to schedule dates together
  • Spying on your spouse, keeping tabs on their calls, movements, and work arrangements
  • Talking to friends and family about what to do

Stop saying “I love you.” This is essential.

It seems counterintuitive – “How will they know?” I get it, but even though this will be hard, know that every time you say “I love you,” your spouse is reminded that they don’t love you and will be looking the other way!

Scary huh? That is why it is imperative to silence the “I Love You’s”. You already feel how disheartening it is to hear their resigned response of “I know” or worse, still silence. Or the ouch that goes with “I love you, but I am not in love with you.” It hurts, doesn’t it? So, stop the chase.

2. Get a Life.

What happens in a crisis like separation is, we become desperate, clingy, and depressed. You are in tears often, mope around sadly, lose interest in things you used to enjoy, and basically become lifeless as the fearful or rejected part of you shuts you down as a means to cope. Of course, it is normal to feel all those feelings and shut down or want to ease the hurt.

The loss of a loved one and witnessing the falling apart of your family are the most painful times you can ever experience. The separation anxiety and desperation are an ugly place to be in for both of you and for others to see. You will feel and look unattractive – not one of us will be at our best here.

Now, if your relationship has had the trauma of a full blown sexual affair or emotional infidelity, you are competing with not only the fantasy of an ideal life without problems but a person that is in the opposite space of distressed.

Hard to hear, but reality hurts and I say this to the part of you who knows how to pick yourself up after a fall and dust yourself off. Awareness helps and heals. 

Here you need to act as if you are moving forward in your life and getting on with it. Otherwise, you better quit now.

Of course, it may seem like I am suggesting an impossibility – get happy, be strong, get back into life, and develop your confidence. You are asking yourself, “How can I do this when I feel like crap, I can hardly function, it’s a miracle getting out of bed each day, and things are horrible at home?” Good question. Obviously, these are normal feelings and you are reacting as any normal person would in such devastating circumstances.

I want to ask you – Is that the core of you? The real you? Or the hurt, scared or angry part getting all the air time?

Because I believe that in the heart of you, your true essence, there is a trooper. That’s right! A part of you at the core can survive this – a part much stronger, mature, more confident, and wiser in dealing with tough situations.

Can I get you to take a moment to get in touch with that part of you right now?

Ask yourself (and you can even write this list down to remind yourself as you come home to yourself), “What was it about ME that my partner was attracted to in the first place?” Allow yourself to remember and really connect to those wonderful parts of yourself.

This is the person your partner fell in love with.

Each of those parts (for reference, please look up Official Resource Therapy Institute for a full description) on your list are valued by your partner but have been sidelined by the hurt and angry parts, whose job is to defend you from attack and the absolute hell you are going through now. Please allow those parts some more air time and a chat with the part of you that is angry, scared, and hurt to negotiate a better way forward.

You are in danger when acting in the victim role of getting typecast and truly become the martyr. Reclaim your life today by reconnecting with your whole self.

Starting Today:

  • Immediately start doing things that are out of character to the way you have been acting lately. Move beyond helplessness into action and power.
  • Allow your mood to be more upbeat in your spouse’s presence.
  • Appear pleased with yourself and your own life.
  • On phone conversations, sound content, even bubbly. Don’t sit around waiting for your spouse to call. Get out and do things. Start a new hobby – rock-climbing, tango dancing, needlepoint, ice-skating, and movies. Get busy.
  • Start to be unpredictable. Let calls go to voicemail. If you’ve always tried to engage your partner in conversation when they call, visit, or go home, be scarce and short on words.
  • Take up opportunities offered by your partner for family time, gracefully, with no expectation of any further.
  • Be a great Co-parent no matter what, your kids didn’t choose this.
  • If you were in the habit of being detective and grilling your spouse about their whereabouts, ask nothing. Simply wish your partner a good time.

In short, you need to make your partner think you have had an AWAKENING and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, with or without your spouse.

This doesn’t mean you are nasty, angry, or even cold. Reread this point and lock it in Eddy!

It is simply a case of pulling back and waiting to see if your spouse notices and, more importantly, realises what they will be missing.
Be warm and friendly.

Remember this point: Backing off increases your chances of your spouse becoming more interested in you, if you ease off and start doing your own thing.

Noone likes being put under pressure and that’s most likely part of the old relationship pattern.

Another important reason for “getting a life” is, you have stopped having fun and doing things that give you pleasure. At times, we all need to be reminded to find out what makes us feel good in a healthy, respectful way. Find your joy!

Taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your relationships. Focus on becoming a better person.

Go back to old interests, church, synagogue, or the library. Join a new class at the community college. Play an instrument or get lessons. Contact some old friends, pick up the phone, and connect. Visit a family member. Rise at dawn, go for a walk and watch the sunset. Read poetry, listen to music, play golf, go fishing, camping, do YOGA, go running, or star gazing. Join a meet-up group, go walking, cycling, get a massage, a haircut, find a personal trainer, and get therapy for support.

Do things that will help you get back in touch with yourself, not just because your spouse might like you more if you do (in fact people have a weird sixth sense when things are not genuine) but because it is important to honor, value, and love yourself in a caring healthy and nurturing manner.

Love yourself well. Rediscover your passions.

You DESERVE it. I know you are worth it.

3. Wait and Watch

According to Michele Weiner-Davis, one of three things will happen when you use her Last Resort Technique:

First, Nothing.

Unfortunately, there are times when the universe just says no and, no matter what you do, your spouse has shut the door on your marriage. It needs to be said that there is no magic bullet. Sometimes, life is just really unfair and we don’t get the things we most want.

Despite not having been able to save your marriage, there will be a secondary gain from applying the Last Resort in your life – you will have recovered yourself and your emotional well-being.

At the very least, you will have gotten back your DIGNITY. Step 2 gives you a plan of action and the part that feels lost and out of control will benefit.

Your self-worth will be in a much better place, allowing you to feel more prepared to take on whatever comes your way. A good point to take on even though it is not easy to hear.

Michele also notes two other responses you might see in your spouse:

The second possible response from your mate is, they become curious.

They might start showing more interest in you, your whereabouts, and what you are doing in your life. Your husband or wife may even suggest that you spend more time together to talk or do something enjoyable. They may also start asking you a lot of questions about these sudden changes.

Listen up: Here’s Michele’s advice if any of these begin to happen:

  • Be loving in return, but not overly excited or enthusiastic.
  • Accept some invitations to spend time together, but not all.
  • Accept all Family time invites. Your spouse seeing you having fun with your kids together reminds them of the value of family.
  • Do not ask any questions about your future together.
  • Be vague when asked questions about the changes in you. Say that you are just thinking things through. Live the shift.
  • Continue to be upbeat.
  • Do not say, “I love you.”
  • Resist getting in the conversation about your relationship.
  • Get a head start and beat your spouse to the punch when it comes time to leave or separate from each other at the end of an activity. You set the tone for going your separate ways.
  • As a rule of thumb, be responsive to your partner’s interest but not too responsive. Going overboard will lead your partner to get cold feet. Be warned.

So, stay interested, but cool in a self-possessed manner, (not icy though, as that will send mixed messages) until you are absolutely convinced that your partner’s renewed interest in saving your marriage has taken hold.

If you are excited about this technique and it is working for you, share it with a friend or write it down, add your comments to the blog, but don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Tell us here, we would love to hear from you.

Once you feel absolutely sure this is so, you can test the waters by becoming more obvious about your desire to stay together. Patience wins out.

Try discussing your future and see what happens.

If your partner is receptive, move forward slowly and begin to tackle the issues that drove you apart in the first place.

If on the flip side you are met with any resistance or reluctance, do a reverse and backpedal quick smart.

Go back to your interested but distant stance until things move forward in a more positive direction. This may take a whole lot longer than you would like – weeks or many months.

You must be patient. Wait until your spouse appears to be a little interested rather than pulling away – you will know when it’s real. While it is tough for the marriage (and you!) to be in this holding pattern, it’s ok. Trying to save your marriage is the most important thing that is happening in your life right now.

Be compassionate and hold onto yourself, even when the scared part of you wants you to act out or the excited part wants to whoop for joy.

The third possibility is probably the least likely, but these outcomes do on occasion happen: The overnight change of heart by your spouse. 

They might lose all thoughts of divorce and jump right back into the relationship as if nothing has happened. While rare, this DOES happen.

Michele gives some great advice:

  • Don’t move too quickly. I liken it to the Latin adage, festina lente, which means “to make haste slowly”.
  • It is vital for you to pace yourself. If you act as if nothing happened between the two of you, then it is only a matter of time before your spouse will have second thoughts about his or her decision.
  • You didn’t get into the place of relationship breakdown overnight. Much as you would like to forget that it ever happened, you won’t get back on track overnight.
  • If you’re separated, don’t jump right back into being together.
  • Once you have your partner’s attention and you sense a real commitment to working things out, you will need to take further steps toward making your marriage a healthier and happier place.

I would suggest The Divorce Remedy by Michele Weiner-Davis, where the Last Resort Technique has been adapted for this article. Truly great advice from couples expert Michele of

Therapy helps you to heal both the wounds of the separation and the causes of what has lead up to it.

Find a marriage-friendly health professional to help coach you into the next level of intimacy. Couples Therapy can really fast-track healing and growth opportunities.

A word of caution about sex: Have it! We are only talking about sexual encounters that are initiated by your spouse. Enjoy the moment. With a sexual connection, our bonding hormones are released – oxytocin. Use it.

*Warning! Please do not read anything more into your intimate moment than a happy event. Do not go overboard or start laying down expectations about your partner. Keep doing the Last Resort.

Good luck and it’s not over till it’s over!

massage dog friends
We are here for you buddy..

We welcome your comments and experiences. Please share here, you are not alone. I personally answer every comment received and there are over 1000 folks experiences on applying the Last Resort here on the Blog

Thank you! Philipa, yours in Service.

1,341 thoughts on “The Last Resort Technique”

  1. Hi Philipa,
    My husband and I have been in a marital crisis for over two years. One day he told me he loved me but he wasn’t in love with me, and he stopped being intimate with me. I knew I had contributed a lot to his feelings ( I had been overly critical of our relationship and him, and had not been grateful enough when he had attempted to please me, so he stopped trying) and I wanted to change myself and save our marriage. Having two kids (15 and 12) together I wanted us to be a good model for them. However, even though I tried hard to make things better, he never wanted to help me because he seemed to be convinced that we were not meant for each other. Many times I got frustrated and told him to leave if he wasn’t willing to help me fix our relationship, only to beg him later to stay and give me a chance. I read lots of books, blogs, and knew I was making the mistake of pursuing him, but I couldn’t help myself. My patience never lasted long enough and he invariably rejected me over and over. I just finished an online program whose aim is for women to improve their relationship without their husbands’ help. I was taught many techniques to feel attractive and gain self-esteem and it has worked up to a certain point. However, when it was time to engage my husband in the process, he was still not willing to do so. My coach said she didn’t understand his attitude, because men who are not having an affair and see positive changes in their wives, will try to work on the relationship they have. She told me that if he didn’t want to meet my emotional and physical needs (which I had expressed to him politely), I had to make a decision. It had been too long since I was in limbo and I had suffered far too much. I thought the most dignifying decision to make was to ask him to go (this time for real), so I gave him two months to find a place of his own and told him we’d need to see a lawyer before we separated. He recognized it was sad that we had to part ways, especially for the children, but he didn’t know if his feelings for me could change. Now I have decided to apply the last resort technique suggested by Michele Weiner Davis. I need to be very firm, move on with my life, and never pursue him again. I am also reading books on getting over a breakup, which are helping me stay strong. I only told him of my decision a few days ago, so I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I want to show him that I respect myself and that I can live without him. It would be great if we would come back to me, but if not, I hope to learn to be strong and have a positive attitude.
    I appreciate any comments or suggestions you might have.

    1. Hi Olmeda,
      thanks for writing in. Glad you have found the LRT. Reading your email it sounds like there has been a lot of pressure in the relationship. So sorry to hear this. It’s pretty tricky when there’s been criticism and the ups and downs you mention.

      Olmeda, you are on the right track here by stopping any pursuit and getting your life and self back.
      When you make a decision like that it has to be from your heart. Where you feel you are choosing to do this for you, and letting go of the outcome.
      That takes real inner strength, so best of luck. Hope for the best and carry on regardless.
      Take care xox

      1. Hi Philipa,

        My boyfriend of 7 months and I were very happy (I thought) and then he told me (because I asked) that his feelings weren’t progressing and he wasn’t sure he could ever love me. This literally came out of nowhere. He said he hadn’t told me yet bc he didn’t want to risk losing the relationship before he knew for sure.

        I was and behaved like an absolute train wreck (texted sooo much, etc) and we are taking a break from communication until next week – he said he wants to talk then. He says he is certain that it’s over but not sure he can see me yet. It’s confusing.

        I did the LRT and told him it would be OK whether he reached out or not and then I just wanted him to be happy and find his person. I’m not going to contact him, and I know I’ll be ok if I never hear from him again (although it will hurt like hell).

        Do you think there’s any chance for me if I continue to follow the LRT?

        1. Hi LBF,
          hmm, with the greatest respect, I am wondering why you would want to be with someone who after 7 months has said they don’t love you.

          The LRT would be useful to help guide you to the best you.

          You are a woman of worth who deserves to find love.

          I want you to believe in you!

          I respect this person for being honest with you, as hard as it was to hear.

          So don’t chase, heal, and grow so you may go forth to find your mate.

          If you find this is a pattern in your partnerships, I would recommend you get coaching for freedom.

          Take care xox

          1. Thank you so much. These are all things I needed to hear.

            He said that he was planning on continuing the relationship in the hopes that his feelings would change.

            1. Truly you are wise in recognising this Stephanie.

              Indeed you both sound like you have acted with integrity. I love coaching people beyond their patterns of the past into a loving future.

              We can’t do that when we are in unfulfilling relationship. Passion, excitement get us going. Then bonding and commitment continue the progress to the next level.

              Take care wishing you an awesome 2021. Perfect time as the world heals to for love to find you!

  2. My husband of years has been unkind to me for at least two and doesn’t consider the impact it has had on my mental health.

    I changed the front door lock after one incident and he stayed elsewhere- then within a week he has found a rental and taken almost everything from our home.

    It has been four weeks, I’ve already done all the begging, harmed myself and everything this article says not to do.

    I desperately want him home and I can’t believe he has given up so easily.
    I’m finding it hard to look after or even love myself when I feel so empty.

    1. Oh dear lost and lonely,
      there sounds like there have been a lot of issues is there. If he has been unkind for two years and not considered the impact on your mental health, perhaps your mental health may improve.

      What small steps can you begin to look after yourself? I think you need personal support on the ground that would be helpful. Who is in your friendship network with whom you connect with, is there family support for you? Can you find a therapist where you are?
      Focus on all the Steps of the LRT so that you can rebuild, and reinvent yourself.
      all the best Philipa xox

    2. Go and follow Step 1 of the LRT to the letter. Then move to getting yourself back. Our self worth can’t be tied up to another person. Of course you are hurt and upset. But don’t get stuck there. Take care, be gentle with yourself over the holidays. Best wishes Philipa xox

  3. Dear Philipa,

    I have been married to my husband for 11 years, together for 16 years. We have a 13-year-old son. I would say that we’ve had a particularly healthy and mutually supportive relationship. I’ve always considered my marriage one of the strongest. In one instant everything collapsed. One year ago my husband told me he wasn’t happy any longer and wasn’t sure he wanted to work on the marriage. We have since learned that he is the pursuer in the relationship and I have traditionally been the withdrawer. I was so shocked and saddened to learn that I had been misinterpreting his attempts at connection. He often felt that I was emotionally/sexually unreachable and that made him feel incredibly lonely. When his attempts at connection aren’t met, he amplifies his effort and he tends to overwhelm me with his sex drive and need for affection. That said, we’ve certainly had a wonderful sex life, a rich family life, and a deep friendship. After 5 months of me begging, pleading, and learning everything I could about attachment theory, we reunited. The last 6 months have been incredible. We used tools we learned in intensive couples therapy and reestablished a strong connection. He gave me a new wedding ring, we spent lots of time talking, having dates, and articulating our appreciation for each other. And then we came to a bump in the road 4 weeks ago. The Covid-19 lockdown overwhelmed me and I turned my attention away from my husband and towards self-care (baths, naps, foreign films. etc). He interpreted this as me withdrawing from him. It triggered a deep, old loneliness in him, and in an instant he announced that he needs a divorce. Immediately. We told our son within 1.5 weeks and were speaking with a divorce attorney within 2 weeks. I’m shocked and overwhelmed by his sudden change. And this week I’ve actively adopted the LRT. My question is – how do I act when he wants to talk to me about the steps we must take to proceed with the divorce? Do I act friendly and cheerful about these heavy topics? Do I reiterate that I do not want a divorce and would very much like to work on our relationship skills before we end it? Do I just cheerily go along with everything he is asking for so that I can move out and settle our affairs? Or do I ask for him to slow down? I’m just not clear on how LRT works when discussing divorce logistics with your partner. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you so much for your time.

    1. Dear Rebecca,
      oh boy so sorry to here that. From my reading you guys did a lot of great work to turn things around.

      These patterns take vigilance as we fall back into our old behaviors. In my experience too unless we work and resolve the underlying parts involved – our younger selves it will repeat.

      Your insights are spot on, painful I am sure for the turnabout. When we are the withdrawers it can take a bit for us to notice our partner’s angst.

      Given this pattern, and you are the withdrawer, you may need to adopt a modified version of the LRT.

      Rebecca, things are moving really quickly. I would hope there would be scope to slow things down. I think there may be goodwill enough to have that happen.

      What I would suggest is that you offer deep acknowledgment, empathy, and emotional connection. Which given where things are up are going to be pretty challenging. If you can be with his upset and distress and hang in there without withdrawing and defending I wonder what might be possible?

      I wouldn’t over apologize, I am sure you have said sorry. Let your actions shine through. Turning up being present and really listening to him with deep empathy. Please use mirroring and validation. And all the patience you have.

      Please look up Imago listening techniques on the blog and google for more in-depth information.

      Take care Rebecca and let us know how you go. xox

      1. Its been a month since my husband of 9 years and I seperated. We have been together for 11 years and married for 9 with two children of ages seven and two. We have always had problems with communication, he hardly expressed himself and I always expressed myself and believed I was always rght because he would never talk about his feelings. Despite that I believed we were okay, like any other marriage. We werent really active until the last month we really started to enojoy each other. At the same time our sexual life was getting better he was also becoming distant, and payi g kore attention to his physical appearance. I started having trust issues because he had never acted this way in all this years, one day we were intimate and he asked why i was being too nice to him lately. So i said because i was feeling bad of my actions and i felt i was loosing him so i was working on myself. The next day he dropped the news that he wanted to divorce. No real explanation, just that he had suffered a oot in those 11 years because of how harsh i was and that i had caused him a lot pf damage. I honestly feel that the reason was because he started to feel some sort of attraction for a new co worker and due to his job he spent more time at work that with us so he would se her more. I asked and he said and admitted that he was messaging her and started flirting but nothing else was happening and nothing was going to happen and that she was not the reason oir marriage was endding that he had just gotten tired of trying to make me happy and of me making him feel like i wasnt happy. So yes i begged l, cried for a second chance but he said nothing would change his mind and that I needed to have dignity and value myself. Like I said its been a month and nothing has really changed but also I have not stopped begging for a second chance and asking if he has done something with that girl. He keeps saying no but he also keeps getting annoyed by me and seems like he just wants to avoid me at all costs. Its hard to stop talking to him because there is kids in between so we still have to see each other when he comes pick them up. I’m obviously desperate and dont know what to do.

        1. Dear Deanna,
          I can see this has been a shock, so sorry.

          What you describe in your email is not uncommon. When a partner decides to call it quits.
          From what you say your husband appears to be the turtle in the relationship – turtles avoid conflict and hope things just go away. Turtles inevitably are with hailstorms. Hailstorms will get louder in an attempt to address things. Maybe you can relate.

          I feel like I repeat this often on the blog, it’s not about the third party. We can’t do much about that, which possibly could be a relief. We can change ourselves.

          So this gives us our power back. This is exactly what the Last Resort provides you guidance on. Stop begging, regain your dignity. Take care of yourself in kind and compassionate ways. Be a good enough parent. Do not mention this girl again, as the response you are getting anger is a signal. And like I keep saying, the odds are it has more to do with the patterns of disconnection in your relationship than this other person.

          Apply the Last Resort to the letter for best results.
          Take care and good luck!

  4. Hi Philipa,
    My husband and I have been in a marital crisis for over two years. One day he told me he loved me but he wasn’t in love with me, and he stopped being intimate with me. I knew I had contributed a lot to his feelings ( I had been overly critical of our relationship and him, and had not been grateful enough when he had attempted to please me, so he stopped trying) and I wanted to change myself and save our marriage. Having two kids together, I wanted us to be a good model for them. However, even though I tried hard to make things better, he never wanted to help me because he seemed to be convinced that we were not meant for each other. Many times I got frustrated and told him to leave if he wasn’t willing to help me fix our relationship, only to beg him later to stay and give me a chance. I read lots of books, and blogs, and knew I was making the mistake of pursuing him, but I couldn’t help myself. My patience never lasted long enough and he invariably rejected me over and over. I just finished an online program whose aim is for women to improve their relationship without their husbands’ help. I was taught many techniques to feel attractive and gain self-esteem and it has worked up to a certain point. However, when it was time to engage my husband in the process, he was still not willing to do so. My coach said she didn’t understand his attitude, because men who are not in an affair and see positive changes in their wives, will try to work on the relationship they have. She told me that if he didn’t want to meet my emotional and physical needs (which I had expressed to him politely), I had to make a decision. It had been too long since I was in limbo and I had suffered far too much. I thought the most dignifying decision to make was to ask him to go (this time for real), so I gave him two months to find a place of his own. I also told him that we’d need to see a lawyer before we separated. He recognized it was sad that we had to part ways, especially for the children, but he didn’t know if his feelings for me could change. Now I have decided to apply the last resort technique suggested by Michele Weiner Davis. I need to be very firm, move on with my life, and never pursue him again. I am also reading books on getting over a breakup, which are helping me stay strong. I only told him of my decision last week, so I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I want to show him that I respect myself and that I can live without him. It would be great if he would reconsider, but if not, I hope to learn to be strong and have a positive attitude.
    By the way, Philipa, our 20th wedding anniversary is July 15, two weeks before he’s supposed to move out. I know I need to have no expectations, but when should I schedule (if you think I should) an appointment with a lawyer? Also, if he does move out (as you see, I never lose hope), what kind of contact you suggest that we have? In the past, he had talked about coming home some evenings to be with the kids and having dinner together, but perhaps that would be not very different to what we are doing now. The difference would be he’d be sleeping in another place instead of in our home office. What do you think?

    Thank you so much for any advice you might have.

    All the best,

    1. Dear Olmeda,
      your relationship has been in crisis for a long time. Sorry to hear that.
      You are doing the right thing in that you are focusing on what you can change, which is you. Well done. I read you are taking active steps in your self-development.

      I am a bit confused reading your email when you say I should have no expectations and then ask when I should schedule a lawyer.

      From the Last Resort perspective we do not take these steps until we have really applied Step 3 Waiting.

      It takes time for your spouse to witness your shifts. This is key they get to see your good self, not your saying things. I hope that makes sense. What I mean here is you lead with actions not words.

      I think it’s really important to follow steps 1 & 2 to help you learn to be with yourself in a positive way regardless of the outcome.

      Please read through the blog as you will find lots of helpful advice and know you are not alone. Apply what you think will assist you in repairing your self-esteem.

      Family time is super important. I am sensing you have taken the lead here, so maybe allow him to step up on that front.

      What is your plan if he just doesn’t move out? There seems to be a bit of ostrich in the sand going on.

      We certainly don’t want to give any ultimatums. Wishing you the best of luck moving forward here.

      Thinking of you on your anniversary too. These can be tough times, so go gently with yourself Olmeda xox
      Take care and let us know your progress xox

  5. My wife of nearly 2 years left me 3 weeks ago.
    Our marriage seemed great until February where she told me she was unhappy and unsure why. She had just turned 30. She tried to kiss a coworker while we were all out for drink then apologized to be and cut off communication.
    She then started texting a mich older man 15k times in a month, I considered it an emotional affair and we fought. She decided she didn’t want to work on the marriage and after a few weeks of tensions and fights, she moved out.
    She has signed a year lease and already made a large purchase (washer dryer). She told me the separation is permanent and we signed an agreement before her leaving. She has reached out a few times since – once to ask how I was doing and we talked briefly and she reiterated that she’s not coming back. Then texted me about a mundane thing she forgot and could replace and yesterday made an excuse to call and ask how I was and what was I doing. I told her we’re not in that place anymore.

    Basically, she believes she wasn’t ready for marriage, told me she hasn’t been in love with me since we got married, and may never be ready for marriage

    Do I have any chance? I’m trying to stay aloof and not engage with her, while going out and enjoying my life, but finding it difficult as all I want is to fix our marriage. I know I pushed her away at the end by trying too hard.

    1. Dear Richard,
      super hard to have so much happen so quickly.

      Yes, the LRT will at least give you your dignity back. Tough as it is, it is good to accept a person is where they are at and what they are saying.

      You know possibly from experience trying to change someone’s mind when they are set on a particular course is nigh impossible. And heartbreaking. So use the LRT method to stop this cycle if it’s been happening.

      The LRT is not so much about being aloof.

      It is about being present to yourself and partner in a new way. Showing you are warm kind and caring but also believing where they are at and making your own way forward for now.

      This is achieved best with actions, not words.
      You get a new haircut and start doing exercise, things that make you feel better. Try harder with yourself possibly.

      People can do a reframe of I never loved you. It’s not worth arguing that point and not Step 1 – Stop Chasing.

      Step 2 will be great and a shift in your patterning perhaps? An opportunity for a new you and a reset.

      Yes, I would say you have a chance but you will need to commit to the LRT and following it’s course. Step 3 is patience.

      Keep us up to date with your progress.
      Take care xox PHilipa

  6. Sometimes the best thing to do if things really won’t work anymore can be to let go. We can’t wait for someone to stay if they don’t want to and if you’re married it could lead to a divorce, that no one wants.

  7. My wife and I have been together for almost 17 years, and married 14. We got together in high school. We have two children (8 and 12). She’s been having issues for a few years saying that she doesn’t love me that way anymore. The whole I love you, but I’m not in love with you line. Now, she’s asking for a divorce and won’t go to counseling because she’s convinced nothing will save us. It’s so frustrating that she is not willing to try and go to therapy for us, and the children. I’m trying to work on myself, and I’m going to my friends house here and there. I’m just having a hard time not trying to convince her to stay… I made mistakes in the beginning by ignoring her, not helping her with the house, and not wanting to work (I was a kid). Now, I cook and clean, I have a pretty good job (ISP Network Engineer), I’ve made it a point to always tell her that I love her, and how beautiful she is. It’s just not enough…

    1. Hi Kyle, thanks for writing in to me. Your story is common and I get your frustration.

      Glad you found the LRT.

      As an experiment notice what happens when you attempt to convince her to stay or try something like therapy.

      I would guess you get either one of two responses. The active or passive.

      She may become upset and tell you all her reasons to go and how out of love with you she is. Solidifying in her mind why she needs to leave. Disheartening, truly.

      Or she will go silent, potentially feeling hopeless, more heartbreaking.

      Either of those situations you want to avoid. Please let me explain.

      As she hears herself out loud with her reasons this further reinforces the belief and thinking her only option is to leave. Not at all what you want to strengthen here.

      The dead air scenario may say in the silence – you don’t really hear me. So why bother saying anything? Horribly to say the least.

      Why would you do that to yourself? It will undermine self-esteem further. Hence Step 1 Stop the Chase.

      It is devastating the whole I love you, I am not in love with you place. Read through the blog and see my communication techniques to start a new way of being and show her.

      The courage is to hear her and honour her desire for difference.

      This can take a while if these old patterns you say you did – ignoring her, not working and not stepping up as a teammate has gone on for years.

      I am guessing your wife’s language of love is not words. Here you will need your changed and new caring behaviour to do the talking rather than saying I love you, you are beautiful.

      If you do wish to show your appreciation make it about her as a person, not her looks or her parenting ability. Say I notice how kind and thoughtful the other day when our child was upset.

      Your spouse needs to be connected within a new way. This is your challenged Kyle. Use the LRT. Forget trying, as that will not last. Commit 100% to all 3 Steps.

      Keep us informed of your progress.
      Cheers Philipa

  8. Hi Philipa,

    So recently I found out my wife was having an emotional affair with someone whom she has never met. She feels connected to this person, and have pretty much decided to pursue this path and for us to separate. Initially she ceased contact with this person and we tried to work it out, after 2 weeks, I think she has settled on this decision and started talking to this person again. We are still living together and we are still living like a couple, I know it is a weird thing to do, she still loves me but isn’t in love with me.

    I have been doing all the incorrect things of pursuing her, as I feel very insecure and knowing that I am to lose her.

    As she has started talking to this person again, I feel like the LRT will not work, as she will be preoccupied with this person, what should I do in this case? Should I tell her to cease contact with this person out of respect while she is still here? I am at a loss, I feel like even if I was to better myself, she may not notice as she will be in contact with this person. We have both talked about this a lot and I think we are both hurting. My part in this failed marriage was I did not make her feel special and our goals did not align – she was consistently growing while I was comfortable, not only in relationship but self love.

    She wished this had never happend, but cannot help the feelings/interest she has for this other person and the lack thereof for me.

    What do I do?

    Thank You

    1. Dear Edward,
      Grasp the Last Resort Technique and make it your focus.
      No chasing means not mentioning the third party at all. It may be tough to here but this emotional affair is more of a symptom.
      What you need to be is the man she originally fell for. Step 2. Get your mojo back.
      Be a safe place and accepting of your wife’s needs. Unconditional love is allowing another person to be themselves.
      There has been a loss of connection and reading between the lines of your letter, I imagine a reconnection is happening. Go slowly and apply your best efforts to the LRT for best results. Good luck!

  9. Hello,
    I have been married for 26 years. I have two grown children and 2 grandchildren. My husband is a very sarcastic, childlike person. About 15 years ago it was brought to light that he had a child with another woman when he was 19 (before we met) and gave that child up for adoption. Unfortunately, he never told me about it. Our children are adopted as I had ovarian cancer as a teen. I thought we shared that neither of us had biological children which I found out was a little white lie. I am not angry about the child and I even wish she was more willing to be a part of our lives but I also understand that she has a family. I believe that when my husband was forced to tell me this information there was a significant shift in his personality. I don’t fully understand it but he is just not the same person. He is often sarcastic to me and our girls. He often says things that we consider guy humor and despite marriage counseling twice and asking him to stop….. he just keeps acting like the annoying 12 year old brother. He has ruined relationships with his family, my family and is about to extinguish his relationship with me and our girls. He has mentioned more than once that he is toxic and wants me to move on. I took my vows seriously, and I really think he needs psychological help due to the adoption or something else that is deep seeded within him. I have tried everything a million times over. I am not a clingy, chaser at all so I am not sure if this technique will work for me. I am a very independent strong person. I carry our family financially and he is involved in very little decision making per his choice/ability at times. I am thinking I will just try moving on and see what happens. Just wanted your thoughts on if I should try this anyway????

    1. Thanks, for your email Hopeless in MN.

      Certainly, there are a lot of powerful emotions and experiences informing your relationships in current trials.

      Sorry to hear of your Ovarian cancer and so young!

      My heart is warmed hearing that you went on to have a family by adopting, congratulations.

      I wonder what role shame and embarrassment had to your husband not sharing his first child’s birth circumstances. Truly people also hold back the truth to both protect themselves and their partners. There is a purpose to any behaviour and many ways we can see this through the lens of kindness rather than anger and frustration.

      Though I get it immature behaviours can lead us to act not in the best ways.

      Rereading your email it seems to me your husband is drenched in shame. This would be why he is pushing those who would love him away. Part of him feels he is unlovable and not worthy of connection.

      You are both possibly going through another round of grief and loss as your husbands adult child’s existence has come to light.

      Maybe your hopes of a close loving relationship, not as yet realised is loaded with strong feelings. Disappointment, hurt and more. These may be playing out in the interactions you are experiencing in your partnership ie the sarcasm and patterns of reaction going on.

      I hope this may help.

      The LRT has to be adapted to the circumstances of your relationship. In your case, it means stepping in, not out.

      There appears to be a pattern of over and under-functioning in the relationship. As you say you carry your relationship financially and make the decisions. Reading between the lines I get a sense of resentment. If you are resentful how might that play out?

      Your way forward will be to invite your husband back into the relationship as your partner. Talking and sharing your vulnerable feelings. Allowing new connection, not disconnection I suspect would be more useful.

      I would suggest Imago Therapy as it teaches us to communicate our deepest truths. When we are safe we can share more of our inner selves.

      Read through the blog for how to mirror, validate and empathise. Super powerful tools for transformation anyone can learn.

      Get Michele’s book. Of course, I am available for individual coaching online.

      Wishing you Hopeless in MN, a new way forward.

      Blessings to you in these tough times xox

  10. I have been dating a man for almost 3 years. We both have a lot of wounds/baggage from our previous relationships. I was the runner for the first 6 months then he stopped chasing and I started chasing him for the last 2.5 years. Last july, I realized what I was doing was further pushing him away, so I did the LRT and he came back quite quickly. Then to run for the hills three months later; I tried to be supportive but not chase him. He ended up doing an IMTT session with his counselor and appeared to be a new man and pursued me and promised he would never run again and that he was cured from his fear. (fear of me being his ex wife)….I have the same fear about him being my ex husband. we both have a lot of fears and insecurities from our past and protect ourselves when we are triggered. He has the tendency to turn away from me for awhile as I turn back rather quickly. He ran again last week after a month of me feeling like he was pulling away. I kept asking if I was being disrespectful or doing something that was bothering him and he kept telling me no all was good. It turned out that there were a few things that he was bothered with and didn’t tell me at the moment (because he didn’t realize it then) and let fester. I feel sabotaged as I was turning toward him and trying to figure out what was going on with him. So now here we are again, him seeing in black and white and that are relationship is all bad and he “doesn’t feel supported or accepted for who he is”. I tried to explain that he was in that mode again and he just kept defending himself and pointing the finger, which I would get upset/hurt and point back at him. I don’t know what to do anymore. I love him with all my heart and want a future with him but can not continue to be stone walled and him not talk to me real time and then run after it piles up for him. Help!!!!

  11. Hi Phillips
    I have started the Last resort technique today, early days I know. Partner of 19 years told me he does not love me and has moved into spare room. I am devastated and the last few days I have begged, guilted him, angry, begged some more. All the things I should not do. We have no children, both 48 yrs. I think it’s a mid life crisis. He says he has made his mind up and is absolutely not going back. He will leave in Jul when lease on house expires. We have a home together also and we have even started the financial chat. More I begged, the angrier he got. I love him desperately and want this to work. Is the last resort recommended considering he says there is no way back.

    1. Hi Desperate,
      Good on you for starting the LRT.

      The Last Resort is truly recommended when our spouse says there is no way back.

      It gives you ways to change your behavior and regain your dignity. Always a good thing! Best of luck xox

  12. My wife’s lover ended the affair nearly 5 months ago,she was devastated,I reached out to help her,stating I am not gloating there is nothing to gloat about, (Our dream of life in a warm country mainly for her Psioratic Arthiritis was shattered after being here only 3 months,they had an off on relationship that totalled 8 months and she moved out after spanish lockdown with 2 of our 4 dogs !) I said “just come home,you are living in a horrendous area,I fear for yours and the dogs safety,not only that the entertainment industry is shot here,so money is running out we couldn’t afford her renting.

    She reluctantly moved back adamant it is purely financial (Gratitude eh ?) but at least our dogs were reunited as I had 2 here as well,our Chihuahuas are our little family.I let the girl I was seeing go,as I felt a 3rd or 4th party in this would be far too messy,and besides I still feel we could fix us now he is out of the frame.

    Her behaviours seem to be classic MLC/Menopausal almost every pointers,with some pretty narcissistic stuff thrown in too,,I had the “I love you but not in love with you”Ect,out all the time,clothes hair shoes make up,a year ago the new red sporty car,to go with the new B/F,the other stuff has been going on for a number of years,always nagging with nasty sarcasm,I took a lot of abuse,but then would explode and dish it back out,,totally handled it wrong.but I have absolutely really educated myself this past year,and as much as she has put the blame all on me,so much of what she has done has attributed to our demise.she doesn’t even realise and it would cause such arguments if I was to point it all out to her,and serve no purpose.

    Applying much of what I have learnt,we are cohabiting quite agreeably,I wish I had this knowledge years ago,when she has started to verbally abuse,I have been very calm and assertive and quickly diffused her,it took 2 or 3 times and is a far better atmosphere.helping to rebuild respect,I am gently applying the 5 love languages trying to rebuild connections,she isn’t as cold as she was to receiving a little affection from me now.

    But still she displays selfishness and inconsideration,and she seems so restless and is quick to anger over simple things,on lockdown she built up loads of Local Facebook single friends male and female,so wasn’t short of places to go,once we were allowed,and one who she is now inseparable from,found her the accommodation last year,he is a local gay entertainer,lovely guy,and she sticks around him and his associates most days,leaving me with the dogs,she would love to take the spare room,as he is looking for a lodger,but finances are tight as it is,half our monthly expenditure is from savings at the moment.

    I am not attempting to verbalise my thoughts and rock the boat,we spend 2 days a week together,I am just biding my time,as it may diminish as many of her full on friendships have done in the past.but I have slipped a couple of times and opened my mouth,she worries about him on his own,yet is happy to leave me out here in the mountains,he has been here for years and has so many friends nearby,and has hair customers,so does at least see people,

    I want to fix us and get back on track for when the covid eases and entertainment comes back,,we can start our Gigging together,and hopefully re bond before it completely explodes if she meets someone before

  13. Hello,

    I have been married for only a year but have been with my husband for 8 years. Everything was great, or so I thought, until suddenly he said he wasn’t happy. Later, I learned he was having an affair with a much younger woman. I was devastated because I never knew he could do something like that to me. He left the house with all his belongings when I begged him not to. Three weeks later, he was back and wanted another chance. We stayed together for about three more months, and now he is gone again. I know he is thinking about fixing things with the other woman since she blocked him and has no way to contact her and that is keeping him intrigued. However, I cannot understand how he suddenly does not care about me when we had such a good relationship. We have been separated for three weeks now. I have been trying to better myself and work on the things that I like. He has texted me a few times and even asked me to come over and I have tried my best to show him that I am doing well with him or without him. However, yesterday, Valentines day, he did nit message me at all and I am taking it really hard. I am confused as to what I should do with social media… should I delete everything about us? I am desperate to fix my marriage.

    1. Hey Vanessa,
      I hear your confusion.
      We need to get into our calmer space. When are desperate we can come across as flaky and not make good decisions. Sorry no Valentine’s message came through. However, don’t get stuck on that, work through your hurt with a good friend. Let it go.

      When you say you are confused about social media I am not sure what you mean. Deleting everything could appear as an act of desperation and reactivity. Not the way you want to be showing up at all.

      Use the LRT as your plan for getting your life back. You deserve to rediscover yourself. This will in turn will make you more attractive. Really hear and think to yourself about what your spouse’s complaints are. Is there a grain of truth to them? Do the opposite without talking about it.

      Good luck xox

  14. My wife asked for a divorce 4 months ago. First she told me i took her for granted and it took me 2 months to realize i did and started working on myself. I then found out my wofe has been tslking to several guys online whom she used to work with flirting 2 months before she asked me for a divorce. She promised it was a online thing until i found out it was actually a guy at work and after lying 2 times to my face she admitted she has been flirting with him. She promised it had gone no further, but who knows if she is telling the truth and they are currently together on a work trip accross the country. My wife also told me she has been lusting for this guy she knew 10 years ago and told meon this trip she originally planned to go have sex with hin to see if she wanted to be with me, but after telling me the truth of her plan, says she is not going to do it anymore, but i dont know if she is telling the truth or not. i also asked to to look me in eye and tell me i can trust her and she wouldnt do it, and said because she doesnt want to lie if something else happens. I originally begged, cried, everything wrong for about a month before I started doing research. I changed everything about me to what she said i did wrong but i break down emotionally alot when i start thinking of all the lies and the nore info i find out by snooping. We currently still live together, but im thinking its best for me to move out to show her she cant treat me as a door mat. We have been together since 15 years old and married for 12 years. She literally changed overnight after telling about divorce and no longer will kiss me or show any affection towards me. Do you think I should move out or just keep letting her lie and treat me like garbage from inside our home. we have 3 kids 15, 3, and 2.

    1. Hi don’t want to lose her,
      I am reading you are childhood sweethearts. There is a great deal of honesty I can hear from you both.

      Generally, if you push people they will tell you what you want to hear, so I wouldn’t put any pressure there on that.

      Focus on what you can change and it is you and how you show up in your relationship with your wife. She is saying you have taken her for granted – how long has she felt this way? What does she need from you to feel safe, heard and loved again?

      Those other people she has connected with are offering her what you are not. I would guess warmth, care, and support. Be her friend, not her jailer. If we let the green-eyed part become suspicious, possibly control you risk pushing her into the arms of another.

      I think you might need to step up your game here. You said it took you two months to realise the seriousness of your situation.

      Read through the blog for how to really listen to your wife deeply so she can feel heard, safe and acknowledged. This is deep listening without defensiveness, doesn’t mean you have to agree or disagree it is about stepping into her inner emotional world. Looking out through her eyes.

      She sounds like she wants reconnection. Do a restart. Show her with your loving actions, not words you are a good man, husband, and father.

      Focus more on her without crowding her, and her needs, not yours. Rather than reacting to protect yourself or punish her by moving out.

      Live step 1 no chasing for kisses or affection. Show up in your marriage with respect, honor and in kindness. Remember this lady is the mother of your children and that is a blessing.

      Good luck and let us know how you go.

  15. My husband of almost 19 years said he does not love me and wants a divorce three months ago after a big fight. We are still living in our home with our three children at the recommendation of a therapist who suggested no changes in the household until the end of the school year since our children are also dealing with the trauma of covid. We haven’t told them what is happening, and he is planning to start making plans to move out for a trial separation in six weeks. He said his heart is broken and his wounds too deep to heal from emotional neglect and feeling like he has been the recipient of my anger, anxiety, and controlling tendencies and has not been prioritized and that I have not been available enough to him emotionally and physically. I have started therapy, and I have begged, pleaded, had a nervous breakdown, smothered him with physical affection, guilted him, tried to do all of the things he said I haven’t done (he later said it’s not a checklist for me to do now, the damage is done)…and it has definitely pushed him away. I desperately want to prevent him from moving out so our kids don’t have to suffer from that trauma after an already extremely traumatic year with covid. Is six weeks enough for your suggestion to work? We also started couples counseling last week and I said all the wrong things based on your article. I am running out of time…

    1. Dear Heart Hurting,
      thanks for your email. So sorry things have gotten to this crisis point in your relationship.

      Glad you are in therapy to assist the anxiety and distress, that takes courage.

      From your email, it is clear your husband is also at a breaking point, as he is told you his heart is broken and wounded from what would likely be a destructive pattern – no judgment here. I’d guess you each have been trying to gget yourselves heard and understood.

      Most often the old ways of doing it almost guarantee that not to happen. What I mean there is when we criticize, complain, and rage it will chip away at the heart of the relationship. Our partners shut down to protect themselves from what they perceive as attacks. It gets us nowhere.

      We have to stop all the negativity and be prepared to really listen, empathize and validate our partner’s experience. I encourage you to read through the blog – do a search in the blog section Imago, communication here for more on powerful techniques for deep healing and communication improvement. I have written

      So use the key skills of reflection – When your partner shares their pain eg “I hear you say your heart is broken and the wounds feel too deep.” This will begin to acknowledge his wounded parts and show your caring parts to him. There is loads on the internet – Google Imago dialogue for examples.

      Most people are yearning for connection – to be seen, heard, valued, and acknowledged.

      Long-term patterns take long-term sustained change.

      So six weeks would be challenging for sure. I am always hopeful. The important point with the LRT is that you are learning new life skills. Not going for an outcome.
      Wishing you the best of luck in this time Heart Hurting.

  16. I believe this article is going to help me as I navigate through the possibility without my wife. We have been married for over 17 years. We have two GREAT children. I was in the US military for 20 years and recently retired. We traveled all over the country and were even stationed overseas.

    Throughout our 17 years, there have been some times that were rather tumultuous. Most of those times revolved around the use of alcohol. When I use alcohol and we fight, I can see the meanest, cruelest things possible. My wife shuts down and does not say anything. When she is angry enough, she gets directly in my face and yells expletives, and tells me how horrible of a human being I am. When we are sober, we are great together. We do bicker, but what married couple doesn’t?

    I am not casting any blame on my wife. She is gorgeous, funny, awesome, and a fantastic mother. Our children adore her. I have placed all the blame on her for years, but, after an intense fight last weekend, I have really self-reflected and realize that I control my own actions and my own emotions – she doesn’t.

    With that, she told me it was over last Sunday. She said she cannot do it anymore and her father, someone I adored who has since passed, would not want her to stay in the marriage. For two days she repeated it was over and she was tired and couldn’t do it anymore. I cried, begged, pleaded, followed her around the house, etc., not realizing this was the wrong thing to do. My emotions took over. As I have read countless articles, I have realized I was pushing her away. For two days, I stayed with a family member and came back home last night. While we had some cordial conversation, she said she didn’t think that both of us in the house right now was the best idea. She needs her space.

    Today, we had a great conversation and she said what she really needs is some space and rest for a week. At first, she said she would get a hotel to get the space, but, I said that since she was a stay-at-home mom and I work, she should be the one to stay in the house, and mind matters. She thanked me and said next Friday would be a good timeline for me to come back home and she hopes to have a decision about what the future might look like. She also told me it’s okay for me to come by the house and be with the kids. When I do not bring up our relationship and what the future looks like, things are good. However, then I ask questions about our future, she gets defensive and shuts down.

    I guess I’m wondering if her going from “it’s over” to “let’s separate for a week and see how it goes” is a good sign that our marriage does have a sliver of hope left. In the meantime, I am working on myself to be the best man I can be regardless of what the outcome might be. I must change for me in the end.

    Thank you.

    1. Dear Andy, where there is life there is hope, as they say.

      Your marriage has been under a lot of pressure, initially, I’d guess from your work. You seem to have a handle on the impact of alcohol and your beahaviour, which has seen things slide into an emotionally abusive and unhealthy pattern.

      My hat is off to you for having those insights and making changes.

      Those incidents where you raised your voice and said things are for your wife are like scar tissue where she has been wounded emotionally. They are not healed.

      Your acknowledgement of your patterns and subsequent changes are a wonderful first step.

      Here is the thing we need safety – emotional safety in our partnerships. We are designed for survival, and when there has been this threatened we become alert and bathed in cortisol. Unfortunately due to your interactions, it is likely you have become a source of stress at times. This is an ingrained response and will take time to repair.

      The reason I say all this Andy, is it’s very important you do allow time and space for healing.

      Where there has been trauma as you describe it can lead to a PTSD like defence. So aim for the long game and keep up your good work.

      It is in our deeds we are perceived and received. Let them be loving and gracious.

      Also, it occurs to me you guys may benefit from seeing an Imago couples therapist, after your time out. I would just make a brief suggestion and see how your wife responds. It is a warmish response, that’s good, ask her what she needs and really listen. If it’s cold, then that’s no go, would be my rule of thumb there.

      Good luck Andy!

  17. Hello.

    My wife and I have been together for 7-8 years, and married for 3-4 years. We own a house together, but have no kids.

    Due to the nature of her job, she has been working extra shifts at work every week for the last few months due to the nature of her work and the current health crises. Over that time, I have noticed that she has been slowly pulling away from me.

    It all came to a head last week when I pushed her to tell me why I feel like I am more of a roommate to her then her husband, and she told me that she is in love with one of her coworkers and wants a divorce. When I requested if we could try counseling, she said she loves him more and doesn’t know what counseling can do.

    In hindsight, I can see where we have begun to spend less time together over the last 5-6 months compared to what we used to, but it was such a slow change that I didn’t even notice till now.

    After sitting her down and trying again to get her to stay by asking for counselling and everything I am willing to start doing to fix things, she still said no. I have since gotten out of the house for the weekend, and am trying not to contact her much, but it is hard, and I am unsure if she is interpreting this distance as something else.

    She has asked me in the past if we could go to counselling because she felt we don’t communicate well, but I have always refused. I should not have, but I also didn’t know our relationship was this bad off.

    I want nothing more then to save our marriage, but I am unsure what to do at this point if she is unwilling. (We currently still have a friendly relationship with each other.)

    1. Dear Just Want Her Back,

      thanks for writing in. I imagine this is really tough and I can so understand why you would want to go to counseling.

      I don’t wish to be harsh but it seems from your letter your wife has been struggling for a while if she has wanted to go to counseling previously to improve your communication.

      This unfortunately can be the death knell in a partnership.

      Let me speak generally about this pattern.

      One party seeks help say in the form of we need to get marital therapy, the other party refuses. The first party feels unheard, possibly disrespected, alone and definitely disconnected.

      They stop asking. They go silent.

      It’s almost as if they mentally shrug and give up. Your relationship has entered the danger zone. Your mate feels helpless.

      They then begin to get a life outside of the relationship. Perhaps they throw themselves into work, go on holiday, the kids, maybe begin a gym program, dance class, or find a new hobby.

      They start to feel better about themselves, their mood improves, they smile. They appear more attractive. This party is susceptible to others’ attention. They get noticed. This is how affairs can begin.

      The other party, Just want her back, have a different narrative. The party thinks of they are not talking anymore about counseling, it must be ok now. WRONG.

      They see their partner’s energy going out the door, into these new activities, the assumption is they are just busy, they need time. WRONG – see above.

      Then devastatingly the at-home party may find their mate has a new love interest. The at home party sees the threat to the relationship as this new person. It isn’t. The relationship sadly was in trouble right from the moment your spouse didn’t feel heard, or connected with as a team.

      This is a common disconnection tango.

      Just Want Her Back, the Last Resort Technique is for you! Follow it to the letter.

      In the case of any third party, I suggest you do not discuss at all with your wife to truly do Step 1. The real danger is if you talk about this other person in any way, your partner will hear it as just another reason to leave.

      Good luck and sorry things are where they are at. Please keep us updated !

      With loving kindness PHilipa

      1. Philipa, I spent the last 6 hours reading your post, all the replies and the thoughtful responses you provided. I can’t imagine how much time and effort it must have taken you to provide all this support; thank you so much for your efforts.

        I read this last comment you wrote about the general pattern when it comes to one refusing counselling and it hits home. I’m married 13 years, 2 children aged 11 and 8. Lots of small issues we didn’t talk about likely leading to a declining sex life that caused me to resent her. We didn’t argue or address and busyness with kids and work resulted in a marriage that was slowly degrading as we disconnected from each other. About 5 or 6 years ago she suggested councilling however I arrogantly suggested the problem was with her. I knew things weren’t great with our marriage, I figured when the kids were older we’d have time to work on it and I didn’t realize how bad they were. I found out early last year my spouse was having an emotional affair; she denied it at first. Eventually the AP (also married) ghosted her and she became depressed and suggested she never loved me. Our relationship deteriorated quickly with me being needy and her being cold and mean and after a couple of months I found resources that helped me understand several of the ways I had contributed to the problems and ways to re-connect.

        I made very significant personal improvements that she has recognized and although she says she loves me she feels like there has always been something missing and whatever spark we once had is now gone. She doesn’t want me to kiss, cuddle or have any sort of romantic relationship. That we have a sibling type relationship and she’s not attracted to me. That there is something wrong with her and I deserve someone who can love me. That there is nothing I can do and that the problem is her. She says her body says no to me and she can’t imagine not having sex with anyone else again. She’s saying/thinking that marriages and monogamy isn’t natural.

        We are seeing a councillor but he has suggested things like an open marriage (I’m against it and my wife doesn’t seem fond of the idea either). He thinks she needs time and space that shes going on a personal journey and can’t do it within the marriage. He’s now suggesting living together but being separated and my wife very much likes that idea. She’s talked about an ideal situation where we stay great friends, co-parent, do everything together but without a romantic relationship living in the same house. We are much closer now in terms of communication and emotional connection than we have been in years but I have been trying to slowly add physical connection (snuggles, touch to the back, ect.) and although it seemed OK she has just told me she doesn’t like it and wants to separate.

        For several months she has communicated to me her ideal situation is keeping the house, building a bedroom downstairs, telling everyone we are separated but living together as great friends and co-parents doing everything together. At some point down the road her getting a house nearby (preferably on the same street).

        For now she’s moved into another bedroom. To be honest this seems like it’s taken some of the pressure off and we are getting along better. She organized a date a week ago and we had a good time. We’ve got a couple trips planned both with and without kids. We are friendly and enjoy each others company at the house but she’ll also say she doesn’t want to get my hopes up, that she doesn’t want a romantic relationship. The other night we had a good chat and I communicated that I understood where she is at; that she’s given up and is feeling hopeless. I wondered it happened after her suggestion of seeing a counciller but she shared it was after that, approx 2 years ago she gave up and immediately felt relief at that time.

        My question is should I fully implement LRT? She sometimes talks about things we’d need to do or consider “if” we separate. Despite saying several times she wants to separate we don’t have a timeline and she hasn’t told friends or family. I don’t think there is anyone else; I think I have broken her heart and she can’t see it could be better. It seems like maybe going full LRT might push her away and damage some of the connection we’ve rebuilt over the last six months.

        I have come to the realization I needed to do something different and after reviewing the LRT see I’ve done a pretty good job of steps 1 and 2 over the last couple months with two exceptions

        – I haven’t stopped saying I love you. I say it infrequently still and I mean it; I’m not looking for re-assurance. She occasionally says it to me unprompted and I feel like I should respond.
        – I haven’t been unpredictable. I don’t purposely miss calls or texts or be scarce/short in conversations.


        1. Dear Frank, thank you for your kind words on the LRT blog. It’s a labor of love and there’s been some great input all around. Certainly, I am impressed you took six hours to read it all. We must pop this into an Ebook 🙂

          It’s in a crisis we learn more about ourselves and our strengths.

          My thought is Frank it is good you were able to recognize what hasn’t been working. My sincere hope is people will seek help earlier before the hurt, resentment and eventual rejection stage happens.

          There’s a piece on the blog about Active listening. I am an Imago therapist and we use this process of mirroring our partner’s words and emotions by validating and empathizing. This is done with zero criticism or defensiveness.
          For example, if your wife says she would like to separate, have the courage to be open and reflect on what she says. Eg Your wife says something along the lines of separation. You might say: “So you are saying you would like things to be different/ separate, am I getting you?” Using her words.

          You see most people want to be seen, heard, and understood. That’s why the Imago Dialogue as above is super useful.

          So Frank you may have to adapt the LRT to your situation. Truly I would stop saying I love you unprompted, there’s nothing worse than that awkward silence. Of course, if your wife says it first you would respond in kind but not read anything into it, just appreciate it.
          Step 2 might be more about getting a life for you that brings richness back into your life. It can take the pressure off.

          I think it’s great you are seeing a therapist. A good fit in therapy is really important. Sometimes that takes a bit of shopping around. As a therapist, it is not easy when one person has their foot firmly out the door.
          Take care and keep us updated with things, Frank. Best of luck Philipa

          1. Thank you; I will look into the active listening info you have as I know this is an area I have lots of room for improvement.

            Regarding the “I love you” she nearly always says it back; maybe 1 in 15 or 20 wouldn’t get a reply. I’ve stopped saying it the last week and she’s stopped saying it unprompted. It’s hard because it feels like I’m holding back and it might be creating disconnection. I guess I’ll continue to hold off for the time being.


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