The Last Resort Technique

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 Dovirce 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, then 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.

share-2482016_640
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. Completely!

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-1308943_640
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 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.

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 counter intuitive – “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.
  • 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. 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 back off and start doing your own thing.

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, 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 honour, value, and love yourself in a caring healthy and nurturing manner.

love-2011994_1920
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, 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 www.divorcebusting.com.

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 is over 1000 folks experiences on applying the Last Resort here on the Blog

Thank you!

1,072 thoughts on “The Last Resort Technique”

  1. Hi Philipa,
    My husband told me he needed space to clear his head about 2 weeks ago. At that point he just packed a few things to stay at a friend’s house for the weekend but I let my insecurities get the best of me and i acted so desperate to the point where he came and got all of his things and is now staying at that friends house. He has told me he wanted a divorce and then the next day said he didn’t mean it, and he just wants us to work on ourselves and then see where our relationship stands. I have high anxiety and I still continued to react in a desperate way with the crying and begging and texts and calls. He told me again he thinks it’s best we go our separate ways and file the papers but he was also angry again when he said that so I don’t really know if he means it. Now he straight up ignores me unless it’s about our finances. He won’t speak to me about anything else including my daughter that he took on as his step child. At first he agreed to go to counseling but now he refuses and honestly I think I have pushed him to this point. My daughter and I both miss him dearly and I see what I’ve been doing isn’t working but do you think if I start implementing no contact now I still have a chance of him coming back? I’ve never dealt with divorce so I have no idea what is a good sign or bad sign…is anything he is doing telling you either good or bad as far as the future of our marriage is concerned? I worry that since he isn’t speaking to me that he is really done but maybe this is just because I pushed him to that? I’m just lost.

    1. Dear Rebecca, thank you for writing in.

      You have a great deal of awareness. It will help others in a similar situation.

      I want you to know it’s normal to have high anxiety given your relationship is on the line here.

      It can almost feel like a death. I am so proud of you recognising the old reactions – crying, begging and pleading are not the way to go. This level of awareness gives you a head start.

      You have to find a new way of dealing with the anxiety – which sounds like it may be related to our childhood wounds, we all have. Something like abandonment. Which is why it feels so deep and intense for you. It’s primal our longing for connected love. I truly get that. We all long for heartfelt connection.

      We need you to come from your adult, mature part who we know on a heart level can handle anything, even the most unwanted situations.

      Get in touch with this part that has been able to handle things, the strong you that has had to face loss or adversity and rose to the challenge with grace and aplomb. Channel this part of you now.

      This means too honouring this part of you feeling lost. Go inside and ask what she needs – most likely love and find ways to acknowledge and be with her in supportive health ways.

      Let us know your progress.

      1. I came across your website today and read the last resort technique. It helped me solidify the overall consensus of several other sites I have come across during the last few weeks. I am trying to mount a game plan to save my marriage and this is great advice. My wife Maria and I have been married for 17 years and have 3 children. They are 15, 12 and 8 respectfully. She has asked for a separation due to several issues. The main one is, her feeling that she has never been an equal partner in our marriage. I have left her out of many of our family’s biggest decisions, that have effected us all and should have been solved by the two of us. My spending habits have also contributed to our current situation. Until the realization of separation/divorce was presented to me, I never saw that these problems and yes they are my problems, may cost me my marriage. I now have begun to recognize my issues that have put me in this terrible place. I have taken several steps, including admission to my wife that this was wrong and how sorry I am for it and have started going to therapy for answers. I do not wish these circumstances on anyone, but know that reading all this information and advice helps.

        John

        1. Dear John,
          thanks for your kind words. Glad to hear you found my blog useful. And there are many others comments here to help too.

          It is so often I hear those same thoughts – “I didn’t realise.” Often our partner has attempted to say something but as there has been no shift we think it is ok for now. It comes to the crunch when our spouse hits the eject button, sad to say.

          But I am an optomist and believe you take account, make the changes and live them, many marriages can turn around.

          This can be a real growth opportunity for your partnership. Please keep us updated with your progress.
          all the best,
          Philipa

    2. Hello,

      My husband dated for 10 months and then got in our early 20’s while still in college . Neither of us was actually properly prepared or mature enough to understand the hardships that can come with it . We have been married for 4 years and throughout that time we have been unhappy with one another but hopeful that we will grow in time because we got into this not where we should have been as people .

      My husband viewed pornography before the marriage and said when we got married it would stop. After being married we both found out he was addicted to pornography due to him indulging in it 3-6 days a week and not being able to stop no matter if it jeopardizes his job or marriage . I do believe he is a good man at heart and had been actively working to overcome it but it just haven’t happened yet .

      In the mean time his addiction took a toll on me due to not knowing how to handle it . I was not the loving kind wife I should have been due to resentment and anger towards his actions . We were not emotionally connecting like we used to because it was like the other women were always with us in my mind . Long story short I ended up cheating on my husband through what started as a emotional affair with a coworker for 4 days and on day 5 escalated into sexual . The very next day I told him what I did because I held horrible about my actions and he deserved to know .

      He moved out the day I told him and won’t tell me where he lives .Within 2 business days he filed for divorce . He constantly says his mind is madeup and the marriage is over due to my choice to cheat because I could’ve handle my issues a different way . He initially wasn’t picking up my calls but now he does and will listen until he feels too bad to listen anymore . He will respond to my text but when I discuss reconciliation and how he should look at this as both of us doing something wrong he doesn’t want to hear it . He sounds very serious about the divorce he filed and does not want to cancel it.

      I still love him and after I did what I did I feel like I can have a better understanding of love and forgiveness to work with him through his issues . I am working on changing myself but he does not care . I am hurt that he is divorcing me but not looking at the whole situation . I know that this can be a wake up call and Turing point for our marriage and encourage us to take more action than we did before to work on ourselves . When I sent him the screenshot of the divorce he filed he said he “never actually seen that before and felt sick “. He is sad and angry right now . It is 2 weeks past disclosure of my affsirz. He doesn’t share the same vision I have of our future and keeps telling me he wants his Space .

      Help !!

      Thank You,
      Chantal

      1. Dear Chantal,
        this is a tricky situation. And particularly relevant to the the LAST resort. I want you to immediately apply Step 1. Stop all the chasing today – it’s disheartening anyway, I would guess and leads you to feel more insecure. Stop this minute.

        Respect his wish for space.

        He needs to have some time to miss you, so give him that.

        Read the LRT and all the comments. You must apply it Chantal for your best hope. Good luck.

    3. My husband moved out 4 months ago – he is emotionally attached to our mutual friend although denies it and lives with her and her brother and two young children – I do feel he has lost some interest in her lately but I could be wrong ? I have done just as you suggest – I look better than ever – dress well – have very limited contact ( only concerning our children ) and am as positive as I can when I do see him – I notice that he notices my appearance now and often see him looking me up and down or at social functions we both may attend he is often staring at me but he has never commented on any of my positive changes and has not made any attempt to reconcile sadly – I do wonder if his pride is in his way as he has mentioned to someone else that he can never come back after leaving ? He said he loved me but wasn’t in love with me when he first left and has been up and down with nasty / nice interactions although they seem less nasty now but that makes me worry that he just doesn’t have any feelings for me at all now 😞

      1. Dear Sharon,
        firstly let me congratulate you on your good efforts with regard to the LRT. It is obviously having an impact from your comment. He is noticing you, this is a terrific start. So soak it up, I am guessing he may not be the commenting type and his looking at you says it all.

        Good thing to never mention any third party whether emotional or otherwise. Time is on your side here. As he loses interest. Remember step 3 – patience.

        I love that you have really worked hard on step 2 – you go gorgeous, no matter what happens from now on you know you are putting your best foot forward.

        My take on him saying he could never come back is this. I believe he is saying he would not want to go back to the old relationship. And I am sure you would not want to either. There is a reason you separated. This is about starting afresh and a new chapter Sharon. So hold on to the hope and you keep you head high girl. Work Step 1 to it’s maximum effect. Now it is wait and see.

        Take care and please update us with your progress xx

  2. My husband and I have been together five years and only married three months. In the middle of raising two kids and planning a wedding we lost our way. Three weeks ago he told me he did not want to live unhappy the rest of his life. He told me he felt forced to marry me and doesn’t love me in that way anymore. I asked him if he wants a divorce but he said he hasn’t really thought about that he just know thinks it’s best if we are not together? I’ve been trying hard to keep to myself but some days I do bring up our relationship. As soon as I do he’s distant again. He will be moving in with a friend soon as I told him I can not live in the same house as room mates. He’s hurt and sad that he has to leave but doing it anyways. I love him so much and regret not giving him the attention he needed. I can’t help but over thinking every aspect of our relationship. Do you think I have a chance to win him back?

    1. Dear G,
      yes I truly do think you have a chance of growing and learning from this. I don’t really think of the LRT as ‘winning him back.’ Although I get why you would say that. The true spirit is about winning you back. By this I mean getting in touch with those loving kind parts of you that your partner originally fell in love with.

      Often we get trapped in the daily routine and forget to grow our garden with kindness and food. Think about how you were back in the early days and win yourself back!

    2. Dear G,
      help yourself by not over thinking please! It will only create further anxiety and frustration for you and the relationship.

      You deserve a better chance. Stop trying to “win him back.” I would like to ask you – would you be willing to “win you back?” And what that will have you doing, saying and changing in support of you.

      Please let me know G. I am curious. With love xx.

  3. Me and my husband have been together for 13 years (since we were 15). We have been married for 4 years. We have had our ups and downs. For the past couple months we have both been visibly unhappy. I have tried to talk to him multiply times about it because i want to make this work. 2 weeks ago he left me stating that he does not love me anymore and that he doesn’t want to work on it. I have tried to give him space but it is very hard for me. We have a 2 year old daughter and she goes to the school that he works at. I have to drop her off with him every morning and he meets me at the house in the afternoons with her. So i am seeing him twice a day everyday. I feel like we can never work on anything if we are having to see each other that often. He is hot and cold with how he treats me. One minute he is being nice and the next he is very cold. One minute he is asking me to breakfast and then next he is super rude. I made a trial separating agreement that would protect me and my daughter and it is all stuff that we had already verbally talked about and he refuses to sign it. One of the agreements is that we won’t date or have sex with anyone from the opposite sex. I feel that is the reason why he won’t sign it. He states that it is none of my business what he does. I love him so much and want to fix us but I do not know what to do. He told me last night that he is not focusing on fixing our relationship and that he doesn’t know if he ever will and that I need to focus on our daughter and myself. Please give me advice. I want to fix this!

    1. Dear Rachel,

      I hear you, you really want to fix this. Can I be honest with you? I want you to STOP trying!

      Please let me explain. I want you to take a rest, put the contract down and breath.

      Now I want you to get a pen and paper and write a note to yourself answering this question:

      If I imagine I am Geoff ( whatever your husbands name is) my biggest frustration with my wife is…write this down.
      If I imagine I am Geoff ( whatever your husbands name is) my biggest upset with my wife is…write this down.

      If I imagine I am Geoff ( whatever your husbands name is) what does is…write this down.

      This is going to give you some great points to work on. When you have your list, you now know what to do differently.

      Second sheet of paper:
      Here you will answer each:
      If I imagine I am Geoff I want you to answer each point with WhatI feel is…. What I really need from you is…
      And this would help me…
      For example:
      As Geoff – She criticisms me in front of the children… there may be more get specific. What I feel is I sad and humiliated. What I need from you is to talk to me as an equal and in a soft tone, asking for my opinion. And this would help me understand you and be a better parenting team…

      Hope this gives you some ideas. Please feel free to share. I am sure your journey would help others.

  4. Hello I would like to say this steps by steps is best thing to a man who’s failing with their marriage to read and take as an advice. My wife told me she loves me but she’s not in love with me after a couple of rough months pulling us farther more then ever. We tried brakes before but this time she wanted a separation, so being the way I am before I packed my begs, I opened her Mac and saw texts from her to a new coworker basically sexting and planing a date after I left which, made me take initiative and left our home right away leaving her a note behind. I told her it finally sank in that she wasn’t in love with me anymore as it caught me off guard (which I did ask for another chance) but that I also knew what was going on in her workplace, and that she had been planning on cheating on me or had already kissed. I told her she was better then that and I wished her all the best of luck and as her business partner and best friend I was going to always be there for her if she needed me. When she got home she called me I didn’t answer told her I was exhausted and I needed sleep then hours later, in the morning she called again I answered and it was her crying saying she made the biggest mistake ever and that she was going to do whatever it takes to have us back together… I said I was finally releasing her and that I was hurt by what she did and I couldn’t believe who that person was by reading the things she was texting, it wasn’t the woman I knew. I honestly believe she regrets it and by telling me she feels guilty who doesn’t want to loose the love of her life and wants to save our marriage. So I’m on to the RARE STEP, that she wants to reconcile. Our feeling stills raw as this all happened yesterday now I need continue focusing on myself and find a way to not give in so quick because ultimately it’s what my heart wants! She wants me now to give her a chance which it did a completely 180, so I need to pace myself and take the right steps with caution.

    1. Dear Andrew,

      Get therapy. Find a good relationship therapist to help you both navigate this new territory. You are at the rare step where things have done a complete 180. This is the time to take action.

      I say this because if you do nothing you will find the same pattern repeating in your relationship sooner or later. Where one of you gets frustrated and takes an exit action. I think you guys can repair and restore.

      This old way of relating needs to be released. You are past the last resort you are in super fragile place of being able to regain the love and connection which brought you two together. So I would really like you to give this your all the both of you!
      Wishing you the best of luck and help.

      1. I’m in the same boat… I did cheat and now I’m trying to do the 180 and show my husband I can change that it was a mistake. You never know what you have until your about to lose everything. I wish you both the best of luck.

      2. I’m in the same boat… I did cheat and now I’m trying to do the 180 and show my husband I can change that it was a mistake. You never know what you have until your about to lose everything. I wish you both the best of luck.

      3. Hi, I’m really glad I found this web page. Because I’m going to try to do what you have said here. I know I’m mostly doing what you say not to. So starting tomorrow or tonight I’m going to start.
        I cheated on my husband and now he wants to leave. I regret everything and wish I could take it back. We have two kids together and I want nothing more then for our marriage to work. I’m hoping he will come around and see that I am trying to change for the better for our family.
        He has now done things to hurt our marriage too. We’ve been married for 12 years together for 15 and have known each other for 18 years. In the long run we have both hurt each other in our marriage but at this point I’m the only one trying to fix us. I’m hoping that I will gain his trust back and fix what I’ve done to hurt our marriage. Maybe you can give me some insight on what I can do to make this happen before the end of this year. Thanks for what you do and continue to do for people like me

        1. Dear Aimee,
          so glad you found this helpful advice in your relationship situation.
          I want you to start NOW! I believe in you, so do it girl.

          The cheating adds a complexity and will need to be worked through when the relationship has more strength and you are truly back together. But in the mean time address areas which promote both his and your insecurity around this.

          Actions are your best bet to show the 180 turnaround and this takes some time to get traction. So stop any talking about how you will change, what you understand and live this in your day to day actions.

          Again an infidelity exit is really a sign you weren’t happy and you both need to address this when the relationship regains it’s strength – I’d recommend therapy when you get to that point.

          Thank your for your appreciation of what I do and I hope it helps.
          Take care xx

  5. Hi Philipa,

    Beginning today, I am going to begin incorporating your advice into my relationship.
    I want to make this as concise as possible, as not to bore you, but I am desperate for anything in addition that you might recommend..

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 14 years. We are living together, but broken up. He has agreed to go to 3 counseling sessions with me, but if we can’t salvage the relationship, we have agreed to move out.

    We have many issues..Mostly, he feels that we repeat the same arguments over and over, and he’s tired of it. Though both are fundamentally different people, I remember a time where we were very much in love. We met when I was 25 and he was 31. We moved to California so he could purse acting. It never happened and he never fully recovered from it. He takes jobs that are below his worth and together now at 40 and 47, we have no savings, no retirement, etc. We have chosen to be child-free so that isn’t a concern, thankfully.

    Important to mention: he grew up in a home where he witnessed his mom go through four divorces. He had no interest in marriage, but eventually proposed to me six years ago. I was so happy and I thought he was too. In the years to come, a lot of stress came into the relationship – my parents got very sick (Dad with M.S. and in a nursing home, and Mom with drug/mental issues). Living far from home is very stressful for me. Combined with two jobs I hated and left, I was very depressed. I self medicated my depression, anxiety, guilt and sadness with alcohol.
    The drinking was a big issue for him because it brought out a side of me that was whiny, pathetic, and loathsome. I think it brought out contempt on is part toward me. That contempt never left, even though I have not had a drink in a year and seven months.. I thought my sobriety would make things better, but within the last few years, he called off our engagement twice. He said he didn’t see a happy life with me. I understood this initially -I was on the couch when not working -depressed and just immobilized with sadness. The second time he ended the engagement stuck..there is a wedding dress that I bought just sitting in my closet, invitations that are filled out but were never sent. My heart is broken. Even worse though, we have spiraled down. I am still coping with depression and anxiety (he doesn’t get mental illness really), and still go to AA meetings and see my sponsor. I am dealing with a lot -extremely sick parents, and a man I love who I fear lost his love for me somewhere along the way.

    I should also mention that there has been some emotional manipulation on his part through the years. I feel like he sometimes manipulates me. When I call him out on a bad behavior, he turns the tables on me. He is quick to take us to the “break-up zone.” I sometimes feel I could change many things about myself, but it would never be enough for him.

    I harbor a lot of hurt and anger about the called off engagement, but right now wonder how we will make it to the next month.

    I am still in love with him. I want to fix us. I feel like he has checked out.

    I am doing all the desperate things you said (texting, asking for reassurance, etc) and will absolutely stop.
    I have days where it is hard to even function. I just turned 40 last month -I can’t believe this is my life right now. I feel so lost. This is the last 14 years of my life. He is the last 14 years of my life. I just want us to work it out. Please help?

    1. Dear Kaiyla,

      please let me congratulate you on your sobriety. That will certainly be one of the most helpful things you can do for you and the relationship.

      It is funny isn’t and not in an easy way – how when we finally get to a better place our relationship erupts.

      As this is what I read in your email and I am taking it as a good sign, so have a hope.

      I am so glad you are beginning your healing journey and this will give you guys the biggest chance at reconciliation.

      Right now I would guess you may need to put aside your own hurt, and protection mechanisms to best help your partner. Later you can address stuff but not right now. It’s all too raw for you both.

      Acknowledge and care for your hurt and angry part but please do not act out on it.

      Your partner now needs you to step into huge growth – I know you can do it. You have to find it within yourself to see it from his perspective. That means validating and empathising with his hurt and pain. No way is is this easy and it is not about agreeing. What it is about is seeing him for who he is and acknowledging him as a fellow human being.

      This is really hard, and I think if you find yourself an Imago Therapist for those 3 sessions you will gain huge insight.

      Fingers crossed for you. Keep in touch and drop us a line to let us know. xx

  6. My wife and I have been married for 8 years and together for 10. A few years ago she told me she did not love me, which hit me like a train, and wanted to seperate. I reflected on my issues and tried to immediately fix them. She completely shut me out of her life, pushed me away, and told me she only felt guilt and pain around me. I decided to leave and apply a 1 month+ no contact period. There were set backs due to me spying and snooping which threw a few wrenches in the no contact period. I found out she was in a long distance relationship with another man for the past few months and had sex with this person at least once. After confronting her she just lied and grew more upset / distant. Soon the other man dumped her and she was devastated which happened to be around the same time I came back from no contact. I came back, applied some fixes to my personal issues, and slowly we began to rebuild our relationship. We were seemingly back on track for awhile although it seemed she made no changes to herself and we fell back into a negative routine.

    Fast forward a few years to present day she has told me (while crying) that she doesn’t love me the way I love her and that she has no passion for me. She questions why she has no feelings and can’t figure it out. Bottom line she feels all is lost and does not wish to put any effort in what she considers to be a dead marriage. We have different hobbies and schedules and did very little to work on our relationships. I once again realized things I could do better, but she is pushing for divorce and splitting of assets. While I acknowledge her attraction for me is missing due to my lack of effort around the house, my career, and requests for sex, I do not believe there is another man in the picture and things don’t seem as bad as they were the first time. There is no passion and a very clear cycle of negativity / fighting with one another. Due to her schedule and new hobbies we have no time with each other except complaining and dealing with finances / other obligations.

    I decided to once again leave and start a no contact period. At first I tried to reason and suggest working on things, but decided to just agree and take notice of how broken things are. We are both not getting what we want and while I want to try to deal with that she simply sees no hope. Since I left to apply no contact just 5 days into no contact she is calling me to get the divorce and assets split as soon as possible. I don’t mind going through with this, but I don’t want to disrupt the no contact period. She claims the reasoning is to help her move on and put this behind her, but we both know nothing can be finalized until I return. (I’m out of the Country).

    Besides general advice on how to move forward I would like to get feedback on if the “no contact” approach is similar to the LRT and if I’m on the right track. I don’t have any expectation or a % chance of this or that, I’m fully accepting that this could just be a good way to move on and heal the both of us. However, if there is a chance to get her back and give us another chance I would like to give that the best effort I could. I am fully committed to her, but right now she isn’t and maybe will never be, therefore I must fully commit to myself right now. I would just like to not push her even further away or damage what may be left.

    Thank you,

    John A.

    1. Dear John,
      thanks for your letter.

      You are in a similar spot to Andrew but with a few years down the track and exactly where I fear he may end up without therapy to intervene in these patterns. So really appreciate you writing in from your experience.

      Not a fan of “no contact’ as you put it. And to answer your question this is not what we would recommend as part of the Last Resort. I get it may somewhat seem like that, but it is more like being in different contact and bringing back those parts of you which your partner was attracted to. You know him John, the happier, freer fun guy – we all used to be, bring him forth.

      If I were you I would reach out and make a request to her. You are open to hearing her and you would like to have a few sessions with a therapist to figure out how you got here, what is possible and how to prevent this in the future, if not in this relationship in the next.

      Good luck!

      1. Initially I told her we could seek relationship advice, but she was 100% set on splitting. Just no interest in a relationship at the time. Since applying “No Contact” she reached out to me quickly about making plans to separate assets. More recently she has called and texted to tell me about misc things like “I can’t find the dog leash” or keeping me informed on things she’s up to. I have replied with short/positive things. I honestly don’t want to respond and focus on myself. I respond as to not ignore her but delay my responses showing her I’m busy, but ultimately responding positively.

        I’m not sure what the differences of the Last Resort compare to the no contact rule, but either way I left my home because it was an already bad environment before she told me she didn’t love me. I had to get out, everyday I could see her guilt / pain and she could see mine. Nothing good was coming of staying around that situation. I’m with friends in California and she is in Virginia. While I wonder if she is cheating on me again and what she’s doing sometimes, ultimately I’m enjoying my time away and space. I feel she is enjoying it as well. Seems like the only way to go right now. Any additional advice?

        1. Dear John,

          keep reading the blog to glean the most useful information. That old relationship wasn’t working for you both. You perhaps need to think about what your hopes are here. A new relationship must be forged together and this will take energy – otherwise you may strike a similar pattern in your next relationship. I would encourage you to have a good think about this. Good luck!

  7. Hi Carmen,

    My husband and I have been together for 15 years. We have a kid together.

    I had a 8 month affair with a co-worker which I told my husband and he was devastated. He tried to save the marriage but I wasn’t ready at that time. After 2 months, I ended the affair and a month after that I started working on our marriage, realizing that I’ve made a huge mistake and I love my husband & family.

    My husband is firm with his decision to divorce but I told him to give me 4 weeks as I would really want to work on this marriage. Throughout the 4 weeks, my husband moved back to the house and there were many happy and unhappy times but we spent time as a family. He is sometimes friendly and distant.

    During the 4 weeks, he would mention divorce but I told him to give me some more time. Relatives and friends talked to him and advised him to think twice. Our kid told him not to go to the lawyer’s. Last night, he was still firm with his decision and he plans to move out of the house next week. I asked him for more time and that we go to a counselling session.

    I told him I regret my mistake and I apologized for causing him hurt and pain. I told him that I will try to fix this marriage and I won’t give up. I would really love to see us remain as a husband & wife and as a family.

    I’m not having enough sleep and I’m scared of what will happen in the next few days.

    Any advice from you would be highly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Dear Carmen,
      I am hopeful reading your words. Your husband has some opening there. You may not yet be at the LRT but very close.

      This relationship crisis would benefit from therapy. I just said the same to John. When we are in the middle of things we can’t get out of our loop.

      As their has been infidelity, this must be worked through for you both. In my experience, it is a 1-2 year process with good therapy. And neverending hurt and dysfunctional patterns erupting most likely without marital therapy.

      Again honour your fear but do not act out on it. Talk to your husband, from your letter I get a sense he may be open. Find a new way to do this though with openness,vulnerability, accountability, remorse and hope.

      Write and update us Carmen on your efforts and outcomes.

  8. My wife and i have been married 9 years and we have three kids together. I have spent these past years trying to be the best father, husband and provider i can be for my family. Unfortunately, i can admit that we didnt take the time we should have to invest in ourselves. She told me a few weeks ago that she loves me but is not in love with me anymore. I have appologized for missing all the signs of not working on our marriage as much as i should have, aswell as anything else i have done. I truly love her and dont want to let her go. We are still living together until she can afford to move out. I have been a wreck these past few weeks, and have told her i love her still with no reply, ive texted her and talked to her and do feel as though i am pushing her further away as you describe. Do you feel the LRT is my best bet to win her love again?

    1. Dear John,
      Yes it does sound to me like you are at the Last Resort Stage and it is about winning you back. Look over the blog for hope, inspiration, encouragement and the wisdom of others. You are worth it!

  9. Hi I’ve been with my husband just short of 6 years. Looking back now, he always felt the need to message other women sexually explicit content. I find out he apologised and things are good between us for a few months then back to square one. We married 2years ago on 9 September.
    He moved out about 6 weeks ago saying he needed time to think and work out why he felt the need to message other women other women.
    I did the chasing and begging and he called it a day.
    For the last day I’ve only contacted him regarding the kids.
    I love him so much and want him. The kids are suffering aswell.

    What do I do

    Can I please stay annoymunus

    1. Dear annoymunus,
      yes you are at the Last Resort. So follow steps 1,2 and of course 3. This will guide your actions. You may have to do this for a while.
      It is common for people to ‘exit’ the relationship with outside factors, I hope when things progress you can then work together on the issues.
      Best of luck

  10. Hi Philipa,

    I’m still not sure how to act with my partner. He has always had issues (often stemming from his dad) but he has refused to deal with them, and that’s where I think a lot of the problems are coming from. While there definitely are issues, I think a lot of the problems stem from his issues that he won’t deal with, and not from me or our relationship.
    This also makes things really difficult for me as I am not only dealing with missing him and everything else that is going on with us, but I am also genuinely concerned about him. So is his mother, she has tried to talk to him, and tried to get him to see a counsellor for himself, but he won’t open up to her and she is met with resistance. In her exact words “he takes it out on the ones who care about him the most. Then isolates them. I have dealt with it for years and will continue to because I am his mother, but it is stressful and draining”.
    She has said that there is nothing we can do about him now, he is angry at the people who love and care about him (including his Nan), won’t take her calls, and all we can do is wait till he messes it up with his new friends, which he will, or hits rock bottom. At the moment as they have only seen him when he is in a reasonably good place, they are unknowingly enabling him and don’t realize that he actually has issues that he needs help with.
    This is also a large part of the reason he didn’t have many friends, he is sociable, charismatic and easily forms new and casual connections, but often messes them up when he gets too drunk, or perceives something as a slight.
    This isn’t necessary a typical case of a relationship that hit the rocks. I believe that I am the scapegoat for his anger and personal issues, which would be why he keeps getting angrier, and ANY question from me is seen as a personal attack and is severely over reacted to with the “I can’t win/I can’t do anything/whatever I do I’m an arsehole”. While I believe I may have been controlling over some parts of our lives, he had control over others, he has cherry-picked his data, complaining whenever he did something he didn’t like, but not counting stuff he did. A lot of his complaints have stemmed also from not having the freedom that we used to have after our son was born as you just don’t have that flexibility with a newborn.
    There is so much that I just don’t know how to deal with. I can see where the last resort technique is extremely effective when the issue is “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” but how effective is it when my partner’s issues are uncontrolled, and he’s acting extremely immature, doing what he wants when he wants, and enjoying being single and having no responsibilities, which is not a life that he can have with me and the kids.
    I got a text on Friday saying that he was working night- shift next week and wouldn’t be able to pick up the kids. I said OK and asked a question about something that he put up on Snapchat a few hours before, which was ignored. I asked if night shift meant that I needed to organize 5yo into after school Care, something that we had discussed that he would continue to do, and said yes. I asked about helping me answer the questions on the Centrelink application as I had gotten stuck. He asked what they needed to now and said later. I asked if he would still see the kids fathers day, and was told probably not if he was working Sunday night. I got upset as they were excited to see him and give him their presents. He told me “you need to pull your hand out of my arse. Stop treating me like a fucking puppet’ I told him this wasn’t about me, but his kids. He had to come over, at least for an hour, and if he wanted I would leave, as long as he saw the kids. He said he would try…

    In the end I got a message on Saturday afternoon saying he was coming around to see the kids later instead of on Sunday. He came around at about 4 and was there for almost 2 hours. During this time he was exhausted, he had been out on Friday night, and overslept and missed his job on Saturday morning. He talked about work, but didn’t ask me about mine. He was on his phone, but when I went over to the side of the room that he was on (either to move the cat, or because 5yo asked me to sit on the couch so I could see her better) he put the phone away and hid it. He was asked if he was staying for dinner by 5yo, he said no, and that he wanted to stay up all night so he could sleep all day Sunday before going to work. He failed at that (he always has) and made no attempt to contact me to see his kids for fathers day, so I went and saw his mum for the afternoon.
    On Saturday we also discussed the email that there was a fathers day afternoon tea at our sons daycare, and he said if he was awake he would go. I sent a facebook message on Monday asking if he made it (no judgement) and was told he’d just woken up (a lie, he’d been awake for about 2 hours) and then told me only to text him, not to use facebook (which he always on) I said OK, and asked why, he said “because I asked you to…” and I left it at that. For a guy that has said to me and his family that he wants to try and stay friends, putting restrictions on how I can communicate with him is not the way to go.

    It has now been almost 4 weeks since he ended things, and I have been applying the Last Resort technique since then. I have become a bigger mess and am now crying both before and during work most days. He is getting angrier and treating me horribly. If I believed that this is who he really is I would be running for the hills, but he is not a terrible person, he is acting like one because he’s not in control of his problems. I am still getting no contact from him, occasional texts about money, never received a phone call. Should I be seeing some results by now? Is my relationship too far gone?

    1. Dear Depressed and confused,

      Of course this is a really hard time for you! From your email your relationship has been under a great deal of pressure and both your needs for love and connection have been lost in the mix.

      I find the ideas of Harville Hendrix’s very useful. I encourage you to explore his books Books to help here. He believes we choose our partners who are at a similar stage of emotional development so that we can heal and grow together. Harville says we go for a person who matches our Imago – with both our parents and positive and negative traits. And when we get together it’s all good until love’s anesthesia wears off and we see our real partners. That’s why I am recommending Imago Therapists.

      I think you need to reapply step 1 with your wonderful determination. Stop all contact, do the opposite of what’s not working – ie when you get the reactivity from him that would be a good sign. Relationships have patterns you need to work out your pattern – ie he withdraws and I react by checking snapchat or INstagram, you get the picture and stop doing this.

      Look at the exercise I put up in an email and use this to further your progress.

      The LRT recommends you stop all the conversations with relatives, friends about what he is or isn’t doing or trying to figure out his issues. Break this loop and find a friend who can be more neutral in support. Focus more on you and what you can control – your responses, you are powerful!

      And keep Step 2 going, knowing that you will need to really connect with Step 3 – Wait and have patience. So take it as easy as you can, and I think with reapplying the LRT Steps in their totality you may have better results in a few weeks.
      Good luck and let us know how the changes impact.

      1. Hi Philipa,

        I have been applying most of step 1 for the past month. I don’t contact him and he doesn’t contact me, or if he does it’s very clinical (afterpay comes out on the 1st) and that’s it. I basically only spent 1 evening talking to his mother, but the part that I think keeps getting missed are that he had these problems before we got together, and while we were together, they are not there because he left me. Me changing my behavior won’t change the fact that we saw my friends a lot because he doesn’t have many. At the moment basically all his friends are from his work, and he has refused to let me meet them since he started a year ago, so I was never going to suggest seeing them. The girl he cheated on me with is also from his work, and I know he is still in contact with her as her chat bubble was open on his phone when he showed me and our 5yo a picture on his phone. He mentioned a coworker who quit and said something along the lines of “he came and worked his shifts, came to the meetings and stuff, but wasn’t part of the family”. I think one of the main reasons he left, and won’t stop talking to the girl he kissed is that she is part of this work “family” and they are more important to him right now than me or our kids (has only seen them for a total of 8 hours in the past fortnight). He doesn’t spend time with anyone outside of work, and has dinner at a coworker’s house (not the one he’s living with, or the one he cheated with) more often than he comes to see his kids, and spends longer there.
        He also had me call his phone after he misplaced it and I discovered that he has changed my ringtone from the generic one to alarm that goes “WARNING!! YOUR EX IS CALLING!! CRISIS ALERT!! CRISIS ALERT!!” I don’t even consider him my ex at this point.
        While I know I cannot control his actions, surely there are things that I can say/do to help him realize what he’s doing is not healthy. Most of the problems in our relationship were caused by him a “I do what I want when I want” attitude, which is a real problem when it comes to doing kids stuff. Otherwise, I’m basically to the point of telling him get out of our lives forever and never come back.

        1. Dear Depressed and confused,

          Great you are applying most of the LRT Step 1, now really give it your all and do it 100%.

          So many comments here on the blog suggest this is the best way forward and those who have success and a turnaround appear to apply it and do it fully. Go for it.

          I hear your confusion and frustration.

          Depressed and confused I am not surprised to hear there were problems in the relationship before. I guess you guys would not have reached this break down point. And these will be long standing patterns between you where you both have struggled to get to the heart of things and it seems not get past – I am sorry. The leaving only amplifies these issues as we become stressed and overloaded with all the emotion and upset. We basically do more of the same. This is where the LRT comes to the rescue as it gives you a blueprint for doing something else.

          Often less assertive partners will take an exit by having an affair, rather than talking about the issues they are having and address them, so sorry.

          If you are using the LRT we recommmend forget analysing your partner and their behaviour, I get you want to know. And no long phone calls going over the details

          At this stage there is nothing you can do about the cheating, this needs to be addressed when the relationship is returned. And usually those things fizzle out.

          Ouch that would have been hurtful, I would guess hearing that ring tone. You need to be the opposite of that. It is clear although you don’t view yourself as the ex, your partner does. We need to acknowledge you are in different places on this.

          I get it’s painful as he is living his life and there is not much time for the kids. I would like to see you both set a routine up for the kids. We know kids thrive on predictability. So they know Dad will be there Wednesday and Saturday. Then you will also be able to have a life too.

          Your kids are super important and need you to be caring and helpful as they also navigate confusing times. I get you love them and they really are looking at you and your reactions. Be peaceful.

          You are so right you can’t change or control his actions. I get you want to help him and care for him.

          The very worst thing you could do is say or try to make him realize what he is doing is not healthy, this will only prove to him how right he was for leaving, sorry to say. There pattern in your relationship problem echoes this so give yourself a break and work on you – Step 2 you deserve a life. Take care xx

  11. I’m so glad I found this post Philipa, I think I am in the last resort area now with my husband. We have been struggling and fighting for about a year now and just last week he said he thought we should separate for a time. But it feels like that basically means the end, doesn’t it? He hasn’t yet talked about divorce, and maybe some space would help us, but I feel like we need to work on it, not just separate and let it all fall apart. Any help would be much appreciated.

    1. Dear Jenny,
      yes I agree you are in the Last Resort Stage. Now you need to stop bringing up anything to do the relationship and especially the problems. As this will come across as negative and critical – the opposite of wht you want to be showing up.

      I get this is really hard. So hang in there. Read the blog and use the LRT 100% for your best hope!

    2. Dear Jenny,
      yes I agree you are in the Last Resort Stage. Now you need to stop bringing up anything to do the relationship and especially the problems. As this will come across as negative and critical – the opposite of what you want to be showing up.

      I get this is really hard. So hang in there. Read the blog and use the LRT 100% for your best hope!

  12. My husband and I have been separated for almost two months. He is from Africa originally and came home one day and said he wanted a second wife in africa. I told him he had lost his mind. Then I found out he actually had someone picked out and has been talking to her for sometime so I kicked him out. My question is how long do I use this technique before I just give up and ask for a divorce. Part of me wants to be patient and have hope, another part wants to move on with my life and not waste time on someone who doesn’t love me.

    1. Dear Erin,
      In some countries, I believe polygamy, having more than one wife is a custom. I am guessing the culture you are from and country is not one of them.

      Gee it Erin, it is not uncommon for me to hear a partner say they are in love with both parties. With your situation, you must decide what is acceptable for you, and your personal standards. I feel for you as I would find it really hard in this situation.

      Use Steps 1, 2 and 3 to give you your best hope. I think this may be a clear case of you setting your won limits and boundaries which will inform the two of you. I believe you would need to have a conversation with your husband. I als0 have a curiosity on the legality of this. The other wife would have to remain in Africa.

      Tough decisions for you. Take care xx

  13. My husband and I have been married for 12 years and we have 3 children. This Summer we had another fight and I suggested he move into the basement. We have been pretty much fighting over the same things for the last 4 years and this time we didn’t makeup and smooth it over.
    My husband became involved in cosplay about 4 years ago and at first we tired to make it a family thing. But my kids would like the activity for a little while the grow bored and I would be the one to stay home or leave early and he would be able to hangout with his friends. I also have been at my heaviest weight and have not liked seeing myself in pictures and have not felt comfortable doing stuff with my husband. My husband has always treated me good and never made me feel bad about myself. I knew that my behavior was hurting our marriage but I didn’t make changes to myself then and now we are here and my husband is hurt that I didn’t want to work on our marriage before and he thinks that he never made me happy why do I think anything will be different now.
    I know that he started an affair since moving into the basement and I have done all the wrong things, pleading, crying, talking with his mother. He knows I know about the other woman
    And part of me understands why he did get involved with her, but sometimes he appears like he still wants us to work, he will ask me to cuddle which will usually turn into us having sex. I have also gotten excited about these times and will then talk about something in the future or will start the cuddle and I can feel him stepping back. I have asked him how he feels about the other woman and he says he doesn’t know. I have lost a lot of weight since our separation started and am feeling alot more sexy and fun. Sometimes I get angry when I feel like he is getting his cake and eating it too. Should I be letting him think it is okay to be with me and still date his mistress? But I do love him and it is hard to give up on 12 years together and our family but it seems so hard to know if we can ever overcome all that has happened.

    1. Dear Marybeth,

      I can see you have been reflecting on things. I am so glad you are caring for your health and self esteem in a more useful way. That 4 year issue may need a professional in time.

      With the LRT we don’t ask about the affair partner- whether they love them or make any comparison and certainly no threats – you can’t make him think or feel anything. And getting angry will send him straight into her supportive arms – most likely the result you are after.

      You bring the fun and loving part of you forward that he was initially attracted to- remember her? She probably got lost somewhere along the way. This is the power of step 2.

      I think you have a really good chance. The power is in your hands.

      You absolutely must have zero negativity and criticism when you are with your husband.
      When things are back on track you will have to address the deeper issues in the marriage with good therapy.
      Best of luck and love yourself well!! xx

  14. Hey Philipa,
    My wife and I have been separated for just over a month, she left finally after years of really great times but fraught with us always fighting, even if we had a great day we fought at one point or didn’t get along etc. I know most of it was me, I have grown up with anger, and with an angry family that has always stayed together but not in the healthiest ways, my mom and dad bicker and are jerks constantly. She is currently staying with friends that tell her not to be with me, she says she resents me, and doesn’t think that will change even if I do, and really is only nice to me when we talk about the 6 year old we have together, or plans for pick up and drop off. When I suggest getting together it mostly goes bad. She says she is finally happy to be working on herself and doesn’t want to work on it with me, but she hasn’t filed for divorce. I have been seeking counseling to work on my anger (just to be clear never an abusive male at all just angry) as well as having to come to terms with the fact that I have not been appreciative of all the extra she does for us and the kid around the house and in life, now that I am alone I have to do it all and realize how unappreciative I have been, and have told her so. I truly feel like I blew my chance to give my daughter a happy together forever family, and don’t know what to do. When she does go to therapy with me she says it is to work on co parenting not to be with me. She sometimes tells my sister or others that she isn’t sure what she wants, but when its me she is steadfast that it is not to ever be with me again. I have ruined by being a jerk and ungrateful the best thing that has ever happened to me, meeting Nichole…I don’t know what to do, for the first few days I tried to convince her, she says I’m to smart and is avoiding talking to me so I don’t talk her back in to being in a bad situation. Which is actually fair for her to say. She says its for the best for her and the kid but the kid is miserable and just wants her family back together. I am in the house surrounded by pictures of my family together, my kid wont let me take them down, and Nichole hasn’t moved her things out, she comes and goes as she pleases to get what she needs for the next few days etc. I don’t tell her to get her things because I honestly don’t want to lose her and don’t want to aggravate what I have already done by essentially being a poor husband. I never cheated and just realized that I made the changes I am now when she was there…true what they say you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone…im so scared to lose her, I’m trying to go out and enjoy life but everything reminds me of her, after spending almost 8 years together I’m lost…is there any hope? Please help me .

    1. Hi Kosta,
      yep mate this is the time to man up and put your best wisest foot forward. You need to put on a brave front around your daughter. Children need stability in these changing circumstances more than ever.

      Yep tough place and it has taken this crisis as you say to figure out what you may have lost. Patience is going to be your best friend.

      Stop discussing your fears and everything with friends and family – use your therapist for this. Well done for seeking professional help.

      I think there is room for hope but you will have to work super hard and it may be for some time. Put no pressure on your wife.

      Go well and use the LRT fully. There are loads of comments to read here on marriage saving advice from others on the brink of divorce. Take are and thinking of you.

  15. Hi Philipa,
    My wife and I have been dating for 8 years before we got married and being married for 10 years now and we have 9 years old son. 5 years ago I did the worst mistake of my life and cheated on my wife. I was working overseas and as we already had issues in marriage I was feeling unwanted and insecure and did something that I regret very much. After she found out I decided to leave my job and go back to my family to try to work things out. For a year I was at home and we were getting back together slowly. I know she was never the same after that but we were making some small progress. 3 years ago I got an offer to go back overseas and we made mutual decision due to financial situation and future plans that I am going to accept the offer. We even set the timeline to until I am 40 and after that I am coming home for good. For the last 3 years we were spending vacations together, going on trips. things got so good between us that we even started saying I love you to each other. We were making plans and all. In November last year she expressed a wish to buy a business from one of the people she knew that I suspectend long time she was attracted to. The job fit well into her education degree and I did not want to be jealous idiot so I supported decission . At the time she was not working and we knew it is best for her to star something even small better that staying at home. That is when things started changing. She slowly started pushing me out of the business, not telling me what is going on and hiding things. Business is massage salon. One month before my last scheduled vacation I caught her lying about a trip she made with her girlfriend. As soon as I confronted her she closed out telling me she is not going to justify herself to me and that she does not owe me any explanations. For a full month I was going through hell trying to figure out what is going on. After coming home we went on a summer vacation for 8 days. I can’t say it was bad, even the things in bedroom happened although I was not expecting. Then as soon as we came back home things started falling apart again. I saw her deleting the messages from the phone from exact person I was suspecting she has something with. We started arguing and she denied any accusations of cheating. She told me she is deleting the messages because I was so jealous of that person. Mind I never had her phone password so there was no way for me to read any messages I just sow her deleting messages while she was sitting close to me. Remaining 18 days of my vacation were hell. Either arguing or deadly silence. She even dropped me at the airport with “Take Care” instead of any nice words we used to say to each other. I am back overseas again and things are not better. The things that I see doing wrong is exactly what you said not to do as step 1 of LRT. And I mean all of them. She told me several times she does not love me anymore but is persistent in denying she has found someone else. My wife mentioned several times she want a divorce but never filed one. Even when I told her OK go and file paperwork she didn’t do it. Although she is saying this she still sends me messages, telling me where she is and with whom, sending me pictures of her going out being with her friends and I’ve notices she is even monitoring if I am online on viber of whatsapp. So some of the signs of her not wanting a divorce are there as well. But no love and she told me she is sorry that she does not feel anything and that without feelings everything is falling apart. It was yesterday when I came across your video on youtube about LRT and I would like to know if this is a moment for that. I know that distance is not helping and she is used to do things without me and I accept that. I am so confused with these mixed signals. She wants a divorce but telling me her plans and business schedule and time for herself but sending me pictures of where and with whom she is although I never ask. I know I am being weak now and that she does not see the man she wants in me right now but this is the only person in my life I am weak about.
    I am sorry for any typing errors, English is not my native language.

    Thank you Much

    1. Mirza,
      so glad you have found me and the You tube video of the Last Resort Technique from Marriage Works Channel. You are at the Last Resort alright.

      Good you are recognizing the unhelpful things – stop them immediately. I want you to get a hold of yourself and I know it’s not easy being far away and have courage. You are getting mixed messages so only go with good stuff.
      The way I read you situation is this she has become used to being independent of you due to your overseas job. This is neither a good or bad thing it just is. So you need to adapt to her new way of being in a strong way and accept her. Forget about cheating and totally stop talking about anything like that.
      I believe there is certainly a chance. I’d bet she is just as confused as you are. I see hope and possibilities but you will need to apply the steps and no slip ups ! Good luck.

  16. My husband and I have been married for 4 almost 5 years, we have a 3 year old child. He asked a month ago for a divorce. We are still living together, sleeping in the same bed and we are still intimate. He said he will allow me to get to place of acceptance before proceeding with discussing divorce. He said he doesn’t want to seek professional help because it didn’t work previously. His love for me hasn’t changed but he’s basically checked out. He said he doesn’t think things will ever change and he doesn’t feel, he’s at a place to even allow or accept my changes. He said me not defending him when my family member disrespected him, that was the nail in the coffin. He feels “my” family will always be my priority not him. He does call me(short and long conversations), he texts me asking about my day, almost daily. I do text him from time to time asking about his day. We kiss each other on the cheek almost every morning and night. But, he’s not affectionate, he doesn’t hold/spoon me at night, we don’t kiss on the lips, we don’t hug nor do we talk about the future. He goes out with his friend(not a lot). I never begged him, tried to reason with him or any of the DAMAGING things when he asked for the divorce. I’ve stopped the nagging, questioning, I’ve amped up our sex life, doing more around the house (things he said were problems) and I’m going out more (doing me). He’s made comments about my changes. But previously, towards the beginning of him asking for the divorce, for a few weeks, he would say he didn’t want to confuss me, he still didn’t want to reconcile. For the most part his mean comments have stopped recently but I’m not sure if the changes I’ve made, are helping. I’m not sure if I’m fooling myself and he’s tooo far gone… I want to ask him to go away bc we always had a great time on vacation or go on a date but I think that’s too much, I think that’ll push him further away. I’m afraid to hug or try to kiss him on the mouth, I’m afraid of rejection… I don’t know if I’m currently doing all the right things and I just need to give it more time or am I leaving something out that I should add… please help!!

    1. Dear Mrs D,
      it really sounds like you making these changes have had an impact. I’d bet one of the biggest ones is you are feeling better in yourself as you are taking care of you. People notice this.

      Good idea not to ask him to go away, it will be a guilt holiday if he agrees and it is not what we do when we are Last Resorting! We don’t chase in any way. So good you are not pursuing hugs. kisses etc. If we are honest with ourselves this is usually more for our on insecurity, which we need to work on from the inside.

      No pressure let him slowly see the woman he fell in love with. Work on your listening skills and empathizing, which means being able to see his perspective without defense or railroading your opinion over top.

      Step 3 be patient you definitely need to give it more time and I think keep up the good work. Well done and we look forward to your update.

  17. My husband and I have been married for 4 almost 5 years, we have a 3 year old child. He asked a month ago for a divorce. We are still living together, sleeping in the same bed and we are intimate. He said he will allow me to get to place of acceptance before proceeding with discussing divorce. He said he doesn’t want to seek professional help because it didn’t work previously. His love for me hasn’t changed but he’s basically checked out. He said me not defending him when my family member disrespected him, that was the nail in the coffin. He feels “my” family will always be my priority not him. He calls me (short and long conversations) he texts me asking about my day, almost daily. I do text him from time to time, checking on his day. We kiss each other on the cheek almost every morning and night. But, he’s not affectionate, he doesn’t hold/spoon me at night, we don’t kiss on the lips, we don’t hug and we do not talk about the future. He goes out with his friends (not a lot). I never begged him, tried to reason with him why we shouldn’t get a divorce or any of the DAMAGING things when he asked for the divorce. I’ve stopped the nagging, questioning, I’ve amped up our sex life, doing more around the house (some things he said were problems) and I’m going out more(doing me). He has made comments about my changes. But previously, towards the beginning of my husband asking for the divorce, for a few weeks, he’s said he didn’t want to confuse me, he’s still didnt want to reconcile. For the most part his mean comments have stopped but I’m not sure if the changes I’ve made, are helping. I’m not sure if I’m fooling myself and he’s tooo far gone… I want to hug, spoon and kiss him on the lips. I want to ask him to go on trip because we’ve always had a fantastic time on vacation, I want to ask him to go on a date but I’m scared that’ll push him further away or afraid of rejection. Im wondering if I’m doing all the right things and I just need to give it more time or do I need to add something to what im doing… please help

  18. Hello Philipa –

    My husband and I have been married for 20+ years and together for 24. 2 months ago he asked me for a divorce, but agreed to separation. He said he loves me deeply, but doesn’t like me and isn’t attracted to me anymore. He is not motivated at all to fix or work on our marriage. We have 4 children and Our youngest just graduated high school and we are finally empty nesters. We were going to travel and start really working on us. We have always struggled a little in the bedroom part of our marriage. I want it more and affection and attention and he feels like I pressure him too much. We own a business together and I know he is struggling with his part of the business, possibly mid-life crisis etc, but he just says it’s me. I am not willing to give up on our marriage and NO PART of me wants to quit trying, but I am the only one trying and he just doesn’t seem to care at all. He has his walls up, he is cold and distant. Between our kids and work, unfortunately we have to talk, but I have tried over the last couple of days to stop the crying, begging etc. He agreed to talking about our relationship 1x per week at a designated time. Is this a good idea? This is progress right? I am not sure what to expect. I feel like he will still be cold and distant, but I am hoping he will take down a wall or 2???

    1. Dear Carrie,
      He has checked out, so I get your pain and frustration. So give yourself a break and whole heartedly embrace the Last Resort as your life raft to safety and direction.

      Keep your talk warm friendly and brief be sure to end it on a good note. You want positive associations.

      All the relationship talk, reminders of the good times will only push him out the door faster.

      I read you have made progress, and now it’s time pull out all stops. Forget trying to figure his reasons and him out. Focus on you now – Step 2. Take care of you. Get your girl power happening.

      The weekly designated meeting to discuss your relationship is not part of the LRT. Honestly it makes you sound like his boss and more desperate. Which will only drive a reluctant partner out faster. It confirms things for them sadly. I would let that slip off your calendar.

      This is the best trying you can do – I get it seems counter intuitive but really think about why it will work and read the LRT religiously.
      Good luck and keep us in the loop!

  19. Please help my husband doesn’t know if he wants to be married and we are currently living under the same roof in different bedrooms I’m so confused and hurt. Apart of me wants him to just go but he refuses as we both own the house. I don’t know what to do would love my husband to want to be with me again nd be happy but can this happen living under the same roof but not together how do I make this work so he does want to be us again

    1. Dear Sm,
      this is the place to use the LRT fully. I hear you are hurt and confused, not to mention probably angry and feeling rejected. While I don’t want you to mask your feelings, I want to make sure you don’t share these heavy emotions with your partner or react from them.

      Get your integrity back, study and apply the Last Resort to it’s full capacity. Get in touch with the wonderful woman who he initially fell in love with and bring her forward. This I believe will give you your best chance at surviving this relationship roadblock. And yes it can happen while you are under the same roof. Start going out more, taking care of yourself – a new shampoo, skin cream or lip stick. Listen to your favourite movies.
      You get the idea take care xx

  20. Hi Philipa,
    I have listened to your advice and after an argument my partner has agreed to come over an help wit the kids on Tuesdays on Thursdays, after any 2 nights a week wasn’t working. We have gone out all together a few times and it has been nice, also if he comes over early, he now climbs into bed with me and snuggles, usually leading to sex.
    The issue that I have is that while I feel like he is interested in me, I don’t really think he’s interested in us. He either would be happy if things were good again, without having to actually work on fixing them, as he never tried to fix things, just waited and left. Or more likely he enjoys being single. I think he likes living with other people, and not having he responsibility of dealing with the kids (still very little at 5 and 2) and wants to go out whenever he wants without having to worry about me or babysitters. Basically, he likes coming over and spending time with me and the kids when it suits him, but still having his freedom. We don’t really communicate unless we’re in the same place. and he never calls me to talk, he has his new housemates for that.
    How do I approach this without coming across as controlling? I know that will only make things worse as it impacts on his freedom, and me being controlling was to him a big problem in our relationship

    1. Hi Philipa,
      Just adding to the comment above, can I ask him if he is dating anyone? I have seen some things (mostly unintentional) that suggest to me that he might be. Also we are moving house in a few weeks due to our lease ending, his name will be on the lease at the new place, but he doesn’t plan on coming back, how do I handle the address change? At the moment everything is still listed at our place, not the one he’s staying at.

      1. Hi again Depressed and Confused – you can’t ask him if he is dating anyone if you are doing the LRT.
        Forget those things you have seen.

        I am not sure what you are asking about the lease. How come his name is on the lease? I don’t get that. Did he offer to do that?

        1. Hi Philipa,
          With the lease we were given a notice to vacate before he left. Centrelink has not sorted itself out yet, and there was no way we would be able to secure a house on my income alone without being able to prove the rest. It was discussed a while ago, I can’t remember if I asked him or he offered when the moving house issue was brought up.

    2. Dear Depressed and Confused,
      thanks for your update and frankness.

      This is a good sign he is coming over, glad things have been nice when you have been out. I like that!

      So you want your time together to be really pleasant family time this allows him to see how you are moving forward in a new and enlightened way. He gets to miss the wonderful girl he fell in love with.

      And good that you are giving him freedom, more is wise, especially as you have said his complaint was the controlling stuff.

      Sorry you can’t approach this without seeming controlling and insecure which is not what you want here. YOu need to practice radical acceptance with him and this situation for the time being. So don’t do it at all.

      If you bring up your concerns by approaching him it will either a) lead to one of the old fights. Or b) He may call you out of obligation but it will be like being on parole and having to report in. Certainly not the vibe you are wanting to have here.

      You are doing well and I am very proud of your efforts. Keep up the good work!

  21. Hi Philipina,

    It’s Kaiyla from a few weeks back (August). You asked me to drop you s line.
    Thank you so so much for your reply.

    Here I am at 4 in the morning feeling confused and broken. We are going to therapy but needed to stop as my stepdad just passsd away and I needed to return to MA (we live in L.A.). She is very expensive for us and we are both in dire financial situations. I am still going to AA and my own insurance-covered therapist. Despite my stepfathers death, I kept my sobriety.

    Anyway, I am finding we are having a great few days and then his anger just explodes from lot of nowhere.
    I just returned from back east after losing my stepfather and although the has been supportive of all my emotions, he lashed out at me tonight. In the last, myself and friends have taken notice that he can be very condescending and speaks down to me. I addressed him regarding this, a year or two ago. He made effort to change it, but did it again in public tonight. He tried to play it off as a joke, but I was embarrassed. At home, he called me a “gross gross gross person.” I am 5’0, 112lbs, but very depressed and broken.. he knows this. He he has called me names before and put me down. Given the timing and my headspace right now, that really really hurt.

    Please please advise me? I’m not sure my heart can take much more. I wa so excited I maintained sobriety through the one thing I thought I’d never make it though -losing a parent. I was clinging to that one happiness but now all I feel is sadness and resentment.. I apologize, and thank you so much.

    Best regards,
    Kaiyla

    1. Dear Kaiyla,
      I want to both celebrate your success with you sobriety and also send my deepest sympathies for the loss of your parent. This is the time to be more vigilant with you health and prioritize your abstinence. This will certainly give you a clear head and sounds exactly what is needed at the moment.

      Watch the little things too and be gentle with yourself.

      Ok I am concerned – the the anger outbursts. put downs and name calling fall into the category of emotional abuse. This must stop immediately. While you have raised the issue a few years ago – well done by the way from your letter it’s clear it has not stopped.

      Let me put it to you this way Kaiyla, your partner was probably concerned and upset about your drinking, he may have mentioned this hopefully in a supportive way. You too action and the steps required to address this issue.

      We can influence our partners negatively and positively. It sounds to me that this behaviour of your partner must be addressed by him, he needs to change this. I would say something like “You require more of him and trust that he is capable of better action. No need for reasons or excuses, change is the only acceptable option here – his behaviour. It must stop and he has to deal with this or you will be reviewing you options.” It must be concrete action like a program – I always watch what a person does not what they say they will do.

      I believe in him and want a better outcome for your partner. This is why it is so important you let him know what you need in a relationship. You can’t date people who have 3 year old like tantrums when they are adults. You aren’t there to parent your partner.

      I know you are feeling sadness and resentment and I can understand why. What would your step dad want for you?

      Glad your friends are supportive. There is no place for the condescending remarks especially not when you need love and care as you both recover and grieve your loss.

      Go to the library find books by Patricia Evans – or see my resources books on emotional abuse and how to move beyond here.

      You must respect you!

      There is no need to apologize glad you let us know what’s happening. Share this with your therapist.

      Sending you love and admiration, keep it up. A day at a time as they say in AA. xx

    2. Dear Kaiyla,
      my heart goes out to you lovey. Very tough time.
      Your sadness is a natural regard for your loss. Resentment and anger gives us energy at times to pull us through.
      Take care and know I am sending you love and healing vibes xx
      Go gently and do as best you can with your sobriety.

  22. I’m Tiffany currently living in Ontario Canada, i was going through a break up with my boyfriend which made me so depressed, i would cry all night wishng he could just come back to me again but he was with the other girl. i was searching for help online when i came to your site but it turned into an amazing result. Robert came back to me and i’m just too happy now. thank you

  23. My husband of 15 years (together for 20) just told me that he thinks we have nothing in common and that he has never been himself in our marriage. He wants a divorce so he can be happy. I’m shocked and devastated both for me and our 2 boys (6 and 8). He has grown distant over the past year and would never talk about it but we haven’t been fighting. Is the LRT worth a try? We are still living together but he is in the guest room. Should I still ask him simple questions like “How as your day?” or tell him things about the kids? Or is that chasing behavior? Also, how can I get a life when I am at work all day and then caring for the kids in the evening (my husband isn’t making it home until late at night?) Thanks for your help.

    1. Dear Shocked,
      Thanks for your email. If you read the blog here you will see you are not alone in this situation.

      I have heard from many a spouse, who’s wife or husband one day does a back flip in the marriage saying exactly those things – we have nothing in common anymore, I am not in love and how they can’t be happy within the relationship.

      So my heart goes out to you and to him too. You are both struggling here but have different ways of coping.

      And to answer your question – Yes the Last Resort is your go to from now on. Definitely worth a try and it will give you a guide for these perilous times.

      The freer you are in the letting go the better. As it will help him release any sense of feeling trapped in the relationship.

      From your email I am guessing he was not so much of a talker on the issues, that’s ok some people aren’t. They are the thinkers and do a lot of it in their heads. Which is why it is such a shock when they have worked this stuff out for themselves in their head without consulting you.

      And vital here when he does talk you listen and empathise. Really crucial. What i mean is if he says ‘sorry I can’t be with you I am not happy and we have nothing in common’ I want you to say I hear you you want to leave as you aren’t happy and it’s like there no connection holding us together’. You make it safe for him to express.

      The worst thing you can do even though it will feel like it’s the best is tell him about all the good things, times and so forth. Bad idea as it will only remind him of how much you don’t get him.

      Totally counterintuitive I know! But most folk who are unhappy tell me they feel unheard, unacknowldeged and invalidated by their spouse. This is not you. You hear his pain, confusion and longing. This makes sense right – we all want to be happy.

      Acceptance of the situation is key and applying the LRT. You will have to adapt it to your circumstances. I would be polite but without enquiry. Usually a good rule of thumb is to do the opposite of what you usually do. So if you would usually ask how was his day, I would stop. Let him ask you about your day and the kids. Mystery is good thing here.

      You can take care of you at home. It might mean having a nice bath. Doing your nails in the privacy of your room. Getting a life is about you caring for you. I want you to let us know what you have come up with.

      Also you now have a built in sitter. Take yourself on a date once a week and get him to feed and bath the kids if possible. It might be as simple as getting a cup of coffee or taking yourself to the library or a church group. Just get out and look good doing it!
      Take care and let us know your progress.

      1. Thank you for your kind reply. I have not had a chance to listen with empathy and validate his feelings yet. Currently my husband is not talking at all. He leaves a room if I enter and will not even make eye contact. I stopped asking about his day but he has yet to ask anything about me or the kids. Perhaps it is all too soon? I have been working on GAL within my home. I have been trying out some new photography techniques and doing several baking projects. Mostly I am just trying to carry on as if this is all going to work out. I hope I am doing it with confidence and not coming off as an ostrich burying my head in the sand about the situation.

  24. Hi Philipa,

    I’ve come to your site a few times as it gives me both encouragement and comfort in a time when my marriage has been struggling.

    I wrote awhile back several months and at that point you suggested my husband and I get marriage counseling. Since that time we have started counseling but my husband is still unable to make a decision on if he wants to remain married. He says he doesn’t have a longing to be with me or loving feelings. The “I love you but am not in love with you” sentence describes how he feels towards me.

    He suggested that the only way he thinks he can figure out his feelings is through a trial separation. He moved out a few nights ago and the intent is to stay away for 3 weeks. We have two kids who think he is just working long hours and he will come home on the weekends as I work weekends.

    Is now a point where I start implementing the LRT? He has asked me for a favor today which will require I see him. We are on great terms. I worry that the LRT will make him look at me more like a friend and confirm his decision to stay apart since we can get along when he is away. What if it backfires and he doesn’t miss me?

    1. Dear ENM,
      So glad you have found the Last Resort Blog and Marriage Works helpful and it gave you encouragement and comfort. That means so much for me to hear typing away at my laptop thousands of miles away. Very touched. I really do want to support you and others out there through the tough times.

      And y=YES you need to apply the LRT. Let of of the fear as it will only have you acting from anxiety. Hold your fear and go forth with an open heart and mind.

      Remember you and he have shared many a difficult time and have a history – no one else has this. I want to remind you of this – though I don’t want you to remind him. Here you need to show not tell.

      This is where Step 2 comes into play. I want you to start focusing back on you and taking care of you. Thik back to when you were dating and all those things we did to make an effort. I want you to reignite yourself. Get out there and mix it up, become unpredictable.

      Zero negativity and act as if you are accepting him and moving forward. Please let us know your progress.
      Take care xx

  25. HI Philipa,

    ive been here on and off a few weeks reading , searching and hoping.
    my wife lost her mum 12 months ago and experienced the deepest grief during which I let her down and made her pain about me when it wasn’t. I did fail her during this period. its fair o say she is still deep in grief and says she doesn’t know who she is. cant see the future and wants to live now day by day. she also feels I spoil her happiness. I think she feels like we will go our separate ways and she will be happy but im sure she wont.

    although I still feel like we had a good marriage during this period on reflection perhaps it was not. she ended up finding support in a friend of ours that had left his wife. the emotionally connected through there pain and things got physical.

    I found out and we agreed to keep going and rebuild. in the following weeks she tried so very hard, threw all her love at me but I struggled to move on . 3 months on from the day I found out and we are separated but living together. I did all the thigs you are not meant to do.. chasing begging talking all the time. we both tried but it feels like we both failed.

    for a week oi have cut right back spend more time out don’t call and txt etc. the result initially was promising work on me and the behaviours she had vocally called me out on in the last few weeks.. the first day after the change in behaviour she cried a lot and things that would never be again. it was the first time I had seen anything other than anger at me for weeks. she even asked me 3 times for hugs again something she hadn’t done in a few weeks. the next couple of days she was angry then that settled down and now it juts feels like we are drifting apart ,, each other becoming more and more separate from the other. im worried I am in the situation where the result is… nothing.

    any advise would be great.. thanks

    1. Dear Broken,
      I know you are in a tough place so glad you have found hope and keep reading and connecting on the site. At least you can read and find ideas to help you here.

      You have to deal with your hurt without her for now about the other person. This will have to be addressed when you guys are back on solid ground.

      I am so proud of you seeing your own stuff. This is key the more you recognise and change the more hope you can have.

      Of course we do the wrong things until we know better, so give yourself a break on that one.

      Glad to hear you have had some promising results but like all things we must prepare for setbacks adn it is still early days here. You have had real breakthroughs as your behaviour has given your spouse the opportunity to reflect and get in touch with the stuff underneath the anger – hurt and sadness. You have to be able to empathise, I will write some more on that at a later date. Accepting where she is at is key.

      So don’t let your fear and anxiety play out. Remember Step 3 is patience just the opposite of what you want to hear but take notice of your gains here.

      She has responded with a shift and a softening. See that and give yourself a pat on the back.Also she has made a plea for something else. I note this as your old relationship will not be the one you get back into. It has to be a fresh start but that comes later when your wife has made a commitment.
      So apply the LRT fully not trying but completely is your best bet. Keep us posted!

      1. Thanks for the reply.. I am aware of my own issues more than ever now. hope I have it in me to make the changes I need to make for personal growth and to move forward with whatever outcome this all has.

        I cant help but feel like I have failed my family, our 3 children. robbed them of the upbringing both me and my wife didn’t have and were so very sure we could avoid.. history repeating.

        im scared that she seems so done with it all now and seems to be moving on forward on her own.. before her mum passed she was the model human. honest (sometimes too much lol) loyal. the model mother and the most fantastic wife. all the small things I feel I took for granted all the things I could have done differently. is this all too little too late?

        we are nursing my alcoholic father with dementia and he has gone down hill rapidly. she sent me a msg today saying she would always support me and I wouldn’t have to deal with his illness and ultimately death alone, she said she would refuse to let me sink the way she had. she would be there all the time I wanted her there. we as a couple were on a journey we never imagined but we could do this thing with my father together. time to be strong and focus on him. she will always love me no matter what.

        its hard to find the strength to do this . im sure if any of these problems we face came to us individually we could get through but all at once is to much. I have too try and focus, there is nothing to loose. I love her so very much and I know she loves me. she has always said our issues are not about love.

        thank you

        1. Dear Broken,
          you are so welcome. I know this sort of stuff really puts you in touch with the not so nice ways we have responded Be gentle with yourself.

          Especially as you say one of these problems you can handle individually but when it all comes it once it can be overwhelming. So please go gently.

          So sorry your father has dementia and alcoholism and of course your marital issues.

          I hear a part of you feels useless and feels like a failure, I am guessing it wants better for you than what has happened in your family history. This is totally understandable. Though I doubt giving yourself a hard time will assist with that.

          That is a very powerful and kind message, your wife sent I can see why there is so much love between you. You have to address her concerns with actions not words.

          Take care and sending love, hope and prayers.

  26. My husband has worked with a very small company for eight years– the same amount of time that we have been together. Over time, the owner of the company has invested time and money in my husband to groom him to help take over the company when he retires. The plan was that the owner’s daughter (then office manager) would run inside operations, while my husband would be shop foreman and in charge of sales. Come to find out, he has been having an affair with the owner’s daughter for a year now. (Who, by the way, I was extremely close to;I have since cut all ties with her.) After 3 weeks, my husband is still going to work every day. He spends about half the time at his mother’s house and half the time at our house. He is still helping support the household financially, covering me on his insurance, etc. (I am employed; my company’s insurance isnt great.) He also has agreed to allow me access to anything I want– his phone, passwords, computer. He let’s me know when he does talk to her at work and gives me details about their conversations. He has said that he is willing to go to marriage counseling, and he understands why I would want him to get a job and if we decide to work things out, he will. He is just terrified of finding a new job, especially since this is the only real job he’s ever had. He is also afraid of giving up the job and then us just winding up right where we were when the affair started ( we had been having intimacy problems– he tried so hard, and while I dont actually blame myself for the affair, I recognize that it was an issue in our marriage.) I don’t know what to think. It’s been almost a month with him going to work every day; he says he doesn’t want to lose the life we have together, but he also has worked so hard at this job. I also know that he cares about her, but he does love me and has been remorseful. He is still affectionate with me and says he wants me to be happy and that he loves me. He just says he doesn’t know how to handle this situation. Right now, I feel like he cares about the job more than he cares about me. After weeks of us seeing each other, texting regularly, and him staying the night at home a few nights a week, he still has not made a decision. I desperately want to reconcile; I feel a little stupid for wanting to try, but I am just not ready to give up. He has asked to take me out on dates, and he continues to tell me he loves me. He hugs and kisses me when we do see each other. I started the LRT yesterday. I’ve already done the begging and pleading and I’m done with that. It’s been over 24 hours since I talked to him (for the first time in 8 years). But we had a date planned for this weekend. I know he is going to want to see me, kiss me, and tell me he loves me. My question is: how do I respond to that? What do I do if he asks to come home that night? I want to rebuild the self-respect and confidence that I feel I lost after the begging and the pleading. And I want to do the right thing by my marriage.

    1. Dear Confused and Broken,
      thanks for writing in – I am quickly responding but will go indepth with another post soon. I know it is the weekend fast approaching you.

      Let go of expectations and I think go slow to go fast. Be affectionate back if this feels right. Whatever you do you need to both commit to therapy and work out how this crisis came about. Give yourself a break – you did the begging and pleading when you were desperate and did not realise the impact. You know more now. Well done you.

      I love your insight and honesty. If you can share that with your partner in a soft way without ultimatums of demands it may be useful. But have fun, you need to bring that back in to lighten up the serious issue and remind him of why he loves you! Keep doing a mini version of the LRT.
      More soon! All the best xx

      1. Thank you so much for your insight. I’m trying so hard to be hopeful for both of us because I think for the first time in my husband’s life, he is actually truly terrified to make a decision. He has always been so laid back and calm, and lately, he’s a wreck. I’ve known him for 15 years, and in that time, I’ve never seen him cry. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched him cry in the last month. And even though I’m hurting and angry, it hurts me to see him so hurt.

        1. Dear Confused and broken,
          you are so welcome. Perhaps be hopeful just for you. Are you guessing this is what is going on with your husband or has he told you? I would think it’s also to do with the crisis he is and feeling torn.

          There is real pain when a relationship is in distress – it almost feels like a death. He sounds likes he is having a opportunity to catch up with a lot of emotion. Feelings are there for a reason. You take care and I hope the weekend went wellxx

          1. Hi again,

            My husband and I had a very good weekend together. I decided not to talk about the affair or us; we just had a good time with each other. It was sort of like when we first started dating.

            He has told me that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone else, and either decision he makes will hurt someone. He is also afraid of starting over at a new job–he feels like he has a good opportunity at the one he has. I mentioned to him that if he and I stay together, that future might not be so bright, and if he stays with her and things with her go south, since she’s going to become owner, it still might turn out unfavorably. But I haven’t mentioned it since. He told me that he understands all that, but that he needs to sort through all this and decide what’s going to be best for him in the long run. And he told me he wants me to consider that too.

            1. Dear Broken and Confused,
              So pleased ot hear you had a nice weekend. That is exactly what we want – for it to feel like you were when you were first dating. Then you only had fun, played and no serious stuff. You enjoyed each others company.
              I love it, you are doing the LRT.

              Talking about what if’s is an impossibility. I am glad you only said something about the future only once and left it at that.

              So I want you to consider what’s best for you too. And take care of you, with the kindness and compassion you deserve. So I would like to encourage you Step 2. Get a life. Get to the hairdresser etc. You deserve it !! Take care xx

              1. Hi again,
                After our date the other day, my husband has stayed the night every night this week. He says he likes being here with me; that it’s comforting. I’m feeling frustrated because I know he sees her every day at work and then comes home and acts like everything is normal. I like him being home, but I’m struggling with this whole “cake” situation. He says he just needs time to make a decision, but it’s driving me nuts. Plus, our wedding anniversary is in a few weeks, and I don’t know how to handle that either. Are these all normal feelings? Do I just stay the course?

                Thanks.

                1. DEar Broken and confused,
                  yes these are very normal feelings, so please give yourself a break. The thing with feelings is to acknowledge to yourself without acting on them. Often along side frustration is hurt. So be gentle with yourself. Take it day by day. And you are right he is coming home to you. Stop asking him about anything to do with the relationship.

                  I am wondering if you would be able to up the ante on Step 2 and get your life going for you. This will help you focus on something new and give you a break. And yes stay the course. You really must have patience.
                  Good work xx

  27. Phillipa,

    My husband and I have been married for 11 years. I have battled alcoholism on and off since we got married. I would have several (12-18) months of sobriety, then get “comfortable” and fall back into old habits. The final straw came this past April when our finances were struggling, I was drinking (self medicating because I was lonely due to his work schedule) and I was planning a trip with my mom for her 70th birthday to Scotland. My husband tried to tell me he needed help with the bills and that I “couldn’t” go on the trip, for which I saved up for (14 months of savings). I bought my plane ticket anyway and got drunk – basically gave him a slap in face and big middle finger. He filed for divorce a month later.

    Since the filing I have stopped drinking, gone to therapy, found new hobbies, am more focused and involved with my work. We had been carrying on since the filing as a married couple – living in the house, same bed, sex every week. 2 times he has amended the “date of separation” on the divorce filing, and now I have filed for a motion to dismiss. He moved out in November (to his moms) because he felt that the motion “forced his hand” and his attorney “highly suggested he move out because he lacked discipline”.

    Since the move we see each other 2-3 during the week because of our daughters activities, our interactions are civil to polite to distant to affectionate. It’s hard to tell how he feels or what he wants at this point. We had several discussions between April and now about withdrawing the divorce but nothing has come of it other than my motion.

    He says he still loves me but can’t trust that my habit of falling back to drinking won’t happen again. I dont know what to do. I work on myself daily, I want to save this marriage and my family. I am trying the “no contact” thing but it’s really hard not to want to text,talk, see our side of children related issues.

    Please help! And advice would be appreciated

    Merry

    1. Dear Merry,
      thanks for your comment. I can see you have made a great deal of progress. Congratulations on stopping your drinking. This is an opportunity for you to change patterns in your behaviour. I get the sense a part of you may feel controlled and rebel – that’s only a guess from what happened with the airline ticket. These sorts of patterns in relationship will need to be addressed. With your awareness you can really grow.
      Honestly it may take some time given the past relapses, so be patient and work on your recovery.

      Of course with children you will have to have necessary conversations with you co-parent. Be warm and friendly.

      You have to let him come to you I am afraid, hard as that is to hear. Keep showing him you mature self. It sounds like you are doing a fine job with the LRT and it has had an impact, so keep you your good work. Take care xx

  28. Hi Philipa,
    What are your thoughts on goodbye hugs? I’ve started getting them more when he leaves, and I’ve been thinking this is a good thing, but realised today that a goodbye hug is standard for females. My friend, partner and kids spent the day in the city, she gets a hello and goodbye hug. Do you think it means anything, or is he just being friendly? My big concern at the moment is that we are just becoming friends.

    1. Depressed and confused
      You are totally overthinking it. Relax enjoy a hug and it is a good thing! A friendship is a building block to more. Hold onto your fears without acting them out. Hugs allow for bonding as they release oxytocin. We don’t hug every one we meet, so it helps with connection. So let your energy accept the hug and give your head a rest. You are doing so well!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.