So what we have on the table today is the question of whether the No Contact Rule can help you in a marriage that is failing or seriously struggling.  Perhaps it just seems like yesterday the two of your were cutting  your wedding cake and everything seemed  so blissful.  But things can happen and the marriage can turn sour.

What are you to do?

If any of you have ever visited my other relationship websites that deal with the recovery of your Ex, then you are probably up to speed on the No Contact Rule and how it works and why it can be effective.


But I am going to assume that you have not. And even if you have, guess what! When it comes to the No Contact Rule or Principle (which I prefer to call it), there are a few different wrinkles we need to discuss and iron out as it applies to married couples.

By the way, if you have not already read this post, please do after you finish the article you are on.  Both posts have insights that will be of benefit to you!

You may have come here because you think you may have a failing marriage. There are essentially three directions a marriage can be heading.  It is either growing and evolving with a general move in a positive direction.  This is the kind of marriage you want.

This raises an interesting point.  When someone comes to me and tells me that their marriage is great and is getting better and better with each and every day.  I am usually pretty happy for the individual.

a happy marriage

I like to hear those kind of words. Such marital descriptions are certainly better to hear about than when someone tells me their marriage is in ruins or it is struggling or imploding.

But a word of caution.

In my view, the natural course of a marriage is not straight up like a rocket ship.

If the couple finds themselves exhilarated with everything about their marriage and are constantly dancing in the aisles, then I usually give them kudos for their attitude.

They must be doing a lot of things right. But I also encourage them not to get too far ahead of themselves.  Every relationship will encounter some bumps along the way.  Looking for ways to continuously reinvent and improve the marriage is always a good track to take.

Speaking of renewing your marriage, I encourage to read this post that is full of ideas on how you can save a marriage that is in trouble.

In a little while, we are going to talk about how you can employ the No Contact Rule to get through a major marriage speed bump, such as a marriage on the verge of failure.

Ok, let’s get back on our track!

Remember what I said earlier?  There are generally three directions a marriage is usually heading.

The first one is one that is moving forward.  That’s the kind you like.  While it is not perfect (no marriage is perfect), it is progressively evolving in a mature and positive way.

Think of a climber who is going up a mountain.  To progress upward you have to climb a series of switchbacks.  It is hard work, but rewarding as you make your way up the mountain.

Sometimes as you climb, a switchback might take you down for a spell.  It is normal to have some setbacks…to lose some marriage ground…but a solid marriage will correct for these temporary setbacks as the general direction is upward.

This is a healthy marriage in my view.

A second type of marriage is one that is failing.  Possibly it is failing miserably. This marriage is headed for trouble if an intervention is not made. The struggle to just keep it together and to keep the marital commitment intact, can be overwhelming.

a marriage not going well

This is where an intervention is really necessary and for such marriages that are balanced on the tip of disaster, implementing the No Contact Rule can potentially help you and your husband or wife re calibrate.

A third type of marriage outcome is a relationship that is stuck in neutral.

It is neither growing and evolving to higher heights, nor is it descending into the depths of despair and pain.  Now, all marriages will go through a period where things seem neither bad or good.  It is easy to get lost in life and forget to put effort in expanding and renewing the marriage.

Just as with most things in life, if you leave it be (unattended), it will grow stale.

So what can one to do if you feel your marriage is in shambles (or headed that direction), but you are not ready to give up?

There is an abbreviated from of the No Contact Rule that may very well help shake things up and enable you and your spouse to get back on the right track of improving your marriage.

Let’s explore what that might look like.

The No Contact Rule for Failing Marriages

the no contact rule can help you

It would be best to start off with an explanation of what the No Contact Rule is all about.

Now, one word of warning.  Before you rush to judgement to agree or disagree with what I am about to say, be sure to read my comments in full.

Ok, so let’s get back to explaining how the No Contact Rule could  possibly work in certain marriage situations.

Think of it this way.  There may come a time where it might be beneficial to simply shut down all communications with your spouse.  That means not talking, not texting, no phone calls, essentially no communications.  Obviously, this is not easy to accomplish if you are still married and living under the same roof.  It is even more difficult to accomplish if you have children together.

So for a married couple, my advice as to whether you should implement and how you would go about implementing the No Contact Rule is predicated on many factors.

First and foremost is the degree in which you perceive the marriage is failing.  The worst the marriage, the more inclined I am to recommend the Principle.  Though I think elements of the No Contact Rule will likely have to be adapted.

Let’s peel back a few more layers because, quite frankly, this is a complex conversation when evaluating if there is benefit in adopting a No Contact Rule while you are married.

I generally don’t recommend you adopt the No Contact Rule within a marriage because after all, you are married.

You are not technically going through a break up or separation. Though, you may be suffering many of the same issues that singles experience when they break up with each other.

I have seen a lot of marriages that are failing in which the couple essentially live under the same roof, remain married, but for all practical purposes, the marriage is a bit of a mirage.

Such dysfunctional marriages are more frequent than you may realize.

unhappy together in marriage

Couples can walk through the motions of being married and carry on around others socially as if they are married, but when they return to the normal routines, they essentially interact with each other like brother and sister.

And the strange thing about it, one or both of them may not fully realize that is what the marriage has become.  Sometimes the two individuals can just get swept along, lost in the gravity of their routines.

Sometimes one of the parties to this arrangement is mindful that they are in a loveless marriage.  She (or he) suffers every day with the realization that the marriage did not even come close to living up to their expectation.

Marriages can be complicated entities.

In marriage where there is clear dysfunction and a breakdown of loving behaviors, we usually have a perfect recipe for failure.  So if you find yourself in such a relationship and it feels like the two of you are caught up in acting out dysfunctional marital roles, then you really need an intervention.  If you wish to extract yourself from a failing relationship such as I described, seek counseling if you have not already.

It is my view, that unless emotional or physical abuse is involved, you should try everything you can think of to save the marriage, before you consider separating or divorcing.

Another intervention could take the form of the No Contact Rule.

Let me explain how the No Contact Rule typically works in a non marriage environment.  Let’s take your average boyfriend and girlfriend.

Typically, when a couple breaks up, yet one of them would like to explore the prospect of re-uniting, I recommend the individual go through a No Contact Period ranging from 21 to 30 days (45 days at the longest).  This time allows the individual to get over the pain and hurt of a breakup and also work on becoming the best version of themselves.

Psychology plays a role when implementing the No Contact Rule.

When the other person seeks to reach out and start communicating, they will be met with silence.

Psychological reactance then enters the picture.  This happens to the person who is accustomed to communicating with their ex. Now they find that their ex will not respond.  Their emotional reaction will be influenced by an unconscious desire to connect.  It was a freedom they possessed before, but now it has been removed since their Ex has temporarily shut them out.

People often want that which they are told they can’t have.  As a result the “value” of the non-communicative Ex rises.

In a marriage that is failing miserably, something meaningful needs to happen. So in a situation where the two of you live under the same roof and the problems of the marriage just keep rocking along without solutions or worst, any effort to improve, an intervention might be the best medicine.

So how would it work inside a marriage?

How does a person implement the No Contact principle when you can’t help but see each other every day?

Well, there are a couple of modifications you can make to the No Contact Rule in this particular circumstance that I have laid out.

So what will progress look like?

For this situation, progress is being able to sit down with your husband or wife and seriously talk about the direction of your marriage.

So what we are looking for here is an intervention that will trigger a response that leads to a serious discussion.  But for the discussion to even take shape in a serious way, you have to do some priming.

And that is what the No Contact Principle can possibly do for you.  It can help change your spouse’s mindset in such a way that when the two of you finally sit down to discuss the quality and future of the marriage, the necessary commitment to a solution is in place.

No Contact Rule Disclaimer!

take time for yourself

Now, I don’t recommend you try doing this unless you have exhausted multiple attempts to talk to your spouse about the direction of the marriage.

I also want you to seek out counseling before you do anything like this.  While I would not characterize this as the “nuclear option”, it is pretty darn close.

So make sure you have done everything you can think of to get your spouse to a “place” where you both can have real, actionable, and constructive conversations about improving the marriage.

Any time you shut down all communications (even temporarily) you are doing something risky.  It is a meaningful event to simply choose not to communicate or see your husband for a limited period.

Could it backfire?

It sure could.

But if the marriage is already failing and you are miserable, you probably don’t have much more to lose.  But the idea here is to gain something.

There is a need for to a paradigm shift.  There needs to be an awakening.  To accomplish that, you sometimes need an intervention.

So here is one approach.

Consider leaving temporarily and go into full No Contact for around a week.

Why did I use the word “around”.

Everybody’s situation is different.  So maybe it is just for a few days.  Maybe it’s longer.   Before you do this,  I think it would be a good idea to leave a note and briefly explain what you are doing and why.

Tell your husband or wife you are unhappy and need “some days” to reflect on the state of the marriage.  Just keep the messaging simple. Don’t make it too wordy.

Ask your spouse to respect your privacy and not to contact you because it is your intention not to check or respond to such messages.  Advise your spouse that after 48 hours, you will check in by text to alleviate any concern your spouse may have about your welfare.

Since you probably have never done anything like this before, it is likely this self imposed intervention will shake things up.

The reactions from spouses can range from anger and resentment to shock, disbelief, and uncertainty.  They may take it very well and offer support.  Possibly, you might hear nothing from you spouse. The reaction from your spouse could be some of those things or all of these things.

Usually emotions run hard and fast in the beginning, but over time, calmer, more rational reactions come to the forefront.

Your aim through all of this is to create an environment such that future marital discussions will have a solid and constructive platform.

Eventually, once your week (more or less) of No Contact is concluded, you can reach out to your spouse and suggest the two of you meet someplace you feel comfortable.

I don’t think it should be at your home.  Not yet.   Ideally, it should be some place quiet where you both can talk.  Possibly a public location such as a park or a small, non crowded restaurant or cafe.

The point of this meeting is for you to explore your spouse’s readiness to have a serious and constructive discussion about your relationship sometime in the future.

Don’t get into all the nitty gritty relationship topics at this initial meeting.  You are simply trying to feel him/her out.  If your husband or wife is not ready to get serious about improving the marriage or even meet with you to explore the prospect of future discussions, then you may need to resume your No Contact Period for an indefinite period of time.

There is no certainty this approach will work.  But if you arrive here with your marriage in a mess, then it is probably time to try something new to show your spouse that you are truly invested in doing something to shape the marriage in a positive way.

And by the way, don’t confuse this approach with a separation which is an even more serious intervention and a much more extended time apart.

If you seek a name for it, you can call it: “Marriage Time Out“.



How likely is your marriage to succeed?

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37 responses to “How the No Contact Rule Can Work in a Failing Marriage

  1. Hello! My name is Isabel I’ve been married for 15 years with my husband and we have 4 kids. We’ve got up and downs in our marriage like anyone else, but in general good because firstly we have a good friendship. Until befour almost 2 years he decided to we sleep apart (not in the same bed nor a room). I was quite hurt and sad but we moved on … I got pregnant and for the first time he started to use social media just like a month before I delivered our fourth baby. All his activity on social media was on chatting with other womens. I was fully trusted him ….but somewhere deeply in my heart started to worry about the amount of time spent on chatting (I didn’t check what he was talking). Well after a month our baby borned he confessed me that he was sex chatting with one women. Since then my whole world change, i suffered and cryied like never in my live but still trying to get over it. Meanwhile he still chatting and kidding around with other women but flirting. I talk to him he deleted some of them but continue to chatting but periodically. I told him that I’m not happy at all see him next to me chatting for hours kidding and laughing that doesn’t change the situation…. I felt mad…sad…desperated. Off course he get mad and he said I’m selfish….and I told him that in all our years together I didn’t ask for anything…. I don’t like scandals or stress situations … I told him that he have his friends I never said something about that and ether if he will have talkings on social media, debating on subjects he’d like. But I loose my trust on him like a friend befour anything and I feel is disrespectful to me. I don’t like to live like that…. once I’ve seen he’s answer for a woman I feel my blood is warming up. And because of that I refrain my feelings I don’t show him my affection anymore. Right now because we are not talking at all from about 5 days and in this time he intensively chat with any women catch available.

    1. Hi Isabel. I am really sorry you are going through a painful period. I agree, a healthy marriage should involve trust and neither party should have to worry about the other spouse engaging in sex talk with other women. It is a form of an emotional affair. It appears he has gotten so use to doing this, irrespective of how it makes you feel, that he thinks he is entitled to behave this way. But his behavior is not conducive to a functional marriage.

      How would he feel if you did this sort of thing? He probably has not thought about that. Now, in now way am I suggesting you should engage in this type of activity. But it sounds like there needs to be some type of intervention with him that helps hi understand clearly he is ruining and undermining his marriage.

      Men can go through periods where they pull away from their wives. They can suffer from the grass is greener belief that there is some other woman out there that might be better for him. But often, what they don’t realize is they have a really good thing with their wife. Maybe this is why he moved to another room to sleep. Or maybe there are other reasons that contributed to his decision.

      It seems if you are unable to convince him that he is jeopardizing his marriage, maybe some form of counseling might help. It can be difficult to due “No Contact” in a marriage because you live together and have shared responsibilities. There is risk with that approach. But there is risk with doing nothing as well. Since you know your situation best, you will need to decide what it might take to get him to realize he causing longterm harm to his marriage by carrying on and chatting it up with these other women online.

      1. Thank you so much for your answer it means a lot for me. I’m a very maleable person, I gave up for many things just to we live in good harmony. That’s why I talk two times with him and I explained very clear my fillings. I never talk in public or chatting with man I have my private social media account but I have some of good friends women only. I found is unrespectfully to him to chat kidding and laughing with other man’s. So no contact rule it’s quite extreme and hard choose for me right now and for sure risky because I love him and I whant our family together and I don’t whant to lose him but its my only chance. Thank you again.

        1. God bless you Isabel. Look to your friends and family for emotional support as needed. Honest communications with your husband about how his behavior hurts you deep inside will leave a mark in his psyche. He may not want to hear it and may become defensive, but deep inside he knows what he is doing is selfish and hurtful. Hopefully, he will chose to modify his behavior.

  2. My husband and I have been married for only a few months and he wants out. We’ve been living together for several years, though. We’re still sharing the same roof but he is now extremely distant. He’s been sleeping on the couch. We still talk every day (lengthily sometimes) and update each other about our lives, but only on a very casual level. He has stopped being a loving person that he was. He has stopped going out or sharing a meal with me and wouldn’t tell me where he goes. I’m being treated like a housemate.
    Just a few days ago, he went on a “business trip” in another country. I learned later that he went somewhere else and had slept with another woman. I haven’t had the courage to confront him for cheating on me. But the day he returned, I nagged him for “running away” and “doing God knows what.” He replied by saying the trip was actually meant to spite me, that he was frustrated by our marriage because there is no intimacy between us.
    Here’s the bombshell: I feel embarrassed to say we haven’t had sex since the big day (less than 7 months ago) and I feel really, really sorry for him. I have been too focused on my career that I have neglected him in the process.
    We already had the talk. I begged him to forgive me for all my shortcomings and told him that I was willing to make it up to him. I was utterly clueless, unaware and too career-driven, and I only have myself to blame for what happened. I have no excuse for what I have done to him and our relationship. But he seems to have made up his mind.
    So, should I stay or move out even if I want to save the marriage? What specific things should I do to win him back? If I suddenly start being affectionate towards him, he would definitely leave me feeling rejected. I don’t know what to do. I’m seriously contemplating of running away and shutting out all communications completely. But I remember he was also complaining that during his recent “business trip”, I was ignoring his messages, that it would take me days to respond. I did that on purpose coz I was also mad at him. One thing that we haven’t discussed at length, though, is why there’s lack of intimacy between us. I need your advice badly.

    1. It appears that part of the solution is something you already mentioned. I think simply cooling it for a few days where there are no negative emotions passing between the two of you would be good. It would serve as a primer for an important discussion the two of you need to have. Talk with your husband and tell him you understand that part of the problem is the lack of intimacy between the two of you. Explain that you want the marriage to work. Don’t beg for him back. Simply tell him you want to talk about the issue. If he and you are both open to it, you should go to a marriage counselor who can facilitate the discussion on this topic.

    2. Hi Isabel.

      Your story really designates with mine currently. I would like to know after these years, were you able to work out your marriage?

  3. I have been married for 4 years. On April 16th, my husband left for his new promotion due to company restructuring, and I thought he would be coming home the next weekend to give me an update. The promotion was a great opportunity to help us get back on track financially (racked up credit card debt). However, he has not returned home since that date, at least while I have been home. He came home when we were not home and got his some of his things. So ultimately, I have not seen him in going on a month. We had not discussed separation or anything. He has forced me into this no contact period without discussing it with me. He will not answer my calls. He will not return my texts. He will email about business/financial stuff. He told me when he left that he would have to be 100% committed to his job, and I needed to let him know if I wanted a future with him and this 100% commitment to his job. I have assured him repeatedly that I do and I am willing to move. It’s like he is trying to bait me into telling him I want out. Through this forced no contact period, I have realized that I have been tolerating behavior that, if I had a friend describing the situations I have finally said out loud to myself, I would advise her to run for the hills. I have 2 children from a previous marriage that he has also left behind too. Do you think I should continue the no contact period or realize that it has been productive in helping me realize that this relationship was more dysfunctional than I realized and that my true responsibility is to my children?

    1. My opinion is that your husband is acting incredibly selfish. You have been selfless. It is time now to start focusing on YOU. I agree the marriage is dysfunctional. Your children and your own needs should be your priority given the situation you have described. In my view, it is a non starter for a husband to think he can devote everything to his job and nothing (or very little) to his wife. That does not work in the short run or long run. It should not be a negotiable point. I understand that sometimes a spouse has to make significant sacrifices to advance their career. But what you are describing goes well beyond that. Be sure to get legal advice before taking any action such as divorce because if it comes to that, you want to be well advised so that you benefit financially for the sake of your kids.

  4. My husband of 11 years told me in early February that he wanted to move out because he was confused and needed to get his act together. He claimed that he was not the husband and father that he wanted to be and that there was a lot in himself that he needed to fix. He wanted me to be OK with his finding himself an apartment 35 miles away. I cried at first and then accepted that his complaints about me taking him for granted were valid and that I needed to change. I tried working on me for the few weeks that it was taking for him to get his apartment situation settled. He told me that he loved me but that he wasn’t in love with me anymore. Then my sister requested that I ask him if he was involved with someone else. I asked him and at first he denied that he was with someone, but then he confessed that five months prior he had had an affair with a woman that he met at the bar he frequents with his best friend, Aaron. He claimed that the affair was purely physical and that he stopped it because of the guilt. He only slept with her twice. I told him to leave that same day and he packed up and moved in temporarily with his friend. He cried the entire time he was packing and when he said goodbye to our 7 year old daughter. He came by two weeks later with his friend to pick up some things that he had left behind that first time. I was trying to work on re-building at that time since I decided to forgive him for the affair so I was being very understanding and I gave him the necessary space that he said he needed. I was not clingy nor did I beg him to reconsider or return. We eventually began to see each other more in the afternoons that he picked our daughter up from school. He would stay for hours and spend more time with me than with our daughter. He eventually asked me out to dinner and went to a hockey game with me (I got him interested in hockey.). He asked to come over for Easter and it was allowed. My family all thought that he was just confused and needed time to sort himself out. We had a family vacation planned for just the three of us and the week before we left, he kissed me and told me that he missed me. The first day of the trip he confessed that the kiss just happened and that he felt terrible about it since he felt nothing afterward. No romance and no intimacy. He said that all he wanted was for us to be friends. I was determined to make the most of the trip so I removed my romantic expectations and treated him like a friend but was devastated when I returned home with our daughter to find that his actions had really hurt me and that I was almost as depressed as I was when he first left us. I began the no contact rule on Tuesday this week and I explained that I understood how he felt and that I needed time to move on. I thanked him for his understanding during this time. Not sure how this is going to pan out but I can’t heal if I keep seeing my “friend” on a regular basis. I don’t want to be friends, I want my husband. I had joined a gym and since I am overweight (and insecure) I am pleased to report that since February I have lost 50 lbs. My family is sure that the no contact thing will force him to re-evaluate my position in his life. Since we both took each other for granted, they say that he seems more than happy to place the entire blame for our break-up on my shoulders. He refuses to take responsibility for his actions and he needs to grow up. He likes to complain about his friend’s family and the way they live to me and my family. I can only imagine what he says about us to them. Now, he only has them to vent to. I am planning fun and exciting things for this summer to do with my daughter. We have theme parks and museums to visit, along with trips to the park playground and the beach. It’s gonna be a fun summer…without him.

    1. Mari….you are an amazing woman. I am serious. You are handling this very tough and difficult relationship situation about as well as anyone could ever do. You are finding the “Ungettable Girl” that is inside you. Just in case you don’t know what that means, I talk about it quite a bit on my other website at An “Ungettable Girl” is the kind of woman every man wants. She does things to make herself feel happy and feel beautiful about herself and as a result makes herself more attractive to everyone.

      I think you have your priorities straight. Your focus should be on your daughter and yourself. Your husband is mostly to blame for the broken relationship in my view. He betrayed your trust not once, but twice, if not more times. He was lucky to have you in his life. You were clearly the mature and responsible grownup in the marriage. Don’t let anything he says pull you down or change the facts of how things are.

      You do all the fun things you have planned and more. If your husband was a good and decent man and treated you right in those first 11 years of marriage, then just maybe…just maybe the marriage is worth saving. But if it has been a roller coaster ride and this is what you have gotten in return for all your efforts to make the relationship work, then you might want to cash him out.

      I agree that just “being friends” is not a very practical long term strategy. While some people can pull it off, undesirable emotions can creep back into and spoil the effort.

      Allow time to help you get in touch with all your feelings. Don’t be in any rush to make any long term decisions until you feel certain about what you want. You may have an inkling now. In the future, you will have greater certainty.

      1. Chris, thank you for your kind words and support. I don’t feel very amazing right now. Tomorrow will be a week into NC and I am emotionally up and down. I don’t currently feel any urge to initiate contact with my husband. I am very realistic in my belief that he has a lot of things that he needs to work on right now and even if he told me today that he wanted to get back together, I couldn’t. The problem is that I miss him a lot. Half of me wants to hear those words because then I would know for a fact that we have a better chance of fixing our marriage. Wanting to be friends means that right now, he doesn’t want me that way. There are memories all around me and since we spent every day together on the recent trip, I feel like I lost a lot of ground with myself. My family and I believed that we were moving toward reconciliation, only to find out that he wants to be friends. After much discussion with my family, they have concluded that his interactions with me more accurately show his feelings than his words currently do. They believe that he is really messed up because he is still repressing his childhood traumas. He has bottled them up for so long that he has convinced himself that he is no longer and could no longer be happy with me in our life together. His mother was physically abused by his father when he was a young boy. When he was about 11, she packed him up and moved him across the country to hide and they moved in with his maternal grandmother. His grandmother never failed to get disgustingly drunk and verbally abuse her daughter, in front of my husband. His grandmother was exacting in her expectations of chores and duties that he had to perform. He was ridiculed mercilessly by her and was also beaten when the tasks were not performed to her specifications. His mother, who was completely dependent on her mother, did nothing to stop the abuse. She convinced him to take it until they had a chance to move out on their own. He has discussed these events with me but he has never discussed anything with either his mother or grandmother. Both are still alive and are seeking a closer, better relationship with him but he keeps his emotional distance even though both women have changed a lot since the events I mentioned. Since he moved out, his mother is getting on his nerves more than usual. He has expressed a desire to tell her off, which I never would have believed him capable of doing since he avoids confrontations of any kind, especially angry ones. Her attempts to contact him have been received with a lot of anger and contempt, which he expresses when he gets off the phone, not to her directly, yet.
        I know that there are a lot of things that I did that contributed to our marriage going downhill. I was controlling and I took him for granted. I didn’t appreciate things when he did them because I had my own sky-high expectations when it came to intimacy and romance. I probably made him feel unappreciated and worthless. He did say that sometimes he felt invisible. I know that I have to work on me becoming a better person than I was, not only to him but to others who are relieved that a mirror was put in front of my face. I don’t want to hope that one day down the road he will tell me that he really misses me as his wife and that he wants to make this work. I am really afraid to believe everyone around me because what if he doesn’t? What if he finds that he is relieved to be rid of me and seeks a divorce? If I harbor a hope of reconciliation now, won’t that hurt even more down the road? They insist that he is just repressing his true feelings for me and that he never really stopped loving me. He is just scared of his emotions and since he is not happy, he just convinced himself that the marriage is what had to go. I feel bad for him but I am looking at things in the here and now. Right now he says that I am a friend to him. Well then, I can’t force him to love me or desire me. I can only be what I am. No amount of wanting and wishing is going to change that. I have to take this a day at a time and I pray that the longing for him will eventually wane. I just want the pain to stop.

        1. Time is the arbitrator of many things in our life. In time, your pain will subside. There is a chemical based based reason for why a breakup can cause a person to feel withdrawal symptoms caused by the other person being missing from their life. Even if that person was not always a positive influence in their life. The chemical in the brain that triggers this is the same as when an addict is coming off their dependency on a drug. Understanding this will hope you cope better. Feel free to research it so you can better understand the underlying physiology of breakups. There are things you can do to help overcome these moods. Keep a journal and write about your feelings. Seek to improve yourself. Take on something new (a hobby, an activity) that will keep you engaged. Say physically active. Time will also reveal to your husband what he truly feels for you. He is on his our journey and needs to discover his own truths. You really can’t control that. Our emotions can take us to different places in terms of our moods. But people are remarkably adaptive creatures. Be pragmatic about the future. It can lead to different paths, some of which may surprise you.

          1. Hi again. I just wanted to give a brief update. Since beginning No Contact in May, he has stepped up as a father and sees our daughter every weekday and keeps her every other weekend. We don’t communicate for anything but her. I don’t really care how he feels about that. I just began the divorce process and I am excited to be rid of him on paper as well as physically. I still go to the gym and I eat better. I have lost a total of 70 lbs. so far. I have a work trip to Las Vegas next week. I am working through the emotional side-effects of living with such an immature person for so long. I seem to have been conditioned to react a certain way and I am trying to “feel my own feelings”. Apparently I say and do things with him in mind as I try to decipher how my words or actions would affect him. BUT HE’S NOT AROUND ANYMORE! See my problem? I have identified the issue and am working toward exorcising him from my thoughts when at home, since that is where those decisions are affected. I am getting better and I think of him less and less. My emotional ties to him are almost non-existent as I see how incompatible we are and probably always were. I feel much more secure and confident in myself that I wonder sometimes what I even saw in him. My daughter and I had a wonderful summer. We live in Chicago and so we went to several museums, carnivals and festivals, and we went to Six Flags amusement park. We drove down to Carbondale, IL to view the eclipse. We had lots of BBQs and pool parties with her cousins and had an amazing time. I was so happy to not have to deal with his childish and sullen behavior. My entire family was happy that we were without the mood swings and tantrums that he had become famous for. I am way better off without him and I am really happy that I finally woke the heck up.

          2. I am so so proud of you Mari. You have set off on a new path, a more fulfilling one that is renewing in so many ways.

            You are proof positive that a person can shift their paradigm about how they see themselves in every moment and strive to be the best version of themselves.

  5. We have been married 28 years and separated for 16 weeks…if you can call it separated. He lives with him mum and seems to dip in and out of single life and married life.
    I have cried ,pleaded and begged him to reconsider but he says the marriage is over and he feels nothing for me anymore. I have seen a lawyer and he knows this and have advised him to get one as well. He just does not seem to want to move past this stage of what I call limbo. He says he will tell his mu what is going on but doesn’t, he won’t talk to any one including me about the next step actually he won’t talk to anyone about the relationship full stop.
    I get frustrated angry tearful and annoyed at myself for letting another individual treat me like this. I wouldn’t let anyone I know do it so why let him.
    A few days ago after another traumatic argument I decided to try NC, I told him we should both do it to see how we really felt, he agreed, felt we were going round in circles. On his part it lasted less than 24 hours, got in touch needing paperwork off me and to discuss stuff about our son.
    When he talks to our sons he doesn’t do it on their group chat he does it on the one we are all involved in. So far I haven’t replied. It has been nearly 3 days it is killing me but I need to do this for my sanity as well.
    Our wedding anniversary is on Saturday I have bought a card but doubt I will give or send it to him as he says he won’t be seeing me after all we are separated. I go away for a week on Sunday so that will be another week.
    Will this get easier because just now it is killing me and I feel as though I am back to the beginning when he first moved out

    1. 4 months is more than sufficient for you husband to realize he made a mistake leaving you. It appears he hasn’t demonstrated any interest in making the marriage work. That speaks volumes. Yes, it will get easier in the future, but the pain your are experiencing won’t lift suddenly. I do believe implementing No Contact is important for your emotional health. Focus on your needs and your emotional health. Stay engaged and involve yourself with things you enjoy that give you comfort. Try new activities and develop new routines. Plan for a life without your husband. You may be surprised to discover in the future that you are a happier person, a more independent person, and far stronger than you ever realized. You can do this and you will not only survive this, but will be a stronger person. My sense is that your husband is holding you back from realizing many more life experiences that would be very fulfilling. I sense from what you said, you are already a very strong person. I have no doubt you will land on your feet and the pain you are feeling (which is normal) will subside and you will begin to see clearly that their are other paths for you to explore in life.

  6. My wife and I were together 11 years married 4. In the last year work kept me away from home our if town 2 and 3 weeks a month Monday through Thursday plus she worked half weekends in a month. Me wide is a “doer” and was working full time plus took on too many tasks and wouldnt ask for help and plain and simple burnt herself out into a nervous breakdown feeling she had to do everything and got no help. Now she is numb and can feel nothing for me or anyone and is exhausted constantly and left to “be alone” to heal because all was overwhelming. She left 3 weeks ago. And was texting and calling me to say goodnight the first 2 weeks then suddenly stopped. I instituted no contact a week ago and am doing my best lots of emotions. My fear is did I delay no contact too long and is it a detriment to do so and if she stopped saying goodnight is it indicative she has moved on? She has contacted me a couple times in no contact.

    1. Being with each other for 11 years is a good bit of time so I don’t think things will just completely unravel. Since she initiated the desire to be alone, it seems to me you have been trying to honor that. I think a limited form of No Contact makes sense. Feel free to occasionally reach out simply saying supportive things and asking if there is anything you can do for her. It sounds like that on one hand, she is still sorting things out. On the other hand, she wants to keep the dialogue open. Do you know if she is getting any counseling from a trained professional (psychologist) to help her understand how to deal with her emotions? That would probably help accelerate her recovery.

  7. My wife and I have only been married for about 10 months, although we have been together for years. Two weeks ago, she showed up at our house with her parents and the police. I was served a temporary restraining order, and she left with kids.
    Fast forward a few days, and I was able to beat the order simply because it was untrue. I am and was deeply hurt by these events and have spent my time trying to understand.
    We have finally communicated a few times but she is ambiguous, and unclear. When I asked if she wanted a divorce she refused to answer. I told her that I loved her, and that I wanted to see if there was a way back. That we should to talk about what happened, where we are now, and where we are going.
    Thus far, she has said that we need to cover what happened before we can go further, and as she finds the way to explain it she will. This is all compounded by the fact that she is on the other side of the state, and we are relegated to text or phone communication.
    I have been speaking to the children more, and we have talked until yesterday. We had a good simple chat in the morning where I spoke to our kids and then we spent a few minutes in conversation. She was visiting her adult daughter and best friend for the weekend, and I knew she wanted to catch up. We said we would connect later so I may at least speak to the children. We didn’t have any contact the rest of the day until early evening when I asked about the kids day. I received no response and waited a few hours to ask if the kids were already in bed. Still no response.
    I finally received a text at noon the following day saying “Sorry, I didn’t answer. The kids were sleeping already and I was out with the girls.”
    She has told me that she felt lost, not herself, and that she wanted to work on her.
    I decided to do no contact as I feel out of options. In the past I was always there for her, and now I am being treated as an inconvenience. I know she has feelings still.l, but I feel like I am on a roller coaster.
    I’ve started a new job, started reconnecting with friends, and doing things that interest me. I’m feeling better, and now I am waiting to see how no contact works out. It is the first day and I still have had no response from her. It is early still.
    My concern is that we are separated by distance, and I have to have some contact because of our children. I do love my wife, but I can’t be stuck in concrete, and feel out of options.

    1. I think you are going about this in a good way. I agree that a hard and fast “No Contact” would not be practical for your situation, but a form of limited contact should be beneficial to both of you.

      Keep focusing on being the best version of yourself. Connect with the kids when you have opportunities. And when you communicate with your wife, just let her know you 100% support her need to be alone and to get more fully in touch with her feelings. She should also know that you will be open and receptive to her feelings when she is ready to share her thoughts, whatever they are. Eventually there will come a time where she is ready to talk. It’s best for that meeting to be face to face. Time has a way of bringing clarity to relationships and hopefully she will be open to working with you in a constructive manner to improve the relationship.

      1. Thank you for your response. It does provide some encouragement to see that I am on the right path.
        I have actually found that when I call to talk to our kids that she is more open to talk. We have twin 3 year olds whose attention span is short, so once they say ” hi ” they are off again. We then are able to chat a little.
        It has been a bit easier thought because the stress of an ” us ” call I there in her mind. She does open up and has even asked about my family’s feelings about her, which seems positive. I’m keeping contact to a minimum still.
        This mornings call was good, and then she said I should call them again after work. Baby steps but positive nonetheless.

        1. That is great news. Be sure to offer her some kudos with the wonderful job she is doing in taking care of the kids. Don’t lay it on thick, but make sure she sees that you understand how hard it is for a single Mom to do everything that is required to raise them. That is at least one beautiful thing you both share in common….the happiness and welfare of the children. Continue to show how much you care for the children, not just because you truly love them, but also it shows your goodness and appreciation of her role as Mom.

          1. Hi Chris! Well, it has been a few months and after a bit of back and forth I managed to wrangle a lunch meeting with my (ex) wife. We had been communicating via text and call. The lunch went good. We avoided and heavy conversation, and even spent time talking in the parking lot after lunch. I had told her that next week when I bring the kids to visit her, that I would be going to catch a live show the night before. During lunch she dropped hints about not going out for a while, so I invited her along. She said we will discuss it and see. Everything went well, and was on an upbeat.
            Now it has been a couple of days, and she has cooled down a bit. Not really responding as much to text, and calls are down. I’m thinking that maybe she is processing things, but I don’t really know.
            I’m giving some limited contact at the moment, and am waiting to see how it goes. I plan on touching base on Monday or so to build momentum towards the live show.
            Any suggestions?

          2. I think you are handling it really well. Some of her old, negative feelings toward you may have returned. Just keep things positive and keep showing that image of you has someone who is happy and is embracing life in it’s fullest. Such an attitude is contagious. Staying with limited contact is a good thing. If she bows out of the live show idea, be really supportive and empathetic, telling her you understand she may have conflicted feelings about things, but you will be there to support her as little or as much as she needs. Keep the conversation short so as to “leave her wanting more”. It’s always strategically smart to end conversations on a high note. What she will remember and take from it is how uplifting and positive you are and if you do that enough, it starts to replace those old, negative feelings she may have for you.

          3. Sounds great. Thank you. I also forgot to mention that she just recently got a new job offer, is moving to a new place this weekend, and just got paid. I figured to ease off more because of these events and see if she initiates contact. If she doesn’t then I will try to build momentum on Monday leading towards Friday.

  8. My husband of almost 23 years (been together 25) walked out just over 3 months ago. He’d had temptations in the past few years that he acted on, and of course blamed me. At that time the only way to salvage our once incredibly loving marriage was to genuinely forgive him so we could both move on together. Hes had cancer (now fine), job stresses, lost his dad and of course cheated on me. He didnt know what his ‘time out’ looked like when he left … 3, 6 or 12 months … he had no answers. Through it all i have continued to love him. Fast fwd to a week ago when i found out he was planning a weekend away with another woman ‘to explore a friendship’ and my world imploded. He is angry, only blames me, and more recently has burnt bridges with our three beautiful children . I can only be patient and hope this bad place he is in will let him go as he is NOT the man i fell in love with a married . I pray that he returns to us.

      1. 23 years of being with someone is a long time and works to your advantage. The fact the two of you have children together also helps. Hopefully, during this period of No Contact, he will start to realize he has invested a great deal in you and the children and it is foolish to just let all that slide away. There may be a some “grass is greener” psychology operating here in his mind. Often, these other relationships don’t work out after one gains some perspective. I am sorry he blames you. It is selfish thing for him to do. Sometimes, people behave in a self destructive way when they are confused about where to turn. Time is usually the arbitrator in matters like this. Keep focusing on being the best version of YOU.

        1. Thanks Chris – is hard when I now know this relationship is not new – it is one that he has had off and on for several years with a workmate. He now has the freedom to pursue, and that grass is greener mentality still terrifies me. I am doing what I can to find my happiness, but is hard with the love of my life making such awful decisions

          1. I understand it is painful. The pain will ease with time. Just know that whatever happens, you will always have other paths in life to explore. In no way is your life and ability to be fulfilled dependent on him. Perhaps you don’t feel that way now, but it is the truth. Keep your focus on you and your children. Look at the future pragmatically. If the two of you don’t get back together with a healthy understanding that this is the “last” time he will pull this kind of stuff, just know that there are probably even much better paths for you to embark on. When he eventually comes to understand that you are not emotionally dependent on him and really don’t “need” him, you may find his whole attitude will change. If it doesn’t, you will always have other avenues to explore. There is room for love in your heart for a great many things and people.

  9. Hello. I am married for 13 months and we have had our ups and downs in tje relationship which were resolved by our parents and other elders of the family. I had come to my mums for some business and suddenly Yesterday my husband came home with his family and told me he doesn’t want to continue this marriage and it’s over. I personally feel he is being influenced by his mother and fed some nonsense coz when i left for my mums everything was ok between us. I am still staying at my moms place. I asked him for sometime to take my decision. I still want to work it out. But now he has closed all the ways of communication with me. What should I Do? Can I still get him back? Will no contact rule help him realise my importance and wash away his influence by time ?

    1. Yes, I think it will. I think a form of limited contact might be best. I will help you with working through your emotions and ease things between the two of you, hopefully opening a window for the two of you to reconnect.

  10. HI Chris, I have been married for only 1 year. I moved country and left everything behind to marry him and take on his 2 children. In that time I have felt taken for granted, unppreciated. I wash, cook, clean and financially contribute. My 2 stepsons try to make life miserable for me and says terrible things to me. They also do things unkind when my husband isn’t there. I tell my husband but he says nothing to them. I have explained so many times how I feel and asked him to occasionally take me out or buy me flowers or a small gift, nothing expensive, just something to show he appreciates me, but again nothing. I have now left him 4 weeks ago and returned to my home country. He has been texting breadcrumbs every day, but not calling me and refused to acknowledge my unhappiness. So 2 weeks ago I started No Contact. He is still just sending breadcrumb texts, just yesterday I could sense a bit if panic. He messaged about 12 times and last night said he couldn’t sleep because he’s thinking of me and missing me, but he still doesn’t call me to talk about the situation.
    Any advice please Chris? Thank you

  11. Hi Chris,
    My wife and I have been together for 27 Years (married nearly 25) and have 2 sons aged 20 and 23.
    We have had some issues over the years in particular the last 3 Months.(not infidelity mainly in common issues and constant issues from the past)
    We were fighting daily and the environment wasn’t pleasant for either party hence where I/we find ourselves now.
    She has taken a “Holiday” to Scotland to visit a friend for 3 weeks (26/10-14/11) and asked that I have no contact with her during this period (8 days so far).
    I have adhered to her wishes and was hoping you could give me your thoughts on this situation.
    We have not discussed separation and for all intents and purposes are still married and live in the same home when she is there.
    Can you give me some advice and thoughts on this and possibly some direction for now and her return on the 14th November.
    In particular I know I am thinking of her, but with your wealth of experience will these thoughts be being reciprocated?
    Regards Stephen.

  12. Hi, I’ve been married to my husband (2nd marriage) for 4 years. I moved to France to be with him and took on his 2 children. Once we were married the romance stopped, he has been out of work 3 years of the 4 and I’ve used all my life savings to support and provide for us and the children. He has rarely been interested in my needs and I consider him to be quite a selfish man. I discovered he had been viewing scantily clad women on the internet a few times in our short marriage. I have been very unhappy and have shared this with my husband to no avail. The stress has caused me some health problems. Finally 5 weeks ago I packed a suitcase and returned to the UK. I have not contacted him since. I have had several very short emails from him. He just says he hope’s I’m well and tells me a little of what he’s been doing. But he never asks how I am, or asks any questions at all. He has made no attempts to ring me and talk to me. I just get the brief emails ever 4/5 days.
    Can No contact be effective in this situation. So far it doesnt seem to be having any effect. Until my husband steps up I have no interest in returning to him. I am concentrating on getting myself well again and trying to find the person i was 5 years ago when I met him.