I sometimes hear from wives who don’t know how to approach (or attempt to overcome) their husband’s insistence that he is just more comfortable being alone. Perhaps he asked for some time to himself and pursued a separation and then found out that he liked being on his own. As a result, he may come to believe that he would rather live alone permanently and this can leave the wife very frustrated and very confused.
I might hear from a wife who says: “it didn’t surprise me all that much when my husband wanted a separation. He’s always been a bit aloof and a loner. He always seemed to distance himself from me emotionally. That is just his personality type. I actually know that he loves me and I don’t take this personally because I see him exhibit this behavior with every one else, including his family and very close friends. He can go months without contacting his family and then will only touch base when they reach out to him. So I know that this is just how my husband is. We’ve been separated for about two weeks and now he is saying that he wants to be alone permanently. I had to ask him if there was someone else and he assured me that there wasn’t. He says that he doesn’t really have any desire to spend time with any other human being. He says that he is just the type of person who needs to be alone. He says he is an extreme introvert and that it’s draining for him to have to interact with another person so closely on a daily basis. I have seen this play out in his life over and over again. But I thought that I would be the exception because of his love for me. He says that he has no immediate plans for a divorce. It’s just that he know realizes that he wants to live his life alone. He says that he still wants a close relationship with me and that he still loves me, but he loves his solitude too much to pretend that he doesn’t. He’s actually loving toward me when we’re together. But we’re both sad that it has come to this. I have no idea how I am supposed to handle this. “
Having Patience To See If His Attitude Will Change Can Be Helpful: I can’t say that this is a common situation, but I have heard from people involved in something like this more than once. Many people suspect that the husband or the unhappy spouse is just using this “want to be alone” explanation as an excuse. The assumption if that he doesn’t want to hurt his wife’s feelings and own up to the fact that the doesn’t love her anymore so he will just fall back on his introvert’s personality. I can understand why people might think this. But I believe that in some cases, what the husband is saying is valid. He may truly believe it. Or, he may be going through some sort of struggle that is causing him to isolate himself. I know that most people resist counseling in these situations, but if you can swing it, that would be optimal.
With that said, there are some people who feel much more comfortable and at peace living alone. (I think it’s probably premature to assume with all certainty that you husband fits in this category. Because there are others who like the idea of living alone, until they do it for an extended period of time, and then they realize it’s not as great as they thought. In fact, many come to realize that they are downright lonely. But you will often have to wait for this to happen. As tempting as it might be to try to convince him that he is mistaken or that it is not healthy for him to be such a loner, this isn’t likely to work. He’s obviously convinced that this is the way that he feels and the time and the circumstances are going to need to be right in order for him to begin to change his way of thinking.
With this said, none of these means that you do not have control over the circumstances. You do. You can continue to interact in positive ways and enjoy the time that you do spend together. I would suggest not pushing him or bringing up how difficult the entire situation is. Just enjoy the time that you have together, show him that being with you actually uplifts rather than drains him, and then have patience that he’s going to realize that being alone isn’t as wonderful as he thought.
Determining The Optimal Situation For Both Of You: Some married couples do spend a great deal of time alone and some even live separately part of the time. And that is fine as long as this arrangement works well for both people. When it doesn’t, then what is the harm in having patience and see if that is going to change? In truth, you are already living separately. So there is no harm in staying the course, trying to be patient and positive, and seeing if he will eventually change his mind. I’d also suggest using this time to work on yourself. I know that it’s a difficult thought. It was very hard for me to pursue my own solo life during my separation. But as soon as I forced myself to do so, my husband noticed a big difference in me and this actually helped my situation. And I believe this shift is what started the process of very slowly and gradually saving my marriage.
I’d strongly encourage you to seek support, whether that entails friends, family, a therapist, or whatever the case may be. You may need to just wait and see what is going to happen for a little while without needing to make drastic decisions. And working on yourself is beneficial no matter what is the outcome here. It’s positive that the husband is still reaching out. That is something on which you can build.