So your wife left you. What can you do to get her back?
There are no guarantees, but the best bet is to let her go and focus on yourself for a while. Yes, you read that right – the best way to get your wife back is to not try and get her back right now, and to not try and get her back for a while, maybe for quite a while.
Your wife left you. That means you are probably a wreck, a hot mess, a basket case. You want her back, you can’t believe that you made the mistakes you did and that now she’s gone.
Well, it’s exactly because you are such a mess right now – emotionally for sure, and possibly physically as well – that you can’t be trusted to negotiate for her to return and rejoin your life. You are too busy feeling sorry for yourself, or you are still in angry denial about your part in the separation, or you’re too drunk or too despairing to handle the delicate, deft diplomacy that will be required to get her back.
So the first step is to take a break a pretty long break – and allow yourself a chance to get back on an even keel. Give yourself the gift of some time and some rest. It also gives your wife a chance to cool down, as well. Arguing with each other while you’re both still angry about your problems is not helpful.
By “take a break” I don’t really mean “take a rest.” Not if you think taking a rest means lying around doing nothing. Sure, if you need a couple days to catch up on sleep, that’s fine. But then you have a whole lot of work to do.
What I mean by “take a break” is a break in communications and interaction with your wife. This break can help keep your estranged wife from becoming your ex-wife, so take it seriously.
The best advice I can give you is to immediately begin a minimum thirty days of no communication. That means no texting, no calls, no emails, no visits, no letters (as if anybody sends actual letters anymore!), no telegrams, no contact on social media, no instant messaging, no nothing! The only thing allowed, and even this should be just in emergencies, would be some kind of necessary “housekeeping” communication – about bill paying, perhaps, or dealing with your children, if you have them. But those kinds of messages must be kept short and strictly business – do not say anything beyond the bare minimum required. “Just the facts,” as the cops used to say on TV. And beware, because even a simple, factual message to your estranged wife can become a kind of emotional weapon (“look how pitiful I am”) or moral boasting.
During this thirty day quiet period, you should focus exclusively on yourself, on your own problems. During this month off, both you and your wife will have a chance to cool down and let go of some of your anger and self-righteous fury and frustration. Even just that change of mind will make a huge difference. Negotiations with your wife will always go better when both of you are calm, cool and collected. So take that break.
Another important activity during the quiet period is to improve your own situation. You have a lot of anger and angst to deal with, so it’s important to find a healthy way to do that. Exercise is one of the best outlets for rage and frustration, so get to the gym or get out and take a run or bike ride. Vigorous exercise will change your perspective on just about any problem.
Exercise can also help you get into better shape – not just physically, but emotionally. When you work out regularly, your body produces endorphins that change the chemistry of your brain, putting you in a better mood and making you more confident. That confidence shows up to other people around you, making you more attractive and interesting to them. Eventually, when you resume contact with your wife, this improved state of mind will make you more attractive to her and give you a better chance of getting her back. She isn’t nearly as likely to take you back if you’re a pitiful, blubbering wreck.
You need to also use your quiet period to think about how you contributed to your wife’s departure. It has to be serious thought – you need to be honest, at first with yourself, later with your wife, about the part you have played in this disaster. Did you neglect or nag your wife? Did you cheat on her? Abuse her in some way? Do you have some problem with your temper or drinking or drugs? If you can’t even be honest with yourself about it, then you will likely need the help of a professional councellor therapist.
Eventually, when you make your case to your wife that you should get back together, you will want to be able to show her that you’ve acknowledged your mistakes and that you’ve taken steps to change things. A bad temper can be addressed through anger management courses, for example, while substance abuse can be helped through a 12-step program or medical treatment.
It’s also important to take care of your mind during the quiet period. Study or learn something new, some subject that keeps your brain healthy. Read a book or see an interesting movie. Take a trip, even a short one, to a new place. Study a language, visit a museum, learn to cook – anything intellectual and creative. This is important because your intellect is an important and attractive part of you. You should be able to have an interesting, educated conversation with other people, and with your wife, when you finally meet her again.
Remember, if and when the two of you finally meet again, when you are ready to make your case that she should come back, you want to be in good shape – you want to be taking care of yourself and getting on with your life, learning new things, having new adventures. If you’re just sitting around crying and feeling like a victim all the time, why is your wife going to want to get back together? She wants a grown up relationship with a functional adult. You need to take steps to become a more functional adult if you are to have a decent chance of getting her back. There are no guarantees, but this will give you the best shot.