Dear Beth

Reconciliation after separation

Happiness is: gorgeous wild flowers adorn Ontario meadow

Dear Beth, Two months ago I told my husband to leave, after 11 years of being together. We were fighting a lot and not communicating well at all. Over the past two months I have gone through stages of thinking that it was definitely over - and that I was okay with that - to my recent feelings of really wanting to work it out. We have spoken over the last two months, but usually briefly and over 'belongings'. Most conversations have been civil. I had asked my husband many times to go to counselling with me - he repeated refused! Now that I know that I don't want to walk away from this relationship, how do I open the door again? He told me a couple days ago that he couldn't make any promises, but maybe in March we could get together to talk, and that maybe he would go for counselling. How do I proceed? Is it fair for the ball to always be in his court? I would appreciate any advice you could provide to get 'us' back on track.

Beth Answers: I think the thing to concentrate on now is building up your own independent life, for several reasons. One is that when a couple is quarrelling it usually indicates that they are too emotionally dependent on each other, and need to learn how to be more independent and separate; so this would help to prepare you for a future relationship (whether with him or someone else). It should also reduce or eliminate the power imbalance that I think you are perceiving in the relationship when you say "is it fair for the ball always to be in his court?". You will likely need the help of a counsellor to do this. You might be able to find one that could also do the couple counselling later on if it happens. This separation may be a great opportunity.