Dear Dr. Buckingham,
My husband left me after a big disagreement. But here is the kicker, we were only married for four months and we have a baby together. Now, it has been a year since he left.
At the time, he wanted me to kick my cousin and godsister out of our house. I’m from another state, and they were my only close family. I told them that they both had a year to find jobs and get their own place, but my husband could not wait. Since he left, he has been staying at his cousin’s house in the basement. He takes care of our daughter and pays my bills when he feels like it. We see each other once a week, but I am in school now and work part-time. I’m just getting tired and growing frustrated because he hasn’t move back in yet. When he left he gave me a list of things he wanted me to do before he would come back home. I completed them and moved into a new house away from the little bit of family that I do have, and he still has not moved back home.
My husband abandoned me; what should I do?
Signed, Mrs. Abandonment
Dear Mrs. Abandonment,
You were placed in a very difficult position: choosing between your family and your husband is never easy. In an ideal situation, your husband would understand your desire to want to support your family. Furthermore, it sounds as if you felt more secure with having your family nearby because you’re not from the area. While this is understandable, your husband might have felt abandoned emotionally. He might have felt that you were more interested in making your relatives happy than making him happy.
Without knowing more about your husband’s concerns or issues with your relatives, it is difficult to comment about his response. However, it appears that he is still holding on to the past. Also, he appears to be distracted by something outside of the marriage. I say this because you have completed the items on his “desire” list, and he still has not moved back home.
If you want to win your husband back, I recommend that you confront your husband in a forgiving and loving manner. You cannot fight based on his terms. He might want to focus on past circumstances. He might also want to fight with high emotional intensity. This kind of fighting might, in his mind, validate the abandonment. It might be tempting to argue your points with equal intensity, but do not. Instead, you should focus on your primary objective, which is to have him come home. Hear him out, but do not engage if the conversation is not positive and progressive.
At the same time, you must present a change in yourself and overcome your own feelings of abandonment. Apologize for any past trouble you may have caused and let him know that you are committed to working things out. Focus on your feelings, so he can hear you without feeling the need to become defensive. Also, manage your emotions and avoid attacking him even if you feel you were wronged. Taking the higher road will position you to be heard and can potentially save your marriage.
Additionally, be leery of people who feed you negative energy and focus on the fact that he left you. They say misery loves company, and you do not need that kind of company. Surround yourself around people who can offer positive advice and guidance to you and your husband. If your husband has a good friend that you and he both trust and is a good influence, ask his friend to speak with him.
Lastly, I recommend seeking professional counsel. Abandonment in any form can be devastating, so you should speak with someone who can help you process how you feel. Objectivity is the best cure for emotional distress. Being able to see and hear things clearly will help you make the best decision about your marriage. Bad emotions typically lead to bad outcomes. Never make decisions based on emotions alone.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.