I’ve been with my husband for eight years. We’re both in our 40s and have no children. I always thought we had a good relationship – we’re great friends, supportive of each other and rarely argue.
But lockdown has felt hard – as I’m sure it has for everyone – and we’ve both found it a bit stifling, being in each other’s space all the time. We have argued a bit, but not over anything really important.
So I was shocked and devastated when he suggested that after lockdown, he moves out to give us some “space”.
I had no idea he needed time apart from me. Yes, we’ve rowed a bit, but over domestic chores or someone hogging the laptop or having the light on to read in bed when the other wants to sleep!
He assured me he doesn’t want our marriage to end, but thinks living apart for a while will feel like dating again and might add some fun and another dimension to the relationship.
I’m confused about how I should feel about this. I confided in a good friend who thought it was weird and just an excuse to break up without having the guts to be honest. What do you think?
Of course you’re shocked because it doesn’t sound like he’s talked about being unhappy or feeling stifled by the relationship. It could be partly the effects of lockdown and feeling the need to “escape”.
I think you have to get down to specifics – ask him what’s behind it. Is he unsure about your relationship? Is there a timeframe for this – i.e. you’ll try it for three months and see how you both feel?
And tell him you feel hurt because it feels like a rejection and you never saw it coming.
There’s a possibility your friend is right – maybe he’s not sure how he feels about the marriage any more, but he’s afraid to tell you that because he knows it’ll hurt.
I don’t think moving out in itself is going to inject more fun into your relationship – that’s something you both have to make an effort with.
In effect, he’s saying he’s bored or things have become mundane, so why can’t you talk about that and how to solve it? Why does he need to move out in order for you to do that?
I think you deserve honesty from him and, if you do agree to him moving out for a certain length of time, then agree on how you’re going to conduct your relationship during that time.
Agree on boundaries, too, just in case he’s expecting to act like a single guy in his new bachelor pad.
Taking a break or giving each other space can be beneficial, but it has to work for both partners, so make sure it works for you or don’t agree to it.