Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Announcement Icon
You can win one of three $200 gift cards. Complete our survey by 5pm, 30 June 2024 AEST to enter the draw. Your response will be anonymous so you can't be identified.

Its ended but I have to wait How to cope

Community Member

Dealing with the pain of an unwanted separation is hard. So many emotions and things running through the mind. Took myself to the GP yesterday to get a few things underway. Having a previous suicide attempt provided me with an insight into the slippery slope that I was on and where I was headed. I think I have managed to head it off at the pass from that previous experience.

I want to get through this and for me, it has become a really difficult scenario to deal with and one that I am sure others have experienced. I am the one leaving the family home as the children don't need to be uprooted. I respect that she is no longer in love and she needs the space. I have secured a rental property but I am unable to relocate for another four weeks until it becomes available. I am finding it exceptionally hard to continue to live and function in the home where we both still reside. We sleep in the same bed but as far to each side as possible with backs turned. I try to communicate and it is short responses. I find myself constantly trying to stop myself from approaching the topic and speaking about the breakdown but I get no responses or she has herself pre-occupied with work or social media and any response is wafty with no real feeling or purpose.

Has anyone got any ideas about how to deal with a situation where you cannot remove yourself from the centre of it. I can pick myself up but just seeing her, sharing a bed, with no changes to how we lived other than the ice-cold emotionless demeanour that now replaces what was once warm and loving just brings the hurt all the way back and puts me right back to ground zero.

7 Replies 7

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Welcome TheUnknown,

Where on earth to begin! Nothing I write seems appropriate. Reading your post your devastation and hurt were clear and I wanted to reply to at least show you we are listening.

I'm in awe of the fact that you've been able to recognise your own warning signs and take action. Do you have anyone offline who you can reach out to as well as here?

One thing I wanted to ask (although there is no pressure to reply... Perhaps just food for thought) is whether you have set 'ground rules' for the next four weeks? The cold shoulder approach being used towards you isn't helpful. Considering kids are involved keeping things as polite as possible is a good plan.

From what you wrote you've been far more understanding than other separations I've heard about. Ok so she has to wait four weeks, not a big deal considering she doesn't have to uproot her life and you do.

I suppose what I'm getting at is despite loving your wife it is necessary to care for yourself right now. Is sleeping in the same bed helping you? What do you need to get through the next four weeks? It is fair that you should also get a say in how the separation happens.

I hope you keep reaching out however you feel able. We're always here to listen.


Thanks for the response Nat.

I am only able to identify my signs based on my previous experience. At no point do I want to go through with ending myself but I know that when it becomes so immensely overwhelming that I feel I have no control I have little choice. This is the reason I decided to seek help now because if I sit on my hands I could very well find myself in that place unable to or even unwilling to get the help.

I put everything into my family. I have no family except the wife and children in our home. I have no friends. Any friend that I had moved away, grew apart or disappeared. My life entirely revolved around my wife and kids and provided me that purpose of providing and caring. When it comes down to it, the one person that I could always go to is now the one that I cannot. This certainly makes the feeling of alone and isolation all the more real. This is a major factor as to why I am here on these forums.

Without speaking about ground rules we know they exist. After sharing our lives for so long I know what is not okay. Does not mean that they should not be verbalized I guess but I am pretty confident I know the boundaries.

I guess I am understanding as you put it. I have no doubt that a point I will feel anger. That is inevitable but for the interim, this is the woman that I love and I find myself unable to hate her or wanting to fight with her. Its almost as though the last period of time I need to hang onto as maybe something happy or calm not a period of intense anger or fighting.

I need to get out of the house for my own sake and wellbeing. For me its I need to just rip it off like a band-aid and do it now. I don't want to prolong the suffering. On the other hand I also need time for my medication to get to work before I find myself alone in the dark staring at the ceiling unable to sleep. I know for me that starts the rapid decline.

I do thank you for your reply I know its not potentially a normal situation but what really is standard or normal these days anyway. Thank you.

Hi Theunknown,

I'm responding to your post because I am going through a similar situation, only from the other side. I asked my husband for a separation for the first time last year. It took him a long time to realise I meant it. I suggested we could sell the house because I didn't think he'd ever agree to let me stay in it. When we did sit down to talk though our options though, he said he was willing to move out so the kids could keep the house they've always known.

That was about 3mths ago. I didn't put a time limit on it exactly, but I did say the sooner the better for both of us. I've let the time linger a bit because both our daughters had birthdays in the meantime and I didn't want to ruin them (they do know this is happening though, we've spoken to them). He set up a separate room for himself & is sleeping there.

I wanted to say something about the cold shoulder treatment you mention. It's possible my husband also feels that I'm being cold toward him, but for me I just think it's better to keep things civil. It took us so long to get to this place where we agree it's over, but I know he would give it another shot if I said the word. I don't want that, so I don't want to give him false hope. Any warmth from me might be interpreted that way so I keep a polite distance. I don't want to lead him on, I've emotionally moved on and he needs to as well.

So I'm saying it's possible your wife still has warmth for you, but is afraid to express it for the same kind of reasons. I truly feel that my relationship with my ex will improve once we are living separately, and that might be the case for you. It's a lot of strain to put on a relationship, living together when it's over. The sooner you put an end to it, the better for everyone. I am now left in a position where I will have to ask my hub, again, when he is moving out, which fills me with dread. I feel like the worst person in the world, & more anger gets stored away because just once I'd like him to take the lead & do what he said he would without me nagging. I don't think I'll ever be free of the small resentments until we're apart.

It is very admirable that you recognise the need to move out. I understand how difficult it must be, but it is a kindness to your wife to do it without angry protests or dragging it out unnecessarily. Please take care of yourself. I hope you are seeing a counsellor for mental health.& I hope I've given you an insight that is helpful in some way.

Best wishes,


I want to thank you for your post.

I have no doubt that my wife cares for me but this is not the same as love. I absolutely get your outlook of not wanting to lead your ex on or give false hope. I know that our relationship is over, unfortunately in the state of mind I am in I would no doubt misinterpret any slight sign of affection as some form of hope, probably for no other reason than to make myself feel better.

It must be a difficult thing to have to ask for your husband to move on. I can't put myself in your shoes but I guess its difficult because you know it hurts or you feel you have to push. I have no doubt that for your ex he is living the family life the best he can whilst it is the way it is. As accepting of the marriage breakdown as he is, he may very well be hoping that this is some type of phase or you will change your mind and it will all miraculously fall back into place. I suspect that he will not be looking forward to forging a life on his own after the years of partnership. This is also probably holding him back from making that leap. I hope that you find a suitable outcome to this quickly for both of you, be a shame to lose the civil situation.

How do your kids handle the situation? Obviously, dad has a separate bedroom and I have no doubt other aspects of daily life changed that they can see. Do you think they are unaware of the situation and there will be some type of realization when he does finally go? Sorry to ask and no answer necessary, I have twin 8 year olds and they are not aware of anything at this point. Well that I am aware, they could be more perceptive then I give credit.

Thank you again GoodWitch

Hi again,

My girls are 14 and 11, so they are no doubt more aware than your 8 yr olds would be. My 11 yr old I think likes to pretend nothing will really change, and isn't fully grasping the concept of what's ahead. My 14yr old is more savvy and knows. So far not much has changed, but they are starting to ask me when dad is moving out. I tell them to ask him, but I've been the primary caregiver all this time and so they come to me, they don't want to discuss it with him. They are asking questions I can't answer and it's very difficult. I'm worried it's taking so long they are going to start thinking it's not happening after all, and we'll have to tell them like it's news all over again. I want to keep things as separate as I can while we're living together, but it's almost impossible to keep up. If you want to satisfy 'separated under one roof' requirements for Centrelink for eg., they suggest you shouldn't do your partner's laundry or cook meals for them. But what should I do? Dump his dirty laundry on his bed? Force him to eat dinner outside? That's exactly the petty nastiness I was trying to avoid. So your lives are entwined inevitably if you're in the same house, no way around it.

You're right, caring is not the same as love. There's nothing you can do to bring the love back once it's gone, you can't force it. Believe me I tried everything. Your wife probably tried everything she could think of too, even if you weren't aware of all the work she was doing to keep it together. It's very sad for everyone to be at this point, but from what you've said your wife doesn't want to hurt you needlessly. There's every chance your relationship can stay friendly in future. You'll always be a dad to your twins and you'll always be a huge part of your ex's life. The together stage of your relationship might be over but it's not all over forever, it that makes sense. Your focus now can be on your kids' and being the best dad you can be. That is something to strive for and keep you going. They need you and want you around.

All the best


Community Member

Hi GW,

I am hopeful my separation will make us closer but am still under same roof as selling house.

Can you tell me more about how separation could improve things as this is my only glimmer of hope.

Community Member

Hi krsm

I can't say for sure what will happen once we are living separately, but I know for certain I will feel better for it and I have to believe that in the long run, so will my hub. The living together when it's over is just not letting the wound heal, it is open and bleeding all the time and that is impossible to live with long term. The uncertainty is making my kids act out, or maybe that's the enormous pressure I feel to keep things civil, as perhaps they are picking up on how hard I'm finding it. But my 11yr old has suddenly regressed to tantrums and my 14yo barely acknowledges her father's existence. I feel that when they know what the future holds for them, they will be less stressed and will begin adjusting to their new normal. So will I and my husband..

I guess all I meant to say was, surely moving on from a bad place is better than being stuck there indefinitely? If there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for you, you must head towards it, even though the journey is long and uncertain. The alternative is to stay in the dark.

Good luck. Feel free to share more of your story, or check out my (rather long!) thread I Want to Separate From my Husband but Don't know How on this forum.