My estranged husband is finally calling me, should I answer?

When you are apart, communication with your spouse can be very confusing. After all, when you lived together and your marriage was going well, you probably never had to think about when or how you would communicate. If her husband was in the room and you needed or wanted to talk to him, you would just start a conversation. If they weren’t physically together and had something to say, they would text or call, depending on what was most appropriate at the time.

But when they’re apart, things aren’t as easy as all this. Many people have had uncomfortable, tense, or frustrated conversations during their separation. In fact, when to talk, whether to talk, or what to say is one of the most confusing topics you can encounter during your separation. Add in fear or rejection, and it’s quite normal to be afraid of screwing up. It can leave you wondering if you should attempt (or be receptive to) communication.

Here’s a typical situation. A wife might say, “When my husband and I first separated, I honestly assumed we would see each other every day. Frankly, when I picked up the phone to call him, I didn’t hesitate. Looking back, I should have hesitated a bit because clearly I didn’t. he was happy to hear from me. Things got so bad that sometimes he wouldn’t reply at all. And then he started ignoring my texts. I’m a stubborn person though, so I kept trying. This really made me sad because I felt so vulnerable and rejected, having to always be the one who calls. So I stopped calling and reaching out. It hurt to do this. But it hurt less than trying to reach out and getting rejected all the time. This went on for about six weeks. And then all of a sudden , last weekend my husband started calling he wasn’t home the first time it happened and he left a message saying it’s been a long time since he heard my voice and he wants to check on me I thought maybe he just he was feeling guilty so i let him don’t go But he called back and has been calling sporadically ever since. So far, I’ve let calls go to voicemail and texts go unanswered. I know he’s petty, but I feel like he deserves it. Some friends of mine say I’m taking it too far. They are right? Should I answer when he calls? Or will ignoring him make him want to talk to me even more?”

I completely understand how you feel. I felt the same way. I got so frustrated that I was the only one who cared about our breakup that I finally walked away for a while. Then my husband finally accepted the program and then I had to make a decision.

Things to consider: Here is a consideration that really helped. I was able to look at my own actions. It deflated me so much to call and get no answer, that I finally left. After a while, I gave up. Well now my husband was in the same situation. Could I really expect him to keep calling when I didn’t? And did she really want him to stop trying?

The answer was absolutely no. Think about it. If you have two people trying to prove a point, you could end up with two people who never reconnect. If you do not end the stagnation, it can become permanent. This may be okay if your marriage is no longer important to you. But if so, not talking for long periods of time can be a big risk. Things tend to get more and more awkward and it can be harder to back down the longer the silence is around.

Compromise can be key and can allow both of you to get what you want: After thinking about this for a bit and being eaten away by silence, I decided that a compromise was necessary. At the beginning of our split, I clearly overreacted. I was ready to jump the instant my husband snapped his fingers and this did nothing to encourage him to be respectful and trustworthy.

So it wasn’t a bad idea not to be available each and every time he called. But it was a bad idea to NEVER talk to him. So I started talking and texting. But as I started to create a balance and didn’t act so desperately, things got better. I don’t think you have to jump to answer the phone every time.

But if you want to save your marriage, you certainly have to answer it some of the time or most of the time. Because if you’re going to make up, you need to communicate. You need to get comfortable with each other again. You need to reestablish trust, laugh again, and start restoring some of that intimacy.

None of this is going to be possible if you never communicate. Also, restoring communication is often the first step to getting back together. It is difficult for one thing to exist without the other.

So while I completely understand why you might want to let your phone ring and text messages go unanswered, I don’t think you want to do this indefinitely. Now he’s getting closer to you, which is exactly what you wanted. But there is a point where you can take things too far. Consider seeing what he has to say. See how things are going. And if you feel ignored, you can always take a step back. But he is your husband. And he is getting closer to you. If his marriage is still important to you, I think it’s worth seeing what he has to say.

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