Sometimes, no matter how badly you want your husband or your marriage, he makes it very clear that he doesn’t believe that you are going to get either one. Sometimes, no matter how hard you personally fight for your marriage, your spouse or partner isn’t fighting alongside of you. No matter how much we would like to change things, the fact of the matter is that it takes two people to remain in a marriage. Both people have to agree. So when your spouse or partner is telling you that it’s time to move on, it can feel as though you have no other choice but to comply. But the biggest question can be: how do you do it? How do you completely change your mindset, your lifestyle, and your hopes moving forward? It can feel as if you are being asked to give up what you’ve worked so hard for.

Someone might say, “my husband and I have been separated for about seven months. I can not say that I am surprised that my husband is telling me that it is time to move on. He hasn’t given me a lot of hope throughout this process. We have had very short spurts of time where things seemed to be a little better, but this wouldn’t last for very long. As soon as he would move a little closer to me, something always seemed to happen to pull him further away. So last night, I asked him if we were ever going to get back together. He did not flat out say no, but he told me that he thought that it was time for me to think about moving on. He is living with his sister’s family. He helps her care for her kids after school in exchange for somewhere to live. He seems perfectly content with this so far. I am not content. I am very unhappy by myself. All this time, I have been looking at this as something that was temporary. I told myself that if I could just get passed this short timespan, then better days would be ahead once my husband came to his senses. But it appears that he’s not going to come to his senses. And I don’t know how to start living my life without him. I am certainly not going to file for divorce and he hasn’t mentioned it either. But it seems as though I’m now expected to completely change my life. How do I just wake up tomorrow and do this? How do I wake up tomorrow and live a life that doesn’t include him?”

I don’t think that you have to wake up tomorrow and completely change your lifestyle or your outlook. I was faced with a similar situation. I very much wanted to reconcile in my own marriage, but my husband basically told me that it was a lost cause. I hung on for a very long time, but I started to realize that it was actually detrimental to me to put myself on hold and to not live my life. Still, I wasn’t ready to give up on my marriage, so I didn’t. But what I did do was I stopped putting myself on hold. In my mind and in my heart, I did still want to still save my marriage one day. But, I was no longer going to allow myself to just wallow in my sadness.

So I started out by telling myself that I wasn’t going to go straight home from work every day. I started hanging out with coworkers or going out with friends. I volunteered. I took classes. I aimed to keep myself as busy as possible doing constructive things – preferably things that helped other people, or at least myself. I had to force myself at first, but changing my focus and my isolated existence really did help my outlook over time.

I was in contact with my husband during this time, and while I never came out and said “I took your advice and am moving on,” it was probably obvious that I was no longer spending my time waiting for him to call me or to see me. I think that, at least for a while, he doubted my newfound independence or thought that it was all a ruse. But after it lasted for a decent amount of time, he figured out that it was genuine and he actually began to reach out to me.

I never pretended that I wasn’t interested in him or our marriage. He knew full well that I was. I never dated other people or pretended to want to. But I suppose that it became fairly obvious that I’d placed a new priority on myself and on keeping busy. By no means was I happier doing this than being married, but I was happier doing this than lamenting the state of my marriage. It did make the time go by faster and it made me more outgoing and more upbeat. I believe that my husband most definitely noticed this because he became less afraid or reluctant to interact with me. Actually, my “moving on” really helped my marriage, although that was not my intention at the time.