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After you have tried nearly every straightforward strategy to get your husband to call off the divorce, it’s natural to begin to consider strategies that are not so straightforward. People often consider using reverse psychology in order to get their spouse to consider making a change. One example is pretending to be happy about the divorce when you really are anything but.
You might hear a wife say: “my husband is probably only a few months away from making sure our divorce is final. He knows that I don’t want a divorce. He claims to feel awful about breaking up our family but he says that he just doesn’t see any other way. He has agreed to go to counseling to help our children deal with the divorce. I had hoped that the counselor would be able to show him that a divorce should be the last option. But so far, that hasn’t been working out. He seems to be determined to move forward. I have tried negotiating with him. I have tried begging him not to do this. I have tried promising him the changes that I know that he wants. None of this makes any difference to him. He says that no matter what I do, his mind is made up. Since my being devastated by the divorce doesn’t seem to make any difference to him, I’ve considered using reverse psychology and pretending to be happy about the divorce. Will this work? If I pretend to be happy about all of this, will he stop wanting to divorce me?”
This is a very common question and many wives try this. I can’t tell you that it doesn’t work because I used a variation on it that did work. However, I stopped short of pretending to be happy about us splitting up. My husband never would have believed that. I knew that I couldn’t pull it off. (And many wives who try this tell me that their husbands didn’t believe them anyway.)
Instead, I went to stay with family in another town. I guess you could say I was resigned to the fact that my husband was going forward. I didn’t pretend to be happy about it but it was obvious that I was backing off and was no longer trying to fight him on it. And this actually did give him pause. I believe that he was shocked by this and this disarmed him to a certain extent. And this pause gave me the opportunity to try some different things that eventually worked.
But I don’t think that this alone is what saved my marriage. I think that it was the work that I did after the pause which made the difference. I do believe that in some cases backing off of all of the opposition can make your husband stop and pause. Some will take this even further and they will pretend to be happy about the divorce.
They’ll tell their husband that they have suddenly realized that a divorce really is the best thing for all parties and she’ll try to convince him that she is now excited for the opportunity to meet new people and to just live her life without all of the drama. Many hope that this will make their husband uncomfortable and jealous, which will show him that he still cares about his wife and that maybe he doesn’t want a divorce after all.
I do understand the thinking behind this, but it isn’t without risk. It could backfire. Your husband could be relieved that you are now happy. Or, he could be a bit put off and distance himself even more. Or, he could one day resent that you were actually happy about this. That’s why I believe that the safer bet is to act resigned and accepting rather than happy. I know that this might sound like a small distinction. But I believe that it is an important one.
Because when you back off, it’s still clear that you love your husband and would like to save your marriage. So instead of claiming to be happy, you’d say something like: “I wish I could change your mind, but it’s pretty clear that you are determined to go forward. I am not going to keep pressuring you about this because its obvious that my attempts haven’t worked. So, I’m going to begin to live my own life and work on myself. I am going to try to be as happy as I possibly can with this scenario because I have to think about my own well being and that of our kids. I hope that we can have a good and continuing relationship for their sake. And I do wish you nothing but the best moving forward. I hope that you feel the same way. And who knows what tomorrow brings? But for now, I just have to back away.”
Do you see the difference? This may still give you that pause that you are looking for, but you haven’t lied and you haven’t tried to sell something that is so big of a stretch. Plus, your husband isn’t as likely to become angry or distant since you are still keeping your integrity and your feelings about this are more understandable than claiming to completely change your mind so dramatically to pretend that you are actually happy.
Of course, each marriage is different. I can’t tell you which strategy might work better, but I was always more comfortable stopping short of pretending to be happy. I knew that I couldn’t sell it. My husband knew I’d never be happy about the end of my marriage.
write by Lani