My hus­band has fallen out of love

Waterloo Region Record - - Arts & Life - EL­LIE Read El­lie Mon­day to Satur­day. Email el­lie@thes­ or visit her web­site, el­liead­ Fol­low @el­liead­vice.

Q: My hus­band of 15 years re­cently said he’s no longer in love with me and needed time to fig­ure things out. He’s stay­ing with his brother. Our two sons and I are in the fam­ily home, which is now for sale. He rarely vis­its and only talks about the kids or the house. Now, he’s more con­vinced that it’s over for good. He said that it’s be­cause I keep bring­ing it up and never gave him space. He’s de­tached and wants to move on. Is there any chance for us to work it out if I stop talk­ing about us and give it some time? He doesn’t want a di­vorce, just to sep­a­rate legally, pre­sum­ably be­cause it’s cheaper. How should I pro­ceed? I’ve told him that I love him and don’t want to lose our fam­ily. Dev­as­tated

A: Red flags — he’s call­ing all the shots: to sep­a­rate in­stead of di­vorce, and to not al­low you to talk about your re­la­tion­ship.

I can’t help but think he may have al­ready “moved on,” and there’s an­other fu­ture part­ner wait­ing in the wings.

Even if not, you must talk to a lawyer and learn your rights and what suits your needs.

It’s shock­ing that the house where his and your chil­dren live is al­ready for sale. Get your own le­gal ad­vice about that im­me­di­ately to re­view if that’s the right thing for you and the kids.

See your bank man­ager and an ac­coun­tant or fi­nan­cial ad­viser (not one work­ing with him) and ask about your joint ac­counts and any as­sets/in­vest­ments.

By him not al­low­ing dis­cus­sion, the ab­sence of mar­i­tal coun­selling and you fo­cus­ing only on want­ing him back, you’ve so far ig­nored all the prac­ti­cal con­sid­er­a­tions that’ll af­fect your fu­ture and that of your chil­dren.

Don’t be afraid to con­front him with strength of pur­pose and in­formed knowl­edge about what’s in­volved.

Even if you still love him, he needs to know that he’s deal­ing with an equal whose fu­ture is also at stake, not just his. Q: I’ve been dat­ing a woman for three years, both in our 50s. We met when she was go­ing through a di­vorce (still pro­cess­ing). Our re­la­tion­ship was ini­tially beau­ti­ful, then she ex­pe­ri­enced in­tense de­pres­sion, which I faced with pa­tience (some­times won­der­ing if the med­i­ca­tions were re­ally help­ing). Last sum­mer, I had to work else­where for a month and she wouldn’t keep con­tact. When I re­turned, I was re­stricted to see­ing her on spe­cific days. She said, “I need a break in or­der to make our union strong.” And, “I’d like to put you in the freezer and take you out when I’m ready.” She wants “no com­mit­ment,” with me wait­ing un­til she’s ready to be my girl­friend. What should I do? Go­ing Through Hell

A: Like a mir­ror op­po­site to the above ques­tion, this time it’s the woman be­ing the con­troller and you’re kept hop­ing.

While chil­dren and prop­erty aren’t in­volved here, the ef­fect is the same. You’re left in the dark about what’s re­ally go­ing on:

Has she met an­other man? Have any of the peo­ple treat­ing her de­pres­sion (doc­tor? ther­a­pist?) said she’s not ca­pa­ble now of mak­ing a long-term con­nec­tion?

What­ever the an­swer, she should be shar­ing it with you. In­stead, she’s is­su­ing or­ders, putting up road­blocks, in­sult­ing you with her “freezer” com­ment.

I’m in­clined to say walk away. But if you still love her, and have com­pas­sion for her de­pres­sion, tell her so. Then set a time­line for the break, one that feels rea­son­able for you.

You have a life to set­tle, too. El­lie’s tip of the day

When a spouse de­cides uni­lat­er­ally to sep­a­rate, get legally and fi­nan­cially in­formed, fast.

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