Video #3 How much contact to have without smothering your spouse and pushing them away even farther

Watch More Videos In This Series:

How To Fix Your Marriage When Your Partner Is Checked Out

In this video series, Dr. Dana answers the most common questions people ask when they believe they’re working on the marriage all by themselves. She also offers practical solutions you can apply right away. Here’s what you’ll discover in the series: (ClICK BELOW to see previous videos)

  1. How to SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE when your partner is checked out
  3. [TODAY'S VIDEO] How much contact to have without smothering your spouse and pushing them away even farther
  4. UPCOMING VIDEOS: Each day we'll send you an email with a link to a new video

  5. SPECIFIC STEPS you can take to save your marriage when your partner is unwilling to work on it
  6. How to handle your partner’s blame, anger and depression
  7. What to do if your partner is in the throes of a MID-LIFE CRISIS and is throwing everything away
  8. How to get your spouse to RECOMMIT to the marriage when they’ve got one foot out the door
  9. What to do when the attraction is gone
  • Scott F

    You mentioned that often times when you suggest doing something with your checked out spouse they will say they don't want to, or have no interest in that. What do you do in that situation?
    Do you let it go until another time and just ask again?

  • PMA.Kloo

    My situation is unique and not 100% inline with your program which is why I have been hesitant… My engagement just ended 13 days ago. My partner won't talk to me and my attempts at conversation have only pushed her farther away. The wedding is off, contracts canceled, and an announcement sent out. What might be some good tips to help get my partner to the table to even possibly discuss the possibility of working out our issues?

  • jacque

    my situation has got this family unside down we have children in volved my husband is staying with someone and only calls or text when she's not around and we only are intamit when he visits the kids i just dont want to push him away but at same time he lies to her and hes lieing to me and i want to find where she lives and go there so hes made to make a choice but i dont want to make any wronge moves..

    • Mike_Olsen_SMN


      If you have an opportunity, please read this article: " I think you will be able to relate to this article and find some answers to the questions you are facing.

  • HH

    I am a 53 yr old man and my wife is 44 yrs old we have been married since the summer of 2002, but lived together
    from the summer of 2000. Our current situation is that my wife wants a separation after 11 plus years of marriage. She says she needs a break. I was the one checked for a long time, but now but I want to save our marriage. She is now the one checked out. I am deeply in love with her and she say she loves me but she's not in love with me right now. She has said just because now I'm onboard doesn't mean that she is or will be anytime soon. She believes the separation will either help us or we will know for sure that the marriage is over. I really don't want the separation but I feel I have no say in it. I need some help on what I should do at this point. Having separate homes will be a financial burden on us and may even create more problems between us. Looking for help.

  • Karen Fonseca

    My husband and I been married for three years and he now tells me he is unhappy.He no longer wants to talk he don't kiss me anymore and I am getting so frustrated. I don't want a divorce or a separation. What do you do when they will not talk.

  • Bret Karakey

    My wife and I have been together for 7 years. I love her more now than I ever did before. Right now we are going through a seperation. I now the the reason due to councilling which we are both taking. She for herself and I for the marriage. I was never good at emotions or dealing with them. I used to be very short on empathy due to how I grew up. My wife's first pregnancy I was there physically but didn't take care of her emotionally. Women do have it easier. They are parents 10 months before us. I didn't have those feelings yet. It was knew. I never had imagined having a child and I was 29 at the time. The moment my little girl came out my world changed. I had vowed to myself I would never let my wife feel that alone again. My one mistake was I never told her. It's 4 years later now and we had been trying for a second child for a year. We even had already chosen names for both boy and girl. Several weeks ago she got pregnant and I was on cloud 9. I was so happy but didn't even know every emotion she felt from her first pregnancy came back. 2 months in she became afraid of how I would be during the 3rd trimester. She got scared and asked me for an abortion. She said we just seemed to have so much going on with our jobs and kid and new house. She was shaky and upset and I couldn't even belie it but I would never tell her what she had to do to her own body so I supported it. I did ask if we may be able to try again later when things calm down a bit. A week later she asked for a seperation. The last 4 weeks have been like a nightmare I can't wake up from. My daughter doesn't understand and neither did I until yesterday. I had been fighting so hard to keep her without knowing the real reason why this happened that I pushed her further away. Last Thursday she went to a Counciler for the first time. She finally came to me yesterday and told me why all this had happened. It started with all these past emotions that came back in a sudden rush. I knew how I had been, made a vow, never told her and she was afraid. When she told this I almost collapsed something I knew very well about but didn't even realize it had returned. We spoke for a couple of hours for the first time in weeks without arguing. She even grabbed me fiercely and said how sorry she was. I've pushed so hard. I want my wife back. How do I not push her away anymore? How do I repair all the hate we've had towards eachother these last several weeks? I've back off emensly and am trying very hard to give her her space? She does now know and I hope believes that it would have never been that way. How can I show her that while giving her room to breath. Any advice would be a major help. Thank you.

    • Mike_Olsen_SMN


      It sounds like you have a lot going on right now and are having to face many emotions at once. I'm glad to hear you two were able to communicate without arguing. That is a great step in the right direction. Continue to keep the communications open between the two of you. We have many great videos on the blog that you will find very helpful.

  • heart broken

    my husband and I have been together for 14 yrs, he has checked out he says he has tried everything, to save our marriage alone, I got caught up in everyday things for our future financially. that I need disreguarded his emotional needs he needed, he is in counseling, I start mine in Jan. he says he loves me, but not in love w/ me. he feels no way to save marriage,, I cant give up I do love and Im in love w/ him. we have talked of all the negative, today, I told him, Im not going to say anything negative, I have been reading and writing, positive things about him and what I like about him, and how it use to be. he read it, (says he didn't) I don't want him getting angry, he says he is because he tried and I didn't try in the past. my heart is breaking

  • Jessica

    My husband and I have been married for 1 year, but together for 7 years. Our relationship has gone through hardships almost raped in 2009, then diagnosed with MS in 2010. I love and am in love with my husband, divorce has been mentioned and I just pray that God for peace because my mind is not at ease and i have no idea what to do.

  • Emily Jane

    I've been living with my husband for 18 years and we have been married 13 years. We have a 9 yr old child and a new baby. We have had a lot of stress and major trauma this year. We sold and bought a house. Moved three times. Had a major car accident. Lost lots of money during real estate transactions....etc. When things finally settled down, my husband had a breakdown and told me he hasn't loved me in years! I'm blindsided and heartbroken. He wants to leave but suggested attending couples therapy. Is there anything I can do to keep this divorce from happening? I feel abandoned and alone.

  • vj

    My husband of 19 years just had an affair. He is 55 and I am 50 yr old. He told me about it and has no remorse about it and even blamed me for not having enough sex with him. We have had an unhappy marriage for a very long time mainly because I feel he does not respect anything I say and never supports me but wants me to comply with his desire for sex anytime he wants. We have a 15 year old son and my husband is already planning to retire outside of USA whether I like it or not. Our financial situation is also not good as we are in too much debt and he says he is not responsible for son's college education. We have a family business but he prefers to spend time seeking other venues of income instead of saving what we have. He says he has worked hard enough but the reality is we have zero savings. He spends more time on his hobbies, such as sailing, dancing and yoga. All these years I have been a home builder and also worked at our business as much as I could while helping my son through school. I do not want to ruin my son's future as well as ours but I am not sure what to do at this point.

  • Brad

    My wife and I have been married for 18 years. I suspected something very wrong early in the relationship. Recently our family counselor told me that she show very strong narcissistic tendencies. I knew very little about the subject at that time but have read a ton of stuff on it by now. A common denominator is that people afflicted with this most always do not get better. Most advice is to pack up and get the heck out. She is the one currently checked out but does not seem to want to take any action one way or another to resolve or split. This ordeal has damaged my heart big time but I'm not ready to pack up. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  • Very Confused

    I have recently found out My husband of 20 years is having an affair
    With a divorced woman who contacted him initially about their high school
    reunion. My husband is and has been working in North Dakota (away from home)for the
    past 3 years out of necessity. Their emotional affair began @6 months ago
    And their physical affair began 3 months ago. I work, care for our kids, home life,
    and all the responsibilities of day to day living. This woman pays my
    Husbands airfare to visit her in her home state. He spends less time calling the kids and speaks/texts this woman
    For up to 5-8 hours at a time in a day. I found viagra in
    His suitcases on a trip home and asked him about it. He became very angry
    And told me he wanted a divorce. I can't say our marriage has been
    In a good place, stress from both our separate lives have taken it toll. Don't know how to compete
    with the divorced woman with grown kids and has all the time and
    Money to spend on him. I want to save our marriage but feel hopeless.
    I've looked online for advice. Some say back off don't talk to him -some
    Say keep in contact. I don't know what to do. I know he felt
    very lonely working in ND and from what I know where he is, most
    Men there are either divorced or having affairs. I feel my husband is
    Now accustom to this bachelor lifestyle of hanging out with the guys
    And going to bars. Help! I don't know what to do.

  • Vanessa

    How do get a spouse to check back in when he moved out and is still sleeping with the other woman? He said he loves me ( 24 years married and kids gone) but he doesn't know if he can get it back?

  • rj

    My husband and I have been married for 31 years. He is 58 and I am 59. On April 30, 2012 he told me he had loved me but was no longer in love with me and wanted out (mid-life crisis flag). That night, my father had a heart attack and the next day I started a new job. The rest of the year was a roller coaster of health issues, adjusting to the stress of a time consuming, dysfunctional job and dealing with a failing marriage; we stayed together for the rest of the year not really connecting with each other on a personal level b/c he always went away on the weekends (i.e.: hunting, fishing, shooting, etc.). In March of 2013 he moved out. Then in October 2013 he professed he wanted to reconcile. He was retiring and said he made a mistake in leaving. He had admitted he had an 'attempted' relationship with a woman when we were apart but claimed it didn't work out and he refused to tell me who she was. While I was happy to hear he wanted to reconcile, I told him we had issues and before he could move back we needed to address those issues and work out a plan before he could move back in. We met three times at our home, each time he professed his love and desire to do anything to make our marriage work however while I heard his words, I did not see any actions. Then in November I got a call from him asking were something was in our house, discovered he was moving in (he obtained a key from our daughter). So November-December he was living back home and being attentive to my needs, being kind, but there was no real intimate relations beyond hugging and greeting/departing kisses. Of course these months were jammed with holidays and birthday (mine - which he made very special - and my daughters) celebrations AND in mid-December I lost my job. Right before Christmas I noticed the same behavior in him that I saw before he left in March of 2012. My daughter (the one who still lives at home) saw a text message on his phone from the other women and showed it to me. With this text, I did some research and found that the other woman (OW) was a divorced former friend of ours. I learned that he was seeing her since February 2012. In January his behavior continued detaching. Being unemployed (I was the major money-maker) my focus was to find a job (in a tight job market), keep our home emaculate, and try to do things I knew would please him. And again, health issues with my parents came into play - with a major illness and hospitalization. Regardless of my efforts, he left me and moved in with her in mid-February this year. He said he didn't feel any spark from me since he had returned. I understand that, I was guarded - he had left our marriage and cheated on me - plus I did not see any efforts of trying to discuss issues that lead to our relationship souring. I love my husband and I believe in our marriage. This is so out of his character! I need help however I cannot afford counseling on my unemployment checks. My family/friends offer encouraging words however they have never gone through anything like this. Any advice or direction you can offer is greatly appreciated!

  • dianne

    My husband was very controlling and verbal abusive and everything was about him. We have been married for 3 years . Before I met and married him I had a business and a nice home IRA , Saving and I lost everything .He did not support or respect me in anything I build it from scratch I had my business for 20 years .He don't have anything to do with me until he want sex. Now he opened a business in his name and he didn't involved me with anything and he have a lot of female friends and talk on the phone real late at night to women so I left him 5 months ago . He call me on the phone but he never say he want to get back together or that he love me He just talk about his business and other people .Do you think it is worth saving , do you think I need to throw in the towel ,and walk away I need some advice.

  • Sadia

    My hubby of 5 and 1/2 year wants Divorce from me. it was arrang marriage and i am from pakistan. we have a 4 year old daughter. when my daughter was few weeks old he met a girl olnly 18 year old. i find out year after that he got affair but he always denies that its only me who doubt on him. it was his decision to get married to a girl from pakistan. he never take me out or buy me hardly any gift or present. when i find out about his affair and talk to that girl she said to me get out from his life coz they wants to get married in 4 year time she told me he bought her presents n take her out every where. and also i find out from his bank statments he was paying hotel bills and spending money on women stuff. and also i find out he was with other girls since he got married to me . now from last 15 months he moved out and living somewhere but i dont know he is still with that girl or not . i asked him about do u still got affair he said not but its hard to trust again.
    anyway 2 month ago he come home and said he want Divorce but i dont want . i want to make my marriage work, i try to convince him lets forget everything and start again but he said he dont love me and he dont want in relationship . do u think this marriage can be save in any way????????????

  • Sadia

    and also we have no connection between us even we are not talking to each other and he said he hate me. i try hard to talk to him but he even not answering me back hi . so i fed up n stop talking .. dont understand what i should do?

  • d

    Me and my wife are seperated Right now after 22 years of marriage abs she tells me I care about you but I don't love you and also we have 2 kids they are teenagers she talks to them sometimes for a lil while thru text or talk to then on the phone but it's seems like she is trying to avoid us all and she likes to go party with 24 year old friends I made mistakes I disn't realize I was making I still love my wife and want to save my marriage what can I do to help heal the pain and make her see how much I love her she won't even talk to me and when she does she is mad please help

  • Donna

    My husband has been having an affair. He has not stopped th affair as of yet. We have been married for 25 years. I have done the things you mention in the video...talking and telling him I am not giving up, I love him, I am willing to make changes, etc. I am finding it hard as I always tell him I love him but he is not reciprocating. I don't know if I should leave it go or continue to say it in hopes that he will one day tell me he loves me again?

  • Stephanie tello

    My husband has checked do I restore our marriage when he has moved out. He does not answer my text or phone calls. We been married for 31 years. I love him! What do I do, when I don't know how to fight for our marriage?

  • Steven Dodson

    My wife left three weeks ago I wanna try and reconnect with her any advice I wanna be a better husband to her and step upi

    • Mike_Olsen_SMN

      Hi Steven, right now she probably needs the distance and the pain is very raw. Why don't you send her a letter? If she has asked you for certain things and there is behavior you want to change, you will have to just do it and show her that you can. Keep up the house, step up with the kids, whatever it was that you agree needs to change. She needs to see it before she would be willing to hear it.

  • Chad

    My wife of 6 years says she's not happy and wants a divorce. She has been sleeping on couch for a month. She says she has felt this way for some time and loves me but don't know if it's the way I love her.

    • Chad

      What can I do to reconnect.... She wants space but we slept together.. Her then she said it was a mistake.

      • Mike_Olsen_SMN

        Hi Chad, we actually have advice specifically on whether you should sleep together while separated - It sounds like she wants to reconnect with you, but doesn't know how. Try writing her a letter, letting her know why you love her and want her to stay, and show her you can be the spouse she needs.

  • gina

    This sounds like me - I have been married about the same length of time and am a wife who is at the point where although I deeply love my husband, am at the point where I just don't understand just why I am not able to take that final step and walk out the door. It seems that our marriage is basically over with and all that is left is to finally take that last step and separate. But, we know that we love each other and so we continue and continue and continue. We are just stuck in a little roundabout and chase our tails. Are we doomed to just keep this up until we finally develop a hatred of each other so that we can justify separating? I am not sure where we go from here.
    We don't communicate anymore. I feel that I have tried and tried to fix it on my end, but that I can't do it on my own. I feel he isn't trying, although if he were to have input here, he would say that he is trying. Just two very different point of views. What was once a team is no longer a team. What was once a couple with a mind like one has morphed into two separate people who just cant find their way back to where they once were.
    So, perhaps this is what is happening to you or others as well. How do people who have reached the point where they have "disconnected" find their way back to being connected?

  • Dan

    My wife and I been married for 21 years and been together for 26. The last four months have been the toughest months of our lives. She told me she needed to be alone and wanted her space to figure out who she is. I'm giving her space and now we are separated. We communicate good together and don't yell and scream at each other she just lost her way. We put an agreement together where she lives in the house for two weeks off in two weeks on so the kids can still be in their home. She's been talking with another guy who I know and there's no way that can work between them because my daughter used to date his older son and there was bad blood between both our families. We talked for 2 hours yesterday and she told me that she got herself into this and she's working her way out. She feels bad for what she's done and she's trying to figure out why she got in so deep and she's working on it. She also told me that she knew she was just a convenience to him because he is a very busy person that doesn't have time to settle down. I think she's trying to lose her feelings for him. She seemed sincere but I don't know what to do. Should I serve her with divorce papers and put it in her court? Need some advice

    • Mike_Olsen_SMN

      Hi Dan, if you want to save your marriage, divorce papers won't help. Instead try to support your wife. Ask her if you two can have date nights without the kids. Reconnect with her and help her find her way instead of making her work it out on her own.

  • Mike

    My wife and have been married for 38 years, and she moved out 3 weeks ago. I take full blame as I love her desperately but did not give of myself. I did everything for her except provide the emotional connection she needed. She told me many times, but I didn't know what to do. Now I have lost her trust, and do not know if she will give me the chance to redeem myself. I am learning, and trying to become the man she missed, but she harbors so much hurt and resentment that she doesn't want to see me. I am still continuing to support her financial but it seems that's all I'm good for. I am steadily eliminating every distraction or interest that kept me from her, but I may never know if she understands what I am doing. I LOVE HER MORE THAN LIFE! ANY IDEAS?

  • anzar

    How can I communicate with my spouse when he has told me not to contact him except through a solicitor? We have not seen/spoken to each other alone since he left 2 months ago. For the last month since receiving a letter from him I have respected his wishes by not contacting him but am finding it difficult to go on with no explanations. We have not had a fight or argument and I love him and he loves me. We have children and there have been no affairs but he does have health issues which make him vulnerable.

  • Robert Trejo

    Dr Dana my wife doesn't want me to talk to her as much as possible I told her that I would give her space and she says that she doesn't know I still love her I care for her did the worst things that I could do to her cheat on her lie I don't want this to end what do I have to do to win her back in make her feel that you can trust me again cuz she sees me in its hate when she gets undressed or just going to get undressed she doesn't want me around she feels bothered no more sex I can't even hug no kisses she just wants a divorce and she tells me to change but for myself she had already talked to her family mom and dad about getting a divorce we've been together like 7 years like I can't sleep that much concentrate if you could please give me an answer I appreciate it

  • Sarah

    How do I help him fight his inner demons?