Many times, a W and GOW will decide to take a break from the relationship to re-evaluate and re-focus, but mostly so that W can take necessary "alone time" to work on his grief without distraction. However, because the burden of grief recovery is all-consuming, a W may "disappear" from GOW's life altogtheer, shutting her out without even realizing it. It is during this time that GOWs tend to wonder, "What's my next move? Should I leave him alone...or should I contact him?"
No living thing will grow if it is cut off from even one of its basic survival needs, i.e., food, water, shelter, etc. The same is true for relationships, which cannot grow and thrive without the need for communication being met. Without regular contact (even if "regular" means once a month), we are left to our own conclusions and assumptions about what the other person is thinking, feeling, and/or doing without us...and 99 times out of 100, these will be negative and borderline paranoid assumptions and conclusions. Regular contact establishes a line of communication; a lifeline of sorts that keeps us hopeful and exposes us to W's truth, whatever that may be.
Logic tells us that that which is not connected is DISconnected. Without regular communication, a relationship is indeed disconnected and no longer based in any foundation, be it respect, love, or trust. Indeed, it becomes "uprooted", and like a flower that is not firmly grounded, it will begin to die a slow death.
The difficult part of this "limbo" is that W may not feel the need for contact as much as his GOW does. He has enough on his plate with trying to figure out the complexities of grief, and work through them. This takes all the focus he can muster, and because grief is so hard, a W sometimes subconsiously allows distractions into his life that would ease his pain...distractions that may interfere with his progress.
Surprisingly, most Ws KNOW this, and will put all their ducks in a row prior to grief work...one of those "ducks" being "solitary confinement", wherein he opts to go into his man cave alone, without disruption by anything - or anyone - who may trifle with his focus, thus disconnecting from his GOW until such time as he either A.) feels his grief work has progressed enough to be less of a burden to the relationship and will thus REconnect with his GOW, or B.) decides that he needs more time and will remain DISconnected until further notice.
When a W asks for a break to further his grief agenda, he does not feel the severity of the separation as much as the GOW does. He has more than her on his mind - he has grief. GOW, on the other hand, only has W on which to focus all her energies, thoughts, and feelings....thus making the separation quite a bit more intense - and the need for reconnection and regular communication much stronger - than his.
Friendly, casual contact is a Band-Aid solution to a GOW's anxiety, and should never be taken as a "foot back in the door" of W's life. It is merely a way to ease her troubled, questioning mind and exposes the relationship to the POSSIBILITY of healing through communication; thus rooting the relationship in something more positively focused.
Make no mistake: just because a W goes into self-imposed exile (i.e, his man cave) does not mean he has forgotten his GOW. He has just decided that disconnecting from her is the healthiest way for him to deal with his issues. Most GOW/W relationships that had been firmly rooted in mutual respect and trust PRIOR to separating will weather a separation much better than a previously non-committed relationship. It is this kind of GOW/W couple that should work out regular contact schedule in order to keep the candle burning in the window of their hearts until the W is safely home again.