A Reader Writes…
It’s been a year since I discovered my husband of 5 years was having an inappropriate friendship.
He confessed ILYB but was willing to give our relationship another go. He said he would break contact with her. I spent the next few months giving our relationship 100%, learning from your books, trying to understand his perspective and listen fully. I also made sure I was stating clearly what i wanted, i.e. a full, committed, relationship with him, and more input into me and family life (we have a 3 year son).
In late autumn I discovered he’d gone away with his friend for a couple of days, saying he was away for work. I was devastated yet again. He said he should leave and I agreed, although asked him to stop, take stock and consider everything so we could make suitable arrangements.
Xmas came and went and I expected him to leave but he hasn’t. He still sleeps on the sofa and there is no relationship other than a functional one around family life for 4 months now. I thought he was having second thoughts as he has been initiating family time for us. I have stated I would consider being with him if he stopped all contact with his friend and committed fully to trying again. However, whenever we talk he deflects any decisions.
He permanently sits on the fence saying he thinks the world of me, but won’t actually commit to being with me or leaving. I have stated I either want to be with him if we are both committed to improving our relationship, or I want to get on with my life apart from him.
He won’t attend counselling with me or alone although I have undertaken some. I have given this so much time and effort as I love him and we have a son. I can’t understand his inability to either choose a direction, or commit to exploring how he feels through counselling.
I have given a year of my life to trying to improve things but it takes two. I don’t feel I have any more to give, without receiving more back from him. It’s got to the point I feel run down, emotionally exhausted and ambivalent. I feel upset about the situation, angry with his behaviour and upset that it may be left to me to ask him to leave because he won’t stay properly or leave.
I want more from life and I’m not getting it! I’m not a quitter but I don’t want to waste my time over someone who isn’t there for me. Any advice would be helpful.
I try and always be generous and forgiving but I’m finding it hard.
I understand why someone might feel desperate and have an affair. At a stretch, I can see how someone might slip and answer an email from an affair partner or maybe even meet for coffee (to end the affair ‘properly’). But to systematically lie and arrange a weekend away, I’m sorry that feels like one step too far.
Meanwhile, I’m wondering why you’re putting up with this horrible behaviour. You’ve given him so many ultimatums, second chances and accepted what sounds like having a sulky depressed teenager round the house! OK, he might genuinely be depressed and need help. However, I think he has forfeited your support with his selfish behaviour and it doesn’t sound like he will seek help from his doctor anyway.
So my question to you: Why is it so hard to close the door? My guess is this is something about you. Did your father leave when you were small? Why are endings so unbearably painful that you will do anything – including hurting yourself more – to avoid them?
I think when you have the answer to that one, you will finally have the strength to do what you know must be done. It will be kinder to him, yourself and your marriage (as there is a 5% chance that the reality of leaving will help him shake off his sloth while the status quo is providing a 100% guarantee of divorce.)
Finally, I would take a look at Heal and Move On as it will explain the journey ahead and give you some much needed courage.