A Reader Writes…
My spouse left me and the kids after 4 months of yo-yo relationship (leaving/coming back) to move in with the woman he had an affair with for the past 9 months. A typical tripod relationship. She is the great other. I am the persecutor. He is now living with her.
I have started divorce procedure, but what if I am rushing into this? Although financially I kind of have to as he is asking me to pay more and more stuff. I know he is in mid-life crisis but he also seems besotted with her to have left everything for her.
I gave him 7 chances to try to work at our marriage..He never worked and took them really. He always continued to see her and lied. I wonder whether you’d have an advise.
I fear for the future. Being the one left behind is difficult. He says he loves me as a great friend but not as a lover and that our relationship was not fulfilling (sounds textbook!). I am lost.…
I get lots of people writing to me saying ‘my husband has left me, what do I do now?’
It’s especially hard when, like you, they can see clearly what’s gone wrong but they haven’t had a chance to put it right. So I have six pieces of advice for you…
It’s not about you
Your husband will try and lay the blame at your door. And even if that’s not his goal, ‘our relationship was not fulfilling’ will sound like ‘you didn’t fulfil me.’
But it’s really about him, he’s responsible for making his life work (that’s not your job) and if he’s unhappy about specific things that weren’t working about your relationship, then he could have spoken up.
As you’ve probably guessed, it’s not really about the other woman either, she’s not so wonderful that he can’t resist her. Basically, he’s in pain—because his life isn’t working—but instead of rolling up his sleeves and working out what needs to change (which is tough and requires soul searching) he’s looked about for a quick fix and found her.
If you tell yourself—like a mantra—‘it’s not about me’, it will help you keep calm and communicate better.
I’m sorry but he can’t have you as a ‘great friend’. It sounds to me like he doesn’t want you as his wife but he still wants you to still manage parts of his life for him. For example, he wants you to intervene and plead his case with your son or daughter who is upset about him leaving.
He is an adult, he can sort his own relationship out with his children. He has their phone numbers and he can make his own arrangements (assuming they are not toddlers or at primary school).
So ask him what he means by ‘great friend’? You can be a polite business partner in the business of bringing up your children but he can’t expect you to listen to his problems or how wonderful his new life is.
Unfortunately, many wives still manage their separated husband’s emotional life for him—in the hope this will bring him back—but their husbands don’t realise the reality of what divorce will be like.
Discuss the finances calmly
Rather than rushing towards divorce, which it sounds like you don’t want, see if you can sort out some kind of interim financial agreement. You will need to have done your research and know all the budgets—perhaps your divorce lawyer has already asked for this.
Set up a meeting to go through the figures and even if he gets upset, don’t get angry and tell him he’s a fool. Just keep calm and ask for his suggestions of how to make it work.
If he comes up with something sensible hear him out and negotiate. The rule of thumb in a crisis is: if you don’t have to do anything, do nothing. If he comes up with something sensible talk to your lawyer and see if you really will be in a weaker financial position if you put the process on hold—that could be more your fear than the reality (but I’m not a legal expert).
Look after yourself
It is really hard to be rejected and it could bring up some painful material from your past. Read my book Heal and Move On because this will explain what’s going on inside.
Ask your friends for moral and practical support, do nice things to pamper yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself when things go wrong (because your husband is in pain and lashing at everybody at the moment).
Understand what is painful
Take some time to work out if the pain is fear for the future, if it is the natural upset of a relationship breaking down or whether you still love your husband (and want him back).
You will probably need time and help to understand what’s the main driver of your pain. A relationship therapist could help but you could also keep a diary as writing stuff down helps—not only to get it off your chest but to start to analyse your feelings too.
Keep the door open
So you reading this post because your husband has left and you want to know ‘what to do now?’ The other woman is not the answer to his problems but there is a danger—if you and your husband are fighting all the time—that she will help tend his wounds (and appear even more like The Great Other).
However, if you step back and let him carry on down the road he has chosen, he will discover that this other woman is not made of cream cheese—in fact, she has rather a lot of human failings too. At this point, he might realise his mistake and if, the door has been left open, he might decide to come through it.
In the meantime, you will feel calmer and instead of concentrating all your energy on him, you can look after yourself. I call this radical acceptance and I explain more in my book My Husband Doesn’t Love Me and He’s Texting Someone Else.
So how do you keep the door open? Be polite, take no notice of his blame game and get on with your own new life (because that’s a whole lot more interesting than obsessing about the past or worrying about an unknowable future).
My husband cheated on me years ago, got a girl pregnant and has lived with her since, the whole time he has maintained that he loves me and is waiting for her to end the relationship since his reasoning has always been that he may never see his daughter if he leaves her. I just went on with my life but we did maintain an intimate connection, I feel like I always felt I was trying to ‘win’. He really is in love with me and not her. The problem is that after 3 years of this I have lost interest in the competition, I did win so to speak. I started flirting with another man and even though that relationship has very little potential it was enough of an eye opener to really make me not interested in my husband anymore. I told him I wanted to move on, a few times now. And now he is pushing harder and asking me to give him a bit of time to deal with the girlfriend issue. Now that he knows I’m serious he is ready to give her up. But I don’t want him anymore. We have 4 kids together. I believe one day I could find another man, but on the other hand I wonder how likely it is I could ever *want* to try again with my husband after I finally got over him and decided to move on. I think he has always thought the day his relationship with his girlfriend ends he can just come home. And he was probably right until now. And I don’t know what to do.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I think you have answered your own question. Three years is a long time. He has done nothing in that time to win you back or even to make you feel special.
I am in a similar situation and have done pretty much all you have suggested in your post. My husband has now moved countries to be with his great other, so instead of romantic rendezvous in train stations and airports, they are finally together 24/7. I reckon he knows his new relationship won’t last, he already told me that he knows it’s impractical (they don’t even speak each other’s languages) but that he loves her and feels compelled to follow the affair to its end. I feel to tell me that shows a level of arrogance that I find really insulting. He basically stated that he is going to keep behaving like this for as long as he likes, and appears to believe that I will keep that door open a crack for him no matter what. Do men who behave like this ever think that maybe their wives have a timeline of their own and that it might actually be too late by the time his self-indulgent little tryst comes to an end? Or are they so caught up in their own positive feedback loop with their great other that they are blind to reality? The truth is that the longer he continues this affair, the higher the mountain he, and we, would have to climb to salvage our marriage. He doesn’t seem to have any awareness of that at the moment.
Andrew G. Marshall says
When I’ve counselled men like your husband (who have followed their desires to the bitter end, and it is normally very bitter) that they were in a fog. They knew they were lost but there was nothing they could do but press on. Unfortunately, few men have the sort of friends that will listen and make them question their mad ideas. Worse still, the ‘code’ of manhood means you can’t ask for help from your friends even if you do have good friends. Sadly men have to hit rock bottom before they get out of the fog. However, you don’t have to wait for his fog to clear. You can get on with your life and leave him stumbling around in the dark.
Thank you for your reply. You are right, my husband has essentially run away and cut himself off from all family and friends because he doesn’t want to hear the truth of what he is doing from them. It is easier to cocoon himself in his fantasy. Even if he knows that what he is doing is all wrong, I doubt he would even know how to reach out to any of his friends for help, so he will continue to drown without even calling out for a lifebuoy. He does have a couple of very good and solid friends who would be happy to help him climb out of the hole he has dug, but he has rebuffed them several times already. For me, the worst part is that he has left three children confused, devastated, angry and bereft. I am doing my best to be both mother and father to them, but it is so painful to see their hurt and incomprehension. I hope he wakes up soon while he still has a chance to repair his relationships with them. Any tips on how to give him a lifeline to them at least?
Andrew G. Marshall says
It is not your job to throw him life lines. He’s got to sort himself out. Step back, look after yourself and think about what you want to do with YOUR life.
Thank you, you are right. Since his affair came to light at the end of last year he has been offered plenty of lifelines, not just by me but by many others who love and care about him. So far he is unwilling or unable to use any of them. I have stepped back to protect my own mental and physical health, and to prepare for a future without him. It’s still not easy to stand watching from the sidelines while someone I once loved so deeply keeps going down this path of self destruction. It’s a sad end to 25 years of a life together, but I know I am in better shape than he is, even now when this feels like such a personal insult. It will only get better for me from here on, no matter what happens to him. I do hope he manages to salvage a relationship with our children at some point though. Thanks for all the information on your website and in your books (I have several of them now) they are a huge help to me.
I agree with the lack of male friends who make them question what they are doing. I imagine that any time my ex told a friend about his situation they just smiled and nodded while thinking ‘that guy is crazy’. Which just probably ends up being seen as his friend agreeing.
Karen, your post is so eerily similar to my own situation I actually had to read it to make sure it wasn’t written by me since we even have the same name!!
Is there a way to helping them back? My husband has told me he wonders what it would be like had he made different decisions yet he can’t end it with the other woman. He’s told me he’s still confused about what he wants and he keeps going round in circles. Like everyone else’s husband he no longer sees his friends as any advice they faced wasn’t taken and he took offence, so obviously it’s her that’s constantly telling him he’s ok. We still get on well and I’m continuing with my life but I still want our life together… is there any way to help from afar? It’s now been 3yrs separated. Do men ever make it back after a mid life crisis?
Andrew G. Marshall says
Read my book ‘It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s an opportunity’ it has lot of stories of men who take the opportunity, learn and grow. I explain how to give it to your partner in the back. Perhaps he would like to read it too and you can have a fresh conversation about what happens next.
My husband and I had a little girl (3 years old), and I moved to his country and live with his parents to help taking care of his sick mom. I thought we were great, and we both want the second baby. I got pregnant early this year and struck with severe morning sickness. Without help as husband was busy too, we decided it’s the best for my girl and pregnant me to go back to my country for 3 months to pass the sickness months. Initially we were still very loving, and that he missed us so much. But after 3 weeks apart, he suddenly told me his mind was troubled, and he changed his mind and asking for abortion, and separation & divorce. I was in total shock. He said he lost his love for me and cant think of future together, ironically just a week before he said the exact opposite. He also very opposed to us coming back there, he is asking me to give him “time” and he wants to be “single” and makes “new friend”. It’s been 3 months that we lived separately, there is no one single day that Im not crying. With all the uncertainty, fear and worry in my mind, and I was kept asking why, what happen, what is this, its all too sudden to me. But I finally just found out that he has an affair… I fainted with my little girl next to me, and our 24 weeks baby in my belly. What should I do?
Andrew G. Marshall says
When a man wants to be ‘single’ it means that he is either having a full blown affair or is having an emotional one that he’s about to turn sexual. So I’m not surprised at your discovery. It is important that the two of you speak face-to-face and sort out what is going to happen next. So what should you do? Ask him to fly over and visit or alternatively – as airlines along a woman to fly up to thirty-six weeks – I think you should consider going to him.
I did fly and try to talk to him calmly. He kept blamed me and us, and that we were not matched together. He even told me to find someone else and “learnt from our mistakes”. I just secretly found out that the other woman sent him her nude photos just before he told me earlier that “his mind is troubled, and that he changes his mind not to have this baby and me in his future”. She is a colleague at his office, he is her boss. She knows he is married with kids, and when his wife was not around due to pregnancy sickness, they both started this affair. He hasnt admitted about the other woman yet, and kept saying to give us more time, not to talk about this until baby is born. But meanwhile he turned extremely cold and not even in contact with me or our first little daughter. I dont know what he plans by asking for more time, but the discoveries of his affair, his nasty purchases, and the nude pictures really torn me apart… How can this break our “happy & solid” marriage so suddenly and so strongly? How can he just dispose our years of togetherness for this woman who worked at his office? And should I get ready for dissolution of our marriage and move forward?
This is really helpful. Its very early days since i made the discovery of an affair but i also know that the O/W is pregnant. He says that he loves this woman and so I have let him go.
It hurts very much that I am at home with two small children having to sort this massive mess out and hold it together for them.
It goes without saying that I feel betrayed and bireft all at the same time. I really don’t know what to do with myself, it feels all consuming. The worst part is the rejection and the end of two decades together. I still love him but i’m not going to loose any more self respect and dignity by begging him to come back. I just can’t believe he wasn’t willing to work at this and the marriage was so disposable to him.
When do I start to cope with all this and feel better?
Andrew G. Marshall says
That’s a really difficult question to answer…. but the best way is probably to share something equally devastating from my life. Twenty years ago, my partner died after a long illness. I often asked when would I start to cope and feel better? Nobody could answer and it drove me nuts. Today, I can look back and answer myself and it might help you too. Recovery will come in waves, you’ll have good patches when you think I’m over it but then something will send you back and you’ll find new things to grieve about. Don’t beat yourself up during the dark days or think ‘I’ll never get over it’ because it’s all part of the journey. You will get stronger, the wounds will heal over (not completely) but you will have a good fulfilling life in the future.
Before I say anything, I just wanted to say I wish I had read your books earlier!
I am 36 and my husband is 39. We have been together for nine years and married for eight. We decided to have a child early last year and we become parents in last November. At the end of this year’s March, when I was completely occupied and distracted by my new responsibilities as a mother and when our son was about four months old, my husband started an affair with his colleague. Three weeks after they had been sleeping together, in April, he confessed to me about his cheating and told me he doesn’t want our marriage anymore. I was completely shocked and devastated as I didn’t see this coming at all and as he was still sending me roses and telling me how much he loves me just not long ago before his started the affair.
My husband told me he has been very unhappy in the marriage for a about two years and he was not felt desired and wanted by me as we didn’t have enough sex. A lot of the things I did and said also make him think I don’t appreciate him or respect him. Before I got pregnant and during my pregnancy till I went on maternity leave, I was working lots of additional hours outside work as I got a promotion and I wanted to give everything I have, before my priority changes forever from career driven to being a mum. Also, the promotion was on contract so we both know I won’t go back to do this job again when I return to work after my maternity leave. Nevertheless, my husband protested me prioritising my job over him many times during this period. Now I looked back, I did neglect him a lot in these couple of years and despite he told me he was unhappy before, I underestimated his unhappiness.
My husband told me he met this colleague about two years ago when he got transferred to his current work unit and they become really close and he gradually told her everything about our marriage problems (e.g. not enough sex). After his confession, form the stuff I found (my husband didn’t know that I saw them), it seems this woman has been actively pursuing him (e.g. sending him flirty messages and sexy photos etc.) since when I got pregnant.
Even though I was completely heart broken and hurt, I reflected on myself and acknowledged I neglected him and have taken him for granted. I assured him I love him and still want the marriage and am willing to forgive the cheating. I also thought since we have so much together (I mean how could he leave our baby boy) and he confessed, there is still hope for the marriage. But he thinks it is too late and he is too unhappy for too long. He just kept saying he doesn’t want the marriage anymore because it doesn’t make him happy anymore although he also said he still loves me. In the first month after his confession, I panicked, tried to do long talks with him, and I cried, begged, and pleaded for him to stay. He was extremely remorseful and crying a lot. But he said he wasn’t sure he could do this anymore. As I insisted, he reluctantly broke up with her but got very depressed and told me he felt caged and suffocated because I wouldn’t let him move out to stay with his mother. I made him go to marriage counselling once and he was resentful about it. After this one off counselling session (he doesn’t want to go anymore), we followed the councillor’s advice and become physically separated. Unfortunately, later on, I found out that just before we went to see the councillor, he started his contact with the other woman again.
During May, he stayed with us in the house to look after our baby and to do everything else (e.g. eating dinner with us and helping out with the chores etc.) except not sleeping here at night. However, he didn’t seem to feel better and just become more depressed. While he couldn’t really talk about his feelings he was texting her a lot. They also see each other at work every day. I tried talking to him with long emails and told him I will let him go if the only way for him to be happy is to be with her. He wrote back long replies to just reiterate how unhappy he was and he was just telling how depressed he felt to the other woman. He wrote me back an email to say how he is sorry and hates himself and only wishes our son to turn out like me not like him. He said he just wanted to feel okay and he felt far from okay. During the email communications, we seemed to have a bit of connection again. But as I felt helpless, at this point I hired a marriage coach off the internet to deal with the situation. The coach told me he is still cheating and everything he says was just deceptive. He told me I need to set up some boundaries by not allowing him to use the house like this anymore. And he was only allowed to visit our son for a few hours every day according to the agreed schedules. So I sent a very cold email to him after his apologetic email, telling him these arrangements and said if things don’t improve soon we need a divorce. He accepted all the arrangements and took all his stuff with him. Since then he only visits us Monday to Saturday for three hours a day. He become very resentful and distant to me so I panicked and cried again and told him he could use the house like before. He also cried and told me he wanted to see our son as much as he could. I changed my mind again later, as I was suspecting him going out with the other woman and become resentful. So I told him it’d be best for him to only come visit to see our son and not stay at the house for other reasons. He agreed and we become more distanced to each other.
In June, I confronted him again about what’s really going on between him and the other woman. He said he was just “hanging out with her sometimes like going to the movies together”. I told him I can’t agree with this while we are separated but I can’t tell him what to do. I mentioned to him the law (here in Australia) doesn’t allow us to be divorced until we have been separated for 12 months but he can have what he wants by then if he wants to be with her. I cried and he cried. He said he just wants to look after our son and wouldn’t say anything else about our relationship. When I pushed him, he said he felt sick and tired of being watched, and having other people to be involved in his life, and he just wants to live his own life. I was stunned and just left the conversation. I was crying everyday when he wasn’t there and he become extremely cold and irritated and distanced to me. I think he hasn’t “hanged out” with her much since our talk but they are still at least texting each other. I don’t really know what’s going on between them.
Since then, I have been trying very hard to be friendly with him even when he is very closed off and cold. I have been reading a lot of self-help books lately (and I found your very helpful books and this website!) and wish I had read them earlier, before I turned a crisis into a catastrophe. I know it wasn’t my fault that he cheated on me (and is still involved with her!). But I just wish I haven’t further damaged our relationship so much and pushing him further away! I do still love him and want to save our marriage. I do still care about him.
I know I need to focus on myself and look after myself first. I am trying to do these. But I also want to reconnect with him. In the past week, he become a little bit more friendly. I don’t know what to do next. Is there still any hope? I feel despair and think this marriage is beyond repaired.
Is there still any hope?
Andrew G. Marshall says
What a horrible story and coping with a small child too! What struck me when I finished reading is how many facts about what’s been happening and twists and turns in the story you’d shared but much less on what you’d learnt and what you’ve changed. That might be because you’re exhausted so it came out in a torrent or you don’t think I’d be interested… but what gives me hope for the future of a relationship is when people grow through the adversity and change (because that changes the dynamic in the relationship and sets of a virtuous cycle). So look after yourself, and your baby, keep reading my books, be compassionate with yourself (you’re facing one of the greatest challenges life can throw at you) and take it one day at a time. Please look at my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’. In particular, the exercise about understanding the difference between your zone of concern (for example what your husband is doing) and your zone of control.
Much like Cara’s post my husband also abruptly left me with our baby son (7 months old). We are both 35 and have been married 5 years and been together for almost 10. I wish I had read your books before getting pregnant as I feel the stress of our first baby amplified existing communication issues and drove us further apart. We had always considered ourselves best friends and had a very passionate relationship before the pregnancy and newborn days. But I really noticed my husband distancing himself from me a month before he left at the end of April. The day he left he said he loved me but was not in love with me and became emotionless and cold and desperate to run. He went to live with his parents and later I found out he was seeing a woman from his work. Turns out she was pursuing him for months and they began an emotional affair when he was with me that turned sexual once he left me (also included 20000 text messages over the span of 4 months). He explained to me that she made him feel appreciated and is very affectionate and loving and he hadn’t got that from me for some time (due to the baby I think) and he said his feelings had changed for me over time and thought it best that we divorce. For the first few months I feel like I did everything wrong. Dragging him to marital counselling for a few sessions when he wasn’t interested, going to a lawyer and trying to threaten and guilt him into wanting to come home with tears and sad and angry text messages. I now feel I just pushed him closer to the other woman. Three weeks ago he told me he ended things with her because it was the right thing to do and that he thought he should be alone (I think largely due to guilt at the pain it has caused me and our families). In the last 3 weeks my attitude has improved and I have been going to individual therapy for a few months and made some positive changes that he said he has noticed. However, I think I became too optimistic when he started speaking about the hypothetical possibility of reconciliation when for months he insisted it was over and I should move on with my life. After he stopped speaking with her we had been having great communication about what both of us did wrong to lead to this terrible situation, a perfect storm of circumstances, we called it. A week ago he told me that while he felt nothing for me the day he left he now views me more positively and with some warmth but it is not enough to want to come back. He said he still has very strong feelings for the other woman and while he is not contacting her now and regrets what he did to our lives he can’t take it back and can’t just forget her and often feels like speaking to her although he still insists he won’t for the moment. I got upset and told him that he shouldn’t have stopped speaking to her out of guilt because I worried he would resent me for it and to just go to her. Then he reassured me that he won’t reach out to her but that he needs time and space to think and hopes I won’t give up and divorce just yet. Still he admits that he is not invested in any one outcome (reconciliation, reconnecting with other woman to be with her or being alone) and insists he must ultimately choose whatever makes him happy and what he wants and won’t be pressured even though he knows what he did to our family is terribly wrong and selfish. He is worried that I will get my hopes up for reconciliation when he may very well decide against that. I told him not to worry about that as any road we take will have some element of disappointment and the worst is over for me. These last few days I haven’t spoken to him about the situation to take the pressure off and am willing to give him some more time and space to determine what he wants (he sees our son often so we do have chances to speak a few times a week) but I worry that he is still in love with the other woman and because he broke it off before the fantasy of her could become ‘real’ I worry he will always want to see things through with her or wonder about a life with her or worse choose her. He is very lost and confused and I am just wondering if it there is anything more I can do to get him to see our marriage as something worth fighting for and increase his positive feelings for me and not see her as a viable option for his future. My friends tell me to give up hope and move on but I feel that there has been some progress and don’t feel ready to give up on my family just yet as I fear I will regret it. I know there is still some love there and we often feel like friends when we chat when he is over to see our son. Is there hope or am I deluding myself?
Andrew G. Marshall says
Don’t spend so much time worrying about the other woman. She is symptom of his unhappiness not the solution to it. Yes, it take him time to get over the high of the fantasy but it sounds like he is slowly but surely coming down to earth. Please give him all the time he needs to work out why he cheated and what he needs to do to resolve his personal issues. At difficult times, people want certainty – hence your friends trying to push you in the divorce direction (and I bet you’d like some certainty too). However, uncertainty is your friend. It buys you time to think yourself about what you’d like to do differently. It gives you time to heal and be a little more sure of yourself and improve your communication (so there are no misunderstandings). All certainty does is push you towards divorce. So no you’re not deluding yourself, you’re taking pressure off yourself (and him) from making life changing decisions today. There is nothing wrong with taking things as they come and seeing how they turn out. When you’re feeling down read my books. They will provide hope and some suggestions of how to do things differently to break the old patterns.
after scouring the Internet for months your story is the only one i can relate to. i am in the same age group and scenario . wishing both of us all the best.
My husband left me after 10 years of marriage, 12 years together. We have a 9 year old daughter. I am his third wife. He moved in with the other woman and says he loves her. He told me he does not want a divorce, because he doesn’t like the “finality” of it. I suspect it is more of a financial reason. He makes double what I do. He also has not told his family/friends that he has moved on. We text daily small stuff, how is your day..etc. We have been to dinner one night each of the last 5 weeks since he left. ( I assume out of guilt) We do not talk about us or any other “difficult” conversations. I have been kind and pleasant when I see him. I do not push for anything. However I don’t think I can continue on in a weird limbo. I love him and would welcome him home. With counseling and true repentance. I fear if I file for divorce I am telling him I am closing the door. But if I don’t then I will never fully break in order to properly heal. Not sure if you have anything for this.
Andrew G. Marshall says
It would be wonderful if he saw the light, repented and went into counselling. However, I wonder if that’s a likely scenario. He’s had two marriages that ended in divorce and one more that’s heading the same way. Instead of looking at the common factor – ie: himself – he moves on thinking that ‘love’ will save the day. I’m not a gambling man but I bet he will end up leaving this new woman – maybe not tomorrow or even soon, but one day down the line. People who learn nothing from their relationship history and doomed to repeat it. So if you don’t like this weird limbo, don’t go out for dinner and stop talking like lovers. Become business partners instead (in the business of bringing up your daughter). If you’re not ready to get a divorce that’s fine. You can begin to learn from what happened (my book ‘Heal and Move On’ will help) without the finality of divorce. If you’re busy getting on with your own life, growing and changing, he might be interested and return. But it’s doesn’t matter if he doesn’t because you’ll be in a better place and maybe even found someone else. You can get the divorce when you’re good and ready rather than using it as a ‘magical’ way to start feeling better.
My husband left me four and a half months ago. He was two weeks into an emotional affair, and he says, wanted to do the right thing by not cheating on me. So because he wanted to embark on a full sexual relationship with his affair partner, he left the very next day and moved to a different city.
Since then we have seen each other regularly and we frequently speak on the phone. We have been working on improving our communication, and he has become more open about the affair and other difficult subjects. I have also been working on making improvements to how I communicate, and trying to take care of myself by socialising and doing things I enjoy.
We went to see a couples counsellor who refused to do couples work with us until my husband (we have had a relationship of 20+ years, but, by choice, have no children) definitively said that he wants our marriage to work. Last week he said (again) that he doesn’t love me, and that he can’t see a happy future for us. So we are no longer in counselling.
He told me at the weekend that he had been beginning to change his mind, and he then just over two weeks ago he fully broke it off with the affair partner (he called an end to their physical relationship a few weeks before. But they work together, and I know that he has responded to a few e-mails she sent asking how he is). He said that he thought that doing that would make him feel differently, but since it hadn’t (after only 5 days) he feels that there is no hope for us. He loves me, but isn’t in love with me etc. He now also blames me for his breaking it off.
We have decided to work on restoring our relationship so that we can at least converse about financial and practical matters. And so that he can leave our relationship with integrity and I can detach from him more slowly. After a three month period, however, in which he says he will not see her, he anticipates that we will separate for good and that he will move in with her (she is also married & has very young children). Though I don’t think that he has communicated this to her, but he is confident that she would be keen.
I am oscillating between what I think might be dumb hope, and despondency. I don’t know what to do for the best. I wonder if I am a fool for being optimistic, and if I am an idiot for holding on to someone that is treating me this way. I am also confused because we are getting on really well, and I don’t know what that means. I wonder if there are counsellors that would work with people in our situation, and what I should be looking for. I love him very much, and I hope for a future together. But I don’t know if I am holding on to something that can’t be repaired. Any advice you can give me would be very much appreciated.
Andrew G. Marshall says
First of all, there are lots of marital therapist who are happy to work with split agendas (in this case, you want to work on the relationship, he is unsure). I would work on the communication between you and try and provide a safe space to discuss old hurts (which are still blocking you). Obviously, if he is involved with someone else that will limit the scope of the work but if he is up front about what is happening (which he seems to be) then I see no reason why you couldn’t do a short piece of work together with a therapist. I’m not surprised that you’re oscillating between dumb hope and despair. He is on a similar roller coaster and will have about one hundred different emotions a day (so I wouldn’t worry too much what he’ll be feeling in three months time because he will probably have many different feelings about her and you over the next three HOURS!). I don’t think you’re a fool for trying to understand your relationship better, your husband and ultimately yourself. None of this work will be wasted, you will either rebuild your marriage or end it in a graceful and loving way (with respects everything you had together) which helps you move on with fewer regrets. Please read my book ‘It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s an opportunity’ because I think you will find a lot in it which will help you understand his wildly swinging emotions. For how to cope with your pain and grow stronger, look at Wake Up and Change Your Life.
Thank you so much for this reply Andrew. It’s very reassuring.
I have already read “It’s not a midlife crisis…” and found it very helpful. I will have a look at the other book you recommend, because while I have some idea of what he’s going through, and a lot of sympathy for him, I have struggled to find ways to lessen my own pain, and to know how to become stronger and more independent. I really want to know that I will be ok with or without him, but that seems like the hardest thing to achieve.
I am currently reading your book about break-ups.
My partner has left me 8 weeks ago. We had a difficult year as I was out of work and a burden on him financially, and he is an epilepsy sufferer and the new medication significantly altered his personality. He then decided to have brain surgery and this started a complete downward spiral leading up to the surgery. In August, I discovered he had an affair lasting many months and had just started a new one in the month before the surgery. I discovered both of them on the same day. Sex equals a source of life one could argue and facing a complex, complicated surgery with no certain outcome may have exacerbated the situation. He did not want to face a separation as it was inconvenient timing, but finally left me 3 days before the surgery.
He is now in recovery and rather unwell. We have to sort through the administrative aspects of the separation and his state of mind is not conducive to any sensible conversation. He does not acknowledge my pain and hurt, he completely diminishes them,a instead stating ‚you are fine,you don’t have half your brain missing‘. There is no respect for my feelings. His dealings with me are cold and borderline brutal.
I am in therapy and medication as I am unable to deal with the separation. I have been crying for 51 days. It is unbearable.
While the affairs may be forgivable, what I cannot forgive is that there has at no point ever been a time when he wanted to discuss our situation before he had surgery and make changes.
Now it is impossible to discuss it due to his very long recovery and resulting post-operative mental issues.
I realise that this is a rather difficult and different scenario, and it makes it more complicated and impossible to deal with.
Andrew G. Marshall says
When you discover infidelity and realise the depth of your partner’s unhappiness, the natural reaction is to ask ‘why didn’t you talk to me about it?’ In an ideal world, he would have spoken up and you’d have made changes and all this pain would have be avoided. No wonder, you find it unforgivable…. However, it might be helpful to look at it through a different lens. How good was he at speaking up about problems in general? Did his parents – and in particular his mother – encourage him to be a good boy and a people pleaser? I would also like you to look at yourself? How would you have reacted if he’d spoken up? Would you have been able to listen or would you have gone to pieces or burst into tears – so he was frightened of upsetting you and swallowed his issues instead. Finally, be gentle with yourself. It is hard discovering about infidelity and you’ve got two of them and it’s still early days.
Brigid Cunanan says
Wow. Although I do acknowledge that I have had a hand in my (soon to be) ex-husband’s “we never should have married.” & “Some marriages just are not meant to last.” & ” Divorce is the only solution.” …this is a throwaway culture in everything, it seems. Apparently, it is not just appliances, but also marriages that are thrown away – just get a new one – not worth it to try fixing the old one. Meanwhile I am the “kind of “pharisee” that makes all Catholics look bad.” We have 3 children, (16, 14, and 12) that have been taught BY HIM that what he is DOING goes against everything their dad has taught them. This damages them psychologically & emotionally, never mind morally. He is now living with his “new girlfriend” (claims new, but he moved an HOUR away from his kids, to another state, to live with her, all within a month of when he claimed to have met her?!)
What I can not wrap my brain around is that he continues to go to church. As far as I know, he still receives Holy Communion, so somehow he has reconciled that whatever “they” have it is not at all wrong…maybe because “they love each other and will be married one day” so it’s all good. I felt the same way…when I was FIFTEEN and I did NOT have a family and responsibility and grown up & just…KNOW better.
I am trying not to be judgmental, I guess, but how does he not see how he is doing irreparable damage to his children? I feel so betrayed. I am trying to just BE STILL. Trust that it really is in God’s hands. THY will be done, not MY will, and all that.,,I now you are busy, but I hope to hear from you. (also, it is evident from social media that some of our mutual “friends” & even exSIL openly support this new “union” – tough to not be bitter towards them, too. ). I would appreciate your help. I feel obligated to “stand”, but at the same time, my pride is saying, MOVE ON!!! Trying to discern what I should do…
B (spinning out-of-control in US)
Andrew G. Marshall says
You will move on when you’re good and ready. So don’t listen to well-meaning friends who push you into action. You’ve been through a horrible shock and you’re angry and resentful. That’s fine. It goes with the territory. Please accept these feelings but I’d like you to challenge some of your thoughts (because they are making a difficult situation worse). For example, ‘he is doing irreparable damage to his children’. Sure he is harming them and hurting them but irreparable damage? I meet lots of people whose parents got divorced in similar situations and they certainly have scars but it does not stop them from being great people with great lives. They have had to work hard to heal but the damage is not necessarily irreparable. Plus if your children see you heal from this trauma, they will be given a positive lesson which will serve them well: bad things happen, we learn from them and come out stronger. If you’d like something to combat feeling ‘out of control’ look at my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’.
Brigid Cunanan says
My husband doesn’t love me anymore because he said I emotionally abused him and our children. I have since been treated for severe depression. I run take medication and see a relationship Councellor. How can I fix this. Or can I
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am pleased that you’re taking what your husband has said seriously and you’re getting help. It would have been very easy to go on the attack rather than taking a step back and asking yourself: why does he think that? Can you fix it? Yes, you can. If it is true that you have been emotionally abusive, it’s probably because your mother (or parents) were emotionally abusive towards you. Understanding that legacy is an important step to changing and finding different ways to respond. My book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ will help with that. However, although I want you to continue to listen to your husband, I want you to remember that it takes two people to destroy a marriage: what has he been doing that is unhelpful?
My husband’s secret 9 month affair with the neighbor has now come out and he decided to move out last month. He is confused about which woman to be with but his texts I saw to her call her his soul mate. While he denies it, I know they are still having sex at his new apt. Should I also continue seeing him, or should I cut him off? He always denies being with her but hasn’t told me he loves me in months. He still wants to have sex with me when he sees me. Is there anything I can do to get him to stop seeing her? He says he does not want to give me false hope. Confused and sad..
I have been with my husband for 23 years. Married for 8. I found out in July 2018 my husband had been having an affair for about a month with a co worker. To say I was devestated was an understatement. We had a really good marriage or do I thought. He even says he wasn’t unhappy. It’s nit my fault I was an amazing wife. He left for a few days decided he was sorry didn’t want this and wanted another chance which I agreed I would. I found out in Sept he was still seeing her! I was again devastated but said I was not begging him to stay, I didn’t want him to be here out of guilt and if he didn’t want to be with me to leave. We told our 6 year old son which was horrendous and he went to his parents for a month. He then got his own flat. The day before he moved in he told me she was moving in with him. He said it wasn’t the plan (turns out she lied that her friend had kicked her out to get a foot in the door!) 2 days after she moved in he came to me saying he didn’t want her there, he had been unfair to me and wanted to make things work! I said he had to ask her to leave then as it is not fair on him, me or her to keep stringing us along. He claims he did, although she still had some stuff there and a key! He has been messing me about since the beginning of Nov saying I told her to leave because I am still in love with you! I know if I let you go I will regret it for the rest of my life, I don’t see a future with her! When I’ve seen him out he’s text saying “you look hot” it’s like he doesn’t really want me but can’t fully let go!
She is still there at the flat. It is now April. He is still denying she is living there but she drives past me everyday on the way to and from work! I have told him to just be honest as it’s pointless now it’s all out and he left. He won’t discuss selling the house or divorce, he is still paying all of the bills. He said it makes him so sad he doesn’t want to talk about it. He said he feels like he’s dug himself a massive hole he can’t get out of! I am at a loss as what to do next. I have taken a step back I guess as you call it radical acceptance. I only try to discuss our son or the house. I remain upbeat and friendly when he’s here. What I can’t get my head around is he is clearly living with her but is still lying about it, he hasn’t introduced her to anyone at all. His friends, family our son. Not that I want that but if I was with someone for almost a year and had been living together for 6 mths wouldn’t you want that? When our son spends time with him he makes her leave the flat. He has also set up his FB page to show us as still married on his friends page but on the public page he’s hiding we are even friends! So he is clearly lying to her to! He continues to me he isn’t happy. This isn’t easy for him although he can see why I think it is. He has told his Dad he isn’t happy and doesn’t see a future with her. He always appears miserable, snappy towards his family. They don’t ask him any questions and he doesn’t talk to them about any of it. I don’t think he really sees or discusses it with his friends either. He is generally ok with me but always seems to put an extra effort into looking sad to leave when he drops our son back. Like he doesn’t want to go but has to! I have told him many times that I can’t make him come back, it is his decision he should just own it and get on with it if that’s what he wants to do. I have also told him I am committed to our marriage but can’t do it on my own. He knows I don’t want to divorce him. Even after everything that’s happened I still love him and miss him everyday. Everyone tells me to get on with my life! They say he doesn’t love you! He couldn’t care less about you he’s out enjoying life and your wondering everyday what happened to the person you love and trusted more than anyone. I am at a loss! Is radical acceptance the best option until I get to a place where I decide enough is enough.
Andrew G. Marshall says
His diagnosis is quite correct. He has dug himself a massive hole but he is the only person who can get himself out of it. In the meantime, your friends are trying to make you move on – because they hope it will make you feel better. I know they love you but their comments are not helping. You will know when it’s time to let go and ONLY you can decide when that is. So focus on getting into a good place yourself. My book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ will help you reach a place that when he is ready to talk, you will be able to listen and talk calmly abut the future.
Thank you for your response. I have just downloaded your book to my Kindle. I have already read My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else. I found it helpful although I still find it hard not to obsess over the other woman. She is apparently not a nice person, not respected at work so not sure why she has such a hold over him.
Ive had a lot of time to think and I can see that there are things we both should of said and done and I think daily life just got in the way and we got in a rut. Things I know we could of worked on.
I am trying to get on with things and I am coping ok with, work, looking after our son and keeping up jobs around the house. I am keeping social but feel like its all I think about every min of the day from the min I wake up until I go to sleep they are on my mind. It is exhausting. I do suffer with anxiety and didn’t used to like being alone. This time apart has shown me I am ok on my own so I feel something positive has come from our time apart. It’s just so difficult to get your head around that someone you have been with for more than half your life can just throw everything away for someone he barely knew. It leaves me questioning our whole relationship. To be honest it’s the stringing me along and lies that have hurt the most. If he had left me alone when he left in October I’m sure I would of been in a much better place now. Everything he says contradicts his actions and it is so confusing to me. I overthink everything he says and does. I just feel like I’m in limbo.
My head tells me I should just move on but my heart will not let go.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Tell yourself, he is confused. He has a torrent of emotions running through him and he will change his mind as often as he changes his socks. So don’t waste your time trying to analyse him, focus on looking after yourself.., and getting into a stronger place
Mary Joyce says
My Husband cheated on me with his office colleague. It was both emotional and physical all the while I kept telling them to stop what they are doing because it is not right but they kept insisting that there was nothing like that until I confronted my husband and we separated briefly for a year. During this year my husband tried to win me back and I genuinely thought he repented but I found out that he and his mistress were still in touch. I literally had to threaten to take legal action against her which is when she stopped talking to my husband. However my husband still tries to reach out to her and yesterday was her birthday and he was telling me how much he misses her but just like a friend and expects to understand all this.
My Husband is a self centred person but being this oblivious to hurting your spouse’s feelings seems a bit far fetched. His mistress is happily married and it’s been a year However looks like my husband has never gotten over her. Even if he sees somebody remotely similar to her the longing on his face is quiet evident. All this is making me hate him I starting to loose the love I had got him before this affair. Please help me understand how to handle it because all this stress while we are planning to start a family is ridiculous and disheartening. The Worst part is that he says we are men this is how we learn and it’s a women’s duty to guide the man in the right path.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I thought I had a high tolerance level for the rubbish people spout when they are in the affair bubble but your last sentence made me want to reach for the sick bucket. Do you really want to be so responsible for him? I would also be interested to find out how he views the men’s path when it comes to children and the women’s path. When you know, ask yourself if you feel comfortable with this division of labour?
Tom Toher says
I emailed you awhile back to tell you that Brigid has killed herself and mys sister has just come back from the funeral in the States.
I notice you have edited the thread. I am however not surprised that you have not even have the decency to offer condolences, let alone explain why you did not refer for counselling instead of trying to sell her one of your so called self-help books.
You are a disgrace to the profession you claim to be a member of. How do you sleep at night?
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am sorry to hear about your loss and I send my condolences. I didn’t post the last message on the site because I didn’t know you wanted to make it public. Sorry. Let me make it clear, to everybody else, if you are seriously depressed that you should consult a doctor. If I don’t say it with every post, because it would get repetitive, self-help books are only part of the answer. It is always best to see a therapist and get proper on-going support.
Reading through these comments, I see a lot of situations similar to mine with one glaring exception: everyone seems to have still had regular contact with their ex after the break up. It’s been 5 months since my girlfriend left me. We were together for 9 years, but were never married or had any kids together. Still, I made it clear that she was the person I wanted to spend my life with. When we broke up, I lost control of myself and alternated between begging her to stay and yelling at her for how distant she was being with me. She was also texting another man and it was apparent that this angered me. The rejection became so unbearable that I left. I’ve had a few sparse interactions with her since then and they seem to have been pleasant. I didn’t bring up the relationship and tried my best to make her feel heard and appreciated. I was looking forward to rebuilding our connection slowly as I read in My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Anymore and other books. However, it then became harder to get a hold of her. I didn’t bombard her with calls or texts, but she stopped responding to the few that I did send. It’s been 2 months since we last had contact. Last month, I sent her a letter with a fulsome apology for my behavior when it ended and left the door open. Since then, I’ve learned that she moved in with the “friend” she was constantly texting and I’m starting to panic all over again. You say that men having affairs are often confused and don’t know what they want and will change their feelings as often as they change socks, but does this apply to women as well? Have you seen women behave that way? It’s just that my ex always seems like she knows what she’s doing and like she knows what she wants. She’s told me that she loves me even after the break up, but the more silence I get from her, the less hope I see.
When I left, I moved back in with my parents in a different town for the emotional support. Over time I felt myself getting stronger and more and more anxious about being home (like I wasn’t moving forward with my life), so I recently took a new job and signed a lease for an apartment. The news that she’s living with the man I suspect she left me for just hurled me back to the first stages of the grieving process. The new job and apartment are in the town where I lived with her (I made the decision before I knew she was living with him) I feel like I’m losing control all over again and I’m afraid to be alone with my emotions. Unfortunately, I have a very hard time connecting with people and have no close friends.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am glad that you are beginning to rebuild your life. Don’t worry, hearing that your ex has moved in with the other man is bound to be a set back. It’s only natural. If you are afraid to be alone with your emotions look at my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’. Have a think about whay you have problems connecting with other people? How could you start making more friends?
My ex sent me a thank you text for the fulsome apology letter. We talked on the phone for a while and I asked her if it bothered her that I tried to reach out to her. She said no, that she can talk to me, but that it just feels weird. She said she doesn’t want to feel like she’s leading me on – that maybe we can be friends with time, but she can’t give me anything more than that. She also said that she feels happy for the first time in a long while and she doesn’t want to feel like a bad person for it. I told her she shouldn’t feel bad and that her happiness is what’s important. When she said she’s had a lot of things happen for her within these months and I asked “like what?” she said, “you don’t want to know.” We got on the topic of her friend and she said she doesn’t know if she has romantic feelings for him (that at one point she considered it) and she doesn’t know if he feels the same way about her. But that he’s been a great friend and she likes spending time with him. She then asked if it would bother me if they started a relationship. I told her that while I can’t help that it would hurt because I want to make her happy, I wouldn’t stand in the way of it.
I broke down immediately after I let her go. I’m completely devastated. Everyone I’ve talked to has said, “give her time, she’ll miss you…she’ll regret it…she’ll realize what you had and what you mean to her…” and I’ve kept my distance and been respectful…and today I find out she’s so much better off without me. I keep trying to remind myself to really mean it when I say that her happiness is what’s important. I can’t love her only when she gives me what I want. But I also feel so worthless and disposable and inadequate. We were together for 9 years, and she’s over it within a few months. I can’t help but wonder how long she was unhappy with me and why she didn’t tell me. And now she’s found someone who can make her much happier and all I can do is step back and know that I pushed her away. I’ve lost her. All my hope is gone.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thanks for the update. I stand by what I said before. These feelings are natural. Hope about her coming back might be gone but you know where you stand, you can continue with rebuilding your life and you can have hope that the next chapter of your life will be better (having learnt some important lessons from this one).
My husband told me this weekend that he cares about but is no longer in love. We have been together since I was 14 yrs old;he is 5 yrs older than I am. I moved with his at age 15 because I wanted to escape an abusive home, had a daughter at 16, another at 17 (but sadly she did not make it), and another daughter at 18. He was a bad boy and we were always on and off, it was very toxic. It only got worse, he would drink, sell drugs, and ended up using his merchandise. We was in jail many time and we had no money, sometimes he would get so drunk that we would end up getting physical because I also have a short fuse. My jealousy got worse as my self-esteem continued to die, with Facebook and messaging; I only wanted him for me and thought that a simply hi was a way of him cheating. After a bad break-up, we got back together, I left to the military and while I was recovering from an injury in South Caroline, my oldest called me crying saying that Daddy had left drunk with a gun and had left them with their aunt. I get a collect call from jail and knew exactly who it was, this was especially difficult because my husband is illegal. I moved the little money I had and was able to have him back home. By now, he was a new man, this was 3 yrs ago and he had been away from drinking a drug since. He decided continue with his music career which brought back all my insecurities again, the dancers dancing in him, the music videos where he hugs and caresses another woman had me going crazy. I began to follow him and find him having lunch with women how are promoters, but I didn’t bother to ask, I even hit one while she was getting off my husband’s truck that a cop had to choke me while my husband attempted to grab my other arm. He finally was done with my jealous drama and told me he is no longer in love. I am hurt that I have stayed with him for so long after all the pain he has put me through, I guess I feel like I deserve the same patience and understanding I gave him. I can’t help but feel that his is all my fault and wish I could have changed it, but i also know that he too went about it the wrong way. I have been reading he book “Women How Love Too Much”, and find myself feeling like it describes my life in many stories. This wound it’s just to fresh is hurts to even think that i can be ok or to forgive myself for what i have caused.
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like a lot of old wounds – right back to when you were 14 are coming back up to the surface. So be kind to yourself, don’t blame yourself, look to see if there are any charities who offer counselling to adults who were abused when they were children. If you can’t find anything, start reading books about the long-term impact of an abusive childhood.
Hi Andrew ..
I wonder if you can help me …
So my husband showed the classic signs of a midlife crisis from just after Christmas and then in June I Discovered he had been having an affair with a married woman 10 years younger than me and with 3 children..it’s been an emotional affair for about 12 months before it shifted to sexual for the next 3 months..
We have been together since we were 17 and this year it’s been 30 years together and 25 years married ..
We both had tramatic childhoods and I was rejected by my family when I left home at 17 to be with my now husband. So have been without any support from my family since then..
We have two lovely boys ages 15 and 10 that we both adore.. also this last two years have been fraught with the death of his step father ( finding out he was actually his real father ) finding a whole new family and his mother distancing herself from us because he found out ..
In the intervening few months since I found out he initially wanted to try , came to marriage councilling but didn’t try and kept in touch with the ow..
He has since moved out and has said he needed to time to think..
I have said I want to work on us , accepted my part in the breakdown of our marriage and have been putting lotsof the techniques from your books into action including keeping the door open . but he said he didn’t want a relationship with me , that he was all over the place .. that he needed to time to think and to find himself .. despite still having contact with his ow.
I had initially been trying to hang onto him and save what we had but it was too hard for me and the kids when he clearly didn’t want to be with us ..
Despite saying this he still messages me most days and has been wanting to come round and spend time with both the kids and me and to talk about his new contract jobs and use me a friend .. Although I initially struggled with this , I have seen this as a positive and let him come round for tea and chat when ever he wants to .. but it’s always on his terms and when it suits him ..
He says he loves me but he says he feels really guilty and staying with me seems harder than setting up a new life with his ow despite her having 3 kids . She’s recently told her husband and they have separated. Her husband apparently wants to work it out but she is unsure about that ( as she wants my husband )
We talk a little about us but he says he doesnt know what he wants..
So am I doing the right thing in letting him do this ( my friends say he is keeping me dangling and I should not let him do this ) am I giving him and me time to think and work through our issues, find what important to us both slowly and gently or am I unwittingly being part of a tripod relationship.. .. I’m trying not to think about the ow and being the better option….
Andrew G. Marshall says
Life is difficult enough without a constant chorus off stage telling us what to do. Do they know what is like to have been rejected by your family? Do they understand the trauma of grief (when you discover that everybody has been lying and the person was something completely different to you)? Or are they trying to get you to validate their choices by getting you to do what they did? I am not going to add my voice to the chorus because I believe something important: Deep down you know what is right for you. So what do you want to do? If you don’t know just yet… that would not surprise me! If that’s the case, slowly working out what is important to both of you sounds like a good place to start. However, I would like to challenge the idea that the other woman is ‘the better option’. He THINKS she is the easier option. That’s because he has a fantasy of her – based on an affair (which is all about fantasy). He is in a dark place and he needs to address all the pain from his childhood (and how that pain might have contributed to the problems in your marriage)… but men aren’t trained to look at their feelings or to ask for help. So we tend to reach for magical solutions – like an affair. However, as he will discover, it is often out of the frying pan into the fire. Basically, there is NO easy option. It all requires work but from where I am sitting that is good because his life isn’t working at the moment and he needs to learn and grow. (Have a look at my book ‘It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s an opportunity’ to understand the challenges. If you are lucky he might even read it himself). So it is not about the other woman being better but whether he has enough strength to do the work to sort out his life. In the meantime, you might like to consider my Infidelity Survival Training and Support Group which starts October 2018. Details coming soon.
Thanks you very much for your thoughtful reply. I have read recently your book “It’s not a midlife crisis , it’s an opportunity ” and it has helped understand his behaviour .. In fact when I’m feeling unsure of how to be or feel I often refer back to a number of your books. I am trying to find my own voice and thoughts about how to be in all of this the tputs me first instead of concentrating all the time on him .
My thoughts are that he is in a deep crisis over his recent upheavals in his whole family and the affair was a way out of all that , as we were relatively happy before discovery .. i agree he needs to learn and grow from all this think and he now he also has to deal with the guilt he holds .. in the meantime I’m there as some support when he wants me which seems quite often .. i am trying to help him open up and talk freely with out worrying so much about being right or wrong …
it’s hard though as I obviously want more and want him to come back to our marriage and work together on a better future together ..
It’s being patient that I’m really struggling with as I want to either work things out , or i want him to admit we need to part ways and then I can move forward … it the indecision that is so hard to live with .. I do still love him but he has hurt me so much since discovery with the indecision almost more that the affair itself …
I am working on a life based on myself and the boys. And am able to contemplate a single life now with some positive thoughts .
He tells me he’s not having much contact with the ow but that he meets her once a week or so for a coffee and that he’s still messaging her. I don’t think he wants a life with her in reality due to the extra complications her being married with children involves .. And I’m not giving her power by almost not acknowledging her existence in his life .
I wish I could help him more but I have learnt to step back and let him find his own way through..
I have learnt and changed so much in the months since all this happened . I’m hoping that no matter what happens to our relationship that I will be in a better position to listen more and be more open to discussion rather than taking all the decisions ..
Ps I would really like to join your support group starting October.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am glad that you’re in a better place and my books have helped. I will get the moderator of the group to get in contact with you. I think you will find the other members will help you feel less alone with this.
Hi Andrew, I really need your advice.
My husband and I are in our early 30’s and have been together for eight years. He walked out three months ago. I cried, begged and pleaded. A couple of weeks before he left he said he was unhappy. I didn’t realise the seriousness. He had taken on a lot of responsibility at work and a lot of stressful things had happened in his family. We had also been planning renovations and talking about starting a family. He left for work one morning saying he loved me and wanted to work through this and not break up, that same night he called to say he wasn’t coming home. He came home three days later for some clothes and told me he loved me but wasn’t in love with me and wanted a divorce. He took off his wedding ring. He has since said that we were wrong for each other, that I wasn’t who he married, we had grown apart, he didn’t want children, he shouldn’t have gotten married, he just wants to focus on his work, he always wanted to live in the city I was too negative, broke him and he was too dependent on the relationship. He also told me he felt lonely from me and lost the connection to our marriage. He wants to be friends. He had to do everything regarding the renovation and had too many responsibilities, that I didn’t understand him and should have just known when to step in and takeover even if I’d offered and he’d said no. He also said he was unhappy for 2 yr/ 1 yr/ 6 mths/ a few weeks. He has blamed me for all that was wrong in our relationship, I have accepted and acknowledged that is how he feels and apologised, I stopped defending myself or being defensive. I was suffering from vicarious trauma and burnout, I was frequently negative and slowly withdrew. My husband said I should get counselling on a number of occasions, but I didn’t think the problem was that bad, I felt I was ok just flat. I am now in therapy. He said I should have done this sooner but now says he doesn’t understand why I’m in therapy. We had a number of very angry fights that I am very sad and regretful of, two he was the instigator, the last one I was out of line – he tried to open up to me about feeling down and I shut him down, I said I felt emotionally abused by him and questioned how could he feel the way he did, we had both had too much to drink. After all the arguments we apologised and discussed and I thought moved on from. I sincerely apologised for being out of line and repeatedly tried to bring up what he had said and how he was feeling but he wouldn’t open up. Over the last three months he has continued to refuse to work on the marriage or says he doesn’t feel like it now but his feelings might change, he’s said he struggles, that leaving was all he could do, that it was too emotionally draining to be in the house and that he’s happy now. He’s also sad he’s sad, that he sees me in his life in the future but doesn’t know how, that everything could change and it might work, that we still have sparks and good moments but not enough and that relationships should be easy and just flow, that our interactions need to be light and I need to just be. He’s told me he loves, cares for and respects me and will work through this with me, we were seeing one another weekly and text or speak as well. He told me he missed us and has been really upset. A colleague of his told me he has been acting very strangely at work, like he’s having a breakdown. When I see him he runs a whole gamut of emotions quickly, from overly happy to angry to sad and back again. He has isolated himself from friends who have known him for any period of time, is drinking and partying with new people and avoiding talking about anything serious with me. We had a very emotional conversation about 3 weeks ago, I pushed him to try and work on things again and not give up, I offered possible solutions and he just said I wanted too much, he said he got very upset after and it’s all too intense, his feelings aren’t changing, that maybe we need a proper break and he’s now withdrawn from seeing me. It’s breaking my heart, I love him dearly, we were best friends and until a few months ago, he was still only wanting to spend time with me and telling me how much he loved me. I understand where I have left him down, how mundane our day to day was, how miserable and lacking playfulness I was and I’ve been working on myself and reading a lot, he’s acknowledged some change but he refuses to let me in. I haven’t been angry towards him, have tried to be patient and give him time to see changes and work through whatever it is he is going through. I fear he is holding a lot of anger and resentment towards me and it’s preventing him feeling anything positive for me. I miss him dearly and want to save our marriage but he seems to be finished even though he’s acknowledged we were good together and this is our first rough patch. When I’ve asked if there is someone else, he repeatedly said no, but I fear that might be changing. Three months is a long time without initimacy. I’m losing hope that I can encourage him to come home or will find the skills soon enough. What can I do to improve things and make him feel safe to be open and feel love again? How can I get through to him?
Andrew G. Marshall says
If he is angry – which sounds highly likely – could you let him get angry, listen to what he has to say (without getting angry) and summarise what he is angry about? Could you do that without defending yourself or getting angry back? (Because that’s probably what closes him down.) I know it will be hard but think of it as a very loving thing to do. We think love is just about hearts and flowers but it is about accepting people warts and all – including their angry bits. It will also help if you know he probably couldn’t get angry when he was a child (or there was so much anger that he resolved never to become so). These problems probably go way back – even before he met you. Reading your post, I think you could probably manage this. It will help you understand more where he is coming from. Start by asking, what do I do which makes you angry? I would really like to know. Why couldn’t you tell me things like you didn’t want children? Any thing, you think might be part of the issue – get him to explain (and again don’t defend but try and understand as if you are standing in his shoes). It will help you understand the depth of the problem and it could shift enough of the anger for him to start seeing you as a potential helpmate rather than an obstacle for feeling better.
My husband and I have been split up since september 11th2018 we were fighting alot on the phone at first but I have been reading about midlife crisis and we are getting along alot better now he is still with the other women but says he is unhappy but is still lost he says he still loves me and we are soulmates he just needs time to figure things out that we will get back together. Should I beleave him ?also I moved in with my brother for now we have no kids together we have been together 16 years please give me some advice and am I doing the right thing I do let him know how iam hurting without him was that the wrong to do?
Andrew G. Marshall says
Of course he will be unhappy with then other women…. She was a distraction that stopped him looking at why his life wasn’t working any more. (See my book It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s an opportunity’.) It is fine to talk to him and I always recommend honest but I would not take anything he says seriously until he has left the other woman. Ask him what he has learnt about himself? What will be different if he comes back? You can get support in my Infidelity Support Group
Hanna Bunn says
This was so helpful to read. Thank you. My husband of ten years left me out of the blue in December and was so sure nothing could be fixed that he didn’t want to try. He originally said he never loved me and couldn’t remember a time when he was happy. He was so adiment there was no one else but all his actions since pointed to that, and just recently he has told me he is seeing someone else, since Jan. I called him out on it. I don’t believe for a second he only started seeing and developing feelings for this person in the weeks after he left. A person from work who has also recently separated. He has said and I can see how unhappy he is and it is so hard to watch someone you love/loved make such obvious mistakes, he actually believes/said there is a quick fix where he doesn’t have to deal with his issues. I think he is also searching for someone to Fix it for him this new woman and couselor, myself. It was almost a relief as hard as it was to here about this other person for as miserable as I am now I have stopped judging and analysing my marriage and what I have done. I know some mistakes where made and if he was truely happy like I was he wouldn’t have been tempted by someone else and something new but I can see that it wasn’t my fault if he didn’t tell me what was wrong how could know? The hardest thing to forgive him for is that he won’t admit it was his feelings for her and whatever realationship he had with her that was part of the reason he left and the reason he wouldn’t at least contemplate trying to work on our marriage. I was struggling to know how to interact with him next and felt I should try to cut contact as much as possible and keep our conversations minimal which I think is what you where saying?
Andrew G. Marshall says
I know it is hard to forgive someone who is lying and dissembling. Perhaps you don’t need to just yet… and concentrate on forgiving yourself. You did your best with the information you were given and you can do no more. I wouldn’t cut contact completely but keep interaction polite and business like – and for things that need to be settled between the two of you (rather than chatty ‘how is your day’ texts). Good luck.
My husband left me almost two weeks ago after I confronted him about his behavior and if he was having an affair. At first he would only talk to me in texts, then we had a 2 hour conversation that seemed to go nowhere. I want him to come home and he thinks we are better off as friends and should’ve never gotten married. We’ve known each other for 26 years and have had a total communication breakdown. He blames me saying he’s not my maid or caretaker. We both are disabled and I’m in a wheelchair. I never intended to make him feel that way. I should also probably mention I’m not the first girl he’s cheated on. Every time he gets unhappy with any part of his life he runs.
Andrew G. Marshall says
So this is a pattern? Does he recognise it? Does he find it easier to blame you rather than look at how he messed up? Does he want to change or do you just want him back? My concern is that if come back, nothing will be learned and it will all happen again. So I have a question for you? What has got to change for you to feel safe with him and trust him again?
Hello there. I just want you to know everything you have said has really helped me. My husband 13 years together, 9 years married. We have two children 10 and 8. I always thought we had a wonderful marriage. We were best friends, had a wonderful life together . I stayed home and took care of our children. He made me believe o was the only women he would ever love, complimented me all the time. In my mind I thought we were perfect. He went to work on a different country. He was there for 6 weeks when he came home he was different, dying his hair, getting Botox ect… so I thought there may be someone else. He was 39 so he was stressing out about not doing much , not accomplished as much as he wanted, traveled as much as he wanted. So I just thought ok he is going through a mid life crisis.
I still knew something was off. So he went back there distanced himself and I knew. I am not going to get into the details but I finally caught him. The ow said she had no idea. When he came home all he said was I love you but I felt like we never had a passionate love. So a few months went by they got back together been traveling the world with her. Won’t answer me anything or give me an explanation. I was doing everything for him when he would come home. He would stay in hotels ect.. but I would cook for him and the kids help him out ect… hoping he would give me some type of explanation. After a few things he said , he made a mistake and in his mind he felt like she was his only option. He gets upset when I say he is happy he says I know nothing about how he feels. I have asked him to talk with me and all he says is he doesn’t know. He feels as if I am getting better and he is getting worse. I feel as he may be playing with me emotionalally though. I asked him if he ever thought about coming home. All he said was I can not answer that question. I have bettered my life and I am happy. I know when it first happened he was very entitled and says he deserves this ect. He was very very obsessed with this ow. As she sent me there convos. Not coming home much to see his kids. This time he came home for longer which was great for the kids. But I have also realized I am not going to wait around, I understand now that this is his problem. He never asks about me but when he is home says you look like you are going on a date where are you going ect?!?! So in the end. I am assuming he will start a life with her but he won’t tell me anything 🙁
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am pleased that you have that it is his problem. Have you told him your decision to ‘not wait around’? Have you shown him the conversations that you’ve been sent by the other woman? Can you have a conversation together about what happens next?
My husband has two children with his affair partner. I found out about the first child in July 2018 and still tried to make it work, accepting his decision to spend Sat with the child and his mother. In April 2019, I found out again that she’s pregnant. and gave birth with my husband by her side. All through this, I tried to accept his reasons that he’s doing these for the kids. I even accepted Sat visits with her. Recently, I talked to the OW and found out that their relationship continues and are planning to live together. I asked my husband to stop the cheating and the lying and his reply was our relationship is not sustainable. I felt he has also put in some effort tp keep the marriage (texting me when his there, reassurances and loving) , but again I am devastated that despite him seeing how devastated I am, he still continues the affair. The OW told me that she told my husband will he not see the kids for 5 years if he chooses me and my daughter. This is a sacrifice my husband cannot make. The OW said she will wait until my husband made his decision to leave us. I am devastated, confused but stupidly hopeful that he will be back. I asked him to let me go if he cannot stop cheating and lying, but him not in the house is very difficult. I have read some of your books but still having trouble coping with the pain
Andrew G. Marshall says
Your husband sounds like a weak man who tries to keep everybody happy and ends up making everybody angry (and getting himself into a deeper mess). So he thinks he is in a marriage which is unsustainable. How sustainable is it to be in a relationship with a woman who threatens not to let him see his children for five years? It sounds manipulative and controlling to me. Sadly, your husband shows no sign of deciding what he wants and sorting his life out. He seems to just keep on kicking the can further down the road (and in the meantime has two children!). To be honest, I doubt he is going to change anytime soon. So what are you going to do? Ultimately, the only person you can control is you. It’s not a case that you should ask him to let you go but rather you should decide what is right for you and to act on it.
I was reading “my husband doesnt love me.. and is texting someone else” tonight and found many helpful thoughts, yet I think our situation is even more confusing and stuck
We’ve been together for almost 20 years. We had a crisis when I fell pregnant unplanned 15 years ago, but we managed, had a second child. Had a second crisis with two small children, two careers, financial issues 12 years ago. I sometimes felt like giving up then, I thought he just didnt like me anymore, nothing was ever enough. My husband fought hard to get us back on track, made changes and over time it dissolved, though it took more than a year. Our relationship became better then ever before. We were so close, could talk about everything, had each other’s backs, enjoyed our life, and sexlife. 4 years ago he said it was a perfect marriage.
Around that time I started having episodes of a major clinical depression. For weeks on end i was like a can with nothing inside. Just blankness. I couldnt feel anything, couldnt enjoy anything, activities I had always liked. I withdrew, couldn’t master the energy to do anything, to meet friends, be around happy people, couldn’t sleep. I came up with explantions why my life was so unfulfilled and husband felt blamed or he was failing me. These episodes got longer and more intense. I tried not to talk to not burden or made him feel guilty. He tried to support me, started dreading those episodes, looking to find ways to help me again and again. He sometimes needed space, and, long story short 5 months ago this needing space resulted in a couple of full blown panic attacks. He felt attacked and finally moved out. Went to a hotel first then found himself a six-month lease on a flat. I never wanted a separation and for weeks i numbed out with everything to handle on my own, didn’t want to talk to him though he reached out daily.
I started a therapy for the depression three months ago and the blankness and hopelessness quickly resolved.
He told the kids he didnt know when he’ll returns. He told my sister he needs time to recover, get his head clear and then break that vicious cycle and start anew.
I’ve been trying to actively save our marriage for two months, a bit more.
He told me it’s not about feelings, there’s still feelings there and he had loved me to bits, he just can’t go on anymore.
Why didn’t I start a therapy earlier, why didn’t our marriage matter then. It’s no longer his business if I had a depression.
He told me he wants a permanent separation for now, though people do get back together. It’s to early to discuss a reconciliation, I shouldn’t do anything to undo the separation. It would only add to the wall. He’d think about what we could do to repair things. He doesn’t know how right now, there might be a path.
So, unfortunately we have discussed things a couple of times, I begged him to come home, give us a chance. I pressed for answers. We were basically stuck for the first four months.
Last time we spoke he literally cried I was always trying to cajole him into things he didn’t want, not caring or understanding how he felt, that’s what brought us here in the first place since it’s been going on for years. I’d always just argue away what he was saying and never stop it if he asks me to. He doesn’t love me anymore, he doesn’t recognize the great person I was and unless I’d become able to manage my emotions and become myself again we were not in a place to discuss any relationship. If there should ever be a chance of getting together again I need to leave him alone for now.
That (cajoling, not understanding, not stopping) hit.
I told him the next day and I’ve been mulling it over since, finding proof of what he said.
I don’t want this either and i spent the last month reflecting on how I’ve changed apart from the obvious being depressed. I also continue therapy for depression. Rebuilding is a process, and I’ve started.
I wrote him a letter how I had recognized the patterns, that I realised how it must have made him feel, acknowledging what he had been saying for years (only it didn’t make sense to me then) and apologised.
I only mailed it yesterday, so he hasn’t read it yet.
Our communication softened a bit during the last weeks, he opened up just the tiniest bit about work, the kids, via texting, I listen like hell, put myself in his shoes, don’t push, dont judge, reflect and thus manage my emotions.
He’s even been around here for some time last week and we had an almost relaxed conversation. For the last days he’s been withdrawing again. Think Easter is putting a strain on him, he’s shut down again.
I don’t know if he’s better off without me, if we can heal what happened.
He’s been fighting so hard and says it’s always been his greatest fear things could end up like this.
He says he’s fine, he’s got friends, but he lost a lot of weight, he’s not at all the content, relaxed, ready to smile guy he was. Even on pictures the kids take when they ‘re with him or he posts on social media, he never smiles, always looks miserable.
I don’t want our marriage to end like this. A love that lasted for two decades is too precious. Our family is too precious. I think giving up leaves the greatest scars and we’d probably regret it. We’ve outlined the issues.
As he always says there might be a path back and he’s never mentioned getting a divorce, there’s a glimmer of hope.
On the other hand he’s avoiding me, doesn’t want to see me, so it’s hard to rebuild communication.
I’d need some advice how to proceed, how to show him I’m safe, give him some hope, to leave him space without leaving him alone. Maybe find some hope myself.
Thanks for reading.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You have made a great start. Well done. However, I want you to take a deep breath. It will take time to rebuild and that’s fine. It is better to get everything out in the open. It sounds like you get anxious and try to push for certainty. When that happens, I would like you to do something to distract yourself from action. It could be something physical like gardening or take a bath, read something improving or watch something uplifting on You Tube. If you live in the moment and focus on working on yourself, he will slowly open up more. If you push, he will close up. I would like you to read ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ – from my books next. You’re doing good. Relax.
Thank you for your kind answer. I’ve already got my copy of Wake up and change. Yes, I’ve been pushing for answers and also pretty much all of the worst reactions you’re describing in your book. It’s driven him further away already, he says it himself: There might be a path if things develop. He doesn’t know how yet. He’s got nothing to give (a feeling I know from that crisis 12 years ago), he’s blocked and all I do adds to the wall.
Since I got aware of that pattern and that “I’ve become a stranger”, I’ve done a lot of soul searching who I was and want to be, what I like about me, what changed and why. I’ve done some great progress, and I’m still working on it.
I am confident, I’m capable of rebuilding.
The only fear that keeps popping up and that I just don’t get rid of, is: what if he’s just moved on. It’s been 5 months, what if not having to handle that distant, withdrawn, whimpering wife is just such a relief?
Andrew G. Marshall says
But you don’t want to be the withdrawn, whimpering person either! Do what is right for you. Be the person that you want to be.
Thank you Andrew that is a powerful thought.
I’m having these moments when I’m overwhelmed and yearn for some reassurance. After all, it’s up to me to carry the strength, and hope, and patience to get us to a place where we can rebuild from. And to recover myself. Quite something on my plate. But I’m going to sort this out.
I’ll come back a year from now to tell the end of the story 🙂
He seems to have another girlfriend and they seem to be moving in together. He denies it
I don’t understand it.
I am calm I listen I acknowledge his feelings. But I apparently have nothing to offer.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Always remember, just because he says you ‘have nothing to offer’ that is his OPINION not the truth about you.
Now it’s day 10 after he received the letter.
He has stopped texting me again, and doesn’t answer my texts (3 this week).
It was really a letter of apology, I don’t know what went wrong.
It feels as he just cut ties.
I’m sorry- emotional hijacking. I jumped to conclusions,neither girlfriend nor moving in together. Sorry for having it spilled out right away.
Indeed we had a very long conversation. He says he can’t repair that emotional wound. But discussed a lot how things could be if we could be back together. Also for the first time made me explain the depression in great detail.
So, back on my path wherever it’s leading.
My husband is having an affair of 9 months, and recently moved in with the mistress.
I had been hoping things became a bit better since he’s spent more time with the kids recently, and I got less crazy pushback also.
Is there a timeline for him to recognise the other woman is not made of cream cheese, or, as you describe in your book, the relationship will implode?
I want to save our marriage, and am following your advice, however, I can’t be doing this for years.
Andrew G. Marshall says
What a horrible situation. I am sending strength and resilience. I will reply to your second comment where you give more details
Just wanted to add, we’re 45/40 with 2 teenage kids.
The OW is his 20 year younger secretary.
We’ve been married for nearly 20 years and he’s said it was perfect, or perfect but one issue.
Last year we had a nasty fight over that very issue, he told OW and it started pretty quickly- 5 months later they had signed a lease.
He spent a lot of time with her (he had moved into a 1-room apartment in our house) during the first 3 – 4 months, when they signed the lease, then he started some craziness, like introducing her to our kids, completely avoiding me, taking her to all “our” places, doing stuff we had been planning to do.
For 2 months he’s been spending nearly all his free time with our kids, most of which without OW.
He knows I want to reconcile, I never reacted angrily to his blame/ trying to convince me to move on. I’m taking care of me and the kids and worked on our issue which I clearly underestimated. He acknowledged I did, but “he has a new life”. Our interactions have become friendly There are no legal actions ongoing, no arguments either.
The OW is bothered that we’re “too kind” and that’s when I get some pushback.
There’s never been infidelity in our marriage before, it’s completely out of character for him, he’s always been committed to and proud of our life.
He’s moved from being a loving husband (“I’m always there when you need me”- and he was) and father, successful at work, involved with friends and family and hobbies, to a middle-aged man with a young mistress, denying our kids’ resentment towards her, the pain he causes, and he doesn’t even seem to be happy, sneaking away from her the day they were moving in, to be with our kids.
I was hoping once he’s in back into reality, living in real life, he might wake up.
But it’s taking a toll on me, knowing he’s living with her. I can only do this for so long.
Andrew G. Marshall says
When someone under goes what seems to be a personality change, it is often the result of a crisis going on under the surface. Sometimes the person concerned is even unaware him or herself – because he or she has been busy suppressing all the signals. How long will it take him to wake up? I am afraid I don’t know what is at the bottom of this. Furthermore, there is no standard time line. I would counsel against hoping for a quick return. First of all, these are often messy. One day glad to be back and the next in deep depression. Sometimes there is even yo yoing back and forth (which is perhaps the worst outcome). He will need time to grieve. You will need to feel secure that he is returning for the right reasons. Perhaps even more important, he will need to understand why he set off on this destructive course – beyond the obvious. It takes time to get out of the woods. Sorry. But it is best to be honest.
In the meantime, reassure yourself that you’re doing OK. You are focusing on looking after yourself and supporting the kids. Focusing on things you can change – rather than your husband who you can’t. I would try and live in the NOW. Whenever, you start thinking about the future (‘I can’t be doing this for years’) is when you will be overwhelmed. Focus back on how. Can you do this today and up to the coming weekend? Yes! Keep a framework of the ten days or so. Look into a mindfulness course. Read about on the subject. Look at my book ‘Wake up and Change’ which is all about your mental health.
Whatever happens, I promise you will come out stronger and wiser from this ordeal
Oh yes, I’ve already become stronger, and much more aware of who I want to be, and choosing my actions in alignment with my values.
For me, of course, the affair is most painful, though I understand it’s an escape and not about the other woman.
I was hoping once they’re living together, reality sets in, the bubble breaks, limerence fades,
and I long to know how long that might take.
Im aware he might not come back and our marriage might not be saved, however, we’re stuck in it.
It’d be a light at the end of the tunnel even if the work just starts there.
No I can’t control him. I know.
I just have to ask: you don’t seem to be worried that that relationship could be the solution, he might find whatever he’s looking for, that blissful life he thinks it is.
Why would I know better, that he needs to wake up.
It’s weird that I’m hoping he‘s being miserable.
Of course he might as well move on to the next new life. It just struck me that you’re calling it destructive, as if there’s no other possibility.
He’s leaving a life he loved because it’s easier than fixing the old one. Well, maybe it is.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Sure it might seem easier to paper over the cracks in the house than deal with the foundations but that is seldom a long-term solution. However, instead of focusing on his house (and his life), what attention do you need? Have you overlooked self care because you have been too focused on him. What would bring more bliss into your life? Wouldn’t it be better to think about that – rather than hoping he will be miserable. life is not a competition.
My husband began an affair in May with his younger coworker. I confronted him about my suspicions in June and he told me he wasn’t happy, wanted to break up, but insisted she wasn’t a factor. He then said he wanted to work on us and we spent the summer trying to fix things – though not well and my emotions definitely pushed him further towards her. I found out early last month that it was a real affair – he’s still claiming no sex, I know otherwise. I found some letters to her – he really seems totally in love. A lot of the things he used to say to me, he’s now saying to her – but even more. He seems desperate for her love and attention. He doesn’t sound like himself. Anyway with me he’s claiming he’s confused. We argue terribly – I push and ask questions, he freaks out and shuts down. This last weekend he yelled he planned on breaking up with her – on Monday he was back to wanting her and now he’s secretly planning on moving out without telling me (he did the same when I found out about the affair in October). Since he lies to me so much, it is difficult to believe he’s confused. Why would he make secret plans to move out if any part of him wanted to stay? I don’t know how to cope with him actually moving because at that point she wins. Even though she said this summer it won’t work with their age difference (which isn’t that big) he so desperately wants her and wants to please her that he’ll never leave her. So do I just give up? I know I can’t control him but he still says things like if we were communicating better and he could relax around me he’d give her up. I doubt that’s true, though. The things he says to her are the feelings I’ve always wanted him to express to me. He’s doing lots of things with her he never did with me and I don’t understand. Why didn’t I deserve those things? Why is he trying to be better for her? Is it real love? I don’t want them to be happy together. It’s not fair.
Andrew G. Marshall says
First off, you don’t deserve these things. It is about him, not you. Secondly, I doubt it is real love. As you say, he is desperate for love and attention – that comes out of personal lack from him (and that’s seldom a place for true unselfish love). I would not be surprised if he is confused… he is trying to solve some deep personal issue with a quick fix. The attention from someone else. One part of this feels good – we all like attention. A deeper part know this is not the answer but he is confused because he does not know what the question is. So what do you do? Read my book ‘Why did I cheat’ It will explain the REAL reason he is not happy. He might even be interested enough to pick it up and read it too. Listen to my podcast ‘The Meaningful Life with Andrew G Marshall’ on the edition about gratitude we discuss your letter and share out thoughts.