A Reader Writes…
I have purchased two of your books “I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You ” and “How Can I Ever Trust You Again”. They are both great and helping me. I found out that my husband whom I have been with for almost 7 years was having an affair with my cousin’s girlfriend for about 4 months. I was devastated when he left to be with her. About 3 weeks later when it came time to sign the divorce papers and he said he couldn’t lose me and the kids and came home. Well about three weeks later I found out he never stopped seeing her. So again the divorce papers came out and again he couldn’t sign and said he would cut her out of his life.
I felt ok with this because he did so over the phone while I listened. Well about 4 days went by and she contacted him begging him to be with her so again he said he wanted a divorce, and again I got the papers out while he packed. This time when he was getting ready to leave I told him we had to sit our kids down to tell them that he was leaving. He again broke down and couldn’t leave. He said he would never answer her calls or emails again. So far when ever she has tried to contact him he calls me right away and tells me. This makes me feel that he is trying but it scares me that he will give in to her again.
The issue is he has such strong feelings for her and says he loves her that he doesn’t know how to get over her. I tell him I will do what ever it takes that it’s only been about a week since the last divorce scare and him cutting her completely off. The first few days were great. I felt like he loved me again but the last couple days he has become distant again. He said he is not trying to be but that he just worries about her and is having a hard time getting over her. I don’t know what to do. I hate knowing my husband has feeling for someone else. I also hate feeling like I can just wake up one day and he will say he wants to leave again to be with her. I know we can work it out if he just gets over her. He tells me over and over that he doesn’t want to loose me he’s just stuck in the middle. I don’t know how long I can take this fear of him loving and leaving me for someone else. What should I do to help him get over her? How do I show him that my love is enough?
The emotional turmoil seeps through every line of your letter. You must be exhausted from living on adrenaline and your nerves. You love your husband with every fibre of your body and you are terrified of losing him. However, you need to take a deep breath, get a hug from someone who cares deeply for you (like you dad) and trust me: you will survive and – with a bit of luck, wisdom and some compassion for your husband – get though this horrible mess and smile again.)
So here goes. First of all, you’re making more dramatic than it needs to be. I can almost hear the gut wrenching music as you give him the pen to sign the divorce papers and tell him to explain why he’s leaving to the children (and sending them into the cold snow and a life in the workhouse). I am exaggerating but if you read the letters from other people in your situation, you will see that they have not used so emotional language or gestures designed to pull at their partner’s heart strings. I know you are going to say that desperate situations require desperate measures, but you’re just adding to the drama. Under such pressure, people do stupid things and this is why your husband told you he’d ended the affair but couldn’t follow through.
Next, I’d like you to re-read ‘How can I ever trust you again?’ but this time SLOWLY. Some people rush through the book as it provides a comfort blanket and reassurance that everything will be fine. If you go back and take in the messages and exercises, you’ll find that none of your husband’s feelings for this woman are real. He’s been in bubble world. There is no need to panic. Sure, he’ll need some time to recover and be grounded again. (If he’s not the sort of man to read my book at least give him the exercise ‘Mourning the loss’ in Chapter Six)
Please have a look at my answer to another Ask Andrew letter (I’m frightened I’ll do something I’ll regret) because it will provide some advice on how to cope with limbo land while he’s coming down from the false high of an affair and realising what a fool he’s made of himself.
Finally, I want to give you a big hug myself after reading the final line of your letter. Of course, your love is enough! You don’t need to convince him of that. He needs to convince you that he has the strength of character to deserve your love. So stop looking for the perfect line or the magical gesture that will resolve all this mess and instead ask for the strength to sort this out, day-by-day, week-by-week because if you learn the lessons from his affair, you will emerge out the other side with a stronger and better marriage.
My husband off 17 years as been having affair for last 6 years and am heart broken. I’ve begged pleaded for the last 8 months since finding out it has been a roller coaster. I made him leave. He went to his mistress. He begged and pleaded with me to take him back the next day – to which i did only to find out they’re still in contact. My husband claims every time it will stop but it carries on secret texting. I’ve had messages off the mistress saying they are still in contact and she has the nerve to tell me he is messing with both our heads. My husband claims to love me and says sorry for letting me down. He’s cried and said he feels disgusted with himself but after a while it starts again. Am at my wits end, I love my husband but I feel am losing him any advice would be appreciated.
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like your discussions go round in circles and both of you get so overwhelmed. You need to be able to calmly discuss the options, I would suggest going to a marriage counsellor and let him or her provide a forum to not just talk but listen to each other. I would also recommend my books, ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’ where I go into detail about how to diagnose the underlying problems, undo the poison the other woman is slipping into your marriage and look at your options calmly.
I’ve been reading your books lately (ILYB; My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Any More) and various posts on your site. I’m grateful for the perspective you’ve provided me in a troubling time in my life and marriage.
This post resonated. For a few weeks, my wife started an affair in secret with someone she met at a training event. Before they got together, the man reached out to her after meeting her to see if she was interested in dating. She told me about that he contacted her and that there was nothing to worry about. Weeks later, she started seeing him and got intimate with him.
While this was going on, I could sense something was wrong. I approached her and asked if she was okay. For awhile, she said yes and that she was just feeling off. I didn’t try to push, but another time I asked how she was, she said she went to see our lawyer to ask about a legal separation and thought it’d be good for us to consider this option. I was blindsided. I protested, I pleaded, I got angry/sad/upset/the full range of emotions. But after a cooldown period, we talked about what it meant and what the process might look like in the form of a trial separation. It felt like there was some progress. But then, she later confessed that she’d been seeing another man for a few weeks If I was blindsided before, I was truly bowled over after that. This was a few months ago now and I’ve done some work, but my heart breaks just writing about it.
Since the beginning of the month, my wife and I have been living apart. We still arrived at agreeing on a trial separation so she can think and (as I’ve realized) so I can think and do work on myself too. She’s in our shared apartment and I’m staying out of town with friends for the month. We’ve talked about me moving back at the end of the month and her moving to her own place down the road. She said she wants to use this time to “date herself”, which I like, but nevertheless she continues to date this other man.
It’s not all about the affair, of course. There’s a lot of stuff that has bubbled up to the surface: on my wife’s side, a breaking point related to a family message of constant people pleasing (“do everything for others, at the expense of yourself”), individual feelings not measuring up, some traumatic experiences with men, not feeling she can “make it on her own” and take care of herself without relying on others. Basically, she seems to be realizing that these coping strategies are not coping at all. She also turned 40 this year and we’re coming up on our 7 year anniversary. I’m trying to hear my wife’s side and understand it fully. It feels like a perfect storm that’s been brewing for awhile and unleashed in this way.
I know she’s hurting badly. I love and care for her so much; she hurt me so badly but I hate seeing her suffering. I, too, reflected on things I brought to the table in our relationship. I covered that in my fulsome apology. She’ll say I’m a great husband and partner but no picture is perfect; I did not always handle conflict well, I previously retreated into an emotional affair at the onset of our relationship (a self-loathing tactic…and hearing praise from someone else in a bubble), I too went to people-pleasing mode to make her happy (I love to do it, but didn’t always do so when I had the strength in me). In different ways, we lost a bit of our identity in the marriage.
And it boils down to the need for individual work that I know is time well spent. Your books have given me so many wonderful strategies to cope — to get through the next minute and be in the moment, to feel my feelings, to take care of myself. I think what I still need to fully convince myself of is that my wife is going on her own journey and I can’t control that; I can only control mine. I know it logically but it needs to reach my heart. My heart is all over the place right now: on the one hand, I love my wife to death, but on the other, my heart aches knowing that she’s still casually dating this other man and saying things like she has nothing to give to our marriage (I try to tell her I’m not asking for anything aside from good communication when we do talk, which I feel has improved since the onset of this rift).
She also said she is starting to realize she doesn’t have much to give to the other guy, either. She seems emotionally and physically exhausted, which I understand. She called me one night in tears saying that the other guy was distant and seemed to want to get away from her when she shared feelings with him. She said she felt so stupid and that she is married to someone who is emotionally available (tested during the call, given that she was upset about the other guy). I know it’s not a silver bullet and I was sad to hear her so upset, but my heart felt so light towards her and was singing, not just because she was confiding that things weren’t so rosy on the other side, but she was also just talking to me on an emotional level during this difficult time she’s facing. I thanked her for it, and try to thank her whenever she shares something (good or bad), and try not to react.
That said, we spoke on the phone last night (wanted to say goodnight) and I knew she was out with the other guy earlier in the day. I tried to calmly ask how her day was and she didn’t mention him. I then asked if she saw him and she said yes…they went on a long drive to a different city. It tripped me up because I immediately pictured them on a lovely “couple’s vacation”, something that we’ve talked about wanting to do but that we haven’t done so. It felt so painful and I went back into reaction mode, asking for clarity on where she stands…I feel I regressed and it was maybe a bad time to call her, but the avoidance triggers a lot in me now. She got back to definitive statements like earlier in this process: “I don’t think we should pursue a relationship at this point”. It stang, but I was reminded of your quote about more marriages ending from one partner’s panic than the other’s desire to leave. I feel I tripped but am trying to be kind to myself and shrug it off.
So, we’re really only aout 2 weeks into official trial separation and I know this won’t be an overnight thing. I guess even with the strategies I’ve learned, doing things for myself, and spending quality time (with friends, talking to family, with myself), I’m struggling. Yesterday, in particular. I feel for other readers of yours going through the same thing. I feel so lost in these lower moments and question the progress.
I just wanted to say thank you for helping me kickstart my journey and thank you for reading.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thank you for sharing your story and I’m pleased that my books are helping. I have two more to add to your list. Start with ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ as this will help you cope better with the ups and downs of this horrible situation and it’s what I give my clients who are ‘working’ on themselves. It would also be useful to read ‘It’s not a midlife crisis: How to be 40 or 50 something without going off the rails’ it will help you understand your wife’s strange behaviour and make it seems little less personal. Good luck
I so appreciate your time and your reply, Andrew. Thank you for the book recommendations; I’ll be sure to pick those up and look forward to reading. I’ve reread ILYB and My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Anymore — I gain a little more perspective each time. Thank you for the wellwishes and all the best.
Irena Brzović says
I am in a similar situation, but my husband even has a baby with her (3.5 months old). This affair is going on for some 2.5 years.
He and I – we have 5 kids and we are married for 25.5 years.
He never mentioned a divorce, but he spends half of his time there, with them and half of the time here, with us.
He is telling me that he loves me with all his heart and can’t imagine his life with out me, but that he also loves her and can not leave her.
I am so, so deeply sad and crushed.
I feel so lost and have no idea what I should do or how should I act.
Please, help me.
Best regards, Irena
Andrew G. Marshall says
It doesn’t sound like he is going to change the situation in a hurry (and if left up to him that he’ll continue splitting his time between the two of you.) So instead of waiting for him to make his mind up, I would like you to think about what you want. I think a therapist will be useful to keep you focused on what you can change (yourself) rather than saying: what I want is for him to change? In the long term, you need to think: can I go on like this, what are my options and what will be the impact on my mental health if I don’t act
What about some marriages that really need to end? You may be encouraging people to stay that should leave. Some marriages may not overtly be abusive but they are a slow death of the soul.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Of course, some marriages need to end but isn’t it better if the two people in it can talk and decide together – rather than one half imposing their decision on the other?
I’m in sort of the same situation, my husband I asked my husband to leave our house and he moved with the OW for like 3 days he ask to come home and try to recover the marriage, he said he never plan on having that life with her, so I ask him to cut all ties in order to come back and save this marriage, and so he did, I don’t have any proof but somehow I believe him, and he seems a bit sad because he didn’t plan on making that decision so soon I think. Now my question to you is How does one behave when her husband is trying to get over another woman that’s not his wife. Thank you for reading.
Andrew G. Marshall says
First, expect him to have good days and bad days. It is natural to think about the OW – it’s part of the grieving process. Secondly, I would concentrate on putting my strategies for better communication in place. Thirdly, tell him that you love him… but in general: act as normal as possible.
Your reply is so well put. I found that as soon as I stepped back and started just working on myself and living for myself my husband (who had revealed he’d been having an affair mere weeks before) really started coming out of his fog. He started coming home earlier, spending time at the house on the weekends, hugging me, following me on whatever adventures I planned with the kids. And while he was coming out of his fantasy bubble, I was starting to have the time of my life. I probably hit the most happiest moments in my married life during this time. There were some pretty crappy low ones too but looking back I have a deeper sense of self worth, a higher confidence level, a better body (worked out like crazy), a new budget for grooming, happier children, AND lastly a husband who recently told that other woman to stop contacting him.
We still h e a journey but I have found that I’ll continue this path I’m on and if he wants to keep up he can and is welcome because I love him. If he chooses not to well, then I have my self worth and confidence and happy kids and so forth. Took a bit to get here in my head!
Andrew G. Marshall says
I’m glad my post helped and thank you for sharing an inspiring story. Congratulations on all your hard work.
Lindsay Johnson says
My husband of 7 years has been suffering from depression and started an affair on June 6. The affair had occurred at both their homes in their marital bed. On July 9th my husband was put under investigation for misconduct surrounding the affair at work and was told to have no contact with her. He then proceeded to continue to sleep with her and talk to her. On July 31 he attempted suicide and had been in the mental unit for 2 weeks. On July 6 her husband found some texts and threatened him he responded with an email stating it was over when it wasn’t.
On August 2 she sent me a message telling me about the affair and then on aug 10 she sent him a threatening email. August 29 her husband assaulted my husband and I believe my husband and this woman are still in contact.
He keeps saying all he wants is his wife and his family and he wants to fix this. But with him still talking to her I dont know what the truth is. We have two little girls 3 & 5.
What do I do?
Andrew G. Marshall says
I think you should persuade your husband to speak to his doctor and get a referral for a full mental health check up with a psychiatrist. It is not my area of expertise but if was my client I would want to check his depression is not part of a larger mental health problem (for example being bi polar). However, it is you who is asking what to do. So deep breath and here goes. The answer is nothing for him (beyond my suggestion and if he doesn’t take it up, that’s his decision). If he hasn’t left the house, ask him to leave calmly. In fact calm is the best way to approach this. He is in the grip of a madness and you need to protect yourself. He will hit rock bottom and it will not be pretty but you can’t prevent that (only him). When he is calmer himself or getting proper help, you will be able to talk and decide what next. At the moment, I fear your are wasting your breath.
I guess it’s best I give some back story…I’m a 52 year old wife, mother of 2 adult children, grandmother of 5. The oldest grand-daughter is 16, my husband and I have had her since birth and she’s been raised as a daughter. My husband and I have been a couple since freshman year of high school. We became teen parents and married 13 years into our relationship. I never wanted to be one of those girls that ties a boy down with children and to cause resentment of stollen youth later down the road. I was never vocal of my needs. I stayed home and raised my children best I could and never said anything to my husband of his “partying”. He provided financially. When we got married my husband had appeared to have grown up a bit. He was starting to be who I was waiting for thoughtful, supportive, dotting and present in the lives of myself and our children. Unfortunately this late start to fatherhood had already caused some resentful feelings in our son that linger to this day. Anyway, a couple years after marriage my husband withdrew. Back to the old days of partying. I was always the one to initiate any sexual contact. I’ll fast forward a bit to 2012. We got ourselves into some legal issues and both went to prison but maintained our relationship thru letters and phone calls. I was released in 2015 and set up a home for us (a rented apartment, in the home of an acquaintance). My husband was released in 2016. I had high expectations sparked by hands full of love letters from my husband. This was to be our new beginning. Unbeknownst to me I had begun menopause! Where the homecoming didn’t meet my expectation the anger from menopause took over. I was so enraged all the time but didn’t realize the hormones were the cause. My husband had asked several times what was wrong with me and all I could reply was “I don’t know”. That was the truth of it, I didn’t know. It wasn’t until after a year of my awful behavior my husband moved out. I never expected he would stay gone or start a secret relationship with another woman. A couple months after his leaving, thru some counseling, I realized I was going thru menopause and I had been acting so mean and standoffish. We hadn’t had sex in that year before his leaving, I wasn’t initiating and he says he didn’t dare touch me, in fear of rejection. We were at a standoff so to speak. I needed him so badly but couldn’t articulate my feelings and because of my body language he was afraid to touch me. Once I had realized all of my wrong doings I took the steps in taking responsibility, apologies, making amends and trying to work on rebuilding our relationship and save our marriage. BUT then I found out he had started dating this woman 2 weeks after he had moved out and had been living with her since November 2017. At Thanksgiving I asked that we try to reconcile. He agreed and said he was breaking it off with her. So in January I moved into a place he had rented for us but he didn’t move in, he was still living with her. Finally in March 2018 he moved back in with me. Said he was seeing her but not that much and it wasn’t what I thought. Over the past months he said he barely sees her. He has been very depressed, no motivation, a lack of confidence. I believe he is now going thru andropause. He’s been seeing a therapist for about a month now and is on antidepressants. And at one point a month ago he told me he would block her from his phone and would tell me if he even seen her by chance at a store. His words were “no more secrets”. So that is how it had gone up until 2 weeks ago. We got in an argument and then I happened to see him on the highway and he had this woman in our vehicle! He never came home that day and hasn’t since other than to grab a few things. He says he’s confused and wants me to “hang in there” that he really is trying to figure things out. He says he hadn’t moved out but he’s been staying at her house. I don’t believe they ever went more than a few days without seeing each other since he’s moved back in with me, although he claims otherwise. Despite all of this I am deeply in love with my husband and really want our marriage to work but am I just being an idiot and not accepting what is inevitable? Our children and grandchildren are very stressed out and embarrassed over this. We have a 38 year history it seems a shame to even think of giving up on it. My hormones are still all over the place. It seems that everything has just come together, prison, my mother-in-law passing, menopause, separation, an affair, andropause, etc…to become the perfect storm of negative circumstances.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I think you should learn about the Mid Life Crisis, what it is really about (and it’s not the other woman). Have a look at ‘It’s not a mid life crisis, it’s an opportunity’. Read about addiction, has his partying crossed over into something darker? Work on getting your hormones in a more settled place and getting your life into a better place. As you say, your 38 years together deserves being sure about the next move. So do some research understand where you are before you act.
Thank you for the advice!
I have been trying to educate myself on Menopause, Andropause and Mid Life Crisis.
I’m unsure what you mean by “crossing over into something darker”, can you elaborate?
I’ve been seeing an OBGYN working on hormone therapy and have been in counseling for a year now. He has been seeing his doctor but I feel that the symptoms are being addressed individually, not the root cause. He is also in counseling, little over a month now. He’s still not home but we’ve both agreed to attend couples and family therapy, hopefully a step in a positive direction.
He also asked to forward any info videos and/or articles that I think may be helpful for him to read.
Andrew G. Marshall says
By darker, I mean moving from partying (when you can stop and go home) and partying when you are addicted (and one drink is not enough and two is too many). If he will read articles, will be read books? I suggest that he reads mine and if he manages that try The Middle Passage by James Hollis.
Hello- My husband of 10 years has been engaging in an affair with a co-worker for just over a year. When I found the texts/pictures, we talked. He admitted at first it was just sex, but he now has feelings for her, and she is his best friend. Our marriage was in trouble before this happened- I had a serious drinking problem and created a home environment that was not pleasant- it’s hard to talk, have sex, or respect someone who is drunk by 5 daily. We didn’t fight, we just became completely disengaged from each other. Since finding out, I took a good hard look at myself and decided I needed me to get sober and I needed to evaluate what makes me a better person. I am 60 days in, and won’t be drinking today. My husband assured me that he would end the physical aspect of the affair immediately, and work on the emotional aspect.- but he was very fearful that telling me the truth on anything would cause me to drink. I have explained, with my counselor, that he doesn’t have that power or control. Truth I can handle. However, due to their jobs they literally work hand in hand for a very small company, and neither aspect of the affair has ended. I have already heard the “ILYB” , and have been following the process in your books- I focus on my self-care, I have given him space, I don’t speak badly about the OW, and I actively work to show my new world views. However, he still prioritizes the OW’s wants and needs. He will not engage in physical contact with me, there has been neither hand holding nor sex since discovery day, as he says he is no longer attracted to me, and misses the days he couldn’t keep his hands off of me. He says now there is no spark. The OW actively supports him in this, making him promise not to touch me or allow me to touch him. She is in love with him, and reminds him regularly not to trust me or my actions- assuring him that safety, understanding, and physical contact lies with her.
I have seen the last few weeks as he has started vacillating between his original stance of “we are done” to be a bit more engaged, and I am careful not to read too much into it, just accept and appreciate the moments when they happen. He seems pleased when he hears about my new hobbies, as I feel he thinks it will help justify my being ok when/if he leaves the marriage.
Next week they head to an out of town job for 4 weeks together. I think it highly unrealistic to assume they won’t be actively engaging in the affair for the duration. That’s a lot of time 24/7 together, and it could go either way.
He has several times commented on how tired he is, and he needs to focus on himself, and he wishes he could just move somewhere else and be away from the troubles. He has demonstrated many of the mid-life crisis behaviors (he is 45) – wanting to change jobs, going to the gym daily, re-writing our history, etc.
Honestly, I think he is really confused over what he wants and who he is as a person-now and in the future, and we are dealing with 3 things that alone are hard enough- spouse sobriety, on going adultery, mid life transition.
We have talked, briefly, about therapy, but we aren’t even certain what kind of therapist we might need, and again, there is the next month before it’s even an option.
I am trying to look at the next 4 weeks as valuable time for me to get into a good headspace- I do see a therapist for alcohol issues weekly. And I recognize that obsessing about what they might be doing is pointless- they will do it or not regardless.
I am just uncertain where is the right direction to be going. I believe there is still a chance, somewhere, for us. I am just uncertain where to look for it.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Congratulations. Sixty days of sobriety is a great achievement. You will discover that ninety days is a real landmark… in fact there is a famous book called ‘Ninety Days: A memoir of recovery’ by Bill Clegg which I would really recommend. Please read it so you realise how precious your journey of recovery is and how to put that before EVERYTHING else – even your husband – because it will be the platform on which to build everything else. I think your diagnosis of your husband’s issues is on the money. For understanding what the midlife crisis is about look at my book ‘It’s not a midlife ctrisis, it’s an opportunity’ and for combating the other woman it’s ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’. If you want more support, I launch my Infidelity Survival Training and Support Group in October 2018. Look out for details soon on my website and social media platforms.
Gemma Jenkins says
My husband of 14 years, been together for 17 years, has been having an affair for two years. He has moved in and out of our family home in excess of 40 times in this short period. There is a lot of blaming towards me for his behaviour. I have addressed and compromised with everything he says is upsetting him in our marriage. Before he met this woman my husband was a great partner, lover, provider and father to our two children. He now does nothing for our kids. He doesn’t contact them or interact with them when he is home.
He leaves, sees the other woman then comes home shortly after to say sorry and that he loves me and doesn’t love her.
A recent example of what I am dealing with is last Wednesday he got caught still cheating on me. The other woman told me they were still together and that she had no idea he was back home with me. He told my by phone it was over between us and he didn’t love me and he loved her. He then turned up home at 4am the next morning to say sorry and he loved me. He took me out for dinner, we made love that night, he then took me away for the weekend to work on us. He told me all about the other woman. He said she was nothing to him, and he believed she is just after a free ticket and money. Monday came along and I found out he was still talking to her. When I confronted him about it, he got angry and left. I asked him to please just choose one as he cannot have both. He said he chooses no one. I made him move his things as I cannot have him slowly moving out and then coming back again. Having one foot in the door…. the anxiety is destroying me and my kids.
He took his things. He was nasty to me. Demanding we sell the house.
I’ve seen this before (40 odd times!). I’m not sure what he is going through. He is seeing a therapist and has been for over 6 months, but his behaviour doesn’t seem to change. He won’t commit to this other woman either. He won’t move in with her or spend a lot of time with her.
I feel like he basically doesn’t want to be responsible for a marriage, a mortgage or children. He has been very selfish by buying himself expensive things and just doing what he wants.
I love him dearly and hate the thought of losing him, but I cannot see any other way but to keep him away from us till he sorts himself out. I feel for him and I want to help him dearly, but I know I can’t. He has to take responsibility for what he is doing, and at the moment he isn’t doing that.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Sorry to read about your husband’s behaviour. He sounds like he is in a very dark place. But it sounds like you need support too. Please consider joining my Infidelity Survival Training and Support Group where you could learn more about recovering from an affair. More details at https://andrewgmarshall.com/andrew-g-marshalls-infidelity-survival-training-and-support-group-launch/
It would help you find a middle way between forever welcoming him back (even though he is likely to leave again) and shutting the door permanently. By this I mean establishing a good boundary where the two of you can talk (and you can take the temperature on his affair) but you do not let down your guard and get hurt again.
Wow I felt like nobody in the world would understand the situation I am in with my husband but wow, some of yalls stories are almost identical to mine. I’m going through the same thing, he can’t leave the other woman behind. So he’s back and forth between us trying to decide who he wants. I feel so lost. Everyday I feel different about my situation which makes it impossible to move forward with the decision whether to stay or leave him.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You will feel different from one day to the next. It’s natural under the circumstances. If you want help coping with the ups and downs, you might like to consider joining my support group
Jackie Porter says
Amber, trust when I say you aren’t the only one going through something like this. Because sadly I am too.
My fiancé of almost 16 years came to me a couple months ago and told me he had found someone else. I was floored. The one person I trusted more than anyone else in the world had betrayed me. He did al sorts of things. I cried for weeks. I can’t leave because I’ve been a stay at home mom to our 10 year old. I had so many ups and downs recently it’s taken a huge toll on my physical and mental health. He says he loves me and can’t loose me but can’t leave her. She is an immigrant who is trying to gain citizenship. She is 32 and I’m 40. He’s 48. I have told him he has to make a Choice. He says he can’t right now. I explained to him this evening that I will stay, for now. That I will be understanding that he’s not sure what to do. Sleeping has been hard, I wake up every morning with my heart pounding and sweating profusely. I’m guessing panic Attacks. I have been a mess. I love him so much. I’ve been diagnosed with mild depressive disorder and major anxiety. Living in limbo is terrible. Tonight as I tried to lay with him I decided it was best I lay in our sons room as my heart started pounding again uncontrollably. I gently told him I’m going to lay in our sons room as it’s hard to sleep with him right now. He said ok and I told him I loved him. He said he loves me too. The pain is so overwhelming there are times I can barely breathe. I’ve begged him to choose. He said he can’t. It’s all so confusing. I’ve been severely suicidal. I’m so broken hearted this is happening to us. I feel for you. I hope we both have happy endings. I wish I could help you. Any feedback would be appreciated. I would forgive everything. I literally told him if he chooses to go I can’t be his friend.its too much of him to ask. It hurts too much. He says he can’t loose me. I told him it’s the only way I could heal if he ultimately chooses to be with her. Best wishes and high hopes. Jackie
Hi Andrew, really looking for your help and advice I read your books and have used them as a helpful source to move forward after my husband had an 18month long affair 2 years ago. He decided to confess and he broke it off with her and moved on with me. He did say I love you to her but maintains its was a rather immature “easy” escape rather than heavily emotional or physical. The pattern to how they spoke and saw each other would back this up. They woukd meet for less than an hr every couple months. But it did jncrease with frequency and intensity which is when he told me and called it off. A counsellor said the reality is he didnt actually want her or want more. He liked the ego boost and escape more than the reality.
The girl is very immature and foreign and still has the affair on a pedestal still 2 yrs later thinks he’s the love of her life even though his regard for her during and since is very poor. We have been really great rebuilding but occasionally she has re-emerged and tried to cause doubts or fears in me admits she is obsessed and doesn’t know why she hates me so much but when I approach her with humility she always maintains the version he’s told me. It just meant more to her and she can see through it more. She just ignored anything that didn’t fit with what she wanted to believe (her words)
Few occasions she’s text and he’s replied and he’s tried to hide it. Somtimes it’s been platonic and professional once or twice she’s been angry. He’s stupidly hides these as he doesn’t want to rehash things but again when I’ve found out there’s been nothing other than concealing it but I know why…But he accepts the damage done as a result. She’s very insignificant to him he doesn’t seem bothered by her but recently September again attempted to interfere and I stupidly got angry and aggressive back said and did something’s I regret and she tried to send the police to speak to me. That was months ago now police had nothing to take action on and didn’t even speak to me but the fact shes willing to push it that far really is upsetting and shows the mindset she has whereby she’s the victim even though she’s the one not letting go of us. He had everything blocked to her and that for now was the end of it.
Anyway he thought he saw her in person (they no longer work together) and he said it brought back the shame and anger. Anyway it must’ve been on his mind having thought He saw her and he’s never spoken to her except couple texts first few months but since she tried to involve police he says he feels really bitter towards her. And he had his Christmas works night out and he got very very very drunk. He was unable to catch his train home he couldn’t retain simple info he called me repeating the same things. He said he was trying to find alternative way home but took hours to get home during which time he wasn’t contactable as phone was out of battery obviously I feared the worst and early in the night I heard how drunk he was and voiced my concerns and insecurities.
So when he came home he was instantly remorseful having sobered a bit and knowing he would’ve put us back to this position being doubtful and mistrusting but to make matters worse he attempted to call her and had a short 7min conversation.
He got her number from his blocked contacts. He can’t be sure exactly why he called but he is sure he was shouting and abusive at her for her interference and how he’s still paying the price and she gets away and causing further pain and upset. But there was a line he can remember her saying you can’t just call after all this time. She took her usual victim mentality. But to do so makes me believe he didn’t start the call with anger and abuse. He’s started it far more open….then she’s responded in her typical victim mentality then he’s retaliated with anger. But the fact he can barely remember it doesn’t help.
He’s entirely remorseful told me about the calls didn’t hide the log. But 5 attempts to call her. He can only explain this as he was drunk and maybe almost on a loop thinking what he should say and forgetting. After the first call she blocked his calls and the 4 calls after this all said autoreject. They were from earlier in the night. His clothes were dirty from where he slept outside for couple hours thst night. He had wine over him and was in a real state I don’t think he was there or with anyone else. But obviously the doubt is there.
I simply said I couldn’t do this as far as I’m concerned he’s been fishing. He’s opened communication and invited that horrid woman into our lives and gave her validation to what she thinks and believes while cheapening everything we rebuilt. He can be quite egotistical and arrogant man. Part of the traits why he did this in the first place. And painfully thinks he has maybe wanted to test that he could still have an affect but doesn’t actually want her. He did other destructive things like falling asleep in the street, sending angry messages to someone else in his work, spent and lost loads of money, didn’t manage to get home which he’s usually the first person home and in bed he hates being that drunk. But he accepts the alcohol only loses inhibitions it doesn’t cause it so it must have an underlying issue. He insists she really isn’t it. But accepts that ego maybe was part to play. He likes to think if she was receptive he would’ve said no. But as it feels like someone entirely different acting that night he can’t be 100% but in the light of day disagrees with alot what he did…like sending the messages to his work he regretted. He also feels despite her being partly responsible this is his fault and his issue to deal with.
He also admits there is a self destructive side to him which just wanted to implode and push everyone away at times and he’s been under pressure st work thinks this triggered it but says the most worrying thing is he knee I’d find out about the calls and his destructive it would be and yet did it any way. He can’t explain why because he’s happy we have moved on so far so maybe there’s a desire for drama he had a dysfunctional upbringing and this I’m sure influences his tendencies. He knows he has no new promises to say as its been said and done and I’ve said if after 2 years and all of this he can turn his back and do this again then how is there any hope. He says he now recognises while he has identified parts of him he thought he had worked on and resolved and controlled it’s clear he hasn’t as with alcohol its been unleashed. He swears he only wants me…But they all say that
He wants to see a counsellor and approach why he always thinks there’s more…why he’s never just happy and settled and why he uses destruction and conflict to deal with this. He says he can trust his actions and judgements every single day in the past 2 years and believes he has way more work to do but begging me not to pull the plug although recognises how arrogant and horrible it is to wsnt to test the water if that was part of his mentality (it’s one of the things he’s considered since rather thsn believes it’s the main motivating factor) he’s crying which isn’t like him, he is fully shameful I can see it his scampering trying to understand why he’s done this.
But if after all this time hes still like this am I just setting myseld up for more long term hurt. I always maintained any broken contact I’d be gone. He knew this and he’s pushed it by hiding her texts. Then smashed it by contacting her to fish for his ego potentially to even try and resume it. He insists he doesn’t want it and cutting her off so final for 2 years would back that up but he obviously wanted something to contact her. Even if drunk.
I’m so distraught we were in such a good place and he keeps maintaining this is all on him. But I dont know where to go from here.
I’m so sorry for such a long post. Just felt it could be useful to get outsider professional opinion. I don’t want to keep returning to this.
Andrew G. Marshall says
No problems with the long post. It seems you needed to get it out of your system. I agree that there is something that he needs to get out of his system but I would be VERY surprised if it is this OW. I think she is just a symptom of what he calls his self-destructive side and I would bet a lot of money that the key is hidden in his dysfunctional childhood. So where do you go from here? I think a lot of it depends on your husband. He seems genuinely ashamed of his actions and there is a desire to change. I hope he can follow through and actually see the therapist (and start understanding WHY he had an affair and what he learn from this whole sorry story). If he is still unsure about seeing a therapist – and he will read a book – I suggest getting ‘How not to be a boy’ by the comedian Robert Webb or ‘Born to run’ by Bruce Springsteen who both write movingly about their painful childhoods, the difficulty asking for help and how therapy helped them. If you have found my books helpful, I suggest you join my group. It will help you feel less alone and less likely to panic when you have a setback. This one could even be a blessing in disguise because he realises that he needs help and despite what men have been brought up to believe, it is OK to get it.
Heart Broken says
Thanks so much Andrew for your kind and considered reply.
I’ve tried to move forward with the understanding of your helpful comments. And hoping my husband might attempt to help himself with this but so far he hadnt. So I approached this last night.
He hasn’t tried to get help but had been exploring it to understand it better in his head. Trying to remember his mindset and where he was then. He remembers when her name was mentioned and subsequently thinking he saw her feeling bad and guilty for her. As she is still in love with him and hasn’t moved on. He conveniently allowed himself to forget she cheated and hurt her boyfriend too. That she entered the affair willingly and knowingly. Then her conduct and attitude since, blaming me being angry at me. Writing and saying things that would imply the affair was still ongoing. Implying I didn’t know everything and when confronted would apologise say she would leave me alone then restart it. She’s put me through hell and I’ve had to defend myself and our marriage while he refused to be involved as it didn’t deserve a reaction. Yet here he is feeling sorry and guilty for her? And worse than that willing to betray me to in some way make amends with her?
So I now feel it’s more like likely there is some draw to her. Or at least to the affair. I can’t find a positive reason or one I am an at least accept or live with for approaching his affair partner and acting the partner to her he did during the affair and expecting her to accept it gratefully and graciously like she did. And when she didn’t respond in a receptive way he turned on her. So it want anything to do with actually feeling remorseful to her or he would’ve left her alone after that but he proceeded to contact repeatedly and give her grief. It was in my view now. Him fishing and re-establishing the affair at least in mind if not physically. Which he denies flatly still. And still maintains he doesn’t care about her. So he’s either lying to me and has throughout about the importance of her and his feelings. Or he really is so messed up he will destruct everything around him and as she was moving on and getting on and we were getting on well he just had to re-introduce drama and thrill to both our world’s in the form of him. It’s quite likely a mix of both.
He also has again maintained he doesn’t feel infidelity is as devastating as it is to me. Given he grew up with it. And has worked around it. Far more exposed and accepting. And although his behaviour exhibits this laxed perception of this, as its not always in his behaviour it’s ok. Like 95% of the time he dedicated and living as a husband I can love and respect but occasionally he can do these sorts of things but his opinion is different to mine but it’s infrequent and we are both aware of it so that’s just fine.
I guess I now know he’s unwilling to change or challenge himself. He will say enough to appease me and appear like he’s doing enough. While maintaining and protecting his warped values and thinks he can still reap the rewards I offer while not offering me what he gets in return.
I genuinely knew he had different views on infidelity after all this happened but I thought the devastation and work we had went through had realigned his views. While it appears it has modified them it certainly is in no where in line with us. I pointed out the same damage he’s inherited from his upbringing he’s giving to our son. But he dismisses this by saying he will encourage him not to do as he does. But we all know the behaviour is the real influence. And how deeply seated this sort of parent behaviour does to a child. I’ve told him I have a duty to protect my son from this. Not just him. But me too.
I’m so sad as I want so much with him but he keeps showing what the price will be.
Thank you again Andrew I will need to dig out your books and re-read with a different perspective now I know 2 years down the line he is unwilling to change and is likely to repeat this if he hasn’t already.
My husband of 6 years (together for 11) one day announced that he had never loved me, and wanted to separate. We have 2 young children together. This was such a shock as there was never any sign of this coming. However he was very certain he was doing the right thing.
He started seeing someone after 1 month of us being apart, and they are still dating now 7 months later.
We were often intimate however I put a stop to this and told him no more.
He has recently starting having regrets about leaving and that he did not sort this out and talk to me about how he felt before it got to this point. My husband decided that he wanted to end things with his girlfriend and try again with me, however when he told her he said he just couldn’t go through with it fully because he would miss her, and would be with me knowing he had feelings for someone else, and he couldn’t live like that.
He has a very negative thought process and always sees the worst in everything and has trouble being honest with himself (from reading some of your books I believe this is possibly caused by his childhood).
This past month since his attempt at ending things with his girlfriend he goes from expressing his regrets to retreating and saying that he would only be coming back for the children, and I feel like he is now trying to push the feelings and desires he has for us to work things out out of his mind because he just cant let go of his girlfriend.
I feel completely in limbo, we all love him very much, and I know he must be very confused but I just don’t know what to do for the best anymore.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am glad that you are reading my books and finding them helpful. It seems clear that your husband is having sort of crisis, he is feeling all sorts of emotions that he can’t process properly, he is hurting lots of people – including himself. He has also turned your life upside down and I doubt he has the first idea of how profoundly and deeply you have been hurt. Let me clear this is about HIM – whatever he might say when he is angry (and you’re right it sounds like a big chunk of unresolved childhood pain). Meanwhile you’re in limbo and don’t know what to do next. I’m afraid this is going to take time. So you need to look after yourself and think about your boundaries – what feels OK (for example a family outing) and what feels too hard (for example, being intimate). I talk a lot about boundaries in my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’. It covers a lot about communication too – which I think will also help in the interregnum. I hope it will help you spot if any of his actions have re-animated unresolved childhood issues of your own. You might like to consider joining my support group. I have lots of useful videos for people in your situation, weekly live events where I answer questions. (This week was on communication) Most importantly, you get the loving support from people in the same situation. I’m really proud of them and I think you will enjoy meeting them.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes I will have a look in to this, it sounds very interesting.
Do you think it would be an idea to ask him to go for counselling? And what type of counselling would be best? My only worry is that he would not be honest when he is there, as he even seems to be struggling to be honest with himself. He is very unhappy at the moment because he feels that he is in a loose loose situation, so he may be open to help.
Andrew G. Marshall says
There is no point lying to your therapist. It is a bit like lying to yourself. But if we is looking for someone, I would suggest contacting my team. See Private Counselling page.
Thank you for your reply.
I want to suggest counselling to him because I feel like this is never going to end if he doesn’t get his own issues sorted and we will be stuck in this viscous circle, what kind of counsellor would be best for him to see? Also is there a good way to approach this with him?
Andrew G. Marshall says
It is fine to suggest counselling but it will depend a lot on whether he is ready to accept help. There is no magic way to approach it but I would start with…. what are your plans for resolving this problem? When he comes up with next to nothing, ask if he has considered counselling. Don’t push it because you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. If he is serious about getting help, consider contacting of my team. See the private counselling page.
Please pray for my marriage. My husband won’t end his affair and we have been married 28 years
Jk Suffering says
I am going thru this tonight, for the third time. She is 28 years younger and is in a gay relationship. A work college. He said he tried this time but can’t stay away from her. This has been ongoing for 3 years. He says it’s over but I still keep catching him. Oh the lies! Spoken like air is breathed. He says he loves me says he wants to stay with me and doesn’t want a divorce. I really think he wants to stay to save his reputation (and money) and not have people know what he has done.
Suffering in Silence
Andrew G. Marshall says
Don’t suffer in silence. You have your truth speak it. Remember, she is only a fantasy and not truly available. He is going through some kind of crisis and until he looks deeper and realises the REAL problem, he will not have peace. Whether you want to be with him while he sorts himself out is quite another matter.
Linda santos says
Hello my ex husband still is trying to fix our marriage. He’s in limbo he says and can’t get the other woman out of his head. We had a 20 year marriage with kids involved. He doesn’t know how to fix it . He says after 2 years he’s still confused and afraid he will do it again if he comes back to give us a try. He says he doesn’t want to hurt me anymore. He’s stuck in the middle. This woman is much younger then him 11 years younger. I don’t know what to do. What book do you recommend for the limbo he feels. He said he’s lost.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I would suggest that he looks at ‘Why did I cheat’ which goes deeper into understanding infidelity. Perhaps he is confused because he has not learned anything from this experience.